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Not Ready for Granny Panties
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Dirty Little Secrets of a Man–and a Ladder

By: Mary Fran Bontempo
IMG_0907My husband is dating a ladder.

As every woman knows, the bloom and excitement of new love lasts but a short time between a man and a woman. But between men and their tools, well, that’s a lifelong affair.

I lost Dave’s heart to a ladder about a year and a half ago, when, on our bi-weekly visit to our version of the country club, a.k.a. Costco, we happened upon a young woman performing gymnastics with a ladder. As Dave watched, fascinated, she flipped, folded and bent the thing into more positions than in the Kama Sutra. No woman could compete, and Dave wasn’t the only guy standing in the aisle transfixed and kind of drooling.

Nor was I the only woman dragging her guy away, as if steering him from a back alley behind a club on Bourbon Street.

“No. No way. If you get on that damn thing, you’ll kill yourself. That is way too much ladder for you,” I scolded. I almost added, “You’re too old for that,” but I stopped myself in time.

When guys are young, they hide stolen copies of Playboy beneath their mattresses. When they grow up, it’s tool catalogs, which are by far the bigger threat. I mean, no ordinary guy is going to wind up with a Playboy centerfold, but a titanium hammer or a ladder that extends to twelve feet, now that’s a possibility. (I could go a little off-color here and allude to any number of reasons as to why a twelve foot extension ladder appeals, but I won’t. The ladder is also called the “Little Giant.” Discuss.)

Suffice it to say, the guys have to be protected from themselves. I mean, they could really get hurt, with either the Playboy magazines or the tools. And if a guy is only a weekend warrior with a tool belt, the stakes are even higher. (Once, when Dave was debating over whether to take down an entire section of fencing or simply patch it with a new section, he asked daughter Laura’s opinion. “Well, Dad,” she said, “you’re going to hurt yourself either way, so you just need to decide if you want to get hurt taking something down or putting something up.” I almost peed myself.)

But there comes a time when you have to let your guy have some fun, and given that our back porch in O.C. needed re-screening and the ladder we were working with was literally falling apart, I relented. “Okay. You can go to Costco and get that ladder. I don’t like the idea, but it’s safer than what we have now. Just promise me you’ll take it easy with the thing, will you?”

On Friday, Dave emerged from the car grinning like the Cheshire Cat, ladder in tow. He hasn’t looked that happy since…well, let’s just say it’s been a really long time.

To ensure that he knew how to handle his new love, the manufacturers provided a DVD along with instructions that began with the heading, “Getting to Know Your Ladder,” which he poured over, fascinated.

Until, that is, he realized they were directions, an anathema to men, at which point we became a threesome as he needed me to figure out how to work the thing.

Which just goes to prove that while a guy may love his tools, he’ll always come back to a woman willing to read directions.


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Advice for Men–A Monday Cartoon for You!

Pay attention, fellas–these are words to live by. Happy Monday!

–Mary Fran

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The Great & Powerful Oz

By: Chrysa Smith


First there was the wizard–the mysterious voice behind the curtain that granted wishes in the land of Oz. And more recently, there’s the other Oz—the one of television fame, whose medical advice is dished out daily to those of us hungry for some self-help. Whenever I’m home for lunch, I tune in. And each time, I pick up a trick or two; a piece of knowledge or two that makes me run to the whole food market or nutritional store for the latest Rx that will cure my woes.

He’s an outstanding success. And I believe it’s because he’s an interesting mix of trained western medicine, eastern medicine and nutrition.  I often wonder how the larger medical community handles him because he’ll send women to the grocery store to get cranberry juice for urinary tract infections; telling them they don’t need antibiotics. He’ll tell you how unusual foods can help attain healthy bodies–things like Fenugreek, Yacon, Hemp, Chia. But he’ll also tell you about supplements–like Raspberry Ketones and Garcinia Cambogia for weight loss. He’s a trained surgeon who still practices, so you know he’s exceptionally knowledgeable. But perhaps most interesting to me, are his props.

Oz feels no squeamishness about whipping out a preserved human organ. Plastic tubes imitate veins and arteries. I even saw an audience member smashing a make-shift zit or boil, demonstrating just what happens beneath the surface, so to speak. Unlike some physicians, he talks in real language, taking the time to explain what’s really going on inside the body, rather than listening to your complaint and handing you a little white piece of paper. He makes you understand your body just a little bit better, making you a better healthcare consumer. And he believes strongly that what you eat plays a direct role in why you are feeling great, or like a Mack truck just ran you down.

For those of us living life ‘in the middle,’ this kind of stuff in invaluable. I don’t know about you, but I’m so much more health conscious than ever. Sure, I just wolfed down more peanut M&M’s than I care to attest to this weekend, but generally, I’ve weaned almost completely from diet soda. At least I never buy it for the house, although I will have it out occasionally. I buy much more organic meat, mostly local farm milk and produce when possible and have added more servings of fruit and veggies to our diets. An increased exercise schedule completes it and I must say, generally, I feel better both with the sore and strained muscles and clarity of mind.

If you’re not already an ‘Ozzie’, check your local listings and see if this wizard of health doesn’t cause you to make a few changes of your own.

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The Lazy Song by Bruno Mars

Just try not bopping your head to this! A lazy song for a lazy summer day, and with over 500 MILLION hits on You Tube, it’s safe to say Bruno Mars is speaking for a lot of us. Enjoy!

–Mary Fran

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A Monday Cartoon for You!

And this is how we should all start our mornings….Happy Monday!
–Mary Fran


jim cartoon

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Michael Buble In Concert

By: Mary Fran Bontempo

I know I’m dating myself, but do you remember crooners?

Truth be told, I don’t either, at least not directly. Crooners were of the Frank Sinatra generation, and of course, Sinatra was the king of crooners. Thanks to my parents, mostly my dad, I was pretty well schooled in Sinatra, but I never swooned over Sinatra. The closest I ever came to swooning over a singer was my massive crush on Donny Osmond, and he was not, nor ever will be, a crooner.

Michael Buble, however, is another story.

Last Saturday, Dave and I ventured into Sodom and Gomorrah, also known as Atlantic City, for a concert at Boardwalk Hall. The talent? The one and only Michael Buble, simply the best, and perhaps the only, of the modern day crooners. (Sorry Robin Thicke–anyone who comes within twenty yards of a twerking Miley Cyrus is immediately disqualified.)

Opening act, Naturally 7, a seven member acapella group, warmed up the audience with an impressive 40 minute set of vocal gymnastics, featuring an array of sound that made it hard to believe there wasn’t an instrument on the stage.

Then, after a brief intermission, Buble made his entrance, suave, smooth, handsome oh, and let’s not forget that voice. Buble is one of those iconic singers with a unique sound. He opens his mouth and you know it’s him. Which is not a bad thing at all, given his way with a melody and a phrase.

Buble brings to mind Sinatra and Dean Martin, and readily admits their influence on his style. But he’s also at home with the Motown sound, as he proved on a medley of tunes when he was joined onstage by his opening act.

An hour and forty-five minutes later, Buble closed the show by walking on the stage alone, no musicians, no pyrotechnics, nothing. He proceeded to stand alone and sing to the crowd–without a microphone. Now that’s a singer. Buble is the whole package–a crooner for modern times. I think Sinatra would be proud–and perhaps even a bit envious.

Watch Michael Buble below and then check out Naturally 7. Happy weekend!

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A Little ‘Light’ Entertainment

By: Chrysa Smith


If you look at my IPod, you’ll wonder if I’m 16 or 65. Because not only do I have some of the latest pop and hip-hop music, but a little Dean Martin to boot.

But Martin’s only one of a host of entertainers I enjoy listening to from the past—many of them, happy to say, still alive and kicking. And this upcoming weekend, I’ll be seeing one of them live–thanks to a birthday present I gave to my husband.  This one’s directly from the 60s, when it was all about revolution and change and folksy, hippie stuff. Saturday it will be all about  Gordon Lightfoot (yes, he’s still performing).

While I can’t say Lightfoot is my favorite singer/songwriter,  I sure do like and reminisce to his music: If You Could Read My Mind, Carefree Highway, Rainy Day People, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, Sundown—to name a few. I haven’t listened to them in years, but the funny thing about music is how it immediately causes a response—to think back, boogie, laugh, cry, sing along to. And for sure, remembering some of the favorite  friends and fashions from the era.  Most of my listening took place in the 70s (as I was a 1960 baby)  and I can still see the peasant blouses, the bell bottom jeans, some in stripes. Dr. Scholl sandals, platform shoes, hair picks, head bands, Bonne Bell, Lemon Up Shampoo, Sun In (still use that), Peter Max paintings, Huckapoo shirts, Bazooka gum, curlers, crocheted purses, midriff tops, tube tops and oh, so much more.

The Canadian, born in 1938, is still on tour–which, according to my calculations, makes him 76. I’m anxious to see if he still sounds good, and if I’ll have any further flashbacks. Back in the day, I had long hair, parted in the middle, hip huggers and a body that was about 25 lbs. lighter. But this week, I’ll enjoy a nice dinner at 5:30 and a show in the burbs at 8pm. Who’s old? Not me. I’ll be wearing my long, tie-dyed skirt.