Going Bananas: Monkey off My Back

I saw my therapist this week and told him that I finally got the monkey off my back.

Embed from Getty Images

“Flying monkey?” he asked scribbling notes on his pad.   A little while back he had diagnosed me with Yellow Brick Road Fever, a disorder where mothers long for a place over the rainbow without ring around the collar or toilet bowl.

“No, not a flying monkey,” I told him, ” I’ve finally published my Easter book PETER and the PUPPET.”

“Eggcellent, so the therapy is working?” he said tapping his foot with excitement.  Then he started going bananas hopping up and down.

My therapist, Dr. Harry Pillsberry, is a leading authority in the field of neurosis brought on by motherhood. He said that my particular disorder usually afflicts guilt-ridden mothers who ignore their families to write books about puppets.

“How many years have you been writing the book?” he asked.

“29 years,” I said.

“What about the laundry?” he asked.

Embed from Getty Images

“My husband’s socks walk around the house on their own.  His underwear – don’t go there,” I said.

“What about the meals?” Dr. Pillsberry asked.




“Mr. Kraft and Mrs. Campell have been doing most of the cooking for me.”

“What about the dog?”  he asked now sounding very worried.








She lights up my life.



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.


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

You say that if you change one more diaper you’ll scream.  You ask if you throw in the towel will you have to wash it too?  Next to being a doormat, nothing is more stepped on than a stay-at-home 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.




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.


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 they’re 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.







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.

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.

harry-potter-418108_960_720 (1)

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.

Striking Out: Has Anyone Seen My Bowling Ball?

Aside from the lost city of Atlantis or the Loch Ness Monster, the hidden treasure that lurks in my child’s school locker is one of the most baffling mysteries of our time.  Every time things in the house go missing, my oldest daughter tells me, “No worries mom, it’s in the locker.”

I’m sitting here wondering how many things could possibly fit in a school locker.  Right now we are missing gym sneakers, a tablet, winter coat, scarf, a pom-pom, pocketbook, tennis racket, boots and a bowling bowl.  Even the fish is gone. 

I am beginning to think that I should consult with Robert Ballard, the famed explorer who found the Titanic in 1985.  I met him at a party at a friend’s house a few years back. He seemed like a fine fellow.  Being an oceanographer, he’s probably good with fish.

But when I called his office today they told me he’s tied up working on bigger projects.  He’s been in the news in recent years,  trying to find evidence of the flood that the Bible says carried Noah’s Ark.  His team claims to have found shells, pottery, and shipwrecks pointing to the flood submerged beneath the surface of the Black Sea off  the coast of Turkey.  Even though Ballard’s track record for finding the impossible is legend,  it’s been reported that he doesn’t think he’ll actually ever find Noah’s Ark.   I left him a message, telling him my best bet is that it may be hidden in my child’s school locker, if he can crack the code.

Just Follow the Yellow Brick Road

hunger-413685_960_720I was at the hairdresser reading a magazine when I spotted an article about the inventor of the self-wringing Miracle Mop.  Here was a gadget that could free me from the drudgery of housework.  But the miracle for me would be if someone else actually used it.  I find cleaning my house is as much fun as waiting on a long line at motor vehicle, watching paint dry, or better yet filing my taxes.  I dread it.  I’ve gone from being super mom, to Debbie Downer.   I just can’t find the energy to do anything.   I haven’t cooked a single meal in weeks.

Embed from Getty Images

I’m just not up to much these days.  I haven’t done any laundry in months.

Embed from Getty Images

I’ve done nothing but eat bonbons and watch reruns of the Wizard of Oz.  I feel like a desperate housewife wishing there was a place over the rainbow without ring around the collar or under the toilet bowl.  Brides have no idea what they’re getting into.  On your wedding day, they should come clean and hand you a toilet brush and a bottle of Clorox instead of a bouquet.

Embed from Getty Images

“Fork ’em over,” my oldest daughter said tugging on the pair of ruby red shoes I  snatched from my youngest daughter’s dress-up box.  You’re nuts, face it!” my oldest said as a dozen boxes of Judy Garland memorabilia I ordered on eBay arrived.  “You need help,” she told me.

Embed from Getty Images

I thought I needed help with the dishes, but apparently, that wasn’t what she had in mind.   My doctor has been conducting tests, but my daughter doesn’t think he’s making progress.   She asked the insurance company for a therapist.  They suggested  Dr. Harry Pillsberry.

Embed from Getty Images

“I must say this condition is a new one for me,” he said as he tugged on the stubble on his chin looking me up and down.  I was still wearing the ruby red shoes.  He muttered something about Yellow Brick Road Fever.  He told me that the fever had caused a brain malfunction and said it was common in guilt-ridden mothers who ignore their kids.  “Do you believe that a broomstick will solve all of your problems?” he probed.

“I’m actually thinking of buying a miracle mop,” I said.



Motherhood: It Could Be Hazardous to Your Health

All the way to the doctor’s office, I was fearing what he would tell me since I haven’t  been feeling like myself lately.  “It’s worse than brain fog or cooties,” he told me after administering some tests.

He said I have developed a number of troubling conditions.  They stem from being a mother.  “You have Mad As a Hatter disease,” he told me asking how my head feels.

“It does feel like it’s spinning,” I told him seeing what appeared to be  two doctors in front of me.  He pointed out that in my case it didn’t come from mercury poisoning.  Instead, it came from reading Alice in Wonderland to the kids too many times.

“Are you uttering nonsense?” the doctor probed. “Do you feel you’ve gone mad?”

“Yes I have, according to the kids.”   He advised me to avoid tea parties and magic mushrooms.

He also said I have a rare and sinister condition called the Curse of the Finger Prick that comes from sewing too many patches on Girl Scout vests.  “You should have tried ironing on the patches,” he told me. Unfortunately, this never works and they usually fall off.  The doctor prescribed a glue gun.

I’ve tried to educate the kids about the political process and have started listening to the debates with them.  

The doctor told me that I may have foul-mouth syndrome from listening to too many Republican debates.  What’s a mother to do?   His prescription:have Pepto-Bismol on hand for the next debate.

Move Over George Washington….Mount Rushmore Here I Come

I’m scratching my head wondering why a woman has never been elected president in a country that is all motherhood and apple pie.   The 2016 presidential campaign season is in full swing and the field is mainly crowded with men.   Hillary Clinton is trying to be the first female president again.  She’s  pushing the “Gray Card”  that she’s a grandmother and that she dyes her hair and will continue to do so  in the White House.   But impressive as Hillary Clinton’s hair is, she can’t hold a candle to me.  get-attachment (3)Who else can shoot a basketball behind her back,  breastfeed a  newborn baby,  stand on a skateboard and balance  two SAT review books on her head?   Seriously, have you ever seen Hillary Clinton do that? While I’ll admit I am a “bottle brunette” most of the bottles you’ll find around my house are for the baby.  My slogan will be: “Mothers know best.”  Why should women settle for being added to the ticket  as some sidekick VP candidate  standing with their children  as props at the conventions.

My husband doesn’t like the idea of me running for president.  “Who’ll watch the kids?” he asks glancing up from a football game on television.    He’s worried he might have to.


He also points out that women get made mincemeat out of  when they run for national office. “Remember poor  Sarah Palin,” he reminded me, “Katie Couric  grilled her  about the magazines and newspapers  she read before she was tapped to run for vice president.   You haven’t read a magazine or a newspaper since you retired as a journalist.”  It’s true.   My eyes are so out of focus I can’t read anything without glasses and they would give my age away.

My husband warned me that an  interview with Couric would go  something like this:

Couric:  I was curious, what newspapers and magazines have you  read before deciding to run for president?

Me: I’ve read many of them, you know, the ones I find laying around the house.

Couric: What, specifically?

Me: Um, all of them, particularly TV Guide, Cooking Light and Family Circle.

“Those aren’t news magazines, what happens if she asks your position on global warming?” he asked. “What if she wants to know if you think it’s man -made or not?”

“I’ll just tell her it’s due to all the firewood you’ve burned this winter  and that yes it’s man-made and that’s why a woman should be elected President of the United States of America.”



Tiptoe Through the Turnips: How You Talk to Teens

Fisheye Teenager

There are some things  a parent  really fears hearing  from a teen, like “I’m pregnant,” “I wrecked the car,” or “I got busted.”  Figuring out the mind of a teenager is as easy as trying to shove toothpaste back in the tube. From eye-rolling to back-talking, teens push parents’ buttons.   My buttons have been pushed so many times that they’re broken and I might as well have an “Out of Order” sign on my forehead.  At times, raising a teenager can seem as hopeless as owning a Porsche dealership in Detroit.

I  watched a pundit on a  show today who said the answer is to talk to your teens.   Easier said then done.  The language teens talk  keeps morphing into something else.  I heard my daughter speaking to her friend on her cell phone last night  saying, “DUDE…I just got “chirped.” What am I  doing raising  birds? Getting “chirped,”  in case you’re wondering, is being called out on something.  The “dude” part really bugs me since she was talking to another girl.  Shouldn’t it be “dudette” instead?  But that hasn’t caught on.  “Greycation”  means the  grandparents are coming on vacation.  Moody, snotty, texting teens  can be very snide.  But if you get called “a beast” you haven’t been insulted.  It now means that you’re good at something, not that you’re the Loch Ness monster.

If  you catch them saying “my bad” it means a teen was bad.   Everytime I get a phone call in the middle of the night I fear I’m going to hear something bad.   You just have to suck it up and learn to sleep with one eye open.  Unfortunately, there is no expiration date on being a mother.  When you don’t fall asleep, you sit there with insomnia wondering  why your four children can’t  share a bathroom without arguing, when six kids did on The Brady Bunch and they didn’t even have a toilet?

The age spread between my kids just makes matters worse.  I have had to raise a  baby while dealing with teens.  I’ve  had to listen to baby talk of  goo-goo, gaa-gaa where I don’t have a clue what my child is saying, and at the same time  attitude and middle school drama from a teen daughter.  “It’s not troll Mom, it’s TROLLING!” the baby who is now a tween herself sharply corrects me referring to a new phenomenon on the internet where teens now send troll faces to their friends as a prank.  When I ask for a better explanation, I get sassed.  “Get over yourself Mom, you don’t know anything,” she informs me instead of explaining.  When she doesn’t want to practice her viola for orchestra she calls it “dorkestra.”

I’ve lived through this teen stage.  There is nothing that can surprise me.  You have to figure out what their words mean or you get left behind.  Teens believe that their friends are hip and that parents are as outdated as a 1964 Ford Thunderbird Convertible collecting dust in the garage.

As a parent, you barely feel you’ve conquered  thumb-sucking, cleaned out the last Barbie doll with a missing  head from the toy chest, or finished your baby albums when your kids start growing up and testing you.  It’s starts with the “Terrible Twos” with “NO!”  and you just fast forward to the “Terribly Rotten Teens” with “NO!”  “I HATE YOU!” “YOUR THE WORST MOTHER EVER!”   I even got “chirped” by one of my kids last night. At the rate I’m going, it looks like this mother hen will serve worms for dinner tonight.

Here is an article and a post that I found  helpful when I couldn’t pry any more words out of my kids.  Check them out:

20 Examples of Slang Language – Your Dictionary

23 Words Teenagers Love To Use and What They Really Mean – Sam Stryker, BuzzFeed

Is anyone else having trouble talking to teens?  Do you know of a new way a word is being used?   What about punk or chump? I’d like to hear from you!!