Friday, June 21, 2024

Fly On The Wall In A Summer Monsoon

Welcome to another edition of Fly On The Wall group blog postings hosted by Karen of Baking In A Tornado. Today there are four of us inviting you into our homes to see what a nosy fly might see if he was buzzing around. 

The flies in Florida were frantic last week when we were hit with a deluge of rain---a monsoon that I was certain would make our entire state break free from the U.S. and sink into the ocean. In fact, there was so much rain that we had to reschedule one of our camping trips when the RV park turned into a mud pit. I'm actually camping right now (storms are finally gone) at the beautiful Fisheating Creek Outpost and life is good (especially since I can still get internet out in the boonies!). We're getting the hang of this whole RV thing, starting with our first adventure with Lucy last month (and the lions!)---which I wrote about in May's Fly On The Wall post. We also went to Blue Spring State Park a few weeks ago and have more RV trips lined up throughout the rest of the year (cheers to senior discounts and cheap vacations!!). And YES, we are still carrying on the funny mumu tradition that started on that first trip. 

It has been a busy month with family and friends, and the fly has seen it all---preschool graduations, birthday celebrations, our local "Downtown Untapped" festivities (always cool to see neighbors, relatives, and FB friends come out to the monthly event), and a great, heart-warming Father's Day that I think made the big guy feel special. **In honor of Father's Day, I'm sharing lots of photos of my better half  (and the funny inspiration behind most of my FOW blog posts)!

The nosy fly has also been privy to some weird conversations during our camping trips, and as always, our discussions center on food and being overweight. Yeah, I'm seeing a connection there.....

"I swear, food always tastes better when you grill it at a campsite. The salmon was delicious!"
"It was too good--I ate so much it feels like the salmon are spawning in my belly."

"Did you forget to empty the RV trash can?"
"No, I just chose to ignore it."
"Then take yourself out with the trash."
"I can't fit into the trash can. I'm too fat"
"Well, that makes you the perfect size for their 'Bulk Trash' pickup."

"You were moaning in your sleep again last night and thrashing around so much that the RV was shaking. Were you having a bad dream?"
"No, but I was dreaming that I was climbing up a long set of stairs. That moaning you heard was me being out of shape and wheezing."

"I'm so full from lunch!"
"Yes, it takes a while to digest heavy, cream soups."
"Awhile? More like three weeks!"

"How's your diet going, Mac?"
"Not good. Pretty soon I'll be added to the McDonald's menu as the new BIG MAC."
"Awww....come on, you don't need to diet..."
"You're just trying to fatten me up so you can outrun me in the woods if we come across a bear." 

"We have to be careful not to add too much extra weight to the RV while we're driving---it's a harder strain on the truck to pull it."
"Then maybe you should jump out and walk."

"Old people drive me crazy!"
"WE are the old people."
"Okay, maybe it's just YOU who drives me crazy."

Hubs does drive me crazy, but he's my ride-or-die on our camping adventures, so I think I'll keep him around for a while.... and also because he's the one carrying the bear spray.... 

*****WANT MORE MENO MAMA? Catch my latest for AARP/The Ethel on delicious foods to pack in your summer picnic basket HERE . For this month's column for Yahoo Life I wrote about late-in-life marriages. If you watched "The Golden Bachelor," you'll get a kick out of my latest article . Lastly, for AARP/The Girlfriend, I wrote about the top state parks to visit this summer with family, and you can read it HERE  .

Now buzz around these other homes and see what the fly discovered this month!

 Baking In A Tornado                      

On the Border                               


What TF Sarah                              

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Conquering Menopause: A Guide for Couples: Easy & Effective Solutions for Surviving THE CHANGE by Kim Brooks

Today on the blog I'm featuring Kim Brooks' book, Conquering Menopause: A Guide For Couples, which is excellent for women struggling with menopause issues in their relationships. We all know how hard it is on our partners---the rapid mood swings, anxiety, fatigue, and general crabbiness associated with the change. Kim says her book is a "revolutionary guide that introduces a new perspective on menopause: one that sees it not as an obstacle, but as an avenue for couples to grow and connect more deeply."

Here is a brief summary of the book:  

Conquering Menopause: A Guide for Couples: Easy & Effective Solutions for Surviving THE CHANGE 

This book serves as a comprehensive guide and companion for couples navigating the complex journey of menopause. It starts with an introduction that acknowledges the strain menopause can place on relationships, setting the stage for a deep dive into the biological, emotional, and relational aspects of this life transition. Emphasizing empathy, open communication, and mutual support, the book offers practical strategies, exercises, and conversation starters to help couples maintain intimacy, manage stress, and grow together during menopause.

Each chapter of the book addresses a different facet of the menopause experience, from understanding the physiological changes and symptoms to exploring various management strategies, including Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and holistic remedies. The guide stresses the importance of seeing menopause not as an obstacle but as an opportunity for personal and relational development, offering insights into how couples can support each other through changes, foster deeper connections, and adapt their lifestyles to embrace this new phase of life.

The conclusion reinforces the book's message of hope and empowerment, inviting readers to approach menopause with a sense of adventure and optimism. It encourages sharing experiences, supporting others, and contributing to a broader conversation about menopause, transforming it from an isolating experience to one of collective empowerment. Menopause is presented as not merely an end to fertility but a gateway to enriching the next phase of life and relationships, urging couples to step forward into this journey with courage, joy, and an unwavering commitment to each other.

Here, at last, Kim says, "is a resource that recognizes the role that both partners play in the menopause journey and equips you with everything you need to face the change together."

Inside this valuable guide, you'll uncover:

·         How to open up a genuine dialogue about feelings, fears, and expectations surrounding menopause.

·         Practical tips to manage hot flashes, mood swings, and other common symptoms together.

·         A unique approach to rekindle intimacy during menopause.

·         Detail on how lifestyle changes can help manage, reduce, or even eliminate some of the typical symptoms of menopause.

·         Actionable strategies to strengthen your relationship and foster deeper understanding and compassion.

·         Specific, practical tips for managing stress and anxiety in menopause.

·         How to maintain a sense of humor through the ups and downs of menopause.

Bear in mind that menopause is different for every woman – and every couple.

While this guide offers advice and insights based on a wide range of common experiences, the precise path you walk will be your unique journey.

And, despite what popular culture might suggest, menopause is not a catastrophe nor a woman's problem. It's simply another stage of life - something that can even, believe it or not, bring couples closer together!

QUOTES From Conquering Menopause:

“Imagine two trees standing side by side. As the seasons change, they weather storms and bask in sunlight, each affecting the other's growth. Similarly, couples facing menopause can either stand resilient together or let the winds of change create distance between them. This chapter is about nurturing that resilience, about being two trees that lean into each other for support, sharing the sunlight and rain equally.”


“Menopause does not knock on the door; it often barges in unannounced, bringing changes that can ripple through the calm waters of a relationship. But here's a thought: what if couples saw this as an opportunity to fortify their bond instead of bracing for impact?”


“In the tapestry of life, sleep weaves a thread of tranquility essential for rejuvenating both body and soul. As menopause ushers in a myriad of changes, the sanctity of sleep becomes more precious, requiring a conscientious effort from both partners to preserve its quality.”

**I highly recommend Kim's book if you are currently experiencing menopause issues in your relationship!  

BUY IT HERE:  = Paperback B0CY7SPXRR  = E-Book  = Hardcover


At 53, Kim Brooks is an author who has transformed her menopause journey into a helpful guide for others. Drawing from her own experiences and thorough research, she has written "Conquering Menopause: A Guide for Couples," aiming to offer insights, support, and practical advice to those navigating menopause. Her commitment to aiding others during this phase of life showcases her dedication to education and advocacy.

While she has a passion for writing, Kim, a mother of three and grandmother of five, places a high value on creating memories with her family.

Currently, Kim is working on the audiobook version of her guide, with a release planned for July 2024.

Kim's author page on Amazon:

Friday, May 17, 2024

Fly on The Wall Where The Lions Roar

Welcome to another edition of Fly On The Wall group blog postings hosted by Karen of Baking In A Tornado. Today there are three of us inviting you into our homes to see what a nosy fly might see if he was buzzing around. 

Our fly---or rather flies---followed us on an RV trip 2 weeks ago because we camped at a zoo (and you know how much flies love zoos)! This was Lucy's virgin trip, so we stayed close by, camping just 1 hour away at the famous Lion Country Safari park. WHAT FUN!!! We met our RV neighbors who helped us work out a few newbie issues with Lucy when we first arrived, but after that, it was all about relaxing outdoors and grilling burgers while we sipped some champagne. We took Yoda with us and he was the perfect doggo! But this story would not be complete without a little back history and a promise Mac and I made 40 years ago. 

After saying our wedding vows in 1984, we agreed that when we reached retirement age, we would buy an RV and travel around the country. We also joked about how we would both wear muumuus when we did it. We actually bought the
muumuus many, many years ago and kept them in the closet. So on our virgin trip 2 weeks ago with Lucy, we pulled out the muumuus to celebrate this promise. The best part? We've decided to make the muumuus a tradition and wear them at every campsite we visit!

Even crazier is that this RV park is right next to the zoo, so while we were sipping coffee outdoors the following morning, we heard the hungry lions roaring for breakfast! It was incredible, but I was very grateful for the fencing between us. We also heard a ton of monkeys jabbering in the trees. 

Since we weren't too far from home, several of our kids and grandkids drove the extra miles to have a cookout on our second day at the park. The weather was perfect, the food was delicious, and the cornhole was competitive! 

We are embracing the RV life 100% now and couldn't be happier living in our little Lucy. I already have 7 more trips planned---our next one May 23 up to the GORGEOUS Blue Springs State Park!

Before I forget, let's hear it for all the mamas out there who celebrated Mother's Day last weekend! You deserved your special day! We had a lot of fun, too---visited our favorite South Florida spot, Morikami Japanese Gardens, and enjoyed lunch at their outdoor cafe. We got to hang out with our neighbors by their pool afterward. And then on Mother's Day, it was all about brunch with the family. I'm sure I gained 10 pounds from the weekend but calories don't count for Moms on their special day! 

Wish us luck next weekend with Lucy--it will be hot as Hades at the RV park but the springs will be cool and hopefully, the flies will stay away!!

***Want more Meno Mama? My latest fun piece for BUSINESS INSIDER on retirement is HERE to read.  I also have a few over at AARP's "The Girlfriend" on the most affectionate cat breeds (HERE) and great Memorial Day dishes HERE. You can find me over at AARP's "The Ethel" sharing classic recipes from our Moms HERE . If you've been following my column at Yahoo Life, then hopefully you caught these popular posts---one on seniors who choose to live alone (HERE ) and the much debated Mother-In-Law issue (HERE). Enjoy!

Now it's time to go buzz around with the fly at Karen and Diane's house to see what they've been up to!

Baking In A Tornado                      


On the Border                               

Friday, April 19, 2024

Fly On The Wall At Our 40th Wedding Anniversary

Welcome to another edition of Fly On The Wall group blog postings hosted by Karen of Baking In A  Tornado. Today there are three of us brave souls inviting you into our homes for a peek at what goes on behind closed doors. 

The nosey fly followed Hubs and me to St Augustine last week for our annual wedding anniversary vacation (this year was our 40th!). He definitely overheard some weird conversations but mostly he saw us relaxing on the bay and eating waaaay too much seafood. 

It was such a fun trip! Mac got to jet ski in the bay (I will never do THAT again after almost falling off into frigid water that was infested with little worms!!) and one evening we went out on a sunset cruise that was also a wine tasting party. The wind was CRAZY but we had a blast (who wouldn't when you're out on the ocean sipping wine for 2 hours!).

Our favorite part of these annual trips to St. Augustine is exploring the historic district and tasting all the culinary delights the city has to offer. Best seafood, best martinis, quaint shops, adorable old homes and B&Bs, friendly locals..... I'd buy a home here if I could afford it.

We went back to the special place that rents clown cars---a tradition of ours every year---but looking at those mini mobiles this time (and feeling horribly bloated from so much calorie-laden indulgence), we looked at each other and realized there was no way we could fit our fat butts into the tiny car---not to mention crawling back out. FUGGEDABOUTIT. So we rented a golf cart instead to toodle around town. Much more comfortable!

In typical Doyle fashion---and the motto we live by: "Go Big Or Go Home," Mac and I got matching tattoos to celebrate our 40 years together. We chose the Japanese symbol for love since we love Japanese culture and we're still deeply in love (yeah, I see your eye rolls....). It was a funny experience even though there were some OUCH moments while getting inked (but totally worth it!). 

So here are some snippets of conversation with the hubs during our trip and a total photo dump of St.  Augustine: 

ME: "That was a great meal and a great dessert!"

HUBS: "It was....but now I need to hibernate for a few months to digest it all."

ME: "There are vultures circling over our hotel!"

HUBS: "That's because I haven't showered in a few days."

ME: "Ah yes, they DO like the scent of rot."

ME: "Why are you lying on the hotel bed like that?"

HUBS: "I ate too much lobster at the restaurant---I have to lie in the fetal position to feel better."

HUBS: "My back is killing me from all the walking we've been doing at the tourist spots."

ME: "You should just get back surgery and be done with it." 

HUBS: "No way. The surgeons will remove one or two of my disks and then I'll be shorter. In fact, I'll probably be so short that you'll stick me in the backyard and use me as a yard gnome."

ME: "Or a door stop....."

HUBS: "We're eating too much rich food at all these restaurants. It's making me gassy. But at least my farts are kinda quiet---like tiptoeing through the tulips."

ME: "I wouldn't call that tiptoeing. More like galloping."

ME: "Aren't you glad I'm not a picky person like some other women we know?"

HUBS: "Yes, you're definitely not a picky person because you picked me. Happy Anniversary!"

Happy Anniversary Honey, and cheers to many, many more!

Want more Meno Mama? First off, some menopause humor (it felt great to write humor again!) over at AARP/The Girlfriend which you can read HERE. Next, healthy spring dishes for AARP/The Ethel that you can read HERE.

Now it's time to go buzz around with the fly at Karen and Diane's house to see what they've been up to!

Baking In A Tornado                      


On the Border                               


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