Friday, August 24, 2018

Fly On The Wall In A Birthday House

     Welcome to another edition of Fly On The Wall group blog postings hosted by Karen of Baking in a tornado. Today, six bloggers are inviting you into their homes for a glimpse of their private lives if you were a "fly on the wall."

     At our house we recently celebrated my husband's birthday, which pretty much lasted an entire week, because that's how we Doyles roll. Lunch at our favorite Japanese gardens, some yummy "tuxedo" cake, a special family dinner on another day at a beautiful Polynesian restaurant, more cake, a fun afternoon on jet skis at the beach, celebratory libations in our backyard tiki hut and....did I mention there was CAKE?

     We also shared some funny conversations along the way. If you were a fly in my house looking for a bit of humor, this is what you would've heard:

"The dishwasher repairman is here, but he's still in our driveway. What's taking him so long to get out of his truck and into our house?"
"He's digging around, looking for something in the back of the truck."
"Its been thirty minutes! If he hasn't fallen into the Black Hole by now, then he must be searching for Narnia."

"Look Hon, I bought a new box of taco shells at the store---it says they're 20% larger shells."
"Yeah, large tacos for LARGE people."
"Speak for yourself...."

"Our cockroaches in south Florida aren't just normal-sized bugs; they're chupacabras."

"Why are you wiggling your finger at me?"
"Come hither, my love."
"Is that your come-hither-finger?"
"You've been watching too many episodes of Game of Thrones."

"Good Lord, that fart was so loud it scared off all the cats in the neighborhood."

"You need to put a heating pad on your leg."
"Did you say an EATING pad?"
"No! A HEATING pad."
"Well good, because an EATING pad would probably take a large chunk out of my calf."

"I'm so tired of this summer heat. I melt every time I go outside. Whenever winter hibernation begins, I'm totally doing it."

"I just cleaned out the vegetable drawer in the freezer. I found a three-year-old, fuzzy lime in there that required a hazmat team to remove it."

"The requirements for renewing my driver's license at the DMV are ridiculous. I need a ton of paperwork just to prove my identity. They might as well ask for a urine sample or the results from my 23 and Me test. But I draw the line on sperm samples!"

     I'm totally serious about the hibernation thing. If you don't hear for me for awhile, you'll know why. Just ask the fly.......

***WANT MORE MENO MAMA? I'm up on Robot Butt this week with a humorous spin on advice for your college bound son. 

GOOD NEWS! Just learned that I was awarded Top 100 Mom Blogger at Brand Ballot. I don't know who nominated me but thank you! Time to break out the champagne!

Buzz around these other blogs participating today by clicking on these links for a peek into some other homes:

Baking In A Tornado                  https://www.BakingInATornado. com
Menopausal Mother           
Never Ever Give Up Hope            https://batteredhope.blogspot. com
Spatulas on Parade                   https://
My Brand of Crazy                    https://sarahsbrandcrazy.
Go Mama O.                     


Friday, August 17, 2018

10 Lessons I've learned From My Dogs

     Many years ago after our dog and cat died within a year of one another, I didn't think I wanted anymore pets (other than the seven chinchillas, two hamsters, a flying squirrel, a guinea pig, two turtles and various fish that I already owned). Then one day I saw a photo of a pug on a local rescue website and I was hooked. We adopted Brewski right then and there, and he has been my special little guy for more than seven years. I fondly refer to him as "Diaper Boy," because---you guessed it----he wears doggy diapers and cannot be potty trained. Not many people would have patience for his habitual house peeing, but we do, which means he was sent to our home for a reason.

     We were so in love with Brewski that we decided he needed a female companion. Returning to the same online pug rescue site, we found our beautiful Savi girl. She has been with us for six years and is incredibly loving. She is also terribly spoiled, thus the nickname "Diva Princess." Savi needs to be on doggy chemo for the rest of her life due to some cancerous cells that had to be removed last year. She is doing great now, but again, I truly believe there was a reason she found her way to our home.

     After watching a gazillion videos on social media of pug puppies, I just knew I had to experience life while raising a puppy. We found our boy pug Yoda through a breeder in north Florida, and I was smitten the minute I looked into his mischievous brown eyes. He has been with us for 19 months now, and he is our wild child/fur baby. Yoda is full of energy and also sneaky as hell. He has earned his nickname "Stinkerpot," but that little guy makes me laugh and smile every single day.

     I've learned so much from my fur babies, who are a constant source of love and entertainment. Unlike teenagers, they don't care if their surroundings are inexpensive and they never talk back (if they did, we'd have a problem). Dogs don't care if they're not purebred or show quality because they don't waste time worrying about their looks. They're also willing to adapt to any environment as long as they're given lots of love.

     If you're a dog owner, pay attention. You just might learn something from your canine friend.

1. Get outside and enjoy the feel of the grass under your feet. We spend far too much time cooped up in our homes. The lure of social media is a mighty thing indeed, as is Netflix binging until we no longer remember what day it is. Go outside and get some fresh air.

2. Sleep....a lot. (This is my favorite lesson of all). Dogs are always well rested and HAPPY. If you're lucky enough to be able to grab a nap in the middle of the day, do it. Or sleep in late on the weekends. You're not being lazy; you're simply recharging your battery (at least that's what I tell people when they wake me up with a knock at the door and I answer them looking like a character from Dawn of the Dead).

3. Play catch and tug-of-war. After all that sleeping, the exercise will do your heart some good. This is especially helpful if you've been digging into the kibbles bag one too many times.

 4. Never leave your shit in anyone else's yard. In other words, don't dump your crap on other people. If you have a problem, learn to deal with it yourself and move on.

5. Wag your tail and lick your master's face when they get home. Well, I'm not sure your partner will appreciate having their face licked the minute they walk through the front door, but at least show them that they are loved and missed while they are gone.

6. Chew on things to calm yourself down. Take a deep breath and think about how your actions may affect others before you do something rash that you might later regret. I don't chew on rawhide bones to stay calm, but I do like to gnaw on pretzel sticks while I think things through. *I also chew on my fingernails, but this is not something I recommend since my cuticles look like small rodents have been gnawing on them.

7. Bark loudly to protect your family. Stand your ground and take care of your loved ones. Don't let anyone put you in danger, and be sure to ward off uninvited strangers (this includes the guy going door-to-door to pressure people into buying steaks out of a cooler in the back of his pickup truck).

8. Don't dwell on your mistakes. My dogs can leave a pile of poo on the living room floor and I'll yell at them like crazy. They'll hide the entire time I'm cleaning it up, but five minutes later, they're jumping up on my lap and giving me doggy kisses. They've already forgotten what they did wrong. I think it's time that I forget all the times I've purposely left the toilet paper roll empty in the hopes that my husband will actually change it one day.

9. Love unconditionally. Dogs don't hold a grudge and neither should you. They're compassionate, loyal, and dependable. They happily surrender to love, trusting you completely when they roll over on their backs for a belly rub. I tried doing that once with my husband, but he wanted more than just a belly rub. That's okay---I still love him unconditionally, even when he "mistakenly" eats the last slice of pepperoni pizza that I was saving for my lunch.

10. Do the things that make you happy. We spend so much of our life doing what we think is expected of us, and not what makes us smile. It doesn't have to be something grandiose or overly expensive. Joy can be found in the smallest things----reading a good book, catching up with an old friend, or watching a rain storm roll in. For me, it's sitting on my deck in the morning with a cup of coffee and watching the variety of birds that flock around my feeder. Well, that and watching the puppy chase off the stray cats that hang around the feeders.

     I've decided that my dogs are pretty smart, so with that in mind, I think I'll change the toilet paper roll and find someone's face to lick to let them know how much they're loved.

***WANT MORE MENO MAMA? I was recently featured on Sammiches and Psych Meds/Mock Mom with my midlife hipster-wanna-be
list. You can read it here:

Friday, August 3, 2018

"Are You Still Kidding Me?" Guest Post by Stacey Gustafson

     I'm so thrilled to share one of my favorite humor writers today on the blog, along with the exciting news that she has a NEW book coming out this fall!

     I met Stacey Gustafson several years ago at the Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop in Dayton, Ohio, and we've been good friends ever since. Stacey is one of the funniest writers I know, and now she has a sequel to her best selling book Are You Kidding Me?  titled, Are You Still Kidding Me? Which is coming out on September 18. If you act quickly, you can pre-order her hilarious book for just $0.99 before it is published!

     Check out this blurb on Stacey's new book:

"Stacey Gustafson’s back at it again with Are You Still Kidding Me? In this hilarious and heartwarming sequel to her #1 Amazon bestseller Are You Kidding Me? My Life with an Extremely Loud Family, Bathroom Calamities, and Crazy Relatives. Gustafson tackles the foibles of modern family life—from toddlers and teens to empty nesters—with wry wit and plenty of humor.

Grab a cup of coffee, ease into the easy chair, and be prepared to laugh out loud along with Gustafson—she may not be your new best friend, but you’ll feel like she is by the time you’ve finished these forty-five stories of family life, written by a mother who’s seen it all."

Below, you will find an excerpt from her book. I can totally relate to this particular chapter, " I Netflix Cheated In My Husband," since I am a Netflix junkie.

                                          I Netflix Cheated on My Husband

I tried ways to end my deception, but nothing worked. To protect my indiscretion, I routinely deleted my Internet browser history, shredded phone bills and swore my friends to secrecy. I Netflix cheated on my husband.

How did this begin you ask? I blame it on the old-fashioned dinner-and-a-movie routine. Our choices had boiled down to The Lego Batman Movie and Fifty Shades Darker. Why were we wasting our money on this crap? So, we traded a night out for a night in.

It all started so innocently.

Cable television options are limitless. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, the list goes on. No need to go to the theater when you can indulge in more than fifty hours, or five seasons of thirteen episodes. Intriguing shows like Shooter, Stranger Things, Dexter, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and House of Cards sucked us in faster than a fur ball to a Dust Buster.

Netflix, where’ve you been my whole life?

We clicked through cable channels and realized we’d only scraped the surface of the Netflix barrel.

On Saturday night, we trolled the channels and found The Killing, a crime drama based in Seattle, featuring homicide detective Sarah Linden and her sidekick, Holder. It had more red herrings than a fish farm, and we were addicted by the first hour.

“Man, this is good,” I said, after three episodes. “One more.”

“No can do,” said my husband, shaking his head. “Got to get up early.”

“Come on,” I said, batting my eyelashes. “Please.”

“Fine, one more. But that’s it.”

Season One, Episode Four, here we come.

By Sunday evening, we squeezed in Episodes Five and Six.

“Got to call it quits now,” he said, rubbing his eyes and giving me a glassy stare. “Up for work by six.”

“Okay,” I said, fidgeting on the sofa. “I’m going stay up a little and read. Night.”

“No cheating. We agreed to watch this together.”

Think again, sucker.

The glow of the television beckoned. What would it hurt? I slammed shut The Girl on the Train and clicked on Episode Seven. I snuggled into my soft throw blanket, popped a can of Coke and let the drama begin. Heck, I’d rewatch it the next time we were together. He’d never know. But I knew I’d crossed the line.

I had become a Netflix cheater.

After he left for work the next day, I thought, “What would it hurt to take a little peek?”

Bam, hooked again, and I binged-watched five more episodes.
Around 6:00 PM, I texted him, “What time you coming home for dinner?”

“Thirty minutes.”

Oh crap, he’ll be here soon.

“Can you pick up some milk and…um…um…pimentos?”

He’ll be searching for hours.

I needed to buy some time to finish Season One. I couldn’t stand not knowing what was happening. Would they catch the real killer? What’s that new evidence they keep talking about?

Suddenly, I detected the slow hum of the garage door. How the hell did he find the damn pimentos that fast? With a loud bang, the door clanged shut on the concrete floor. I hit “off” on the remote.

He strolled into the room, and his green eyes scrutinized the screen.

“Were you watching The Killing?”

“No way. We promised to watch together.”

“Where did we leave off anyway?” he said, trying to trip me up with probing questions. He clicked on the three-way light on the end table next to me.

“Hey, turn that off,” I said, holding a hand to cover my eyes. “So bright.”

What is this Guantanamo?

“Well?” he asked again.

“I think it’s the one where they discover that kid in the teacher’s apartment,” I said, wiping my sweaty hands on my pants.

“Um, I’m not sure,” I said, as I leaned in and heard the distinct drip of the kitchen faucet. My armpits sweated more than a hot flash.

“Did you watch more episodes?” he said, eyebrows pinched together, as he squeezed in between the arm of the sofa and my body until our thighs touched. “You can trust me. I won’t get mad.”

“Fine,” I blurted out. “I couldn’t help it. I Netflix cheated.”

Seriously, dude, you’ve been out of town so much I had to get my fix.


“I’m sorry,” I said, staring down at my feet. “It’s just so good. Never planned it to go this far.”

“Promise not to watch anymore?” he said, cocking his head to one side.

I vowed to keep my promise, turned on the television and started scrolling for something else to watch. We’d considered binging on Shooter after watching the previews on Netflix, a drama series based on a former military sniper called back into action to prevent a plot to kill the President.

But when I clicked on it, I noticed that the red bar underneath, the one that indicated if it had been recently viewed, had disappeared.
What?! Holy cow, he’s Netflix cheated on me!

I lost all sense of remorse and settled in for hours of binging on Shooter. Two can play this game.

Stacey Gustafson is the bestselling author of Are You Kidding Me? My Life With an Extremely Loud Family, Bathroom Calamities, and Crazy Relatives, ranked #1 Amazon in Parenting & Family Humor and Motherhood. She’s also an inspirational speaker, blogger and comedian. Her short stories have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, seven books in the Not Your Mother’s Book series, and other print and online publications. Her awards include Erma Bombeck Humor Writer of the Month as well as Best Comic of the Month at Tommy T’s Comedy Club. She performs stand-up throughout the East Bay. 

She lives in Pleasanton, CA with her college sweetheart, Mike, and a white furball named Stanley who loves peanut butter treats. Visit her popular blog at, Facebook @StaceyGustafsonWriter, and Twitter @RUKiddingStacey.

If you'd like to follow Stacey, look for her here: 

Are You Still Kidding Me? 
Are You Kidding Me? My Life with an Extremely Loud Family, Bathroom Calamities, and Crazy Relatives
Twitter: @RUKiddingStacey
Amazon Author page:

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Take Control of Menopause Symptoms with Non-Hormonal Treatments

     Menopause is a normal, natural event; a turning point that all women experience—but it should not disrupt daily life! 
     Joining us on the blog today is Ellen Manos M.D., a practicing, Manhattan-based OB/GYN for over three decades, senior attending physician at Lenox Hill Hospital and a Doctor Advocate for Relizen® and Revaree™, non-hormonal treatments for menopausal symptoms. 

Take Control of Menopause Symptoms with Non-Hormonal Treatments
The gradual, menopausal transition (perimenopause) and the age at which we begin and end menopause will be different for all of us. Our symptoms will vary. Some women will experience few symptoms at all; others may suffer from irritability, fatigue, day and night sweats, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, restless sleep, or all of the above! Certain cancers and treatments can also cause hot flashes and other symptoms. 
This was always ignored, women were told, “Just plug through, you can get through it.” In many cases, women can do that. But it can also be very limiting to your lifestyle, annoying and sometimes unhealthy, to have to put up with a lot of these symptoms. We’ve been waiting a long time to find things other than hormones that may relieve these symptoms. Why should anybody suffer for months--let alone years?
Sometimes the remedies for menopausal symptoms are as concerning as the symptoms themselves. Hormone replacement, for example, can be an effective solution for symptoms; however, it has been associated with an increased risk of blood clots, strokes, some forms of cancer and even dementia. Additionally, if a woman has had a history of blood clots, heart disease, stroke or breast cancer, her doctor will likely recommend avoiding hormone replacement. 
Alternatively, certain natural supplements can provide relief from menopausal symptoms without hormones and without the risk of side effects. Swedish flower pollen extract, for example, has been used for over 15 years by millions of women (particularly in Europe) in the non-hormonal treatment of menopausal symptoms including irritability and uneasiness, mood changes, hot flashes, excessive sweating day and night, and restless sleep.
Not all supplements are the same, however. There are several methods of cultivating Swedish flower pollen extract and multiple varieties, with varying degrees of quality. Supplements containing extract from lower quality plants or cultivated in a manner that doesn’t maintain the integrity of the extract will not be as effective--or perhaps not effective at all. I, along with more than 3,000 other U.S. gynecologists, recommend Relizen®. We feel very comfortable offering it to every sort of patient for symptom relief because it isn’t an estrogen, doesn’t act like an estrogen, nor does it bind to any estrogen receptors. We were waiting desperately for something like this. We investigated it well and did our due diligence reading the medical studies. Amazingly over 85-90% felt relief of their symptoms. 
Relizen is plant-based, soy-, dairy- and gluten-free. It is non-hormonal and, unlike phytoestrogens such as soy, black cohosh, red clover, Relizen has no estrogenic activity, which means it does not act like estrogen in the body or impact estrogen levels. It is safe and has not been linked to side effects or adverse reactions different from those associated with a sugar pill (placebo.)

It is hypothesized that the specific, rigorously-selected variety of the proprietary Swedish pollen extract formula in Relizen works centrally, to reduce hot flashes due to menopause and has a mild serotonergic effect on the hypothalamus, the portion of the brain that maintains the body’s internal balance. The manufacturing process used to derive and purify the Swedish pollen extract used in Relizen is highly sophisticated, stringent and controlled. The unique biotech process is under strict control and designed to remove most pollen allergens. Only premium pollen is used for extraction. Our Swedish manufacturing partner complies with Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP), and manufacturing facilities have passed FDA inspection and are regularly inspected by the Swedish Medical Products Agency (MPA). Further, the Swedish flower pollen extract used in Relizen is grown in a pesticide-free environment and the husk removed.
These extra measures improve the body’s utilization of the extract and ensure that the active ingredients in the supplements contain nearly 100% of the essential substances needed specifically for the benefit of easing menopausal symptoms.
For vaginal dryness, I recommend Revaree®, which is FDA-cleared and, like all products from parent company JDS Therapeutics, backed by multiple clinical studies. 
Revaree’s main ingredient is hyaluronic acid, a moisture-binding molecule naturally found in the body that relieves a range of vaginal dryness symptoms, including dryness, burning, irritation and painful sex. It has also been shown to help improve overall vaginal health by maintaining vaginal pH and improving vaginal tissue elasticity. More than one million women across 40 countries have safely used variations of hyaluronic acid formulations.
Revaree is an applicator-free vaginal insert that is non-hormonal, safe, colorless, odorless, side effect-free and does not contain parabens. It is not a contraceptive nor is it compatible with condoms. While it is available without a prescription, it has proven to be just as effective as the leading prescription hormonal creams in alleviating symptoms of vaginal dryness, with results in as early as 9 days. 
Vaginal dryness, whose technical name is vaginal atrophy, is a common problem associated with menopause. Drops in estrogen levels as women age reduce fluid levels in the vaginal walls, making the vagina thinner, less elastic and more prone to irritation, itching, burning, tearing of the vaginal walls, and pain during sexual intercourse.
I became an (uncompensated) Doctor Advocate for Relizen and Revaree because they have been rigorously tested and backed by extensive clinical studies, real reviews and medical support.
In a survey of over 400 women, Relizen significantly decreased the frequency and intensity of night sweats, (66% and 67%), improved quality of life (+48%) and quality of sleep (+47%), as well as decreased fatigue (-51%) and irritability (-54%). 
Stop believing the myth that “Menopause symptoms just go with the territory of being a woman." Now there is relief. 

As with all medicines and supplements, women should consult their medical professionals before taking Relizen if there are any allergy or other concerns. 

Ellen Manos M.D. has been practicing obstetrics and gynecology on the Upper East Side of Manhattan for over three decades. She is a senior attending physician at Lenox Hill Hospital, where her interests include laparoscopic surgery, adolescent medicine, bio-identical hormone replacement therapy and, of course, the everlasting joys of obstetrics, both low and high risk, in a concierge setting. Dr. Manos graduated from the High School of Performing Arts in 1974 and received her bachelor's of science in biochemistry and musicology from New York University in 1978. She attended medical school at SUNY Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse and graduated in 1982. After returning to New York City, Dr. Manos completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in 1986 and immediately entered private practice. Dr. Manos's practice is distinguished by the personal, one-on-one care that she provides to all of her patients


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