Susan McCorkindale

Author. Editor. Autism Advocate.



Here’s to rising from the rinds


Lately I’ve got a real thing for lemons which I’m pretty certain is because life keeps throwing them at me.

For instance, I bought a lemon-bedecked tablecloth for the kitchen, matching lemon-flecked napkins, and a package of very pretty faux lemons I plopped in a white soup tureen and placed in the center of the table. I added several touches of lemon to my gray and white living room too, and I can even foresee a time not too far in the future when my lemon love will spread through every inch of this place including my seventeen year-old son’s room, which I plan to “decorate” with the strongest lemon-scented air fresheners I can find.

“Go ahead, life,” my growing fondness for the bright yellow fruit seems to be saying, “take your best shot. Bean me right in the kisser. But beware, I make a mean lemonade.”

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Is There Sex Over 50?

Today’s topic is sex. Don’t panic! It’s actually, more specifically, about a dear friend’s journey to becoming a sex pod-caster.  Ok, now you can panic. I’m kidding. It’s not scandalous. It’s hysterical. As is her show, “Our Better Half: Sex Over 50.” In a few weeks she’ll be interviewing me. Am I nervous? A little. I’m not a big one for talking about sex, but I’m game. I figure we’ll laugh our sexy little butts off the entire time and you know me, I’m always up for a good giggle. Particularly if it’s at my expense! And now, without further delay, I am happy as a battery operated device in an adult toy store to introduce writer, blogger, author, and newly minted sex pod-caster, Laura Collins Lyster-Mensh. Read on. Giggle, And click the link to her show. In private, of course!

A Funny Thing, or Two, That Happened on the Way to My Podcast


Being a sex pod-caster, as it turns out, isn’t that sexy but it does raise the heart rate.  For one thing, I have to say the word “sex” out loud a lot, which is not something you hear from middle-age moms all the time. Or at least not THIS middle age mom. When I decided to start a humorous podcast about sex for people in the “Second Half” of life, I thought it might be interesting. But it turns out it’s a bit of welcome scandal.

I may not be having more sex, but I am having a lot more laughs, and at my age that’s not nothing.

I laugh at my kids rolling their eyes. My parents rolled their eyes at my kids rolling theirs: turnabout being fair play.

I laughed when the renowned Dr. Ruth emailed to wish me luck but was too busy with travel to be interviewed. I looked at her Twitter feed and you know what? She is! That 89 year-old is busier than anyone I know of any age. And if that’s what talking about sex does for you, I’m in.

I got a chuckle when my mother-in-law, instead of recoiling when she heard about my “sex over fifty” podcast started sending me neat little clippings from the paper on topics that, shall we say, we don’t usually discuss. I hear I’ve raised her popularity at the hair salon now that she can humble brag about her daughter-in-law’s “dirty radio show.”

It’s hysterical that I’ve bookmarked websites that most people hit “clear cache” for, at my age.

My email spam has gone from do-it-yourself backdoor sheds to… doing things at back doors and in sheds. I have to open my email hunched over the screen if I’m in public. My friends forward me things that make me go “huh?” And then “OH.” And then “MY.”

I’ve said “penis” into the ears of former colleagues who I would be too shy to invite to dinner. I’ve suggested therapeutic orgasms to folks who know how poorly I maintain my lawn.

It’s funny that one of my friends, on hearing me talk on the broadcast about daily orgasms, said that her “better half” would be all too happy to hear it and so she listens to my episodes on one tab with the only visible site being a BBC show on manners. Golf manners, no less.

I was thanked today by a friend for reminding her to do her Kegel exercises. So now my friends think of me fondly when they sneeze.

I cried the first day, but laughed later, about the sexpert who declared me unqualified to ask questions about sex because I had never even taken a field trip to a sex toy shop. I never said I was an expert, or particularly kinky: I’m a journalist. I ask questions. So I’m asking myself: “Why haven’t I ever been to a sex toy shop?” And the answer is: “Why are you hosting a podcast about sex?”

Getting people to be interviewed hasn’t turned out to be too much trouble. Everyone wants to talk about sex. Not their sex lives, of course, but everyone else’s. It’s off microphone, however, that I hear all the good stuff. If only “off the record” meant “record.” Maybe it does!

The best thing about my new gig is the giggling. I giggle about the people I want to interview and with the people I do interview. I giggle as I spend my days editing audiotapes full of words I probably pronounce wrong. I giggle at the particular sotto voce way people talk to me now, and I outright guffaw at the idea of ME doing this. I even giggle when my husband asks when I can find time to practice what I preach! Which isn’t good.

But it would make a great segment for the podcast…

Click to Tune In

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The same old Suzy, but better!


Welcome to my new, improved, refreshed, and rejuvenated website. The Blog, the most important section of the site, is now right here, on the Home page. Why? So I can better communicate with you, my treasured readers and friends, and you can more easily communicate with me. You’re here, I think, I hope!, because you already enjoy what I usually write about. But I invite you to let me know what you’d like to see more of.

I’d also like to know what you think of my foray into accepting ads. Those I’ve selected, for Kindle products and accessories and books, were picked because they’re things we readers use and can relate to. Much as I love shoes and handbags, big, jangly bracelets, and leopard print anything, ads for such wouldn’t be appropriate. (So that’s why the good Lord created hyperlinks!) But books and book paraphernalia? I can’t stop myself from shopping for that stuff and I’m betting you enjoy it, too.

Going forward you can expect more pieces about mental health (down with stigma!), the bizarre things I worry about (which have everything to do with my own mental health), aging (and why I’m stocking up on scarves), autism, the importance of care giving for caregivers, and maybe even…. dare I say it? Sex. No vulgarity – that’s not my style. Just funny stuff.

So again, welcome. Tool around. And let me know what you think.



P.S. Many, many thanks to the incredibly talented Leanne Wildermuth for putting up with my zillions of emails, questions, and requests during the redesign of this site. My picture appears in the dictionary next to the words “technologically challenged.” Hers appears next to the words “patience of a Saint” and “Design Guru Extraordinaire.”





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Not Just Another Blue-gened Blonde

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Hello, my name is Susan, and I suffer from depression. And anxiety. And panic attacks when my anxiety is really high. And even when it’s not but my brain wants to mess with me. I don’t see any of these things as defects. I see them as just some of the things that make me, me. Like having blue eyes and blonde hair, and a singing voice so bad my crooning “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” didn’t make my boys fall asleep as much as faint when they were babies.

Clearly, I was born to be a mother.

In all seriousness, what I was born to be, beyond wife, mom, autism advocate, and card-carrying hopeless optimist, is someone who not only gets depressed, but is willing, even eager, to talk about it. Unlike other people, I can’t keep my depression in the closet. For one thing, I need the space for shoes. But more importantly, staying silent perpetuates the stigma that mental health isn’t a topic for polite conversation. So might I propose we all stop being so polite?

I’m not suggesting we start swearing like sailors, just that we be more direct, like we learned to be with the “C” word.

Remember when cancer was a conversation no-no? And how about breast cancer? When I was a kid, if I so much as whispered the word breast and the word cancer together, in the same sentence, my mother would be “hush”-ing and “God forbid”-ing so fast I wouldn’t know what hit me. Until I realized it was the back of her hand. So thick was the shroud of silence around the big “C,” that I actually recall thinking if a person got cancer, he or she must have done something to deserve it.

Clearly silence breeds stupidity.

It also breeds intolerance. And fear. And if you’re one of the 14.8 million adults in America who suffer from depression, silence breeds shame. And isolation. And sometimes death.

I know I kept my suffering to myself. Every morning I awakened spent and overwhelmed before my feet hit the floor. Getting dressed and getting the kids up and out so I could get to work left me sweating and nauseous from exhaustion. I’d drop my older son at school, my younger son at daycare, and drag myself onto the commuter bus I took to the city and pass out. Getting through the day was a nightmare. I couldn’t concentrate, make a decision, or string two words together.

I was certain I was losing my mind and equally certain no one would understand.

Thankfully, I was wrong on both counts. I wasn’t losing my mind and my doctor, who I got up the nerve to see after convincing myself I had either chronic fatigue syndrome or a thyroid disorder, understood immediately that I was in the throes of a major depression. And that I spent way too much time on WebMD.

Getting myself feeling better took time, work, and a little trial and error in the antidepressant department.

First up, Wellbutrin. Loved it. Almost overnight, I morphed into Super Mom. I didn’t wake up as much as erupt out of bed in the morning, going from zero to 60 in the time it took to throw off the covers. Kids up! Kids fed! Kids dressing while mom’s unloading the dishwasher! And paying bills! And touching up the woodwork on the windowsills with white paint!

As you can imagine, my doctor and my brand new therapist pulled that prescription pretty quick.

After that I began what I still lovingly refer to as the Lexapro Years. Almost a full decade of feeling almost fine almost all the time. I didn’t feel great but I felt good, and for that I was grateful. It was as if I’d been away on a long, miserable vacation, and was finally, mercifully back. I didn’t have Super Mom energy but I didn’t care. I mean, I looked like crap in the cape.

These days I take Effexor, an antidepressant that’s also used to treat generalized anxiety disorder. “There’s nothing ‘general’ about my anxiety,” I kidded my doctor when he prescribed it shortly after my husband passed away and I started having panic attacks. “I’ll have you know I have very specific anxiety. And specifically? I’m terrified of everything.”

Of course I’m not terrified of talking about mental health. I’m terrified of not talking about it. There are still far too many people that don’t understand that being diagnosed with a mental illness is akin to being diagnosed with diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis, or cancer. It’s completely out of the person’s control. Can you imagine suggesting to someone with cancer that they “pull themselves up by their boot straps and snap out of it”? The thought sickens me.

No, worse than that. It depresses me.

In addition to taking medicine and seeing a therapist, I combat my depression by talking about it and writing about it. By putting myself “out there” and owning it. By doing whatever it takes to engender understanding among those who don’t yet get it.

And that includes singing, “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” So please, don’t push me.

P.S. I serve on the Board of the Mental Health Association of Fauquier County. It’s a great group of dedicated individuals committed to bringing good mental health care to the community. There are hundreds of grassroots organizations like this all across the country. Find one in your neighborhood and get involved. It’ll do wonders for your mental health!

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