Wax Museum Stiffs Separated:Angelina and Brad Divorce

You would think that an earthquake has hit LA as Hollywood megastars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie call it quits.  Rumors are swirling everywhere like aftershocks since the news broke that Jolie filed papers Monday to end her two-year marriage.  CNN says she cited irreconcilable differences.  So much for finding and keeping  love  in the limelight.  Brangelina is no more. It’s all come to a sorry end, the way it did with Brad’s first wife Jennifer Aniston.

But just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse, comes news from Madame Tussauds that the museum has separated the wax figures they have of Brad and Angelina.  A spokesman in the U.S. provided this statement for Over the Hill Mom:

“Following the news that has shocked celebrity watchers worldwide, we can confirm we have separated Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s figures. Both figures remain in the attraction, now at a respectful distance from each other.” – Madame Tussauds Hollywood & Las Vegas.

The announcement was confirmed on Twitter.

The Twitter announcement came from Madame Tussauds London.  The wax museum founded in London has branches in a number of major cities.  I’ve been to the museums in London and Hollywood.  This certainly is crushing news.  I’m sure that many of us will wax nostalgic and regret that things aren’t what they used to be.

The couple has six children.  We all know that divorce is tough on kids.  Some experts say that a friendly divorce, is better on kids than a nasty marriage.

Her lawyer has released a statement to Reuters asking for privacy saying Jolie will not comment at this  time.  It looks like Angelina will be taking the high road, even if Brad has been the pits.

 

 

Where to Send Your Child to College: Avoiding ‘Time Bomb’ Roommates

If  you’re biting your nails and grinding your teeth wondering where to send your child to college,  U.S. News & World Report  has just released the 2017 Best Colleges rankings.  Princeton University has the topped the list of  Best National Universities again.

2017 U.S. News Best National Universities

  1. Princeton University (NJ)
  2. Harvard University (MA)
  3. University of Chicago (IL) (tie)
  4. Yale University (CT) (tie)
  5. Columbia University (NY) (tie)
  6. Stanford University (CA) (tie)
  7. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  8. Duke University (NC) (tie)
  9. University of Pennsylvania (tie)
  10. Johns Hopkins University (MD)

I’m always happy to see my alma mater, Duke University,  make the list. I turned down an Ivy League to go there.  They didn’t have the U.S. News rankings back then, but all of the Ivies were placed  higher academically at the time.  I was cleaning out a closet at my parents’ house last year after Dad died.  I found the Columbia University acceptance letter in an album along with five departmental prizes from my junior year in high school. Did I make the wrong choice?   There’s an old saying, “Hindsight is 20/20.” Looking back, I picked the right school  for me.  Duke had the programs that I wanted.  Would I feel this way if the school wasn’t so highly ranked today?   I didn’t care then, and I don’t care now.  Some of the criteria used to rank seems bogus to me.

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Winnie Chen Twitter Post

Parents should worry more about what happens when their child  gets to campus.  There is a dramatic email exchange between future college roommates  that is going viral.  It’s at one of the U.S. News & World Report’s highly ranked public colleges.  In a Twitter post, incoming UCLA freshman Winnie Chen showed  screenshots from the purported email exchange.  One of her two future  roommates, only referred to as Ashly, sends an angry list of demands to Chen and refers to herself as a “ticking time bomb.”

 “I want the desk that’s near the widow.  Plain and simple…Don’t try me,” writes Ashly who admits she has “anger issues.”

 You can read more about the exchange in an interview with Chen on The Tab.

My advice, have your freshman request a single.  If that fails, make sure your child packs a wire cutter and some running shoes.

Middle-Aged Mother Gretchen Carlson Gets Apology from Fox

A middle-aged mother of two has toppled a cable news empire’s powerful chairman. Gretchen Carlson, a former Fox Television anchor, took on her old boss and won. CNN is reporting that Fox is set to pay $20 million to settle a lawsuit with Carlson who accused Roger Ailes of sexually harassing her. CNN’s Brian Stelter has more.

Legal experts have taken to the airwaves after the swift decision, saying the repercussions from this settlement will be felt across corporate America for years to come. I am a former broadcast journalist. What happened to Gretchen Carlson isn’t as unusual as you would think. For decades in broadcast news, women like myself silently suffered through this demeaning treatment at the hands of male bosses. One network producer I worked for in New York City rebuked me when I repeatedly rejected his sexual advances.  He told me that I didn’t get how the system worked. “There is no your way,” he told me, “there is only our way.” Well, Carlson certainly showed him. It’s a shame it took so long.

On Carlson’s Twitter page she describes herself as:
“Journalist, wife, mama, warrior for women, 100% believer in life motto Carpe diem, author of Getting Real.” She knows herself well.

I think a lot of women devalue themselves as they get older. Carlson’s victory against a cable news channel shows us that a mature, self-assured woman has a lot to offer. I believe that women are more confident in their 50s. This gutsy 50-year-old trailblazer has made the road ahead easier for our girls. You can see the apology from 21st Century Fox on Carlson’s website where she states that:

“I’m ready to move on to the next chapter of my life in which I will redouble my efforts to empower women in the workplace. I want to thank all the brave women who came forward to tell their own stories and the many people across the country who embraced and supported me in their #StandWithGretchen. All women deserve a dignified and respectful workplace.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Fox News should have thought twice before they let the fox guard the hen house.  But ultimately,  it was a foxy lady, and not the fox, who killed the pig.

Can a Digitally Impaired Blogger Make It in an Internet Age?

 

When I thought about starting a blog, I had that childlike feeling of elation …  like when you find a light-up Saber spoon in your Froot Loops or first learn how to roller blade without crashing headfirst into the garage door.  But how would a  middle age mother raised on an Olivetti typewriter and a push button phone figure out how to set up a blog? Uggh! I am digitally impaired and dyslexic. I probably would have a better shot trying to learn morse code than computer code.

Since I started blogging in 2014,  I still can’t wrap my head around  some of the basics like how to link my posts to my Facebook fan page. Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 8.35.18 PM There is no number to call at Facebook.  I can’t find one for WordPress either.  Instead, these companies direct you to help forums where other pathetic, digitally impaired bloggers ask the same questions hoping you know something they don’t know about plugins or backlinks to build a blog and an audience.  Good luck if you’re counting on me.  Until a month ago, I couldn’t even figure out how to comment on another blog until I read a beginners guide  from  blogger Darragh Doyle. I highly recommend it for other bloggers who need a little dumbing down.

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I think children today are born knowing how to surf the web. They live in an age where life is driven by the internet.   But it’s all still Greek to me.  I resist change and still won’t give up my flip phone.

“You are an embarrassment with that phone,” my oldest daughter said trying to grab it out of my hand over lunch at a restaurant  in the Upper East Side of New York City recently.  “We can’t even communicate,” she huffed.  “You are from the ice age,” she blurted out, before stating that she could only spend short amounts of time with me because I get on her nerves.  I guess my unfavorable rating with my daughter is as high as the one for Donald Trump in the latest Washington Post/ABC News survey.  Seven out of ten things I say annoy my daughter.

When she insisted that I get an iPhone and wanted to head to the Apple Store, I still wouldn’t budge.  Old habits die hard.

 “You’d be a better blogger with an iPhone,” she told me saying I could be keeping up on all the latest apps, tweets and trends and shoot video to drive traffic to my blog.

 sapm-909485_960_720It took me over a year to figure out how to add share buttons to my posts.  I think I added too many buttons, but I’m afraid to edit anything that actually works.  My best advice to the digitally impaired is to try to master at least one concept a day.  YouTube tutorials are easy to follow.  You’d be surprised at how fast you can catch up this way. Simply put a question in the YouTube search bar and someone usually has made a video with the answer.  These YouTubers have mastered the key to being successful in the digital age.  People who can solve a problem and provide valuable content get views.

People send private messages all the time asking me why I don’t syndicate my blog by having an RSS feed.  I’m lucky if I feed the kids.  I never find time to cook.  So the next time you hear me talking about spam, I’ll probably be eating a cold sandwich out of the can.

 

The Dryer Ate My Gym Socks and Other Lame Excuses for Not Working Out

As I stare down at the scale, I have that feeling of dread…like when you find a hair in your soup or the man on the bank line in front of you is wearing a ski mask.  Uggh!!  I’ve gained another pound.  How did I do it? Too little rhubarb, too much spiked seltzer!  I step on and off the scale a few times.  First I remove my socks, then my earrings, and finally in desperation I fling off the wedding ring.  But the number doesn’t change.  I am packing on  pounds faster than a sumo wrestler on steroids.

 

You know you’re overweight when you step into the elevator and a stampede of people run out fearing the weight capacity has been exceeded. You notice that it’s not just shoes, but clothes that come in wide sizes.  You pull a disappearing act with the bowl of Halloween candy.  When you go to the car wash, they find Tootsie Roll wrappers under the front seat of your Volvo, a melted Hershey’s chocolate bar sticking to the registration in your glove compartment, and half-eaten candy eyeballs you got on sale at Walmart hidden in the trunk.

belly-2354_960_720Everyone knows your metabolism slows as you get older.  So why aren’t I working out?  I have been coming up with a variety of lame excuses like: the dryer ate my gym socks, my husband likes a woman with meat on her bones, and I have an embarrassing hole in my sneaker.

Okay, so by now you realize that I make a lot of excuses for myself.  All summer long I work hard to control my weight and stay fit, but as we head into the holidays my good intentions fly south for the winter.  Like a lot of women, I have gained and lost the same ten pounds for my entire adult life.  I was talking to a woman recently  at a luncheon.  She told me, “I hate looking in the mirror every day and seeing another mole, or fold under my chin, or gray hair.”

“Let me guess?” I added.  “You can’t stand feeling over the hill.”

“Yeah,” she said patting the bottom of her chin. “It STINKS!!”

I feel that same way about my middle age bulge.  Why can’t I ever get a handle on this?  I’ve done some soul-searching which leads to questions like, “If Marie Osmond can do it why can’t I?”

Or this: “Where is Richard Simmons when you need him to tell you how to get a terrific workout from a chair?” And: “Does Dr. Oz know the Wizard of Oz?” Perhaps I just don’t have the motivation or discipline that all the fitness gurus claim you can muster with the latest fad diet, pill or exercise plan.

My idea of a workout is going to the Y and sitting on a mat and doing a few Diary of a Wimpy Kid type stretches.  Then I’ll give it a go for a few minutes on the elliptical machine. I barely break a sweat before my bad knee starts aching or my trick elbow starts to twitch. I don’t think Fitness Magazine is going to put me on the cover anytime soon.   So next time you go to the beach and think there is a huge, hairy porpoise or a whale struggling in the water, don’t call the Coast Guard. It’s only me.

Editor’s Note:This post was originally published in October 2014 and has been revamped. Unfortunately, my figure has remained the same.

True Confessions:Dreading the Dog Days of Summer

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I am dreading the “dog days” of summer when my kids will be out of school.  The Farmers’ Almanac is predicting a “stormy, sizzler ahead.”  I can already see me standing there dripping with so much sweat that you’d think a glacier is melting, with the kids looking miserable complaining that there is nothing to do.  How about making your bed, cleaning your room, or vaccuming? Uh-uh…don’t even think about it.  “C’mon, get over yourself,” my son will say when I suggest that he clean up mud tracked from a water fight. Before my kids drive me stark raving mad, I have a few things I’d like to confess and get off my chest.

#1. I am writing an autobiography entitled, “Why I Hate My Kids.”

2.The bubble cap I wear in the pool is vintage.

I bought it on eBay.  It was owned by swimmer Esther Williams, affectionately known as “America’s Mermaid” back in the 1950s.

3.)I believe that I was a mermaid in a former life. 

4.)I’m worried that my bathing suit won’t fit.  I tell people that I have a thyroid problem but I’ve gained 14 pounds in six months by eating donuts.

It’s hard to say exactly what drives me the most crazy when the kids are out of school.  The sound of the jingle blaring from the ice cream truck is definitely a pet peeve. child-419419_960_720 So is washing beach towels,  making camp lunches, and listening to kids whine.  For those lucky enough to have nannies, beach clubs, or expensive sleepaway camps, the thought of summer may be a pleasing one.  But for the majority of women on a budget, it’s only going to get as good as a beach ball from Walmart and a trip down to the local beach. animal-1207073_960_720 Like most mothers, my summer survival kit  includes bug spray for all those horseflies, wasps and mosquitos.  But the thing that really bugs me is how many weeks these pesty kids are out of school.  What bugs you the most about the summer?

 

Yada Yada Yada:The Grass Is Not Always Greener on Seinfeld

You say that if you change one more diaper you’ll scream.  You say that if  you don’t get a decent night’s sleep you’ll have more bags under your eyes than you’ll find in a box of Lipton tea.  Next to being a doormat, nothing is more stepped on than a mother.   You secretly yearn to be single and footloose and fancy-free.  

When we think of singles, we think of Seinfeld.   Jerry Seinfeld’s wacky single world with it’s zany characters always kept you laughing.  But finding  Mr. Right always went wrong on Seinfeld.  I thought the final episode bombed.   I wanted the guy to get the girl, not wind up in jail.

I am a true romantic.  I wish Seinfeld had just proposed to Elaine on the show.  But here’s what he’d probably say about that: “Are you kidding me?  Yada yada.  Get outta here.” Does anyone ever say yackety-yack anymore? I think that phrase from the 1950s went out of vogue along with poodle skirts and saddle shoes.

It’s hard to believe the final Seinfeld episode aired 18 years ago this week.

Even though it’s been said that Seinfeld was a sitcom about nothing, it showed mothers something.

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It made us realize that the grass may be greener getting grass stains out of our kids’ clothes.

 

Tick Tock, Tick Tock, How to Put a Sock in Your Biological Clock

When is a woman too old to have a baby?  In the past, if you had enough hot flashes in a month to feel like Alicia Keys singing Girl On Fire, you would have been done.  But now it seems the joy of motherhood can come at any age.  If you’ve been trying to have a baby, it might be time to book a flight to India. 

A  72-year-old Indian woman has given birth to a healthy baby boy with the help of a fertility clinic.  Sky News is reporting that Daljinder Kaur and her 79-year-old husband became parents last month through in vitro fertilization.  The couple was childless for 46 years.  Kaur said when interviewed:”My inspiration was Over the Hill Mom.  If she can do it, I can too.”

Like a plant that never stops blooming, I’ve been a perennial mother of a small child  for my entire adult life, aiming for the Guinness World Record. I decided to have my first child in my 20s, my second in my 30s, and my last in my 40s.

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Hearing about the Indian birth,  I’m thinking of  having another child.   This is a big decision, so I had to put some thought into it. After wrestling with this for at least five or ten minutes, I made up my mind.  “Pack your bags,” I told my  husband, “we’re going to India.

“You are out of your mind,”  he said not sounding too supportive. “We already have three kids.”  He did that little eye-rolling thing husbands do when their ticked off.  “And besides, you probably won’t be able to breastfeed,” he protested.

“There’s always goat milk and they don’t kill cows in India,” I said.  I had all the bases covered.

When I told the kids they were really excited about going to India.  They want to take selfies in front of the Taj Mahal to post on Instagram.  It’s one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

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My husband became so  terrified when I told him I wanted more kids that he never slept or shaved for three days.   “We’ll become the Eighth Wonder of the World,” he quipped.  He’s wondering if he’ll ever see another home-cooked meal, pair of clean socks or underwear again in his lifetime.  

“I’ll find some great no-cook recipes for no-cook meals,” I assured him.  And of course, he’s worried about money.

“Many people have twins or triplets when they go to fertility clinics, don’t they?” he asked sweating.   He had a point.

“How will we get these kids home?” he asked.  He’s always thinking ahead.

He’s picturing himself as if he were one of the elderly grandparents who all share a bed in the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  He’ll be eating a supper of watery cabbage soup and a melted chocolate bar.  “We’re going to starve,” he said thinking he’d have to feed an army.

He’s just being ridiculous.  If we decide to stay in India it’s cheaper there.  There will be plenty of food to eat.   India is known for it’s  exotic delicacies.  It’s not  just cabbage soup he’ll but eating, but red ants, snail stew with steamed hornet larvae, and goat’s liver. Behhhh…now that should get his goat.

Hovering is for Helicopters and Prom Moms

There comes a point in every mother’s life when she’s told she has to let go.  Kelly Ripa, one of my favorite television stars, is in the news after revealing on her show that she wants to be “overly involved” and help her son Michael get ready for his prom.  She thinks he needs a  hand with the corsage. teenagers-699784__180 She wants her son’s date to be as happy as the young woman pictured with the man here. Ripa believes her son doesn’t know anything about corsages and if left to his own devices,  he’ll pick a potted plant instead.   She knows her son.

Michael Strahan, Ripa’s co-host on Live! With Kelly and Michael, encouraged her to let her son do it his way saying he’ll learn from his mistakes if he gets it wrong.  Women help their daughters find prom dresses.  What’s wrong with finding a corsage for a son?  I agree with Ripa.   But then who am I to talk?   I’ve been accused of being a helicopter mom.

I wouldn’t let my daughter walk to school, ride the bus, or take a math test without tutoring.   I always bought Velcro sneakers, so she wouldn’t trip.  I’ll never forget the time her elementary school teacher called me in a for a conference.

“Hovering is for helicopters,” the teacher instructed, insisting I was coddling by pushing the wheelchair when my daughter had a broken leg.  My daughter was in a cast and totally incapacitated.  “You have to let her take the fall now or she will later,” the teacher said.

“But I thought she already took a fall?” I said.  This know-it-all, windbag with a swelled helium head, thought she knew something I didn’t know.  Her words floated away.

I resent all this unsolicited advice.  I really do.  I hate the advice, I hate the people who give it, and I hate having to sit there and listen.  Mothers know our children better than anyone else.

And it’s not like kids come with instructions.  It would be so much easier if along with the umbilical cord each baby came with a set of directions.  A simple Post-it note on the baby’s forehead would do. It could say something like:Loves blueberries, has chocolate allergy, should be burped every three or four hours, will be a terrible teenager.  At least this information would give you a heads up.  But no, we go through parenting like a car rounding a blind curve, never knowing if there is a tractor trailer coming at you in the wrong lane.  Let’s face it, if something goes wrong, mothers are the first ones you blame.  girl-947754_960_720So, when Ripa’s son has his date show up wearing a potted plant to the prom, you better hope it’s being held at the botanical gardens.

 

 

Middle Age Muggle Mother’s Guide to Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood

Ever since I rode the Tower of Terror at Disney World and couldn’t get the spike out of my hair for a week,  I decided to play it safe  and swear off amusement park rides forever.   I figure at my age I’ll wind up with more than a bad hair day.   My back will be as thrown as a football passed  by Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning  in the Super Bowl.

But my youngest daughter  begged me to go to Universal Studios Hollywood where the Harry Potter rides just opened.   The most daring ride is Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey. 20160414_132601 The tip-off  is the warning that says:  This ride is not recommended  if you are pregnant, prone to heart or vision problems, limp, drool, or are a namby-pamby, pantywaist, whimpering wimp who  believes a  warlock is after you.  I had discussed my fear of warlocks with my therapist recently,  so I knew I was done.  Strapped in with a harness that locks your head in on either side, I was jerked around in the dark.

“Stop being a weenie!” my daughter chided watching me flinch at every turn.

It’s the closest  you’ll get to riding  a Quidditch broomstick flying alongside Harry Potter.  You dip, turn, and twist playing this wizarding sport on broomsticks.  I had an unfortunate encounter with Lord Voldemort who put a motion sickness spell on me.  Luckily, during turbulence on the flight to Los Angeles, I had slipped a barf bag into my purse.

Photo-on-9-16-14-at-6.26-PM-300x200I also  rode a number of rough 3-D rides in other areas of the park where you are tossed around, like the Simpsons Ride where they tell you a killer who escaped from prison named Sideshow Bob is on the loose.   It’s a simulated  ride, so if you have to wait in a long line like my husband and I did, it’s not worth it. Although the line did get shorter when I barfed all over my seat.   I should have bought a bulk of barf bags online.  The ride is also a pain in the neck. Luckily, Los Angeles has a number of good hospitals and doctors.

The UCLA doctor was toying with calling someone from the psych ward when I told him that I had been done in by Lord Voldemort and was afraid a psycho killer named Bob was after me too.  But then he examined my x-rays more closely.

“Is that what I think I see? he blurted out.  He thought he saw  a lightning-bolt shaped scar on the back of my skull.  Holding a rabbit’s foot charm over my heart, the doctor recited the following phrase:“As these words of mine are spoken, let the evil curse be broken!”

He  advised me to avoid the  Honeydukes candy shop at Hogsmeade Village where I had downed one too many Exploding Bon-Bons, Cauldron Cakes, Fizzing Whizzbees and Chocolate Frogs, which contain a wizard trading card in each box.  He suggested a vegan died instead.

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He also thought I should  lay low until Sidebar Bob was captured.  Here I was with my life on the line and all my husband cared about was his empty wallet. “Look at the pickle we’ve in,” he said waving the wallet in my face.

He was peeved that along with other crazed fans, I had spent hundreds of dollars at the Hogsmeade shops on wands, robes, and stuffed owls.

He also had no emergency room copay, so the doctor advised  him to down a pint of Hog’s Head brew before opening the hospital bill.