Yes, You CAN Interview Yourself . . . And You Definitely Should!

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Welcome to today’s much anticipated (at least by the interviewer herself) Q & A session with the renown “Little Miss Menopause.” The questions will be asked by Stephanie D. Lewis, (SDL) essentially the exact same person as Little Miss Menopause (LMM) although if you believe in different personas, then this is a totally legit interview! So here we go . . .

SDL: Welcome Little Miss Menopause! It’s so nice to have you here. And you needn’t waste readers’ time by responding, “thank you for having me!” so let’s just get into our first question, shall we? How did you come to call yourself Little Miss Menopause?”

LMM: Well before I was a blogger, I wrote for an organization called, “Wine, Women & Hormones” and they paid me to make hot flashes, muffintops, and memory loss funny. I thought mid-life symptoms were the extent of my humor so I started this blog titled, “Once Upon Your Prime” and then I further boxed myself in by naming myself after the female change of life.

SDL: Way to go. I suppose it’s lucky you weren’t writing for a company about puberty or you might have been called, “Little Miss Menstruation!”

LMM:  Ha. I’ll be the funny one. Okay, we’ll split the one-liners equally. Next question?

SDL: How long have you been writing for?

LMM: I had a feeling you’d ask me that. I kept a diary from about 7th grade on. It was Snoopy brand (fittingly!) and had a lock with this silver minuscule key, but I always assumed that because I peeked inside everyone else’s diary, mine was also being heavily perused — so I’d purposely weave in these really entertaining fictional anecdotes. It turns out my family respected my rights and nobody ever violated my privacy.

SDL And so you you started intentionally leaving it unlocked, right? To tempt people. When that didn’t work, you actually left a post-it note with, “Please read!” on top, right? But still nobody picked it up.

LMM: Yes, yes! How did you know all that?

SDL: Because you’re boring, predictable, and also I was kinda there. So let’s see, next question . . . how did you manage to break into writing for The Huffington Post?

LMM: That wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t gone to a BLogHer writer’s conference in 2014 where Ms. Huffington was the keynote speaker.

SDL: Cornered her with the ole boring diary, did you?

LMM: No, I pretended I was already a Huff Post columnist but that I’d recently been unfairly let go. I pleaded for another chance and promised I’d be funnier. So I got myself rehired when I was never really hired in the first place!

SDL: And if you were never hired, you could never be fired either. You steal a lot of stuff from Seinfeld’s character Kramer, doncha?

LMM: Speak for yourself. So what made you decide to interview me? Or shall we just drop this whole reporter pretense and ask, what made you decide to interview yourself, Stephanie?

SDL: The idea came to me last week that everyone deserves the chance (even if they’re not famous) to have stimulating questions thrown at them. I waited around to see if anyone would ask me anything, but only my kids approached me with a certain amount of curiosity. They asked me what was for dinner? I finally decided there was nothing wrong with doing this myself. It’s part of my personal Self-Care which I just wrote about in the entry below this one. (Small plug!) Now mind you, I didn’t have to disclose that this was a self-interview because nobody would have figured it out, but I pride myself on being brutally honest.

LMM: Yes, I’m sure Arianna Huffington would concur. So might this interview thing also be in honor of finally hitting a certain number of followers that has been your long time goal? And if so, what’s that number?

SDL:  I’m not going to disclose how many followers I have, are you crazy? Some people would think it’s too high or too low. Just like my weight, I wouldn’t tell you that either.

LMM:  I already know what you weigh, fool. Remember? I am you. You are me. Ohh yeah, that’s right . . .  we use one of those scales that doesn’t show our weight, it only specifies if we’ve gained or lost. Which is like a doctor not telling you what your diagnosis is, only if you’re getting better or worse. Don’t you think? Of what use is that?

SDL: I’m kinda getting sick of you. And somehow you’ve turned this whole thing around so now you’re the one interviewing me. Let’s just cut to the chase and issue our challenge already.

LMM: Alrighty. If you’re reading this and you’re feeling brave (and quirky!) try interviewing yourself on your own blog. C’mon! What have you got to lose? It’s fun and everyone should do it. Just like masturbation.

SDL: OMG. I am so relieved that my persona said that last line, and not me! How totally embarrassing. Anyhow, if you take me (us!) up on this self-interview challenge, feel free to come back and post a link in the comments section. Thank you! And thank you for your time Little Miss Menopause.

LMM:  No, I’m thanking YOU!

SDL: Nope, thank YOU!  Now sign off.

LMM: No, you sign off. I want the last word.

SDL: Unbelievable. Seriously?? Goodbye.

LMM:  Aha … Gotcha!

SDL: Could you be a more Immature persona??

Various microphones aligned at press conference isolated over a

 

 

 

 

 

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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!”

Things You Do Daily Count As Real Writing!

This is substantial writing!

This is substantial writing!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MISC. SCRIBBLES:

  • “Sorry I hit your back bumper.  Can you call me so we can settle this for cash?  My husband will kill me if our premiums go up”
  • “Please excuse Zachary from P.E. today.  I washed his white gym shorts with our red bath towels. Yes, again.”
  • “Have a great day. Good luck on math test and please bring home the tupperware which holds the carrots you won’t eat.”

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

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

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

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

TOTALLY COUNTS!

THIS TOTALLY COUNTS!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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