There’s No Place Like Home! (Especially Your Old One)

red-shoesSometimes a walk down memory lane will lead you straight to the front porch of the home you grew up in, or raised your own family. It’s a great “field trip” to teach children about their roots and it may be cathartic for you as well. I have six kids and decided to show each of them the apartment or house where they spent their childhood days. We were able to recapture a lot of nostalgia, get good photos, and even release some emotional baggage from visiting our environments of yesteryear. So would you dare go back?? I say yes!

8 Of My Best Tips On Implementing This Unusual Endeavor:

  1. Mystery and Adventure: Approach this in an impromptu fashion. Don’t tell children in advance where you’re going and why. It could lead to disappointment if the new owners aren’t home or worse, uncooperative. The house could be torn down or surrounded with one of those charming huge termite tents. I made the mistake of enticing my 6-year-old son with viewing his old bedroom and when the new owners refused, he pounded on the door shouting, “Let me in or I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down.”
  2. Be reassuring! When you ring the bell of your old home, remember everything is familiar to you, but you’re complete strangers to the people answering the door! Set the new owner’s mind at ease that you’re not a realtor or soliciting magazines. Say something like, “Oh look Darling, there’s the same threshold you carried me over after our wedding, you tiger!” Be prepared for them to mentally calculate how much you weigh and scrutinize the size of your husband’s arms. Also, upon departing, resist the urge to place an “Open House!” sign on their lawn.
  3. Offer evidence. Say something very specific that will prove you really lived there. In the case of the home where I was pregnant with twins, we had written a little term of endearment on the floor tile where my water broke. “Little Fishies Started Here!” When I marched the current residents over to the exact spot to show them this cute piece of trivia, they had constructed an aquarium on top of it. Hmmm. I shudder to think what they would’ve built had we scrawled, “Conception took place here.”
  4. Stay a short time. You’re not arriving with your wedding china and recreating a family dinner. Ten minutes is the maximum you should stay if they’re willing to give you a brief tour.
  5. Don’t Be Nosy. It’s not a good idea to ask if your neighbor across the street ever got that much needed nose job. And for goodness sake, don’t critique their decorating skills. The last thing they’ll want to hear is that you can’t believe they put their bed against the same wall you used to keep the diaper pail.
  6. No Bad News. Try not to walk through their kitchen reminiscing about the time little Sarah choked on a chicken bone. Or confess your dog peed all over the master bedroom carpeting. One time I was thrown out because I took a little creative license (from the Poltergeist movie) and announced the home was built on top of old Indian burial grounds. Sheesh. No sense of humor.
  7. Don’t Get Emotional. If you’re prone to sentimentality when you look through old photos or watch home movies, prepare yourself in advance. I learned the hard way when we visited the home my beloved architect father designed for us. I burst into tears as soon as I saw the lovely stained glass windows in my bedroom had been replaced with bricks, the pink walls were painted gray and my white shag carpeting turned into concrete. The only thing missing was a hole in the ground for a toilet and it could’ve been Cellblock 9.
  8. Leave on a high note. Thank them profusely for their hospitality and give them a joyful parting tidbit like, “We hope you’ll have many happy occasions here just like our Christmas family reunions!” Clamp your hand over your kid’s mouth if he starts to say things like “Yeah, and Santa Clause NEVER delivers the good toys that need assembly to this house. And the tooth fairy always leaves “IOU” notes under the pillow!”
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Conversations Between Internet Trolls

We're starving!
We’re starving!

It doesn’t happen much with the nice bloggers on WordPress, but lately I’ve experienced trolls stirring up trouble on The Huffington Post. So I did what any neurotic writer would do — I pretended to be a Troll myself and start a Support Group with a sign, “Trolls ‘R Us!”

Even though “Do Not Feed The Trolls” is the common mantra, I put egg-rolls in bowls for trolls. I’m waiting for the first Troll to stroll in right now.

Me: Hi and welcome to our group!

Troll 1: Thanks! I can’t wait to strike again! I’m on a roll but can’t seem to stay out of the gutter.

Troll 2: (rubs hands together) That’s the kinda language I love to hear from us Trollers.

Troll 1: Trollers? I misheard. I thought this was a group for Bowlers.

Troll 3: Get outa here. Here’s my problem. I have a hard time being subtle with my inflaming and instigating comments.  I was the middle child in my family where I had to blatantly act out to get any attention. Any advice? I’m constantly getting blocked from leaving comments.

Troll 5: I just hit ’em hard with random rants on childhood vaccination topics. You won’t be exposed there. You’ll just look like a die-hard believer. Try asking if they give their dog a rabies vaccination? Stirs things up real good!

Troll 2: Excellent tip. Wanna ride home with me? In the Troll Trolley. And then we can bake Nestle Troll House cookies!

Troll 6: Excuse me, do you have a fireplace?

Me: Yes. Are you cold?

Troll 4: Cold?? Are you for real? Any legit Troll would know that was code for wanting to “fan the flames!”

Me: Of course I’m for real! Since I was little and read the fairytale, “3 Billygoats Gruff,” I’ve had an urge I couldn’t control — to enroll to be a troll —  Having the whole soul of a troll became my goal.

Troll 2:  Alright then. Let’s get on with it. Be warned: You’re here with some heavy hitters. I’m on Parole for being a Troll.

Me: So let’s talk about our motivation for trolling, shall we? I imagine we all love a good controversy, right? But why don’t we all just go into politics?

Troll 6: Personally my wife left me and I miss her cooking. I spend my time trolling food blogs and arguing about recipes, waiting for a female blogger to invite me to a home-cooked meal. I’ll type, “Adding soy sauce to salmon really sucks. It’s too much sodium!” It drives the gourmet women wild.

Troll 3: Oh yes, I’ve read you before. You’re the Troll on “Who Stole My Sushi Roll.” You do nice work.

Troll 6: Thanks. And I’ve seen you as well. You’re The Poll Troll. You hang around on surveys and make fun of the results. You really got ‘em good last week about banning phone calls on American flights.

Me: It’s so nice to be noticed by someone, isn’t it? So is that why we do troll? The Recognition?

Troll 4: I don’t know about the rest of you, but there was zero job satisfaction when I heckled comics in clubs. So I quit. Collected unemployment for a while until I reinvented myself on the Internet.

Troll 7: Maybe you just never hit the big time. I got thrown out of a Seinfeld routine for shouting, “What the hell is this dumb bit about? Absolutely nothing!”

Troll 4: I prefer writing down my insults. They leave their mark longer.

Me: So you believe the pen is mightier than the sword?

Troll 2: Don’t give us your holier than thou literary crap. What kinda Troll are you?

Me: Um, I’m kinda like Shrek.

Troll 2:  He was an Ogre. He wasn’t a troll. And neither are you!

Troll 3:  Yeah, she’s too nosy, asking so many questions. We’ve been had. I think she’s actually a Knoll.

Troll 4: Knoll = A Kindly Narc for Trolls?  Nah, I think she’s a therapist!

Me:  Look guys. I just feel that a life of bullying isn’t for us. Didn’t we have enough fun stealing lunches on the playground? Being a troll takes its toll when it leaves a hole.

Troll 5:  She’s constantly rhyming, ya know?  And those cutsie puns. This dame is really some kinda corny lifestyle blogger.

Troll 6:  Oh yeah. I know her! I’d recognize those hot flashes anywhere.

Troll 2:  Hey, it’s Little Miss Menopause. The jig is up! Look at her super dry, wrinkly skin.

All Trolls:  Oh boy – – you ain’t seen nothing yet. You think we’re just gonna leave embarrassing stuff on your blog about moisturizers? Wait till you hear what we’re gonna comment on when you blog about “Sex At Age 40.”

(Ahhh, I love these guys.  They’re welcome anytime. They think I’m 40!?)

Me: Let’s sing…..”For they’re some Jolly Good Trollers….which nobody can deny!”

Visit me today on the wonderful website, “Beyond Your Blog” because I’ve interviewed editors to see what makes a great blog title!! Click HERE.

Things You Do Daily Count As Real Writing!

This is substantial writing!

This is substantial writing!

You may not realize it, but you’re a professional writer every single day. Here are ways to elevate the work you already do to get noticed and possibly garner yourself a book or movie offer!

GROCERY LISTS:  First of all, always give them a title. Try “More Than Just Food!’  or “My Hungry Family: Must They Eat Every Single Day?”

Here’s my sample grocery list with a creative spin from yesterday.

  • Bagel Thins  (The greatest thing since sliced bread!)
  • Loreal Preference Hair Color (ha! I’m not covering up gray. I’m actually intentionally dying my hair gray!) Click HERE. 
  • Chips Ahoy cookies (Can I fool the PTA into thinking they’re home baked?)
  • Kitty Litter (Our cat died 8 years ago. Huh? Whoa…mystery….intrigue! )
  • Milk (Forget “Got Milk?” How about “Got Milkshake?”)
  • Ice-cream (Ahh, now we’re talking!)

MESSAGES YOU LEAVE AROUND THE HOUSE:  Never discount any of these notes.

  • “If you take a brownie from this platter, I WILL know. Even if you rearrange them.  And don’t justify dark chocolate is now healthy for you so it can be for breakfast. These are for our new neighbors to welcome them!”
  • “Please make sure door is closed so cat doesn’t get out. (And YES! Our cat has been dead for 8 years. But nobody seems to care that I just don’t want flies in the house.)”
  • “Please Take Out This Kitchen Garbage Because Contrary To What You Learned In Art Class, This Is Not Surrealism.”

RECIPES:  Especially Rock Cornish Game Hen, Buffalo Chix Wings or Grilled Chix Tenders ingredients.  Hey, we’re talking Classic “Chick Lit!” here.

LOVE NOTES:  Either to your significant other or to your kids.  Copyright them!  Try “You had me at Hell!” and “Love means never having to say, “I’m sorry but I hate calamari!”

MISC. SCRIBBLES:

  • “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”
  • “Please excuse Zachary from P.E. today.  I washed his white gym shorts with our red bath towels. Yes, again.”
  • “Have a great day. Good luck on math test and please bring home the tupperware which holds the carrots you won’t eat.”

FORMS: They all count! Permission Slips, Insurance Claims, Sweepstakes Entries, Library Card Applications, Referral letters, etc.

  • “Please pick me!  I never win anything. I need this 3 day trip to Nevada because “Viva Las Vegas!” is my favorite Elvis song. If my voicemail is full when you call this number, please call back.  My kids ramble.”
  • “I give permission to my son/daughter to go on the zoo field trip on May 4th and to punch that Brandon Katz in the nose if he calls her ‘tuna breath’ one more time.”
  • “To Whom It May Concern: This is a testimonial for Dr. Craig Spanky, OB/GYN. Do not hesitate to put your feet in his stirrups as he always warms his speculum.”

See?  You haven’t been giving yourself the credit you deserve.  You’re working overtime in the writing field.  Now go take a well-deserved break!

For anyone who can handle my more serious side – – please visit me on the magazine XO JANE right HERE and leave a supportive comment if you like. It means a lot to me!

TOTALLY COUNTS!

THIS TOTALLY COUNTS!

Offer Creamed Spinach In Addition to Prime-Rib (Improving Your Blog Menu!)

images (5)“Order up!” Yes, I used to be a waitress and more people ordered appetizers and soups/salads than the actual main course. I believe this is now true with Blogs. According to my stats, more people are perusing my other menu items to sample my Side-Dishes (Those Other Pages at the top of my blog)) than are actually reading my Entrées (Actual posts that circulate in the Reader).

Should you expand your menu? Yes!  And here are 3 reasons why!

1.  It projects that you are more of a serious blogger/writer rather than just a fly by night, one trick pony. (sorry for mixing metaphors. Ponies aren’t on any restaurant menu, hopefully!) You’re here to stay — you’re a legitimate restaurant owner rather than a food cart/truck.

2.  It gives people a motivation or reason to come visit your blog out of the blue. Yes, your regular blog posts go out on the WordPress Reader but “hmmmm, I wonder if Little Miss Menopause added a new dessert that’s not being advertised lately?” I imagine my readers musing. Somehow I think I can lure people here with the prospect of Hot Fudge topping.

3. It allows you to showcase your range, scope and versatility. People know I write tongue-in-cheek humor here on Once Upon a Prime, uh huh cuz that’s my “brand.” But my varying Menu (at the top of my blog) let’s them see some other sides to me that rarely make their way into my posts. My novel, for instance.  And some serious short stories.

What Are Some Possible Delicious Menu Options? Here’s 10!

1.  About Page – – yes, yes….that old standby, like a steak.  But for heaven sake, don’t call it “About Page!”  I call mine “Who’s Writing This Quirkiness?” but I’m thinking even that’s far too normal and mundane.  Don’t be afraid to show your personality by what you name your menu items. Anyhow, the bottom line is you should offer this!

2.  Reader Interaction Page — Snore….yes, I do call mine, “Who’s Reading This Quirkiness?”  But my followers really like the place to participate.  I think yours will too!  You can include whatever you please…my silly survey is just an ice-breaker.

3.  Another Talent — Why not have a page that features something you do or are passionate about?  Do you paint? Sing? Dance? cook? Run? Sew? Garden? Meditate? Medicate? This should be a “Starring Me” type of page.  Since all I do is write, I have a heading with other places I’ve published (“Where’s Little Miss Menopause?“) and my “Novel” and my short stories (“Fast Food Fiction” heading) with more stories going up soon so do check back for butterscotch toppings!

4.  A Way to Hire You — Do you want to make money? Yes, you do.  Add a “Hire Me!” page.

5.  Rules or Facts About Your Blog — This could be where you specify your policies about comments or reblogging or copyright into. Maybe you want to outline a posting schedule?  I did a “FAQ About This Blog” page instead. But that’s because I dislike rules.  And also my “About Page” was so neurotically strange that it really didn’t disclose anything substantial about me so I did what any oddball would do — I asked my own questions and then systematically answered them myself. So yes, they ARE frequently asked. By me. Don’t knock this idea. Try interviewing yourself!  Who’s to know the difference?  Except you.  And you won’t tell.  Or will you, Sybil?

6. Photos — We’re visual. Even though we’re amazingly vivid writers, we can save ourselves a thousand words and post a picture!  I think that’s still what it’s worth these days. I’m making the non-inflation assumption because it’s still “a penny for your thoughts.”

7. Requests — No, this doesn’t mean you’re now a D.J. Wouldn’t it be fun to take requests of what your readers want you to write about?  Okay, that may depend on your readers. But you could just have people leave you writing prompts.

8. Other Blogs You Love — This is a tricky one because you don’t want to show favoritism. I haven’t gotten brave enough to do this quite yet but I’ve seen it done beautifully.  

9.  Contact Info — Yes, I AM saying you should make it easy for your readers to stalk you. Or you can chicken out and put 867-5309.  Who’s old enough to know that number?

10. This Menu Item Coming Soon!  See? Now YOU HAVE TO CHECK BACK HERE.  It could be an early-bird special!  It could include Caesar Salad prepared table-side!  Minus the anchovies, of course. Blech.

So?  What do you include on your navigational menu?  What do you LOVE seeing on other’s?80852243

News To Confuse and Amuse: Never Accuse Tom Cruise

picture-image-california-tom-cruise-celebrity-look-alike-impersonator-TC1450A wide rash of hold-ups and burglaries has swept the nation using a ploy that authorities have dubbed  “The Celebrity Look-Alike Belief Thief.” Victims are fooled into believing they’ve met or befriended a famous movie star and then ceremoniously robbed.

Rocky Rhoades from Los Angeles, California is the latest victim to have his wallet taken and he is incredulous.

Actually it was my own idea to hand over my billfold. I didn’t have any paper to write on and I knew my wife would never forgive me if I didn’t get Tom Cruise’s autograph. So I handed him my vinyl wallet and a Sharpie. He scrawled, “Best wishes to the lovely Misty Rhoades” and then we got to talking about the mean pot roast she cooks and I invited him to supper, promising dessert would be Sara Lee pound cake.

Rhoades states it never occurred to him that Mr. Cruise had better things to do than come to his house for dinner because Mrs. Rhoades is a fabulous cook. And nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee.  It was only when the carrots and potatoes coagulated on the dinner plates that he began to suspect not only was “Cruise” late but he wasn’t returning his wallet. Ever.

Police are asking the public to be wary and less starstruck when they spot these unsavory characters impersonating Tom Cruise, Justin Bieber, Harrison Ford, John Travolta, Michael Caine and in a bizarre twist, Elvis Presley.

Ida Clair, head teller at Union Bank in Brooklyn, NY says she was handed a note by Elvis which read, “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You. I just Wanna be your Teddy Bear.  Give me $200.”

I batted my eyes and answered, “I don’t wanna be a tiger ’cause tigers play too rough, I don’t wanna be a lion ’cause lions ain’t the kind you love enough!” Then I handed him two crisp one-hundred dollar bills, and he said, “Thank you very much” in that Elvis-like way. It was such a thrill. As he exited, I announced over our PA system, “Elvis has left the building.”

Clair says she was astounded at how slim and trim Mr. Presley looks these days, but she justifies that his calorie intake is probably lower after death. Certainly after the suspect is apprehended, he’ll be requested to sing, “Jailhouse Rock.”

The NYPD has issued a statement that people should not be lulled into a false sense of security thinking there are only male celebrity lookalikes involved. There have been recent sightings of Julia Roberts, Beyonce and Maureen McCormick, the actress who played Marcia Brady on the hit 70’s sitcom.

Brock Lee of Boise, Idaho stated that he knew something was up when Ms. McCormick laughed.

She walked into our house matter-of-factly insisting “something suddenly came up” and she needed our fine china, service for twelve. We were huge fans and so we handed it to her but when I did my “Ohhh! My nose!” impression, she dissolved into a fit of giggles. Everyone knows the real Marcia Brady is so sick of being ridiculed by that shtick that she’d never even crack a smile. But by that point she’d absconded with our crockpot and a set of sterling silverware which was a wedding gift from our dog’s breeder who ironically resembles Alice, the maid.

In this rare interview footage with one of the other female culprits, we’re just beginning to learn more details about the origination of this vast “Celebrity Lookalike Belief Thief” string of criminal activity. Surprisingly, the whole crime ring seems to have begun quite innocently enough. You could almost say it was just blowin’ in the wind.

Ever since I can remember, I was mistaken for Mary from the famous folksinging group, “Peter, Paul & Mary.” All I had to do was learn the lyrics to “Puff the Magic Dragon” and find two men to play Peter and Paul and I’d have it made in the shade, entertaining at cocktail parties. That’s when my obsession with hammers begin. Every day I’d belt out, “If I had a hammer…” spending all my money in hardware stores. So I started singing, “Where have all my dollars gone?” and Paul kindly loaned me $300 for food. I didn’t know how I’d ever pay him back – – but that’s when the idea hit me.  I could rob Peter to pay Paul!

This unethical Mary lookalike is now under arrest and in the process of being flown to a prison in Chicago.  You might say she’s “leaving on a jet plane.” Stay safe everyone!

Little Miss Menopause Reporting

I Spy With My Little Eye Your Big, Fat Lie!

Wait till they hear about the consistency and color of this stuff back at corporate!

Wait till they hear about the consistency and color of this stuff back at corporate!

My entire world was turned completely upside-down last night at a local Chinese take-out called “The Mandarin Wok.” As I stood in line to pay my check, I offered the customer behind me the basket of fortune cookies sitting on the counter. She scrutinized it, wrinkled up her nose, then pulled out a little notebook and wrote, “crumbled!“ under a picture of this:images (4)

Winking conspiratorially at me, she whispered, “I’m a Mystery Diner.” I returned the one-eyed gesture knowingly, muttering “Ohhh” under my breath, while forming my lips into a perfect circle.

I raced home and couldn’t Google the “Mystery Diner” term fast enough. Thank goodness for fortunes because I never would’ve discovered this clandestine phenomenon if she had simply muttered, “That’s the way the cookie crumbles!”

Here’s the scoop. Ready? Apparently there are “Consumer Spies” out there getting paid!

Job Description: Pretend to be hungry (so far I easily qualify without play-acting!) while grading and taking notes on food quality, ambience and service. Report back to the restaurant owner so they can see how their employees are doing.

Really?? And she looked like such a typical, ordinary Szechwan Garlic-Chicken Eater to me! Immediately my suspicions were aroused, wondering whom else in my life was a huge impostor?

My Stylist: Was she a legitimate beautician or could she be a “Mystery Shampooer” employed by Pantene to evaluate whether the conditioner I use in my shower gives me the silky fullness the tube promises. Yes, she must be a fraudulent stylist — that explains why she cut my bangs so short last time. And she’s always pushing Vidal Sassoon hair care products on me. Testing my loyalty to Proctor & Gamble, no doubt. I wonder if P & G has been made aware of my split ends?

My Babysitter: She may look like your average teenage vixen with an iPod and Justin Bieber’s name tattooed on her big toe, but what if she’s secretly a caseworker from our government’s Child Protective Services agency, evaluating my parenting skills? My mind flashes on an untouched gallon of Mint ‘n Chip ice-cream — plus none of the Pop-Tarts were missing after I returned from my therapy session last week. What normal teenage babysitter would leave those items uneaten while the little kids were sound asleep? In fact, I also recall discovering a surprise bonus of Frosted Flakes in my pantry. I never buy that brand. Not only did she NOT eat our junk food, but she brought us more? That must be it! The CPS agency instructed her to put “Tony The Tiger” there to see if I’d break down one morning and feed my kids crap for breakfast, instead of taking time to make omelets. Next time she “babysits” she’ll measure how much was ingested. She probably also counted our eggs for further evidence. OMG, my kids will end up in a foster home because I didn’t jumpstart their day with wholesome goodness! Or she could just be a “Mystery Flake” from the Kellogg’s corporation rating their “sogginess in milk.”

My Carpet Cleaner: After he steams my shag rugs, he always advises my family to remove our tennis shoes and leave them by the front door. As he departs, I betcha he checks out our worn soles and reports durability issues directly to the executives at Adidas Inc.

My Ex-Sister-in-law Houseguest:  Sister-in-law, my foot! After all, I don’t have any real proof that she was actually born to the same parents as my ex-husband was. And for weeks now, she’s been sleeping in the spare room (until she supposedly gets back on her feet) complimenting me on how soft our bedsheets feel. I wonder how much $$ Tide detergent is paying her per night?

The Piano Teacher: Ain’t no qualified music specialist who could be THIS patient – – never once wincing when my daughter hits sour notes when playing chopsticks. And I’ve observed her frowns as she swipes her finger across the ¼ inch thick layer of dust on our piano bench before sitting down. Hmmph. Merry Maids thinks they’re so smart, checking up this way. Little do they know — I actually fired their cleaning crew 3 weeks ago. So it’s actually MY housekeeping skills the Piano Teacher has been assessing.

Landscaper & Mailman:  There’s a collaboration going on between these two, I can just feel it!  The reason the mailman always says, “your rosebushes are wilting” or “your lawn looks greener since I was here last,” when he walks up to my porch to deliver mail is because he’s actually employed by my landscaping company to check up on the gardener’s planting abilities. And by the same token, the gardener is always glancing at his watch when the mailman pulls up in his little truck, because he calls the Post-Office with documentation of the mailman’s inefficient schedule. It’s diabolical!

My Boyfriend:  Well, I’m onto him now!  After our next wild romp in the bedroom, won’t he be shocked when he asks, How things were and if there’s anything more he can do for me? And I’ll blurt out, “Aha! They sent you from The Masters & Johnson Research Institute, didn’t they?!”

Should You Take The Training Wheels Off Your Blog? (Growing & Stretching!)

baby-photo-with-computerIn 2014 I was a newborn blogger and WordPress was my comfortable, cozy crib where I felt safe to kick, cry, and reach out to bat my hands at my colorful dashboard to learn new tricks. Getting “Freshly Pressed” was the only playpen I wanted to hang out in and every day I delighted in adding a couple new followers with names like Strained Carrots and Creamed Corn.

Now that I’m a toddler blogger, crawling around and getting into everything — I think it’s safe to take down the child safety gates.download (2) Okay, the creepy baby analogy can only go so far.  But the point is there’s a whole big Blogger park out there to explore!

I frequently get questions from people inquiring how I started publishing outside of my personal blog. I can give a long, detailed answer that will probably seem boring and circumstantial because it happened in a very specific way based on my particular lifestyle and personality type. Or I can just say this . . . absolutely NOTHING ever would have happened if I didn’t stretch outside of my comfort zone.

My fear of rejection was keeping me small. But somehow I developed a new tolerance for taking risks when I turned 50 years old in 2014. (Yes, I realize I was just wearing diapers and shaking rattles three paragraphs up!) My new mantra was suddenly, “Go big or go home!”  After all, what was the worst that could happen?

I hope everyone will ask themselves that same question as they begin to stretch out, reach up, and SUBMIT!  Yes, there is a life of “Submission” outside of Fifty Shades of Grey. Please don’t wait until you’re my age to try!

If I could recommend just doing three things to start out, they would be:

1.  Start going to any and all blogger conferences.  (I went to BlogHer 2014 because I was named a “Voices of the Year” in the humor category and Arianna Huffington was the keynote speaker which eventually led to my getting on The Huffington Post!)

2.  Go HERE and read anything and everything you can. Take a deep breath and email some words you’re proud of to one (or more!) of the places mentioned. I live here and on the Facebook page she moderates, which you can request to be a member of.

3.  Write as if you already have a HUGE audience of readers. There’s something about feeling like you have lots of people waiting with bated breath for your next piece that elevates your writing and makes you rise to the occasion.

Here are four recent categories of publication I’ve ventured out into trying:

1. Pitching:  Did you know that you don’t even need a finished post to submit –you just pitch them your idea! Sell it and make it sound good. That’s what I did to this major online magazine and was astounded when it was accepted and I had to go write it up. Gulp! And it was a serious article about growing up with large breasts, too. Ugh…What had I done? You can see how it turned out right here.   XO JANE

2. Guest Posting on Another Blog: This is a terrific way to gain exposure and you never know what else it will lead to! Here is just one blog I adore and admire and was thrilled to write something that actually went up. It’s my adventures as a Snoopaholic!  Ripped Jeans & Bifocals

3. Syndication:  There are many big websites that you need not write something brand new or original for.  You can simply submit some of your best (or favorite!) stuff that’s already been on your own personal blog. Or do what I do and send posts that are older and perhaps went up before you had many followers.  It’s a great way to breathe new life into them. Here is one such place where I am able to recycle some of my older stuff.  Midlife Boulevard

4. Anthologies:  I used to think you had to be a famous writer to get your work into an anthology.  Uh, nope!  There are tons out there that publish according to themes.  Find one that correlates with what you like to write about, then think to yourself — “If the theme does fit, you must submit!” Here’s an anthology book I just found out I was published in from a website called Story Shelter which is a great website anyone can have their writing appear in right now.  I AM HERE!

Good luck and let me know when you take those first steps or eat solid food!

From Procrastination To ProBLASTination (Just Do It!)

procrastinateHave you heard that placing gym clothes by your bed will coax you into exercising first thing in the morning? Some magazine articles even recommend sleeping in your workout attire. I already have nightmares about The Treadmill and Elliptical Monster, so I can’t imagine waking up, glancing in the mirror and thinking, “Alright! I’m already wearing my shorts and sports bra. 24 Hour Fitness Center, here I come!”

Nevertheless, based on this theory of subliminal suggestion (where your brain gets primed to do the activity the object represents) here are some “unusual” ways you can get in the mood for stuff you’d rather not do.

10 Unique Ways To Motivate Yourself to Do Things You Hate!

  1. Wear a French Maid costume. Within an hour you’ll crave dusting all your knickknacks with one of those cute feather dusters. (Or else you’ll succumb to “His” sexual advances and your bedroom will get even messier than it already was.)
  1. Put on a little hat and badge like fast food workers wear. It won’t be long before you’re drawn into the kitchen, preparing food with rapid-fire efficiency. Beware of that same “Testosterony Guy” (from the French Maid scenario above) placing his order for a Quickie.

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    Let me at your Knickknacks !

  1. Make a paper airplane or try some origami shapes. After all that folding fun, don’t be surprised when you’re compelled to tackle an entire clean load of laundry from the dryer.
  1. Play Monopoly and lose. That’s right, let your opponents clean out your entire money stash — even the twenty-dollar bill you stuffed down your bra. This will entice you to pay your bills. And since it’s that time of year, you’ll be seduced into doing your taxes as well!
  1. Sleep with your toothbrush under your pillow. For added incentive, spread Crest minty gel on your cheeks, chin, and forehead for an overnight facial mask that’ll have you waking up inspired to get a cavity filled at the dentist.
  1. Spray on a little perfume or cologne. Spritz some hairspray on your tresses. Squirt some room freshener in the air. Aren’t these spray bottles fun? Now you can’t wait to Windex all the mirrors and glass surfaces in your house, can you?
  1. Underwear works wonders! Don’t you slip on satin panties under your work clothes and then smile at your secret sexual desires? So just swap the lace undies for Granny Panties — and you’ll finally go volunteer in a retirement home. Don a “G-string” and at last, you’ll take that guitar in for tuning. Or slide into “Little Mermaid” underwear and you’ll give your kids those swim lessons. There is unlimited PPP! (Potential Panty Possibilities)
  1. Watch all of Colin Farrell’s and Colin Firth’s movies. When writing, liberally punctuate with semicolons and colons. There you go! You’re now in the perfect frame of mind to schedule that colonoscopy.
  1. Scrutinize your head closely, looking for split ends or gray strands and yank them out. Not only will your hairstyle benefit, you’ll feel a sudden urge to go pull weeds from your garden.
  1. Press flowers between the pages of a heavy dictionary. Read the classic children’s book, Flat Stanley. Crush some garlic. Use a Panini machine. Alrighty, now off you go for your overdue mammogram!

    I'm suddenly in the mood for pancakes!

    “I’m suddenly in the mood for pancakes!”

Should You Have a Soul Makeover?

We have some wrinkle cream for you!

Well then we have some wrinkle cream for you!

Women in our society are in a no-win situation and it’s gotten out of hand. First the media destroys our self-esteems by pointing out all the things that are physically wrong with us. Next the beauty industry and cosmetic surgeons (who conveniently sponsor the media with their advertising!) sell us their expensive solutions to “fix our problems.”

I recently decided to reject this crazy system and focus my time and energy (but not my money, since there’s nothing to buy!) on my inner essence instead. I read books, kept journals, took long walks on the beach and fostered close connections with family and friends. Everything was going swimmingly until last week when I stumbled upon an online website for Soul Makeovers.

Immediately I envisioned “before and after” pictures, along with thunderous applause on the Oprah show as my Spirit strutted onto the stage (doing the Soul Stroll Shuffle?) in updated clothing, hair and makeup. Right? Wildly curious, I called the number.

“Soul By Nicole, can I help you?”

Me: Hi there. I was just checking to see what your gimmick was? Are you selling timeshares in Hawaii or um, sexual favors?

Nicole: No gimmicks. But oh dear, you sound like such a poor lost soul.

Me: Nope! I’ve done my share of soul-searching. I’m good.

Nicole: What about cleansing your soul?

Aha! Here it comes. There’s a battery operated exfoliation brush with expensive soaps! I just knew it.

Nicole: You can start by baring your soul to me.

Ooh! R-rated stuff. See? I told you so! Massage parlor is just around the corner, wait and see.

Me: Well Nicki girl, it’s like this. I’m sure we’d be kindred souls, but I’m gonna pass on all your promotional junk.

Nicole: I’m not selling anything. But confession is good for the soul. And I promise not to tell a living soul.

Alright so maybe I’m too suspicious. Sounds innocent so far. She just wants to have a little girl talk, maybe confide in each other. What’s the harm in that? I told her I was in.

Nicole: That’s the spirit! Let’s meet for lunch. I know a good place for soul food. When did you last feed your soul?

Cleansing and feeding. Now it’s all adding up. Luxury Spa packages! Betcha she works on commission.

At the restaurant, Nicole orders filet-of-sole on an onion roll. I order the salad bowl with an egg roll.

Me: Nice to meet you. I rode the Soul Train here. I thought maybe you’d suggest lunch in Korea?

Nicole looks blank.

Me: (elbowing her) You know, Seoul Korea. Ha-ha-ha.

Nicole: Oh, you’re a droll soul.

Me: Yes, I write humor. Can I pour you some water or should I just pour my soul out to you instead?

Nicole: Let me ask the questions here. I’m taking a poll. What’s your soul goal?

Me: Well I want to be a famous writer. Oh yeah, and I’m trying to get away from commercialism and buying another tube of lipstick.

Nicole: Actually it’s the eyes that are the window to the soul.

Me: Yep. I don’t want mascara either.

Nicole: Have you thought about a soul-mate?

An online dating service. I shoulda known she was a matchmaker!

Nicole: Someone you can love with all your heart and soul. Share a soul kiss with?

Me: I already have a man. Maybe you know him? Old King Cole. He was a merry old soul.

Nicole: Well bless your soul, you are quite the little comic, aren’t you?

Me: C’mon Soul Sister, the jig is up. I don’t have time for this. Let’s rock and roll your soul. Whatcha selling?

Nicole: I’m not the one selling anything. You are.

Me:  Me? What am I selling?

Nicole: It’s obvious you’re a tormented soul. So there’s someone I want you to meet. . .

Lucifer: Name your price!

Me: Why you little devil, you. I wish you would’ve been upfront from the start. I already sold my soul long ago. To become a writer.

"Fetch me Little Miss Menopause!"

“Forget my pipe. Fetch me Little Miss Menopause!”

If Lingerie Could Talk . . .

photo (23)Loudspeaker: Welcome to Lingerie Anonymous where we raise our Underawareness. Females use, misuse, and abuse us. We get hung, flung, wrung, sprung, and molested by his tongue. Whether we’re sexually exploited or put through the spin cycle, it’s our duty to speak out.  Now please join me in reciting “The Sanitary Prayer.”

Help us accept the things we cannot change . . . like thrift store underwear, pantie-liners, and the way she’d rather toss us than wash us.

Loudspeaker: At this time, I’d like to turn the meeting over to Victoria’s Secret Pink Boy Shorts for a few  announcements.

VS Pink Boy Shorts: The votes are in for our new name. From here on, we’ll be known as “The Delicates.” I’m sorry but “The Intimate Apparels” didn’t win. Too old fashioned.

Strapless Bra: Who counted our ballots?

VS Pink Boy Shorts: Woolite did. And I think we can all trust Woolite with “The Delicates.”photo (17) VS Pink Boy Shorts: Also our guest speaker was involved in a tragic accident and won’t make it today. It’s a shame because she found her true purpose and was quite inspirational. May she breast in peace.

Minimizer: Meh. What’s all the flap about? Just another Nursing Bra. You’re always making something out of nothing. An infant spit up on her while playing Peek-a-boob, so they hung her out to dry. Big whoop.

Strapless Bra: If you’re done minimizing maternity, I have an important confession. After months of wriggling my way down to her waist just five minutes after she puts me on, I’ve come to the conclusion that I actually identify as a garter belt.

Negligee: The Trans-Undergarment meeting is down the hall. It’s a rough road, but if you know deep down you’re really a retro sex object for men, you can slowly transition. Who wants to talk next?

Padded Pushup Wonderbra: I’ll go. I need to get this off my chest. I’m feeling deflated and on the brink of collapse. All the deception gets me down. I support her knockout knockers in low cut tops on date nights, and I’m all about amazing cleavage pics on Facebook. But at some point, both my “Girls” gotta be more authentic.

Sports Bra:  I can relate to the fantasy not matching the reality. Every morning, she plucks me determinedly from the drawer and I think,“Hooyah, a real workout! Jogging by the lake, some treadmill action, or calisthenics.” But within ten minutes I’m cooling my seamless cups at the smoothie bar while she runs her mouth, not her legs. The woman has zero discipline. Athlete Shmathlete.

Training Bra: Cheer up, maybe they’ll ban bras or burn them again?

Demi-Cup: Nah, going braless was a big flop. But what do you know? Are you even mature enough to be here?

Underwire Bra: I’d like a turn please before it gets down to the wire. I’m so angry, I could poke someone’s eye out. I hate that ‘Wicked” Show. She’s always singing, “Defying Gravity” whenever she puts me on. It’s enough to make a bra go haywire.

Animal Print Undies: And how many times must she “meooow” or belt out Katy Perry’s “Roar” song? She thinks she’s so wild.

Red lacy bikinis: Ooh la la. We’re gonna get some!

Walmart 5 Pack Special: Sluts.

Convertible Bra: Listen, if it makes you feel any better. . . I’ve got nine different positions and I can only remember four. She keeps wearing this complex backless sundress — the classic booby trap for bras!

Black Cotton Underwear: Look, you brassieres have it easy. In fact it’s the breast job ever. When I come out of the closet, you can bet it means one thing. Stains are in my future. And we all know what kind, too. Let’s face it — I’m just sacrificial panties.

Granny Panties: At least you all see the light of day. Draped seductively over her dressing room chair or posing for a selfie. I’m a shut-in. Bottom of the pile. Every once in a while, I’m allowed out under sweatpants. It’s elder abuse, I tell you!

Bathing Suit Bottom: I don’t know what you’re all complaining about. I wouldn’t even have to come to these groups if she’d just do her damn laundry once in a while.

Men’s Boxer Shorts: I know this isn’t a co-ed meeting, but man I hope he’ll reclaim me one day. There’s only so many Lifetime movies and Ben & Jerry’s binges a fellow can take. I’ll be quiet now and I promise not to flirt with Super Frilly Shit today.

Super Frilly Shit: Well, I haven’t made much progress with my issues. Just to catch up the newcomers . . . she bought me for an illicit, steamy affair but there was no way I could lay flat under those skinny jeans. Man, what was that chick thinking? You can’t muffle a ruffle. Nowadays I pride myself on being passive aggressive – – I can make that bitch itch like nobody’s business!

Slip: I think we should lighten things up a bit with a joke. I was a great last minute Halloween costume this past year. She pinned words on me like “Psychology” and “Ego” and “Id.”

Men’s Boxer Shorts: What the hell for?

Slip: I was a “Freudian Slip.”

Walmart Special: Ha Ha. But it ain’t no laughing matter. My self-esteem is completely shot. Along with my elastic. I’m the underwear your mother warns you not to wear in case of a traffic accident. Tattered and torn — I’m just hoping she’ll march for “Fray Pride Week.”

Thong: Well I have a classic identity crisis. I swear I used to be a generic name for beach flip-flops. Tell me I’m not the only one who remembers that? Anyhow I’m cool with all the dental floss jokes, even a little cheek suffocation, but I draw the line at being edible. WTF?!

Nude & Seamless: You should try being invisible. I can’t believe . . . Shhh, someone’s coming. Oh I just knew this would happen. I’m afraid we’ve said too much already.

SPANX: Quiet down everyone! Get your big girl panties on and deal with it. I’ve had just about enough of your bellyaching, thigh slapping, body snarking, woe-is-me crap. If I come into your homes, you’ll all be out of work so fast it’ll make your thread spin. Every last one of you. Where’s the gratitude?

Men’s Boxer Shorts: Leave it to Spanx to pull ranks. Everybody give thanks to Spanx. Ya buncha Skanks!

All Lingerie: All hail to the Queen of Shapewear. Spanx rules!

Loudspeaker:  Talk about Control Issues.