Forget Weight Watchers …. Now There’s Height Watchers!

Have you failed at trying to control your weight? Are you sick of counting calories, carbohydrates, fat grams, or food group points to no avail? Today’s your lucky day!

There’s something new on the horizon for people who are unhappy with their bodies …. now you can change your height — as long as you follow these 15 easy steps, you can achieve the 5ft 6 or 6 ft 2 body you’ve always dreamed of having.

 

15 Simple Tips To Control Your Height!

 

  1. It’s true. We’ve been misusing those nifty height/weight charts all this time. They actually work in reverse. Find your current weight on the (minuscule) chart above and then look directly next to it to see how tall someone within that given weight range should be. There. Got it? That’s your goal height!
  2. Ready? Now throw away your bathroom scale. There’s something far less cumbersome (than an ugly hunk of steel you step on) for you to track your progress with. A graceful, slender measuring tape. Hang one up on any bare wall.
  3. Stand next to either the side with inches or centimeters and smoosh your hair flat against your head with a hardcover book, (preferably my novel “Lullabies & Alibis”  which is made expressly with this purpose in mind) and make a mark with your pencil so you can see your beginning height clear as day. No cheating by standing on tiptoes or slouching.
  4. Figure out if you should become shorter or taller. If you’re already satisfied with your height, you can advance to changing your shoe size using a convenient feet-binding method which will be the subject of a future blog.
  5. Doorways! Have you only been using them to transition from your kitchen to your den to your bathroom? Silly you!  Grab onto the framed molding above the door and let your entire body hang there for three minutes. Do this every single time you enter or exit any room.
  6. Mindful suspension is the key. Always focus on the sensations in your body as you just dangle, so you can stay in the present moment.
  7. If you pass through a door but don’t feel like using it as a body-stretcher, it probably means you are stressed or aren’t coping well with some important life issue and a good therapist should be able to help you so you won’t be someone who just views doorways as a method to advance through your entire house. We call that being an “Emotional Home Roamer.” People like that just use doorways as handy portals instead of the Height Shifters they were designed to be.
  8. Look at actors in the movies or models in magazines and see where the tops of their heads reach, relative to objects such as wall clocks, flatscreen televisions, or other people standing nearby. Tape a photo (of someone who is as tall or as short as you desire to be) on each and every door knob in your home. This visual reminder will cause you to admire and possibly envy them, but it will certainly motivate you to want to achieve your goal when you pass by and see a person of your ideal height.
  9. Note: If you want to become shorter instead of taller, simply reverse the process described in step #5.
  10. Be sure and only stand next to the measuring tape every morning when you first awaken, before the ceiling in your home can distort your height. This will give you a true and accurate number of your improved stature.
  11. For every millimeter your height changes, reward yourself for all your hard work and great effort, but make sure it’s not something that will add on inches. i.e. Avoid treats such as hats, high-heeled shoes, hair ornaments used to create updos, and especially pride, as that could make anyone walk around feeling 10 ft tall.
  12. Bingeing on things with measurements will also slow your progress and you’ll be back to square one. That includes inchworms, a “tall” glass of water, a foot-long sub sandwich, or even an old fashioned wooden ruler which should only be used for rapping the knuckles of unruly children. Don’t partake in these things!
  13. Galleries! It’s all about Galleries in and Galleries out. If you take in more (art) galleries than you exorcise (think spinning your head around 360 degrees like Linda Blair in that scary movie) you will not get any taller or shorter and you could be destined to remain at the same height your DNA blueprint dictates for your entire life.
  14. Avoid Curbs! Rice, pasta, bread, and potatoes are all fine. But if you indulge in curbs, your height is liable to change suddenly AND dramatically. If you don’t believe me, go on a date with someone and let them walk in the gutter or the street whilst you stroll along on the curb. You can no longer gaze into each other eyes. Forget having “Curb Appeal.” Curbs are the enemy!
  15. A high “Pro-Teen” regimen also has a lot to offer in this process, so don’t be against kids between the ages of 13-18. They will keep you full longer which brings more satisfaction, they are harder to digest, and thus will keep you busy with their loud music and disrespectful attitudes between your door-hanging sessions.

I hope you’re not laughing at any of this. It’s no joke — which is why I purposely didn’t post this on April Fool’s Day. Trying to manipulate your weight from your natural set-point is just as absurd a notion (and damaging!) as what I’ve outlined above with changing your height. And more importantly, it’s flirting with disaster and a full-fledged eating disorder, which is exactly how mine started and spanned decades. (Thank you, Dr. Atkins!)

Diets do NOT work. But our societal “Diet Culture” (lately disguised as “a Wellness Lifestyle Change” with “Clean Eating” and “Juice Fasts” etc.) is insidious and will keep you imprisoned in the vicious cycle of trying over and over again.

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This is a real advertisement from 100 years ago when “We” decided that being “plump” was better! Are we really going to let the whims of the media dictate what’s best for us?

I’m finally completely cured from my bulimic behaviors now and if you’re interested in a post detailing the way that miracle finally happened, leave me a comment. I promise it doesn’t involve buying a thing.  I just want everyone to obtain the freedom to feel good in their own skin. I have my life back now.

And I’ll leave you with my new song lyrics in case any mothers out there might be “role-modeling” for their young children food or exercise behaviors that can lead to dire consequences. Listen HERE

Body Acceptance!!  Embrace body positivity and diversity in ALL sizes. It’s the only way. Let’s dictate THAT for a change!

I Plead “No Contest!” (When Entering Writing Competitions)

I’ve never entered a writing contest before. Although every time I submit my work to an editor, technically I’m competing against other author “contestants” who want to have their creations appear in the exact same magazine, anthology, or website. And when the prize is an acceptance notice of publication, yes I feel like a winner. That’s a contest if you ask me and so I’ve entered many.

However this writing contest was different. . .

I’ve written novels and screenplays before, but this contest was for live theater and the winners get their words brought to life on a stage in front of an audience. Sign me up!

The other difference was that I only found out about this contest a mere 24 hours prior to the submission deadline, which threw me into some fast and furious typing. And the rules specified it could be a comedy OR a meaningful, serious drama. After some inner debate, I chose to do humor. Big surprise.

But in the end, my biggest dilemma was needing help choosing which play to submit (somehow two distinctly different scripts had been birthed from my infertile, barren brain….fraternal twins?) because I couldn’t decide on my own which was more brilliant. Or (every other hour) which script sucked less. The rules were clear — one entry per person.

Who in my life was competent to give this kind of input and more to the point, would help me make this decision extremely QUICKLY? (Yikes! Like within the next thirty minutes!) The first thing I did was turn to another writer friend (Samantha) who owed me a huge favor since I had recently critiqued her query letter and it helped her land an agent.

Samantha expediently sent me a ton of elaborate feedback on both my scripts. But what wasn’t clear, was her opinion of which one she recommended I should enter into the contest — essentially the only question I had originally asked!

I emailed back and said, “Thank you! But which one was better?” Samantha replied, “That’s personal preference. But I’m on pins and needles waiting to hear what you thought of my feedback?”

So here I am with hours to go until the deadline and I’ve got a narcissistic friend/egomaniac writer expecting me to critique her critique!?

Ugh. Frantically I sent both possibilities to my mother, along with the rules of the contest so she could see the criteria with which they’d be judged. “Ps. Please Hurry!” was how my email ended. After many long hours, she wrote back, “I contemplated this very carefully. I’d go with the one about your multiple personalities falling in love with each other at a cocktail party. But both of them were very meaningful and serious dramas.” I wrote back, “Thanks, mom! But they were both comedies. Which one made you laugh more?”  And then she called me and said, “If you like contests so much, the county fair has a watermelon-eating one you can enter this weekend.”

Okaaay! I’m done with asking females for help. Turning to men has sometimes worked for me in the past. Quickly I sent my scripts to a great guy who performs in local community theatre, pleading “Which one??”  He finally wrote back that both of them had dialogue sections that didn’t sound very good when belted out in his shower. I forgot he only does musical theatre.

Feeling truly desperate, I took my beginning narrator’s lines from each possible entry and sent them as my introductory messages to two different men with dating profiles on Match.com. Whoever wrote me back first and said “That’s really funny!” would be how I would make my decision.

The first bachelor wrote back,  “Hi! Sorry, I’m only 5 ft. 4 and I make it a rule not to do taller women because things won’t line up properly.” Very helpful input. And then the other wrote back, “Meet tonight at 7 pm for a drink? Ps. And are you a therapist? Damn! That was some crazy psycho-babble, babe.”

But now thinking about therapists and my own past sessions… I had the answer to my quandary of which script to submit to the contest. I would send both! One would be entered under my own real name. And then the second script (about my multiple personalities falling in love at a cocktail party) would be sent under the name Sybil. Problem solved!

Readers– Have you entered writing contests? Have you had as much trouble as this? Oh! Also I was recently interviewed. You can check it out just below. But why is it called “Woman on the Edge of Reality?” Lol. 

An interview with Stephanie Lewis, author of Lullabies & Alibis

 

 

How to Have the Correct Proportion of “Quirky” In Your Personality!

 

Numerous readers write to me for lessons on how to become quirky. Okay, that’s simply untrue. But one thing that makes me just the right amount of quirky (and therefore certified to teach you!) is that I liberally make stuff up (like the opening sentence of this blog) but then I’ll freely confess that it’s a complete invention of my mind.

That’s not called lying — that’s called quirking. And it’s totally cool.

Let’s look at some other definitions of ‘Quirky” before you decide whether or not you want to become it.

Here’s what Vocabulary.com has to say.

quirky

Your friend with the pink hair, the excellent vocabulary, and the totally inappropriate wit? You could probably call her quirky, meaning she’s unconventional and has a unique mix of traits that somehow end up being interesting or charming.

Alright so “Quirky” need not be attached to a specific hair color. However hair does play an integral part in people’s assessment of your quirkiness. If I had normal hair, I think I might drop down into being wacky or zany.  But my out-of-sync tresses elevates me straight into the Q word.

Here’s what Urban Dictionary has to say.

quirky

Quirky people may also have an uncanny obsession with Recess peanut butter cups and peanut butter chocolate ice-cream. All in all, quirky people are amazing, and great friends with excellent personalities that can bring anyone’s mood up.

Now if it amuses you to no end that Urban Dictionary spelled “Reese’s” the way they did, you can stop reading this right now. Because you’re qualified to give your own lessons in being “Quacky!

HAHAHA! See what I just did there? I “accidentally” (but not really, cuz I could’ve easily fixed it in the editing process) misspelled “quirky” and it catapulted me into a fit of hysterics.

Quirky people really need to get a life, yet they’re convinced they already have a perfectly good one — so that never occurs.
@ 2018 Little Miss Menopause ~ All Rights Reserved 

But to continue on with your lesson . . .  the reason the exact proportion of “Quirky” is so crucial to achieve is because if you exhibit too much of it, you’ll firmly cross into “Odd, Bizarre, Weird, Peculiar and Strange” territory and trust me when I say nobody will find that endearing. (As an example, I couldn’t figure out how to make a copyright symbol in my above quote since it’s not shown on my keyboard, so just told myself nobody will notice what I did instead.)

So here we go with the Guidelines…

  • To really exude the right amount of Quirky you first must have an inner voice that narrates your day to you, even while brushing your teeth. It must be an ongoing monologue that you can NEVER EVER turn off, yet sometimes you sincerely try by exclaiming aloud, “Will you just shut-up already?!” Then turn to the person next to you and calmly murmur, “Sorry, not you.” This will be irresistibly engaging and if you’re single you’ll have an immediate date to go bowling.
  • Quirky people love to go bowling, but hate for anyone to know they have big feet, so bring masking tape to cover up the number on the back of your bowling shoes.
  • Quirky people are constantly killing their houseplants by overwatering them and then justifying their childless state by saying, “This is why I don’t have any pets.”
  • Quirky people think they can be chameleons, becoming what everyone else would like them to be because they fancy themselves adaptable like Play-Doh or Silly Putty. But really they are just Frisbees with a little bit of Slinky thrown in for good measure.
  • Quirky people will invite guests over for an entire night of boardgames and then make the food they serve so unrecognizable, that in itself becomes the evening’s entertainment — people making educated guesses as to what they’re swallowing. If you have just the right amount of “Quirky” in you, you’ll immediately get the idea this concept will make a terrific new reality TV show and contact a producer with the proposed title, “Guest Ingest Test!”
  • Quirky people care very deeply what others think of them, but also take great pride constantly proclaiming, “I march to the beat of my own drummer!” It’s the tug of war between these two opposing mindsets that makes them so neurotic. That and the fact that their drummer is Pete Best.
  • Quirky people wear breezy and quaint clothing. They never veer into sexy unless they’re trying to seduce you — in which case they’ll dress like Gilda Radner.
  • Quirky people are constantly writing to companies and asking why their products have been discontinued. Then they start petitions to bring back The Original Cinnamon Tic Tacs or The McDonald’s Arch Delux.
  • Quirky people will tell you their lives are full of passion and purpose. If you ask for an example they will bring out their petition for you to sign.
  • Quirky people will do things that are totally unpredictable, but then realize you’re catching onto them doing the unexpected and so they’ll trick you by doing exactly what you anticipate. Once you prepare yourself for that however, they’ll revert back to being random again. All without ever saying, “Aha….Gotcha!!”
  • Quirky people will refuse to leave your life even if you exile them. Restraining orders are completely wasted on quirky people because they have a way of stalking you in their mind.
  • Quirky people will ask you to hold on during a phone call so they can answer the door. There’s never anyone actually ringing their bell however — they’re really still on the phone listening intently to see if you’ll say anything interesting about them to someone else in the room.  So the two of you will both be on the line in silence, trying to breathe unobtrusively until the quirky person will finally declare, “Sorry, I’m back now.”
  • Once you have achieved the perfect formulation for Quirky, nobody will ever refer to you as Quirky again. You will have graduated to “Whimsical.” Once achieved, you’ll never be held accountable for your actions again because — hold on a sec, someone is ringing my doorbell. . .

Readers: Do you see a difference between Quirky, Unconventional, or just plain Neurotic? 

Famous Song Rewritten with New Cautionary Lyrics

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Today I’m departing from humor to share an issue I’m quite passionate about. Almost everyone has heard the poignant melody and lyrics of “The Cats in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin — wherein the takeaway lesson is “Be careful because our children are watching our behavior closely.”

I cry every time it plays, but have always felt there needed to be a version that spoke to females as well with regards to role-modeling. I am so honored to have an incredibly gifted teen singing my new lyrics and addressing food/weight/body image issues so prevalent in our society today. Here’s the amazing Shelby Sanborn, age 17, right HERE

Please share with anyone you know who might benefit from the reminder.

Back soon with giggles…

Little Miss Menopause

Wild Statistical Fantasies — Where Do Yours Fit In?

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

4 Common Fantasies Induced by My Stats:

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

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

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

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

Readers: What nutty fantasies has your Stats Section inspired?

 

Here’s Something You Should NEVER Try in Marriage!

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

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

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

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

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

My Husband: A couple of what?

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

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

Me: A what now?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ruth: I’m on it right now, Babe!

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

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

Husband: (Ears perk up.) Babe Ruth?

Fast Forward To Our Drive Home

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

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

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

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

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

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

Me: What does THAT mean???

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

Fast Forward to Couple Number Two

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

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

Me: So which one of you loves to surf?

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

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

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

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

Wife: That’s right, Rocky Road!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fast Forward to Our Drive Home

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

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

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

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

           Fast Forward To Our Divorce!

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

 

Have You Self-Improved So Much that Now You Suck?

All the psychologists and marriage counselors know to flock to my garage sales because every few months my living-room shelves sag with the extreme weight of hundreds of self-help books (ranging from having better relationships to communicating more effectively to figuring out if you’re addicted to self-help books!) and so I put every single paperback and hardbound copy on the front lawn with a sign, “Take All My “Fix Yourself” Books For $500.”  Oh! I’m not selling them for that price, I’m actually willing to pay someone that amount to haul them the heck off my property.

In addition to reading scads of these books, I participate in dozens of self-improvement courses, programs, classes, groups, meetings, and listen to Ted-Talks and podcasts. And this is where all of this SELF studying has gotten me today.  Have a listen!

SUPPORT GROUP SOCIALIZATION

ME: Wow, that was a great discussion you facilitated today. I got a lot out of it.

LEADER: People-Pleasing!

ME: No, I just meant it was perfect for me.

LEADER: Perfectionism!

ME: Oh gosh, sorry.  I appreciate you pointing this stuff out. I don’t think I’ll ever stop saying those kind of things!

LEADER: Catastrophization!

ME: Oops, you’re right. I just really want you to like me.

LEADER: Not everybody is always going to like you, you just have to accept that.

ME: Yes, how does that go again? Let’s see…”What other people think of me is none of my business?” Is that right?

LEADER: Approval-Seeking!

ME: Oh now this is getting kinda silly, don’t you think? Just tell me if I said it correctly.

LEADER: Controlling!

ME: Oops, I guess that kinda was. So how are you? You mentioned last week you were getting over a cold.

LEADERS: Boundaries!

ME: Oh gosh, sorry. I didn’t mean to overstep, I was truly concerned. I’ll just keep my big, fat mouth shut from here on in and then maybe you’ll be happy.

LEADER: Self-Deprecating AND Passive Aggressive!

ME: I am soooooo sorry.

Leader: Overly apologetic!

As I leaned in to give her an “I’m not upset” hug goodbye, she whispered “Co-Dependent!” into my ear.

While I went about the rest of my day, I decided that two can play at the psychobabble game! And this time it would be to my advantage.

PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE AT SON’S MIDDLE SCHOOL

PRINCIPAL: We’d like to discuss with you what we foresee after graduation when your son starts high school.

ME: Oh!  I’m sorry but I only live in the present moment.

PRINCIPAL: Really?!  Well, don’t you think you should think about the fact that he’s not passing several classes at this point and he should have a tutor.

ME: Watch those “should” statements. Always substitute “Could” for “Should.”

PRINCIPAL: Alright. Could you conceive of your son failing biology, history, and math? Because every single one of his teachers Could.

ME: Magnification!

PRINCIPAL: Well, what’s your plan as a mother to cope with your son not graduating?

ME: I’ll just “ACT AS IF” he’s graduating. Haven’t you read The Secret? You really should.

PRINCIPAL: I suppose I Could.

I flounced out of his office and went straight to the bank to secure a loan. When the teller went to shake my hand, I pointed out that he might want to deal with his attachment issues.

FIRST AMERICAN NATIONAL UNIVERSAL WORLDLY BANK

ME: Let me start out by clearly setting my intentions. I am here to borrow money. Dollar signs have also been placed on my vision board.

TELLER: Your what board? Never mind. So you say you’d like some extra cash for Home Improvement? Can you be more specific?

ME: Boundaries, please!  Let’s just say I’ve given up on Self-Improvement.

TELLER: (odd look) I see. Gosh, Miss Menopause, I’m afraid there’s not much I can do for you today.

ME: You’re in denial!

TELLER: That’s a river in Egypt.

ME: Humor Defense Mechanism! Let’s unpack what’s making you so uncomfortable about this issue, shall we?

TELLER:  I am required to ask you certain questions and I’m also accountable for deciding if you’re a good risk. It’s a lot of responsibility for me.

ME: Narcissism! It’s not always about you.

TELLER: You know, I don’t think I’ve ever been at such a total loss before, like I am right this very moment.

ME: Reclaim your power!

TELLER: Ok. You’ll either need to respond directly to my questions or immediately leave the premises.

ME: Black & White Thinking!

And with that I raced home to practice my relaxation and meditation. My kids were in for a treat because I challenged myself to see how many times I could (NOT should!) use the word “Mindful,” which was how my yoga instructor told us we should approach life.

FAMILY TIME

SON: What’s for dinner?

ME: Do you think you can go one morning without asking that idiotic question? It’s enough to make me lose my ever-loving Mind-ful!

DAUGHTER: What do you think of my new dance routine? Do you like the music?

ME: please! Do you Mind-ful?? I’m trying to relax right now and that godawful song is blasting!

DAUGHTER: Can you at least tell me what you think of my new outfit?

ME: It’s wintertime. I have a good Mind-ful to let you freeze to death in those skimpy shorts.

SON: Gosh, whadya think is up with Mom today??

ME: Will you both just Mind-ful your own darn business?!!

At that point I gave up completely and wisely switched from meditation to medication. Forget Self-Help. What a difference in my life just a single letter can make!

READERS:  Are you, or do you know someone else who is overdosing on Self-Help Stuff? Leave me a comment if this strikes a chord and then God help us all! 

 

 

 

 

 

Is it a Speakerphone or a “SNEAKERphone??”

speaker-phone

Very SNEAKY speakerphone crimes are on the rise these days and even Yours Truly is guilty of a few. See if you’re the victim of any of the ones I’ve made up names for below — or if gasp….(be honest now!) you’re actually The Perpetrator!

  1. THE BRAG — Being around other people and expecting a phone call you know will contain good news? Possibly someone is going to be praising YOU for a job well done? You answer the phone and say, “Gosh it’s so hard to hear you. Let’s see if you’re more audible on speaker. Keep talking.” Bingo. You’ve just modestly made everyone around you aware that it was your quick thinking and innovative talent that saved the day!  Look properly sheepish when hanging up, but don’t overkill by saying, “Awwww shucks,” if someone around you offers a high-five or a congratulations.
  2. THE JEALOUSY — Your relationship has just passed that two-year mark when people typically start taking each other for granted just a tad. You’re out with your girlfriend when the call comes through and you recognize the name/number as the young sounding female nurse from your doctor’s office, obviously calling to report your lab results from your recent physical. You answer the phone on speaker but as soon as the caller chirps, “Hi, it’s Katherine . . . ” you awkwardly (guiltily?) interrupt her and say in a lowered voice, “Hold on so we can uh, talk more privately,” and remove speakerphone. During your long silence (in which she’s reading your blood results) nod your head enthusiastically, smile a lot, and suspiciously doodle on a pad of paper — the initials that stand for bad and good cholesterol . . .  “LDL” + “HDL”   This works best if your name is Logan David Lewis and the nurses name is Hilary Denise Lawrence.  Then put a plus sign in between the two and for good measure, draw a cute heart around the whole thing.  (Don’t jot down your triglyceride levels, that’s not romantic at all!) Upon hanging up, chuckle nervously while announcing to your gal, “That? Oh that was just the doctor’s office calling. Heh heh.”
  3. THE BUFFER — Did you just crash the car? Forget to do something important you promised? Spend a ton of $$ on something frivolous? Are you afraid to reveal these things to a certain someone because they fly off the handle easily? Simply make the call and when they answer, casually inform them you have a little bad news, but to first say hello to some mutual friends. Have a few people shout, “Hi there, Tom!” Guaranteed your confession will be received calmly and serenely. They may even say, “Don’t worry about it, you know stuff like that never bothers me.”
  4. THE EMPATHY — Your best friend calls you once a week to read entries from a journal she keeps on her relationship. This week she suspects her boyfriend may be having an affair with the young nurse from his doctor’s office. You turn on speakerphone, but you employ the mute button so she cannot hear you doing the dishes and vacuuming. After she finishes (and your house is tidy) and she asks your opinion, you say “I’m just too stunned to formulate any words.”
  5. THE CHORES — Call the child who always loudly protests their responsibilities, from their best friend’s home. Proceed to tell them you’re having tea with the parent and how proud you are to hear they’re sooooo helpful and polite whenever they’re a guest in this particular parent’s home. Next, remind them to please walk the dog, empty the garbage, and make the bed before you return home. When they pleasantly agree, resist asking, “Okay, who is this really?” (This is my personal crime and it works like a charm.)

READERS:  Please comment on any other speakerphone abuse I may have omitted besides the obvious — not letting someone know when they are on speakerphone, and people who talk on speakerphones in public places. Poor chaps never had walkie-talkies as a child!

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Is it a Soul-Mate OR a Parole-Mate?

Breaking-the-Rules-in-Soulmate-RelationshipsHow will you know the difference between someone who’s supposed to be your partner for all time, and someone who’s just gonna be your partner in crime?

Some cultures and religions claim RIGHT HERE that you have only ONE SINGLE soul-mate out there because it literally involves the splitting of polarities from one intact original state of unity. I don’t write like that! What does that gobblygook even mean? In other words, the two of you were originally baked up together (but where? In some NYC bagel shop?) as one entire whole soul but upon birth, your soul was sliced in half (like an onion, poppy-seed bialy?) and you are therefore “incomplete” until you search far and wide for the one person in this world who possesses the other portion of your soul. And thus only when you both find each other (and a tub of cream-cheese!) will you actually feel WHOLE again.

I imagine going around town like the Duke in Cinderella, only instead of having every eligible fair maiden trying on a glass slipper to see if it fits, I’ll be awkwardly moseying up to strange bachelors, demanding they intimately press their half of their soul right up into mine (forget regard for personal space when soul-searching!) to see if our soul’s jagged edges align and interlock like two jigsaw puzzle pieces, and then exclaiming, “Hmmm, close but no cigar… Next?!”

Or instead you could simply pay more attention to my weird list of . . .

7 Extremely Subtle, Nearly Imperceptible Signs that You’re With the Correct Soul-Mate.

  1. NO MORE SQUANDERED FOOD! — You’ll suddenly notice nothing goes to waste because (since this individual is truly your other half) they’ll want to gobble up the other half of the morsels  you discard.  For instance, they’ll eat the yolk in the hard-boiled egg when you only like the whites … so the WHOLE egg gets eaten. They’ll eat the white meat while you prefer the dark meat in a chicken … so the whole bird gets consumed. Sensing a “wholeness” pattern here? That’s right, while you eat the banana, they’ll ingest the peel. (Or you could just be dating a human garbage disposal?)
  2. FINISHING JOKES! — Forget finishing each others sentences, that’s no big trick. But when you’re telling a really good joke (in front of your mutual friends you want to impress) and just as you’ve painstakingly outlined the entire set-up and have everyone hanging on the edge of their seat — in true soul-mate style, they’ll loudly chime in with the funny punchline, lovingly stealing your thunder. Then that’s your “better” half, for certain!
  3. INTENSE EMOTIONAL REACTION! — You cannot stand them upon your first meeting and never want to see them again. In fact you want to destroy them and wonder if their body might fit into a blender? This is because our higher selves know more than we do and can pick up the vital significance of this person before we’re even consciously aware of it. This triggers our ‘fight or flight’ response as we suspect there’s gonna be a very expensive wedding looming ahead, and we dislike someone shoving cake in our mouth while being photographed. It’s self-sabotage, baby! But this is your soul-mate.
  4. NEWLY ACQUIRED KNOWLEDGE! — When you’re around this person you’re suddenly speaking fluent Egyptian, inexplicably knowing that apples are evil, or ascertaining how to crack open a bank vault. This is a sure sign you were both historical soul-mates in a previous life — Cleopatra & Mark Antony, Adam & Eve, or Bonnie & Clyde. Bonus: Your next Halloween costume is already decided.
  5. BOOKS! — Join a book club where you must all read the same inept, boring novel. When you can’t stand it anymore, put a bookmark in. At the next meeting, ask members, “So who stopped at the beginning of chapter two?” If it’s Fifty Shades of Grey, (and they’re literate folks) most everyone will nod their head. You’re getting warmer. But to narrow down your precise soul-mate, shout out, “Twenty-six, middle of the third paragraph?!” and when someone else raises their hand, you’ve found them! Everyone knows being on the exact same page is always a match made in heaven, or at least in your local library.
  6. THEY COMPLETE YOU! Or rather they complete important things for you. The last of your gallon of cookie dough ice-cream . . . gone! The crossword puzzle you started and meant to get back to . . . already filled in. You paused Black Mirror right at the most exciting part until you’re back from the gym . . . it’s been watched to its ironic conclusion and the free Netflix membership promptly cancelled. (But they won’t complete washing the dishes, your joint taxes, or the Christmas shopping list because they know how you like those things done your own special way. Bless your considerate soul-mate’s heart.)
  7. CLAM CHOWDER! And lastly and most importantly, if you ever share a hot steaming bowl of chicken noodle, broccoli cheddar, or french-onion . . . Oh wait, that’s a blatant typo made when I couldn’t think of anything else to write and Googled, “Signs of a Soup-Mate.”  NEVER MIND!   (My best Gilda Radner impression below…..isn’t it amazing, the resemblance? She’s my comic soul-mate!)

Readers: Do you believe you have just one single, solitary Soul-Mate?

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How Your Personality Flaws WILL Significantly Impact Your Blog!

13 Personality Traits of Disengaged Employee, Human Resources Concept

If you’re looking for another boring article on the 10 Character Traits that All Successful Bloggers Possess, you’ve come to the wrong place. Isn’t it obvious you need to be “Tenacious” and “Communicative” and “Original” and blah blah blah to be a popular blogger?  It’s far more intriguing to see what your own negative character traits will do to your blog, isn’t it?  See that? One of my bad character traits is “Pessimistic.” You didn’t think a “Positive Thinker” would be writing an article like this one, did you?  If so, you’re “Gullible” and “Naive” and will find a discussion of yourself below!

How Your Personality Flaws Affect Blogging

  1. IMPATIENT —  You cannot delay your gratification even long enough to click “Preview Post” before you hit “Publish.” And proofreading? Ha! Why, if you’re readers wanted good grammar and punctuation, they’d be following an Old English School Marm who would know that Schoolmarm is all one word and the third word in this sentence should not have an apostophre and apostrophe is mispelled and so is “misspelled” for that matter . . . and who has time for this nonsense?!
  2. WORRIER — Will the blogosphere like your topic? You better Google it to make sure it hasn’t been done before. But being anxious isn’t just self-focused. You’re quite concerned about others too. For instance, someone who follows you and used to comment often (leaving you high praise!) hasn’t been on your blog in over a week. Oh dear! Are they okay? Should you check on them? Or will that make it look like you have a big ego? What if something happened in real life and you never hear from them again? Ever. You will never know why. Why didn’t you insist that all commenters leave their next of kin contact information?
  3. SNOOPY —  If you’re a busybody type than you cannot resist asking your readers to comment on your blog using a prying, intrusive type of request. Example: At the end of this post, please comment if there are any personality flaws that you yourself deal with which I might have inadvertently left out. So transparent. You may as well just change your blog name to “Notes from Nosy!”
  4. IMPULSIVE — Yeah, I’ll betcha you’d like to turn this character flaw into a positive, fun-sounding one  like impromptu or spontaneous, wouldn’t you? But face it, you’re a loose cannon and the whole reason you’re even a blogger in the first place is because one day a thought flitted through your mind along these lines — “Gee I need a new hobby and coin-collecting turns my fingers black.” Voila! Permanent commitment — You made your WordPress blog, now you must write in it!
  5. ACCUSATORY — Your writing style tends to sound very much like mine does above for “Impulsive.” Sorry about that. Oh and you may apologize a lot.
  6. **SUPERSTITIOUS — Nobody will ever find a photo of a black cat or a cracked mirror on your blog. Even if the subject is “Halloween” and “Breaking away from vanity.” And if you’re a humor writer, you’ll never put 13 jokes in a post. This is non-negotiable. And sometimes just for good luckle, you need one to be a rhyming chuckle.
  7. PREDICTABLE — Ho hum. Let’s say you think you write humor (like me!) which means your blog should be full of little shocking statements and catch-you-off-guard surprises that elicit laughter. But instead you’ll overuse cliches and puns throughout your writing or worse yet, the puns are actually about blogging itself because the room you blog in has an open window and you’re too cold to start another “draft.” Or if you’re too sleepy to blog, you can just download a nap for that. But you can’t help if your posts are predictable — it’s not your fault you have that “type” of keyboard. And then of course (yawn) you put, “ba dum tsssss” immediately after the pun. And then you tell readers to click HERE as well.
  8. FLIRTATIOUS — Blogging to you is just like putting your profile up on a dating website. After all, you never know what kind of attractive single, available reader could be lurking out there! You’ll bat your i’s a lot and give that “come hither” opening hook. Your conclusion always has an amazing climax, and you’re not beyond playing “hard to get” by writing things that nobody understands. Just remember to always use protection….install a spam filter. 😉
  9. PERFECTIONISTIC — Before you leave a comment on someone else’s blog, you absolutely MUST peruse what every other reader has already said, (even if that means scrutinizing 182 comments) otherwise you risk duplicating their remarks, or you could sound terribly boring in comparison to their witty messages.
  10. ANGRY — Unless you are Ben from  Ben’s Bitter Blog, (and you really should be, cuz he’s hilarious!) your unpleasant attitude will alienate followers who are reading blogs to escape their real life sarcastic, toxic spouses. You may only endear someone with the following personality flaw, because they won’t have to put themselves down any longer — you’ll gladly do it for them. (See below)
  11. SELF-DEPRECATING — Making yourself the butt of the joke may be funny at first — but after a while, it’s just a super irritating tone to write with, okay? So the next time you want to insult yourself AND be accurate about it, just refer to yourself as “Annoying” AND #7.
  12. THEATRICAL — If you have a flair for the dramatic, your blog will either be perceived as entirely fictional, (even if every bit of it is 100% true) OR you embellish and exaggerate things to make a point so often that readers leave you comments saying, “I’m very sorry for your loss,” when you wrote, “I just found my teen daughter motionless on her bed because she couldn’t handle doing the dishes anymore. I guess she threw in the towel.”
  13. GULLIBLE/NAIVE — You’ve incorporated all the recommended personality traits listed right HERE to become a successful blogger and now it’s just a matter of time until your stats soar and you’ve gone viral. Hooray!
  14. SUSPICIOUS — You’re sure that if you post your best writing, it will be plagiarized and therefore you have copyright symbols on every page. You put your post titles into search engines to see if they come up anywhere else. But this paranoid type of behavior isn’t solely limited to your own stuff. You think any blogger who calls himself, “In My Cluttered Attic” is just one strike of a match away from an arsonist blaze. And that SpeakingWins is not just writing innocently about his treasured garden, or his love of teaching young children the alphabet, but instead he’s diabolically combining both his interest in kids and crops to commandeer your blog for harvesting fairytales about fruit and veggies, like The Princess and the Pea and Cinderella and a Pumpkin. And finally, that BensBitterBlog will surely be spiteful when he sees you linked to his blog under the “Angry” personality trait (above #10) so you better prepare for his vindictive retribution!

** Since these are all the author’s own personality flaws, she wanted to stop with just 13 traits, but because she’s also #6, there was no way she could do that . . .  without breaking her mother’s back.