Friday, December 23, 2022

Fly On The Wall During The Holiday Festivities

Welcome to another edition of Fly On The Wall group blog postings hosted by Karen of Baking In A Tornado. Today three bloggers are bravely inviting you into their homes to see what goes on behind closed doors. 

That nosy fly has found me reflecting on past holidays quite a bit lately. I love the holidays, but there are always some bittersweet memories attached to the festivities. While I embrace the holiday spirit of decorating, shopping, tree trimming, gift wrapping, Christmas music, and baking, I'm also reminded of the Christmas' from my youth when our family gathered for the big day. Now, several of my family members are gone, and the memories they've left behind are tinged with sadness. 

When the church choir sings the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah, I remember my father standing silently beside the pew in a show of appreciation. 

A fragrant, newly-decorated spruce tree reminds me of my mother carefully hanging her delicate glass ornaments on the rich, green boughs. 

Chocolate buckeye candy makes me think of my sister Cherie and the hours we spent rolling sugared peanut butter balls in the kitchen while Christmas music played in the background. 

Mom's frosted spice cookies were my brother Randy's favorite treat. Every Christmas after dinner, Randy and I snuck into the kitchen to pack a large bag of spice cookies for home before the others discovered what we were doing. 

Although they are gone now, I know my parents, sister and brother would want me to embrace my own family and create new holiday traditions to cherish for years to come. And that's exactly what we have done.

Here are some of my favorite photos with family and friends celebrating the holiday together:

From our house to yours, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

***WANT MORE MENO MAMA?? You can find my latest for AARP on yummy holiday side dishes HERE. I've also been writing regularly for You can catch several of my articles over there (on midlife and menopause life)  HERE for HRT, HERE for aging gracefully, HERE  for pet therapy, and HERE for foods beneficial during menopause.

Buzz around like the fly and see what these other bloggers are up to!

Baking In A Tornado


The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver

Friday, November 18, 2022

Fly On The Wall: Swimming With Stingrays

Welcome to another edition of Fly On The Wall group blog postings hosted by Karen of Baking In A Tornado, Today, 3 bloggers are opening their homes to give you a glimpse of what goes on behind closed doors. 

The nosy fly at my house got a free trip a few weeks ago when we took a much-needed vacation after the crapstastic summer we had. I really needed a break after suffering the loss of my precious pup four months ago. AARP was kind enough to publish my story (which went live while I was on vacation!) about losing Savi and how it triggered the pain of many other losses in my life. I think it is one of the best personal essays I have ever written and I hope you'll take a look at it...but I'll warm you, get out the tissues! This was a rough one to write (you can read it HERE). You'll understand why our vacation came at just the right time. 

Last year I wrote about my first cruise experience in October 2021 and the fun we had with our family. This time, Hubs and I took a romantic five-day cruise of our own to the Caribbean. There were lots of activities on the boat as well as off-shore excursions in the Bahamas. Since I had already gone swimming with dolphins before, I wanted to try something STINGRAYS! Hubs was nervous because all he could think of was Steve Irwin's tragic encounter with a stingray, and he was convinced that he'd suffer the same fate if he dipped his toes in the ocean. But I've always loved stingrays and touching one has been on my bucket list for several years. So you can guess who won THAT argument about our choice of excursion activities.

Overall, the cruise was a blast, but since it was a smaller ship, we were limited as to what we could do onboard. I mean, there were only so many bars we could visit in a day.....and since we aren't gamblers (i.e we SUCK at it), we spent the majority of our time sitting by the pool with martinis in our hands. 

I did participate in some fun dance classes---a Hip Hop one and a "Brazilian Dance Moves" class---both of which were a riot! This old girl can still shake what Mother Nature gave her (in a good way, not a saggy skin way, ha-ha). Mac wanted to try the "Flow-Rider" surf pool but I think he secretly drew a sigh of relief when it was closed each time he approached the ride (next time, Hubs...I need to film your wave-crashing wipe-outs!). 

We thoroughly enjoyed the swim-up bar on the cruise ship's private island. The water was freezing cold, but after several Coco Loco cocktails, I was swimming like a mermaid. Made some new friends, too, although I remember very little after the 7th cocktail that day.....

One of the highlights of the trip, of course, was the graceful stingrays. The first time I touched one, I thought the skin felt like a wet mushroom! When I told the tour guide this, she gave me a weird look like she thought I was craving stingray kabobs for dinner. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get photos of this awesome excursion because we left the island early and forgot to view/order the professional photos. So you'll just have to take my word for it.

Despite these activities, one of my favorite things to do on the boat was.....nothing. I loved sitting back in a lounge chair and witnessing the most glorious sunsets from the deck. As I sipped a glass of champagne, I turned to Hubs and said, "Are you ready to book cruise number three?" He gave a quick nod, raised his glass, and we toasted to our next adventure at sea. 

***WANT MORE MENO MAMA? Other than the AARP piece on grief, I am also honored to have a new essay published in The Huffington Post (about being a grandmother with multiple tattoos) which you can read HERE. Plus another food article on the best dishes for Thanksgiving that I published last week on AARP, which you can read HERE.

Buzz around these other blogs and check out what the fly has been doing in their homes!

Baking In A Tornado                      


The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Best Holiday Gifts For Dog Owners

With the holiday season upon us, everyone is trying to figure out the best unique gifts to give to the people they love. If you or your family members and friends own dogs they adore, why not consider a special gift for pet lovers? I've seen some really cool items out there, including designer pet collars, plaques, photo pillows, clothing, jewelry with your pet's name on it, and blankets that have pet pictures sewn into them. But what has really caught my eye this year are dog portraits. I love the idea of turning my dog's photo into art and also being able to select the costume he will appear in. I can do all of this easily without actually having to dress him up and pose him (because he would NOT like that) for a whimsical portrait. How cool is that?

There are so many other clever gift ideas out there for pet owners. If you like clothing with your pet's breed on it, you'll find plenty of options online. I've also seen crystals with a pet's image scanned into them, which I think is a perfect gift for dog lovers. 

Another dog gift item I found interesting is a personalized, life-size plush animal made to replicate a beloved pet. This would make a great holiday gift for any dog lover, but I also think it's a touching way to memorialize a pet who has passed away. I lost my sweet pug Savi several months ago, and I would love to have a plush replica of my sweet fur baby. I like the idea of customized jewelry for her as well.

For now, I'll be ordering the pet portrait for the holidays. I can't think of a better gift for myself or my dogs! 

***Disclaimer: This blog post is in partnership with Responsival.


Friday, October 21, 2022

Fly On The Wall During The Season Of Birthdays

Welcome to another edition of Fly On The Wall group blog postings, hosted by Karen of Baking In A Tornado. Today, 3 bloggers are inviting you into their homes for a sneak peek at what goes on behind closed doors. 

The fly on the wall at our house has been buzzing around several birthday celebrations; my own and my daughter-in-law's. My wee little granddaughter also has a birthday coming up next week---her fourth. Of course, Nonni is baking her favorite cake and spoiling her with lots of presents befitting of a princess. I can't wait until she opens the gorgeous costume dress I bought her!

The day after my birthday, I was feeling all warm inside from the love I received and wanted to thank my friends and family for making my day so special. Here's the letter of appreciation I posted on social media to all the amazing people who have enriched my life beyond my wildest dreams:

"I love Facebook birthdays because it’s so cool to hear from everyone —-and so many awesome people I haven’t seen in many years. I appreciate that each and every one of you took the time to write on my timeline with best wishes. I’ll admit it made me sentimental and a little teary-eyed because you all made my birthday so special! I tried to thank everybody individually so I hope I got everyone. Please know that I appreciate every single one of you. 💕 When I woke up yesterday morning on my birthday, it had rained the night before and there was a lot of water left glittering on the leaves of the trees. The sun was shining and I swear the water looked like hundreds of diamonds on the leaves. I walked outside into my garden, took a deep breath, and thanked the powers that be that I was lucky enough to be alive and healthy for another day. At 63, I am at that age where I appreciate every breath that I take. Life is too damn short. I know that sounds cliche but seriously; Live it. Love it. Even when it hurts. It’s still a gift, and we need to take it all in while we can—- the good with the difficult/challenging times. Yes, I feel incredibly lucky to have the love & support of my family and friends. Thanks for making my life the colorful canvas it has become. I appreciate each and every one of you, today and every day. And yes, I’m aware that I sound like a hallmark movie but it’s all true 💕 LOVE TO ALL ❤️ ❤️❤️"

Here are a few photos of the fun-filled day I had (actually, I just want to relive the happy moments again, okay??) Also, send more cake, please!! 

My daughter-in-law celebrating her birthday with me


***WANT MORE MENO MAMA? You can find me on AARP sharing seasonal root vegetable recipes HERE. I also have several new articles up on including a funny take on my husband's perspective of menopause (read it HERE) and several about HRT remedies that you can read HERE, HERE, and HERE

Check out these other awesome bloggers in today's FOW posts!


Baking In A Tornado                      


The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver

Friday, September 23, 2022

Fly On The Wall Of Financial Woes

     Welcome to another edition of Fly On The Wall group blog postings hosted by Karen of Baking In A Tornado. Today, four bloggers are bravely letting you into their homes for a sneak peek at what goes on behind closed doors. If you were a fly on the wall at my house these past few weeks, you'd hear a lot of complaining about expenses. First, we had to pay off the medical balance for my sweet fur baby's surgery and ICU time. As you know, we lost her despite making heroic efforts to save her. This hurt us in more ways than I can express. Then, we really got slammed with repair bills in August and September. My laptop needed a new battery, my home speaker system blew out, the car still needs a new alternator and the hot tub got fried when the power went out and now needs a new motherboard---all ridiculously expensive. Is Mercury in retrograde again?? Not to mention the increase in interest rates and oh-mm-gee, GROCERY PRICES! My youngest moved back home temporarily a few months ago and all he does is EAT.  

     But all is not lost. I am incredibly grateful to have my whole family living nearby and they are the joy of my life. So who cares if things are tight right now? Next month looks promising! Anyway, here is all the bitching that the fly overheard in my house this month:

"How do you like your expensive new lenses?"
"These progressive glasses make me feel progressively worse about my finances." 

"What's on your bucket list?"
"In light of our recent bills, you can forget my bucket list. I can't even afford the bucket."

"Since we can't afford to go out this weekend, why don't we make a picnic lunch and go to the beach instead?"
"No way--- the last time we did that, you forgot to bring the sunscreen and I ended up looking like a six-month-old forgotten potato in the back of the vegetable drawer."
"At least you didn't grow sprouts...." 

"It won't be like this forever once we get caught up on our bills. There really is a light at the end of the tunnel."
" I hope I see the right light at the end of the tunnel before I see the other one that says, 'Go toward the light..."

"This beach sand is impossible to remove from my feet. It sticks like glitter."
"Hey, that's a great idea---I could invent sand glitter foot scrub and get rich."
"Only if you invent the removal first." 

"Why are you making such an ugly face?"
"Because I'm reading our latest electric bill."
"Don't hold that expression for too long--it might stick."
"As long as we keep getting outrageous bills like this in the mail, this IS my new face."

     Well, it looks like we both have new faces now after paying all the bills. At least they're paid up!

***Want more Meno Mama? I've been super busy---buzzing around the web faster than any old fly. My latest articles for AARP include one for yummy dessert recipes (read it HERE) and a humor piece about my bucket list (read it HERE). And then over at Family Matters, I have a piece up about best historical dramas (yes, I'm an addict!) which you can read HERE. I have also been writing for a new website called The You can read it HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE Enjoy!


Buzz around these other blogs for a peek into some other homes:


Baking In A Tornado                      


The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver


What TF Sarah                            


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