How to Make Sure Your Kids Get Their Fair Share of Therapy!

photo-348A good shrink (like a quality preschool) should probably be booked while still pregnant. Ages 12-15 are the target range, but with any luck, you might get them committed earlier. And remember, therapists have heard everything there is to hear about mothers and how they screwed up the lives of their patients/clients. Originality counts!

So, forget buying a gender-neutral dollhouse for your son or saying, “Look at those thunder-thighs” while looking in a mirror in front of your developing daughter. Way overdone! Having your teen hold up a large, self-mocking sign on a crowded intersection is no longer unique and will have the school psychologist snoozing before they can say “Attachment Disorder.”

I have six kids and here are my tips to make sure your child proudly announces to others that he/she comes from a Dysfunctional Family.

11 Easy Ways to Make Your Children Nutty!

1.  “It’s A Secret!”  – – This only works if you have more than one child.  We look for ways to make kids feel special and unique, right?  They are Individuals!  Therefore, it’s quite depressing for a child to be told you love all the siblings equally.  How can they ever shine?   Here’s an easy fix.  Tell one child in private that he has always been your favorite and you love him more.  Warn him that if the others EVER found out, they would be devastated – –  so it must always stay your little secret.  Repeat with however many kids you have.  Bonus:  This will be the hot topic of the day at your funeral or some far off family reunion!

2.  “Lists Are Fun!”  – –  Don’t be that mother with the mundane grocery list magnetized on the outside of your fridge. (Click HERE to read what’s inside my refrigerator) Tack up a “What I Could Have Been if only I Didn’t Have You!” list instead. Rich Lawyer and Famous Movie Star are always good ones to feature at the top.  But make sure you separately number all the sacrifices you’ve made and hobbies you had to give up.  Never got to have a violin recital?  No worries!  Leaving this list in plain sight will ensure that your kid has sufficient guilt to stick with YOUR favorite childhood dream long enough for you to live vicariously through them. Trust me, being a stage mom is the easiest way to make it to Hollywood.

3.  New Side Dishes — Here’s another option besides the potato, rice, or pasta dishes they’re always complaining they’re bored with. They’ll be scratching their heads over this one! But if you have a real problem with this, Lice Clinics of America is the company I swear by!


4.  “A Hidden Diary!” – –  Not too hidden!  Write in your journal that “name of kid” must never EVER find out they are actually the Love Child of Walt Disney.  (Don’t worry about the math here)  And if they behave themselves perfectly for the next year (don’t date this page) Walt will come for them (don’t worry about exhuming fees) and they will permanently reside in Sleeping Beauty’s castle with no need to ever go to school or do chores again.  Be sure and write that Walt has a thing for dirty clothes being put in the hamper.  End this journal with an exciting touch of realism.  i.e. Let’s say you have a daughter, Savannah.  So jot down – –   Just think . . . “Savannah Disney.”  Wow.  Just Wow.  (Click HERE to see why you don’t want to set foot in Disneyland, even if it brings back fond memories of your torrid affair with Walt.)

5.  “Getting Your Just Desserts” – – A lot can be accomplished with this.  First of all, remind your kids that Fruit is actually “Nature’s Dessert.”  You will see the number of times they ask to have a friend over for dinner dwindles down to nothing.  And a bushel of bright red strawberries is festive and holds candles quite nicely in place of real birthday cake.  After a year or two of this, tell them you’ve thought it over and realized you’ve been too restrictive and tonight you’re serving Dessert For Dinner!  I don’t provide recipes, sorry.  But here’s a picture below. photo-344 After their first confused taste-bud bite say, “You’ll thank me later when you don’t have to go to the dentist so often.  And by the way, I would have been a dentist if only I. . . ”  Let them finish that sentence.

6.  “It’s Only a Phrase.” – – Cultivate saying, “We’ll See” as an answer to everything.  (Maybe hold up a pair of Googly-Eyes to emphasize “see” when you say this) This will teach your child to have hope, but also not to be disappointed if something doesn’t happen.  The world is not clear cut “Yes” or “No.”  It’s a “We’ll See” life.  Isn’t it?  However if they ask, “Is Walt Disney my Dad?”  The answer is a resounding Yes.  Another helpful phrase is “Because I said so.”  This is a real motivator for them to grow up fast and have kids of their own so they can have a gleeful turn at exclaiming, “Cuz I said so.”

7.  “Saved by the Bell!”  – –  Have an old dinner bell lying around?  (nobody eats dinner together anymore, so surely you must)  Give the bell to your child and tell her whenever she wants you, just ring it.  You can start this ritual on sick days when her throat is sore, but eventually incorporate it into daily life.  This will stop the frequent ear-shattering shouting of “Mom!” that echos most households.  When you’ve had enough of the bell, simply say, “Who do you think I am?  Your servant?!”  “Note:  This can work effectively with your husband too.  Give him the bell at night when he’s in bed and you have insomnia and are wandering aimlessly around the house.   You’ll never miss those moments when he’s feeling frisky – –  he’ll give an efficient jingle.  Tired?  Just respond, “What am I? Your sex slave?”  It will be clear as a bell that the party is over.

8.   “Works of Art!” – –   Of course everything your darling makes in grade school is worthy of a huge fuss.  So by all means, frame it, hang it, magnetize it on the fridge (just don’t cover up crucial list in # 2!) and show the masterpieces off to friends and neighbors who come to visit.  But when they’re in junior high school and your house is completely overrun with “Rembrandt Rubbish,” ceremoniously toss it gracefully away in the garbage, citing that Martha Stewart said that was okay as long as you took digital pictures of everything.


My “Picasso” drew this self-portrait after telling her teacher that her mom writes blogs teaching parents how to make their kids crazy. I gushed over the vivid colors, then promptly threw it away.

9. “The “Eyes” Have It.” – – You thought Googly Eyes were for craft projects, didn’t you?  The therapist will never hear of nightmares like these!  When you’re playing Beauty Parlor with your daughter, affix a pair of googly eyes under your hair about three inches above your neck.  Ask your daughter to make a french braid and when she stops in shock, say, “Oh!  You found the eyes in the back of Mommy’s head!”  Also, opening the refrigerator just to look and see what’s there will be kept to a minimum if the food stares back at them.  (See Below Photo)photo-349  The list of Googly-Eyed Gimmicks is endless – – this was just meant to open your eyes to potential.

10.  “History Repeats Itself” – – Tell them that when you were younger and misbehaved, your mother (their Grandmother) said, “One day you’ll have a child as naughty as you, so you’ll know how it feels.”  Tell them since that obviously came true, it means Grandma is a witch and can put a family curse on them as well.

11.  Is It Cold In Here Or Is It Just Me? – – Take a tip from Jewish mothers and make your child wear a sweater whenever you feel chilled. It’s wonderful for menopausal moms; every time a hot flash hits, you can rip your child’s sweater off and fling it on the floor in annoyance. “Just looking at you in that thing makes me perspire!”

That’s it! Just be sure and tattoo a registered trademark symbol on their arm that gives proper credit (where credit is due) so the therapist knows who to thank for putting their kids through college. I am partial to, “Neurotic behavior by Mom,” or “Think I’m nuts? Check out who raised me.”


Would You Rock The Boat???

photo-303Summer is almost here and it’s time for me to think of another “Creative Vacation.” The kids have rejected the “Staycation” concept for a while now. That’s where you stay home and pretend you’re a tourist in your own city. (Note: At this point, do NOT suggest Disneyland.)  I also have a few other original ideas I present to them:

I turn on the backyard sprinklers, for a fun “Spraycation.”

And . . .

We go in a horse drawn carriage for an exciting “Neighcation.” 

But they aren’t buying any of it.

What??  Haven't you ever gone on a great "Haycation" before?!

What?? Haven’t you ever gone on a great “Haycation” before?!

Yesterday I went on a website where you “Name your own price for hotel rooms and flights.” But I either insulted the computer with my cheap $$ suggestion or it defaulted to Walmart – –  because after I made my seat selection on the airline, it impertinently asked me, “Paper or plastic?”

Next, the dreaded task began… (cue Jaws music) … bathing suit shopping!  (worse than Jean shopping) And with a 16 year old Selena Gomez lookalike daughter yet!  I won’t belabor the scene, but let’s say the tissues you use for your summer hay fever have sturdier fabric than the new bikini she’s begging to parade around in 24/7.  Where’s the Freaky Friday movie switching experience when you need it?

Since apparently this has now become a “Weighcation,” I needed to reassure myself by stepping on my Denial Scale.  That’s a new contraption that mercifully won’t disclose your actual poundage, but only displays the amount you’ve gained (please no!) or lost since the last time you foolishly stood on it.  (Don’t believe me?  Click here. )  My ex-husband says it’s like going to a Doctor who won’t diagnose my disease, but only confirms whether I’m recovering or getting sicker.

And trust me, I AM getting sicker….much sicker by the minute.

When packing time comes, a brand new revelation occurs to those of us who haven’t flown in years (because we’re terrified that the pilot just found out his wife has been cheating on him – –  and now he could care less if he dies and he’s taking the rest of us down with him) – – The new revelation is that our luggage must also slim down!  What???

The airline’s imposed “50 lb. suitcase per person” rule throws a wrench in my “Just In Case” packing ritual.  Actually there’s no room for a wrench in my bag now.

My “Just In Case”  (get it?  Case!!) packing ritual goes like this . . .

Note: It sounds much better if you think of it as a poem.


WHAT IF . .  .

It rains?

It doesn’t rain?

The pillows are bad?

The hotel has no iron to be had?

My hair breaks out?  My skin gets frizzy?

A high heel breaks because I got dizzy?

I meet a tall man?

A short man?

A man with 20/20 vision?

A man without a circumcision?

I meet a mouse?

I cry and cry?

My eyes get dry

A nail breaks?

My mascara flakes?

My purse clashes with the bellman’s tie?

Okay, obviously stuffing in everything to cover all the above hypothetical scenarios into one Carry-On Bag is impossible. 

And then it happens!   I see the ad in the travel magazine.  The answer to everything.  No dieting or bathing suit needed to go here!   No luggage restrictions!   No flying on a plane.


Let Doozy Cruisey whisk you away on a dream Alaskan vacation.  See Huge Glaciers!  Whales!  Wildlife other than your children! Choose your own cruise theme!

*  Booze Cruise   *  Snooze Cruise    *  Shoes Cruise   *  Jews Cruise   *  “Tom Cruise” Cruise  *  Blue’s Clues Cruise  *photo-300

Okay so that last part was a little strange but nonetheless, it was worth a phone call.

Doozy Cruisey Specialist:  Hello!  I’m just oozing to talk about cruising!

Me:  Um, maybe you better put a bandage on that.

Ten minutes later, my family (me and six children) are booked inside a 400 sq ft. cabin (one King size bed, plus they assured me the desk drawers ingeniously turn into bunk beds that kids love!)

Twenty minutes later, Doozy Cruisey calls me back.

Doozy Cruisey Specialist:   Hi!  This is Doozy Cruisey, where your ship always comes in!

Me:   Is something wrong?

Doozy Cruisey Specialist:  No Ma’am.  I’m just calling to let you know there’s been a slight change in your ship’s itinerary.  Your particular cruise will no longer make stops in Juneau, Anchorage or Seward.  This is due to an engine defect and until we fix the problem, the ship cannot sail faster than 10 knots.

Me:  But those were the only stops in Alaska we were making!

Doozy Cruisey Specialist:  I understand, but do you remember your geography?   Alaska is near Seattle, so we’ll be stopping there instead.

Me:  There are no glaciers in Seattle.

Doozy Cruisey Specialist:  And to compensate for that, the captain is going to be turning on the air-conditioner more often and creating some beautiful ice-sculptures on the midnight buffet.  The ship will also screen the movie “Frozen”  24/7 on your cabin TV.

Here is another bonus the Captain of the ship was throwing in to make up for Alaska.

Here is another bonus the Captain of the ship was throwing in to make up for Alaska.

Me:  Refund please.

Doozy Cruisey Specialist Now, now.  All the other passengers are in the same boat.  Ha Ha.  And none of them are demanding refunds.

Me:  Give me my money back.

Doozy Cruisey Specialist:  Don’t take that tone with me, Ma’am.  You’re cruisin’ for a bruisin’.  You better shape up or ship out.  The only thing we can do is switch you to another cruise.

Me:  What are my other options?

Doozy Cruisey Specialist:  You could take a cruise to Nowhere.

Me:  Where does that one stop?

Doozy Cruisey Specialist:  Nowhere.

Me:  Nowhere is NOT a destination.

Doozy Cruisey Specialist:  If you ask Peter Pan, it is.  He sailed to Neverland.

Me:  He flew there.

Doozy Cruisey Specialist:  Well, that’s the beauty of cruising.  You get to sail instead of fly. You don’t have to worry that the pilot of the airplane just found out his wife had an affair and so he’s angry and taking everyone down with him.

Me:  That would only occur to a crazy person.

Doozy Cruisey Specialist:  Let’s get back on track.  (I used to sell Train Trips)  The reason for my call is to see if you’d like to purchase Trip Insurance for only $1,200.  In case you need to cancel your trip to Alaska for any reason, you’d get a complete refund.

Me:  But YOU just did cancel my trip to Alaska!

Doozy Cruisey Specialist:  Why do you wanna go there anyhow?  Whatever floats your boat.  But  I read your blog.  You’re already a cold fish.  Completely frigid in bed.  You and your ex-husband were like two ships passing in the night.  You don’t exactly have a face that could launch a thousand ships, either.

Me:  That’s it!  I’m leaving the worst review on Yelp that you’ve ever had.  Actually, I’m going to blog about you.  Just wait.  I’m gonna take the wind right outa your sails.  Make waves for you at work.  My readers will never book a cruise with your company.

Doozy Cruisey Specialist:  You wouldn’t dare.  Hello?  Ma’am?  Calm down….no blogging……

Me:  Thar’ She Blows!!






 This was inspired by true events which you can read about HERE.  Do you have a vacation that went wrong before you even left your house??

Things That Go Grump in the Night!

photo-297Of course!  Why didn’t I figure this out long ago?  I know how to keep marriages together.   Just not my own.

A Brand New Study shows that people’s sleep styles (and positions) says something significant about their relationship – –  And could possibly be a predictor of long term marital success.   It particularly talks about the proximity of sleeping close with your partner.  A full 94 percent of couples who make physical contact with each other while sleeping, enthusiastically state they are happy in their relationships.

However, there are no statistics that apply to marriages like mine — marriages where one (insomniac) mate makes plenty of physical contact with the other (sleeping) mate.  Using her fists.  And hisses one of the following phrases (or all four at once)  a)  Move over! b) Stop snoring! c) Give me some covers! d) You’re mumbling unintelligibly in your sleep again. . . something about Suzanne Somers, your golf game and our mortgage payment.

The Couple that Sleeps Together, Keeps Together??

And guess what?  Only a mere 2 percent of couples sleep more than 30 inches apart.   How do the rest of you 98 percent touchy/feely types stand it?   With a Human Noisemaker slumbering on a neighboring pillow, sounding off every night at midnight.  I always felt I should put on a pointy party hat and sing, “Should old acquaintance be forgot….” in between all the snoring, whistling, teeth-grinding, coughing, sputtering, fluttering and muttering.

And that was just the auditory portion of the nightly Surround-Sound show.  There was a Tactile element too.  It featured such sensations as: a) hot breath on my neck b) seismic mattress movements, (that made me check our earthquake supply kit the next morning) and  c) getting squeezed in weird, sporadic, jerky involuntary muscle releasing rhythms as he drifted off peacefully, holding my waist hostage.

This Pose would have scored a 10 in the Bedroom Olympics if she had entered in The Peaceful Singles Division.

This Pose would have scored a 10 in the Bedroom Olympics if she had entered in “The Serenity Singles Division.”

Am I the only one who believes sleeping should be a solo (Olympic) event?  You need the entire bed (court) all to yourself to perform the best stunts.  “The Sideways Sleep Sheet Struggle” requires single status.  “The Triple Pillow Flip with a Half Twist” is also best implemented alone, with a pillow slip that’s labeled, “The Cooler Side,” of course.  Even the traditional  “Check the Clock Every Hour to Figure Out How Much Shut Eye You Can Get Before Your Alarm Goes Off” maneuver is not a team event – –  if you want to have perfect (panicky) form.

But never fear – – as always, I have a helpful tool that will offer assistance with your Nightly Nuanced, Nauseating, Neurotic, Narcissistic Nightmare:

Sleep close together . . . and you too, can be this deliriously happy!

Sleep close together . . . and you too, can be this deliriously happy!

Miss Menopause’s Screening Test:  Is the Innocent, Exhausted Woman Possibly  the Problem In Bed – – or is that Thoughtless, Annoying Male the True Likely Culprit?

(Directions:  Take this test “in the moment” (in the still of the night)  Then Answer “Agree” or “Disagree” after each Unbiased Statement.  Always answer loud enough so as to awaken your partner.)

1.   This is the polite way of formulating the following request: “Will you turn off the friggin light and stop reading that stupid “Freakonomics” book already?”

2.  I would never throw an attractive partner out of bed for eating crackers.   But Knuckle Crackers, Jaw Slackers, Pillow Stackers, & Head Smackers (no matter how studly) are another story.

3.  My favorite invention would be a linking device attached to the television remote control.  Every time “he” changes the channel during Desperate Housewives, the thermostat adjusts up (for my thyroid trouble) or down (for my hot-flashes)  by five degrees.

The Couple That Sleeps Together, Weeps Together??

4.  Anything he mutters incoherently, (after I insist he roll over) is grounds for next day interrogation.  I also think it’s fair (after being kept up all night) to claim that while talking in his sleep, he graciously promised to mow the lawn this weekend before taking me out to dinner.

5.  If he is loud enough to be mistaken for a New Year’s Eve noisemaker, it might be interesting to find out what kind of 4th of July firecracker he would make.  Putting a teaspoon of PopRocks in his mouth while he snoozes, is the next logical step to that end.

6.  Sometimes when my mate is zzzzzz-ing away, I get so bored that I drag the dresser bureau, the nightstands, and the bed (with him in it) around in different positions.  I then frantically pull his arm until he awakens, announcing that an Interior Decorator just broke into the house to rearrange the furniture.  And now we need new drapes.

7.  My spouse has two of the most unusually annoying habits.  Inhaling and exhaling.

Look at this photo.  Who is to blame - - Wilma or Fred?

Look at this photo. Who is to blame for Hammock Hell – – Wilma or Fred?

8.  I often politely tell my mate to scooch over just a bit.  Then a tad further.  A trifle more.  And just another smidgeon, yet again.  One last inch, please.  Whoops.  Sorry down there!

9.  “Watching the contours of my husband’s handsome face while he sleeps is my favorite pastime,” said no Wife ever.

10.  After viewing this scene from a famous show (click here)   I feel like he probably had it coming.  I also think twin beds are a wonderful invention.  But twin beds in Twin Cities would be even better!

If you are one of those people who simply cannot relate to any of this Post because you’re a “Cuddly Wuddly Romantic,” (I’d like to give you an UGH!  I mean a HUG!)  and if your idea of a perfect night sleep is having your partner insidiously tightly coiling his/her body around you like a Python snake – – please leave the number of years you’ve existed in your happy relationship in the comments section.  I have a special prize I want to send to my Reader with the longest track record of  Suffocation Strife  “Bedroom Bliss.


In Synch with Your Shrink – – It’s Not What You Think. . . (Wink, Wink)

photo-292She was my 18th Therapist but I was her very First patient.  Here’s how it went down. . .

(Oh, it’s perfectly okay!  It doesn’t violate the Confidentiality Code when it’s the patient who does the blabbing.)


Me:  Um, I usually don’t sit in the leather chair behind the big, important looking desk?

Therapist:  Oh!  Sorry.  I’m a little new at this.  I thought if you had one of those Inferiority Complexes, that would cure you right away.  Plus I just ordered this new $1200 couch and I wanted to try it out myself to see if it was comfortable.

Me:  So how does it feel?

Therapist:  Well, lemme see.  I’m experiencing a little of what we call the Imposter Syndrome which means I’m afraid you might think I’m a fraud masquerading as a professional – – So my defense mechanisms have turned up a bit.  And I have some obsessive compulsive tendencies – – I want to reach behind your head and straighten that picture by a 1/4 of an inch.  Plus I’m feeling a little Borderline Personality-ish this morning with a dash of Seasonal Affective Disorder thrown in, which means I need more sun-exposure.  Would you mind opening those blinds a tad?

Me:  No, the couch.  How does the couch feel?

Therapist:  Oh!  Well the new factory smell is obnoxious and the fabric is kinda scratchy and there’s too much stuffing behind my lower back and I notice a slight tear in the…

Me:  (looking at watch) Well that’s all the time we have for today.  We’ll take up the topic of lumpy, bumpy, grumpy sofas at our next appointment.

Okay!  Keeping in mind that occasionally a therapist has more problems than the “patient,” here are “Ten Tips To Try” when beginning psychotherapy.


Miss Menopause’s Modern, Mature (slightly Morbid) Mindset Maxims


1.  You’re Not An Entertainer!   –  If you think your therapist looks bored, she probably is.  But resist the urge to liven up the session by ratcheting up your life a notch.  Don’t tell your therapist that you’re the reason Gwyneth Paltrow’s marriage Consciously Uncoupled.  Or that you like the name Gwyneth for that matter.  Save all creative embellishments for your humor blog.

2.  Be Faithful!  – –  See only one therapist at a time.  I once played the psychology field and saw three different therapists to decide which style I preferred.  Because I made the mistake you read in #1, I couldn’t keep my stories straight.  When the clinician on Tuesday asked how my Swinging was going?  – –  I began to embellish on nightly (spicy!) partner swapping and all the feelings of insecurity that brought up for me.  But it turns out that was the anecdote I had told my Thursday Therapist.  A week ago Tuesday, I had boasted that I was a Championship West Coast Swing dancer.   Needless to say (re: either story) I was diagnosed with “Delusions of Grandeur.”

3.   Don’t Do Dreams! – – Just don’t.  I recounted a dream I had that my ex-husband and I were arguing over where we should live.  During the nightmare (it just got upgraded to a nightmare when I recalled my ex wanted to live next to his mother)  I happened to be eating walnuts. (my dreams are weight watcher approved) Therefore I was eager to talk to her about the pros and cons of moving to another country, but instead I spent the next hour listening to what walnuts symbolize.  Thanks to that stupid dream, I now know that a)I care about people’s insides more than their exteriors (this is because I discarded the shells instead of saving them) b)  I’m always trying to get at the heart or core of the matter.  c) I’m searching for something that most people might think is a little nutty.  Oh!  And d) Instead of penis envy, I have testicle envy.  If only I had the foresight to dream about peanuts.  They are in the legume family.

Never admit you dreamed about these.  Instead crack one open behind your back and the therapist will think you injured yourself on her couch and might sue her.

Never admit you dreamed about these. Instead slowly crack one open behind your back and the therapist will think you injured yourself on that $1,200 couch and might sue her.

4.  Just Admit You Hate Yourself!– – You will save a ton of time and money if you just fess up to feeling insecure and nervous about your self-worth like the rest of us.  If you don’t, be prepared to discuss ad nauseam that the reason you lost your job, broke up with your boyfriend, didn’t win the lottery and always choose the slowest checkstand in the supermarket is because you Self-Sabotage.

5.  Do Not Flirt! – – Wear a Freudian slip underneath that short skirt!  No matter HOW attractive your shrink is, it’s crucial to act like you wouldn’t have the least bit of interest in kissing your therapist if you met them on Match-com instead of on a $1200 couch.  Bat even one eyelash and you’re in for a diagnoses of  “Transference” which means you’re redirecting feelings and desires (especially those unconsciously retained from childhood) toward a new object.”  That’s right.  I always undressed my Pet Rock with my eyes and fantasized that we’d run off to Stonehenge together.

6.  Never Utter the Twelve Letter Word!  – – It will send your therapist through the roof and bring out all his or her Anger Issues.  They trained for a long time to get their degree and they know what they are talking about when they say you are “In Denial, need some Self-Actualization and come from a Dysfunctional Family with zero Synergy.”  If you even so much as whisper the word “Psychobabble,” she will immediately regress you to a nose-picking, five-year-old with a bad haircut on the first day of kindergarten.

7.  Don’t Go on an Empty Stomach! – – I don’t care if you’re starving, never even so much as chew a stick of gum.  Therapists are well-schooled about the “Freud’s Oral Stage” and will watch every move your mouth makes.  Soon you will feel very deprived that your mother didn’t breastfeed you long enough.  Or worse, you were bottle-fed and that’s why drinking a 6 oz carton of chocolate milk brings out your passive/aggressive side.  But take heed, if you dare bring a sandwich into your appointment (squeezing in therapy on your lunch hour, right?) you’ll be analyzed for every Eating Disorder in the book.  Hold the mayo?  Anorexic.  Footlong Sub?  Bulimic.  Tuna salad wrapped in just a lettuce Leaf?  Carbaphobe.  Basil Chicken Salad with Arugula, dried cherries and apple butter paired with goat cheese?  Haute Gourmet Eater Syndrome.  Save the calories and aggravation.  Eat at home beforehand.

8.  No Cemetery Conversation! – – Unless you want to be labeled as “having a preoccupation with death,” or “suicide ideation” — never admit that you’ve written your own obituary and laid out the clothes you wish to be buried in.  Fashion tip:  Scarves can add a pop of color to a pale complexion.  Oh, and if you let slip that’s you’re dieting to fit into a size 2 graveyard gown, that Eating Disorder diagnosis will come up again.

Isn't it "normal" to wonder who will show up at your funeral?  Was Tom Sawyer in therapy??

Isn’t it “normal” to wonder who will show up at your funeral? Was Tom Sawyer ever in therapy??

9.  Don’t Use “I” Messages! – – The reason for this is because if you go in knowing too much, the therapist will have no life-coping skills left to teach you and before you know it, you’ll be saying that the squashed cockroach on the floor looks like an ink blot.  So give them an easy lesson that they’ll think they’ve helped you master and (they’ll have such a sense of job satisfaction!)  you’ll be discharged weeks ahead of schedule.  Plus they might even remove their snobby, framed graduate degree diploma from their wall.

It works like this:  Therapists want you to take responsibility for how you feel by using “I Sentences.”  i.e.  “I feel angry right now.”  Or even better:  I feel angry because I don’t know how I can pay your outrageous bill right now.”  Therefore do the opposite and start sentences with “You.”  i.e. – –  “You caused me some grief when you said my son has an oedipal complex.” Or, “You make me feel like I am just another number.”  Or, “You make me feel….like a natural woman.”  The latter is better off belted out like Carole King and yes, going to a Karaoke Bar with your therapist would still count as flirting.

10. Don’t Nail Yourself to a Cross! – – When you hear The Voice that proclaims you’re actually really Jesus, never refer to the incident as anything but Quirky.  Quirky can hide a multitude of crazy.  Best of all, no Self-Described Eccentric will ever find “Quirky” listed as a pre-existing condition on a health insurance exclusion form.  Oh yeah, and today’s your big day, Jesus – so Happy Easter!

That’s it!  If you ever find yourself on a therapist’s couch and there’s not a television and a remote control handy, the above list should keep you out of trouble and from having to talk about the time your mother flushed you down the toilet.  P.S.  That wasn’t you.  You only projected that was you.  It was really just your pet parakeet.






Men At Work (Never Date These Guys!)

blog 1What are the worst professions to have a relationship with?   Most of you know I’ve been divorced twice now and careers seem to have caused a lot of tension in the union.  When a Creative Writer (me) marries a Technical Writer (him), she should be prepared to have her entire life edited.  The first red (literally red!) flag was when he took his red pen to our wedding vows. But I’ve had my grocery lists, daily planner, and tooth fairy notes to our kids proofread as well.  Love letters that I thoughtfully composed were returned to me with the comment, “Couple of run-on sentences, but otherwise a great first draft!”  He told me “i before e except after c” so many times, I finally changed the spelling of my name to “Stephanei,” just to irritate him.

The husband before him was an engineer.  Not the easygoing kind of engineer who makes the train go, “Choo-Choo.”  No, he was an   Electrical Engineer  that designed chips, (nothing to do with salsa, by the way)  but I can’t talk about his career because he holds some sort of Top Secret Security Clearance, which I always suspected means he just runs a big hush-hush yearly sale at Walmart.

Here then, in no particular order, (and certainly not in the order that they dumped me!) are the different fields of work I’ve had the experience of dating and my “sparse and neutral” comments that follow.

Vague, Vapid, Volatile, Vexing Vocations


Owner Of a Merry Maid Service – – And these weren’t just joyful women who cleaned during the Christmas season either.  This fastidious man had a Maid Brigade of housekeepers at his beck and call – –  so of course, he could never find out that he had a messy girlfriend.  Or that the song playing in my house was “Another One Invites the Dust!” Or that my one and only use for a  broom was being swept off my feet.   I scrubbed more surfaces in that one hour before he was due over my condo than a surgeon does in a lifetime.  (Note: I never dated a surgeon)  I even discarded old, tattered recipes for Sloppy Joes.  Days before our dinner date, I wore white gloves so I wouldn’t fingerprint my glass table or mirrors.  And then it happened.  With just ten minutes before his arrival, my vacuum broke.   So I did what any girl would do hoping to impress a Neatnik.  I got out the salad tongs and ran them over every rug in every room in the house, making those telltale tracks for that “just Hoovered” look.  Of course when it came time to serve my first course, there were gold shag carpet fibers tossed in with his lettuce.  Yes, not only was I a slob, but I was an outdated one who needed to redecorate.

Did you know these work as a vacuum in a pinch?

Did you know these work as a vacuum in a pinch?

The Police Officer – – Being a writer, I kept insisting he growl, “Throw the book at her!” in his meanest voice.  He was also disappointed when instead of racy bedroom fun with his handcuffs, I wouldn’t unlock them until he admitted that highway patrol officers really DO have a quota for giving traffic tickets.  I also worried that there would be telltale evidence around my apartment, so I wore those same white gloves (see above with the cleaning business man) in case he decided to lift my fingerprints off a wine goblet.   It was at that point that I thought of having a threesome.  The officer could frisk me and proudly announce to Merry Maid Guy, “She’s clean.” What a turn-on.

The Magician – – This relationship started off bad – – He was the entertainer on a cruise ship and his first trick of the evening was making his wedding ring vanish.  Meanwhile the only thing I ever learned to make disappear was the midnight chocolate buffet.   But still he persisted in dating me, sadistically refusing to teach me his secrets while enjoying my frustration over how the sawed-in-half lady’s pedicure always stayed so pretty.   But I got even with him – – one Father’s Day, I replaced his Presto-Change-O color growing necktie with a boring paisley one on sale at Sears.  Before the big cocktail party in his home, he asked me to make sure he had a full deck of cards – –  so I covered his patio with Get Well, Happy Birthday, and “Congratulations on Your Retirement” Hallmark greetings.  Next I velcroed odd items inside the hem of his costume that would come loose at inopportune moments.  Maybe he didn’t have anything up his sleeves, but out of his pant legs tumbled rubber bands, gluesticks and pieces of duct tape.  For his grand finale, he pulled a rabbit out of a hat . . . with a condom on its tail.  Needless to say, at the end of his act (as family and friends clapped half-heartedly) he bowed out of our relationship in a puff of smoke.

That would be the last time he pulled out a coin from underneath my dress.

That would be the last time he pulled out a coin from underneath my dress.

Barney Rubble – – Before he was married to Betty, I went out with him a few times until his laugh drove me berserk.  Okay,  so I was just seeing if you were paying attention my Dear Reader!  And also if you believe I’m old enough to have lived in the Stone Age.  But I’m not in that generation;  it was really his son, Bam-Bam I went steady with.  And I was literally quite broken-up when he broke up with me using that club of his.

The Accountant – –  This guy put an ad on saying he was looking for his female counterpart – – the perfect Bookkeeper.  I dragged my entire series of hardbound Nancy Drew’s out of the garage and lined them up alphabetically against a handsome shelf on my living room wall.  He wasn’t impressed.  When I learned foreplay would consist of balancing my checkbook for hours on end, I knew we were finished.

The Chiropractor:  His best pick-up line – – “Don’t worry baby, I got your back.”  But when he found out I was too scared to let him adjust any part of my body, he told me I needed an attitude adjustment and walked (perfectly straight) out the door.

The Attorney/Professional Chef:  If that isn’t a winning combo, I don’t know what is.  He thought I was cute when I asked him if “that was a docket in his pocket or he was just happy to see me?”  But eventually the burden of proof was on me to show him I could cook.  Exhibit A was charred beyond recognition, and my kitchen smelled so bad, he had to ask, “May I approach the stench?”  But when I couldn’t even make a decent cup of coffee, that caused a latte of problems and was grounds for a break-up.

Orthodontist – – An unful”filling” relationship because he never appreciated my biting sense of humor.  There were just far too many puns to be made in this relationship, so I braced myself for getting on his nerves.  But as it turns out, many romantic moments were ruined as he gazed into my eyes and inquired if I ever thought of doing a little something with my endearing overbite?  Ignoring what I blatantly told him I thought of doing at the moment, he instead suggested a retainer.  A retainer??!  That’s when I fantasized about another perfect threesome with the Lawyer!   He could sue the orthodontist for incisor trading and as a witness, I could solemnly swear to tell the tooth and nothing but the tooth.

Owner of Kraft Inc. – – It should be quite obvious after reading this blog, my perfect match is with a man who appreciates cheesy writing. It seems I have become a bit obsessed with puns lately.


What’s your profession and which ones have you found you are quite incompatible with?


Fifty Shades of Dismay


Blogger Renee, in gold lamé  beret (Passé!)

Ate soufflé at buffet (Gourmet!)

Played croquet with fiancé, at Chalet (Feng Shui!)

Drank  blasé  Grand Marnier,  (cliché!)

Read “Eat, Love, Pray” in risqué negligee (where’s fiancé?)

Toilet began to spray – – called housekeeping to convey (naiveté!)

“She Showered in the Bidet!”          (Oy Vey!)


Move Over “Toy Story…” Here’s Some Food For Thought!

The worst kind of abuse!

The worst kind of abuse!

Oscar:  Come to order, please.  We’re about to hear from Betty, our first brave guest speaker of the day, (a mixed-up victim who was beaten by a stir-crazy individual.  Then she was whipped, burned, and hot candle wax was dripped on her while a roomful of people sang a happy chorus) But first I’d like to make a motion to change the name of our support group.  We know about Drug and Alcohol Abuse, falling under the umbrella of “Substance Abuse.”  So I thought we could call ourselves. . .

Betty:  (groaning)  Oh please.  Not “Grubstance Abuse.”  That is just so cheesy.

Oscar Meyer:  Simmer down.  I suppose you have a batter idea, Mrs. Crocker?

Betty:  Yes!  We want our just desserts.  Not everyone is light and white like an Angel cake.  There is some Devil’s food out there too.  And that’s pudding it mildly. We’ve got to stop this black and white thinking.  If only we could have marbled cake everyday.

Oscar Meyer:  Well, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

Betty:  (challenging)  You wanna piece of me??

Oscar Meyer:  Mrs Crocker?  You really take the cake.  Moving on.  Yes?  You have the table floor, Minnie.

Minnie – – (tiny voice)  Sorry, I know that was just the icing on the cake.  But all of us – –  Mini-muffins, mini quiche, mini tacos, mini crabcakes and mini hotdogs – – (oh dear,  I hope I didn’t leave out any delicious hors d’oevres?) – – we are so tired of being discriminated against as appetizers, sometimes even called Appeteazers!  Bite-Size can be a real meal, too.

Oscar Meyer:  We’ll have to put that on the back-burner for now.  But please don’t think I’m taking it with a grain of salt.  The children’s portion issue is no small potatoes and causes more than a little damage to your elf-esteem.  Next up, I see we have a drinking problem

Smooth Talker:  The trend of mixing fruit, yogurt and ice (who feels totally crushed, by the way) together, then selling it as a Smoothie has really caused us some Blender Confusion.  And the mixture should be gray, but maybe a little more slate, so we’re taken seriously.

Oscar Meyer:  What’s the difference?  Gray or Slate?  You’re still healthy.  And your point?  Besides just juicy conversation?

Smooth Talker:  If we poured our hearts out in a fancy dessert dish and served it with a spoon instead of a straw – – Maybe we could hold a “Parfait Pride Parade.”

Oscar Meyer:  Yeah, I’m gonna have to put an Enda to your Blenda Agenda.  Next!

Egbert:  (exclaiming)  I’d like to expose my extensive expertise to examine an example of extreme exploitation and extermination of Eggs.  We’re not exactly being coddled or lightly steamed, you know.  Sometimes we’re also cracked open, beaten, separated and then smothered.  Everyone thinks that it’s over-easy for us.  But our philosophy is spare the rod, (soft)boil the child.

They make an eggcellent case!

They make an eggcellent case!

Oscar Meyer:  Thank you.  But the Eggistentionalist group meets down the hallway.

Filbert:  Can I cashew you a question?

Oscar Meyer:  If almond-erstanding you correctly, anyone nut taking allergies seriously will end up in a peanutentiary.  I walnut tolerate jokes.  We’re hot on the trail (mix) of repeanut offenders.  What’s next on our schedule?

Splenda Sucralose:  It’s the Artificial Sweeteners, Sir.  We’re not allowed in any songs.

Oscar Meyer:  Oh c’mon now, Honeybunch.

Splenda Sucralose:  It’s true, Sir.  The Sugar-Free population is getting the torte end of the stick.

Oscar Meyer:  How so, Sweetheart?

Splenda Sucralose:  We’re not mentioned in The Archies song (Sugar, Sugar – You Are My Candy Girl) and we never got to bid “Bye-Bye” to Miss American Pie.  Not to mention Mary Poppins banned us by the spoonful from helping the medicine go down.

Let the chips fall where they may!

Let the chips fall where they may!

Nabisco:  Well I find that a bit hard to swallow.  There’s no life harder than that of a chocolate-chip cookie.  Sorry if I spoke out of turn, but this is my first time here.

Oscar Meyer:  Ha!  He’s new. Well, that’s the way the Rookie crumbles, my man.  And you don’t really have any bargaining chips here.  Let’s see, our next order of business . . . We’re skipping Breakfast, because the toast has gone awry, (he figured out which side his bread was buttered on) but can anyone give the other food groups a lift back to their house?

Lox:  Yes,  I can bring home the bacon.  But while we’re talking about the most important meal of the day, I’m campaigning to save the smoked salmon from mating with cream cheese. There are plenty of other fish in the sea, you know – –  bagels should be more open-minded.

Oscar Meyer:  I don’t mean to poke a hole in your theory, but there’s very little margarine of error.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, We’re out of thyme, so we’re going to move on to the most important topic for me.   Hot-Dogs.  A ridiculously overlooked source of protein.

Samuel Adams:  But Sir, we never got to discuss any alcoholic beverages.

Spuds:  Or the difference between regular potatoes or sweet potatoes.

Hebrew National:  And Kosher Products?

Oscar Meyer:  Frank-ly  My Beer, I don’t give a Ham! (or a Yam!)

Lox to Betty (hushed voices)  Someday he’s gonna find out Life isn’t an “All You-Can-Meat” buffet.

Ketchup on the Gossip!

Ketchup on the Gossip!

Spuds to Chip (whispering) Yeah, nobody’s gonna save his buns when he meets his maker baker.

Scallions/Shallots  (re-scentfully)  Hey everybody!  Now that you woke up and smelled the coffee,  I’m starting a new group out of my kitchen.  It’s called “So What Am I. . . Chopped Liver?  (& Onions?)


Have you written a personification piece?  They really make me smile!  Feel free to link yours in my comments if you wanna share with others.  Oh and check out this recent terrific one about dogs!  Not hot-dogs – – canines!
















Excuse Me, What Does This Say?? (Better Yet….What Does It MEAN??)

Most writer's will have a post-it like this which kind of makes sense.

Most writer’s will have a post-it like this which kind of makes sense.

How do we keep track of good ideas for blogs?  Surely I cannot be the only one who just pulled an old bank deposit slip out of her wallet today and read my own hastily scrawled message, “Teller/Yeller   Funny/Money – – First Mustache Encounter!”

Is that supposed to mean something to me?!?

Maybe that was a creative “Hold-Up” note??   So I remember now that the bank employee talked quite loudly, which could account for the first part of that chicken scratch.  Or did I intend to write a blog analyzing what it would “Tell” about your personality if you cried at end of the “Old Yeller” movie??  The middle part I’m seriously clueless – –  because nothing about finances is humorous to me.  But that last part?  Let’s see….  Well, I was either planning to do a blog about my first kiss or a confessional post that I need to start shaving.   Help!

It happens all the time.  I’m somewhere buying groceries or in a movie theater and the stuff that makes blogging golden pops into my head.  And I know.  I just KNOW that if I don’t capture the immediate thought (in writing!) within 60 seconds, it’s all Gone.  With the Wind.  A movie I’ve also disturbed people in while asking to borrow a pen.

Many a film buff has said to me, “You’re supposed to watch the screen – – NOT take dictation from it!”  as I furiously type into my cell phone “notepad” something that was just triggered during “Gravity” when Sandra Bullock hallucinates that George Clooney is still alive, but then she weightlessly floats in space.  I got from that . . .

“Write a blog where you imagine you’ve lost so much  weight, George Jetson offers you root beer floats in space!”

Uh, yeah.  There’s just no accounting for the jump an “original thinker” can make with an idea, is there?  Keeping that in mind, here are some scraps and scribbles I have recently come across.  I thought maybe you could help me figure some of them out?

Stephanie’s Scraps & Scribbles

1.  A receipt from the Outback Steakhouse says, “Bkd Pot loaded w/ butt/SC/Chives”  I’ve written, “Ruin healthy things.”   Where it says, “Tip:”  I’ve added, “expects advice but receives lottery.”    ANYBODY????

2.  A note home from my child’s school says, “Dear Ms. Menopause – – E was very tired today and says she’s been staying up late to do homework because you’re so busy with your own writing and cannot help.  Please help!”   I’ve crossed out the second “help” and written “Yelp.”  Then I’ve jotted down “Reviews on Defective Nasty Teachers.”   Might be a good one!

3.  The Water and Power bill is overdue and on the envelope I’ve printed rather neatly (for a change!) “Electric sparks, sex, Viagra, cheats Sparklett’s Man.”  Huh.  That coulda been a doozy.

4.  While arguing with my ex-husband on my cell, I’ve unconsciously doodled on a recipe for an Omelette,  “kill scrambled spouse, diced pepper spray, minced words smothered in Swiss bank account cheese, Lettuce wilt under cover(s) until steamy.”

5.  On a friend’s 50th birthday party invitation I’ve made the zero in the number fifty into a target (for darts?) and scrawled three cryptic words,  “Black Medium Ears.”   Ooooh, if anyone can help me decipher that one, I think it could be the most intriguing post of all!   Maybe an African American Psychic heard something?!   Oh, nevermind.  I just realized those are my hints on what kind of gift she might like.    Favorite color is black, wears size medium and has pierced earrings, which Target has on sale now.

I cannot take credit for this one.  Anyone else recognize it??

I cannot take credit for this one. Anyone else recognize it??

I would list a few more puzzles, but as of now, it’s perfectly clear that I’m either an innovative genius with inspirational prompts to write every day for the next year – –  or I’m losing it big time and they’ll put me in The Home For Unsettled Bloggers Who Squint at Jibberish.

But I really shouldn’t worry about recovering my own blogging material.  I have certain creative (FUNNY!) Followers who are starting to write to me regularly with their “prods, suggestions and requests.”  Just the other day, WeaverGrace emailed me, pointing out that since I turned fifty, I will need a Colonoscopy – – and wouldn’t it be fun to write about that??  Dearest Grace – – It will be so much more fun to write about it than to HAVE it!  So yes….look for that topic soon.  And Thank you.

Come to think of it, notes for that Post could be a little frightening, so I better keep them off my son’s letter to the Tooth Fairy.

Well?  How do YOU keep track of blogging material??  Leave me a comment!


And Now We Take A Pregnant Pause!

photo-274In the last month there seems to have been quite a few bewildered females “out there,” walking around in a 9 month state of conception confusion.   It appears some women are under the impression they have a stomach virus, when in fact, they are really about to give birth. Just like this link will explain . . .   Woman’s Tummy Ache is Really a Nine lb. Baby Boy!  (And wouldn’t that be a nifty commercial slogan for Tums or Alka-Seltzer??!)

But conversely, (though admittedly a tad less common) there are many gals who fancy the notion they are carrying up to Four Babies, when in actuality they are simply wearing a pair of ill-fitting Spanx.  (Woman tricks boyfriend and entire town into believing she is having Quadruplets!)    And no, this was not Alan Funt’s grandson from Candid Camera who was “tricked.”

But never fear – – Little Miss Menopause (who has six children and can empathize with how subtly mysterious the last few days leading up to Labor and Delivery can be) has decided to come to the rescue of these poor baffled Mothers-To-Be and Mothers-NOT-To-Be (as the case may be!) with a handy, clever checklist that will help them tell the difference between just a simple “Jelly Belly” and a “Baby Belly.”  It’s tricky, but she thinks she can lend a helping hand.

She also recommends this same list to give some clarity to all the male companions of these mixed-up women so they can avoid things like having to sheepishly return a truckload of diapers and infant clothing, (donated on Facebook by well-meaning community members) or being interviewed on the 11:00 evening news and saying things like, “It was the darndest thing – –  first I assembled four cribs from Ikea while swearing like a sailor, then we thought up four different first and middle name combinations that went perfectly with our last name “Goofenblogger,” and then I rushed into the hospital room in time to see the doctor yank our four cute little floral chintz living-room throw pillows out from underneath her blouse.

So Without Further Ado, Little Miss Menopause Presents . . .

How To Definitively Decipher If You’re Really “With Child.”


1.  If you still think about sex, you are most definitely, absolutely, completely NOT pregnant.  Period!!  (or even if you stop your period!)

2.  If a well-meaning male co-worker remarks they thought all “Ladies-in-Waiting” were supposed to have a healthy glow or look radiantly happy,” and the police haven’t referred to you as “a Person of Interest” in their murder case, then there’s no baby.

3.  If you can still find a basket of saltine crackers in a restaurant even remotely appealing, you’re not Prego.

You may not be This.  But you can still pour this over pasta.

You may not be “This.” But you can still pour “This” over pasta without vomiting your guts out.

4.  If you don’t mutter things like, “Breasts just slightly more sensitive than usual, my ass!” aloud to the author of the “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” book, you are simply not Expecting.

5.  If you prepare older Siblings-To-Be by saying things like, “Do you know what mommy has in her tummy?” and they instantly respond with, “yes, the cushion that matches our dining room drapes,” you’re a Big, Fat Faker.

6.  If a girlfriend asks you to go shoe shopping and you don’t immediately think it’s “Naturalizers or Nothing,” then you’re experiencing a Phantom Pregnancy.

7.  When your husband asks you what the baby’s kicking feels like, and you don’t have a sudden, increased desire to demonstrate by kicking HIM in the beer-gut the very next time he’s happily snoring away . . . don’t even bother signing up for diaper delivery service.

8.   If you haven’t changed the title of Beyonce’s song, from  “All the Single Ladies!” to “All the Double Ladies!” and chanted the chorus as, “If you liked that last piece of cake, then you shoulda put a (napkin) ring on it!” rest assured that you don’t have a bun in the oven.

9.  If it’s one day after your official due date, and you don’t answer your incessantly ringing telephone by growling, “Yes, I AM still here.  Go get a life!”  then you are so NOT Knocked-Up.

10.  If you still think it’s worth it to be pregnant because you get to pull your car into all the good parking spots at the mall – –  plus you’re entitled to gobble two boxes of Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies without feeling guilty because you’re “eating for two” now – –  someone (like me!)  needs to tell you that pregnant women actually only need an extra 200-400 extra calories a day.  There!!  We’ll see if you don’t come to your senses this very minute and go ride all the forbidden rollercoasters at Disneyland , followed by drinking two glasses of wine.

11.  If you are shopping for a bathing suit to impress your new guy because you just lost 12 pounds, and the salesgirl asks you when your baby is due?  You have my permission to give her a dirty look and inform her that you are definitely not pregnant.  But why doesn’t she try having four C-sections in 7 years?!?

12.  HOWEVER – – if you’ve lasted 38 weeks in a condition that would rival a beached whale, keep dreaming you’re giving birth to a dancing red-haired Hamster – – you hate everyone, everything, everywhere, every sound they make, every touch they take, every smell they bake, every minute you’re awake, every body part will ache, every emotion you fake — and if someone says, “You think you’re tired now?  Just wait till the baby comes!” one more time, you’ll slap them quicker than you can say “Give me my Epidural, NOW!” then you need to start your deep-breathing technique, pack your bags and head to the nearest hospital – – because you’re definitely going to be a mother.  And life as you know it will never be the same again.