Don’t Go Smelling My . . .

kiki dee

When you live with boys and men (larger boys, really), one thing is inevitable– farts.  For some reason, men love their farts.  The first time my husband told me that he and  best friend Steve used to light their farts when they were boys, I was appalled.  Continue reading

Gloria Steinem Lied to Me


Gloria Steinem how could you lie to me
You told me how my life could be
A worthwhile career
And a marriage too
But what I’ve discovered
Is that it’s just not true
Is it a myth that I’ve uncovered
Or a fantasy from my own youth

Gloria Steinem you defied convention
But somehow you failed to mention
Someone has to keep
The home fires burning
Someone has to be home
When the kids arrive from school
If both of us are out there earning
Who will drive the cotillion carpool?

Gloria I heard what you used to say
But who will to go to the PTA
The girl scout meetings
And swim team practice?
Who cooks the kids dinner
When we both have to work late?
Someone has to help them practice
For their high school debates

Gloria these childhood times are so fleeting
I won’t miss them for a meeting
If I try for both
Will I somehow lose?
Or do I have to choose?
If I put my job on pause
Will my mom have burned her bra in vain?
Will Betty Freidan turn in her grave?

(c) 2015 Renata Manzo

We All Break the Rules Sometimes


Rules and Regulations
And real estate are things I’ve left behind
Mandalay Again, lyrics by B. Taupin
2010 Mercury Records Ltd.

The other day I was sitting in the waiting room of my therapist’s office. The receptionist was at lunch, so there was a sign telling patients to check in at the main office. My therapist is located in one building that is part of a complex of medical office buildings. The main office is around the corner.

I don’t walk to the main office to check in. My therapist checks me in on her laptop during our appointment. I am not trying to be difficult, but something irks me about having to go to another office to check in. They are understaffed so I have to walk in the rain? Not that I don’t need the exercise. It’s the principle of the thing. It’s a dumb rule.

Anyway, another patient came in and read the sign. Then he asked me if we had to do it.  Continue reading

POLL–Perfume commercials at Christmas time– they stink


Does anyone else hate the perfume commercials on TV as much as I do? They make no sense and sometimes dance on the border of profanity. I love Charlize Theron as an actress, but her perfume commercials, yuck.  And the two girls under the raincoat who look like they are about to kiss?  Double yuck.

Lord knows I’m not a prude, but I don’t want to see that while I’m watching Blackish (yes, I watch Blackish and I like it!)


Reading while driving to work– it’s easier than you think–Updated

‘Cause we’re rolling in heavy traffic
Judy’s in the jump seat and Jody’s in the bucket
Billy likes to drive and Jackie’s just high
And Cindy thinks we’re all gonna commit suicide
‘Cause we’re rolling in heavy traffic
Yeah we’re rolling in heavy traffic
Heavy Traffic, lyric by Bernie Taupin
(c) 1988 Big Pig Music Limited

Do you know about Audible?  It’s great.  If you like to listen to books on tape in the car, you will love Audible.  It’s so much better than fiddling with discs, which inevitably fall in that crack between the driver’s seat and the middle console.  You know the crack I’m talking about?  The one that’s wide enough to swallow things that drop, but not wide enough for your hand to you can retrieve them.   When you are holding a coffee cup in your left hand and your right hand is stuck in that crack, it makes it rather awkward to drive.  Not that I would ever do that.   I’m too busy putting on makeup with my left hand to drink coffee. 
And then there’s that ridiculous set up that some fool devised where the discs are kept in the trunk!   It’s difficult to change them when you are driving.  It helps to have someone else hold the wheel while you crawl over the front seat, hang out of the back window and try to pop the trunk open.   And don’t forget to keep your foot on the gas so you can keep going. 

Audible saves you from all that.  Instead of discs, you simply download the book to your phone.  Just make sure you start the book before you start driving so people won’t think you’re texting while driving.

It’s important to pick the right kind of book to listen to while driving.  If you are on a long drive with lots of highway time, it’s ok to pick a book that is intense and requires concentration to follow. 

But don’t listen to this kind of book in heavy traffic, or when you are trying to follow directions to get to someplace you’ve never been before.  I’ve learned that the hard way.  The GPS woman kept competing with Jeremy Irons while he narrated “Brideshead Revisited.”  I kept looking for an English manor house in Yorkshire instead of an office building in Innsbrook.  It was very confusing. 

It’s better to listen to something light and fluffy when you are driving to work.   That way, you don’t miss much while you are yelling at the bozo in front of you to inch forward so you can make it to the left turn lane before the light changes.  I hate that. Or have you ever noticed when there are two lanes but both cars in front of you are driving 10 miles under the speed limit?  During rush hour?  You switch back and forth between lanes, hoping that one of the cars will turn at the next light.  You don’t do that?  I guess it’s just me.  You are probably in the car behind me saying, “what is that fool doing?”  Am I right?

Back to the books.  My choice for commuting is memoirs of famous people.  But not famous people who did something to save the world, like Winston Churchill.   No, I’m talking mostly about entertainers.  They usually narrate their own books (if they are still alive that is), so the narration is often as humorous as the book itself. 

Take My mother was Nuts by Penny Marshall, for example.  It is hysterical.  She has that New York drawl that seems to make any story funnier.   She starts with the story about a couple of guys who break into her house while she was inside.  She had a conversation with them.  They were bumbling idiots, to put it mildly.  
I also learned some things about Penny Marshall that I did not know, and probably didn’t care to know, but it was fun to learn nevertheless.   Like the fact that she went to the University of Arizona.  Arizona?  Or that she has a huge collection of sports memorabillia.  Or that she let her ex-husband raise their daughter so she could focus on her career.  It’s good that she knew her strengths.  Too bad taking birth control pills wasn’t one of them. 

Lacking motherhood skills seems to be a theme with some of these actresses.    Carrie Fisher is an exception.  But she had other problems to deal with (like electroshock therapy.)  Listen to Shockaholic.  Carrie is very forthright about her mental health issues.   She and Penny Marshall are good friends, by the way.  Laughter is the best medicine, after all.


Loretta Young

Another great book to listen to is Kate Remembered by A. Scott Berg.  If you love old Hollywood, you will love this one.  I’ve listened to it twice.  Once for the story and once for the narrator, Tony Goldwyn.  He does a great job imitating her voice!  You’ll recognize Tony Goldwyn because he is now playing the President on Scandal.  He also played the bad guy in the movie “Ghost.”  

Katherine Hepburn

Kate knew better than to have children.   Scott tells a great story in which Kate explains why she never had children — other than the fact that she lived with a married man, Spencer Tracy, for many years, and in those days, actresses did not have children out of wedlock.  Instead they adopted them.  Sometimes for real, and sometimes, as in the case of Loretta Young, they had the baby out of sight and then adopted the baby.   It seems like such a convoluted way to do things today, but back then, that’s what you did if you wanted to keep your career going.  Or, as in the case of Joan Crawford, sometimes actresses adopted children to revive their flagging careers. (At least according to some sources.)  Does that still happen today?  I wonder.  By the way, the father of Loretta Young’s daughter was none other than Clark Gable, who was married to someone else at the time.

Anyway, Kate (I can call her Kate now that I’ve listened to the book twice), says “This is why I never had children.  Let’s say young Johnny has a fever, but I have to act in a show on Broadway.  I would have no choice but to smother little Johnny with a pillow.”  It’s funnier when Tony tells the story.

Speaking of old Hollywood, I listened to Shirley Jones’ autobiography, called, appropriately, Shirley Jones.  Many people don’t realize that Shirley did broadway shows and movies (like Oklahoma) before she became David Cassidy’s on-screen mother in that ground-breaking tv show, The Partridge Family.   Who can forget that multi-colored bus?  I’m kidding about the ground-breaking part.  That  was All in the Family.

Anyway, talk about TMI.  She discusses how well-endowed her late husband, Jack Cassidy was, and how he passed that trait on to her own sons and stepson David Cassidy.  Ewwww.    Then there’s the chapter on her love of, uh, pleasuring herself?  Yeah, TMI.

Tina Fey’s Bossypants, is another good memoir, if only for the comment she makes about her impression of UVA, where she went to school—“the girls there all rode horses, or looked like them.”   In case you are wondering, she refuses to explain how she got the scar on her face.   It must have been something traumatic.

Right now I’m listening to Ellen DeGeneres’ latest book, Seriously . . . I’m Kidding.  As with many other celebrity memoirs, she narrates this one herself.  I love Ellen and I think she’s very funny, but I can’t believe this is her third book.  Poor John Steinbeck must be rolling over in his grave.  Not that I would listen to Steinbeck while I’m driving, for the reasons explained above.

Quote from Ellen’s new book

The book is ok, but not in the same league with the others I’ve mentioned.  At least not so far.  In my 9.8 mile commute this morning, which takes about 20 minutes, she read 7 chapters.  I did laugh, but that says more about my sense of humor, not her rapier wit.  I can’t even remember what she talked about in that 20 minutes.  Love Ellen, though, love her.  I don’t want to hurt her feelings because she seems like such a nice person who might get her feelings hurt easily.  Plus Portia looks like she could kick my ass.

But at least the book kept me from yelling at the driver in front of me or hopping lanes like a hummingbird switching between two bird feeders outside a window.

P.S.– Ellen’s book is, sadly, terrible.  The last chapter I listened to was entitled “Meditation” and consisted of a blank page.  This did not translate well in an audio book.  Blank page = silence.  Not funny, I’m afraid.  She must have used up all her funny stuff on her first two books.

Now I am listening to Neil Patrick Harris’ memoir, Choose Your own Autobiography.  It is, like him, very funny. 


I believe in ghosts; why don’t they believe in me?

When the shrill winds are screaming
And the evening is still
Lady Samantha glides over the hills
In a long satin dress that she wears every day
Her home is the hillside, her bed is the grave
Lady Samantha, lyrics by Bernie Taupin
(c) 1968 Dick James Music Limited

 I’ll freely admit that I believe in ghosts.  I love reading ghost stories and visiting haunted places.  I’ve read many of Williamsburg author L.B. Taylor’s ghost books (Ghosts of Williamsburg, Ghosts of Richmond, etc. ) 

 I believe in ghosts, but they don’t seem to believe in me.    Continue reading

Please no naked men in the men’s locker room

Billy showed me this comment card on our way out of the Y yesterday:

Someone else must have written the “OLD MEN DON’T KNOW BETTER.”   For some reason, this comment really ticked Billy off.  I didn’t understand why until we got into the car.  As we were driving home, Billy said:  “I shave naked in the locker room.” 

I understand now.  Billy is obviously one of the “excessive number of men” referenced in the comment.  Billy is not, of course, the one drying his hair.  He has no hair to dry.

“Why don’t you put on your underwear before you shave?” I asked.

“Because I get out of the shower, shave, put on my deodorant and then bet dressed.”

I get it.  It’s his routine.  He shaves naked at home too, but I don’t mind.   Billy is not about to change his routine because of some prude in the locker room.

Speaking of routines, I have settled into one also.  Billy and I go to the Y almost every day.  I feel good while I’m working out and for a couple of hours afterward, but then the endorphins drain away and I go back to feeling depressed and anxious.  I’ve been eating a lot of Tums lately for the anxiety.  I get chest pains when I’m anxious.

We have only had one viewing for our house.  One.  I guess it’s because of the snow.

My mother has found a new apartment and is marginally speaking to us again.

I’m looking for a new job, but it has to be on my terms– less stress.  Finding a new job is proving to be more difficult than I thought it would be.  I’d like to combine several part time jobs into a full time job:  some teaching, some free lance writing, and some legal work.  My therapist keeps saying I have a lot of options, but I wonder.

Perhaps I could get a job at the Y as an attendant in the men’s locker room.