The MAD Goddess writes out loud with candor and humor about the changing landscape of life for women with retired husbands,
adult children, and grandchildren. It's not always a pretty story,
but it's usually pretty funny.

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Friday, September 9, 2011


It’s eight-thirty on a morning that is approaching the pseudo-summer days of fall and I’m enjoying a gourmet coffee and cranberry-walnut muffin. A welcome breeze is rustling the leaves of a maple tree that wraps its arms around the corner windows where I sit nestled into a quilt covered futon. I could almost reach out to pluck one of those leaves from a branch tip, yet the limbs are not scraping against the siding. They are at such a perfect distance it seems they have been carefully groomed to create this tree-house like sanctuary.

From the street below comes the sound of occasional traffic. Voices of passers-by float through the window screens on the breeze. I have read the news, caught up on correspondence and will soon be coiffed and off to a few boutiques I’ve been dying to explore. The city is peppered with such shops in neighborhoods of venerable brick storefronts; small enclaves rich with character that has not been assassinated by the blight of malls.

I have dreamed of living exactly like this, in a second floor walk-up with a porch overlooking the street below. I have dreamed of morning coffee with pastries, of lunches in a storybook bistro where I would be a fixture – the author working on her next novel.

Having grown up in a very small town, and spending all of my adult life living in a rural community where everything of convenience is at least thirty miles away, the wonder of what city life would be has been a constant companion whispering in my ear. But mine was a life of keeping a home, raising children and tending vegetable gardens – envied by my city sisters.

I’m certain this secret longing I’ve had to experience the life of a carefree woman in the city has been just that, a secret. I didn’t talk about it, I didn’t write about it. It wasn’t a life goal on my list. It was an undisclosed love and yet, somehow, my daughter has turned it into such accurate reality it’s as if she knew my secret all along.

I is she who brings me to this place that I have dreamed of. It is a magical place suspended in time for me – sitting here, I feel like a young ingĂ©nue with the world awaiting. Yet, as enamored as I am of this place, I caution myself. I must not usurp my daughter’s territory. I WILL not be one of those mothers living vicariously through her progeny.

I have a hunch she doesn’t quite see the romance in all of this that I do. Like any relationship, the lure of the city grows faint with time. Battling her way to and from work on traffic clogged thoroughfares cools love’s flame. As time wears on, the warts of the city can make the once handsome suitor begin to look a lot like a frog.

I know that one day she will look back on this time with the fond memories one holds for a love than cannot be recaptured. I am hopeful that until then, she can appreciate this moment in her life for what it is; her awakening into self. And I thank her, for sharing this time with me.

As for me, I plan to visit now and then to remind her what a “catch” her life is; just not so often as to make her bar the doors. After all, this little perch in the corner of the second floor porch, overlooking the not too busy street below, is her home, not mine. I’ll have to remain content with being a secret admirer.

. . . . . mid
GET A ^ LIFE at MAD Goddess

Friday, July 15, 2011


The weather this summer has been less than ideal; far less than ideal.  If it’s not raining for days and nights on end, it's likely that the heat and humidity index is sufficient that I have crossed ironing my summer cotton wardrobe off my list.  I just put a shirt or shorts on all wrinkled and disheveled and after two minutes outdoors, they’re as smooth as permanent press.

It’s bad enough that my summer days have been limited ever since my birth in the land of the north.  Close to the Canadian border, I am lucky to count on June, July and August for temperatures high enough to pack away the Cuddl Duds and expose my sickly white flesh to those essential Vitamin D boosting rays of the sun.

I’ve gone through more than half of all the summers I’m ever going to get. The older I get, the more precious the salad days of sunshine and balmy breezes become to me.  Every single one that I am cheated out of fills me with resentment and an urge to shake my fist and rail at the gods of weather.

So far this summer I have been either cold and wet, or wet and sticky and I can’t get that darn quack, quack, waddle, waddle song out of my head. “We are nippersinkers, we’re in luck, if it rains all week just pretend you’re a duck.”

In fact, I’m so desperate that if I thought doing a sun dance at high noon in the village square, naked except for my rubber rain boots, would guarantee the next thirty days of summer unfold in the low 80s' with a balmy western breeze (make that the last 30 days – one and the same around here),  I’d be shakin’ my tush off. 

Do the butt dance . . .
(_|_)   (_\_)   (_|_)   (_/_)   (_|_)   (_\_)
 . . . doo, doo, doo, doo . . .

Not sure that would have much affect on the weather, but it would certainly give new meaning to the name MAD Goddess around here.

I’ve got places to go, people to see and things to do that don’t accommodate rain dates.  I’ve been in my swimming pool twice this year – and one of those times was to bail the water down after a deluge so my air mattress wouldn’t float over the edge with the over flow.

The only thing this weather is good for is growing mushrooms and mold.  Come to think of it, this jungle climate has me feeling a lot like a moldy mushroom and at this age I could go bad real fast.

Maybe I could just install fluorescent lighting fixtures in my “sun” room, fit them out with tanning bulbs, turn the fan on, haul the deck furniture inside, mix up a pitcher of umbrella drinks and call the girls over for for a little age-preservation therapy.

. . . . . . mid
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Wednesday, June 22, 2011


The Drs. aired a Special episode today with an all male audience to ask everything they always wanted to know but don’t understand about women.  One man wanted to know what it is with women and chocolate.  He thought that sometimes women would prefer chocolate to sex.  At least he thinks his woman would, so they all must be that way, right?

His ego-arrogance aside (maybe she only prefers chocolate to sex with him), it got me thinking.  What is this hold chocolate has over so many women and why does it seem to be a female- mostly addiction.

I’m not buying all that malarkey about estrogen and hormonal imbalance driving a women like a wild stallion out of control, the poor female doing her best just to keep hold of the reins. 

For instance, estrogen is supposed to be the “feel good” hormone.  There’s just one flaw in the ointment – PMS. For those who suffer it, PMS symptoms are worse when estrogen is at it’s highest. Then, they seem to be far more relaxed and calm when estrogen drops to its lowest monthly level right after ovulation.

The flaw is in the narrow parameters of the studies.  They forget to factor in that estrogen also boosts brain function.  It’s the reason why we become forgetful in menopause when estrogen starts drying up along with everything else.

Though men refuse to admit it, study after study indicates that women are more prone than men to compromise and “let things go” for the sake of harmony in a relationship. Perhaps when estrogen peaks and takes brain function and reasoning along with it, women simply can't dumb themselves down enough to keep from throwing their perfectly valid two cents (uh, sense) into the pot.

So what about the chocolate?  I have a theory on that too.  Did you doubt that I would?

When a man is courting a woman, trying to impress her, win her over with his charm and gallantry, he talks to her in sweet tones, smiles a lot, gives her gifts (little and big) compliments her regularly and generally feeds her on a feel good diet.  Powerful drug that feel good stuff is.

But it doesn’t last.  I point again to science.  Prehistoric men were hardwired to be hunters and warriors.  Fast forward and it’s still lurking in their DNA; they hunt for jobs, they compete with other employees for promotions and raises, they watch their sports teams battle it out on the field, maybe they hunt wild game . . . and they hunt and compete for a mate.  The very challenge of finding her and winning out over all the other men gets their blood up.

Once the woman is won, their brain starts dragging them off to find new conquests on the modern day hunting grounds and battlefields of jobs and sports and backyard barbeques.  The sweet tones become flat, the smiles are fleeting, and the compliments have to be dragged from the dark, cobwebby recesses of the brain cave.

“Honey, how do I look in these jeans?”

Can you believe that, handed the opening on a silver platter, some guys still don’t get it?

The Drs. said today that chocolate contains certain chemicals that mimic the feel good substances, like serotonin, in our brains.  Just so you know, so do fat and sugar.  So, after being slyly seduced and helplessly addicted to the feel good diet of our courtship, we crave the high that those sweet words of love and adoration gave us.

But the supply line has dried up, so we stuff chocolate in our mouths like a heroine addict sucks down methadone.  We prefer the dark chocolate (something else men don’t understand) because it has the greatest percentage of cacao – a better high.  But like any addict, we’ll take what we can get.  Admit it, you’ve stood with the fridge door open slurping from the can of Hershey’s Syrup.

Supposedly, long distance running produces the same feel good chemicals – the runners’ high.  Remember that movie with Julia Roberts, The Runaway Bride?  Maybe she had this figured out.

As for me, I think I have the solution to my addiction and for shedding the weight that is, literally, rolling around my midsection.  I just need somebody to dangle a chocolate bar off the back of their truck and get me to chase it for a couple of miles every day.

. . . . . . mid
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Monday, May 23, 2011


You  may not know this, but I am a Certified Health and Wellness Coach and I specialize in motivating women to care for themselves in midlife and beyond.  A recurring theme in my workshops is weight management.

I’m great at helping other women figure out what they can to do to achieve their fitness goals and set up supportive environments that will help them succeed.  To be honest, I don’t have a problem outlining my own plan for fitness, and lets face it, weight loss is a big part of that plan.

My personal problem is with the motivation.  I’ve been canoodling on this for a good year now – well when I wasn’t hunched over textbooks trying to make facts stick to my aging gray matter.  Too bad the information doesn’t stick to my brain the way every single calorie I eat sticks to my ass.

Anyway, I am a straight A student.  I’m a successful author.  I am a pretty darn good mother (so my kids tell me).  I’ve excelled at every job I’ve ever had.  Everything I do, I do at 110%. 

So why can’t I excel in a fitness program the way I do in other areas of my life? Motivation and boredom.  I lack the motivation to engage in physical activity that is short of torture while being less mind engaging that sorting sox.

Also, I’m a praise junkie.  Whether it’s a teacher, a client or an editor, receiving a pat on the back, an “Atta girl!” or any other acknowledgement of a job well done, gives me an endorphin high to rival any drug induced mind trip.

Clearly, I need a personal trainer who will give me my daily does of praise - but only when deserved. But not just any trainer will do.  I need my Jr. High phys-ed teacher and gymnastics coach, Mrs. Farmakes. It's important that you are saying the name correctly in your head; far - mach - ass, accent on the first syllable.  You can see how that is much more formidable than far - makes.

Mrs. Farmakes was anything but svelte.  She sat on the bottom bleacher with a clipboard and a whistle, barking instructions and critiquing with a critical eye.  She was the teacher you hated, until you won first place in the track and field sprints, or hammered the opposing basketball team, or heard the roar of applause for your perfect cartwheel, back hand-spring, round-off.

I have no idea where she is today, but I’ve got a plan.  One of the tools I use with my own clients is having them create visions boards – collages depicting their goals.  Vision boards are the warm fuzzies of motivation, filled with pictures and words meant to be uplifting, positive and encouraging.

Suddenly my own vision board seems wholly inadequate for the job.   A conglomeration of graceful yoginis, slim women walking along the beach or through the park, and gardening with floppy brimmed hats upon their heads – all overlaid with cut-out words to make phrases like, “New steps to enrichment,” and "Balancing body, soul and spirit,” is not what I need.

My hubby, who spent three years in the regular army and 20 years as a Sergeant in the National Guard, offered his services to whip me into shape.  I declined for the sake of harmony in our marriage, but it got me to thinking.

What I need is a poster sized cut out of Mrs. Farmakes – or a reasonable facsimile – with word balloons of stern commands and brutally honest critiques that will make me want to punch her lights out.

I don’t need guided visualizations on CD of soft voiced hypnotists telling me to listen to my body and give it what it needs.   I need a stern voiced old broad telling me the cottage cheese on my thighs could feed a starving country.

Mrs. Farmakes, if you’re out there, I hope you don’t take offense.  You are the best motivator I ever had, and I’m hoping you will be again.

.  . . . mid

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I’m reading this book that says naming my private parts will empower me.  Now don’t laugh.  Men have been naming their “little men” for – well who knows for how long? I just know they do it.  If you don’t know that, it’s only because your man (or men) haven’t told you, or at least said something along the lines of, “Marco Polo wants to play seek and hide.”

Men name everything.  Cars for instance.  Men can tell you the name of every car they’ve ever owned.  I don’t mean its make or model, I mean the name they utter when they stroke the dash – “Come on Suzy, lets go for drive.”  Or when they floor the gas pedal – “Come on Boss, get me out of this one.”

I probably should name my cars. At this age, there have been so many they all just blur together.  I’ve been driving the Monte Carlo for almost three years and I still refer to it as the Impala.  Now, both Monte, and Carlo are fine names, but they are not the names given by me and there in lies the theory that naming something, anything, is empowering.

And why men name everything . . . it is their God-given power; power over that which is named.
For those who might not know, in the Christian tradition God gave the first man, Adam, dominion over everything He created. So what is the first thing Adam does?  Goes about naming everything; all the animals, and plants, and flowers, and trees and . . . you get the idea.  And while he is doling out these monikers, he’s thinking I have dominion over you, and you, and you.

I have a theory that men give their girlfriends & wives arbitrary pet names for the same reason.  Honey, Sugar, Peaches, or Pookie gives him a sense of power in the relationship that using your given name (given to you by another) doesn’t.

So that’s the idea. If I name my cars, they will do my bidding.  If I name my vagina it will do my bidding, and not some man’s (or any man’s) without my say so.

Not a bad idea.  And if I name my husband . . . no, no that won’t work, ‘cause if I start screaming a name not his at the wrong time there is going to be big trouble.

Sex in the City covered this business when Charlotte and her sexually recalcitrant hubby were seeing a therapist.  They were both advised to giver their parts names so as to be more comfortable talking about them getting together.  They choose some nautical reference whose blandness escapes me – Schooner and Dingy or some such thing.

I wonder how men choose these names they give to their parts?  Most of them are just other male appropriate names – always with masculine connotations, of course. You wouldn’t hear a man calling his penis, Percival, for instance. Or, appropriate names may refer to a natural element of some substance and density.  Rock is popular as are its derivatives, Roco and Rocky.

But what makes one name better than another, and should I be thinking of something ultra feminine?  Desiree?  Of course, that means desire.  Too hokey for me.

How about Scarlet?  She was a feminine but strong and independent woman.  Nah, it seems, somehow, too graphic.

Mona? The Mona Lisa certainly possesses that, “I have a secret” smile. No, not Mona – too ripe for a pun.

As I pondered what great, empowering name I could bestow upon my little self, I couldn’t help but thinking of a certain James Bond femme fatal whose name incurred both shock and awe when uttered on the big screen . . . the infamous Pussy Galore. Now that’s an empowering name!

But that name is taken.  And then my eye fell to the little perfume bottle on my vanity.  Baby Phat, with its sleek, Egyptian looking feline branding.

Baby Phat?  Am I so confident that I could carry a name that might be misconstrued as fat, not Phat?
The big cats have always been my totem animal.  Sleek, quick, beautiful, and so powerful with their ferocity always at the ready.  Panthers, tigers and leopard skin shoes – oh my!

Baby Phat was out.  The final winner in the name game alludes to those beauteous, powerful, prideful animals of the big cat kingdom.

The Christian tradition may have given Adam dominion through the action of naming the world around him, but earlier, ancient, Goddess traditions say that to reveal your true name, that which is given to you by the Divine and known only by you and your creator, is to give away your power.
What?  You didn’t think I was going to tell you, did you?


. . . . . . mid
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