Interview With a Real Live Mean Girl!

Welcome readers! Today I’m conducting an impromptu Q & A with someone I’ve known for many years and always had a lot of respect for. She promises to be open and honest with all my straightforward inquiries, so what more can we possibly ask for? Oh! You may have met her once before when I allowed her to guest post on this blog right HERE. But that was four years ago and it’ll be cool to see what’s she’s been up to recently.

As always I’ll shorten Little Miss Menopause (that’s me!) to LMM. And we’ll shorten her name to GM because she goes by Genie Meanie nowadays.

LMM — Hi! Thanks for agreeing to do this. I know your actual appearances in print are rare and you prefer to work behind the scenes when you converse, so I’m truly honored.

GM — No prob. I knew you’d never get anybody else to interview on this trivial little blog you do so it’s no skin off my teeth. Speaking of skin and teeth….yours look like they need some tightening and whitening. Oh! Would you look at that? I rhymed. I knew I missed my calling as a writer. I became an editor instead.

LMM — Oh!  An editor?  Is that what your official title is? I always thought of you as sort of an oddly negative Muse. But now you call yourself an Editor. Have you seen any of my recent writing on Huffington Post or Aish?  by the way?

GM — That’s not writing!

LMM — I know, I know.  And forgive me — this is about you, not me. Let’s talk about some of your latest accomplishments.

GM — Well as I just mentioned, I’m very active in the Author community. I’ve convinced hundreds that they’re hacks and quite a few others to throw in the towel completely. But my latest achievement has been to get you to delete everything you type for let’s see over a month now, right? And I’m dabbling a little in advertising and marketing. Remember that mantra I taught you that seemed to stick so nicely?

LMM — Oh yes.  Do you mean, “I suck!”

GM — That’s the one, Sweetpea! I’m looking into getting that on coffee mugs, tee-shirts, and bumper stickers for cars, which I like to call bummer stickers. LOL.

LMM —  Hmm. Wait, I know! Maybe “I suck!” could go on straws and vacuums too?

GM — Shut up. Remember what we agreed on? You’re no longer funny.

LMM — Right. So aside from the writing community, are there other areas where you’ve had great influence.

GM — Interpersonal Relationships. You might say that’s my specialty these days. Break-ups are gratifying to instigate, but I’m actually going back to school to major in “Settling.”

LMM — Settling? That sounds intriguing. Can you elaborate?

GM — Oh you know, Settling!  Here, lemme read you the first paragraph of the start-up guide for this particular discipline. “You’re not getting any younger. Look at those wrinkles and puffy bags under your eyes. But those bags are nothing compared to all the real heavy baggage you have in your life with your teenage kids, your finances, your co-dependent sister, not to mention your severe mid-life crisis. So what if there’s no real passion with this new guy? So what if he talks down to you and sometimes doesn’t show up after you’ve cooked an elaborate dinner? Do you really want to die all alone?

LMM — Oh! I didn’t realize there was a career path for that kind of a skill set.

GM — Oh Lordy, yes! You’d be surprised what niche jobs are out there these days.  Since you evicted me recently, I’ve been redoing my resume, but off the top of my head I’ve been directly responsible for the implementation of depression, anxiety, self-esteem issues, and even suicide once in a while.  But my proudest moments of glory have been in a large, growing industry which I’ve had so much experience in that now I’m being approached to mentor others.

LMM — What industry is that?

GM — The Onset of An Eating Disorder. But you should know that, Silly. Remember how we’d dialogue? Let’s show your readers how our talk would go — just for old times sake?

LMM — Okay. But first I’m a little hungry.

GM — Hungry? You’re not hungry. You ate a huge lunch five hours ago. A lettuce salad and a mozzarella cheese stick. You’re just bored. Go to the gym.

LMM — Really? Because my stomach is growling.

GM — Drink water then. You’re always mistaking thirst for hunger. Drink water and then weigh yourself.

LMM — Gosh, that seems kinda backwards. I’ll weigh myself first.

GM — Whatever. Different strokes for different folks. But all strokes lead to you being obese!  Ohhh! I like that and think it would do well on a placemat or as a screensaver!

LMM — Guess what? I lost a pound since yesterday!

GM — Time to celebrate!! I think you’re right, you ARE hungry. In fact, you’re starving you poor, disciplined little thing, You! Go eat a grilled cheese sandwich, frozen pizza, Oreos, Nutella, chips and guacamole, Rocky Road ice-cream, and then open that new bag of trail mix which you bought because I told you nuts are healthy but because there are M&M’s thrown in there and it’s the perfect balance of sweet and salty — I like to call it “Dieter’s Crack.”

LMM— Really? I have your permission?

GM — Girlfriend, you have my BLESSING. And bonus! Because you’ll have already blown it for today, you can take the rest of the night off as well and eat whatever you want.

LMM — Thank you so much!

GM — Tomorrow you’ll fast with just water and vitamin C, cuz ya gotta keep your energy level up so you can run up and down your flight of stairs two-hundred times, walk eleven miles, and do 5 hours on the elliptical. Deal?

LMM — Works for me.  But that will be the last time for that routine, I can promise you that!  So Genie Meanie, tell my readers who else has hired you as their coach in this particular eating disorder field?

GM — Your two daughters.

Readers: Please beware of Genie Meanie trying to seek employment in your mind or rent out a room in your head — she’s armed and dangerous. She also has a macho counterpart who lurks in male brains, so if any of my guy readers want to locate him for an interview, please post your link in the comments section.

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Wild Statistical Fantasies — Where Do Yours Fit In?

Yes, this title is an intentionally deceptive word ploy to get my blog ranked higher in the search engine optimization. This piece will not list the percentage of American women who fantasize about seducing an officer of the law. Nor will it mention dominating or submitting, unless it’s submitting writing. In fact it isn’t sexual in nature at all and the tame fantasies are actually just my own. They occur when I scrutinize my blogging statistics each day and detect a huge peak in a specific category or a tremendous amount of referred readers coming in from Facebook or LinkedIn or another source. My imagination runs amuck…

4 Common Fantasies Induced by My Stats:

Literary Representation! — I’ve been discovered! This fantasy gets spurred on when I get a lot of extra activity on my short story section or my stats with the keyword “hilarious” have uncharacteristically spiked. Particularly when I discern extra readers are all surfing in from a site called “Agent Search.” In reality, my brother is an insurance agent and has a link to my blog for his clients to get a laugh after they’ve crashed their car or had a roof leak. But since this is my personal fantasy, it goes like this: A bored fiction agent who reps well known horror authors (think Stephen King and R.L. Stine) needs a break from all the blood, guts, gore, and murders. He casually Googles, “Quirky Humor Bloggers Who Write About Gone With The Wind” and that’s it! One glance is all it takes. The rest is history. From the moment he lands on the front page of my blog he’s in stitches and it’s definitely not from a stabbing. He’s riveted by my hysterical tagline, the witty titles of my menu categories, and spends inordinate amounts of evening hours reading each blog entry to the point his wife suspects he’s having an affair. “Yes, yes, you have me hooked from your opening line!” and “Oh my god…that’s the perfect climax!” are shouted from inside his closed home office door.  The next sound you hear is my phone ringing as he rehearses what he’ll say to convince me to sign a three book contract as the next Erma Bombeck. I’ll hesitate for a moment, letting him think there’s a bidding war for my comedic talent, but eventually acquiesce when he offers royalties on lunchpails and a Barbie Doll likeness with the exact hairstyle as my Facebook Profile.

High School Quarterback Returns! — This fantasy is vividly inspired when certain categories like “Relationships” and “Love” and “The One That Got Away” zoom off the charts in my stats section.  I imagine my old high school crush has accidentally stumbled into my blog and reads my post about our yearbook. He reminisces about football games and how I endearingly clapped and screamed for him to throw a touchdown from the stands. Why didn’t he look beyond the gorgeous cheerleaders on the sidelines to see that I also had a nice pair of fluffy pom-poms? Regrets of asking the Marcia Brady lookalike to homecoming dance will plague him as he recalls 9th grade Intro to Creative Writing with Mrs. Lyndahl reading aloud my short story titled, “If Chocolate Chip Cookies Could Talk!” and how he scoffed about baked goods coming to life, causing me to sob in the girl’s locker room. He emails me (using information from my “Hire Me To Humor You” page) apologizing profusely, then asks me out as his prom date. After I vindictively tell him I have absolutely zero recollection of who he is, I am call-waited by Mattel to pose for my new barbie doll and then the envious wife of the literary agent calls, insisting on knowing how many times her husband has sent me roses?

Parent Trap!: This fantasy only occurs when certain posts I’ve written about my childhood are repeatedly perused in my stats. Even though I only have one brother, suddenly a familiar looking girl leaves a comment on my blog insinuating we are related and in fact she believes we share the exact same genetics! Apparently she was put up for adoption to a poor family because after I was born, our parents realized that daughters were just hormonal nightmares who cost lots of $$ with orthodontists, gynecologists, and dermatologists and so they could only afford to raise just one. We proceed to make plans to attend the same summer camp and then discreetly switch homes afterwards.

Law Suit!: (I never claimed my fantasies were always fun or exciting.) This terrifying scenario comes on after I notice that my stats are soaring for a certain popular picture I used long ago to illustrate a past blog post.  Why would so many people be looking at this particular picture all at the same time?? Suddenly fear strikes deep in my heart as I realize I inadvertently forgot (okay I was lazy!) to acknowledge copyright info or give credit to the photographer. And now somehow she’s entered her photo into Google Search Images and it came up that my blog is featuring HER masterpiece without any attribution. That grave injustice (combined with the fact that I am the one who grew up with parents who cared that I had an overbite, acne medication, and regular pap smears) fuels my long-lost sister to take me to court. An example is made out of me for all the bloggers who blatantly steal copyrighted images and I’m prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Even smiling coyly while trying to seduce the arresting police officer doesn’t prevent me from getting taken to jail. (In fact he tightens the handcuffs.) I only get one phone call and it’s to my literary agent to bail me out with a hefty book advance, but the call is intercepted by his insanely jealous wife who refuses to let me speak to him and instead forwards me to my old crush, the high school quarterback — and of course now he doesn’t remember me from Adam. Except since this is still MY fantasy, his youngest daughter begs for a popular lunch box and every day that his ugly, old, former cheerleader wife makes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, he fantasizes about making love to the female author whose likeness is now prominently celebrated on his daughter’s brand new trademarked lunchpail.

Readers: What nutty fantasies has your Stats Section inspired?

 

Eavesdropping and Spying Will Backfire on You Every Time!

Am I sitting in a red Lifesaver? A velvet Cheerio? Or The Circle of Life, reupholstered? I’ll get to that in a second. But first — I’ve been unable to write on this blog for a very long time. It’s not due to poor health, my kids, my mother, my other writing jobs, my pets, my boyfriend, or even extensive traveling. Neither have I been held hostage or threatened that if I post another strange blog, I’ll live to regret it.

Nope, what’s prevented me from writing here is the stress of attempting to sell my home, fully furnished. A house I’ve lived in for twenty years, raised six kids in, and put a lot of time, energy, dollars, and Love into.

And this “Love” comes in the form of a very unique remodeling job, which apparently aside from myself, only Dr. Seuss and Willy Wonka approve of.

Here’s what you see when you first walk in:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a close-up of some “novel” chairs that are not visible in second photo:

Here’s a guest bathroom:

Here’s a staircase wall:

Here’s what’s under the staircase:

And yes, that is a built-in drinking fountain.  Six kids, remember?

The kitchen at night (during a power outage!):

Now before I even talk about what happens when an Open House is held, I want to emphasize that my realtor has insisted, “You must all live here like you don’t actually live here!”

So there are no toothbrushes accessible, no actual towels on which to dry our hands, (only fancy model-home display ones) and we are only allowed faux food to be visible. Yes there really is such a thing. It’s part of “staging” your home to sell quickly.

Fake Food to sit near a BBQ!

Pretend food to sit in a movie theater room!

Essentially we all exist in this make-believe house starving to death (with rotting teeth and damp hands!) while our cheerful broker comes over every Saturday and Sunday morning and freshly bakes a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies in an Easy Bake toy oven (mustn’t dirty the real one!) so legit potential buyers will get a “homey” scent wafting throughout their very real nostrils.

Now if anyone thinks I leave my house during these all day Saturday and Sunday debacles, they’re sadly mistaken.  Why would I miss all the fun of seeing and hearing what other people (serious buyers AND Looky Loo neighbors) think of my newly renovated home?

So I stay put during my open houses, admonished by my realtor to keep my mouth tightly shut no matter what I see or hear. And of course because I’m me, I also pretend to be an interested person who has come to view the home after seeing it advertised online. Here’s a three minute actual scenario. . .

Potential Buyer: What in the world?? Are we in a home or on a movie set?

Me: (Eavesdropping and trying to pretend I do not live here) I know, right? Isn’t this place just sooooooo amazing?

Potential Buyer: Uh, I guess. If you like going down the rabbit hole in Alice In Wonderland and having a mad tea party!

Me:  What an uncouth comment. I find it simultaneously innovative and modern. Whimsical and fun, yet extremely cozy and (sniffing the cookie-scented air) very homey! And anyone who can’t recognize what classy taste the person who owns this home must have was raised in a barn.

Potential Buyer: Then by all means, I dare you to make an offer on this ridiculous residence.

Me: (not one to handle a dare very well) Yoo hoo! Miss Real Estate Lady!  Over here, dear. Whatever this gorgeous home is priced at, I’ll offer 50K more! I can’t bear to let this dream house slip through my fingers.

My Realtor: (Shoots me dirty look)

So after buying my own house back, I’m told I have a very controlling personality and the home will surely sell much faster if I vacate the premises. The nerve! I leave my own house, but not before turning on all my nanny cams to record the goings-on. That night I watch the videos in disbelief as person after person comes in, mocking the comfortable red circular piece of furniture you see at the top of this blog. Listen . . .

“Why do I suddenly have the urge to sing, “Roll Out the Barrel?”

“Where’s Austin Powers hiding?”

“Talk about going in a vicious Circle!”

And then the home in general….

“It looks like a rainbow vomited all over the flooring!”

“No Billie Jr! We are definitely not moving into this Whoville home. We’ll just let Horton continue to live here.”

“Oh look honey, the home comes with two fireplaces and enough kindling (gestures around at furniture) to last a few years!”

“The poor dear really has a bad case of it. Let’s make a small donation to the Colorblind Foundation in her honor, shall we?”

But then I truly got an earful when I heard my realtor telling everyone the owner was a creative writer and shouldn’t  be held accountable for her poor judgment. “And you should see her nonsensical blog,” she continued.  People nodded solemnly and said, “Ohhh, now we understand. That explains a lot.”

So after not publishing here for weeks, I decided to turn to wordplay for my real estate therapy because poetry is always so cathartic for me.

I Got The Real Estate Blues!

Hanging up a sign in my front yard.

Selling shouldn’t ever be this hard.

Yes my house is decorated rather novel

But to get you to buy it,  I refuse to grovel.

Selling a modern place I was under the impression would be so easy,

But folks think it’s a theme park and instantly they’re queasy!

I refuse to reduce the home’s value because you can’t appreciate,

Frank Lloyd Wright (on acid!) whom I’ve tried to commemorate.

Sorry, but I’m gonna say “No dice” unless you’re close to asking price.

And please don’t even try to proffer making me such a low ball offer.

Yes the washer and dryer and the refrigerator/freezer will definitely stay,

And unlike the decor . . .  they look normal, they’re not designed cray cray.

True, there’s hot and cold running water and lights that go on and off,

So what’s the big deal if my furniture has balls? Go ahead and scoff.

6

My home may not be for everyone, the buyer will need a decorator’s knack

Okay, who am I kidding? It’s going to be like finding a needle in a haystack!

But if by chance you’re out there and  want to come to San Diego and have a look,

For a great price, you too can see how fun it is to live in a children’s coloring book!

Just contact Me, (the Wild and Crazy Owner) at this blog, “Once Upon Your Prime”

And I promise you the house will hold up better during inspection than this silly rhyme.

 

15 MORE Non-Sexual Intimacies To Experience in Bed Together!

Is this the start of an old fashioned round of Hide n’ Seek?

Welcome to a new installment of my most widely read post ever, one I wrote 1.5 years ago and which you can check out the original right HERE if you missed it.

I’m adding on to this first list because I literally get hundreds of hits per day on Part One and I fear couples are bored (or they’re etching deep grooves in their skin) with drawing pictures on each other’s backs and guessing — just one of my ideas in the old blog. Are ya ready for 15 more quirky ones?  Here we go!

  1. *Play N’ Pause: This is similar to “Name That Tune” from my original list, but in this case, you’re going to play just a snippet of a famous speech or a vocal phrase from YouTube movie videos. Your partner must guess which celeb is speaking. Be ready on the pause button because this isn’t much fun if you give them too much, too soon. (Hmmm, what else do you do in bed that isn’t so exciting if there’s too much, too fast??)
  2. *Flaws N’ Faux Pas: Confession time! Confide in your partner some personality defects you have or some mistakes or goof-ups you’ve made in your past and never admitted to anyone. You may balk at this, but it’s so cleansing to unzip your baggage or unlock the skeletons in your closet. Whoever is least shocked, wins.
  3. *Lash Out: Have your partner close their eyes while you get closer and closer to their cheeks with your own eyes. As soon as they feel your eyelashes fluttering against their skin as you blink, they should shout out, “FlutterFly Butterfly!” (If you can get anyone to call out that ridiculousness I just made up, they’re a real gem!) Alternatively, they can simply say, “Now!” (Note: To cheat, simply wear your eyeglasses as an effective shield)
  4. In the Club: Invent a really elaborate secret handshake just between the two of you. It should include, clapping, snapping, grasping, sliding, intertwining and pummeling. Do it each time you meet up in public.
  5. *Guided Meditation: Go HERE and do this one meant specifically for couples. Don’t poke fun of this woman’s name and do NOT drown when she guides you into the DEPTHS of intimacy. Whoever doesn’t giggle first wins.
  6. Beat It: Put your head to their chest and monitor their heartbeat. Strong? Place two fingers lightly on their wrist and feel for a pulse. Steady? Slide a hand sensually on their forehead to take their temperature. 98.6 normal? Pronounce them healthy but then immediately shout, “Booooo!” loudly in their ear to scare them. Quickly recheck their vital signs. They may “lash out” after you do this (but it won’t be like #3 above!) and you’ll deserve it for listening to my blog’s suggestions.
  7. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face: Recollect your very first meeting and answer these questions. 1. What’s the first thing you noticed physically about your partner? 2. First conclusion you arrived at about their personality? 3. What three adjectives best described how you felt? 4. Would you have predicted that you’d be in bed together doing non-sexual intimacies one day? 5. Who sings “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face?”
  8. Chillatch: (No, this is not a typo and I didn’t mean Chillax, which it a combo of Chill and Relax for those of you super behind the times!) My new word is a combo of Chill and Scratch! Meaning you’re going to run your fingers lightly over your partner’s skin, giving them chills and possibly making them slightly itchy — then you immediately run your nails satisfyingly over the same spots with firm scratching. Alternate back and forth until they fall pleasantly asleep or admonish, “Could you be any MORE annoying??”
  9. Sleep-talking: Okay, so nobody is responsible for anything they might inadvertently blurt out while they’re unconscious, correct? Correct! This is when you get to say anything at all and then feign ignorance. Go ahead and babble about some gorgeous piece of jewelry/power drill you want if you have an upcoming birthday. Grumble about a chore that needs to be done around the house. In the morning when they ask you what the heck? Just remark, “Dreams are so mysterious, aren’t they? I had a dream I read a woman’s really odd blog and it turned into a nightmare.”
  10. Do You Want Your Face To Freeze That Way?: It’s Couple Selfie time! But before you press “Click” on your cellphone –one of you randomly calls out a Feeling Adjective and you both make your face fit the random emotion for each new shot. i.e. Cheerful! Sad! Confused! Angry! Silly! Intelligent! Accusatory! Innocent! Ecstatic! Fearful! Disgusted! Surprised! Provocative! Awkward! Bashful! Hopeful! Confident! Important! Ashamed! Apologetic! Bored! Because this dumb game is going on for way too long.
  11. *Language of Love: Use Google Translate and pick a country to convey how to say, “I love you” in that tongue. Try to speak it aloud with the proper accent! Have your partner guess which language it is. If you can’t even begin to pronounce the foreign symbols you’re seeing — just admit, “It’s all Greek to me!” and show your partner the screen so they can still guess the nation of origin.
  12. Bring Toys Into Bed: No, No . . . just No!  Childhood toys! You’re going to each bring three favorites and demonstrate what you used to do with them. Dolls peeking out from under the covers, Hot Wheels driving around the pillows, Etch-a-Sketch drawings, Slinky jangling, it’s all fair game! (pun intended)
  13. You Did Not See This Here! — Prank call your mutual friends. Disguise your voices, but never ask if their refrigerator is running because that’s old and predictable. However nobody ever inquires about a toaster oven or an electric blanket! If you’re both too afraid you’ll be recognized, there’s a free app with someone else’s voice which I’ll give you right now — but if you say you learned this on my blog, I’m going to just deny it and call you childish. Go right HERE.
  14. *What’s In a Name?: Try to combine both your names for a unique new couple name! If I was with a guy named Jeffrey, it could be Stephrey. Or Jeffanie. Aww, that’s so cute! Why can’t I ever find a Jeff??? After you find a new name, spell it out in Pig-Latin. Just because you’re a nut to have gotten down to #14 of this list.
  15. *Horizontal Dancing: Okay yes — this is a total euphemism for “Sexual Intercourse” although I just found that out right this second because I had to google “Horizontal” for how to spell it correctly. But it doesn’t have to be! Put your favorite song on and really try some actual dance moves lying side-by-side.Vote on who has the best Horizontal Routine. “Disco Pillow Blanket-o!” Could John Travolta have done all his cool dance moves in his bed?  I think not. (Even though he looked white as a sheet!)

*These numbers designate a game (with points!) so whoever scores highest wins a fifteen minute back massage from their partner. But you’re not competitive….right?? 😉

Here’s Something You Should NEVER Try in Marriage!

I’m currently divorced, but this doesn’t mean I don’t have a tale to tell about marriage…

“The Perfect Pair For You!” my cellphone advertised.  I covered up this headline quickly when my husband (at the time) walked into the room, so he wouldn’t see the screen and make snide remarks about my buying more shoes. Too late!

“I’m not looking for footwear,” I quickly reassured him. “Oh,” he said suddenly very interested. “Heh heh. Perfect Pair. You thinking of doing some upstairs remodeling? D or DD?”

“Shut up!” I shouted, hurling my Smartphone at him, which is always a good idea to distract from the topic at hand with your spouse (insures you get a long lecture about how cell insurance doesn’t cover abuse) Didn’t work. Eyebrows raised suspiciously.

Me: Okay, alright. Not that kind of Pair. I’m searching for a couple.

My Husband: A couple of what?

Me: A Couple. Period. Another couple for us to hang out and do fun things with. They have websites for that kind of thing now — syncing us up with the perfect pair of husband and wife friends.

My Husband: (incredulous You’re finding us a “Frarried?”

Me: A what now?

My Husband:(Smirks) Aren’t you supposed to be the witty one with words?  I just combined Friends and Married and got “Frarried.” Bwahaha!  I should be the Creative Writer in this house.”

Me: Perfect. In our new profile under “Interesting Tidbits About Hubby,” I’m gonna add, “Feels threatened so competes with wife in really strange ways.”

My Husband: Be sure and also write, “Must like hotdogs. And the Yankees. And Heineken and …”

Me: Excuse me! But this isn’t “Buddies N’ Ball N’ Beer” Match-Ups. This is for both of us, Mister. Besides I think we’ll make a great Scrabble team against another couple. So just forget about baseball.

Fast forward to our first “Date” with Couple Number One.

Me: Nice house y’all have. So how long have you two been searching for um, for lack of a better term, “Friend Mates?”

My Husband: Or “Frates?” Or “Mends?” Haha!  Betcha you guys can’t think up a better word combo than those?

Other Husband: Wow. You really ARE insecure and competitive, aren’t you? You’re on, Pal. Break out our Scrabble board, Ruth!

Ruth: I’m on it right now, Babe!

My Husband: (Suddenly nervous, still hoping for a sports night) Uh, unless you have a couple of catcher’s mitts and bats?

Me: (glaring) Oh no you don’t. No baseball talk.  So….Babe and Ruth — how long are you married?

Husband: (Ears perk up.) Babe Ruth?

Fast Forward To Our Drive Home

Me: Clearly we have to work on your social skills. The “How about we get to 3rd base tonight!” line was what got us thrown out.

My Husband: Just a little baseball humor. And you shouldn’t talk.

Me: What?? It’s normal to ask how long a couple has been married.

My Husband: Not when they blatantly announce they enjoy an exciting affair.

Me: I thought they meant a Fair. As in suggesting we all go to a fun carnival.

My Husband: Yeah, I see your point.  I mean seriously, who starts an exciting affair but gets so sick and tired and bored with being alone together that they go online looking for other couple friends? That’s just plain weird. I mean for us, it makes total sense, but…

Me: What does THAT mean???

My Husband: Nothing. But for our next new married best friends, can you find a husband and wife who are faithful? To each other.

Fast Forward to Couple Number Two

Me: Happy 51st anniversary! That’s a nice, long marriage. But I coulda sworn your ad said you were married for 15 years?

Wife: Howard says that’s my dyslexia, but I really just need new glasses.

Me: So which one of you loves to surf?

Wife: That would be Howard again. But he surfs the web. I just wanted to make it sound like he was more active.

My Husband: So which one of you is Howard??

Me: (Elbowing husband roughly in the gut.) So which one of you bowls?

Howard: We both put ice-cream in bowls, right Chunky Monkey?

Wife: That’s right, Rocky Road!

Me: And right here, your profile says someone is really into DIY?

Howard: Dessert In Yogurt! That’s right. The little wifey here is a wild thing. Always dunking her “Donuts In Yogurt.”

Wife: Not just Donuts. I’m daring!  “DIY” can stand for “Danish In Yogurt” too. Or I can even dip Devil’s food cuz that starts with D also.

Me: DIY. And here I always thought that meant “Do It Yourself?”

Wife: Oh it does! This is strictly a solo project.  Howard never helps me dip.

My Husband: Yeah, that’d just make Howard the Big Dip! Bwahaha.

Fast Forward to Our Drive Home

Me: You’re so creative with words….you couldn’t have said, “the Big Dipper?” instead? That could’ve been passed off as sightly amusing and we might’ve gotten to stay and cream that old fogie couple in Scrabble!

My Husband: Hmph. Some long-term married people can be so touchy.

Me: Alright here’s the new approach. Since I’m obviously the better half of our equation, I’ll make friends first with a married woman and get her liking me a lot. Then I’ll lower the boom and mention I have a goofy husband who could use a new friend too. And I’ll suggest we double-date with her hubby. Got it?

My Husband: Perfect. Then you two wives go shopping and the husband and I will go to a baseball game.

           Fast Forward To Our Divorce!

Readers: Is it THIS difficult for you to find couples as friends? Tell me in the comments! And just go right HERE if you’re brave enough to shop for other Couple Friends online . . . “Frouples!”

 

Judy Blume . . . My New Best Friend!

 

It all started when I heard rumors that  Judy Blume (every girl’s favorite childhood author and someone I became obsessed with in the 1970’s!) was teaching an online MastersClass. (You know those internet courses you pay to sign up for that are taught by famous people?)

Now at first I thought my sister-in-law (a Judith Bloom!) was playing one of her usual tricks on me once again.  She’s a practical joker and has had name envy her entire life, wishing she could be the one making all the money from those best-selling teenage novels about girls’ developing bodies and their first boy crushes. Well guess what? I wasn’t falling for it this time!

So when I logged onto the website, there was the REAL Judy Blume smiling kindly at me from a photograph — and that’s when I first sensed it — our private, special, one-on-one connection.

Judy’s compassionate expression from her picture beckoned, “Come on Stephanie D. Lewis, just sign up for my class and I’ll make you the Teacher’s Pet!” I even detected her winking conspiratorially at me during a video while I became mesmerized by her paperback book-covers flashing hypnotically across the screen. But when I replayed it, I couldn’t exactly swear to that.

Disregarding that old adage, “Those who can, do, and those who can’t, teach,” (This is Judy Blume we are talking about, after all!!) I studied the fine print carefully; “Judy will hold regular office hours, critiquing select students’ work and sending her personal feedback.” I could just see it now! Choosing me, (over all her thousands of other pupils) we’d bond over her charming knack for writing about menstruation — and my odd ability to pen blogs about menopause.

My first email to Ms. Blume would shout in the subject title, “Are you there, Judy? It’s Me, Stephanie!” (Yep, I’d totally go there!) She’d giggle, impressed how I stood out from her other humdrum students by referencing her most popular novel of all time. And then upon Judy’s friendly prompt response, I’d mention our further commonality as chocoholics. After all — she named her character ‘Fudge’ in Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, and I (a Fifth Grade Zero!) had named our family poodle ‘Cocoa” as a direct result of reading that book.  Of course, this only encouraged our house guests to indulge Cocoa with numerous Hershey’s Kisses — eventually killing her, because dogs shouldn’t ingest chocolate. But I’d reassure Judy I never once held her accountable for this misfortune and she’d reply, “Let’s grab a cup of coffee to make up for your tragic loss and discuss how you’re gonna follow in my famous footsteps.”

Now lemme briefly pause here to say that when email interactions don’t go as well as one imagines — an experienced writer (like myself!) knows how to:

a) Reframe — Of course Judy’s eyes were hurting from overzealously reading all my compelling writing samples, so she’s napping today, but she’ll reach out to me first thing tomorrow.  b) Have a Plan B — Call Ms. Blume directly on her personal landline, demonstrating exemplary student initiative!

And what a creative plan B this would be! After Judy’s voicemail plays and I hear the beep, I resist calling her “Judge Judy” and instead belt out the Beatles, “Hey Jude!” That oughta do the trick. But as I sing the “na na nana na na’s” that end the famous lyrics, a robotic voice interrupts me, “Are you satisfied with your message or do you wish to re-record?” Thinking it sounds cheesy, I’ll press delete and launch into my Cary Grant impersonation exclaiming, “Judy, Judy, Judy! Let’s do lunch, baby.” There!

I’ll follow that call up with personally delivering a large bouquet of flowers onto Judy’s front doorstep (in Key West, Florida) with some really clever wordplay. The card says, “Here’s every “bloom” I could find in honor of my new BFF Judy “Blume” and our “blossoming” friendship!”

As I sink further into this magical reverie, a notification on my cellphone rudely alerts me, “We are sorry to inform you that Ms. Blume’s writing course has been permanently cancelled due to her vivid premonitions of a crazy, fanatical fan stalking her!”

Extraordinarily disappointed, I’ll let myself in thru the backdoor of her home (that she’ll have given me the key to during our coffee date) and find her sitting inconsolably on her living room couch, where I’ll immediately put my arm around her shoulders and whisper soothingly, “There, there, Judy. I know it’s extremely challenging possessing the kind of overactive writers’ imaginations that we both do! But we’ll get through this. Together.”

It’s only then that I’ll glimpse the cellphone cancellation notice is originating from . . . Judith Bloom. Drats….my impish sister-in-law has managed to get me again!

Judy need only ask me once, and I’ll help her title ALL her books!

Should You or Shouldn’t You Have a Gift Closet??

I’m Shoving Valentine’s Day Down Everyone’s Throat!

For a change of pace, I decided to catch my children off-guard with being festive this year. All it took was sending everyone an “adorable” Valentine’s app and a lot of Splenda packets to conjure up the sweetness in our lives for a day. At least that’s what I thought.  Guess they don’t call them Conversation Candy for nothing! Have a look . . .

Me: photo 4-11

 College Son:

photo 5-9

 Me:

photo 1-16

 College Son:

photo-69

 Me:

photo 3-10 Then my two younger kids chime in.

Daughter 12:

photo 4-12

 Son 10:

photo 5-10

(Okay so JUST ONE TIME on Valentine’s Day, I decided their gift to me should be dusting the entire house — and my gift to them would be hiding pennies to reward the dusting. This anecdote will now be told at my funeral.)

 College Son:

photo 2-17

Me:

photo 3-12

 College Son:

photo 1-18 photo 1-8

Me:

photo 4-7

College Son:

photo 4-4

Me:

photo 3-3 photo 3-7

College Son:

photo 4-9 Sick of this son’s smart retorts, I send a heart to his twin brother with a love greeting . . .

Twin Brother:

photo 1-23

Me:

photo 2-22

Twin Brother:

photo 3-18 Finally my 17 year old daughter (who btw takes 45 minutes to decide what she’s gonna wear in the morning) decides to join in . . .

Daughter 17

photo 4-14

 College Son:

photo 4-16

 Me

photo 1-13

 College Son:

photo 5-6

Me:

photo 1-22 photo 4-15 photo 3-14

College Son:

photo 2-18

Me:

photo 4-5photo 2-9

College Son:

photo 5-4

Me:

photo 1-11

College Son:

photo 2-10

Son 10

photo 3-8 photo 2-13 photo 5-11

Daughter 17

photo 4-17

Me:

photo 3-17

Daughter 17:

photo 2-19

Me:

photo 4-20 photo 5-12

College Son:

photo-71

photo 1-17

Me:

photo 2-16

Frustrated, I decide to send the Valentine app to my boyfriend….

Boyfriend:

photo 4-3

Me:

photo 5-3

Boyfriend:

photo 2-21

Me:

photo 1-20

Boyfriend:

photo 2-20

Me:

photo 3-16

Boyfriend:

photo-70

Desserts backwards = Stressed.  Of course!  And look — this time playing Scramble was HIS idea. At least this confirms I’m with the right guy.

Hope your Valentine’s Day is a little more on task than ours! And now excuse me while I eat my own words…and they taste like Pepto Bismol chalk!

READERS: TO MAKE YOUR OWN HEART CANDY PICS JUST CLICK RIGHT HERE BUT DON’T LEAVE ME A COMMENT THAT THEY DON’T GIVE YOU ENOUGH SPACE. I FOUND THIS OUT AND THAT’S WHAT MADE THIS POST SO WONDERFULLY CHALLENGING! 

Do You Care What Others Think About Your Partner? (And What Does That Have To Do With Moths?)

“Seriously? She got back with him after I told her what a jerk he is. Doesn’t my opinion count for anything?”

You’re holding a dress in your hand at a department store when another customer (you haven’t met before) says, “Oh. My. God. I’ve never seen an uglier frock than that!” How likely are you to buy it now? How about if it’s your best friend whose fashion sense you trust implicitly?

Now substitute the dress for your recent boyfriend. (Male readers, just use a new car and your current chick!)

This is the psychology of a relationship that gets rather tricky, doncha think? Perhaps you insist it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about the person you’re with because your opinion is the only one that matters. But if you suddenly become informed (or you inadvertently overhear, in the case of eavesdropping —  we don’t know ANYONE who does that, do we??) of negative feedback about your perspective mate, wouldn’t it subconsciously modify the way you feel, even if only slightly?

Disclaimer: So if you popped in for my typical lighthearted humor, you may be disappointed in today’s blog. If you decide to stay and read anyhow — let’s dig right in! Ready?

Once upon a time, I broke up with a certain ex. Many people (whose opinions I highly respected) couldn’t wait to tell me afterward that they experienced this particular ex as being totally arrogant, judgmental, and controlling. They ended by saying, “Congratulations, your split is for the best!” Now mind you, I hadn’t really noticed those traits in him, and our relationship ended for an entirely different set of reasons. Nevertheless, when a chance for reconciliation occurred (the other issues resolved) I found myself highly influenced, knowing so many friends and family found him to be such a revolting personality type — and I opted not to get back together.

Now….which is true? x) These family and friends were just attempting to make me feel better about the death of our coupleship by exaggerating their sentiments about him being so awful, so I wouldn’t mourn the loss so much?  y) That really WAS their accurate opinion of him and all those times they’d socialized with us, they were squelching it, figuring they’d spare my feelings for the sake of harmony?

The correct answer? z) I dunno. But these are the kinds of quandaries that contribute to my insomnia!

Here’s another example. Once upon a time, I was involved with a man that none of my six children cared for, and that’s putting it mildly. Was this simply because no child wants to see their mother with anyone but their father? Or should their strong reactions be taken into consideration and thought of as a red flag? For instance, it definitely crossed my mind that, “Gosh! Not just one, not just two, not just three . . .  but ALL six kids feel the exact same way about this guy! Gee, what are the odds??” (Okay some mathematician out there, please tell me!)

Then there was another (OUAT) “Once Upon a Time” tale. OUAT, I grew up in a Jewish household with a holocaust survivor father who made very clear to me from the time I was a young girl just how crucial it was I marry someone in our same faith. (Fiddler on the Roof musical, anyone?) I actually broke up with an individual of another religion (whom I was very attached to) to marry someone Jewish, solely to comply with their strong convictions. I can hear you saying . . . “And how’d that work out for ya?”

So those are some different (and true) scenarios that range in variation of intensity for how other people’s viewpoints of my relationships have impacted me. And if you think my tales are outlandish and I’m a minority in this dilemma, check out this study demonstrating that both men and women very much care about what others think of their choices right  HERE

I know what you’re thinking right about now, so don’t even bother to leave a comment. Here it is in a nutshell, right? “You’re an adult of sound mind. (Even though you call yourself “Little Miss Menopause.”) You should be living your life for you. And if you’re letting love be dictated by others, you’re sacrificing your own happiness for no reason whatsoever.” Close enough?  Or maybe you’re thinking this — “Someone who truly has your best interests at heart will love your partner, too. Why? Because you love him and because he makes you happy. Anyone who can’t fall in line to support your choice in mates is putting their own needs/desires/prejudices before what’s really important: Your Happiness.”  That sounds really astute — I’m definitely not deleting it in my final draft!

And now some subtler points to this whole mess, (after all, it’s only in a perfect world that people keep their big mouths shut!) because when someone close to you confides (for your own good, of course) what is objectionable about your potential partner (even if you decide to ignore it because it absolutely carries no weight) ——- You . . .

  • Can never unhear what you’ve already heard.
  • Will question your judgment. Can love really make you blind?
  • Are suddenly included in far less social engagements because people really don’t want to be around your partner.
  • Have to choose your words carefully when you vent or ask this friend for relationship advice because “they already tried to warn you . . . in vain.”
  • Will always remain hyper-vigilant looking for the flaws they originally pointed out to you, to see if they are somehow insidiously manifesting.
  • Will eventually wish your partner was an ugly frock (who even uses that term any more??) that you can just hang back on the rack in the department store, then casually back away.

I’ll leave you with one last OUAT situation.  OUAT, I had a roller-coaster, turbulent relationship where we literally broke up and got back together five different times. (Makeup sex aside, this was exhausting!) But each time we separated, my “well-meaning” friends came forward to list every miserable character defect they couldn’t stand about him. Each time he and I flew back into each other’s arms, they would sheepishly backpedal and withdraw their harsh judgements. Suddenly he was Mr. Wonderful again. My takeaway from this: He was flying back into my arms simply to restore his sterling reputation in our community.

And speaking of flying, if you liked the cockeyed “reasoning” I demonstrated with that previous conclusion, you’ll love my moth logic which goes a little something like this: I pick up a moth and command it to fly. Of course it flies. I pull off one wing and tell it to fly once more. It flies. I do this two more times. The moth continues to fly. I pull the last wing off and tell the moth to fly. Alas, the moth can no longer fly. Why not???  Because when I pull off all the wings, the moth became deaf!

And now the answer to the question posed in my title. Why does a moth have anything to do with other people’s opinions of your new partner? Because if they’re not attracted to your new flame (like a moth!) — they should just keep their big moth shut!

Dear Readers: Alright so I’m not a logician, a mathematician, (or even a mothematician!) but have you ever ended (or not started?) a relationship because of what close friends and family thought? Did you regret it?

Are You a HSP? (Hint: If You Think That Means Hardware Software Programmer, You’re NOT!)

As mentioned in a previous post, I’ve recently navigated the world of online dating — but before I did, I studied up on all the acronyms and now know that LTR means Long Term Relationship, BDSM means Bondage Discipline Sadism Masochism (I think it should just be abbreviated with “OW!”) and FWB means Friends With Benefits. (I was hoping the latter offered medical and dental coverage, but alas it does not!)

So after describing myself in my profile as an “Intense writer who feels things very deeply!” — many men wrote asking, “Why don’t you just say you’re an HSP?”

Uh, because I never knew that was an actual thing!

A Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) is apparently found in 15 to 20% of the population–too many to be a disorder, but too few to be well understood. I’m not going to help you understand it right now either, but go HERE if you’d like to.  And go HERE if you enjoy taking tests to see if you fit the label. (But come back here! Because I’m a HSP and your leaving will surely hurt my feelings.)

Instead of educating you about these types of individuals, I’m just going to poke fun of myself for kinda being one. Oh and also this other anonymous random guy who had the misfortune of messaging me while he was apparently going through a bout of it himself — so now he’s being featured in my blog. Sorry Random Anonymous guy! Nothing personal.

All you really need to know to keep reading is that Highly Sensitive People (HSP) have above average manners!

MATCH.COM INBOX WITH 2 HSPs

HSP GUY: Good evening. I’m sorry for bothering you! Maybe you can respond when you get a moment, but if not, I totally understand and hope you have a nice life.

HSP ME: When you say, “but if not, I totally understand,” does that mean you don’t really like me that much, so it’s no big loss? Sorry if I’m bothering you when I ask for clarification on that.

HSP GUY: It just meant that I didn’t want to intrude. Sorry because it seems I already have!

HSP ME: I have a profile up here for the express purpose of meeting someone, so how could you intrude? Am I now intruding ON YOU by responding when you said you’d understand if I didn’t — which to me really means you could care less?

HSP GUY: Shouldn’t that be couldn’t care less? Sorry, I don’t mean to criticize, but I’m sensitive to getting phrases like that correct.

HSP ME: That’s quite alright — I’m as much of a grammar nazi as the next person, but perhaps a phone call would be less confusing. Here’s my number: ***-****.  Sorry if this text came too late at night, but I’m an insomniac.

HSP GUY: So sorry you can’t sleep. Anything I can do to help? Where are my manners? Here’s my number: ***-****

A week goes by.

MATCH.COM INBOX WITH 2 HSPs

HSP GUY: I guess you lost interest. You didn’t call me.

HSP ME: Sorry, I didn’t want to disturb you in case that was your work number and I thought you were calling me.

HSP GUY: May I call you now?

HSP ME: Please.

HSP GUY: Thank you.

HSP ME: You’re welcome.

HSP GUY: Do you mean I’m welcome to call you now? Or you’re just being polite and saying “You’re welcome” because I said, “Thank you?”

PHONE CALL WITH 2 HSPs

HSP ME: Hi! I figured I’d may as well reach out first, since we keep getting caught in a giant web of considerateness.

HSP GUY: Yes, sorry. I’ve been told that I read a little too much into things. Thank you for reaching out.

HSP ME: That always makes me think of that song,  “Hands….touching hands….reaching out…..”

HSP GUY: “Sweet Caroline!” Wow. We both know Neil Diamond. I think that’s a sign we should meet. Unless of course you hate Neil Diamond, and then maybe that’s a sign we shouldn’t?

HSP ME: Neil Diamond was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s. I’m sorry. I hope that didn’t just depress you.

HSP GUY: I’m sorry, but you do seem like kind of a Debbie Downer.

HSP ME: I’m sorry. Well, nice talking with you. I’m gonna let you hang up first since I called you first.

HSP GUY: No, you hang up first.  I wouldn’t want the noise to hurt your ears.

HSP ME: No you hang up first. Okay thank you for offering to let me hang up first — my ears are highly sensitive.

HSP GUY: Please don’t hang up. I’m sorry. I was only joking about the Debbie Downer stuff.

HSP ME: I’m sorry, but I believe that in every joke there’s a grain of truth.

HSP GUY: Sorry, but aren’t you over-reacting just a tad? Or sorry — maybe I’m overreacting myself to your grain of truth statement? At any rate, I am deeply sorry.

HSP ME: I’m sorry to have to say this — but it’s not going to work out with two people who are always apologizing and being so polite and sensitive and just constantly too … ugh . . .  too NICE!

HSP GUY: I’m sorry, but too nice? I knew it, I just knew it. I’m a Highly Perceptive Person (HPP) and could totally sense from your photo (and that hair!) …  that you’re into BDSM and are only looking for FWB and not a LTR.

HSP ME: Wait! So now there’s an HPP also? Is that a thing too?

HSP GUY: Sorry, but it most definitely is. (LOUD CLICK!)

HSP ME: Hello? Hello? OW! That really hurt my highly sensitive ears.

READERS: DO YOU KNOW A HSP? WOULD YOU ADMIT TO BEING ONE? IS IT TERRIBLE OR WONDERFUL? DON’T WE MAKE EXCELLENT WRITERS???