My Almost Fame with The Daily Show

I Thought I was a Contender

In 1985, Andy Warhol said, “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” Well, it’s 2021 and I had three minutes of almost fame with The Daily Show. That was two weeks ago, and I’m still sitting around, waiting — waiting desperately for the 12 additional minutes of glory. Read more

Nonfungible Tokens and Me

A Clear Case of I Don't Know What I'm Writing About

NFTs

Yes, the subject is nonfungible tokens — NFTs for those in the cryptocurrency know. Of course, Luddite me is hardly in the cryptocurrency know. But stick with me, dear middle-aged muddlers. This blog promises to be pretty funny. Read more

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Spring is Springing. Allergies Too

Here’s a List of 5+ Weird Allergies.

Spring allergies

Spring is coming. The sun is shining. Flowers will soon be in bloom. Unfortunately, my allergies will be too. Ah, the good with the bad.

In preparation for my yearly — losing — battle with itching, sneezing and a non-stop runny nose, I re-upped my antihistamine prescription (for all the good it does me).

While preparing to wage my seasonal allergy war, I also checked the Internet to see if there are any new allergy treatment breakthroughs. While disappointed not to find any medically sanctioned miracle solutions, I discovered a host of weird allergies I had never heard of. And since misery loves company, I thought I’d share some of the more unusual ones with you, my likely fellow allergy sufferers! Read more

Handsome Hubby has a New Honey

I've Been Replaced

Handsome Hubby has a new honey

I’m no longer the apple in Handsome Hubby’s eye. I’ve been replaced. It’s sad but true. My man has a new honey.   Read more

Air Guitar Glam, Glory and Sweat

I Need a New Sport. I Need a New Body

AIr guitar

Sheltering-at-home baking. Sheltering-at-home Zoom meetings. And sheltering-at-home EVERYTHING has created a severe case of a sheltering-at-home chubby body. I need to do something STAT to shake up the doldrums and this lardy body surrounding them. Hey, I know. I need air guitar.

Now please don’t tell me to “Just go for a walk.” BORING. Read more

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New Meaning to the Phrase “Hot to Trot”

Travel at Any Price

Hot to Trot

A recent travel industry poll claims that people are so hot to travel trot, they’re willing to give up sex for an entire year for the opportunity to get away ASAP.

Now, I understand after a year of pandemic stuck-at homeness and worry, we’re all antsy and anxious to hit the road, take a train, grab a yak, or even — horror of horrors, board a boat. But still, giving up the pleasures of the bedroom for the pleasures of the road? That’s a road too far! Read more

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Pillow Fights or Pillow Talk?

My Queendom for a Good Night's Sleep

Pillow fight or pillow talk

Remember when you were a kid and pillow fights were fun? Remember when decorative pillows were piled mile-high on your bed just “for show?” Well, these days my pillows and I aren’t even on speaking, no less sleeping terms! Read more

This Blog is a Gas

Mama, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Flatulists

Le Petomame

For something completely different, here’s a blog about farting. Yes, it’s a real gas. But please don’t think me an uncultured oaf. Au contraire, mes amis, au contraire! I am simply — and 100% accurately — reporting on a cultural phenom by the name of Joseph Pujol who took Paris by storm at the turn of the last century as a professional farter and entertainer! Read more

Discontinued Products. Loyalty Be Damned

Consumer Beware. Consumer So Sad

Products Discontinued

We all know the bittersweet nostalgia that comes with thoughts of beloved foods from childhood. But what feeling conveys — truly conveys — the feeling we get about recently discontinued products, like favorite cosmetics and toiletries?

Lately, manufacturers have stopped making multiple of my tried and true products. Oh, cruel companies! I’m a creature of habit. You’re rocking my world and NOT in a good way. Read more

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The Great British Baking Show

Our Sweet Addiction

The Great British Baking Show

Some people like to do it. Some people like to watch. Count Handsome Hubby and me in the second category. We’re watchers. But don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about something kinky. Well, maybe it’s a little kinky, but we’re not alone. We’re just two of the millions of fans of The Great British Baking Show. Read more

Nail Ridges: The Latest Sign of Aging

Down in the Valley, the Valley So Low

Amid pressing national concerns, I’m dealing with yet another personal aging crisis — nail ridges. Happily, at least, I’ve found a song to accompany me in my misery.

The song? Read more

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Return to Sender PLEASE!

I'm All Shook Up

Return to Sender

“Return to Sender,” a 1962 hit song for Elvis Presley, might as well be my theme song these days. Not only am I sitting around sheltering in place and waiting to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, I’m also waiting for returns/replies to messages I sent out, some several weeks ago.

Don’t you hate when people lack the courtesy to reply to messages? Read more

Good-bye to a Best Friend, Shannon Verser

November 19, 1952-December 27, 2020

Good-bye to Shannon Verser

This first post of the New Year is supposed to be upbeat. After all, this is a humor blog and it is the start of our collective, new, better year. But please bear with me. Instead of looking forward, I’m going to pause and say good-bye to someone special who died — one of my closest friends, Shannon Verser. Read more

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Season’s Greetings 2020

Season's Greetings

Season’s Greetings to all.

Happy! Merry! Healthy!

May the New Year bring brighter days. A return to family gatherings and hugs.
Lunches and brunches with friends. Read more

Learning a New Language

Me? I'm Learning Millennial Speak

Learning a new language

Among the most popular pandemic goals people have set: learning a new language. Some are focusing on Spanish. Others French. Not me. I’ve set my sights on something truly exotic — Millennial-speak. And I swear, by the end of our sheltering-in-place days, I’m going to be so hip, errr, I mean, woke, you won’t know me! Read more

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‘Tis the Season for Pandemic Gift-Giving

Pandemic Plentitude

pandemic gift-giving

Oh, my. Pandemic gifts are the rage. Well, in any case, they’re throwing me into a minor rage or at least a serious holiday funk. What to give loved ones when you’re social distancing? If you’re in need of a few helpful — and healthful — hints, here are eight suggestions, some tongue-in-cheek, some genuinely useful. After all, ’tis the season for pandemic gift-giving!

Read more

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Showers are Dangerous to Your Health

Slips and Sulfates. Oh, My

showers are dangers

I used to love my morning shower. Bracing, yes. A refreshing pick-me-up and I’d emerge with shining hair. What could be better? But now? Now I’m older and wiser. I have the wisdom of age AND the Internet. I know better. Showers are dangerous to your health!

Yes, ladies, I say to you all, step away slowly and carefully! For your health and safety, step away tout de suite! Read more

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Turkey Insurance: Get Your Gobbler Covered!

Bye-Bye to Burned Birds?

Cooking turkey to perfection is a challenge. Even seasoned cooks worry. But now, if you fear your fowl might turn out foul, take heart. You can reduce the risk. Trot right out and take out turkey insurance! Read more

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Four Credit Card Gripes

Too Often, Too Much, Too Long, Too Small

credit card gripes

We cannot live without our credit cards, true. But still, don’t they drive you crazy sometimes? I personally have a list of four credit card gripes. Check them out and see if any of them rise to the level of full-fledged grievances for you too. Read more

A True Confession!

For the Good of Society ... No Less!

A True Confession

A-hum! Now that I have your attention, here’s my not-so-juicy true confession: I don’t have a ha-ha funny blog this week. Not because I’ve been lazy or because I’m feeling sad. Instead, I’ve just been immersed in two back-to-back writing conferences, and like most of you, watching election returns non-stop.

But while I don’t have a blog this week, I do have an election-appropriate word to share and it is, as they say, a humdinger! Read more

50 Amazing Gifts I Don’t Want

What’s Wrong with Me?

50 amazing gifts

I just read a list of “50 Amazing Gifts that Women Actually Want.” I thought it would provide some useful suggestions to pass along to Handsome Hubby, but I was wrong. It was actually a list of 50 gifts I don’t want. So, now I’m worried. Was something wrong with the list or is something wrong with me? Read more

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Will My Vegan Spouse Become a Carnivore Again?

Be Still My Pounding Meat-Eating Heart and Stomach

Will my vegan spouse become a carnivore again

One year ago, my b-b-q pork and Rocky Road ice cream loving husband had a come-to-God moment and became a vegan. He did it for health reasons and he did it for the planet. Well, I don’t know what it’s done for the planet, but it’s rocked my meat-eating world. Now, happily, there’s hope my vegan spouse will become a carnivore again. Read more

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Not Up for the Mile-High Club? Still …

Up for Some Airtime Fun? How About Sky-High Dining?

Mile-High Club

You know about the “Mile-High Club,” that salty euphemism for people who’ve had sex in flight, right? Well, if you’re not quite that adventurous, but still are seeking a unique time aloft, here’s a PG-rated idea: Dinner in the Sky. Read more

Falling into Fall

Random Notes from My Inbox

falling into fall

It’s Fall, time to clear out my inbox of summer ideas that didn’t make it to full-fledged stories but seem too good to simply abandon. So, here are those ideas, still half-baked but just like half-baked cookies, taste yummy in their own right. Please, sit back and enjoy them. Read more

Get Up and Go

Flights to Nowhere

Get Up and Go

Six months into this stuck-at-home era, who isn’t feeling more than a little antsy? Well, if like me, you’ve got that urge to get up and go, take heart! I may have found the perfect pandemic travel solution. Two, in fact.

Then, again … Maybe I haven’t. Read more

The Road to Hell and Vacations

The Plans of Mice and Men

The road to hell

They say the road to Hell — and sometimes vacations — is paved with good intentions. Unfortunately, that’s the story of our recent getaway.

Our vacation was supposed to be a respite from pandemic, politics, and wildfires. It was supposed to be fun. Relaxing. But it turned out to be a vacation hellscape. Read more

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It’s Almost THAT Time of the Month

Handsome Hubby Beware

It’s almost that time of the month. No, not THAT time of the month. That’s long past. The time of the month I’m referring to the day when big, boring household chores come due. Why on the first? Read more

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Nailed It! The Art of Home Manicures

In My Dreams

Nailed it

After almost six months of sheltering-at-home, I thought I had nailed it. Yes, I thought I finally had mastered the art of applying nail polish to my own fingernails.

At first, it was a challenge. You see, I was a mani-novice. Read more

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Call Me Ms. Inspector Gadget

I’ve Got the Nowhere to Go Binge-Buying Gadget Blues

Call Me Ms. Inspector Gadget

Remember the long-running kids’ cartoon show featuring the dim-witted, multi-tooled-crime-fighting police Inspector Gadget, voiced by TV’s popular Don Adams, aka Get Smart character Maxwell Smart? Well, nowadays, you might as well call me, Ms. Inspector Gadget.

Why? Read more

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Dreaming of Red Lipstick

I'm Seeing Red - in a Good Way

Dreaming of Red Lipstick

I know it’s silly, but lately, I’ve been dreaming of red lipstick. And so, this week — while wearing my mask and observing proper social distancing — I raced to the drug store and bought myself a tube of ruby-red. I rushed home, applied it, and instantly felt better.

What is it about red lipstick that’s so oh la la? Read more

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Addicted to (Fill in the Blank)

What's Your Cannot Control Compulsion?

Addicted to

Robert Palmer sang of being “Addicted to Love.” Weird Al Yankovic parodied with “Addicted to Spuds.” Me? I’m addicted to books. More accurately, I’m addicted to book-buying.

Left unrestrained, Read more

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Our 7 Day No-Cooking Plan

A Sheltering-in-Place Escape from the Kitchen

Our 7 Day No-Cooking Plan

It seemed like a fun idea at the time. If you can’t go on vacation, let the vacation come to you — seven days of no-cooking bliss, just ordering-in dinner! Think of it: a week freed from menu planning, grocery shopping, cooking, and kitchen clean-up. Short of a cure for COVID-19, it’s my idea of earthly delight.

AND as an added bonus: a week of order-in meals means a week of yummy ready-made lunches since take-out food is always way too much to eat at one sitting. So, happy plan indeed!

What could go wrong? Read more

DoorDash and Dashed Hopes

Dinner was Not Served!

DoorDash and Dashed Hopes

If you read my work, you know that Handsome Hubby is the kindest, sweetest, most patient man — no, make that — the kindest, sweetest, most patient person on the planet. He practically qualifies for sainthood. And this coming from a Jewish girl is high praise indeed.

So, keep that in mind when I tell the following story of my almost-a-saint spouse and his terrible, rotten, no good day. Read more

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Drug Warning Labels Need Amending

Do Not Operate Heavy Machinery OR Bake Cakes

Drug warning labels

Drug warning labels need amending ASAP. Henceforth, labels need note: do not operate heavy machinery OR bake cakes while under the influence of certain medications.

Bakers, take heed. Read more

Picking Apart Lady Pockets

Holey Sexism!

let's pick apart ladies pockets

Let’s talk pockets. More specifically, the lack of proper lady pockets. It’s a problem every female from seven to seventy-seven knows too well. Read more

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Walk This Way!

Avoid Pedestrian Rage

Walk this way

I’m not usually a hard rock fan. Nonetheless, I’m inspired by hard rockin’ Aerosmith’s hit song “Walk This Way,” because I too want everybody to walk a very specific way. And if they do, I’m 100% confident it will solve today’s pandemic pedestrian equivalent of road rage.

The source of this rage?  Read more

Five Tips for Stylish Mask Wearing

A Middle-Aged Mask Maven Speaks

Five Tips for Stylist Mask Wearing

Wearing a mask is essential. Wearing a mask is the right thing to do. But wearing a mask is driving me meshuga. That’s Yiddish for crazy. But now help is at hand. Here are my Five Tips for Fun, Comfortable, and Stylish Mask Wearing. Read more

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Lists Make Life Easier, Right?

A List-Maker's Lament

Lists are supposed to make life easier

Some people pray before going to bed. Me? I’m an unrepentant list maker. Each night I type up and email myself a to-do list of tasks I need and want to accomplish the next day. And short of dire “breaking news” headlines, it’s the first email I read each morning. Lists used to make my life easier and keep me focused. But now I’m not so sure. Now they’re the source of anxiety. Please heed this list writer’s lament! Read more

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Out, Out Gray Hair!

Part 2: Two Kinds of Women

To dye or not to dye

It’s a subject of fierce debate among women (and men) of a certain age. To dye or not to dye gray hair. Me? I’m, of course, a die-hard dyer! Read more

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Two Kinds of Women

Says Who? Let's Change the Rules

two kinds of women

Society has always deemed there were two kinds of women — the virgin and the whore. Harsh, simplistic distinctions — happily, not worthy of our times and values. As for me, I’ve had my own standards for evaluating people — women in particular. Follow along and see if you think my “two kinds of women” standards are an improvement on those former, outmoded labels. Read more

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Something to Celebrate

44 Days and in Need of Joy

Something to Celebrate

Searching for something to celebrate after 44 days of sheltering-in-place, I turned to a website that lists “Daily Bizarre and Unique Calendar Holidays.” And with the month of April not quite over, I was in luck. Join me — from a socially safe distance — for an e-journey through the month’s extravaganza of unusual holidays. Read more

Game of Carts

America's New Fun Fad

Game of Cards

My father, Big Julie by name, was an electrician by profession, but a gambler and a poet in his heart of hearts. Big Julie’s game of choice? Dice. Now, I too, amid the coronavirus pandemic, am a gambler. My game, not by choice, is Game of Carts. Yes, I play the Amazon delivery system, hitting my computer’s “refresh” button 10, 11, 12 times a day, hoping to hit a jackpot and score a delivery time that day … any day! Read more

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Social Distancing for Spouses

I'll Go North. You Go South

Social Distancing for couples

Shelter at home is the order of the day. Social distancing is the medically recommended norm when outside. Now, for marital harmony, I believe we urgently need a directive advocating social distancing for spouses INSIDE the home. Read more

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Donors Rejoice. Fun in Fundraising is Here

Giving AND Getting Are Great!

Donors Rejoice: FUN in fundraising

Charities struggle to attract donors in these difficult times. Donors also struggle, deciding among so many worthy causes. It’s a challenge for both. But I have a solution. Put the FUN in fundraising!

It’s simple and allows both sides of the equation to come out winners. The way? Read more

Danger Isn’t New for Baby Boomers

Not Our First Time Living Dangerously

Danger Isn't New for Baby Boomers

Today we live in a world of a new danger. But danger isn’t new for us Baby Boomers. We were lucky our parents didn’t do us in right from the start!

Second-hand smoke. White sugar by the fistful. Red meat by the mouthful. Read more

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Finding Fun in the News

Not Everything is Fit to Print

Fun in the news

It’s hard finding fun and funny in the news these days. But it’s there. From ill-timed stories about dream vacations to ads for swimsuits, it’s there. It does prove, however, that not all the news (and ads) are truly fit to print in these days of disease and worry.

With that in mind, here are a few stories, headlines and ad promotions that caught my eye recently. Some raise questions. Some I offer as observations from one middle-aged muddler to another. Read more

Happy, Healthy Galentine’s Day

Late for the Party. But Who Cares?

Galentine's Day

I know I’m late for the party, but I’d like to wish a sincere Happy Galentine’s Day to all my girlfriends. Let’s make that, a Happy, Healthy Galentine’s Day.

Yes, I’m a little late. But in the midst of these scary, challenging days, I’m hitting the pause button on full-fledged silliness. Instead, I want to express appreciation to all my friends — and dear Muddling through Middle Age readers, too.

Do you know about Galentine’s Day? Read more

Party Hearty? Hardly!

Life of the Party? Not Me. No More.

party hearty

Remember the good old days when we all could party hearty? Now, middle-aged Handsome Hubby and I hardly ever party!

It’s not that we’re anti-social. It’s just that Read more

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A parting of the ways

I'm the one getting scalped!

Parting of the ways

Handsome Hubby and I are coming to a parting of the ways. Sad, but true. After 33 years (and three years of dating), HH wanted a change and a change he’s made. I pleaded and I begged but to no avail. There’s no turning back. Read more

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Eating: My Latest Mid-Life Obsession

Emo Eating can be Good

Eating: My mid-life obsession

I can’t stop eating and I can’t stop writing about it either! It’s my latest mid-life obsession. It could be worse. I could be obsessing about plastic surgery and my saggy, baggy face and body. Oh, that was so last year!

I could blame my eating mania on Read more

Divided Loyalties

East Coast. West Coast. Where Do I Belong?

Divided Loyalties

I’m suffering a bad case of divided loyalties. Tony Bennett sang of leaving his heart in San Francisco, but me? My heart is divided. Half is in the SF Bay; the other half is in NYC. It’s complicated and it’s confusing. Read more

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Five Things NOT in my DNA

DNA Testing is the Rage. I just Rage

Five Things Not in My DNA

DNA testing is the rage. People are discovering long lost relatives, famous ancestors, and occasionally dread diseases. As for me? Even without spit or cheek swab testing, here’s a list of five things I know conclusively are NOT in my DNA. Read more

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A Procrastinator’s Dream – Procrastibaking!

Yes, You Can Have Your Cake and Not Get Your Work Done

A procrastinator's dream - procrastinating

I procrastinate. You procrastinate. We all procrastinate. It’s universal. But did you know there’s a fun, new way to delay doing what you need to do? It’s called procrastibaking! It’s a procrastinator’s (and a pastry eater’s) dream come true.

And while I’ve only just learned about procrastibaking, apparently, it’s a widespread practice. Read more

Spotify Has Gone to the Dogs

Yes, Music for the Mutts

Spotify has gone to the dogs

Big news on the music and pet scene — two “scenes” that rarely play well together. Spotify, the music-streaming service, has gone to the dogs and has just launched playlists for home-alone pups. A podcast too! Read more

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Belly AND Butter Up to the Bar

The Best of Both Worlds

Belly and Butter Up to the Bar

I’m not much of a drinker. In fact, I’m a complete lightweight. One drink and I’m gone. Still, I have always considered bars like New York’s 21 Club the height of elegance and sophistication. Now, happily, in my middle-age, I’ve found a bar scene that fits me to a “T” — a butter bar! Read more

Nicknames. Pet Names. Code Names.

Name Proliferation. No More

Nicknames. Pet names

Nicknames. Pet Names. Code Names. Hashtags. Name proliferation is spreading faster than germs. It’s too much. People should be given one name and stick with it.
Read more

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War of the Fake Meat-Eaters

Handsome Hubby vs. Me

The War of Fake Meat-Eaters

You’ve heard of the War of the Roses? The 100 Years War? WWI and WWII, of course. Well, welcome to my house and the War of the Fake Meat-Eaters vs. well, vs. Me.

It’s not a global battle, of course, but it is epic. Read more

New Year’s Resolutions 2020

I'm Here for You, Baby!

New Year's Resolutions

Sigh! It’s that time of year. Time for New Year’s Resolutions. Time also for that pesky, but inevitable New Year’s Resolutions’ Guilt. You know, the guilt that comes when you fail to achieve all those bright shiny resolutions.

Well, be of good cheer. I am here to help! Read more

Season’s Greetings

Joy and Good Wishes

Season's Greetings

Season’s Greetings.

‘Tis the season to goof off!

So, please allow me to hit the pause button on writing … except to wish all my fellow middle-age muddlers a Happy, Healthy, and Safe Holiday Season. May your holidays be filled with wonder and, of course, laughter. Muddle on with joy!

Fondly,
Karen

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Dreidels and Reindeer

Let Me Love 'Em Both

dreidels and reindeer

Dreidels and Reindeer. Jews and Christmas.

Yes, like many American Jewish families, we have a Christmas tree. In fact, we’ve had one since 1929.

That’s the year my immigrant grandmother traveled home to visit her family in Hungary. While Grandma was away, Read more

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I’m Karen, but Not That “Karen”

Step Away from the Mean Meme

Yes, my name is Karen. I’ve always liked the name. Never wanted to be a Karla or a Kathy, but lately, things have gotten a bit complicated and I’m wondering if a name change is in order.

Let me explain. Read more

Happy Thanksgiving: From A to Z

Best Wishes from our Home to Yours

Here’s a Happy Thanksgiving Day alphabet primer to get you and the family started on holiday fun. Turkey, togetherness, travel, talking, and tag football. Enjoy it and your day with family and friends! Don’t eat too much. Make sure at day’s end, only the turkey is stuffed!

Happy Thanksgiving: A
To the apple lovers (computer and fruit) in your house.

Happy Thanksgiving: B
To bakers who labor so hard on this special day and bankers who get the day off! Read more

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Giving My Regards to Broadway

Greetings from a Broadway Baby

Giving My Regards to Broadway

Some go fishing. Some go shopping. I go show-hopping along the Great White Way aka Broadway.

Yes, I’m spending the week in NYC, seeing shows till my eyes bulge out!

But, alas, only six shows this trip. Deferring to Handsome Hubby’s wishes, Read more

Ashes into Diamonds

They're Not Kidding. Diamonds Really are Forever

ashes to diamonds

Diamonds are forever. So goes the old marketing slogan. But now, thanks to high tech advances, there’s a whole new spin on the meaning of “forever,” because companies can turn your deceased loved one’s cremated ashes into sparkling memorial diamonds.

All it takes is eight ounces of ashes – or if you prefer, 10 ounces of cremated bones, or a mere 0.4 ounces of hair.

Some call it science. But to me, it more voodoo than I love you. Read more

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Wildfires, Earthquakes, Power Outages

Just Another Day in CA

Earthquakes, fires and power outages

Forget about a Zombie apocalypse. I live in California where we worry weekly about wildfires, earthquakes, and “scheduled” power outages.

Back East, we worried about terrorist attacks, but since moving to the San Francisco Bay, I’ve learned the true meaning of terror. Here dinner conversations are just as likely to focus on “What’s in your ‘to-go’ bag and earthquake kit?” as on politics, the environment, and favorite TV show. Read more

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The Ladies Who Schlep

The Subject is (Still) Handbags

The ladies who schlep

I hate to sound sexist, but as soon as baby boys can grasp objects, they’re given baseballs and footballs. Girls, on the other hand, are often given purses to carry. And all those little girls turn into, yes, the ladies who schlep. They may schlep handbags, tote bags, briefcases or backpacks, but schlep they do. And they’re not just hauling around lipstick and lunch, but also, memories and money, smartphones, and status symbols.

“Of course, a bag is important. It’s my home away from home.”
Sornam S. 

In case you missed it, Read more

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The Subject is Handbags

Size ... and Bags ... Matter

The subject is handbags

It started with an email and two simple questions. I thought I’d get a few short replies. Instead, all week long, my inbox was flooded with replies. Clearly, I had touched a nerve. Read more

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Will Techno Wonders Never Cease? Can They Still Increase?

Gadgets I Could Use

Rube Goldberg's self-operating napkin

We live in an age of techno wonders – drones, talking devices that tell us the time in Kuala Lumpur and how long to boil an egg. We can push a button on our smart phones to adjust the thermostat and raise the window shades. But helpless, hapless, middle-aged me still needs help.

Here’s a list of techno-assists I desire:

1. A loud (really loud) buzzer that Read more

21 Signs You’re Getting Older

21 signs you're getting older

I mostly celebrate my age — 65 —but I admit some aspects of aging aren’t joyful. Here’s my list of 21 signs you’re getting older. Check it out. See what you’d add!

You know you’re getting older when …
…. You go to a rock concert and your friends pass around earplugs instead of drugs.

You know you’re getting older when … Read more

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Single-Use Devices. Salvation or Sin?

Or How Rambo Came to Rule My Roost

Single-Use Devices

For most people, culinary single-use devices like strawberry hullers and cherry pitters are handy time-savers. But for cooking-klutz me, they are mostly cabinet space-stealing clutter, rarely, if ever, used.

I’ve got ceramic pie weights to hold crust down and fancy cake pans in graduated sizes. The former was bought in a moment of wild baking optimism. Yet, I’ve never even opened the package they came in. The latter, I used once to disastrous results.

But in my household, the undisputed master of wasted single-use devices is
– drum roll, please – Read more

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Butt Cheeks and Botox

Is Twerkers' Compensation Far Behind?

butt cheeks and botox

No ifs, ands or butt cheeks about it. Ladies, we have a new beauty regime to get on top of. Well, technically speaking, one we’ve got to get to the bottom of. Yes, gal pals, our rear ends are the latest beauty frontier!

What’s good for the face – cleansers, toners, serums, oils, exfoliating scrubs, creams, and masks – is now being specially tailored and marketed for the derriere.

Don’t believe me? Well, no less an authority than the august New York Times has proclaimed, “Butt skincare is definitely a thing now.”

“But what kind of a “thing?” you well might ask. “And why?” Read more

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Toastmasters or Just Plain Toast?

Me? I was Burnt to a Crisp

Toastmasters or Just Plain Toast

First board meeting … of the new season … with the brand new artistic director. Everybody was on their best behavior, wanting to make a good impression. Read more

Whale-Watching Whoops

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Whale-watching Whoops

It seemed like such a good idea. “Let’s sign up for a whale-watching boating adventure,” I said gamely to Handsome Hubby, knowing he would be thrilled.

Amazingly San Francisco’s Oceanic Society had openings for Labor Day – just four days later. Who could believe our good fortune? And faster than you can say “Moby Dick,” I made our reservation.

“Ahoy, matey!” I cheered. Read more

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End of Summer End Notes

Taking a Stand on Standing Desks and Other Assorted Topics!

end of summer end notes

Ah, Labor Day – the unofficial end of summer. The kids are back in school and the white shoes are pushed to the back of the closet. For me, it’s time to clean out my in-box of story ideas that didn’t quite come to fruition, but still, seem tantalizing and amusing – too good to simply discard. Take a look and see if you agree. Read more

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Mid-Week Grouchies, Part 2

Summertime and the Living is Whiny!

Middle-aged, mid-week grouches

Dirty grocery carts. People who say “Let’s do lunch,” but don’t. Dropped phone calls. When I wrote a list of pet peeves a couple of months ago, I thought I had it out of my system. I was wrong. Here’s a brand new list of middle-aged, mid-week grouchies! Join me and get your grump on! Read more

Talking Turkey about Quirky Berkeley

My New Home Sweet Home

Talking Turkey about Quirky Berkeley

We moved to Berkeley, CA six years ago and I’m still getting used to it. There is much to love, but also much that is downright bezerkly. It must be a sign of age that world-traveler me is taking so long to get accustomed to this city, but that said in the interest of your enlightenment and amusement, I’m ready to talk turkey about quirky Berkeley! Here goes. Read more

Social Security Madness

Into the Jaws of the Bureaucratic Beast!

Last week I wrote about turning 65 and signing up for Social Security. Now I was want to tell you what happened next. It isn’t pretty. I quickly descended from “social insecurity” into an advanced state of Social Security Madness.

When I signed up for Social Security benefits this Spring, I also selected Medicare Part B. I didn’t need health insurance; Handsome Hubby and I already have good, inexpensive lifetime coverage. But I thought Medicare is inexpensive and a little extra insurance couldn’t hurt. I was wrong. It’s hurting plenty. Read more

Social Insecurity

65-Years-Old. Say It Ain't So!

Social Insecurity

Three months past my 65th birthday and the start of Social Security, and I’m midriff-deep in social insecurity. It’s my own fault.

First, I planned the whole 65th birthday “celebration” all wrong. Instead of accepting Handsome Hubby’s offer of a birthday party, Read more

My Mission Impossible? Control

Don't Gen. Al Haig and I wish

My Mission Impossible? Control

Each morning I swear I won’t. Yet every morning, I begin a new round of my personal Mission Impossible. My impossible mission? Get control of my house AND my life.

Each morning I swear I won’t. Yet, first thing each day I make the bed and fluff up the “just for show” pillows. I maniacally wipe down the counters, speed-spritz the fridge to eliminate fingerprints and Windex with a fury the glass dining room table.

Each mid-morning, I swear Read more

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My Mother and Mink

Her Pelts. My Punishment.

My Mother and Mink

My mother was pro-mink. She believed fur symbolized luxury, style, wealth and to the manor born. Not me. I was decidedly anti-fur. I grew up in a cloth coat, pea- jacket, egalitarian world.

My mother was a native New Yorker, so fur was practical too, good for keeping the cold out. I, on the other hand, grew up in sunny Las Vegas. So I avoided the cold and the culture of fur for a long time.

The Fur Flies

But in my late 20s, I was D.C.-bound for an exciting new job. I was also in possession of a small insurance settlement from a leg injury. For my mother, the stars were aligned. She saw fur in my future and pounced. Read more

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50 Shades of Green

Leather Fetish? Nope. Lettuce Fetish!

50 Shades of Green

Remember when salad was simple? Throw together some iceberg lettuce and a few tomatoes and you were done. Now when you shop the produce aisle, you wade through 50 shades of green. Dine out and you wonder if you’re reading a foreign-language menu, so unknown are the leafy options.

These days you need a Ph.D. to make and eat salad! To help sort through the confusion, join me for a walk on the wild produce side. Ready, set, lettuce go! Read more

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I am an Amazon Warrior

Wonder Woman has Nothing on Me

I am an Amazon warrior

I am an Amazon warrior. Not like Wonder Woman, all tricked out in hot pants, a bustier, and bullet-repelling bracelets, but still … Read more

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Gone Fishing? Gone Ranching? Gone to Sea Ranch

Best Mini-Vacay Ever

Sea Ranch

It was a miracle!. Work-a-holic Handsome Hubby hit the pause button and we “got gone” to Sea Ranch, Ca for a four-day vacation. Were we in for a treat! Read more

My Not-So-Merry Market-Go-Round

Modern-Day Mercantile Madness

my not-so-merry market-go-round

Growing up, life was simple. My mother shopped at one supermarket, two at the most. Now I’m on a non-stop, not-so-merry market-go-round, shopping at six different stores. It’s modern-day mercantile madness.

If it’s Tuesday, I go to Whole Foods for oh, so pricy organic produce and meat. Wednesdays, I’m at Safeway. That’s where I get the family prescriptions and non-organic, unhealthful food, like Lay’s potato chips and Diet Coke. By Friday, it’s anybody’s guess. It’s a regular basket free-for-all!  Read more

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Bumping Shoulders with Celebrities

The Highs and Lows of a Social-lite

Hands holding smart phones taking pictures of a celebrity

I grew up in star-studded Las Vegas. My father was a high-roller gambler and we spent a lot of time in casino showrooms. As an adult, I was a news reporter, covering organized crime and the resort-entertainment industry, bumping shoulders with countless celebrities. Later, I worked at a high level of the executive branch of the US government, meeting presidents and a few kings.

You’d think I would have acquired a degree of sophistication along the way. But think again. Embarrassingly, I’m still a bumbling star-gazing social-lite! Read more

Love and Listening

Sorry. You Were Talking. I Wasn't Listening

annoyed wife talking and bored husband not listening

Longtime married couples think they’ve heard it all. But after decades, love and listening may go their separate ways. In which case, even the happiest of marrieds may discover they’ve missed something important. I know. It just happened to Handsome Hubby and me. Crisis loomed! Read more

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Target’s Muddled Remodel

Off-Target at My Favorite Store

Target's muddled remodel

Remember Joni Mitchell’s song “Big Yellow Taxi,” where she lamented about how “they” paved Paradise and put up a parking lot? Well, I know how she feels. “They” just completed a muddled remodel at my favorite Target store. Now I feel like Joni. Paradise – and I – are lost.

Where once greeting cards were displayed, Read more

Favorite Family Recipes

Flavors and Memories

Favorite family recipes – more precious than silver, packed with more memories than scrapbooks and the hallway filled with yellowed photos of our ancestors. Every family has got a favored meal. Here’s the story of our’s. Read more

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Some are Natural Born Athletes

Me? Not So Much

Some are natural born athletes

When they passed around the athletic genes, I must have been out to lunch … or shopping … or perhaps napping. Yes, some are natural born athletes. Me? Not so much.

One of my brothers was a great swimmer. Another a beautiful dancer. Me? I’m a klutz. My sport of choice? Jacks. Park my butt on the ground and I could beat most anybody at the basic game or its variations – double bounces, pigs in the pen, over the fence. Yep. I was a jack’s genius.

But, Read more

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Pharmacists, Not Diamonds, are My BFFs

Friends in Pharmaceutical Places

Pharmacists, not Diamonds

Marilyn Monroe famously and breathlessly proclaimed that diamonds are a girl’s best friend. Well, that may be so, but for middle-aged gals like me, pharmacists are the preferred BFFs.

And man, I don’t mean to brag but I’ve got multiple friends in pharmaceutical places!

And lately, I’ve needed them. Read more

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Play the Field or Play for Keeps?

Hoops or Hubby?

Play the field or play for keeps

With the National Basketball Association season winding down and free agent trading time gearing up, I’m considering my options. Should I play the field or play for keeps? Stick with Handsome Hubby or …? Read more

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First a Concussion. Then a Cook

Ina Garten and Grandma Ida Helped Too

First a concussion. Then a cook

First I got a concussion. Then I learned to cook. It’s true, but like most truths, there’s more to the story. It actually took a concussion, a TV show, and echoes from the past to get me to care about cooking. Read more

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Sartorial Sins of the Flesh

Leggings, Yoga Pants, and Holey Jeans

Sartorial Sins of the Flesh

I may sound old-fashioned, but I think some of today’s lapses in sartorial style are downright sins. The way we dress and adorn ourselves would surely make my mother and grandmother shudder and shriek!

In Grandma’s day, Read more

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Middle-Aged, Mid-Week Grouchies

7 Terms and Trends that Torment

Mid-week, middle-aged grouches

Nothing’s really wrong, but I’ve got a bad case of the middle-aged, mid-week grouchies. And I need to vent. Read on. You might just relate. You might get a chuckle. At the very least, as my delightful 92-year-old second cousin Marvin used to say, “It couldn’t hurt.” Read more

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Endangered! Red Meat Carnivores

Beef Brisket Bye-bye

Endangered! Red Meat Carnivores

I come from a long line of now-endangered red meat carnivores. My grandmother made a mean Cornish game hen, but it was her Hungarian goulash and stuffed cabbage (stuffed with ground beef) I most fondly remember.

My mother’s signature recipes were chili con carne, roast beef, steak smothered in buttery onions and mushrooms, beef and peppers, and brisket. Oh, yes, the brisket. Read more

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Millennials Don’t Give a Sheet

And They Don't Make Their Beds Either!

Millennials Don't Give a Sheet

I couldn’t sleep last night. As I tossed and turned, I read an article that got me in a dither: Millennials don’t give a sheet! That’s right – they are rejecting top sheets. So, of course, I got up on the wrong side of the bed today, and as I made the bed, I decided I wanted to vent about, of all things, all things bedding!

A lot has changed in the world of bedding since I was a little girl. First, there’s this sheet crisis! Read more

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10 Tech Commandments for Oldsters

Do Unto Others As Thou Would Internet Unto You

10 Tech Commandments for Oldsters

The 10 Commandments serve us well, but in these Modern Times, I modestly propose an electronic update – 10 tech commandments – to the stone tablets Moses first delivered!

Yes, in the “good” old days, the world was simpler, slower-paced, easier to understand or at least, so we recall.

In today’s fast-moving tech world, we middle-aged muddlers need new guidelines to navigate the world AND the worldwide web. And I think our kids could use a few helpful hints as well. In fact, you might want to show them Tech Commandment Number 5. Better yet – needlepoint it on a pillow for their bedroom. Read more

I Hit It Big on Antiques Roadshow

At Least in My Dreams

I hit it big on Antiques Roadshow

Inspired by the glory of Antiques Roadshow, we’ve all got one. That one precious item we believe is valuable beyond our wildest dreams. The one that if we chose to sell it would put us, our kids, and our future grandkids on Easy Street FOREVER.

It could be that ugly oil painting your grandmother bought years ago at a yard sale that now smolders in the attic; or that old coin your father gave you for your ninth birthday, admonishing you to “hold on to this.”

Or it could be, as in my case, Read more

A New Wrinkle in Time

Chest Wrinkles. Who Knew?

Chest Wrinkles

Sometimes I worry I will run out of things to write about. Then I discover articles like “Cleavage Reboot: How to Smooth Out Chest Wrinkles,” and I realize I will never run out of “dire” aging maladies to worry – and write – about!

Yes, chest wrinkles, a problem right up there with global warming, the plight of the homeless, and discrimination.

It only took God 99 words (at least in one version I looked at) to write The Ten Commandments, the foundation of faith and civility for millions around the world. But chest wrinkles? Read more

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Happy 100th (Blog) to Muddling Me

It's My Party and I'll Smile if I Want to!

Happy 100th Blog to Me

A moment of celebration! Muddling through Middle Age just hit the century mark! This is my 100th blog, my 100th “light lament” for women (and men) of a certain age.

And since it’s my party (or at least my blog), I’d like to pause, not cry as Leslie Gore did in her hit 1963 song “It’s My Party,” for a moment of reflection. Read more

The Worst Part of Growing Old? Reading Glasses

Oh, My Aching Middle-Aged Eyes

Reading glasses are the worst part of growing old

Some people cannot find their phone. Others their keys. Me? It’s my reading glasses. I misplace them constantly and need them for everything. Oh, my middle-aged eyes. It’s just not fair. Yes, the worst part of growing old is reading glasses.

By the age of 12, I was blind as a bat. Then I got Lasik surgery and had perfect vision … for a time. Now, once again, I’m eye glass-dependent. I go nowhere without clutching my readers as tightly as those needing a cane to get by. Read more

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Madly in Love or Just Mad?

Danger Ahead: Valentine's Quiz

Lovers beware. I took a Valentine’s Day quiz to learn if my husband is “still utterly and totally in love.” The results? Let’s just say Handsome Hubby and I didn’t “ace” the test. In fact, it should have come with a warning: Danger Ahead!  Read more

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If I Ruled the World

Queen Me for a Day

If I Ruled the World

Ah, if I ruled the world and could be Queen … just like on that popular TV show of decades ago, Queen for a Day. I’d right some wrongs, enforce some rules, and, maybe settle a petty score or two! I mean what’s power if you can’t abuse it just a teensy bit, all the while wearing a tiara and robe, parked on a royal throne? Read more

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Marie Kondo Sparks No Joy in Me

Decluttering is Easy. Shopping is Hard.

Marie Kondo Sparks No Joy

Everybody is obsessed with Marie Kondo and downsizing their possessions, especially clothes. Not me. I want more clothes, not less. Sweaters. Blouses. Dresses. Cute shoes. But there’s a problem – I’m shopping adverse. I hate going to a Mall and I’m not finding much success shopping online.

I never liked shopping. Blame it on my mother. Of course. Read more

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Down the Graying Yellow Brick Road

Bring Your 8-Track Tapes and Geritol

Down the Graying Yellow Brick Road

Handsome Hubby and I took a trip down the (graying) yellow brick road this past weekend and oh, what a trip it was! More precisely, we went to see Elton John perform, part of his multi-city, multi-year “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” concert tour.

It was Handsome Hubby’s idea. He is a big Elton fan. I was too back in the day, but traveling down memory lane, spending lots of money to see aging rockers perform goldie oldies wasn’t my idea of a good time.

But HH wanted to go. So, off we went, memories (and pricy tickets) in hand, to the concert at Oracle Arena, home of the Golden State Warriors, in Oakland, Ca.

We jump-hobbled onto the BART (subway), where we were greeted by a sea of gray-haired seniors all bound for rock and roll glory! You would have thought there was an AARP Convention in town! Read more

Words Fail Me

Middle-Aged and Needing New Words

Words Fail Me

It’s true as we get older, our memory and communication skills slip a bit. Why did I walk into this room? What did I have for lunch today? What did you just say? And sometimes, frustratingly, we have to search for a word that’s at the tip of our tongue.

Yet, for all that, I believe there’s a bigger problem at play. The English language lacks the vocabulary to address the sensations, situations, and emotions – good and bad, we middle-agers and seniors experience.

For instance, what do you call the transformation of a once patient spouse into a grouchy, short-tempered guy? (A friend wants to know.) Read more

Resolve to be Irresolute!

Avoid New Year's Guilt

Resolve to be Irresolute

Just one week into the New Year and I was already backsliding into bad habits faster than a first-time skier hitting the slopes.

Start that diet? Hard to do with all the holiday candy still casting its chocolaty come-hither glance at me.

Exercise? How, when I could hardly move from all that candy-gorging I’m doing 24/7?

Be a better person? Who was I kidding? That was never going to happen, sugar-rush or no sugar-rush.

So, just days into the New Year, I decided to drop the pretense. Skip the guilt. Avoid making – and breaking – those resolutions of yesteryears to eat less, exercise more, and be a better person. I decided to just hunker down and continue living in my usual slovenly, unhealthy, impatient way.

But then, I had an idea.   Read more

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Coffee Mug Addiction

Brother, can you spare a cup? 10? 20?

Coffee Mug Addiction

Coffee mug addiction. It is America’s not-so-hidden disease. It’s costly and dangerous AND no household is immune. Where once there was mere cabinet clutter, now there is a coffee cup contagion.

Be honest. Do you recognize a loved one in the following words and thoughts? Do you recognize yourself?

“Must stop.” Read more

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Happy New Year

Muddle on with Laughter!

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all my dear Middle-aged Muddlers,

It’s December 26, the start of that short pause in the festivities before New Year’s Eve, time to catch our breath and reflect on the year that’s ending and the new one that’s just days away.

For me, it’s a time to give thanks for family and friends. And you, my family of readers and subscribers, I give special thanks.

Here’s to a Happy, Healthy 2019 to you and all those you hold dear!

🎊

Now onward to more muddled laughter in the New Year!

I’ve Been Naughty. Now I’m Getting Spanx-ed

Calories, then Compression and Depression

I've Been Naughty. Now I'm Getting Spanx-ed

‘Tis the season to over-indulge, true. But, alas, ’tis also the season to sequin, shimmy, and shake – all of which challenge chubby, out-of-shape, middle-aged me.

And while I can still wedge myself into my cute holiday clothes, do I look cute? Hardly. I more resemble that lump of coal Santa leaves children who have been naughty, not nice, than I do some hot party babe.

So, sadly I’m giving myself a Spanx-ing. Read more

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Ready to Holiday Party Hearty? Hardly!

A List of 7 Middle-aged Excuses Not to Party

Ready to Party Hearty? Hardly!

‘Tis the season to party hearty. But I must admit, now that I’m middle-aged, I not much of a party kind of gal. I’m more of a hot chocolate, asleep by 10:15 social clod.

So, what’s a sluggish middle-aged muddler supposed to do, now that the holiday party season, like a horde of ravenous locusts, has arrived? Hibernate in a cave? Take a vow of silence and retreat to a Zen-like monastery until January 2? Drag my sorry, sweat-suited derriere out the door and socialize till my cheeks ache and eyelids droop?

This year, I’m planning ahead. I’ve prepared a List of Seven Perfectly Plausible Middle-aged Excuses to Get Out of Holiday Festivities. Read more

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I Say Phone. You Just Phub

Phone Plus Snub Equals Phub. SOB!

I Say Phone. You Just Phub

Do you know someone who spends too much time on their cell phone? Silly question. Of course, you do. Do you spend too much time on your cell phone? Of course, you do. Confession: I do too.

According to one study, people typically touch their phones 47 times per day! Now that’s scary! And the number jumps to 82 times per day if you’re between 18 and 24 years old. Scarier still. Read more

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When in Doubt, Blame Science

The Latest Addition to the Pantheon of Excuses

When in doubt, blame science

Life is hard. When we do something wrong, we all fall back on excuses and blame others.

“The dog ate my homework.”
“My mother won’t let me go to the party.”
“The Devil made me do it!”

But now, move over dog, Mom, and Devil. We have a new scapegoat to blame and shame, and it goes by the name of Science. Read more

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Vietnam and Cambodia: Trip Impressions

Two Middle Age Muddlers on a SE Asian Adventure

My dear Middle-age Muddlers,

Handsome Hubby and I are back from our 16 days in Vietnam and Cambodia. The laundry is whirling away in the washer and dryer. So, I thought I’d sit down and respond to the request from a number of readers asking for a recap of our travels. Read more

Nixon and Me: United in Jowls

There's a Surgery for That!

Nixon and Me: United in Jowls

Richard Nixon and I sadly have something in common. Jowls. I’ve tried to ignore the problem, but jowls and jawlines are in the news. So, what can I do?

Yes, regrettably, I – the anti-plastic surgery woman – am once again day-dreaming about plastic surgery. Read more

A Hurricane-Hound Brings Sunshine

by guest contributor Olga

Hurricane-hound brings sunshine to our home

“In Hartford, Hereford, and Hampshire …
Hurricanes hardly happen.”
                                                                     My Fair Lady, Lerner and Loewe

Hurricanes also happen in Florida, and as a result of one, this hurricane-hound now calls California home.

It was all so scary at first – given up to a Florida shelter and then scooped up by a huge, noisy, metal bird and taken to a different shelter in a strange new city. Read more

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Trick-or-Woof!

Happy Bark-o-ween!

Trick-or-woof

Trick-or-woof! So barks Olga, our four-year-old Labrador, and ruler of our roost.

OK. Scary she’s not. Silly she is.

So, Olga is opting for elegance, not fierce, furry or fiery this Halloween.

But trick-or-treaters beware! Olga’s got an ear-splitting warning/welcome bark and a face-drenching lick!

And while Handsome Hubby and I are away vacationing, guess who’s next week’s Muddling through Middle Age’s special guest columnist?

Hint, hint. She’s a middle-aged muddler’s best friend! Woof!

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Diet Daze, Praise and Prays

Cabbage Soup by the Bowlful

Diet Daze, Praise and Prays

I’ve got religion! And like all religious zealots, I speak of nothing else. My new-found religion is not a traditional religion, nor is it New Age hippy, dippy. My new religion is my new diet. More specifically, it is my new-found diet success! Read more

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Therapy for the Masses

Good for Apartment Dwellers and Homeowners Too!

Therapy for the Masses

I’m trying a new form of therapy. No, not cognitive behavior therapy. Not somatic therapy, nor psychoanalytic therapy. Not even retail therapy. Instead, I’m fixating on Apartment Therapy.

Are you familiar with Apartment Therapy? AT, as I like to call it, is a lifestyle blog and publishing company focused on home design and decor. And it’s not any old blog. According to Forbes Magazine, AT is “one of the most influential interior design sites on the Web.”

You might wonder why I, a homeowner with a five-bedroom house, reads AT. Read more

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Restless at the La Jolla RLS Confab

Travels with Handsome Hubby

Restless at the La Jolla RLS Confab

You’ve got to hand it to Handsome Hubby: He is a master at making a girl “an offer she cannot refuse.”

“Come with me to La Jolla for the weekend,” he said with that sweet, husky voice of his.

“Just for fun?” I asked suspiciously, knowingly.

“Well, sort of,” he said, starting the famous HH hem-and-haw dance. Read more

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Rebranding: Dunkin’ Donuts … and Me?

The Name Game

Rebranding: Dunkin' Donuts and Me?

Rebranding is the rage. Dunkin’ Donuts and Weight Watchers are just the latest jumping on the name change bandwagon. And it’s got me thinking. Maybe middle-aged me could use a change too.

After all, I don’t want to be one of those people who gets stuck in a rut. Shaking things up might be just the thing I need. Instead of the same old Karen Galatz – writer, wife, and mom, perhaps I need a different persona.

But how and what should I change? Read more

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Far-from-the-Runway Runaway Thoughts

An Unstylish Fashion Maven Speaks Her Mind!

Far from the runway runaway thoughts

Fall fashion season is here. The runways are overflowing with willowy models and haute couture commentary. So, who am I, admittedly un-chic, un-willowy, to offer my own runaway thoughts about fashion and style? Just a middle-aged muddling mom (MAMM) with a far-from-the-runway point-of-view! Read more

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The Art of Conversation, Marriage Edition

The Art of Conversation, marriage edition

Handsome Hubby and I are approaching our 32nd wedding anniversary, and I must say we’ve really got the art of conversation down to a science. The renowned Navajo code-talkers have nothing on us. With just a few words, HH and I can decipher (and deride) each other’s meaning perfectly.

Here are a few true-life conversations from our household that I bet you’ll recognize.

Conversation 1

I say: “What about those forms I needed your help with?” reminding HH about this or any long-ago request I’ve made.
HH says: “Hum, it rings a bell.”
HH is hearing: Blaring alarm bells.
HH is thinking: “Mayday. Mayday. Marital iceberg ahead.” Read more

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In Praise of Pantyhose

A Princess and This Pauper Share Sheer Delights

In Praise of Pantyhose

When the leaves start falling, a woman’s thoughts turn to … pantyhose? Well, for some of us. It’s true.

I belong to a dying breed of never-go-bare-legged women. Rare among womankind today, I wear pantyhose. Not just with formal night attire, but during the day too. Even in the summer. Even in the East when summertime humidity is swoon-worthy!

Now there are women who wear opaque tights when the outside temperature dips and wintery winds howl, but that’s not the legwear I’m talking about. There are also women who wear fishnet and other fashion-fad leg gear, but that’s not the hose in question.

What I’m referring to is the sheer, easy-to-run-and-ruin flesh-colored kind that has adorned my pasty white limbs since I aged out of knee-high socks. Read more

From Kardashians to Musical Buffalo

Summer Endnotes from Muddling Me

From Kardashians to Musical Buffalo: Summer Endnotes

Labor Day has passed, signaling the end of summer’s leisurely pursuits. It’s time to get organized for autumn. So, I’m clearing the deck – and my inbox – for a fresh season of writing. And from that inbox, here are a few tidbits that I didn’t develop into full-fledged stories, but still, are designed to amuse! From Kardashians to musical buffalo and the disappearance of our e-signatures for purchases … I hereby opine!

Number 1:
First a question: Would someone … please, please, please … explain America’s fascination with the Kardashians? Read more

T is for Torture and Treadmill

Step Lively or Die

T is for torture and treadmill

I stepped out of the bathroom, all shiny and clean, a hint of make-up, my hair perfectly coiffed. I was all set for my big appointment of the day.

“You showered? You washed your hair?” commented my husband with a quizzical look. “Odd.”

“Well, it’s the first time,” I explained, somewhat annoyed I felt the need to explain, “I want to make a good impression.”

“Odd,” he repeated. “I never shower first.” Read more

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Summertime and the Living is Exhausting

I'm Binged Out.

Summertime and the living is exhausting

It’s summertime, and I’m exhausted. I cannot keep up the pace.

Summer used to be about relaxing and taking a break from usual routines.

Summer used to be about vacations and long, lazy days at the beach.

Summer used to be about suntans and sunburns. Over-chlorinated swimming pools and bring-tears-to your-eyes salty water ocean waves. About letting the mind wander and go free, watching the clouds and the waves.

The TV got a rest. There were too many reruns. Instead, there were summer book reads. Trashy novels for middle-aged moms (and dads). Required book lists for the kids.

But not this summer. Not for our family, and I bet, not for yours. Read more

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Nine Questions for Lasting Love

Tinder for Talkers

A famous psychological study developed 36 questions to fast-track intimacy and connection. Ha! That’s easy. A glass of cheap merlot and low lighting can do that for most people. But lasting love? Well, that requires a whole different set of questions.

And to help with that, from the vantage point of a middle-aged many-years married, I’ve prepared a list of nine queries young lovers should consider before saying their “I do’s.” Read more

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Caffeinated and Infatuated. The Barista of My Dreams

Hot and Steamy on Demand

Caffeinated and Infatuated

For the record: I’m no coffee connoisseur. I drink lattes because they satisfy my two chief criteria for coffee – lots of milk and lots of room for sugar. But recently, I met the barista of my dreams. Now I’m caffeinated and infatuated.

The day I met my new love, I was in that early morning pre-coffee kind of stupor. Slow moving and slow thinking, I practically bumped into this stunning, towering cool creator of caffeine and other bubbling hot delights. I was instantly overwhelmed. Read more

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Online Surfing Danger Ahead!

Beware of Bots!

Surfing Danger Ahead

There’s surfing danger ahead! Not in the water, but online. Take a quick look at an ad for an anti-aging skin cream, and that product will haunt you on the Internet until you die and decompose.

Blink your eye and consider a brief fling with glitter eyeliner, as I did earlier this summer, and you are forever branded as part of David Bowie’s glam squad!

Peruse a winter white wool turtleneck sweater in January, and come July, you’ll still get urgent notices to “Hurry, there’s only one still in stock!!”

Five years ago, amid a foot problem, I considered buying orthotic heel lifts. Thankfully, the foot problem resolved itself, but orthotic ads track me on the Worldwide Web as diligently as sharks stalk their prey. Read more

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My Dolls Need Plastic Surgery!

Time Waits for No Man, Woman or Doll

There comes a time in every girl’s life when she puts away her dolls and moves on to grown-up pleasures. For most girls, that comes with puberty. For me, it took a few more years. OK. It took an extra half-century.

Yes, for 50+ years, I’ve kept a massive black steamer trunk full of dolls, ostensibly saving them “for my children,” but truthfully mostly just saving them.

I’m a sentimental type, a saver. OK. I’m a bit of a bit of a hoarder. Read more

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Silver Necklace Shopping: Bring on the Bling

Gimme, Gimme, Gimme Some Credit

Silver Necklace Shopping

The other day, on a whim, I decided to buy myself a fancy silver necklace. I’ve never bought myself expensive jewelry before. When it came to the good stuff, the big bling-y, sparkling stuff, that arrived as gifts from parents, boyfriends, and for the past 32 years, Handsome Hubby.

But I was in the mood for instant gratification. I wanted the necklace right then and there. I didn’t feel like “hinting” and waiting for HH. I’m a big girl – more than a big girl, I’m middle-aged and – by God, I can buy my own bling!

So, faster than you can say “discretionary spending,” off I went on my mission to find that perfect piece of jewelry. What I got was something entirely different! Read more

Mid-life Marital Thrill: Is it Sex or is it … ?

Screams, Cheers, and More

Mid-life Marital Thrill

Some couples grow bored with each other, retreating to separate corners of the house, separate activities, and silent, resentful boredom. Not Handsome Hubby and I. We’re finding joy in a new, intense mid-life marital thrill. It involves strange new pleasures –  Read more

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A Happy Fourth of July for Everybody

A Fantastic Fateful Day for my Family

Happy Fourth of July

Happy Fourth of July!

Today is a special day for our nation.

And today is a special day for my family because 87 years ago my parents met … on a blind date … on Coney Island.

My father was supposed to go out with my mother’s best friend, but … Read more

Talkin’ Trash: The Games Families Play

Will He or Won't He?

talkin' trash: The Games Families Play

Remember when the kids were little and you had family game night? Well, my live-at-home 26-year-old and I still play games together. More specifically, we play one game each week. More specific still, we play the same “talkin’ trash” game every Monday night. We play “Will he or won’t he … take out the trash?”

It’s a fun game. You may even play it at your house. There are set rules to it. It’s predictable – except for the outcome which makes my hair and blood-pressure rise. Read more

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Seasonal Vanity Disorder

A Sight for Sore Eyes, Lips, and ...

seasonal vanity disorder

It’s that time of year when I’m forced to schedule my annual embarrassing doctor’s appointment. You’re thinking mammogram and pap smear. But no, I suffer from another repeating ordeal, SVD, Seasonal Vanity Disorder, a hush-hush, but common mid-life ailment.

Each June, I’m forced to hot foot it to the doctor to get a prescription for prescription-strength allergy-relief medication to soothe my itchy swollen eyelids, blotchy, splotchy derma, and yes, even my hot feet!

“Ah, seasonal allergies,” you surmise and sympathize.

Well, thank you for the sympathy, but you’re wrong about what ails me. Read more

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Website Wedded Woes

Handsome Hubby is Not Amused

Website Wedded Woes

Sure, he thought it was fun for a while. Sure, he liked being called Handsome Hubby in my Muddling through Middle Age blog. In fact, he liked it so much he even started signing emails to me “HH.” But now the fun has ended and Website Wedded Woes have begun!

HH has taken umbrage at my blogging about him and our marriage. Read more

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Klutz Meets Cake. Cake Wins

Cake Catastrophe

Klutz Meets Cake. Cake Wins

Last week was Handsome Hubby’s birthday. What do you give a man of modest needs and wants who has everything but the time to enjoy what he’s got? A delicious home-cooked dinner with a cake made from scratch, thought I, a cooking klutz.

The truth is I’m actually a pretty decent cook, but I am sadly severely baking-challenged. So, I spent much time searching for a dessert recipe that was delicious, but also doable.

Death by Chocolate Chip

After much debate, I picked a recipe for a Mocha Chocolate Chip Cake with Mocha Chocolate Chip Icing. Death by chocolate chip! What a sweet way to go!

But then, barely-able-to-bake me made a mistake. Instead of using my tried and true 8-inch cake pans, I decided to Read more

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10 Things I Will Never Say

Not Today. Not Tomorrow. Not Any Day

10 Things I'll Never Say

You know the warning “Never say never?” Well, now that I’m middle-aged, I’m confident there are certain things I will NEVER say (or do).

Take a look at my list and see if there are any you’d never say either!

1. “Bartender, make that martini extra dry.” 
My mother drank gin martinis. The first time she let me have a sip, I thought I would choke to death! Even for the sake of a delish green olive, I’ll never dip into that martini toxin!

2. “Let’s go for sushi for dinner.”
Really? Raw fish? Read more

The Prince Wore Plaid

Handsome Hubby, Not Harry

The Prince Wore Plaid

Several months back, I vowed to follow a strict diet. I wasn’t cutting carbs or calories, but celebrities. More specifically, I vowed to stop my late-night consumption of empty sugary fluff and stuff articles about celebs. Then, amid all the unrelenting and divisive bad news, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle got engaged. I broke my celebrity diet and happily devoured stories about the happy couple.

But when the non-stop deluge of coverage continued unabated, I got bored. I tried to regain literary control. Admittedly it was near impossible to do amid the 24/7 onslaught of photos, fashion tips, gossip, and wedding planning updates. Still, I tried to focus on the important news of the day. And to some degree, I was successful. I know this, because just last week, Read more

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Speaking of My “Impending” Death

I'd Rather Not, Thank You

Speaking of my impending death

Remember the old Art Linkletter bit – “Kids Say the Darndest Things?” Well, recently a young friend of mine had the darndest conversation with me about – in his estimation – my seemingly impending death!

And it all came about because of that old adage, “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” Read more

Robots May Displace Workers. Never Mom

Maternal Eternal Job Security

Robots replace workers. Never Mom

If you want job security in today’s increasingly automated world, be a mom. A machine may assemble a car and one day drive it safely, but no machine will ever replace a mom’s main task – providing the “emotional labor” that runs a happy home.

“What is emotional labor?” you ask. Read more

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Emails. Evites. Emojis. Oh, My.

3 out of 4 Online Americans Emoji. Not Me

Emails. Evites. Emojis. Oh, My

Two decades ago, in a time way before emojis, my mother refused to get a CD player. After switching from 78-rpm to 33 1/3-rpm records; from cassette to 8-track tapes; from mono to stereophonic to quadrophonic sound, she was done. CDs were, in her words, “one change too much.”

I know how she feels. These days, as a middle-aged Luddite, I’m always one techno-trend behind, always late to the latest social media party.

I only signed on the Facebook last year, and now that I’m finally getting the hang of it, scandal has erupted and many of my friends are leaving it. I have a Twitter account, but I don’t give a tweet about it. Instagram’s a mystery and Pinterest just doesn’t hold my interest.

What can I say? All right, I’ll say it. I’m anti-emoji! Read more

Nature Abhors a Vacuum. Worrywart Women Do Too

A Void of Information Creates Havoc

Nature Abhors a Vacuum. Women Do Too

In physics, the Latin term horror vacui, nature abhors a vacuum, comes to us from Aristotle, and no, it does not refer to a fear of vacuums or cleaning!

In people-speak, the term means there are no naturally-occurring empty spaces because denser surrounding material immediately fills the void.

I’m no scientist. So, who am I to argue with Aristotle? I would, however, add an important corollary; Women also abhor vacuums.

Vacuums = Worrywarts. Let Me Explain

Whenever there’s a “vacuum” of information, a woman’s mind, much like a washing machine, starts spinning and quickly reaches the agitation cycle, coming up with all sorts of negative, awful conclusions to fill the worrisome info-void. Read more

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The Kids Won’t Leave

So, I'm Running Away from Home

The kids won't leave so I'm running away from home

“More Americans 18-to-34 Now Live with Parents Than with Spouse.”

That’s the terrifying finding from a recent U.S. Census Bureau study. And for all you aspiring empty nesters, the bad news continues: Read more

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Users’ Manuals I Could Really Use

Help Needed as I Muddle Through Middle Age

Users Manuals I Could Use

So much information. So much misinformation. Politics! Parenting adult children! Aging! Where – and to whom – do you turn when you really need to know what’s what? Where are the users’ manuals I – and all middle-aged muddlers – could really use? Read more

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In Belgium, They Just Convicted a Man for Sexism

I Call That a Good Start

In Belgium, a man was convicted of sexism

In Belgium, they just convicted a man of sexism. It’s true.

For the first time since a law was passed four years ago, a criminal court there convicted a man of “sexism in the public space.” The Belgians were a little slow on implementation, but still, the conviction is something.

The man was fined almost $4,000 for verbally abusing a female police officer who tried to question him after he was seen jaywalking.

Viewed through the lens of the #MeToo movement and through the soul of every woman who has suffered an unwelcome catcall and stare while walking down the street, this development is welcome indeed.

Yet, somehow this law makes me dream even bigger. I long to legislate boorish behavior across a wide spectrum of issues in all sorts of public spaces. Read more

If Mother Nature Calls, I’m Out

You Take the High Road, I'll Take a Taxi

If Mother Nature Calls, I'm Out

Some people like the outdoors. Some people like roughing it. Some people I ain’t. If Mother Nature calls, I’m out.

Born in New York City, my idea of roughing it is taking the subway instead of a cab. Brought up in Las Vegas, my idea of the outdoors is the time it takes to move from the air-conditioned house to the air-conditioned car. Yes, as the joke goes, roughing it means staying at a Holiday Inn.

Now Handsome Hubby (HH), a rugged, outdoorsy type, accepts these facts (some might say limitations) about me. Early in our dating days, I had told him the harrowing tale of my one and only sojourn with Mom Nature. It was really more a word-to-the-wise there’s-a-moral-to this-tale than anything else.

Happily, HH was a good listener. He has never suggested we go camping in 30-plus years of marriage. Although when we married, he planned our honeymoon for Yosemite National Park.

“You’re taking our sister camping?” my brothers asked aghast. Read more

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Death and Taxes … and Snoring

Confessions from the Guest Room

Death and Taxes ... and Snoring

Nothing in life is certain, but death and taxes. True, but in my mind the list is incomplete. Snoring and sleep problems, the handmaidens of the middle-aged and elderly, are also life’s certainties.

And if you agree, then it is time for true confessions. Fess up, ladies. How many of you have fled the marital bed and sleep in separate rooms from your husband or significant other? Read more

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Household News You Can Use

And Eat Too!

Household News You Can Use

Does all the gloom and doom of the news get you down? Well, cheer up! Here’s household news you can use … and eat too!

It’s all thanks to my hometown newspaper, The New York Times, and a terrifically tasty morsel, I mean, just published article entitled “Beyond Lemons and Vinegar: How to Clean with Ketchup, Vodka, Butter and More.” It’s a cook’s, I mean, cleaner’s dream.

The article goes way beyond those old pantry cleaning standbys of baking soda, lemons, and salt, and takes us into the yummy culinary, I mean, cleaning arena of butter, potatoes, wine (white AND red), and olive oil! This is better than sliced bread. Oh, wait. Sliced bread is also on this innovative culinary/cleaning list! Read more

Hunger Games, Restaurant Edition

It's My Dinner Out and I'll Cry If Want To

Hunger Games, Restaurant version

Eating out used to be special. It used to be fun. Now it’s noisy, crowded, pricy, and pretentious. It’s more hunger games, the restaurant edition, than fun and games.

Where to begin my list of dine out don’t likes? I know … at the front door. Read more

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The Joy of Laundry

Robots, Step Away from My Machine!

The Joy of Laundry

Some women find bliss doing downward dog. Some get their Zen from deep breathing. Me? I get my life affirmations doing laundry. Yes, doing laundry, a task most consider drudgery and toil. I know it’s odd, but before I explain why, I must register my alarm. There’s a technological “advance” on the horizon that threatens my laundry delight.

First, about my love of laundry: It began, as most things do, with my parents. Read more

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The Great Couch Quest

Will We Find a Sofa or Sadness?

The Great Couch Quest

Some quest for El Dorado; some for the Fountain of Youth. Others seek world peace or an end to poverty. Well, good for them.

Handsome Hubby and I have our own noble quest. We search for something of beauty; something that will bring joy to family and friends. We seek a couch, comfy and chic.

We have pursued our noble quest for ten months so far, and so far, we have met only hardship, dashed hopes, scorn, and failure.

Seemingly simple you might think to buy a living room sofa, one that’s soothing and sleek … and somewhat affordable. And also, ideally, delivered before the End of Days or, at least, before the next round of holidays and birthday celebrations. But simple it is not. Read more

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Valentine’s Day: The Prettiest Girl in the Room …

He Used to Say So All the Time .. Used to.

Happy Valentine's Day

It’s Valentine’s Day, a day fraught with all sorts of emotion, memories, and expectations. I personally have always loved the day. It follows by three days my parents’ anniversary and the birth of my first child. My father, who was quite the romantic, made a big deal of Valentine’s Day and so, it was very special around our house when I was growing up. As a dating young miss and Ms., I received flowers, cards, candies, and other delights with the best of them. It was all fun.

And as a special bonus, 34 years ago on Valentine’s Day, I was anointed one of the “10 Most Eligible Women in the World” by United Press International (UPI), the international news agency whose newswires, photos, films, and audio services provided news to thousands of newspapers, magazines, and radio and television stations.

I know. It’s hard to believe looking at chubby, middle-aged me today, but in 1984 the news service named me to that “Most Eligible” list along with blonde bombshell Loni Anderson; Christie Hefner, Hugh’s daughter; Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones,  niece of Queen Elizabeth, and Patti Davis, daughter of President and Nancy Reagan.

“Why me?” you rightly ask. Read more

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Cake Porn

Confessions of a Chubby Middle-aged Woman

Cake Porn

OK. It’s true confession time. And it’s one to take the cake.

Everybody has an addiction, a guilty pleasure. Mine? Cake porn. Yes, I’m a cake … and cookie … and cupcake … and pie-aholic. I’m indiscriminate and undiscerning. If it’s baked, I’m in. I cannot get my fill of the stuff.

Some people say it’s a good idea to eat dessert first, but they’re all talk. I don’t just talk about it. I regularly dessert first, dine second.

Some people like cold pizza for breakfast, but if you ask me, nothing beats leftover chocolate birthday cake.

My obsession with cake extends way beyond ingesting the stuff, I’m a voyeur as well. Read more

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To Facebook Friend or Not to Friend?

Late to the Social Media Party

To Friend or Not to Friend

“This year, for the first time, more than half of the US population will use Facebook.”

So proclaimed a recent report, but it is, of course, already outdated. It was outdated, in fact, one minute after it was published, because at that very moment I signed onto Facebook for the first time.

I know. I was late to the social media party. I resisted for a long time. My generation was raised to be more private. Communications were personal, one-on-one. To me, Facebook seemed a return to the days of multi-user party telephone lines, when the operator—and anybody and their mother—could and would listen in.

For years, I prided myself on standing apart from the Facebook nation. “It’s for the kids.” “I’m too busy.” I even resisted the beguiling thought of using it to “spy” on my children, and boy, was that tempting!

But now I have succumbed, succumbed in a big way. Although I must be honest. The reason, initially, wasn’t social, but Read more

Fitness Lovers Bare All

Middle-aged Women Run ... for Cover

It’s not too late, fitness lovers. Still, want to make good on that New Year’s resolution to get in shape in 2018, but hate the chic club scene, where all the cool girls and guys promenade, point, and flex their muscles and the latest fab workout clothes?

Well, for those of you wanting to shake up their exercise routine and scene, I’ve got a recommendation. Here’s the skinny … and yes, I do mean the skinny. There’s a gym offering workouts without clothes. Yes, disrobed, in the raw, bare-assed naked. Read more

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You Can Make a House Smart, but Not a Homeowner

And That Smarts

Smart House, but Not a Smart Homeowner

You can make a house smart, but not a homeowner. I know from first-hand experience. You see, I live in a smart house. “Live” is perhaps an inaccurate description. “Trapped” is a better word.

You see, I have a techno-wizard son and an enabling husband, who enthusiastically says “yes” to every new electronic device the “Techno-Wiz” wants to install and program into our house.

My friends think I’m lucky to have the Techno-Wiz on-call 24/7 to solve my computer needs, but I know the ugly truth: He and my husband are engaging in a modern form of gaslighting, ostensibly working to modernize the house in ways I don’t—and will never—understand. It’s driving me crazy and that’s their real goal. Read more

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Instant Pot Madness

Big Boys and Their Kitchen Toys

Instant Pot Madness

Christmas has come and gone, but Instant Pot madness lingers at our house.

Handsome Hubby (HH), a modest fellow of few wants and needs, had expressed a gift wish for an Instant Pot, a wish I failed to heed until it was too late. I should have realized he was serious when he started reading New York Times Instant Pot articles to me with the solemnity he usually reserves for stories about the environment and the Golden State Warriors.

What is it about men and their desire for gadgets? Read more

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Bugs Bug Me in the Air … and in Print

New Year's Resolutions for my Beloved New York Times

Bugs Bug Me in the Air and in Print

I don’t mean to bug anyone, but some issues have been troubling me for a long time. So, in hopes of redress, I’m sending this letter to the new publisher of  The New York Times, A.G. Sulzberger.

Dear Mr. Sulzberger:

Please accept my heartfelt congratulations on your ascension to the helm of the Gray Lady. What a terrific promotion, one that comes at such a critical time for The New York Times and our nation.

As a lifelong subscriber, I wish you the best of success. In addition, I would like to offer a few suggestions, call them New Year’s resolutions, you might consider implementing ASAP.

Before I begin, do you mind if I call the paper “The?”  I feel we should be on a first-name basis since I’ve been reading The since, well, since I was old enough to read. My family always subscribed to The even when we lived out West and had to have the paper mailed to us in the dark ages before regional printing presses and the Internet.

Turning first to the Tuesday Science Section: Let me preface my remarks by affirming: I believe in evolution. I believe in vaccinations. I believe climate change is real.

That said, I must speak out on behalf of a neglected group of readers who—each week—are cruelly assaulted by your Sci-editors. Read more

News, Gratitude, and Good Wishes

News, Gratitude and Good Wishes for a Happy New Year

Dear Middle-aged Muddlers,

As 2017 comes to a close, I’ve got exciting news to share with you. Muddling through Middle Age has just been named one of the “Top 100 Humor Blogs and Websites on the Web.”

 

Thank you so very much for making this designation happen. Your chuckles, good cheer, and punctuation corrections make my Muddling labors so much fun.

Handsome Hubby and I wish you and your family health, happiness, and an abundance of laughter in 2018.

With appreciation and affection,
Karen

Throw in the Towel in 2018

The Path to Enlightenment

Throw in the Towel

You know the expression “to throw in the towel”- meaning to give up? Well, I am trying the opposite. I’m turning to towels, dishtowels to be specific, for inspiration and wisdom in 2018.

Maybe it is the challenging times we live in. The nation seems more divided than ever. We’re all scared about a possible war with North Korea. And I personally feel adrift, desperately trying to figure out what to give my sister-in-law for her birthday this year.

So, you can imagine my delight the other day when birthday gift shopping online, I found inspiration, indeed true enlightenment in … of all things … Read more

I Can’t Get No Satisfaction

But the Show Must Go On

I can't get no satisfaction

So sang the Rolling Stones. I know how they feel. For sadly, I can’t get no satisfaction. My husband no longer satisfies my needs the way he did in the glory days of our courtship and first years of wedded bliss.

“Oh, God, not again,” he moaned just the other day as I gently nudged him awake. “We just did it,” he lamented.

“Come on,” I demurred sweetly. “That was hours ago. Come on. Get up.”

“You’re killing me,” he protested. “I just cannot do this seven-nights-a-week and twice on weekends. I’m not young anymore.”

“Come on,” I repeated. This time in a firmer voice.

“You’re insatiable,” he muttered weakly.

Now, I suppose you think I’m talking about sex … Read more

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The Exercise Pill: One Swallow, Then Svelte

At Last, Something for Nothing

The Exercise Pill: one swallow away from svelte

It’s a chubby middle-aged woman’s dream come true—an exercise pill. Soon – well, one day – maybe, we’ll all be one swallow away from svelte!

It’s true. Well, sort of. What’s true is that scientists are working on drugs that provide the benefits of exercise without the need to actually move a muscle, get off the couch … or, horrors, sweat.

Imagine the possibilities. Imagine the delight. Read more

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Carson City Courtship – What Were the Odds?

Falling in Love with Handsome Hubby

Carson City Courtship

CARSON CITY, NV — Who would have thought they would stay together? The odds of them lasting much beyond that first fast attraction were small.

He was a small-town boy, who lived most of his childhood in one tiny house in Reno, Nevada, one tiny town. She was a Big City girl. The smallest “town” she had ever lived in was Las Vegas.

His life plan was to practice law in Gardnerville, Nevada (population 3,414) and take lots of time off to cross-country ski. She had big city dreams, wanted a brownstone facing Central Park and to win the Nobel Peace Prize for ending the Cold War.

For her birthday, he gave her four books. The first three were cookbooks including one titled “The Enchanted Broccoli Forest.”  To put it kindly, she was less than enchanted.

“Why cookbooks?” she asked with more than a hint of outrage. Read more

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Period Trackers. Not for Grammarians

But for the Gals

Period Trackers. And I'm Not Talking about Grammar Apps

Here’s a cute, true-life story, compliments of a dear friend of mine. The subject is period trackers. And spoiler alert: this is not a new computer app for grammarians, but for gals.

The period trackers I’m referring to are computer apps that track menstruation cycles, and while admittedly most “women of a certain age” didn’t need this, my friend’s story illustrates how the subject of the “birds and the bees” has become even more complicated … and comical … nowadays. Read more

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, my dear middle-aged muddlers! Have a wonderful holiday. Enjoy your family and friends. Eat hearty and be well.

As for Handsome Hubby and me, we’ll be muddling along—cooking a vegetarian, vegan Thanksgiving dinner sans turkey for our vegetarian, vegan spawn! Wish us luck as we create new traditions while celebrating the past!

I’ll be back next week with new Light Laments for women (and men) “of a certain age.”

Fondly,
Karen

AND if the holiday and spending time with family is more of a “lament” than a “laugh” for you, please take a quick break and read some of my prior stories. In fact, it might be a good time to re-visit my 8 Tips for Personal Holiday Fulfillment–Sure-fired Ways to Get the Gifts YOU Want!

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Possession Obsession Salvation

Storage Options for the Downsized Challenged

Possession Obsession Solutions

I’ve separated and sorted, trashed and stashed, and donated with the best of them. I’ve consolidated, re-arranged and shelved. But I’ve still got Possession Obsession and I need help. I need storage solutions. Yes, that’s it. I need stuff for my stuff. Salvation! Read more

Possession Obsession

Clutter or Keepsake?

Possession Obsession

I have a confession to make: Like many women of a certain age, I suffer from possession obsession. I have too much “stuff” and don’t know what to do about it. You know what I mean – I have an overabundance of material objects that I don’t want or need, but somehow cannot bear to shed. Read more

8 Tips for Personal Holiday Fulfillment

Sure-fired Ways to Get the Gifts You Want

8 tips for personal holiday fulfillment

Halloween has come and gone. I’d better get started with my holiday gift list or I’ll be in big trouble. I’m not talking about my holiday gift-giving list. I’m talking about my gift-getting list. Oh, let’s be honest. It’s my “Really, Really Want, Gotta Have, Pretty Please, Will You Get Me This” list.

All year I’m on the hunt for perfect Christmas, Hanukkah, birthday and “just because” gifts for family, friends, and colleagues. I even buy “unbirthday” gifts for attendees at birthday parties, because I love shopping for others. I am such a dedicated gift shopper, that when my children were growing up, we celebrated the “birthdays” of their stuffed animals. Any excuse for cake, ice cream, new book purchases and gift bags!

But come the holidays, my “give unto others” spirit makes a U-turn. I lust for carefully curated payback from loved ones in the form of “just right” gifts for me.

And who better to pick what’s “just right” than me?

If you’re honest, deep in your heart, you’re a tiny bit like me. Admit it. You’ve endured a few too many years of ill-gift-gotten-gain in the form of toaster ovens, fuzzy slippers, and hand-held vacuum cleaners.

So, in the spirit of female solidarity, I offer these eight tips to make your holidays (plus Mother’s Day and birthdays) brighter and your gifts better. Read more

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Cats Make Me Scratch

Cat Lovers Are Unconvinced

cat scratch makes woman allergic

I wanted this blog to be positive, free of fiery and fierce political rhetoric. I did not want to make it a forum for hate speech or rigid doctrinaire policy statements.

In the interests of free speech, I even let a friend post a “Go Cleveland” comment in response to my “Go Golden State Warriors” essay. That’s how fair-minded I am!

But the time has come for me to take a stand. I need to state for the record – clearly and loudly: Please believe me. Please accept that I really am allergic to cats. Do not think ill of me. They just make me ill.  Read more

Thin Lips and Thin-Skinned

Only the Brave Visit the Plastic Surgeon

Think lips and thin skinned

My dear Middle-aged Muddlers, last week as you recall, I “documented” my struggle to combat the shame of a droopy mouth and thin lips.

In my 20s, 30s, and 40s, I used excessive amounts of lip liner, lipstick and lip gloss to compensate. I also awkwardly smiled a lot to mask the droop.

In my 50s, I “graduated” to injectable fillers. They were costly. They hurt, but they helped.

Then one day my dermatologist told me that fillers were no longer the solution. Age, genes, and gravity were winning. If I wanted a perky pout, I needed stronger medicine. I needed plastic surgery.

Specifically, I needed a corner lip lift, a tricky procedure involving incisions on each side of the mouth with no place to hide the scars. Done poorly, the procedure leaves the patient resembling Batman’s nemesis, The Joker. Having seen pictures of botched procedures, I assure you, that is no joke.

My dermatologist referred me to a plastic surgeon, one of the “pioneers” of the corner lip lift procedure. I made an appointment, canceled it and called to re-schedule. I repeated this cycle of hope and fear three more times before I ultimately met the doctor. It was time to meet my re-maker. Read more

Nora’s Neck, My Thin Lips

Self-image Bites

thin lips

The amazing screenwriter, journalist, and author Nora Ephron hated her sagging neck.

I hate my lips.

Nora lamented the pitfalls of maturing – aka aging –in her best-selling book, I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman. As the title suggests, she especially bemoaned her saggy, baggy neckline and her middle-aged need to camouflage the offending body part with scarves.

Well, my nemesis is my lips. However, unlike Nora, my problem isn’t solely the result of aging. It’s a lifelong curse. And unlike Nora’s scarf solution, I cannot cloak my offending feature. For decades, I have suffered in silence, but no more. Today I share my shame. Read more

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Inheritance Guilt

Much Too Much of a Good Thing

inheritance guilt fine china overload

Do you suffer from inheritance guilt? It’s a problem many of us middle-aged baby boomers face. Your parents pass on and you inherit all their “stuff.” Are you grateful or do you buckle under the weight of unwanted material overload and guilt?

Nowadays, more and more of us fall into the suffering and lamenting category. One friend of mine cannot wait to dispose of her mother’s mink coat. Another hates her mother’s bright orange, fish-patterned ceramic platter. For me, the cause of distress – fine china.

And while it’s all well and good to lament, on a practical basis, what do you do when you have too much of a good thing or even too much of a bad, but deeply sentimental object? Read more

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Apples are OK. Compliments are Better

A Compliment a Day Keeps the Old Age Blues at Bay

apples and compliments make for good health

My recipe for good health and vitality is not fresh fruit, but vanity. Yes, apples are nice, but compliments are so much better.

Yesterday I had several errands to run and a few appointments to keep. It was a busy day. So, I made an effort, did a bit more than just throw on some jeans. Truth be told, I did a lot more. I, as they used to say, gussied myself up. It paid off. I got four compliments from four different people.

One woman, a make-up artist at Bloomingdale’s no less, told me how much she liked my lipstick.

A passerby on the street complimented me on my cool jacket.

My lunch companion admired my green-lacquer necklace, and the waitress praised my shiny fire-engine-red nail polish.

I rode the BART home feeling pretty good about myself. I met my husband for dinner. He was tired and not feeling great. He offered no compliments or even much by way of conversation. It was a quick dinner, and home we went to a quiet evening of TV and sleep.

I thought about the compliments I had received that day. They were great. I sincerely appreciated them. Truth be told, I needed them the way someone in the Sahara Desert welcomes a sip of water. But they made me think. They were different than the compliments I used to get in “the old days.” Funny how we say “the old days” when what we actually mean is the days when we were young. Read more

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Second-Hand Dope

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, Lungs ...

Second hand dope

A recent Saturday night at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley, Ca. Handsome Hubby and I went to the famed venue for the first time to see Beck, a musician I have long admired and long wanted to see.

The concert was sold out, but a friend gave us her VIP tickets. What a generous treat. Cool, right? Totally cool.

Well, apparently Handsome Hubby (HH) and I are not cool, at least we’re not Berkeley cool.

Second-Hand Smoke

It was a rock concert. So, yes, we should have known. It’s Berkeley. So, yes, we really should have known. But we just weren’t prepared for the magnitude of it all. It was overwhelming. Read more

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My Shout-Out Moment

Standing Up for Myself

Howard Beale's shout-out your windows rant

Hillary Clinton recently revealed how creeped out she felt when Donald Trump lumbered along behind her during the debates and how sorry she was she hadn’t told him to back off. Well, I recently had my own shout-out moment, and I’m proud to say I took it.

Now no one would ever accuse me of being a shy, weak and wilting flower. No one would ever say I’m one to hold back on my opinion. That said, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve mellowed a bit and try not to rock the boat quite so often. Yet, the other week in Reno, Nevada, I showed my true colors – and then some. Read more

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We Don’t Have a Special Song

Can the Marriage be Saved?

CD search for our special song

Something was lacking in our marriage and I hadn’t even realized it. Then it hit me. We don’t have a special song. Now I worry. Can the marriage be saved? Read more

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Scratchy Sheets and Thread Counts

We're Having Trouble Under the Covers

unhappy couple peering out from under marriage sheets

Early in our marriage, my husband and I kept track of who owed whom what. We kept itemized lists for most everything, but most of all, we counted movies. I liked foreign films, preferably with subtitles. He liked, no, loved, action films, preferably with lots of blood.

Usually, it was a zero-sum game. One foreign film for one action flick. If the foreign film was so boring that even I had to admit it was boring, I had to pay up with two action films in a row. If the bloody action film was so violent that even Handsome Hubby (HH) had to look away, I’d get two foreign flicks as recompense.

Then, at some point through the many years and the many movies, the system broke down. We stopped counting. As long as there was good popcorn and the seats were comfortable, we were a happy movie-going couple. No give and take required. A natural film equilibrium had been achieved. We both took this as a sign of middle-aged marital bliss and contentment.

The Battle of the Bed

But, of late, a new source of counting has creased our otherwise happy marital countenance. We’re having trouble in the bedroom, more specifically in bed. Read more

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Where Do You Keep Your Olive Oil?

Culinary Questions Meet Midlife Uncertainty

Olive oil in a dish

Both the mighty and the not-so-mighty worry. Shakespeare’s Prince Hamlet pondered lofty questions from his castle keep; I ponder less esoteric topics like how to keep olive oil.

Hamlet contemplated the unfairness of life and debated avenging his father’s murder by his uncle, now stepfather and king. He pondered life itself:

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Poor Hamlet. Everybody’s got issues, right?

Take me. I’m no Shakespeare, but I too face grave, indeed existential questions:

To refrigerate or not to refrigerate? That is the question.
‘Tis better to risk rancidity or clouded, solidified olive oil? Read more

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Everybody’s a Critic

Feedback Bites Back

Critic taking and giving stars

It used to be that criticism belonged to the ranks of five classes of people – professional critics, impartial consumer product reviewers, your mother, your best girlfriend, and your in-laws.

Now, thanks to the Internet, everybody’s a critic. Everybody with a bone to pick — informed or terribly ill-informed — is a critic.

You can ding short-staffed restaurants, struggling retailers, and barely-managing masseurs on Yelp; you can demolish drivers on Uber and Lyft, and you can anonymously trash-talk people on all sorts of social media websites. It’s a scary Internet world.

For a long time, I ignored casual “citizen” reviewers. If I wanted to know what somebody thought, I wanted to know what somebody-in-the-know knew and opined. If I needed a theater or a movie review, I opened The New York Times Arts and Book Review sections. If I needed a new toaster or vacuum cleaner, I turned to Consumer Reports.

If I needed confirmation that my husband was an insensitive clod, I asked my mother (although she generally sided with my husband). If I thought I looked fat, I’d ask my girlfriend for a hasty assurance that I was mistaken.

But now I know that everything is reviewed online, even you, even me! Read more

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Hawaii Va-cay. Hawaii Dismay.

Or How I Wish I Spent My Summer Vacation

Hawaii vacation spot: White sandy shore with calm waves

Dear Middle-Aged Muddlers,

I hate to complain, but I just got back from my so-called vacation and I cannot tell you how much I wish I had followed my instincts and opted for that restful, peaceful stay-cation I so dreamed of.

As you may recall, Handsome Hubby (HH) had invited me to join him on a business trip to Hawaii. I was reluctant, but you know me, always the good wife. So, off I went.

“Oh, Hawaii. How fun,” enthused everyone I told about the upcoming trip to our nation’s 50th state. “Wait – you’re not excited?”

“Nope, not a bit,” I’d politely replied. “I’m more a desert rat than a sea and sand fan.”

I understand that the idea of a Hawaiian getaway sounds great to most people, but I’m from Las Vegas. My idea of a watery retreat is a mega-resort and swimming pool, lightly chlorinated, with me floating on a pink raft with a Diet Coke in the drink holder.

As for the ocean? I don’t snorkel. I don’t scuba dive. I don’t surf. I’m afraid of the water. Of rip tides. Strong tides. Big waves. Any waves.

I’m scared of sharks, jellyfish, stingrays, even random tiny fish that swim by. I don’t like sand in my swimsuit and I hate the stink of salt water in my eyes and its taste in my mouth.

Then, there’s the chubby-thigh issue and the extended walk of shame from the unfurled beach towel to the water’s concealing, albeit treacherous, waves. No itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini for me. No way.

In short, I was apprehensive about a vacation to Hawaii. It turned out, I was right – but not for any of the aforementioned reasons. Read more

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Celebrity Diet: Words to Live By

2 a.m., Any Night of the Week

That’s it. I’ve binged again. Must stop. Must take control. I will go on a Celebrity Diet. Starting right now. Read more

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CIA? Me, a Spy? Oh, My

The Day The Agency Called

Diana Riggs as Emma Peel

I’m not sure what prompted the recollection. I was just sitting on the couch watching some silly spy movie for the 17th time with Handsome Hubby. Somewhere between the commercials, the snacks and nodding off, I engaged in a little middle-aged woolgathering, the way we of a certain age do from time to time. I remembered something I hadn’t thought about in a long time – my own, true-to-life, almost CIA spy adventure.

I was young. (Like I said, it was a long time ago.)

I had studied in the then-Soviet Union, had two degrees in Russian Area Studies – political science, history, language, and economics, and spoke Russian with some degree of fluency.

Then the CIA called.  Read more

Guess Who’s Not Coming to Dinner?

My Husband Threw a Dinner Party, but I Wasn't Invited

Guess Whos Coming to Dinner

“Honey, do you mind if we host a dinner fundraiser at the house for XYZ solar energy non-profit organization next month?” queried Handsome Hubby (HH).

“Of course not, darling,” I devotedly replied. “My casa es tú casa,” I oh-so-wittily added.

“You won’t have to do anything,” he assured me. “It will all be catered and the organization’s staff will be on hand to handle anything that comes up.”

“Of course, darling.”

Pearl Mesta, Smesta

Of late, we have become quite the Pearl and whatever Pearl Mesta’s husband’s name was of hosting events at our home. Our home isn’t large. We can only do gatherings of 40-ish folks for receptions and buffet dinners or just 16-18 for sit-down dinners, but still, we throw a pretty good “do” – if I do say so myself.

As the days ticked down for the solar fête, my husband looked a bit worried.

“Problems with the dinner caterer?” I asked.

“Noooo” came the hesitant reply.

“Unexpected conflict on your calendar? If so, no worries. I can host solo if need be,” I graciously offered.

He got a strange, stricken look on his face. Read more

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Middle-aged Chatter

Why Do We All Talk to Strangers?

Do you remember the doll Chatty Cathy? If you grew up in the early 60s, you probably had one. Second to Barbie, this pull-string talking toy was the most popular doll on the market. I had a Chatty Cathy and loved her dearly.

And like my doll, I was a regular Chatty Cathy. I talked so much as a child that my family used to pay me to keep quiet. I’d get a nickel for every fifteen minutes I’d keep still. The truth is, I didn’t collect many nickels.

I wasn’t just chatty. I was really friendly. I once invited a total stranger over to our house. When he showed up, my mother won’t let him in, of course. But he wouldn’t leave. My mother called the police and that night both my parents gave me a stern lecture about not talking to strangers.

Yet, if I wasn’t supposed to talk to strangers, my middle-aged mother was setting a bad example. Read more

Do Your Ears Hang Low?

Heavy is the Burden of Earrings and Age

sad dog with droopy ears

Pick up a fashion magazine, any fashion magazine, any day of the week, and you’ll find all sorts of tips on how to keep your skin youthful looking, your body from aging, and your hair shiny and healthy. Sadly, however, there is one aging dilemma yet to receive widespread media attention, and that is the problem of droopy earlobes.

Do your ears hang low?
Do they wobble to and fro?

That’s right – droopy earlobes. It is one of those dirty little tricks Mom Nature plays on you. As you get older, your earlobes droop, and all those precious dainty button earrings you have, suddenly don’t look so cute on your now dangling, bobbing, overly-spacious lobes.

What’s a middle-aged fashionista supposed to do?

Read more

Microwave Maladies and Magic

Early one morning our microwave broke. I ordered a new one. A delivery date and time for installation were set and that was that. No big deal, at least not for me, but for others, life without a microwave was a challenge. Read more

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I Ache, Therefore I Am

Age Gracefully. I Dare You!

“I think, therefore I am,” Descartes said. Yet, as people age, many switch to a different, less inspiring paradigm, namely ‘I ache, therefore I am.”

I have, for instance, a cousin who spends entire telephone conversations reciting litanies of medical ills, without offering even one hosanna for the medical miracles that keep him alive and kicking and well enough to bitch and moan the whole time on the phone.

For my part, I have always vowed to age gracefully and suffer silently whatever slings and arrows come my way.

Well, that pledge has been put to the test lately and I confess, I have to give myself barely passing grades in the dignity and grace department.

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Croissants vs. Kisses

I had gotten up early to prepare croissants for my Barnard College book club meeting. I baked, I dressed and was heading out the door, just when the gardener showed up, an hour earlier than expected.

The night before I had given Handsome Hubby (HH) a list of “to do” tasks to review with the gardener. HH had dutifully set his alarm for the expected arrival time. Yet, here was the gardener 60 minutes ahead of schedule and I needed to leave. What to do? I woke HH, who zombie-like lumbered out of bed.

Back in the car, I buckled my seat belt, adjusted the mirror and opened the garage door. I was inching the car out of the garage when I looked up. There was HH gesturing wildly for me to wait.

“Yes?” I expectantly and lovingly asked, opening the car window as he rushed to the side of the car.

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I Embarrass My Husband

The Subject is Flowers

I embarrass my husband. It’s true, I do.

It’s not my weight. My table manners. My political opinions or even my high-pitched snorting laugh. It’s gotten to the point he won’t be seen in public with me – or to be more precise – he won’t go for walks with me.

The path I take, he takes no more.

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From Broadway to Basketball

How I Went Head Over Heels for Hoops

Blame it on the state of the world. Blame it on the folks in Washington, D.C. Blame it on my children or my husband (my personal default fault mode). Whatever the cause, I have long yearned for moral clarity and distinct boundaries between right and wrong. I am tired of gray, of ambiguity, of uncertainty. I need to know who the good guys are, who the bad guys are, and that the outcome of things will be for the best – and to my liking.

And in my desperation, I turned – for the first time in my life – to a new source of solace. No, not religion. Sports. Yes, in the Spring of 2016 I unexpectedly became a devoted – no, make that a fanatical – Golden State Warriors basketball fan. I now proudly sport a tee shirt – make that an officially NBA-sanctioned-tee-shirt. Yes, I pledged allegiance to Dub Nation.

(And to think, just a short time ago, I had to ask my hairdresser what the “Dub” in Dub Nation was. For the uninitiated, non-Californian, it is slang for the beginning phonetic pronunciation of the letter “W” in Warriors which is “dub-bel-yoo.” Got it? Duh!)

But then something happened. Read more

Your Dessert or Mine

Caloric Choices Create Marital Mayhem!

In the old days, my husband and I disagreed about desert vs. mountain locales, city vs. more pastoral settings. Should we live in Las Vegas or Reno? Nevada or New York City or at least Washington, D.C.? Somehow we navigated our way through the difficult marital waters of very different lifestyles and career paths and recently celebrated our 30th anniversary.

However, add an ‘s’ to desert, and we now find ourselves facing a marital incompatibility for which there may be no solution. The issue is dessert. We never saw eye-to-eye on this caloric highpoint of a meal, but when we were younger, it didn’t matter. We could eat a lot (really a lot) and it wasn’t a problem for either of us. Appetizer, bread with butter, soup, salad, big entrée, potatoes, and, of course, dessert – always dessert. We could feast and then exercise it off.

But now, in our late middle years, our “middles” reveal the excesses of our gluttony. You’ve heard the unfortunate expression “muffin top?” I think of my midriff as more of a “seven-layer-cake cascade” and Jon’s as an “ice-cream crescendo.” Read more

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The Cat Conundrum

When Music Mixes with Politics, Which Wins?

Do you remember Cat Stevens? If you are middle-aged, you undoubtedly do. And if you liked folk/rock music, you undoubtedly loved Cat Stevens. Well, I am middle-aged and I loved Cat Stevens. I loved him more than Gordon Lightfoot, on whom I had a slight musical crush. And I probably loved him more than the Beatles, who were my gateway drug to Rock ‘n Roll.

So, I cannot tell you how excited I was to learn that Cat Stevens was touring again. When I read the ad announcing his concert dates, I entered not only the date of his San Francisco concert in my iPhone but also – in all capital letters – with a 15-minute ringtone reminder for safety – the date and time the tickets would go on sale. I canceled my standing exercise class to stay home to buy the tickets at the exact second they went on sale. I sat by my computer, my finger poised above the “buy” button, all in an effort to get the best seats possible. Even so, the tickets I scored were a bit further back than I would have liked, row R, but no matter. Handsome Hubby and I were to set to see Cat Stevens in concert.

I started counting the days.

Read more

My Pain-free, Nonsurgical Facelift

Growing up in Las Vegas, surrounded by exaggerated showgirl images of womanly perfection, a girl gets a harsh sense of her own physical imperfections.

Growing up anywhere in America, bombarded by plastic surgery-altered images of celebrities, a woman gets a clear image of a possible path to physical perfection or at least improvement.

In my youth, I scoffed at the idea of surgical alternations, but now that I’m older, I’m not so sure. Like many a middle-aged woman, I stare in the mirror and catalog a growing litany of facial flaws – jowls, bags under the eyes, thinning lips. Need I say more? And so, I wonder if maybe, just maybe, I should rethink that long-held anti-plastic surgery stance.

Well, amazingly I just found a non-surgical solution to my sagging features and equally sagging self-image – one that restores my former youthful glow and good-(ish) enough looks. And best of all, it didn’t involve a trip to the plastic surgeon’s office.

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Are You Still Sexually Active?

And other Signs you’re not as young as you think you are.

“Are you still sexually active?”

“Excuse me?”

“Are you still sexually active?” repeated the gynecologist, peering up and around my legs.

Why? I worried silently. Was she finding something ‘down there’ to indicate I wasn’t or shouldn’t be?

“Of course, I am,” I replied sharply, snapping my legs together to signal an end to that embarrassing and frankly insulting line of questioning.

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Name Banes

“What's in a name? that which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet;”

middle life crisis

So argued sweet, naïve Juliet about her love Romeo’s last name. Well, as we all know, the tale of Romeo and Juliet did not end well. While many lessons can be learned from this story of teen love gone tragically awry, for me, the lesson is that there is a lot at stake when it comes to your name. And sadly I’ve faced innumerable struggles with mine. Well, not innumerable. I can count them. In fact, to quote Elizabeth Barret Browning, “Let me count the ways.”

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These Boots are no Longer Made for Walking

"Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet, Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment Seat." Rudyard Kipling

middle life crisis

I’m a city girl, as in The City, The Big Apple, New York City. He’s a western, small-town-kind-of-guy. I’m a Gucci-kind-of-girl. He’s always been a cowboy- boot-wearing-guy. And I don’t mean the fancy, handcrafted, custom-made, snakeskin, gold-and-silver encrusted Tony Lama or Lucchese kind of cowboy boots. I mean unadorned, work boots. “Shit-kickers,” as my father so eloquently – and accurately – described them.

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Fat Fall Fashion Magazines

I bought Elle magazine this week. I could not resist its siren call. It was the September/Fall back-to-school issue, the fat issue. You know, the issue loaded with more ads and ostensibly more features than usual, touting the latest in Fall fashions and back-to-school styles. It is, in fact, the only time it is acceptable to use the words “fat” and “fashion magazine” in the same sentence, no less the same issue.

I didn’t really look at the cover. I was transported by the magazine’s girth and recollections of decades ago Fall issues when I really cared about hemlines and waistlines and whether bangs were in or out, hot or not, and in a general sense, what was what and all the latest whatnots.

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