Blogging For Fun & Profit! $1 Per Pun? C’mon . . . Get Off It!

My conference badge and blog biz card.  I ordered them for free, thus the cupcake motif.

My conference badge and blog biz card. I ordered them for free, thus the cupcake motif.

The big Buzzword at the recent 2014 BlogHer conference was “Monetize!”  There was a distinct glamorization of those “Professional Busy Career Bloggers” who earn dollars versus the rest of us “Hobbyists” who play a couple rounds of “Bloggy” in between washing and drying the dishes.

Everywhere you looked in the Grand Ballroom of the Convention center, you’d spy hundreds of circular white-cloth tables filled with starving writers, (and not necessarily for scrambled eggs!) confidently passing their Blog’s business cards to one another, along with the butter.

An empty table at lunch?  They must all be out making lotsa money on their blogs!

What? An empty table at lunch? They must all be out making big bucks on their blogs!

“Don’t ever write for free!”  OR  “Make your words work for you!”  AND  “Your Blog is Your Goldmine!” were quotes tossed around in every lecture, workshop or keynote speech, as we women linked arms and nodded passionately, our self-esteems and sense of worth skyrocketing in a frenzied crescendo with every success story told. If a picture is worth a 1,000 words, what could each 1,000 word post on our blogs be worth??

We were then unleashed into the Expo arena where hundreds of sponsors and vendors in colorful booths promised us lots of Swag.

“But how many pairs of velvet Drapes can I possibly hang up in my living room?” I asked my newly introduced blogger friend.  Swag?  Maybe they would teach us how to walk and talk cool?  After all, possessing “Swag,” was something my teenagers always aspired to have.  But it turned out “Swag” was none other than “Stuff.”  Lotsa stuff.  And there were even “Swag Hags” — women who hoarded all the free products, prizes, samples, and merchandise they could Snag into their Swag-Bag so they could Brag, which was actually kind of a Drag.

The idea was to hype these products/companies on our blogs so everyone profits.

Somebody got addicted to "wheel spinning."

“Somebody” got addicted to “wheel spinning.”

You could spin a wheel to "Win Swag!"

You could spin a wheel to “Win Some Swag!”

This is unnecessary Swag for someone who bites their nails when nervous.

This is unnecessary “Swag” for someone who bites her nails when nervous.

“But I don’t want my “Once Upon Your Prime” site to turn into a commercial advertisement?” I lamented to my new dollar-eyed friend who suggested discreetly weaving a promotion into one of my typical daily posts.  Oh sure . . .

Hey Readers! Today I woke up with a “Sorry Dear, Not last night, I had a headache,” pounding in my forehead. But thank goodness on my night table was a bottle of Tylenol Extra Strength caplets – – the painkiller hospitals use most.  “All day strong, all day long.”  Next I slid into my Levi jeans because quality never goes out of style.  Then I proceeded to pop some Pillsbury cinnamon rolls into the toaster since nothing says lovin’ like something from the oven!

Um, No thank you!

Instead I set about thinking up alternative, creative ways my everyday writing could make some money.  The best place to start was close to home.

 Little Miss Menopause’s Ideas of How to Monetize Everything In Sight With What You Write

1.  Grocery lists.  They can have a catchy title, a byline, a tell-all exposé  kinda feel, with an unpredictable twist ending!  i.e. . .

Walmart’s Worthwhile Witticisms

by Little Miss Menopause

  • 1/2 lb Wild caught salmon (Mercury in our fish supply is killing America’s Families!)
  • Loreal Preference Fade Defying Hair Color (Friends speculate – – Can Botox be far behind for this mundane housewife?
  • Chips Ahoy cookies (Can I fool the PTA into thinking they’re home baked?)
  • Kitty Litter (and our cat died 8 years ago . . . how’s that for a cliffhanger??)

2.  The scrawled messages I scotch tape to my kids sandwiches when I pack their backpacks. 

“Have a great day and good luck on math test!”  Copyright 2014  $12.95

DAUGHTER:  Mommy, why is there a price tag on the note you wrote along with my peanut butter & jelly?

ME:  Sorry, Sweetie.  But haven’t you ever heard, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch!?”

3.  Love Note to my Guy Traced in the Dust on His Car Windshield

BOYFRIEND:  “How come it says “Simon & Schuster’s Brand New Release” after “I love you” on my Honda?

ME:  Oh I get it.  You’re implying my stuff isn’t good enough for a big, traditional publishing house?  I should just stick to a small press.

BOYFRIEND:  Publishing?  Huh?  And why are your romantic sentiments a dollar cheaper in Canada than the USA?

ME:   Aha!  I see.  You think I should just give it away for free, don’t you?  “A man will Never buy a Hardcover book if he thinks he can keep getting paperbacks from his local librarian!!”

(Looks suspiciously at me, as if he knows I’m rehearsing for a soundbite.)

BOYFRIEND:  (sidling up to me) Well, can she be the kind of librarian who whips off her nerdy glasses, let’s down her prim hairdo, then becomes Va Va Boom Sexy Lexi and jumps my bones?

ME:  Never mind that.  My writing is worth a lot. You’ll see.  And who the hell is Lexi??

4.  The Baby Scrapbook I Diligently Kept.  Hey, it didn’t write itself, ya know?  My firstborn was a colicky character, therefore this was an amazing Best Yeller Seller with five subsequently written Page Turning Sequels.  You’ll simply drool (just like the six-month-old protagonist did!) over the “Learns to Crawl and Walk Early!” chapters.  Ladies Home Journal says, “This is a Must-Have series for anyone’s private bookshelf collection!”

5.  Any Recipes (that I haphazardly jot down onto note cards and manage to file) for fowl.  Top dollar for all my Rock Cornish Game Hen, Buffalo Chix Wings or Grilled Chix Tenders recipes.  Hey, we’re talking Classic “Chick Lit!” here.  Well-read females ages 28-42 eat this stuff up!

6.  All hand-written notes to teachers – – (Market as Tear-Jerker Mysteries)

Please excuse Eliza from P.E. today as her menopausal mother washed her white gym shorts with the red bath towels.

7.  All letters cleverly composed from the Tooth Fairy, Santa Clause, Easter Bunny, and any “Congratulations on Your Straight ‘A’ Report Card, You Just Earned a Trip to Disneyland plus $10 a week extra allowance!” greeting cards. (market as Fairytale, Fantasy, Folklore, and the last one as Humor. Note:  Distribute “Buy one, get 2nd half-off!”coupons under pillows and X-mas trees.

8.  All Forms I tediously fill out daily – –  This includes all paper work given to me on Physician Clipboards, Insurance Claims, Income Tax Filings, Driver’s License Applications, Job Resumes and Sweepstakes Entries – – From here on in, these get touted as my newly released Suspense/Thriller/Horror novels.  Stephen King has nothing on me, baby!  (Bonus Section will include dedications and acknowledgments. i.e.  “The author wishes to thank Dr. Spanky, the best gynecologist ever, for always warming his speculum.”

9.  Misc Notes:  Clearance Sale! New markdowns on all written material that gets tacked on my front door for Gardeners, Babysitters, Neighbors, and the Postman!  UPDATED SPECIAL:  I will be holding autographed signings Monday Nights at Barnes & Noble bookstore for my highly acclaimed, “Sorry I hit your back bumper.  Can you call me so we can settle this for cash?  My husband will kill me if our premiums go up” Post-It Stickies.

10. Witty Facebook/Blog Comments & My Funny Texts:  These go for a premium now.  Have you any idea the time I spend leaving remarks on my friend’s Facebook alone?  Sheesh!  My brilliant Op-Ed pieces will go for top dollar.  But day-old, “Nice pic” Or “Many happy returns” snippets are now 25% off.  As for the days when I opt to text you – – haven’t you heard?  I’m a Syndicated Texter now (read here!) and it’ll cost you $19.95 for the first 40 characters.  PayPal will be graciously accepted.

But just as I gleefully began to add up all the money I would be raking in from the above 10 Real Life-Writing Monetization Ideas, I encountered a major glitch in the system. Family and Friends have now informed me of THEIR new policy — For anything I write from here on in, a steep Reading Fee will be instituted.   Seems they think their time is worth something, too.  Hmmph.   I guess we’ll just always be a Break-Even Household.

Tempting, very tempting....

Tempting, very tempting….

At night, signs like this appeared by the elevators, inviting you to "After Hours Parties."  I was afraid I would stumble into the "Twilight Blog Zone" so I went straight to my room instead.

During BlogHer conference evenings, signs like this appeared by the elevators, inviting you to “After Hours Parties.” I was afraid I would stumble into the “Twilight Blog Zone” so I went straight to my room instead.

 

My Submission blown up pretty big because it was 1 of 25 Voices of The Year in the Humor category.

My Submission was blown up pretty big because it was 1 of 25 Voices of The Year in the Humor category. Thank you BlogHer!

 

Everyone else had nice, classy blog biz cards.

Everyone else had nice, classy blog biz cards.

I'm 5 ft. 6" so this thing was definitely tall. To ship it home cost hundreds of dollars.  :-(   It coulda made a nice doggy barricade.

I’m 5 ft. 6″ so this thing was definitely tall. To ship it home cost hundreds of dollars. 😦 It coulda made a nice doggy barricade.

 

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The Doctor Is In – – But I’m Out… (of my mind!)

formeAll my adult life I have dealt with a debilitating disorder – – it’s called, “Tell & Show Syndrome.”  Someone will TELL me about a new rare disease and WHAM! – – all the signs of it SHOW up throughout my body.

To say I am highly suggestible is an understatement.  I can read an article in a woman’s magazine entitled, “10 Symptoms You’re Too Shy Too Discuss With Your Male Doctor (But You Should Before It’s Too Late!)”  ~ Immediately I have all 10 plus 4 bonus ones the author wasn’t imaginative enough to think of.  Fear and panic overtakes all my shyness.  I’m gonna grab that Male Doctor right by his shirt color – – I might even consider going to Second base with him for a Second opinion.

I do have a regular physician I call several times a week, and I’m sure the nurses give him messages that go like this – –

“That hypochondriac lady (who resembles a very menopausal Amy Winehouse, minus the tattoos) is on the phone again.  Today she claims when she walks, it feels like thumbtacks/paperclips are poking her feet. Should we advise her to proceed directly to the local office supply store?”

Instead I go to my beloved online medical information mecca – – “The Web MD.”

First of all, it never occurs to me that the word “Web” in their name is a subtle symbolic tip-off that I should stay far, far away.  Let’s think about this, shall we?  Who has webbed feet?  Ducks!  And what do ducks say?  “QUACK!”  Hello??

But this does not deter me from typing, “thumbtacks sticking feet” into the symptom-checker box and obtaining The Diagnosis From Hell.  Four horrific diagnoses, actually.  One relates to my Brain, one relates to my Heart, another to my Lungs, and the final one to my Stomach.   Interestingly, none of the diseases have anything to do with Feet. And all are extremely fatal.

Having gotten C +’s in my Deductive Reasoning classes in high school, I know it isn’t possible that I am afflicted with ALL four of these maladies. That’s only logical, right?  So which one should I eliminate?

Next I do what I always do at 2:00 in the morning – – I log onto a hospital patient message board and post about my situation, asking if someone “out there” has ever experienced a symptom like this but everything turned out to be completely fine?   I stare for hours at my computer screen waiting for anyone to give a reassuring response.  And then it dawns on me . . .

The reason nobody can answer my question.  Everyone who had this same problem has already died.

Should I start writing my Obituary or my Will first?  And Guardians for my precious kids!  Why, oh why couldn’t my ex-husband and I ever agree who to name as caretakers in the event of our deaths??   His sister puts ketchup on eggs, doesn’t believe in orthodontia, plus Danielle Steele is her favorite author.  So what?  I shoulda let all that go.

“Please God,” I bargain, “I know last week I hated this world and said I’d rather be dead than go to the Department of Motor Vehicles to renew my expired driver’s license.  But I promise to find gratitude and renew my zest for life – – just please don’t let me expire!”photo 2-3

There’s nothing left to do.  Except find a brand new doctor who hasn’t heard about my “Boy Who Cried Wolf” past.  My previous doctors have issued, “WARNING: Circus Side Show Freak” bulletins about me to the medical community at large, so this will be no easy task.

Finally I show up on the doorstep of an office in a faraway town.  I watch as their “The Doctor is in” sign lights up.  I’ve always believed first impressions are important so here is how I fill out the paperwork on the clipboard.

 New Patient Form:

NAME:  (circle one)  Miss/Mrs./Ms    I’m divorced so technically it’s “Ms.”  But please call me “Miss” as in “Little Miss Menopause.” Although Mr. may be a distinct possibility these days – –  can you check my testosterone level?

AGE:   I just caught a glimpse of you at the reception desk….I could be your mother big sister.

REASON FOR TODAY’S VISIT?  Look at me!  Isn’t it obvious?  I just need the Dr. to confirm how much time I have.

WEIGHT:  Who cares at this point?   Just order me a size 8 burial gown.  And yes, I’m banking on the fact that loss of appetite will kick in soon with this particular disease.

PROFESSION:  Writer  (Pssssst!  Hot tip:  Publish this form.  Everyone knows a deceased author’s last work commands a high price.)

EVER SKIPPED A PERIOD?  Yes, but I’m working diligently on eliminating my run-on sentences.

WHOM CAN WE THANK FOR REFERRING YOU?  You mean blame?

PERSON TO CALL IN EMERGENCY:  Um…my two ex-husbands will deny knowing me.  Let’s see….My kids will just ask, “what’s for dinner?”  Oh, don’t call the neighbors, they’ll tell you I should have been deceased 8 times already!  Hmmm,  I think you might call Mabel, my hairdresser.  But when you say, “Died”  – –  you better spell it.  She’ll think you mean Clairol Nice n’ Easy Deep Burgundy Brown.

I’m interrupted by the Doctor, who calls me in.  He listens to my heart and pronounces it steady and strong.  I resist the urge to ask when he’s last had his stethoscope calibrated.  I describe how I feel  (this time likening it to feet stabbed with steak knives) but he cuts me off before I can get to the Web MD part.

DR:  Have you ever heard of Transient Paresthesia?

ME:  Oh no, Dr.  Not that!  I don’t even ride a train or bus!

DR:  Not “Transit.”   Transient, meaning Short-Lived.

ME:  Good Lord, you mean I’m gonna go even quicker than I thought?

DR:  Where ya headed to?

ME:  Aren’t I dying?

DR:  We all are.  But I think you’re gonna survive this one.  Transient Paresthesia = Limbs falling asleep.

As I depart, I glance over my shoulder to see him sketching a big-haired woman with the caption, “BEWARE OF CREATIVE BLOGGER WITH TOO MUCH TIME ON HER HANDS….She needs to be cut off ASAP!!”   He then posts it on the WEB MD  website!

photo-392

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blunt? Bland? Blatant? Blissful? What Blogger Style do you fall in?

Pen and Ink or Calligraphy Blogs like this are coming back in vogue, so you should strengthen your fingers!

In exactly one week I will fly out for the big BlogHer conference.  Always nervous in new situations, I call a phone number for general questions and (supposedly) if I tell them my interests, they’ll make sure I’m seated with like-minded people.  Like-minded people?  I don’t mind people, but I don’t exactly like them either.

Hello!  This is BlogHer and you’re on speakerphone with Blanche and Blaire.  We’re The Bloggsey Twins!

Me:  Hi!  My name is Stephanie.

Blanche:  Oh.

She sounds disappointed.

Blaire:  Never mind her.  Stephanie with an S?   We were expecting another group of bloggers calling from Biloxi.  Blanca, Blythe, Blossom and Blinda.

Me:  You mean Belinda?

Blanche:  No, she dropped the ‘e’ to make it work.

Me:  I see.  Well, it’s really Blephanie.

Blaire:  Bl-awesome!  What can we do for you?

Me:  I was hoping to find out exactly what will happen this weekend and maybe sit with women I share common interests with.

Blanche:  You’re interested in blogging, right?  You’ll be just fine.

Blaire:  C’mon Blanche.  Seat her with the “Need to Knows.”

Me:  The Who?

Blanche:  We try to group by personality types.  The “Need to Knows” are control freaks and like to have an advanced detailed agenda.  And obsessively clean.  They could literally eat off their toilets.

Me:  Oh definitely don’t sit me with them, please.

Blaire:  Well, describe your blog.

Me:  I write humor.

Blanche:  Oh, A Niche Bitch.  Put her with the Niche Bitches.

Me:  Well I don’t confine myself to only humor.

Blaire:  Well, lemme ask you this….Do your readers ever find themselves NOT laughing?

Me:  Mostly all the time.

Blanche: (whispering)  Shove her in the back row.  I just saw her Gravatar photo.  Nobody will ever be able to see anything over that big hair!

Just then I hear another voice, whom they introduce as Blabette.  She offers to send me their “Blow by Blow, Blogger Blorganizer” which outlines their odd assessment of the different Blogging personality classifications.  This is what I see:

CATEGORIES OF BLOGGERS

The Blogcrastinator —  They will find every reason in the book to justify not having anything to do with Blogging.  From housework to headaches.  They’ll even post about why they cannot post.  The really desperate ones resort to citing “Sexual Conflict” as their excuse.  (Note: Because they talk a good Blogging game, they make good Phone Call Receptionists for BlogHer)

The “Don’t Applaud Cuz I’m a Fraud” Blogger – – Don’t believe in themselves and are petrified that others will find out they’re masquerading as Bloggers.  They generally blog about vacuums because they think they suck.  If they get a nice comment, they go all Sally Field.  “You don’t hate me.  You really don’t hate me?”

The Blah Blogger – – Wishy-washy, afraid to make a statement, and begins every sentence with “Perhaps.”

The Bloggert Braggert – – Lists all their many Chain Awards prominently in their Menu and conducts surveys or takes requests on what you would like to see next on their blog.  Their ABOUT page reads like an acceptance speech at The Oscars.  (Note: Don’t seat near the Fraud Bloggers)

The Frogger Blogger – – In an effort to not be boxed in, they jump all over the place with subject matter.  They also leap to conclusions, choose green as their background color, and beg to be kissed.

The Blues Blogger – –  Their keyboard needs Prozac.  Their followers are suicide hotlines.  They categorize and tag their posts, “Armageddon, Cancer, Save Your Soul.” And that’s on an upbeat day.

The Bloated Bladder Blogger – –  Hypochondriac writers.  A scintillating post for them would be “Candid Conversation for Convincing, Cajoling, Coercing, Coaxing a Companion into Colonoscopy!”

The Badger Blogger – – They miss that Persuasive Essay assignment from high school.  From fashion to politics, they are correct and you WILL see it their way.

The Voluminous Vaguely Visual Blogger – –  “A picture births a thousand words.”  They insert media graphics and pray the photos will tell their story for them.

Note:  All other Blogger Types not mentioned above, we’ll just stick on the outdoor lawn with speakers.

Not seeing myself described here, (although Colonoscopy is a frequent request I’m asked to write about!) I call back in a panicky sweat.

After I hear my “Bosom Blogger Buddies” identify themselves once again on speakerphone, I practically hyperventilate . . .

Me:  Hi again, it’s Stephanie with a Bl.  I was just thinking – –  Couldn’t I just sit with you nice ladies?  What category type do you both fall under?

Blanche:  Oh, we’re in a league all our own.  But, unfortunately we’re not able to attend the BlogHer conference.

Me:  Why not?

Blaire:  Blanche here has too much housework and I’ll be having a migraine and a sexual conflict.

Disclaimer:  The above represents absolutely nothing accurate from the real life BlogHer committee, staff, judges, attendees or keynote speakers.  I’m sure they’re a lovely group!

 

 

 

 

 

How Do You Think “Dear Abby” Got Started???

photo-390Since I began this humor blog back in January of this year (as a New Year’s resolution) I have sometimes been mistaken for an advice columnist.  Don’t ask me how that could happen because I might just tell you.  Anyhow, I have decided that every so often I will run a post containing “The Best Of” questions submitted to me.  Are you ready?  Of course you are!

DEAR LITTLE MISS MENOPAUSE…

 

Dear LMM~

I have this nosy neighbor (think Mrs. Kravitz on Bewitched) who is the only one who offers to help feed our cats and water the plants for free when my boyfriend and I travel.  The problem is sometimes when we return from a trip,  I can tell she has gone through my things.  The last time we went out of town on a cruise I decided to teach this little Snoop a lesson.   I planted a photo of me with her husband (in bed together) prominently inside my medicine cabinet.  The next thing I knew, her spouse had moved out and she won’t speak to me anymore.  I feel horribly guilty.  And our cats get awfully hungry.  How can I let her know it was just an innocent practical joke of sorts, without her blaming me for the demise of her marriage?  I’ve since hidden the offending photo inside my copy of Gone With the Wind.

A Gentle Reader

Which actress did you like best playing Mrs. Kravitz?

Which actress did you like best playing Mrs. Kravitz?

 

 

Dear Gentle Reader (as opposed to a Rough Reader?)

Schedule an immediate trip to Hawaii.  Write an entry in your secret diary confessing that you knew it was the wrong thing to do but you couldn’t resist teaching your helpful neighbor a lesson about privacy and boundaries.  Then describe how you rigged your medicine cabinet, signing off with, “Gosh, I sure hope she’ll forgive me one day.”  Good luck!

Little Miss Menopause

ps.  How did you happen to have a photo of you and her husband in bed together?

 

Dear LMM~

You’re the same age as my wife so maybe you can help.  She says I don’t express my love for her.  I am a busy man with a full time law career and many hobbies like volunteering with troubled youth, yoga and wild game hunting.  I’ve stopped for roses on my way home but she claims flowers just wither and die.  I’ve resorted to other nice gestures too, like complimenting her dress.  But she says, “If you like my clothes so much, maybe you should marry Yves St. Laurent!   She has a lot of time on her hands to worry that we’ve fallen out of love.  Help!

Venus or Mars (I forget which one men are?)

 

Dear Venus or Mars (throw that Planet book away already!)

You’re in luck!  Little Miss Menopause just started supplementing her writing income with what she calls, “The High Tech, Save Your Neck by writing one Small Check” Romance Package.  For one low monthly fee of $59.95 your wife will receive 50 texts a day saying things like, “I like that dress you had on this morning, but I’d rather see it on the floor!”  or  “Roses are red, violets are blue, flowers may wither and die, but not my affection for you!”  But wait, that’s not all.  She will get 10 emails a day containing mushy gushy poetry, old fashioned love letters, sexual innuendo crossword puzzles, custom word searches with all her favorite things, plus intriguing “treasure hunts” that send her all over the internet looking for her complicated clues.   Eight times a day, a new post will show up on her Facebook with photos of exotic locations with “I’d like to whisk you off to this place” messages.  She will be so busy keeping up with all “your” attention that she won’t have any time to nag you ever again.   How does that sound?  You just need to provide me with her email, Facebook name, cell phone, favorite color, her interests/hobbies and her astrological sign.

Little Miss Menopause

Men: Do some woman find this to be symbolic of your relationship together?

Men: Do some woman find this to be symbolic of your relationship together?

 

Dear LMM~

You’re the same age as me so maybe you can help.  My husband is falling out of love with me.  I have noticed all the signs.  Once in a while he brings home a few wilted daisies or says he likes my dress.  You seem so alive and vivacious.  How do you keep the passion in your long term relationships?  Sorry I write to you so often about this topic but it’s very important to me.

Withering in Wisteria Lane

 

Dear Withering in the Fictional Street from that Television Show,

You’re in luck!  Little Miss Menopause has just started to supplement her writing income with what she calls the “Having a Fake Affair will give your Marriage a Prayer, I Swear!”  Romance Package.  For one low monthly fee of $59.95, a “pretend handsome suitor” will send you interesting text messages, elaborate emails your husband could never think of, (no matter what his Yoga position!) plus little Facebook messages (that will have all your girlfriends green with envy) depicting the places he’ll take you to.  All you have to do is act a bit secretive and give vague answers as to where you’ve been all day.  Your husband will become insanely jealous and suddenly lavish you with so much attention you won’t have time to write to me anymore.  How does that sound? You just need to provide me with your email, Facebook name, cell phone, your favorite color, your interests/hobbies and the location that your husband keeps his gun.

Little Miss Menopause

 

Dear LMM~

I live next door to this incredibly kind woman.  She’s always giving good advice, she even offers to care for our pets when we travel out of the goodness of her heart.   I used to have this little crush on Mrs. Kravitz from Bewitched and she actually reminds me of her.  She’s a married woman but I noticed her husband suddenly left.  I’ve been thinking of getting out of a relationship with the woman I’m living with before we tie the knot because (and I know this may sound trivial)  she won’t stop playing practical jokes around the house.  I never know what I might come across.  But I could never hurt such a faithful woman after ten years.  What would you suggest?

Fixated With Pet-Sitter and Tired of Sitting on Whoopee Cushions

 

Dear Fixated,

Bewitched reruns play often and that seems like a great compromise.  But you might want to read “Gone With the Wind” for an exciting change of pace.

Little Miss Menopause

Page 69 is especially revealing!

Page 69 is especially revealing!

 

Dear LMM~

I have a hard time believing that the letters you get asking for advice are legit?  C’mon, aren’t you making all these questions up when you run out of topics to post about?  Including this question?  It would be kind of weird if you were really just talking to yourself here.

Skeptical

 

Dear Skeptical,

Every good writer knows that staying within a reasonable word count is important and readers tend to get bored and lose interest  after 1,000 words.  I am sorry that your important question came right at this juncture.  Goodbye.  Note to self:  Buy shredded lettuce and cheese for tacos tonight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Am I The Only One Having These Thoughts? (And if you are too, does that mean we BOTH need a shrink?!)

photo 2-2I can’t help it.  I go through my day, minding my own business, just trying to accomplish my life goals when these little “nonsense asides” start chatting me up. Like really – – the voices in my head won’t stop prattling on.  So I finally made a list of ’em just to purge myself from this bizarre minutia internal clutter!  (Disclaimer:  It’s also a way to blog about unrelated subjects!)

The Top Ten Unimportant But Incessant Thoughts From Little Miss Menopause

 

1.  ABOUT FOOD:  I am a careful eater and I read labels.  Why is there often a phrase listed under ingredients that states authoritatively,  “May contain…” and then goes on to list things like “paprika, lard, egg whites, yeast extracts, etc.”  What goes on here?  May Contain??  Nobody is sure??  Does a factory worker shout to the Head Cook, “Hey!  Look at that giant black spider on the wall!” And then (when his attention is diverted) stealthily pour a vial of sesame seeds and cilantro in the big vat the cook has been toiling over?  Or quickly cracks a few eggs into the mixture?  C’mon, how do they get away with this nebulous jargon?  There’s no “May”  – – you either are a virgin or you’re not.  Lecithin is either in my beef jerky or it’s not.  One piece of good news – – I’ve yet to see, “May contain giant black spiders” written on any ingredient list.photo-386

2.  ABOUT NON-FOOD:  This thought is related to #1 because I often observe this in drugstore type products like medicines and lotions.  I like to buy sunscreens that only feature two things:  Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide.  Period.  (And yes, I know this causes your complexion to have a ghostly white pallor but I just smile sweetly and explain to people that I’m a Kabuki Dancer and they stop staring.) Now that’s all well and good when I buy the Neutrogena brand and it lists only those two minerals under “Active Ingredients.”  But then suddenly it contains the following things: Alcohol, Cyclomethecone, Ethylcellulose, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium PCA, Ascorbic Acid, Panthenol, Aloe Leaf Juice, BHT, Benzophenone 3 under the heading of “Inactive Ingredients.”  What’s the deal?  Inactive?  If they’re not doing anything or performing in some way, get them the heck off my skin!  I don’t want some passive, loitering bystander named “Ascorbic Acid” just sitting around viewing everything.  My breasts are not a spectator sport.

3.  ABOUT SHIPS:  How come seeing a model ship inside of a glass wine bottle brings about mystery/intrigue but seeing a model photo-385holding a wine bottle inside of a ship is no big deal.  I really do think of these things.

photo-3844.  ABOUT SHOPPING:  When I go into a fitting room in a department store, there is often a sign proclaiming, “Dressing Room under surveillance.”  (Oh!  So my breasts ARE a spectator sport?)  How is this even legal?  I seriously hope this is just a bluff to scare would-be shoplifters and that there aren’t three men sitting on stools behind two-way mirrors, snickering while holding up signs that say “2.5” and “1.6” after I’ve tried on two different bikinis, completely oblivious that I’m competing in the Swimsuit Olympics.

5.  ABOUT KEYS:   After the above saga in the department store, I often march out in a huff.  Only to realize I’ve left my car keys inside.  The Three Judgey Men are probably now hooting and hollering, “Wait!  She has a muffin top AND she’s hair-brained too?!!”  But get this – – when I go up to Customer Service, she opens a drawer overflowing with people’s car keys and asks me to identify mine.  What the ?  How did the owners of all these car keys ever drive home?  I spy some major status symbol keychains in that drawer. Why isn’t Nordstrom’s parking lot littered with abandoned Mercedes and BMWs?

6.  ABOUT TRAVEL:   I fly on airplanes with a lot of kids.  Flight attendants urge me to put my own oxygen mask on first before I assist my children. By the time I do this and oh let’s say helped my next three munchkins seated the closest, the last three patient cherubs will have turned blue.  Well, at least they will never know I liked their siblings better.

6.   ABOUT DIVORCE:   I’ve been divorced twice.  Both times the legal procedure dragged on a long period before it was finalized.  Over the course of that time, I sometimes needed to introduce these men (that I was separated from) at various events. But there’s no name or term for this status.  You can’t say, “This is my spouse or my ex-husband” because they aren’t either of those things.   We need some new word in our vocabulary for that in-between stage – – I propose it be an acronym since those are so popular now.  How about, “I’d like you to meet my SOB”  (Soon Over Board?  Someday Outa Bounds?)   Wait, I know!  MILF is catchy these days.  MILF = Man I’d Like to Flee!

7.  ABOUT THE INTERNET:   “Poking” someone on Facebook is just an adult version of “Gotcha Last!”  Also a “Mail Daemon” sounds like a supernatural, evil deity and I get spooked when one of these shows up in my inbox.  Speaking of email – – why do so many people nowadays end theirs with “Cheers!”  I understand if they’re British, but it’s definitely infiltrated into American protocol.  Saying “Cheers” is something we do before clinking our champagne glasses.  Therefore, I am going to sign off all my emails from now on with “Bon Appetit.”  Let people wonder.  And salivate.

photo 1-38.   ABOUT WASTE:  I take a lot of walks – – many times  on “Garbage Day.”  It’s not that I plan it that way, but it happens.  And I drink a bottle of water.  When I’m finished, I toss the empty plastic bottle in a neighbor’s trash-can that’s sitting by their curb.  It never fails that I get the dirtiest looks.  Did my personal litter just taint their private, precious rubbish? Ohhh, I get it.  I’m not recycling.

9.  ABOUT TOILETS:   How come when I’ve been alone in my own home for a long period of time, I walk into the bathroom and notice that the toilet seat has been left up.  There hasn’t been anyone here other than me for days!  What’s the deal?  Did I scrub it thoroughly earlier, but I just don’t remember?  Nah – – far more likely that I have a male ghost who can’t hold it.

(Sorry, I lied.  Nine unimportant thoughts, but now a tenth Fairly Significant One.)

10.  ABOUT LAST CHANCES:   Why don’t we ever know or get some kind of advanced warning that something we routinely do will never again be done?  I never thought when I finished the last package of my favorite brand of beef jerky (yes, with the “May Contain” ingredients!) that the manufacturer would discontinue that product the very next day.  I would have savored it more.  I never realized that the last experience nursing my sixth child would be the final time and he would suddenly wean himself and graduate to solid foods.  I would have held a special little ceremony.  And I never dreamed that the thousandth time I said, “Goodbye Dad,* drive safely,” to my father would be the end of my ever uttering those words to him again.   Never take anything or anyone you care about for granted.  Always say “I love you.”

*Written in honor of my beloved Dad who passed away nine years ago on July 11th.  He was my biggest humor writing fan.

So confess — what is your oddest, most random thought??

 

Rockabye Hope

Most of you know that I don’t normally venture beyond my own funny bones when I post here. But today I delved back into my memory (and heart) to recall a painful period when I felt very alone/misunderstood. This was inspired by the wonderful writer “Holistic Wayfarer” who had the kindness to invite me to participate in a guest posting session on her blog about a time in our life when we felt like we didn’t belong. Writing humorously affords me the safety net to say, “Just kidding!” if I sense reader disapproval. But I’ve decided that “He Who Laughs Last Lacks Life/Love/Lushness” so I took the chance of self-exposure. If this subject interests anyone, my novel was inspired by these true life events. You can simply click on the “Novel” link at the top of my blog. And thank you again to “Holistic Wayfarer” for making this possible during a crazy time when I’ve been traveling out of state, and dealing with a million other things. She offered me the chance for a cooling catharsis. Write on my friends – – promise to visit all soon!
Stephanie

A Holistic Journey

Sugar and spice
And everything nice,
That’s what little girls are made of!

Snips and snails
And puppy-dogs’ tails,
That’s what little boys are made of!

What the heck are “snips”? Sounds like what’s leftover after the barber cuts hair.  Snails?  Ew!  And the dog’s tails?  As a child, this poem made me squirm.  When I grew older, I heard another one:

A son is a son until he takes a wife.  But a daughter is your daughter for the rest of her life.

Really?  Sons equal desertion?  And there’s the famous “Boys will be boys.”  Often said to justify inappropriate or violent behavior.

All these unfortunate rhymes (prophecies?) disturbed and saddened me.  You see, I was already blessed with a son, whom I adored.  But back in my twenties, I watched my mother lament that I was the only sibling who ever kept in touch with her.  My brothers…

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