Home Publishing Not What You Think!

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“How can I get up on our refrigerator like all my friends do?” my youngest son asked me. After admonishing him that household furniture isn’t for climbing on top of, (and shaking my head at other parents’ inability to properly discipline) I realized he was actually inquiring as to how one of his watercolor paintings could be displayed on the front of the fridge!

Along with plastic bright-colored alphabet letters, (even though I have zero preschoolers anymore!) and the tiny nonsense magnetic poetry words (someone recently pushed a few random tiny rectangles together to form the sentence, “I will pour out yesterday after we love today and squirt out tomorrow!”) the fridge spotlighted his five older siblings’ important school flyers, report cards, old photographs, party invitations, announcements, pencil doodles, and yep, tons of really cool student art.

All of this paper paraphernalia was tacked up in such overcrowded disarray, the built-in purified water dispenser was probably anticipating an eviction notice.

But hey, (now that he mentioned it!) it dawned on me that my son wasn’t the only one excluded. Nothing of mine had made it up onto those shiny stainless-steel paneled doors (which I now considered so prestigious, they rivaled The New Yorker. And received more hungry stares a day than a big time magazine’s circulation!) either, and I was supposedly the Queen of this here kitchen. Hmmph. A new career goal was born.

Mustering up my self-confidence, I finally submitted something to The Refrigerator, and here’s what happened.

Dear Author,

Thank you for breaking the ice and trying us with your recent listicle cleverly titled, “Groceries Needed for Sunday’s Bridal Shower.” While we feel it has a certain ravenous charm, the subject matter may not be cool enough for the fresh image our staff strives to preserve. But chill out (and don’t get cold feet!) because we’ve forwarded your piece on to another appliance whose sleek surface we feel may be a better fit.

Cheers,

Frigidaire, side-by-side model #FFPSS2677RF

Next came this.

Dear Writer,

Hey, what’s cooking? I’ve received your work for possible inclusion in our upcoming doorthology. Though I quickly warmed up to the idea of featuring specific food brands, I’m not so hot on possible copyright infringement. Could Betty Crocker sue? That’s the burning question!. At this point in time, I think I’ll pass, but your concept will go on the back burner for a future issue and I invite you to send something else so I can evaluate your range. Piece of cake, right?

Yours Truly,

General Electric Convection Oven

I was feeling truly rejected but he also must’ve forwarded my submission to another colleague because this notice quickly arrived.

Dear Dishpan Hands,

We appreciate you thinking of us as a possible placement for your original endeavor, but currently we’re at maximum capacity and fully loaded with other people’s work.  Try us again during our normal cycle as we often miss a spot and then we might see the glass as half-empty. Future submission guidelines include staying energy efficient and editing out dirty words, as our motto is “Keep it clean.” Hopefully this wasn’t a detergent err a deterrent in your publishing career.

Sparklingly Yours,

Whirlpool 24 Inch Built-In Dishwasher

I gave up all hope and concluded that my writing would never see the light of day on a kitchen display. And that’s when I got the next best thing . . . 

Dear Little Miss Menopause,

Congratulations on taking the plunge with your writing because you’ve just bowled me over!  I’m flushed with pride to accept your recent work and will post it prominently as soon as I get a handle on our next issue, but let’s just say, “you’ll be on a roll now!” I know it stinks, but please keep a lid on your excitement and don’t go clogging blogging about this news just yet.

Have a nice day!

Downstairs Guest Bathroom Toilet

There was only one thing left to do . . . write a
“Dear John” letter to thank him for giving me this porcelain publication promotion.

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How to Guide (and Chide) From the Other Side!

tumblr_static_cs_theothersideidentity-1If I can just get organized enough, I’ll be able to communicate with all six of my kids (and by communicate, I mean nag) well beyond the grave.

And so will you! Because any self-respecting, obsessive control freak will admit if they could be assured they’d continue to exert the same level of power and control over their loved ones after they’re gone, death will be a highly enjoyable experience!

I’ve figured out a way to do it with the written word!

I’ve actually always used my writing for this purpose. The night before any surgery or cross-country flights, I print out letters “to be opened in the event of my unexpected death” ensuring nothing is ever left unsaid.

Yep I take the phrase, “Any final requests?” quite literally and boy do I make a lot of them!

This isn’t a morbid thing to do when you consider people have issues with “lack of closure” that are so prevalent, they put many psychotherapists’ kids through college.

But most challenging is who will distribute my abundant quantity of heartfelt correspondence? I can just hear my sister lamenting, “Who has time to properly grieve for Stephanie? I’m delivering more letters to her offspring than a U.S. postal carrier on Valentine’s Day!”

And I can’t ask any of my friends or neighbors to do it. One is already tasked (the moment she hears I’m dearly departed) to rush over, shave my legs, pluck my eyebrows, and lay my body out in some kind of Marilyn Monroe position. Another has committed to checking all toilets are properly flushed, sinks scrubbed, and confirming there’s no dog hair on the living room white couch. Finally, the busybody across the street guarantees she’ll make sure my children won’t wear white if my funeral is held after Labor Day.

That’s right – I’ve got Glamour magazine, Martha Stewart, Emily Post, Gladys Kravitz, and The Grim Reaper all rolled into one!

But now guess what?  We can all breathe a sigh of relief and check “Interventions From The Afterlife” off our To-Do lists because I discovered it’s as simple as composing well-timed emails and companies like THIS will take care of everything for you!

That’s right –there are online services that will facilitate sending your next of kin hauntingly beautiful messages (that you write!) postmortem.

My new plan is simple — anticipate all six of my children’s upcoming happy milestones, as well as all their problems, issues, decisions, shortcomings, downfalls, emergencies, divorces, illnesses, job losses, etc. (I can skillfully do this because I hold an advanced degree in Catastrophizing) and then pour out my unique motherly advice, suggestions, tips, guidelines, instructions, admonishments (And because I’m Jewish — brisket recipes and guilt!) to fill up their inboxes during all future appropriate moments.

But with this new age solution comes an age-old problem, namely money. Costs for these emailing services get calculated per word and that will never work for me. Mind you, Adele’s popular song; “Hello From The Other Side” doesn’t begin to hold a candle to the amount of one-sided conversation I intend to send through the years.

I’ll never be able to afford to speak my mind!

So because I plan to remain ever the frugal mother after my departure, (and until these companies offer coupons!) I’ve come up with an alternate no-cost option. It involves just relying on the simple every day world for crucial communication. You know, like “signs” that hold special significance?

I’ve even devised elaborate codes (with a witty deciphering key included) so now family will be able to interpret all my many future messages 100% FREE.

Examples:

If a Crow Soars Overhead = Work is for the “birds,” son. Tell your boss you need a vacation and book a “flight” to Hawaii to relax soon!

If a Train Passes By = “Track” down your sister right now for goodness sake, and take her to lunch before your relationship totally “derails.”

If the Cubs Get Into the World Series = Don’t even think about going to “2nd base” with that jerky new guy you’re dating!

If Your Apartment Gets Burglarized and then a Cop (which Starts with the Letter C) puts Handcuffs on the Robber’s Wrists = My diamond bracelet (Yes, the one you always begged me to wear to school dances) is now safely hidden inside your bottle of Vitamin C, which I knew you’d never take.

If The Sun Rises = Always remember your bright mother will love (and nag!) you for all eternity.

And on and on it will go (I have a completed ‘dictionary’ with equivalent meanings all spelled out!) so my kids are guaranteed to spend the rest of their dying days walking around observing stuff that contains messages from me — Yep, they’ll never rest in peace!

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This Blog Hijacked By Truth-Tellers!

08DISRUPTIOINS-master67517-Year-Old: “Is Truth-Tellers even a word?  Maybe she won’t approve of our using this post title?”

Oh, just get over it!  Who really cares what our mom thinks?  The whole point is we’re sick of being her blogging subject matter and we’re not gonna take it anymore.  So while “Little Miss Menopause” (Geez, I can’t stand that name! It’s a good thing she didn’t start blogging when she was 13, she’d be known as “Little Miss Menstruation!”) takes a writing break (we’ll reveal what she’s really up to, lollygagging around) we took this chance to sneak into her log-in and tell it like it really is. Anyhow, that’s what she gets for making her password be all our birth-weights.

12-Year-Old: Really? We’re gonna tell people everything. Even THAT stuff?

17-Year-Old: Nah, we won’t disclose that. We’ll let her boyfriend spill about how she looks in bowling shoes.

14-Year-Old: I’m digging this whole revenge thing. Remember when she fabricated our entire Disneyland trip and then The Huffington Post went and published it?  Like she’d actually ever go on any ride faster than an escalator. Ha!  Serves her right for passing off fiction as our family outing. And I’m also doing this to get her back for that time I had lice!

17-Year-Old: Ewww, don’t blame our mom for your own bad hygiene!

14-Year-Old: She didn’t have to write about it.

Quit your arguing. As the firstborn, I’ve given our crime a lot of thought. We need to get in, get out, and get back to not doing our household chores so she won’t be suspicious. That’s precisely why I think writing a list is our most efficient way.

6-Year-Old: Yeah, Mom loves list posts!

Get it through your head — we do not care what Mom likes. This is OUR retribution.

10 Strange Things You’d Never Guess About Little Miss Menopause (ok, maybe you would!)

 

  1. Her hair doesn’t always have that big, wild, 80’s windblown look. When she rides in a convertible with the top town, it finally looks normal.
  2. She always runs the faucet full blast, coughs loudly, or stamps her feet so nobody can hear her using the bathroom.
  3. She’s convinced there’s someone around who is intent on listening to her peeing.
  4. She marks a line on the ice-cream carton, trying to catch our babysitter in the act.
  5. She’s actually the one who binge eats the Rocky Road.
  6. She has a temper and once threw her perfume against the wall, which broke the glass and splattered/spattered Chanel No. 5 all over our furniture. When she goes out fancy, she has to roll around on our couch to smell nice.
  7. She’s obsessed with the differences between the words “splattered” and “spattered.”
  8. Before she writes an actual blog post, she scribbles notes on her checkbook cover, doodles on a tissue box, and writes nonsensical things on the family calendar. Later, when she can’t read her own writing, she’ll walk around the house asking us, “Can you make out what it says on this old napkin?”
  9. She’ll flirt with magicians so they’ll divulge their secrets because she can’t stand not knowing something.
  10. Her idea of flirting is just plain odd because she tries to wink one eye but instead it just looks like. . .

Boyfriend:  Hey, it worked on me. And what are you kids doing on your mother’s computer anyhow?

17-Year-Old: She hardly writes anymore, so we’re hijacking her blog and setting her readers straight.

Boyfriend: But your mom’ll be absolutely furious!

6-Year-Old: Yay!  She’ll throw her perfume bottle again!

Boyfriend: Can I have a turn? I’d love to conspire with you six kids against your mother so maybe you all will finally accept me! I’ll do “Two Truths & A Lie.”  Your mother loves that game.

For the last time, we DO NOT CARE what our mom thinks! Go crazy, man.

Two Truths & A Lie

  • When we eat out in restaurants, Stephanie always asks for everything to be served “on the side,” so now they bring out her order in a Bento Box. Even when it’s pizza.
  • Stephanie parades naked around her home unabashedly 24/7 but always keeps her hands tightly hidden inside thick gloves. God, I’d give anything to get a glimpse of those fingernails of hers.
  • Stephanie loves to pretend someone else is writing her blog when it’s actually just really her. She gets the biggest thrill thinking she can pull one over on her readers. In fact, she doesn’t even have a 6-year-old kid.

6-Year-Old: Hurry up and log out now!  I think Mom’s coming in here. I don’t hear her stupid Days of Our Lives soap opera blaring on the television anymore!

That’s not her soap opera, silly! She’s reading her writing aloud again, doing different voices for each character because some movie script guru told her to do that when she went to her “How to Write a Screenplay” conference.

Boyfriend: Is that where she really was?  She told me you guys were at Disneyland and one of you had lice and . . . That does it!  I’m through with all this nonsense. I’m posting a picture of how she looks in bowling shoes.  In fact of all of you scoundrels.  I just don’t care anymore. Such a game-playing family I got mixed up with….

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Ex-Husband: Hello! I’m actually the one writing this whole thing. And believe me, this is just the tip of the iceberg.  Do you like it? Maybe I’ll come back again tomorrow because The real Little Miss Menopause is trying to earn some money writing stuff like this OVER HERE.

 

 

 

 

21 Types of People You Meet at Thanksgiving Buffets

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What is it about standing in line for food that brings out the DMV in people?  This holiday season, whether you’re (smart and) eating out at a restaurant, serving the hearty meal in your own home, or partaking in the holiday at someone else’s house, chances are (unless the formal dining room is as large as the scene in a Norman Rockwell painting) people will likely be getting up from the main table to obtain food from what we call a “Buffet”

We do know this is pronounced Buffay, correct?  It’s not spoken like a line from a famous nursery rhyme.  “Little Miss Muffet sat on a Tuffet to eat at a Buffet!”  Right?

Now that we’ve cleared up the French influence on our language, you’re in luck.  Little Miss Menopause has some tips and rules to offer about Buffets, along with giving her thanks for your readership and putting up with an encore post today while she cooks for her sister-in-law’s buffet.

But first a little lesson on the types of individuals you are likely to encounter at a Buffet:

  1. A Buffeter Surveyer – – These are people who have read “helpful” articles with tips about losing weight during Thanksgiving and have come to view the offerings in their entirety prior to making their careful selections. They have been promised that if they have a calm, relaxed demeanor and a predetermined game plan approaching the Buffet, they will not gain five pounds. Most of these people will methodically walk the length of the buffet before diving in head first.  It’s best to back up and give them a running start.  Note:  If you’ve read the same articles, it’s far too late to remind them that using a salad size plate instead of entree size can fool the eye and trick the stomach.
  2. A Buffeter Overstayer – – They think of the buffet as their home base. They will continuously loiter, integrating all kinds of tasks into the buffet. Talking, eating, wiping, consulting, organizing, refilling, and generally becoming a permanent fixture at a buffet. They are not compatible with the next type…
  3. A Buffeter Get-out-of-my-Wayer! – – He means business.  Napkin tucked, first in line, and making appreciative sounds that make you wonder if a nearby barnyard has taken attendance recently.
  4. A Buffeter Prayer Sayer – – A religious woman who’s extremely graceful.  Literally.  She makes sure Grace has been said in all languages, in all cultures, as she prays for starving people everywhere. Very thoughtful too – – if there are leftovers she will pack a doggy-bag for God.
  5. A Buffeter Cabareter – – Usually a former preschool teacher who know lots of holiday songs and won’t hesitate to coerce people in line to join in with “Ten Little Indians” or “Pumpkin Pie in the Sky!” And you better at least lip synch when she divides you up into sections for her round of  “Gobble, Bobble, Wobble” or she’ll belt it all out on her own.
  6. A Buffeter Delayer – – You know they want food, they know they want food, but they will stay seated until the last person gets up, not wanting to appear overeager.  Then they will gossip until next year about how you didn’t prepare enough grub.
  7. A Buffeter Weigher – – Such a killjoy.  They recite calorie counts for everything and whip out their little kitchen scales to do an official cranberry calibration.
  8. A Buffeter Layerer – – This person is obsessed with rearranging the sumptuous spread and digging through layers of turkey or yams looking for who knows what.  Tongs are their favorite tool of choice but they can function just as well with a spatula too.
  9. A Buffeter Sprayer – – It would be less offensive if this person was merely having an allergy attack. But that’s usually not the case. Need I say more? I needn’t.
  10. A Buffeter Okayer – -You’ll not meet a more pleasant, jovial person in the line today. The answers to the following questions will always be “Okay!” 1. Can I go in front of you?  2. How’ve you been since last Thanksgiving?  3. Do you think I should goose cousin Cindy as she takes some goose?
  11. A Buffeter Trayer – – They frequent cruise ships and Las Vegas so they are professionals and bring their own tray.  It looks suspiciously like the one at Soup Plantation.  But it helps them with efficiency because balancing full plates is really not their thing.
  12. A Buffeter Bouqueter – – These are gardening people and if the hostess has thoughtfully decorated with floral centerpieces, that’s all they will talk about.  You’d think they would prefer Roasted Red Roses or Fried Fuschia Freesia to light or dark turkey parts.
  13. A Buffeter Betrayer – – Intimately acquainted with the hostess, they won’t hesitate to tell all they know. “That salad she claims is organic?  Nope.  And it’s a Costco pumpkin pie this year even if she’s claiming homemade.  Skip the sweet potatoes, she doesn’t wash the skins.” Etc.
  14. A Buffeter Clichér  – – Like the turkey, this guy’s vocabulary is stuffed full of stupid puns and double entendres. While staring at the carved bird, he’s bound to remark, “Looks scary….it’s a Goblin!” Or “I’m suddenly in a Fowl mood!”  Tell him you gave up laughing at stupid jokes ‘Cold Turkey’ and move along.
  15. A Buffeter Halfwayer – – They nearly get to the end of the food display when they realize they forgot to grab a ladle full of salad dressing some twelve platters ago. Now they’re gonna stand frozen and flummoxed in line, wondering how they can politely go backwards.  Say this: “Grandma, want me to get you some Ranch?” Problem solved.
  16. A Buffeter FoulPlayer – – If it’s accidental, it can be forgiven – –  but younger buffet-goers will drop a cherry tomato into the gravy to see if it floats or sinks.  That’s just the beginning of the havoc they can wreak and I hesitate to offer more examples lest I give them other ideas.
  17. A Buffeter OyVeyer – – Being Jewish, I’ve met more than my share. Starts with, “Oy Vey, my doctor says my triglycerides are sky high lately.”  Ask them what a triglyceride is and they’ll just sigh deeply and say, “Oy Vey, I really shouldn’t be eating that.” or worse, “Oy Vey, should YOU really be eating that??”
  18. A Buffeter Résumér – – Ambitious souls! They might even hand you a written resumé as proof to what they contributed to this feast. It will contain bullet points. “Experienced giblet gravy maker. Team player who brings innovative and fresh ingredients to the workplace.”
  19. A Buffeter Essayer – – Someone who goes around observing and interviewing people in line at buffets in the hopes of writing a funny blog post because she has nothing better to put out on Thanksgiving. The nerve.
  20. A Warren Buffett Buffeter — You’ll lose your appetite because he’s going to talk about the economy. From Soup Overspending to Nut Capitalists.
  21. A Jimmy Buffetter Buffeter — Related to the Buffeter Cabareter (above) but you’ll truly be impressed with how much of the “Wasting Away in Margaritaville” lyrics they actually know. “Searchin’ for my lost shaker of salt. Some people claim that there’s a woman to blame, but I know, it’s my own damn fault. . . ” is only the beginning!

That blonde in the lower left is about to get her fingers slammed in the chafing dish lid. Not just chaffed, SLAMMED!

(The blonde in the lower left above is about to get chaffed by that chafing dish!)

And now for some quick rules.  Just a few though, because everyone knows the rule is “there’s no rules on Thanksgiving!”

Don’t Go Astray And Disobey the Array of the Display at the Buffet!   (The 10 Commandments)

1.  Thou Shalt Not Cut The Line – – I know, I know….you just want seconds on the lamb.  But isn’t that a different holiday food anyhow?

2.  Thou Shalt Not Switch Direction: Buffets go in one direction only. Don’t start making your way through the line from the opposite direction. A big hint — you will find yourself carrying food in your hands because the plates are on the other side.

3. Thou Shalt Watch Thy Children: Always escort young children, say 10 or younger, to the buffet. And give them second helpings of the creamed acorn squash in the hopes that one of the ingredients is Valium or Xanax.

4. Thou Shalt Keep Thy Fingers to Thyself: Kids aren’t the only offenders here. Adults are just as likely to get excited and grab something quickly because nobody is looking.  I see you.  I always see you.

5. Thou Shalt Not Move Tongs: Never, ever move the tongs from one platter or hot food station to another. What if the person behind you has allergies to shrimp and you’ve just moved the tongs from a shrimp dish to a turkey dish? What if that person is kosher or vegetarian?  Ever think of that you “Tong Trader” you?  Need a gentle reminder?  Hum the “It’s just Wrong to move a Tong” song.  Don’t know that one?  Make friends with the preschool teacher who sings in buffet lines mentioned above.

6. Thou Shalt Not Eat in Line:  It’s amazing how many people you run into who are suddenly extremely diabetic or hypoglycemic and must have their food right NOW at a buffet.

7. Thou Shalt Not Take More Than Thou Can Eat: Buffet dining, by its very nature, is gluttonous, but that doesn’t mean you have to be! “If you’re a glutton with the mutton, you’ll need to move your shirt button! La, la, la, la!”  Okay, so I dine with a certain preschool teacher quite often!  Similarly, don’t take the last baked potato because it’s rude to leave the people behind you with an empty serving tray.  If you do, stealthily stick up a little sign that says, “Kilroy was here” so they can at least laugh at their ill-fortune.

8. Thou Shalt Use a New Plate Each Time: If you go back for seconds, leave your original plate at the table and get a fresh one each time.  Why this is, I’ll never know . . .  but I get admonished for it all the time.  (Perhaps a hygiene specialist can elaborate on how this could cause cross-contamination in the comment section?)

9. Thou Shalt Wash Thy Hands: Sticking with the cleanliness theme, always wash your hands before getting in the buffet line. You might not be touching the food directly, but you will be handling the serving utensils.  And I actually GET this one, so no explaining in the comments section will be necessary,  you Germaphobes.)

10. Thou Shalt Not Make a Doggie Bag: Don’t even think to ask.  There are no doggie bags at buffets, NO exceptions. A napkin squirreled quickly away inside your purse will always suffice. Men without handbags are outa luck and will need to be super nice to their wives for leftovers back home.

Arranging a buffet? Why that’s just child’s play!!

It was not beyond me to do this at a Buffet.  Yes, food was served inside wagons, dump-trucks, watering cans, pails and eaten with shovels.  Rest easy, it was for a kid's party!

 

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!”

How I Shoved Valentines Down Everyone’s Throat!

photo-72And it tasted like Pepto Bismo. For a change of pace, I decided to catch my children off-guard with being festive this year. All it took was sending everyone an “adorable” Valentine’s app and a lot of Splenda packets to conjure up the sweetness in our lives for a day. At least that’s what I thought.  Guess they don’t call them Conversation Candy for nothing! Have a look . . .

Me: photo 4-11

 College Son:

photo 5-9

 Me:

photo 1-16

 College Son:

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 Me:

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

Daughter 12:

photo 4-12

 Son 10:

photo 5-10

 College Son:

photo 2-17

Me:

photo 3-12

 College Son:

photo 1-18 photo 1-8

Me:

photo 4-7

College Son:

photo 4-4

Me:

photo 3-3 photo 3-7

College Son:

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

Twin Brother:

photo 1-23

Me:

photo 2-22

Twin Brother:

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

Daughter 17

photo 4-14

 College Son:

photo 4-16

 Me

photo 1-13

 College Son:

photo 5-6

Me:

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

College Son:

photo 2-18

Me:

photo 4-5photo 2-9

College Son:

photo 5-4

Me:

photo 1-11

College Son:

photo 2-10

Son 10

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

Daughter 17

photo 4-17

Me:

photo 3-17

Daughter 17:

photo 2-19

Me:

photo 4-20 photo 5-12

College Son:

photo-71

photo 1-17

Me:

photo 2-16

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

Boyfriend:

photo 4-3

Me:

photo 5-3

Boyfriend:

photo 2-21

Me:

photo 1-20

Boyfriend:

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Me:

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Boyfriend:

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

Hope your Valentine’s Day is a little more on task than ours! And now excuse me while I eat my own words…

Lessons I Learned From Playing the Board Game “CLUE!”

photo 2 (1)I spent many a childhood evening around the kitchen table eschewing Monopoly because my brother stole from the bank and pretended to flatten my Hat token with his Iron one.  That’s when Clue became my game of choice. And oh — the pertinent things it taught me!

SCARLET – – I learned that Miss Scarlet is either a southern Belle with a petulant personality (and an 18 inch waist!) who makes sure that men frankly DO give a damn or she’s a smoldering femme fatale character with a long cigarette holder who would be pronounced guilty if “looks could kill.” I realized that by choosing Miss Scarlet, I would ALWAYS be entitled to go first in the game. After all, it was written in the rules, which I would eagerly drag out to prove to anyone who mistakenly thought the highest roll on the dice determined order. But I would have picked Miss Scarlet anyhow, even if she was destined to go last (although I’m quite sure all men wanted to be behind her!) because aside from Veronica (in the Archies) I had very few raven-haired role models. From my eleven year-old perspective, she was both smart and sexy plus from her starting position, she could quickly sneak into “The Lounge” where everyone knew was the prime place to knock someone off.  Yes, I got into many a rowdy tussle with my female cousins who claimed Miss Scarlet before we even removed the lid to the box. Disclaimer: I never used a lead pipe on any of them. photo-436

WEAPONS — Having grown up with a father whose idea of fixing the plumbing was letting his fingers do the walking in the Yellow Pages, I learned from Clue that a Wrench was a murder weapon, not a tool. The first time my handy boyfriend came over, noticed my leaky sink and pulled a wrench from his car — I was already dialing 911 to report domestic abuse.

PALACE — I learned that when I grew up, I wanted an opulent house (like the Clue board) with its own  Billiard Room, Library and Conservatory. And since when is a “Hall” a special room in and of itself? In our home, a narrow hallway led to a dingy bathroom – sadly the hall was the only way we got from the kitchen to the washer/drier. There were no “secret passageways.” Deprivation.

COERCION — I learned that you can pressure your opponents into giving you information you need by moving your token into the Kitchen (when you already hold a card for the kitchen) and then asking to see either Mr. Green (when you already hold a card for him as well) and the Knife. Nowadays, I walk into our kitchen and upon seeing a knife (with some crumbs) I’m able to force a character named Mr. Son (who wears a green shirt) to admit guilt in eating the last piece of cheesecake.

ENTERTAINMENT — I learned that when you run out of things to write about, you can use board games to create a blog that breaks you into The Huffington Post like I did here. Or you can just create a movie like they did in 1985 when they turned Clue into a feature length film starring Leslie Ann Warren as my favorite, Miss Scarlet.  However, this was no “Whodunnit” plot but instead it was a “Howdunnit?”  How DID they keep her from falling out of that dress??photo 1 (3)

WINNING — I learned that whenever I beat my family at Clue, my “prize” was getting to put the game away.  Interestingly, when I lost — my penalty was also . . . yep, you guessed it!  Let’s just say I wasn’t the sharpest weapon in the arsenal.

FLIRTING — When I played Clue with a boy I had a crush on, I learned to wear a red dress, flutter my Miss Scarlet eyelashes at his Colonel Mustard’s hot-dog, and try to land in the Ballroom a lot to see if he would ever get the hint and ask me to a school dance. I then learned this never worked. Nowadays, I just beat the pants off men I like in Scrabble, while spelling out their favorite seven letter word, “Bedroom.”

Thank you Parker Brothers for all the valuable life lessons!

 

“We Interrupt This Sentence…”

photo 1-10Today  I  am excited.  I just want to share with someone.  Anyone.  But, maybe not.  Listen . . .

 

ME:  Guess what?  I’m in a Huff . . .

MY MOTHER:  Well dear, why should today be any different?  You’re always in a foul mood about something.  Go do some Yoga.

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ME:  Hi Honey.  Wanna hear my story about Huff. . . ?

SON:  No, Mommy.  I’m sick of the 3 Little Pigs and the big bad wolf who Huffed & Puffed and blew the house down.  I wanna hear Peter Pan.

A good advertisement for breath mints?

A good advertisement for breath mints?

 

ME:  Hi Grandma, I have something to announce – – today I’m in the Huff. . .

GRANDMOTHER:  Tsk, you young people today.  And your silly Nudist fads.  Well, have fun.

ME:  What???  No, Grandma,  I didn’t say “I’m in the Buff.”    Gram?  Grammy?  Hello?

 

 

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ME:  Hey, I wrote a humor post and you’ll never believe it, but Huff. . .

WRITER FRIEND:  No kidding!  We’re on the same page.  My poem today is about the same subject.  Listen.

Things are rough

Money ain’t enough,

Living off the cuff,

Much easier to bluff,

Or be a cream puff.

Until you send your stuff,

And get published on the HUFF…

ME:   Stop.  Get Out!  YOU got on the Huffington Post with THAT kind of writing?

WRITER FRIEND: (snort)  Yep, sure did.  Now let’s hear your news. . . Little Miss Menopause.

ME:  Never mind.

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(Pssssst.   I think it’s safe to tell you.  I AM A FEATURED BLOGGER ON HUFFINGTON POST TODAY.  I would be ever so honored if you’d take a minute to visit that link and leave me a comment at the bottom of my post over there.  Feeling extra generous?  Sharing the post with one of their Share buttons would make my day!  UPDATE:  Not sure how this happened but I was just notified that a SECOND POST OF MINE IS NOW BEING FEATURED ON HUFFINGTON POST COMEDY.  If you can find an extra moment to visit that one here, I would be thrilled.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Text Has Me Vexed And Perplexed!

photo-382A few weeks ago, I let you have a glimpse into the email box of a 50 year old woman – – Me!   It wasn’t pretty.  So I decided that revealing my texts from this past week couldn’t be any worse.  Disclaimer:  I deleted all my complex Sext Texts rejects to this guy, Rex (you should see him flex his Pecs!) so I wouldn’t lose your respects.

Forget Vexing & Perplexing!?  Where is My Sextng?!

 

1.  We’ll start with my 16 year old – – needs no further explanation.

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2.  My Ex-Husband is still trying to move on.  I once wrote a dating profile for him right here.

 

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 3.  My 21 year-old son 

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4.  In the middle of all this, I had a thoroughly delightful conversation with my younger kid’s teacher.

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5.  And then my own mother. . . she’s 72.  Oh, and we’re Jewish.  Need I say more?

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6.  So of course I had to do the right thing.  Hmmph.

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7.  Naturally my “friend” Tiffany gave me lots of “empathy.”  You can read more about Tiffany HERE.

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8.   And the other 21 year-old son now.  (Yep, twins)

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9.   My own Mother once again texted (obviously recovered enough to get out and about) so I decided “if I can’t beat ’em, then I would join ’em!”

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10.  And I’ll close with another text between my teenage daughter (miraculously not about shopping) – –  I initiated it this time!

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So there you have it – – My Racy Text Life.  And how’s yours these days???

 

 

What’s in Your Bag? (a guessing game!)

photo-244Some Ladies magazines do a column, “What’s inside a certain Celebrity’s designer bag?”  It usually features hints on what products to buy – –  so you too can look just like the actual movie star!  But we know better than to think that carrying a designer keychain like Jennifer Aniston will have us carrying her gorgeous figure too.   But today, in honor of Spring Cleaning (Whoever thought that concept up had far too much time on HIS hands)  I have decided to go through my own bag.  But why should I stop there??

 

Checking out my bag today, what the heck’s in my purse?

Wouldn’t it be all the more fun to describe it in verse?

There’s lipstick, mascara, & crumbly pink blush,

Chewing Gum, a Birthday Tiara to feel Royal in a rush.

Saltines and single serve apples, pummeled to mush,

And a stray tampon in packaging marked, “Please Do Not Flush.”

Where’s the gift cards, the American Express, the cold, hard cash?

Just a few coins, wrinkled tissues, and some creme for diaper rash.

That’s kinda funny, when my “baby” is old enough to curse.

But just when I think rummaging can’t get much worse . . .

From a funeral yesterday, I have a business card for a hearse?

Where's the beef??

Where’s the beef??

Moving on to my kitchen, what’s going down in my Fridge?

Aside from greenish Provalone (and hey that’s just a Smidge!)

Besides, I assert to my family, if the truth were to be told…

Where do you think cheese comes from, if not from a bit of mold?

On the Top Shelf, you can see “Top Chef” has obviously been fired,

Hardened Kraft macaroni (and more cheese!) leaves little to be desired.

Oh wait!  He wasn’t laid-off – – he tossed his white puffy hat and promptly retired.

After all, what’s left to prepare when the eggs and the butter have expired?

In the produce drawer, (like my purse!) exists apples, but I use the term loosely,

Let’s just say there’s no need for a blender to get fruit in this house juicely.

Tupperware = the Family Game, “Guess what lives in here for your dinner?”

Who needs Weight Watchers?  This is the most effective way to get thinner.

One last look at the freezer’s contents, and I turned and I smiled,

“We’re eating out tonight, kids – – next life you should be born to Julia Child.”

It's an Auto Buffet!

It’s an Auto Buffet!

But just when I thought it was safe for us to pile in behind the wheel,

Under the passenger’s side, I found part of a McDonald’s Happy Meal.

But a mother’s instinct sensed I should probably take another peek…

And lo and behold, out rolled a carton of yogurt and it was actually Greek!

But I ask you, what else would you expect from a mother this chic?!?

In the seat pockets, were napkins, cups and silverware galore,

Ketchup packs, soda cans and french fries littered the car floor.

In the glove compartment were remnants of steak cooked by flame,

I’ll tell you, this gourmet vehicle really put my refrigerator to shame.

So I cranked up the Bee Gees and flickered on and off the interior light.

“Welcome to Mom’s Disco” I said, “We’re eating in the Toyota tonight!”

Don’t Change That Channel-er !

photo-192I finally broke down and did it.  I made an appointment with a Chaneller.  Not someone who expands the variety of stations on your cable TV set,  but rather a psychic medium who tunes into “the Other Side.”  I don’t normally believe in this New Age, metaphysical, transcendental stuff, (and definitely don’t believe in ghosts) but my friend Tiffany, (one of these people obsessed with life after death)  thinks I need a new blogging topic (all my friends somehow think I’ve run dry) and took the liberty of arranging a session for free.

She further claims that this Channeler is completely legit and highly renowned in the industry – –  (btw, it’s not a very large industry, just a “Medium” one.  Yeah, I know….Sorry!  But haven’t you read that, “He who blogs after midnight is entitled to tell one bad joke.”)

Doesn't everyone get a fortune like this?

Doesn’t everyone get a fortune like this?

And get this – – the Channeler’s name is Paul Pulseman and his tagline is, “Mr. Pulseman has his Pulse on the Pulseless.”  How’s that for some good Medium Marketing?

Basically I’m supposed to focus on someone that I have unfinished business with because (Tiffany promises) I will supposedly get some much needed closure.  I’m giving some thought on whom this should be.

Meanwhile, Mr. Pulseman emails me to confirm my appointment and advises me to do the following:  Each day I should find a quiet space, close my eyes, and silently issue an invitation for the people that I want to make contact with to come into our upcoming session.  I must specify the date and the exact time – – like these Souls have calendars and booked-up social lives??

Hmmmm, Let’s see – – how many people should you put on the guest list when you’re throwing a Closure Party?  More importantly, what happens if someone has already been reincarnated? Do you get their voice-mail?

Still highly skeptical, I decide to go forward and make it my personal mission to speak to someone I never did have the chance to say goodbye to – – a husband who recently departed.  Oops, I just knew I would make a psychic mistake right off the bat.  The correct term is, “Crossed Over,” according to the terminology section on Mr. Pulseman’s website.  Anyhow, picking a husband will surely prove, once and for all to Tiffany that Paul Pulseman is a fraud, which is one of my main goals.

Today is the sitting and I’m worried how to dress.  Can a loved one who has “Crossed Over”  look back and see things thru a Channeler’s eyes?  (Maybe those who have Crossed Over prefer Cross Dressers?)  One thing’s for sure – -I had better not wear that low-cut purple blouse since women who “dress to kill” really disturbed this particular husband.

Next I get a terrific idea. . .  I’ll  bring my newly published novel, so I can show off to The Other Side, what I’ve been doing on This Side  – –  with just a little bit of oxygen and a computer!

This is absurd, I chide myself.  Nobody will be talking to me today.  Except maybe “the great” Mr. Paul Pulseman.

It turns out Mr. Pulseman is laden with tattoos and quite short in stature. As I stand on my three inch heels, I am almost as tall as he is. He also has wavy hair, nearly as long as mine. And when he speaks, it is barely above a whisper while he offers me a limp handshake. This is good because this hubby was a real macho character and liked to be taller than other men and to have the firmest grip in the room.  I note the tee-shirt Mr. Pulseman wears has printed on the front, “The sky is always bluer on THE OTHER SIDE.”photo-195

First he leads me through a meditation exercise with both our eyes closed.  Or he tries to.   I keep squinting through my lids to see if Mr. Pulseman is checking to see whether I’m peeking or not.  I don’t like to be stared at when I don’t know about it.  It takes us a good five minutes to establish enough trust in each other to know that we are both keeping our eyes tightly shut.  When he counts to ten and I am finally given permission to look,  Paul Pulseman has gone into an intense trance. Or at least he knows how to give a good impression of someone who has.  Suddenly his eyes snap open and he looks wildly off to my right side.

Pulseman:  There’s someone in the room who is very male. He’s an intimidating presence and just crushed my hand with a tremendous grip and called me an F-ing Midget.

Me:  (okay, I’ll take the bait)  Hi Honey.  Well, I guess this is it.  So Long, Farewell, Adios, Goodbye!  Rest in Peace!

Pulseman:  (bellowing) That shirt makes you look like a prostitute!

Me:  Gosh thanks, Dear.  But look, I finally published the novel.  I know you’re “just dying” to read it . . . (holding cover of book toward ceiling.)

Pulseman:  If you’re gonna be an author, dress like a damn author!

Me:  You should talk. With that hair and those tattoos – – You look like some sort of Hippy Clairvoyant. Oh, wait. That’s what you’re supposed to be.”

Mr. Pulseman gingerly points one slender finger toward the ceiling to remind me that it’s not really him who utters these words. Of course it’s him.

Me:  Tell him to say something that proves his identity.

Pulseman:  He says you never used to call him Honey or Dear.  And he doesn’t have to prove a damn thing to you and you should show some respect to your elders. Oh and also . . .  get your long hair out of your face so people can see your beautiful eyes.

Me:  Respect my elders?  Wait a minute.  Aha – – You Phony Baloney!  I’m two years OLDER than this husband.  Gotcha!

Pulseman:  You’re two years older than your own father?

Wait a sec!   Hold the phone!   My Dad??  I am stunned.  My father always did nag me to get my hair cut.  I guess old habits “die hard.”   I narrow my eyes and stare Pulseman in the face, willing him to back down from this charade.  But his pupils dart spastically off to my left side.

Pulseman: (high-pitched)  I’ll bet that novel you wrote has tons of run-on sentences and ill-placed commas.  Just like your eighth grade report on Hemingway did. The one that earned you a C-.”

Me:  Mama??  You aren’t invited here today. I already made my peace with you a year after you passed away.

Pulseman:  It’s “weren’t invited,” Missy.  Still mixing up your tenses, I see.   And it’s “Crossed Over,” not passed away.”

Me: (apologetically to Pulseman) Mama was an English teacher. And a stickler.

Pulseman:  (head jerking to the right again)  Lydia! You never told me our daughter got a C- on that thing! I should ground your butt for a month, Young Lady!  Your mother went too easy on you. Letting you date That Jerk instead of insisting you study.

Pulseman: (looking up just above my head) Hey, baby. It’s “The Jerk” here.  Wow, been a long time since I’ve been on top of you. You’re still looking pretty hot. Remember when we went to third base on my motorcycle the night before I crashed into that brick wall?

My first boyfriend?!  Geeze, I wonder if my parents have ears that they can cover?

Pulseman: (gravelly Brooklyn Jewish accent)  So?  You’re wearing my good pearl earrings? You knew they were supposed to stay in the safety deposit box until you became a big shot Best Selling Author.   Doesn’t anybody bother to listen to a Grandma anymore?

Me:  Look, take it easy everyone.

Pulseman:  Quite the family you have here.  In addition to having a degree in Paranormal Psychology,  I’m a certified psychotherapist.  Why don’t I conduct a family session right now to help with some of this dysfunction you have going on.

Me: (yelling) I am NOT dysfunctional.  This is ridiculous.

Pulseman:  Don’t raise your voice to me, Missy.  Or you’ll never get my special, “Heavenly” brisket recipe that’s being held in your trust fund.

Seriously?  How hard can it be to make this ??

Seriously? How hard can it be to make this ??

Amongst a bunch of clatter and family squabbling, Paul Pulseman discreetly leans over to inform me there are now several Aunts, Uncles and Cousins quietly sitting in the back of the room, their hands neatly folded in their laps, (wearing cowboy hats and bandanas) waiting patiently for their turn to speak.  This doesn’t sound like any kind of behavior exhibited in my extended family.

Me:  Listen guys, can we just agree to disagree here?  You didn’t leave me enough inheritance to keep coming back for more sessions.

Now Mr. Pulseman eagerly reports back to me in a hushed tone, confirming that the relatives in the back are actually here for his next client, a woman from Texas. They got the time wrong and arrived early. They hate to be late.  However, he continues,  they are quite impressed with my attitude and hope their own niece will be just as good-natured.

I shoot Mr. Pulseman a look that says, “You are one Whacked-Out Psycho Dude.”

Pulseman:  Sorry about all this.  Sometimes these things happen.  What’s the name of the individual you actually came hoping to talk with today?

Me: (if he’s so intuitive, why doesn’t he know?)   It was a husband.

Pulseman: (sobbing)  Oh No Jack, our darling girl has become a Widow!

Pulseman:   Now, now, Lydia.  It was all that bacon and ham. And that good for nothing gentile never got his lazy ass off that sofa I built for them.

Me:  Stop it everyone.

Pulseman:  Will someone tell a poor old grandmother just how the husband actually passed on?

Me:  Don’t you mean “Crossed Over?”  And I stabbed him.

DEAD SILENCE.

Pulseman:  Hear that??  I told you we weren’t strict enough with her, Lydia.  Now she’s a murderer.

Me:  Will you relax and chill out?  It was the husband in my novel.  I had to kill him off; he was raping other women characters who dressed too seductively.   I just came here today to test out this “Life After Death” mumbo jumbo and prove to my friend that it’s all just a big crock.  If any real husband HAD shown up, I would have known that you were a Fake.

The room is suddenly filled with tremendous whining and complaining.  Lots of upsetting accusations flying around bemoaning (or moaning?) the fact that I don’t care enough to base my fictional characters after each of them.

I put my hand over my ears and stand up,  preparing to take my leave – – but first I wave to the Polite Relatives who are just “killing time” in the back of the office and carefully mouth the words, “You are sooooo lucky!”

As I exit out  The Other Side of Mr. Pulseman’s door and into the peace and quiet of  This Side,  I am extraordinarily grateful to be back in the Land of the Living, where life is always predictable and sane.

During the drive home my cellphone rings and I’m surprised to hear Mr. Pulseman’s voice on The Other Side of the line.

Pulseman:  How did I do?

Me:  Huh?

Pulseman:  Tiffany traded the lowdown dirt on your family for discounted sessions with me.  And in exchange, you’re going to write about me in your blog because you’ve run out of interesting subject matter. Good advertising for me and a chance to get Freshly Pressed for you.  It’s a win/win for everyone.  Kills two birds with. . .

Me: I’m gonna strangle Tiffany.

Pulseman:  That’s nice.  Come back and see me next year and I’ll arrange a visit between you two.  By the way, Pulsemann is spelled with two n’s.

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