The Rockwood Files: High mileage

rockwood files colorBy Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3

When I was growing up, we kept our navy blue Pontiac Bonneville a long time – mostly out of necessity and partly because my mother had a hard time letting go of things, including cars, empty Cool Whip bowls and every picture I ever colored in the second grade.

At one point, the car’s headliner – that fabric on the ceiling of the car’s interior – started to pull away from the roof and sag down like an inverted parachute. Before it got low enough to brush against the tops of our heads, we performed a do-it-yourself fix using thumbtacks. We spaced them out evenly which created a quilted appearance, and we used gold thumbtacks, which did not add the touch of class we were hoping for.

From that point on, the car had a series of things go wrong with it until finally the fixes cost more than the car was worth, so Mom and Dad were forced to get a new one. No one was happier to see that old car go than I was – dumb old car with its dumb old problems.

But now I feel bad about looking down on that dumb old car. Because now I am that dumb old car, experiencing my own series of malfunctions on the highway of life.

It started a few months ago when I woke up one morning and limped my way to the bathroom. The bottom of my left foot felt like it had a permanent cramp in it. It was weak and sore and completely unwilling to be used like a regular foot. I chalked it up to a pulled muscle and assumed it would go away in a day or two. It didn’t.

Two weeks of limping to the bathroom convinced me to Google the problem which led me to a WebMD page about plantar fasciitis, which really is as dr-scholls-kioskunpleasant as it sounds. Part of the suggested treatment was wearing orthopedic insoles, which really are as uncool as they sound. So off I went to Walmart to stand on that foot-analyzing Dr. Scholl’s machine in the pharmacy, hoping nobody I knew would walk by while I stood there getting my new insoles.

After a week of using the insoles and stretching my foot, I felt good enough to start walking again for exercise. It was just a few fast walking sessions – not a marathon, not a 5K, not even a slow jog. But after a week of walking, I woke up with a strange pain in my hip – bad enough to send me to Dr. Google once again. The diagnosis? Hip bursitis. Then I checked my birth certificate to make sure I was actually 42 and not 82 because the word “bursitis” does not line up with my youthful outlook on life.

The treatment for my mid-life bursitis is Advil and rest, which is great because I’m an excellent “rester.” No one avoids exercise as well as I do.

But the cherry on top of my broken-down sundae came last week when I felt this mysterious hitch in my ribs – almost like something is stuck in there. It’s more annoying than painful, mostly because it’s a constant reminder of this gradual yet inevitable “wearing out” process that happens to all of us sooner or later.

I haven’t Googled the rib problem yet but I’m pretty sure one of my ribs is out of line, a problem my chiropractor can hopefully help remedy. If not, I may try putting it back in place with a gold thumbtack.

After all, it worked for that old Pontiac.

gwen-headshot-2014Gwen Rockwood is a mom to three great kids, wife to one cool guy, a newspaper columnist and co-owner of To read previously published installments of The Rockwood Files, click here. To check out Gwen’s book, “Reporting Live from the Laundry Pile: The Rockwood Files Collection,” click HERE.

Funny Friday: When you can’t find your phone

Does anyone besides us freak out a little when we can’t find our phone? Good to know we’re not alone. This cat totally understands that feeling. (Enjoy and Happy Friday, mamas.)

Life with Ladybug: Cute treats for your Halloween or fall party

By Shannon Magsam

If you follow nwaMotherlode on Facebook — or listen to us over at Magic 107.9 — you probably heard that I moved.

Not away. Just about 1/2 a mile from my old house of 14 years, actually. There was a bit of house drama (I’ll talk about that another day), but we’re finally here and settled. I still don’t have rugs down everywhere I want them, or pictures on all the walls (and the garage is still full of boxes), but still we thought: time for a little par-tay.

The month of October is perfect for a party because of all the fun fall treats and the weather is just right for being outside.

I thought I’d share a few of the treats from the house party in case you want to use them at a gathering you’re having this month. Let’s start with the caramel apple bar, which I plan to do again on Halloween night for friends and new neighbors who stop over while trick-or-treating here. This was my 13-year-old daughter’s idea and it was a hit with our guests.

The Caramel Apple Bar is not a bar/cookie, it’s this:

caramel apple bar, use this

 You just grab some sliced apples (I cheated and bought them pre-cut), some caramel (you can make your own or buy) and then come up with all kinds of toppings that would taste great on a caramel apple. We had coconut, M&Ms, sprinkles and Skittles. There are tons of possibilities! I wish we’d added a spoon into the caramel (which is in the spider container in the above pic) because some friends just wanted to drizzle caramel over their apples.

Up next, MUMMIES!

Mummies, use thisThese were my teenager’s idea, too, and she made them. We realized after the fact that we should have used double-stuffed Oreos. To make them, just use icing to scribble the mummy faces and add edible eyes. If you use the larger Oreos, you can place a candy stick into each for a lollipop effect. Ours didn’t have enough stuffing for the stick, but I think they turned out cute anyway ;)

Our {Frightful} Fall Kettle Corn was also a big hit:

Frightful Fall Kettle Corn

We also cheated a little on this by buying bags of kettle corn to pop. So you just pop your kettle corn, pour it into a big bowl and add your favorite candies. We used mini chocolate chips, pretzels, M&Ms and candy corn (which makes it so cute!). After you gently mix the popcorn and candy together, drizzle melted chocolate over the top. We used decadent Ghirardelli dark melting wafers. YUM.

Those were the sweet treats. We also had chili (my husband’s special recipe) with all the fixin’s plus a few of my favorite appetizers. It was a fun party and the food prep turned out to be a great bonding experience with my teenager. Of course, as soon as we got finished cooking, my daughter went back to her regularly-scheduled Instagramming. It was good while it lasted.

Hope this inspires you to invite a few of your friends over for a fall get-together!

Mamas on Magic 107.9: Adventures in Orthodontics

braces offSee that kid smiling? That’s my son Jack and this pic was taken last spring just a few seconds after he got his braces off at Dr. Derek Brown’s office. Oh, what a happy day it was. (The team at Dr. Brown’s office always makes it feel like a party when a kid gets his braces off.) We left there and went out to eat all the things you’re not supposed to eat when you’ve got braces — popcorn, Skittles, Laffy Taffy, etc. We had a blast. And Jack’s new smile makes all those orthodontic appointments more than worth it.

If your kids aren’t old enough yet for braces but you have a feeling that day might be approaching in the next few years, there’s plenty to learn about this phase of your kid’s life. Even if you had braces yourself, you’d be amazed at just how much technology has advanced the world of orthodontics. We talked about it recently during our Mamas on Magic 107.9 radio segment, which airs every weekday at 7:45 a.m. If you missed the radio chat, click the audio bars below to hear the discussion.

Three kids, three sets of braces…

Why do some kids get braces twice?

Braces and oral surgery?

Orthodontic terms you need to know

How to help kids cope on the tough days

Beauty Buzz: 45 thoughts I had while getting a massage

Beauty Buzz category bannerBy Andi Douglas, beauty editor

I recently had the opportunity to receive a Swedish massage at Revive Medical Spa in Fayetteville. I realize there are people in the world who can walk into a massage, strip down, turn off their brains and just enjoy the experience. I am not one of those people. My hatred of an awkward silence and penchant for verbal diarrhea translates into an ongoing mental dialogue with myself, and honestly, my conversation partner is not all there.

45 Thoughts I had while getting a massage:

(I am introduced to Judy and escorted back to a massage room.)

Spa-Girl-Graphic11. Judy seems nice, not at all intimidating. I can do this.

2. Do I leave my underwear on? Yes. No.

3. Can’t do it. Yes. I’m so Baptist.

4. Who puts the slippers on to walk two feet to the table?

5. Hmmm, I look kinda sexy when I look up in the mirror.

6. This is as close as I will ever get to boudoir photos.

7. I’m so embarrassed for me.

8. Judy’s coming back in. Do I stick my face in the hole? That seems rude.

9. She just asked if I was uncomfortable sticking my face in the hole…WRONG CALL!

10. Find the gap for breathing and forcibly relax.

11. Medium or light pressure? I don’t want to seem like a wuss. “Medium.”

12. “Are you comfortable?”
Physically? Yes.  Socially?  No. (I said “Yes”)cat-307311_640 small

13. My stomach keeps growling and I sound like I’m purring like a cat.

14. Maybe I am purring like a cat.

15. Nope, definitely hungry. The decision to skip breakfast for fear of “tootiness” was not wise.

16. She keeps using my name.

17. I’m awful with names. Maybe she wrote it on her arm.

18. Okay, I’m going to zone out while she works on my “hip area”. Don’t need to think too much about that.

19. Does she think it’s weird I left my underwear on?

20. massage shouldersWhat’s more awkward, granny panties or a thong?

21. Aaaah, lower back heaven.

22. She tucked the sheet into my waistband. I think it’s helpful! Or she’s trying to get it out of the way….I have to let this go.

23. Movin’ on up, to the east side…

24. Oh no! She found the knots in my shoulders. This is always bad.

25. This is medium pressure? What’s hard?

*fyi: I asked Judy afterward if she increased the pressure on my shoulders to work out the knots because it was very tender, and she said she actually decreased the pressure because I visibly flinched. Turns out I am just a wuss and have freakishly knotted shoulders. This did remind me of the advice I received once to take ibuprofen an hour before a massage.

25. Ow, ow, ow, aaaaaaah…got the knot out.

26. Ah, the front part is the best. That sounds weird. Oh wait, I’m just thinking that so who cares.

27. Oh wait, I’m going to write this for everyone to read.

28. Ach! Hands around my neck! Nope, she’s not killing me.

29. She keeps wiggling my arms trying to get me to relax them, but suddenly I’m hyper-aware of my bones.

30. I feel like one of those cloth dolls with wires in their arms. RELAX!no kid zone massage

31. Oh, did I remember to check the kids folders last night?

33. Aaaaaaah…

34. Where does she keep getting the lotion? I swear that time she did not take her hands off of me and still got more lotion.

35. What kind of wizardry is this?

36. My skin is going to look so awesomely moisturized. I’m glad I wore a skirt.

37. Lol, remember that Will and Grace where the girl massaging Grace says she goes where the tension is..

foot massage38. Mmm, the eye mask feels cool.
*Judy looked at me bewildered when I said it felt cold. Apparently, the eye mask has no specific cooling qualities.

39. Oh, the foot cream does smell good. Bad move, Cady.

40. Oh no, I fell asleep.

41. Can’t…sleep…through…relaxation…zzzz

42. Dang it!

andi revive with caption43. I don’t know much about reflexology but I’m afraid a full hour massage might put me into a coma.

44. I don’t want to be dooooone. *crying on the inside* “That was perfect, thank you.”

45. I definitely need to do this again.

Like most things in life, once I can get past my fear of being naked around strangers, I have a pretty good time.

revive medical spaBeauty Buzz is sponsored by Revive Medical Spa, which offers a full range of medical, cosmetic, and therapeutic services, with the latest technology and knowledgeable clinicians and staff. Located in Fayetteville, Revive serves the communities of Northwest Arkansas, Southwest Missouri, and Eastern Oklahoma. Revive’s massage therapists and estheticians personalize every relaxing service to each guest’s individual needs. “Your visit will whisk you away and leave you feeling revived.”