...where every woman over 50 is TOP DOG!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Calling All WOOFers: Cartoon Caption Needed!

Grimmy and his bud are such dogs!
(No, they're not WOOFers, but they're so F-U-N-N-Y!)

On any given day, I love Mike Peters' humor (especially Mother Goose & Grimm.)

In checking out his website , I discovered a new & cool thing he's doing. He creates cartoon drawings with blank talk/thought bubbles where readers submit their ideas to "fill in the blank."

So...here's the deal. On the WOOFers Club blog, once a week (or so), with the help of Milkbone & Mad Dog, I'll post a picture or a WOOFie Sue single-frame cartoon with a blank talk/thought bubble.
YOU supply the caption.

How's this for a starter?

Leave your "fill in the blank" suggestion as a comment.

** Check back Friday to view the "winning" idea! **
Nothing hitting you right now?
It will. Then come back and comment on your idea!

Or...VOTE! Leave a comment with your #1 pick of all the ideas!
Good luck and have fun with it!

Diana (aka d.d. dawg)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Princeton Lakes WOOFers Rock!

Diana and I (row 1- left) were recent guests of the Princeton Lakes (Marietta, GA) Book Club and, trust me, this isn't our mother's book club! These ladies rock!

Long-time member, Linda, contacted me about the book club and asked if we'd like to talk about WOOF: Women Only Over Fifty. Talk about our book? Are you kidding? Diana and I were thrilled to be asked!

The club had already purchased some books and were raring to go with questions, comments and opinions...after wine and delicious hors d'Ĺ“uvres, that is, thanks to host, Pat!

One of the first questions was if we had a favorite story/poem in the book. While I had to stop and think, several members chimed in with their favorites. One thing is clear from the response, there is something for everyone in the book because no single winner emerged.

And, to prove the influence of the Princeton Lakes Book Club, we were presented with copies of John DeDakis's novel, Fast Track in which they are given "special thanks" in the acknowledgements!

Thanks, again, Princeton Lakes Book Club!

To join in the fun, Buy your copy of WOOF!

Or, Buy or order from your favorite independent bookstore. One of ours happens to be, Horton's Books & Gifts!

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Red Dress Diary: Honey Moon?!?

Mad Dog's married! Every Friday we've been reading from her "secret" diary as the big day approached. It's official, she tied the knot!

I will be taking a few weeks off from The Red Dress Diary to enjoy out-of-state family members who will be with us for a while after the wedding. A honeymoon can wait. Right now I am so happy to have Tom and our new life together. During these next few weeks, I will probably be helping my little granddaughter learn how to fish with her new Dora the Explorer pole; reading my grandson a bedtime story about trucks, laughing at my niece's "lame" jokes, singing old camp songs with my sister or gossiping about stars with my stepdaughters. I will tell you all about it later!

Melinda (Mad Dog)

What's your WOOFer breed? Check it out in WOOF: Women Only Over Fifty

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Part II: "Approaching Neverland" Peggy Kennedy Interview

Approaching Neverland author Peggy Kennedy has been producing events in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 20 years, ranging from the Chinese New Year Parade to the Bay Bridge Celebration. She lives with her family in Northern California.

WOOF: Welcome, Peggy! Without giving away too much, because I encourage men and women of all ages to embrace for themselves your powerful memoir, Approaching Neverland, and its message, how were you able to even begin writing this book?

PK: So great to be with you, Diana! Writing our family’s story did indeed seem a daunting task. So I started with scenes from the past that were emotional hot buttons for me. Eventually, I was able to weave those scenes together, filling in details and dialogue. The interesting thing is that once I put myself back into a scene, I could hear in my head what my family members were saying.

WOOF: You’ve said that one reason you wrote your memoir was that you wanted readers to love your family, too. May I just say here and now, you had me at “Cannonball?” (Readers will just have to get the book to know what I mean!) Why was it important to you that others see your family through loving eyes?

PK: So often when we tell someone our story, they’re left with a shorthand version of the key people in our lives. I loved my family too much to have them forever remembered as “the bipolar mother” or “the murdered sister.” They were whole people with big personalities, humor and depth. I wanted readers to meet them, to know them as completely as possible, and love them.

WOOF: You’ve pretty thoroughly examined your formative and adult years, you’re a successful entrepreneur, wife and mother. What do you relish most about this time in your life, about being over fifty?

PK: I love that I’m now willing to fight for what I believe in. I make an effort to really enjoy my friends, family, and all the wonderful people that I’m lucky enough to meet. And I’m doing my best to grin as I hang on to this roller coaster we call life.

WOOF: In closing, I’d like to publically thank you, Peggy, for sharing your story. On a personal level, it’s helped me come to terms a bit more with my own childhood. As a tribute to both of our courageous mothers who instilled us with love in spite of their mental illness, I’m including their pictures. It seems so fitting that your mother, Barbara Jane Kennedy, (pictured left) and mine, Mary Elizabeth Richert, look so much alike!

And thank you, Peggy, for agreeing to this interview. Any parting thoughts for our WOOFer audience?

PK: Thanks so much, Diana. Talking with you has been a real pleasure. There’s no doubt in my mind that our mothers would have relished sitting down together for a cup of coffee and great conversation. You and I wouldn’t have gotten a word in edgewise! I would encourage all you WOOFers to write your own story. I’ll bet you’ll be amazed and gratified at where it takes you.

Interveiw with Diana Black

Approaching Neverland
A memoir of Epic Tragedy & Happily Ever After
By Peggy Kennedy
ISBN 978-1-4401-2613-0
iUniverse, 259 pages

WOOF for more stories about special women in our lives...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Part I: "Approaching Neverland" in the 60s with Peggy Kennedy

Let me think. What was it Jefferson Airplane co-founder said? Oh, yeah. “If you can remember anything from the 60s, then you weren’t really there.”

Well, don’t tell Peggy Kennedy. Albeit a young girl when the decade began, she was there alright, and she definitely remembers.

Unlike J.M. Barrie’s fictional character Peter Pan who enjoyed never-ending childhood, Peggy Kennedy, as she eloquently recounts in her candid memoir, Approaching Neverland, scarcely had time to be a kid.

September 1960: Five-year-old Peggy perches on a chrome chair, arms circling her cereal bowl. Fraught with first-day-of-school jitters, her feet nervously dangle above a zigzag sea of maroon, green and beige linoleum.

“She’s tired this morning,” her father says noticing Peggy looking for her mother. “She needs her rest.”

Heart heavy and hair tangled, Peggy stares at her Cheerios.

Arriving at school under the wings of four siblings, she lingers in the hall while her brother rakes a comb across her ponytail. In class, on best behavior, hands folded in her lap, she’s singled-out and escorted from the room. Her disheveled hair, it appears, betrays her family. It calls attention to the fact everything in the Kennedy home may not be as it seems. Peggy, however, knows the drill. She chokes back tears and the truth.

Home again, anxious to share her day, Peggy and her sisters and brothers are met with The Lone Ranger theme blaring, rooms topsy-turvy and their mother, Barbara, trotting around a “collection of objects, her head thrown back like an Indian circling a captured village.”

Thus the reader begins a powerful, chaotic journey with Peggy and her family through the veiled ravages of mental illness. Children quietly shuffled back and forth to family members. Hushed hospitalizations. Undisclosed attempts by Barbara to whisk them all off to “Neverland.” Once with near fatal consequences.

Such was the fate of a mental illness diagnosis 50 years ago. So little was understood by medical professionals, fearful patients and families knew only to secretly give it their best shot.

Best, however, does not trump loss. Peggy’s brave, beautiful and often humorous account of a family’s efforts to put the pieces back together, again and again, while continuing to endure more tragedy than anyone should ever have to, is a remarkable legacy to the people in her life and their capacity for love. Because, in spite of it all, time after time, even when love was not enough to change the circumstances, it triumphed.

Peter Pan’s youth was everlasting. Peggy, through a willingness to examine and move beyond misplaced childhood to life well-lived, also savors forever. Her closing sentiment in Approaching Neverland: “…sometimes, good things can last and last. And last.”

Review by Diana Black
NEXT TIME ON WOOF! Interview with Peggy Kennedy!

Approaching Neverland
A memoir of Epic Tragedy & Happily Ever After
By Peggy Kennedy
ISBN 978-1-4401-2613-0
iUniverse, 259 pages

WOOF for more stories about special women in our lives...

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Red Dress Diary: Entry 14 - What I Know For Sure

Mad Dog's gettin' married! Every Friday we're reading from her "secret" diary as the big day approaches! Shhh... Entry 14:

The day after tomorrow I become Melinda Lyons. I have had the name Melinda Bailey for forty-one years, but I wanted to take Tom's name, I guess, as another symbol of a new beginning. I still can't believe I am getting married after such a long and happy marriage with Sid.

We all have hardships and pain to endure in this world. At times life can be so cruel that you don't believe you will ever be happy again. But there is always hope. Hope keeps us going and is the light at the end of the tunnel.

As I went through the grieving process, I never hoped that I would marry again. But I did hold on to the idea that one day I would be happy again. I didn't know how or when, but I had to believe in my heart that I would eventually find a way to enjoy life like I did before Sid's death. Combined with that, I had that great healer called time. I also worked hard to find my happiness.

So for anyone out there who is going through a painful time--have hope, faith, patience and work hard to help yourself. You can be happy again. I know!

Melinda (Mad Dog)

What's your WOOFer breed? Check it out in WOOF: Women Only Over Fifty

Monday, June 8, 2009

Linda Rogers Returns!

A special message from Linda Rogers:

I am a little old lady with morning glory and buttercups that challenge my free spirit. "I am for life, but not yours," I say, ruthless bitch that I am. Out with you. It's the same with writing. Some things are keepers and some are not. I have heard songrwriters say they keep one in a thousand. Holy cow. How do you know, you ask? That's a good question.

When a weed slips out of the dirt, you can say, "I got it all!" Some poems feel that way. They come in a piece, as a gift. Others just feel all raggedy and are not worth working on, even though one line might be salvagable for another day. Friends can be like that too, I've noticed. Some just don't fit right.

I am at the age of selectivity. I want good friends and good times. No point running after the elusive whatevers now. There are too many rabbit holes out there, and who needs a sprained ankle?

There is lots to do. Today, I revised fiction.Tonight I am going to write a jingle for my friend Dave Hepburn who hosts the Wisequacks medical advice show. Dave has generously backed our new album of original songs. It has to be funny because Dave is funny. That is as big a challenge as writing a poem for the next royal visit. Every bit of writing is important. Tomorrow I am going to "Rick and Linda Appreciation Day." Our granddaughter Sophie and her BFF Kamille are making our lunch and putting on a show for us. I know they have written a song. I hope it is as funny as the moment we nearly went off the road last week after our counter-culture ( heavy metal) grandson announced he was thinking of playing Romeo opposite a Juliet with a moustache.

Everything has to be funny. Otherwise it is tragic. -- Linda Rogers

Author/poet/performer/ songwriter/journalist/editor Linda Rogers lives in Victoria, B.C., Canada, and is the author of numerous novels, children's books, books of poetry, songs...well, the list goes on and on. Please follow this link to find out more about Rogers' amazing work not only expressing herself creatively, but her committed efforts to empower children around the world.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Red Dress Diary: No. 13 -- Young At Heart

Mad Dog's gettin' married! Every Friday we're reading from her "secret" diary as the big day approaches! Shhh... Entry 13:

Young At Heart

It is almost time for me to walk down the aisle in my red dress! (Yikes! I have so much left to do!) As I prepare for this marriage, I have been thinking about our relationship and what is really important to Tom and me.

One of the things that drew us to each other was optimism. We both try to look at life with youthful enthusiasm. Many older men I dated seemed to be constantly griping about the half empty glass. And Tom said he encountered a lot of negative older women.

Life is too short for that kind of thinking. We just want to be happy and have fun! So we have vowed--before we take those most important vows--to try to always remain young at heart.

Melinda (Mad Dog)

Have ideas to help them stay young at heart?

WOOF: Women Only Over Fifty


Monday, June 1, 2009

You Bought A...WHAT???

Contributing WOOFer, Joann Dunn (no relation to Lucy Ricardo), is a wife, mother, writer and WOOFer with a wickedly humorous outlook on life.

Twenty years ago, I wouldn't have taken the machete incident with such - well. let's say equanimity." It's a good word and I like to think it applies to many things at this point in my life, although it probably doesn't. But back to the machete.

As I put my coffee cup and newspaper on the table on our screened-in porch, I noticed a largeish object, long and flat, cardboard encased. The printing on the packaging said "Machete. 24 inches." Now twenty years ago I would have screamed "A machete? You bought a machete? Are you crazy?" But I have matured, and I have learned a lot. For instance, if there is going to be an upheaval, you don't want your opposition to be able to answer "no" to the first volley. You want to start with a " yes." So you start off with something like, "Darling, is this a machete?" followed up by something equally innocuous as, "And is it your machete?" See, already you have two yes's." When you get to "And you are going to get rid of this machete, aren't you?" "yes" will be so much easier.

Anyway, twenty years ago I would have said something like "Are you crazy?" Oh, yes, right, I already said that. I would have followed that up with "Do you want the children to kill themselves?" See, totally wrong. Another "no" for an answer. He would have had to defend his machete and "machete" and "manhood" are both "m" words, along with "mother," and we can see where that argument is going.

So, to cut to the chase, the fact that I am over fifty substantially contributed to the peaceful resolution of the question of using a two foot machete to cut the weeds along the back fence, although there was a nasty exchange about Jose Ferrer playing Toulouse Lautrec while walking on his knees, but only those of you over fifty who have seen the old "Moulin Rouge" without the giddy whirling lights will know what I mean.

Joann Dunn Bio:

Joann Wasem Dunn was born and grew up in central Illinois. She graduated summa cum laude from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, and received her juris doctor degree from Loyola University School of Law in Chicago where she later taught a number of subjects, including writing.

After moving to the Atlanta area she was a writing consultant to law firms and a portrait painter. In the last few years, she has turned to writing full time, concentrating on fiction. Her series, The Curtis Family Chronicles, set in the Midwest at the end of the 1800’s and the beginning of the twentieth century, consists of three volumes, and she is working on the fourth. She has also written mysteries and humor

She has been nominated for Georgia Author of the Year for 2008, by the Georgia Writer’s Association, for books two and three of the Curtis series, Fortune’s Road and Autumn’s Road. She lives in Marietta with her husband Kevin, a journalist. They have two grown children.

Joann Dunn

Due West Books