Funky Facebook Friend Faye Fiercely Focused on Flaunting!

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Ever have an irritating family friend from childhood whose sole purpose in life was competing with you? You know those kind of “pals” — you don’t choose them, but they’re part of the deal because both your parents are good friends? I thought I’d seen the last of Faye in my teenage years until she suddenly surfaced on Facebook, or rather “Faye’sbook,” requesting her entrance into MY WORLD. Noooooooooo!

Now whenever I post an update that’s a happy one, Faye immediately posts her own “Ecstatic” status. And being the type who detests people portraying their lives as all rainbows, butterflies, and sunsets, I’ll often type out something extremely honest but depressing. And in the blink of an eye, Faye will elaborate on some catastrophic personal tragedy on her own newsfeed. She keeps an endless supply of cousins with cancer for this very purpose.

So basically if I’m happy, she’s Happier and if I’m downhearted, she’s Fantine from Les Misérables. 

When I wrote about my daughter going to her first prom last June, Faye’s daughter went to her first prom AND was crowned Prom Queen. I got in a car accident and was taken to the ER in an ambulance? Faye was sandwiched by two semi-trucks and airlifted to ICU in a coma. I made a crème brûlée and caramelized the sugar with a cigarette lighter? Faye made baked alaska flambé with a culinary torch!

Doesn’t this chick have anything better to do with her life than to concentrate on outdoing me on a daily basis??

“Stephanie,” you might say, “Will you get over yourself and your big ego? It’s not always about you, you know? Sometimes it’s just pure coincidence.”

Oh yeah? I’ll prove it. Look at my Facebook from last night. It’s so utterly specific.

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Suddenly on her Facebook appeared this status:

Gosh, my husband (the most incredible ophthalmologist in the world) says the crazies are coming out of the woodwork after the eclipse, claiming they’re going blind. What are you gonna do? It puts our kids through the best Ivy league colleges!

 

Fluke?  I think not.

But just to be sure it wasn’t a chance occurrence, I found Faye on Twitter and clicked “Follow.” Then I tweeted this:

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And needless to say a new Tweet from Faye soon went out like this:

Daughter has Lice, Dog has fleas, Kitchen has Ants, Basement has Termites! #The10Plagues!

 

See, she even outshines me in pestilence. What petulance!

So I went to Instagram, searched for Faye there and was successful in locating her right away. This called for a new clever tact. A “fluffy strategy” to be exact, because I make the most adorable memes in the world, featuring my two kittens. Here’s my latest Instagram post:

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How can it possibly get any cuter, (or cleaner!) than two kitties in a sink?? Well not even twenty minutes later, her Instagram showcased her bathtub!

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Needless to say on Pinterest, I put up a bunch of pins on turning a spare bedroom into a movie theatre. Then I clicked on her Pinterest account and she’d newly added photographs of a long, narrow hallway, remodeled into a bowling alley!

After friending her on LinkedIn, I made sure that my title prominently stated I was a published author. And instantaneously she got promoted from a boring “Technical Writer” to “Award Winning Screenwriter!”

Alright, this means war! And that’s why I’m writing this WordPress blog and then I’m gonna find Faye’s WordPress blog and become a secret new follower. There’s only one problem, I just found out Fay is on the East Coast, where she’s apparently three hours ahead of me in everything she does. And so this is HER latest post on WordPress:

Ever have an irritating family friend from childhood whose sole purpose in life was competing with you? You know those kind of “pals” — you don’t choose them, but they’re part of the deal because both your parents are good friends? I thought I’d seen the last of Stephanie (who now weirdly goes by “Little Miss Menopause”) in my teenage years but my mother insisted I find her on Facebook, so I grudgingly did so for old time’s sake. After that, she’s been stalking me on every social media in existence trying her best to upstage me. Can we say, “CREEPY??” Ewwwww. Get a life.

 

READERS: Do you have an online “competitor?” How about in real life….maybe at the gym?

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Be Careful Answering “Why Did Your Relationship End?”

break_up_ripped_photo_600X369Longtime readers may recall that I’ve had two marriages end, but they don’t know why. Actually nobody is EVER privy to the real reason(s) that a love relationship concludes — we only receive the limited information that the couple (one or both parties!) willingly imparts to us. And depending on which side of the story you hear, that will differ vastly!

The most accurate explanation is “I guess you just had to be there!”

Being acutely aware of all this, and also knowing that the question (“Why did you divorce?”) would be asked by future prospective partners once we were in the single world again, I tried to exert a little control during my split-ups. (Shocking, right? Me and “control” in the same sentence!)

ME: Let’s both be on the same page when our friends all ask us why our marriage failed.

HIM: Oh goody, let’s!

ME:  Alrighty, so we want something that’s not embarrassing or shameful for either of us…but it should be fairly compelling.

HIM: Okay so I guess, “She refused to pack my bento box for work even though she was already making our other children’s lunch-boxes for school, and besides what’s another turkey sandwich?” isn’t what you had in mind.

ME: That bento box was a fricking nightmare . . . since when is food so pretty?  No, I was thinking something more along the lines of The War of The Roses movie where both parties are equally at fault. But you never ran over my cat in your car and I never served you paté made from your dog. Ok?

HIM: Did we both end up dangling from our chandelier?

ME: Yes, that’s riveting!

So here are my suggestions for people who need to come up with acceptable justifications because the truth simply will not do.

WHY DID YOUR LAST RELATIONSHIP END?

  1. JOB RELATED — It’s pretty easy to dodge this question when a future employer inquires during an interview why your last position ended. So just borrow some basic terminology. “I was laid off when there was a merger and a major reorganization.” Or simply go with, “Micro-Management.”
  2. BLAME — Don’t be a finger-pointer. Own up and share responsibility equally like this: “He was a philanderer, an alcoholic, unambitious, and he beat me. Oh, but I had my part in it as well — I kept forgetting to pack his lunch.”
  3. LIFE HAPPENS! — For the kindly, romantic divorcing couple who sugarcoats. “We finally realized that Love just wasn’t enough.”
  4. CHEATING? — Just say this . . . “Being solely with one person is very unrealistic in this day and age when people live to be 80 years-old. Monogamy during caveman days? Piece a cake!”
  5. OFFSPRING — “He touched me first! She looked at me after I told her not to. He grabbed my ice-cream cone when I set it down but wasn’t finished.” No, that’s not your kids arguing. Those are legit reasons cited by parents (about each other) after they’ve endured having multiple children. (If you can’t beat ’em . . . )
  6. DIETING: No, don’t use the cheesy line, “I just shed 180 lbs by divorcing my husband.” Instead say how you lost 22 lbs in a month but unfortunately that triggered your spouse’s insecurities and . . . trust me you won’t get past that point because you’ll be so busy answering the question of exactly how you accomplished this incredible weight loss (carb cutting??) in great detail and nobody will ever even care about your split-up again.
  7. CANDOR:  Here’s my spouse’s phone number. I have nothing to hide. Ring her up and ask exactly why it ended. (sing to the tune of Ghostbusters…”Who ya gonna call????”)
  8. REFRAME: Again borrow the technique from job interviews when they ask you for a personality flaw and you say, “I am too perfectionistic and don’t know when to stop working.” So in this case you say, “Unfortunately my spouse had very low self-esteem and could never believe she deserved someone as awesome as me so she realized she had to leave.”

If all else fails, hold up a Bento Box (below) and say, “How’d you like to pack one of these every morning when neither of you is even Japanese?!”

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READERS:  How honest are you about why your relationship ended? Please leave me a comment responding. And if this subject interests you, I wrote more for The Huffington Post in their Divorce section right HERE.

Zuko Marriage Ending Faster Than Greased Lightning!

Drive-InWe join the famous pair during couple’s counseling:

Therapist:  Just a quick reminder that anything discussed in this room stays highly confidential.

Sandy: Tell that to Danny here.

Danny: That’s my name baby, don’t wear it out!

Sandy: OMG seriously? Did you even listen? He said no more bragging about our love life to that hoodlum gang of yours on the football bleachers.

Danny: Yes, Miss Goody-Two-Shoes.

Sandy: Ugh. What happened to the Danny Zuko I met at the beach?

Danny: Well I do not know. Why don’t you take out a missing person’s ad? Or try the yellow pages.

Therapist: Mr. Zuko, you seem very concerned with appearing cool. Has that always been the case? (Tousles Danny’s hair with hand)

Danny: Hey! Would ya watch the hair? Ya know, I work hard on my hair a long time and then you just hit it. He hits my hair!

Therapist: I don’t think that’s the correct line for this. I’m confused.

Sandy:  He’s obsessed. (Wipes hand on husband’s oily scalp to remove her wedding ring) And you can take back this piece of tin (Throws diamond) Danny Zuko, you’re a fake and a phony and I wish I never laid eyes on you! (Stomps toward door)

Danny: Sandy! You can’t just walk out of a drive-in!

Therapist: Um, technically this is a shrink’s office. Wow folks, things sure escalated quickly. We don’t name-call in here. And we always use “I” statements. Danny, why don’t you tell Sandy how you’re feeling right now?

Danny:  I got chills. They’re multiplyin’. And I’m losing control. Cause the power you’re supplying . . . it’s electrifying.

Therapist: That sounds very familiar.

Danny: Music loud and women warm, been kicked around since I was born. Whether you’re a brother or whether you’re a mother, you’re Stayin’ Alive, Stayin’ Alive. Ever hear that before?

Therapist: Many times. Nothing shocks me these days. Even movie character swapping, which I see you like to do. It’s like wife-swapping, only more illicit. But let’s get back to your relationship. How deep is your love? I really mean to learn. Cuz we’re living in a world of fools, breaking us down, when they all should let us be. We belong to you and me.

Danny: You got it, dude. Saturday Night Fever and the Bee Gees rule!

Sandy: If you boys are quite finished? I’d like to say I knew right away Danny and I were not a good match from the moment we met. My parents invited him to tea. He said, “I don’t like tea.” I explained he didn’t have to drink tea. He said, “I don’t like parents.”

Therapist: Is that the only problem, Sandy?

Sandy: It’s Miss Sandra Dee to you. And there are other issues. He’s always crooning to his grease-ball friends, “Well she got friendly down in the sand!” I hate that expression. He’s got a one-track mind.

Danny: I did letter in track just to get inside her pants.

Sandy: Keep your filthy paws off my silky drawers. Would you pull that crap with Annette? And how about that night you tried to feel me up inside your souped-up car!

Therapist: Well sex is a very important part of a relationship.

Sandy: Tell me about it, Stud.

Therapist: (Blushing) Uh, let’s hear about this souped-up car.

Danny: Why this car is auto-matic. It’s system-matic. It’s hyyyydro-matic…why it’s greased lightn….

Therapist: I get the picture.

Sandy: I wasn’t finished. There’s another woman. Cha-Cha Di Gregorio, a bad girl from a worse neighborhood with good dance moves.

Danny: Aw c’mon Sandy. We go together like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong.

Therapist: Well said. Any other compliment you might give your wife?

Danny: Ain’t nobody who can mash a cigarette into the ground and then kick me in the chest with her high heel like Sandy can.

Sandy: That’s not going to excuse all your Scientology cult stuff.

Therapist: The what now? Did I miss something?

Sandy: And the cross-dressing. He’s actually Edna Turnblat!

Danny: You can’t stop my happiness, ‘cuz I like the way I am. And you just can’t stop my knife and fork when I see a Christmas ham. And if you don’t like the way I look, then I just don’t give a damn!

Sandy: You better shape up. Cuz I need a man. And my heart is set on you!

Therapist: Well you both definitely seem “Hopelessly Devoted.” But unfortunately that’s all the time we have for this session — so you should both fly off in that magical car of yours and everyone will live happily ever after. Except I do have one final word of advice.

Sandy: What’s the word?

Therapist: “Grease” is the word. That’ll be $150 please.

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How Dare You Do Self-Care!

 

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The 70’s and 80’s commercial slogan, “Calgon take me away!” has nothing on today’s overused buzzword we know simply as, “Self-Care.” In fact my six children do a fake vomiting impression whenever they hear those two little words, probably because they got so sick of its predecessor — that classic analogy meant to justify my taking a break that went like this, “Mommy has to put her own oxygen mask on first before she can help you put on yours.” So now they officially refuse to travel on an airplane with me. (By the way, these same kids also signed a petition to prevent my talking about myself in the 3rd person, but that’s another blog entirely!)

So how did the pendulum swing so far in the other direction for females? You may recall not too long ago, most mothers put everyone else first, to the point of truly neglecting themselves, making motherhood synonymous with martyrdom. Gradually women learned it was okay to sometimes say, “No!” and that was kind of a nice, happy medium. Because sometimes we still said, “Yes!”

But now it’s gotten to the point where nobody shows up to help in an emergency because we can’t cope with any crisis until we’ve practiced good self-care. Imagine a horrible earthquake occurring, but before the American Red Cross sends assistance, they must slather Neutrogena’s soothing beauty balm onto their skin!

The next time you hang up the phone or part ways with someone while casually saying, “Take care of yourself now!” be aware that you’ve just granted someone permission to go get a mani/pedi, watch a soap-opera, and eat chocolate bonbons. That’s because “Self-Care” is loosely defined to encompass anything from aromatherapy (using essential oils!) to literally running away from life.

Join me now as we listen in on a “Self-Care, Self-Help, Do-It-Yourself Support Group” in progress: (And if you think that has too many “Self” words in it, congratulations you catch on fast!)

Leader: Take out your Self-Care journals and let’s make a list of what we need to have in our Self-Care kits. And then let’s take a Selfie holding them. Selma, please read your list?

Selma: Bath Salts, Bath Bombs, Bath Oils, Bath Bubbles, Bath Gels, Bath Sponges, Bath Scrubs, Bath Soaps…oh and you should put an actual Bathtub in your kit if it can fit.

Leader: Definitely! Sonia, your list please?

Sonia: I went the Mindful route. Is that okay?

Leader: Oh goody! Mindfulness and Self-Care go together like bagel and cream cheese, which you should also have in your kit by the way. Please continue . . .

Sonia: Mindful Yoga mat, Mindful Meditation book, Mindful Crystal, Mindful Meditation CD, Mindful Sunscreen, Mindful Money, Mindful Bra, Mindful Pillow, Mindful Birth Control, Mindful Michael Kors Purse, Mindful Nutella. . .

Leader: Terrific. You’ve discovered the main secret to Self-Care — just put the word “Mindful” in front of anything you desire and it’s automatically gonna be healthy and get our approval.

Sonia: Except “Mindful Children.” Somehow it doesn’t work with kids.

Leader: Whatever. Now let’s all recite the Self-Care first commandment together. Ready? “Caring for myself is not self-indulgent, it IS self-preservation.”

Suzanne: What about, “I think, therefore I am?”

Leader: Definitely not. You’re in the wrong place. The Self-Aware Support Group meets in the room down the hall.

Stacey: How about, “You can’t love someone else until you can love yourself?”

Leader: Sorry, you also don’t belong here. You’ll find the Self-Esteem Support Group meets in this same room but on Thursdays.

Stephanie: I have a question. I keep a diary, light lots of candles, get hand massages, eat avocado toast, go cloud-watching (I once saw one shaped like Gwyneth Paltrow!) unplug my cellphone daily, and breathe deeply while smelling roses, but still I’m completely miserable. Are some people just not good at this Self-Care stuff?

Leader: Security! Come quick! Code 5, I repeat Code 5! A Self-Sabotager has snuck into Self-Care! Calgon, take her away!

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Self-Care is completely responsible for society’s narcissistic behavior or that we’re all returning to the “Me” generation, but perhaps “Self-Care” could include things like volunteering at a retirement center, adopting a homeless pet, buying the guy behind you a Starbucks, and leaving a comment on my blog. 😉 Now wouldn’t those things also make YOU feel good??

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And if you’re a guy, what does “Self-Care” even mean for you? Have you been sucked onto its bandwagon too, or is this just a girl thing?

5 Languages of Love (Tweaked!)

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What would happy couples do without bestselling author, Gary Chapman? That’s who wrote the The Five Love Languages (8 years on the NY Times Non-Fiction List!) where he asserts that each person has one primary way of perceiving love. Here are your only choices according to Mr. Chapman:

  1. Gift Giving
  2. Quality Time
  3. Words of Affirmation
  4. Acts of Service
  5. Physical Touch

But what would you do without Little Miss Menopause to break it down and give the list a quickie tweak to simplify things for you?

  1. Gif Giving — Try sending some of THESE)
  2. Quality Thyme — You should probably spring for the very best parsley, rosemary, and sage that you can find too. Try your local farmer’s market! Definitely the way to spice things up, but do pass on the garlic and onions.
  3. Birds of Affirmation — I would suggest a parrot, an African Grey, or a Myna bird. In a pinch you can try training male parakeets to talk. Just teach them to greet your lover warmly with the following phrases to give your mate the affirmation he/she is seeking: “Polly doesn’t wanna cracker, Polly wants YOU!” or “Pretty Birdy” (works best if your significant other is named Betty or Billy and is slightly hard of hearing) and also, “I can talk, but can you fly?” (which isn’t necessarily affirming, but will give your sweetheart something to think about while they wait for you to finally move on to the 4th love language.)
  4. Acts of Cervix — This is an advanced love language and should be saved for the final stages of pregnancy. But if you’ve reached that point then by all means, go ahead and communicate in this most articulate fashion. Instantly dilating your cervix to 10 centimeters says, “I think you’re gonna be a dynamite father and I’m ready for us to be a team with this baby!” Failure to dilate and needing an emergency c-section might send the message that, “Uh, I’ve changed my mind about this whole parenting thing with you. Can we walk back up the aisle and reverse the marriage as well??”
  5. Psychic Touché — This might be the most important love language of all. You need to somehow communicate the meaning of “Touché” (“Wow, you got me! That’s another point for you! Aren’t you the most clever one tonight?!) through your sheer mental powers alone. When you can convey this one simple word (with just that hauntingly familiar look in your eyes) all the way across a crowded laundromat during a power outage while experiencing a hot flash, you’ll know you have mastered this communication skill down pat. But be very careful that it doesn’t get misinterpreted as, “F*ck off and die!” because they’re very close together on the spectrum and the latter won’t make you appear quite as loving.
  6. * BONUS 6th SECRET LOVE LANGUAGE! — Poor, deprived Gary Chapman. Because he obviously never thought of including just plain old, “Wild n’ Crazy Sex” — (No simplification or tweaking needed.) And now . . .  Touché!!
Readers: If you know someone Jewish who feels kinda slighted when they go to Disneyland during Christmas, I’ve given them their turn at feeling welcomed in the theme park, right HERE.
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My Kittens Language Of Love – – They’re “Sinking” to a new low! “All washed up!”

Do You Have Inflammation of the Imagination? Take This Simple (but dangerous!) Quiz

imagination_by_xbooshbabyxThe plane you’re flying on begins to get slightly bumpy:

a) It’s just a little normal turbulence due to this sudden windstorm.

b) The pilot just discovered his beautiful fiancé is in love with another man and now he doesn’t want to live anymore. And he’s taking us all down with him!

As you sip a Diet Coke, a new health report comes out proclaiming artificial sweeteners have now been proven to cause dementia:

a) Uh huh, and next month they’ll say people with higher IQ’s drink six diet colas daily.

b) As you choke and sputter on the carbonated amber toxin, you can feel your brain cells dying off one by one, and you no longer remember your own middle name.

Your coworker pays you a compliment by saying how funny you are:

a) You say “thank you” and return the favor by remarking that she always brings a smile to your face as well.

b) Start a humor blog complete with an online store that sells mugs and tee-shirts with humorous original sayings on them, but first design a greeting card line called, “Cracking You Up!” while simultaneously securing an agent familiar with booking into the comedy circuit.

It’s been an hour and your kid hasn’t responded to your text.

a) He’s probably distracted having fun.

b) Somebody’s got him in an old basement with bad reception and he’s covertly trying to activate his “Find Your Phone” app so you can send the authorities just as his Android is roughly yanked from his frail hands while a deep voice growls, “Your mother will never hear from you again… unless it’s in her dreams!”

The receptionist leaves a voicemail saying the results from your routine blood work are in and asks you to return her call.

a) What a great office — they’re so careful about the privacy laws and not leaving overly detailed messages.

b) Something tragic showed up in your hemoglobin (probably from drinking diet sodas) and this woman didn’t have the heart to leave the specifics in a recording so you’re going to have to go in for a face-to-face meeting and as the doctor tells you to please have a seat in his large back office, he’ll glance to his desk at the framed photos of his own sweet children, and say a little gratitude prayer that it’s you and not him.

The busboy in the restaurant keeps staring at you as he clears the dishes from the next table:

a) You must remind him of someone he once knew.

b) He’s fantasizing about asking you out on a date, but it’s going to hurt his feelings when you decline unless he gets promoted to a waiter, but that will never happen since he looks like the type who arrives late to work every day and he’ll get into a motorcycle crash before he ever straightens out his act because he has issues proving his masculinity to his father.

At the check-out stand in the grocery store, the credit card you pulled out has suddenly vanished:

a) You’re getting so careless nowadays, you must’ve put it back in your wallet before you even used it.

b) Okay, so where’s the camera? You’re on that new show where the magician catches people off guard with clever tricks making them think they’re losing their mind because they don’t know they’re being filmed. You knew you should’ve straightened your hair this morning!

At the pediatrician’s office, you observe all the children on the floor, playing with other kids and sharing toys that belong to the doctor.

a) It’s great to see little ones so well-adjusted and socializing early in life.

b) Why don’t all parents wear shirts with little beads, buttons, bells, and whistles sewn on the front so their children can sit happily in their laps and self-entertain — thereby avoiding all the germs in places like this? They’d sell like hotcakes online and you  can call them “Activi-Tees”

At a wedding, the fish entree is not seasoned to your liking:

a) You send it back because rumors of chefs spitting in the food are largely unfounded.

b) You’re certain the salmon was laced with cyanide and this plate was actually meant for the man seated on your right because he’s been having an affair with the beautiful fiancé of the chef, who used to be an airline pilot but lost his job when he flew erratically into a windstorm because of a jealous rage.

QUIZ RESULTS: Subject to your imagination, but mostly “b” answers suggest a career as a writer, inventor, or paranoid parent.

*Credit for the phrase, “Inflammation of the Imagination” goes to Dr. Bradley Shapero.

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So Who Died and Left You in Charge?

in-chargeDo you sometimes wonder how certain (relatively inconsequential) things in life get decided? I mean who was the one specific individual that arrived at the ultimate conclusion? I’m not even talking about who makes all the major, significant determinations — (YOU can be in charge of making that particular list!) I just mean the odds n’ ends type of stuff that needs a final verdict. Let’s delve deeper, shall we? Because here are 12 things that nobody really knows who is in charge of!

Who’s In Charge Of . . . ?

  1. Selecting the specific kind of pornography for the men who use the “deposit” room at sperm donor or infertility clinics?
  2. Deciding that 1970’s Chia Pets (with their annoying “Ch Ch Ch Chia” commercial jingles) should now be a “health” seed that we must sprinkle on frigging EVERYTHING we eat?
  3. Figuring out the number of seconds a doctor leaves the examination room so a patient can fully disrobe and put on that silly paper gown? (As an aside: Who told doctors to rap on the door three times first, when they’re just gonna barge in on you half-naked anyhow? For once I’d like doctors to knock, then wait patiently while I yell, “Be right there. Will ya hold your horses already? I’m just taking something out of the oven!”)
  4. Singing the alphabet in a singsong voice so that the five middle letters sound like just one long one… “elemenopee?”
  5. Substituting the inane phrase “reaching out” for the old sensible word, “contacting.” When someone thanks me for “reaching out” on the phone, I wanna burst into Neil Diamond’s syrupy lyrics, “Hands, touching hands, reaching out…touching me, touching you!”
  6. Prescribing what the average “room temperature” should be in a house? Because this individual is solely responsible for a great many of the arguments I have with my ex-husband. (Identify yourself!)
  7. Firing the classic national Time Lady? C’mon you remember her? You’d call the telephone number and a familiar recorded voice reassured you it was 5:32 EXACTLY. She’d throw in the outdoor temperature as a bonus — (so my ex-husband and I could squabble over the indoor one.) And while I’m at it, who also decided who the voice of Siri should be?
  8. Determining at what age a woman should stop wearing a mini-skirt?
  9. Checking if a bride actually has something old, new, borrowed and blue?
  10. Choosing which side of the bed a husband and wife get to sleep on? And why can’t they alternate nightly?
  11. Stating that a “portion size” of Reddi Whip Cream is a mere two tablespoons? (And shouldn’t the measurement be calibrated as “squirts in the mouth?’)
  12. Deciding which foods (salmon, I’m looking at you!) get to qualify as “Good fats?” (And why can’t Reddi Whip make the cut?)CGJiWEgUYAAZJOU.png

Readers, leave me a comment about something you often ask, “Sheesh, who the heck was in charge of THAT?” (But don’t blame me — I was only in charge of six children.)

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Ode To Control Freaks!

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You may think our logic is slightly flawed,

Certain we know best, even better than God.

Our kids wear sweaters when we’re really the ones who’re cold.

And good luck throwing us Surprise parties without us wearing a blindfold.

Need to know everything — we’re obsessed with discovering stuff.

You may admonish, “Mind your own business!” but never have to say, “Get off your duff!”

It’s not enough to just know the outer you, we want to know your internals.

That’s exactly why it’s fine for us to snoop thru your diaries and journals!

And if we’re extra polite, saying thank-you and please quite often,

We think you won’t bristle at our demands, in fact we think you’ll soften.

But look at the upside to being one of us — we’re meticulous with wars we’re waging.

We fight about marriage, work, schools, friends, and we’re totally against our own aging!

‘Micromanaging’ — such a vulgar term, we’d never EVER do it!

But alas our “helpful hint” is taken the wrong way, folks just misconstrue it.

So if we cannot manipulate our world at large, you, or even our own mate’s lives,

At least we’re gonna stay in charge of our kid’s health… with the prevention of hives!

Um, that last line was stupid, but controlling peeps are stubborn,

Even over words, language, rhymes, we must try and govern!

And there’s one more thing we’re planning to subtly orchestrate . . .

Bestowing a new name on US, one that promotes a euphoric state.

‘Cuz calling us CONTROL FREAKS is rather harsh, ugly, and bleak.

How about just saying we have special powers due to our technique?

So from now on, “Universal Supervisor” replaces “Control Freak” as our new term.

Can we all just agree on this? I really need to know you’ll confirm!

And ‘cuz we’re certain that most of you find our control issues something to condemn…

Therefore nobody who is “One of Us” will admit that this is actually them.

But I’ll raise my hand proudly (sorta!) because once you get to know me . . .  I’m really quite a gem!

Lastly before I leave you, I’m not beyond using guilt to influence and apply a little pressure,

If you don’t leave me a comment, nobody will know you exist or that you’re such a WordPress treasure!

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https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/control/

 

I Keep Forgetting To Give Up Diet Cola!

soft-drinks-diet-coke-dementia-strokeI hate the Experts. They’re always making us give up things we like. Honestly it’s been on my (long) list of self-improvements to finally “Kick the Can” but it kept slipping my mind. And now I know why! Last week, a shocking news story went viral that was “sodapressing” for me.  Its headlines exploded (like when my son mischievously shakes my Zero Calorie Pepsi can) “Diet Soda Causes Dementia and Strokes!”

Wow. Just wow. But it was too late. My fate was already sealed. This amazing memory of mine had always been something I prided myself on until recently (hitting the big 5-0) when suddenly I’d walk into the proverbial room and couldn’t remember why.

I posted signs on the walls with hints meant to jog my mind.

This worked for a while, until I couldn’t even remember to look up and read my little signs. And to think this downhill slide into oblivion could all be attributed to my tiny, little addiction to a “sugar-free fizzy party in the bottle.”

Such an innocent vice, really. Years ago, I used to balance that red two-liter bottle of infamous carmel-colored carbonated liquid on top of my skull and tease that I was officially a “Cokehead.” But seriously, give me a break, Experts! I drink zero coffee or black tea so this was my only source of caffeine. (NOTE: YOU HAVE NO TANGIBLE PROOF ABOUT ME AND CHOCOLATE.)

And then I began to date a holistic, homeopathic, health and wellness doctor and suddenly I felt the need to hide my “criminal” activity to avoid disapproval. I slunk around the house (when he was over) snatching sips of the dark toxic bubbles from random flower vases and fishbowls, denying I had a problem.  “Look at the huge spider on that wall!” I’d gasp and point, then slug down my Chanel #5 perfume bottle.

Finally I recognized that my Diet Soda was out of hand. Or rather, it was always IN hand. I needed the Twelve-Steps Solution for my Six-Pack Problem. I knew I was truly frightened that a bad thing could happen if I didn’t quit. But I couldn’t even recall what that thing was anymore. And the only “strokes” I wanted were high praise for my writing.

Soon a well-meaning girlfriend (from AA) suggested I slowly taper off the poison by pouring something else in the cup to dilute it down. Gin, rum or vodka. No, she actually recommended water.

Sadly “moderation” isn’t a word in my vocabulary. (Although I was once just a “little bit pregnant” with twins.) But mainly I’m an All or Nothing type. Black or White. Up or Down. Feast or Famine. Push or Pull. Diet Coke or Death.

And so I had no choice but to go Cold-Turkey. But first because of the language lover that I am, I had to find out why we call it that? Would I soon be walking around shivering and saying “gobble, gobble?”  If you love word origins, you can find out HERE.

And then to my surprise, another viral internet headline surfaced from the Experts. It refuted the first study that diet soda caused these awful things. And tossed around words like “Absolute Risks,” and “Control Groups” and made some other really important points that I can’t recall at the moment.

I love the Experts! Yay. Giving me permission to continue doing something I want to do!

And then I realized. It’s not just something I want to do. I NEED to do it. I get headaches without diet soda. I crave more and more. I hear that familiar “fffsssssst” when someone flips the lid of a can and I flip my own lid trying to obtain some. (Thank you Pavlov!) Yes, I DO have a real problem, expert or no expert.

Also . . .  (and here comes my love of wordplay again!) DIET COKE starts with “D” and so does Dementia. Coke rhymes with Stroke and Croak. And speaking of croaking, Diet contains the word “Die” in it. Cola even perfectly rhymes with Ebola, which nobody has mentioned yet but you can bet your pop-top that’s the next big scare. And Bubbles rhymes with Troubles. Coincidence? I think not.

Forget the experts. Forget dementia. Forget the experts. (Oh right, I already said that.) My own astute language associations (above) are all the empirical ‘absolute risk’ evidence I need to kick the habit. Starting today, I’m getting completely off that bubbly stuff you drink when you don’t want calories or sugar or fat and whose name I might recall right now if I hadn’t been drinking so much of it in the first place.

READERS: Do you have a little “addiction” you rationalize and think is innocent in the grand scheme of things? Tell me about it in the comments so I won’t feel so alone! Or before I move to Minnesoda. 😉

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How to Portray a New Image (not necessarily an accurate one!) Using Social Media

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Alrighty, so interestingly enough WE (that would be you AND I) are no different than popular products that companies advertise. Why? Because we all want to be well-received by the public and we like to think of ourselves as having a solid warranty, right?

I don’t know about you, but I never looked at things quite in that light when I first attempted to use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram  — so now I have to do a major “rebranding” of myself as a person.

And maybe so do you?

You know, like how McDonalds used to just make America fat, but now they look like Starbucks and serve salads! And how Target used to be just another low-brow discount store but now it carries Fiorucci, Mizrahi, Giannulli, and Fusilli. (Note: these’ll make you hungry for Italian food, but only the last one is actually pasta — the first three are high-profile designers!)

Here are some tips for using each of the popular online networks to do a major personal revamp! It is worth mentioning that you can project an entirely different image of yourself on each separate one. For instance, I can use Twitter to rebrand myself as a well-regarded author (who doesn’t look like Starbucks, or serve salads!) and then Instagram for depicting myself as an ultra-fun friend! And Facebook to get the word out that I’m the latest sex symbol to put Marilyn to shame. (Uh, that’d be Marilyn Manson!) Basically you can characterize yourself however you want, so use your imagination!

And Now Without Further Adieu . . .  (What’s adieu and why is it always escaping being held hostage?)

TWITTER: If you lose your train of thought after 140 characters like I do, then Tweets are perfect for the reinventing process! Also due to the abrupt nature of the post, you should intentionally cut yourself off mid-sentence to invoke intrigue. i.e. Here’s a recent one of mine implying I’m a sought after author — “Meeting with my agent today for a power lunch and heavy negotiations about . . . ” (Oops, ran out of characters!) Nobody needs to know it’s actually my health insurance Agent and I’m trying to get a dental plan added on!

SNAPCHAT: Also ideal since what you post vanishes after 10 seconds, which is coincidentally the maximum timespan of my memory! I like to put out a photo of me dancing on tables (with my bra on top of my head) or swinging from chandeliers (which are actually Polaroids from my college sorority days!) but by the time all my highfalutin decorator friends zoom in to scrutinize the texture of the tablecloth or the brand of the chandelier, the whole thing magically disappears! Meanwhile, the lingering effect is me as fun party girl that everyone now wants to invite to their next shindig.

FACEBOOK:  Posting extremely frequently is the key here so you’ll get comments and likes literally around-the-clock. It also helps to have every day be your birthday so you have a constant stream of well-wishers. For instance, each night at midnight I go into FB settings and modify my date of birth to the following day. Instantly, all my Facebook Friends trip over themselves to leave their best regards in the comments section, complete with custom kitten memes and colorful cakes with candle pics, etc. I use this particular “365 day a year birthday” technique because I want to create the image that I am a “Born-Again.”

INSTAGRAM: Liberally use hashtags here. Trust me, you won’t get a reputation for being a cannabis dealer but you may constantly order hash-browns at brunch restaurants. Also to stand out, whilst everyone else is posting their silly selfies, you should post shelfies because this will project an image that you are still a bookworm in a Kindle Kingdom. Celfies (photos of you munching lotsa celery) are a good way to make people believe you’re a health nut or a Vegan.

PINTEREST: I make specific boards by tagging certain “guilt-inducing” photos to give my grown kids (who’ve flown the nest without nary a backwards glance!) some subliminal suggestions. I created one with lots of crafty projects of old, skinny, wrinkled, gray-haired sock puppets on crutches. I titled it “self-portraits.” So far nobody has come home for a visit, but I remain optimistic. Another board has pictures of adorably decorated baby nurseries with sad-looking dolls in the crib. I’m hoping that will propel me into “Nanna” status before I’m too old to see or hear any grandchildren. Another album has hundreds of photos of ET phoning home. Cleverly subtle, yet maybe too subtle — so far my cell hasn’t buzzed once.

LINKEDIN: I like to use LinkedIn to represent myself as being highly qualified to do anything and everything. Did you know you can make a resume for playing with kittens? Because that’s one of my top-notch skillsets.

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TEXTING: Yes! You can even use your cellphone for revising your stale reputation. It’s all done through an act I like to call, “Mistaken Texts On Purpose!” I am sure at one time or another you’ve received an odd message and afterwards the sender immediately wrote, “Never mind that! Meant for someone else.” Meanwhile can you unsee it?? Of course not. So use this method to intentionally transfer information to someone whose opinion of you needs to be readjusted. Your ex broke up with you because you’re a loser? Send this “accidental” text to him/her. “Hey! Can you ask the bank to hold off on closing escrow on my beach home, the lottery officials said my first 80 million will transfer at the close of business hours today. Thanks.” Followed by a, “Sorry! Disregard that last text. Hope all is well!”

WORDPRESS BLOG: Use WordPress every chance you get to throw your followers off track. You want to keep writing strange, quirky, “so bad it’s definitely putrid” posts so that when you hit the New York Times with your bestselling novel, everyone will be so surprised you could knock them over with a feather. Then go on Etsy and use it to market colorful, unique feathers.

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This Man Knows Me Inside-Out (and he’s never even met me!)

BLOG_freelancers_H-645x285Not a day goes by that I don’t get an email from this most perceptive, intuitive, and thoroughly insightful guy. An online relationship expert I’ll call “The Love Bug” to protect his privacy here.

How he found me in the first place, I’ll never know — but I’ve been utterly fascinated by his email subject titles. And he apparently personally writes them all JUST FOR ME because my name is always front and center.

Have a look at some screenshots of his emails. First he tells me that I’m dreadful dating material . . .

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But he can hear my sighs!

And he’s “got” me.

Next comes this . . .

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Wow, he really does think I’m the problem. So I read it. And he’s 100% right. It’s an utter fiasco dating myself. I tell myself stale jokes I’ve heard 100 times before, I never like what I order in restaurants, and I toss and turn in bed — plus steal my own blankets.

So then he goes on to suggest . . .

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I guess since I’m a “difficult date” I’ll need to settle for cyber. But it seems I’ve already got “an interesting man” writing to me. Every. Single. Day. “The Love Bug!” And yes, I certainly do know the deal. (And the drill.)

He follows it up with some fascinating questions in his subject titles. Things I’d never dared wonder about before. Like this . . .

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Although I was kinda hoping those two things had been minimized after I had my breast reduction surgery.

And then something everyone should ask themselves at one time or another . . .

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Gosh. We both receive rocks on Halloween night?

Then he just starts shooting out a bunch of (apparently!) necessary advice.

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I quickly solved the “walking all over me” problem by buying an Oriental rug, so guys could step on that instead.

He must’ve approved of that solution because next I get this:FullSizeRender (71)

And here I thought all along that I WAS THE BAD DATE??

Next he sent a surprising revelation that was a bit hard to swallow:

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Why are you even in this business then???

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Not really. But now that he mentions brooms, I don’t like it when men sweep stuff under the rug. In fact I absolutely HATE that behavior. But I should have guessed Love Bug knows me better than even I know myself, because he writes back quickly — this time reiterating the 3 other things he knows I hate besides avoidant men . . .

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But hey, at least he put that comma in-between “hate” and “Stephanie” (see pic above) or else I’d be getting a complex right about now.

Well now it seems he thinks there’s still a little hope for me because he sends this subject title next.

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I decide this must be one POTENT email and I’ll save it for someone super special. Finally I decide upon George Clooney. I forward the above email to my handsome (unrequited) celebrity with a message asking him to merely read it (and then prepare to fall head over heels for yours truly!) but so far it’s done nothing for him. I subsequently also let my mailman get a quick peek at the email and now he’s smiling more often at me, so it wasn’t a total loss.

But apparently Love Bug thought both George and the postal worker were bad choices because I got this:

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And how come I don’t have any recollection of emailing him back??  I am starting to get worried about what else I don’t remember doing!

So I write to him, (this time consciously!) making my case that my mailman was actually pretty nice and now I even get my packages carried up to my front porch!

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“I don’t think so,” I write back. “He’s now taken to sorting all my junk mail and puts the coupons on top! I may just have to play ‘postman’ with him soon!”

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OMG!  I was only joking around! I value old-fashioned letter-carriers who wear uniforms, so sue me. But I can assure you, I am NOT a loose woman. Doesn’t he know that about me already? (Also did you notice he mentions a wife here??? Does SHE know he corresponds with me every day?? Hmmm)

Then the Love Bug does something incredible! He proves to me he’s not like every other man I meet by sending these two subjects back to back!

 

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Wow, I am so impressed with his integrity and humility. So I write him again and say, “All is forgiven. I don’t really think the mailman is all that hot anyhow. Actually I don’t find any male all that hot.

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Honestly, nobody likes a Know-it-all!

And then comes his first astonishing confession . . .

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Seriously?? Well I know it was NOT with me. I would have remembered something like that. I have a friend Tiffany, who also receives this same love expert’s email advice, (so much for my personal name shining in the subject!) so perhaps he cheated with Tiffany? The hussy. Turns out she read the same message and thought it was with me he’d been philandering with.

By then The Love Bug follows this shocker up with another email saying, “just teasing” and actually he had gone all Dorothy on us! He really hadn’t committed an infidelity — he thought he had cheated but then he woke up and it was just a dream he had of being an adulterer, like the tired plot device in The Wizard of Oz. But he did describe this dream in vivid detail to his loving wife who simply said, “That’s nice, honey. Shall we have lamb or chicken tonight?” He then used this entire scenario to illustrate the ultimate trust between a man and woman.

At this point, I am thinking I’ve had just about enough of this guy’s bizarre 6th sense and his other shenanigans as well, so I casually click unsubscribe.

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Alrighty then, do you see what he’s doing here?? He’s projecting how he feels about my leaving his email-subscription list onto me.

So I thought I’d make it perfectly clear who is pulling away from whom just one more time, so I send an email with UNSUBSCRIBE in the subject title.

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Really, Love Bug Sir?!  You’re still doing this reverse psychology thing on me?  Let’s get things straight. I’m pulling away from YOU and YOU’RE the desperate one doing the luring!

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Clearly this is a dig that he is now going to make Tiffany his main cyber gal. FINE WITH ME! So I write back and tell him I’ve had better relationship advice from a lady bug and the only reason I can justify his being “The Love Bug” is because he’s starting to really bug me and he should buzz off!

FullSizeRender (100)Interesting reframe. I insult him and tell him off and he calls it “sharing.” I decide ignoring him is the best plan. He continues to send me emails and finally this….

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Haha! Even my six kids don’t stoop to that dumb tact when they want me to pay attention to them. I ignore some more. He tries flattery.

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And it’s not even Thanksgiving! I write back that I am also grateful for the time we had together and don’t mean to nitpick, but I’m just not feeling it anymore.

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I don’t see any need to defend myself for not liking mushrooms, olives, or him — so I write back saying I actually now have a solid boyfriend and am moving on to home decorating expert email lists.

He tries the “ticking clock” stunt on me.

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Then he tosses out some random Kenny Roger’s poker advice.

FullSizeRenderFollowed by another personal insult because obviously he knows my large bra cup size too.

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Triggered, I quickly fire back that my boyfriend tells me all the time how much he adores my breasts, thank you very much.

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That does it. He’s just begging for it now! I start my own email list regarding, “Advice For Online Relationship Coaches.” I harass him every night before I go to sleep with subjects like, “Hi Love Bug! Do You Know if You’ve Helped a Couple or Just Instigated a Divorce?” and “What Happens When an Email listee Contacts Your Wife and Tells Her She’s The Subject of Much of Your Relationship Advice, Love Bug?”

Finally I can’t resist and send one final email with a subject header that says, “What Do You and Lucy (From the Peanuts comic strip) Have in Common?” In the body of the email it says, “Both of your advice is worth about 5 cents!

I never heard from Love Bug again.

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Hi Readers – – This was a fun blog for me to write, but because the emails were legit, I blocked out any identifying information with those silly hat images. But maybe you recognize the guy’s blue collared shirt?? DISCLAIMER: Before you feel too sorry for me, you might notice the dates of his emails are all out of order. I took them out of context to add humor in this mostly fictional tale where the main point was a woman (me!) thinking someone is writing to her PERSONALLY just because her name is on it, when it’s really sent out to the masses.

Rehash the Backlash From Oscar Bash?

Screen-Shot-2017-01-19-at-9.44.57-AM-520x245.pngAs a retired event planner, I feel obligated to throw a few shindigs now and again to keep my party skills sharp — and the Oscars gave me a good excuse to have a little gala in my small in-home theatre last night.

The first dilemma was a forced imposed guest limit due to constraints of having only eight “official cinema” seats. Because of “chair scarcity,” each seat became valuable real-estate and thus my desire to fill it with non-flaky people (who would actually rsvp in a timely manner and follow-thru with showing up) was escalated.

I decided to make this a casual Ladies Only get-together so I invited a group of compatible women who knew one another from book club and to make it more fun, I wrote, “Come in pajamas!” One by one, as rsvp’s slowly trickled in and were mainly “No’s” (What’s this? Nobody mentioned I would be cooking!) I would re-invite someone new to replace the original declining guest — again wanting to insure all 8 seats were filled was my goal.

Soon it became almost an entirely new guest list where nobody really knew one another like they did before, but I told myself the Oscars would keep us entertained.

I also thought it would be fun (again being overly ambitious with prior party planning creativity) to hold a contest to predict the most winners (with a prize) and to have a “Dear Oscar” activity with guests anonymously writing down their personal dilemmas (think Dear Abby) and me reading them aloud during commercials when we’d chime in with advice.

Simple so far, right? Easy Peasy La-La Landeasy! Here’s how it all went down:

*Lady #1: Hi! Glad I made it. What a cute movie room this is. Um … all purple? Well I’m just grateful I can stay in my nightgown! I brought shrimp cocktails for everyone.

Me: How nice. I should have mentioned you’re the only one from the original guest list. The other women are actually now Jewish and don’t eat shellfish.

Lady #2: (sniffing, looking #1 over) Also we actually took the time to put our clothes on.

Me: Oh, that’s not her fault. Excuse me . . . Sweetie — please don’t do that to the chair. It’s not a leather recliner.

Lady #4: Hmph, well I have a bad back, however I’ll try to stay until Best Supporting Actor, only because I love Jeff Bridges.

Me: But that’s the very first award. Sheesh, can you at least call in for ‘backup?’ No pun intended, but I really want all 8 chairs occupied.

Lady # 6: Do we have to fill out these Oscar ballots? Ever since the November election, I get nauseas voting.

Lady #1: That’s the shrimp smell. I stashed the platter under my seat.

Lady #4: You mean the cheap-o seats that won’t lean back.

Lady #2: Dear Abby, err Oscar — How to handle it when someone comes to a party dressed inappropriately?

Me: I told you, NOT her fault. Her invitation said ‘Pajama Party.’ And please don’t read your question aloud, they’re supposed to be anonymous.

Lady #5: Shhhh, I can’t hear who the nominees are for Best Depressing Film.

Lady #6: Don’t worry, A Dog’s Purpose will win that. The cute little guy gets reincarnated and keeps dying.

Lady #3: That’s not a thing!

Lady #6: Well, I happen to believe in getting recycled even if you have a tail!

Lady #3: No, I meant there’s no ‘Best Depressing’ category.

Lady #7: Her screen is depressing. Is that just a white bed sheet?

Me: Excuse me, but who are you? And do you ever get told you resemble Jeff Bridges?

Man #1: Hi! My wife had a bad back and called me to be her replacement seat-warmer.

Lady #2: Dear Oscar, There’s a woman here breaking many of the Lord’s commandments. She eats shrimp, she’s scantily clad amongst a married man, and she’s only seen Schindler’s List once. What to do?

Me: Please, I’ll read all those questions during commercials. Yoo hoo over there! Sorry, but that popcorn machine doesn’t work. It’s only decoration.

Lady #7: Really? Wow. Okay I’ll take a large Sprite with extra ice, plus Junior Mints and nachos without jalapeños because I get heartburn.

Lady #5: Heartburn was a good movie with Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep.

Lady #6: I correctly predicted Special Effects, Makeup, and Best Original Score. What do I win?

Lady #3: There’s a man hiding in that corner. He seems like a real prize.

Me: I will hand out a cute gift basket I created when I tally up the votes at the end of the show.

Lady #4: Seriously? That will take hours. Especially if they change their minds about the winners.

Me: All winners are final at the Oscars!

Lady #7: I saw this supposed “cute gift basket” in the guest bathroom. It’s just leftover Valentine’s junk.

Lady #1: Okay everyone, say Meryl Streeeeeeeep. Smile!

Me: Stop! No photography!

Lady #1: Is that a Jewish law too??

Me: No, I don’t want any pictures on social media.

Lady #7: Cuz she’s ashamed of having a theater with uncomfortable seats.

Me: No, I don’t want all my other POLITE friends to feel slighted at not being invited.

Lady #5: Hey, that’s a good title for your blog: ‘Slighted at Not Being Invited!’

All Ladies: OMG. If you’re going to blog about this, we’re leaving. We thought it was just ladies and so we didn’t put any makeup on.

Lady #2: And some of us have no clothes on!

Man #1: That’s totally cool. But I hate to say it, this Oscar show is messed up big time. They just announced the wrong winner for Best Picture.

All Ladies: OMG. Your sound system is the worst. Warren Beatty would’ve announced the correct winner if we watched it in our own homes.

Me: Dear Oscar, Please remind me the next time I think about planning a party — there’s a GOOD reason I retired.

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* All names have been changed to numbers (not for anonymity) because the author was extremely proud to have accomplished filling all 8 purple (yes, purple) seats above!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dealing with a NON-Jealous Mate

jealousy-cause-and-cureYou may reread that headline and decide it’s probably a typo. Or you may think having a NON-jealous mate is actually a good thing! And that may be true except … when it’s not.

Bear with me as I relate the following conversation:

Me: So I had lunch today with my publisher, Jamie.

Him: Nice. Whadya order?

Me: Salad. You know . . . Jamie IS a unisex name. Aren’t you suspicious that my publisher is a guy? And feeling a bit concerned that I had lunch alone with a male?

Him: Nope.

Me: Well he is. And he’s actually VERY male.

Him: That’s nice. Glad to know my gender values books.

Now stop right there.  I know, I know. This illustrates he’s perfectly secure within himself. Also it shows he has a ton of faith and confidence in me and our relationship, trusting I’m not going anywhere.

But what does this say about his perception of my potential value and attractiveness? He doesn’t bat an eye that someone else might find me worthy of coveting! jealousy

Metaphor Time:  Every Friday I drag my overflowing trashcans out to the curb. I never worry someone will come by and flirt with my garbage when I’m not around, or try to take it for their own pleasure. And it’s not because I have a trusting relationship with my rubbish . . . well the recyclables maybe. But now consider this – – parked in my driveway is a shiny, new red Mazda. And you better believe I installed an alarm system on that baby!

Aha! What does this tell you? That’s why I just had to find out more. So I told my best friend to call our home phone several times a day and hang up when he answered.

Him: Darn telemarketers.

Seriously?? So I bought myself some beautiful flowers.

Him: That’s so nice that your older kids would send you an early mother’s day bouquet.

Grrrrrr. So I made a big production out of carrying in a mysterious brown wrapped package from the front porch late one night.

Him: Wow. Who’d guess Nordstrom delivers after midnight?

Ugh. So I secretly opened it in my closet, then intentionally left its contents (a lacy negligee with tags still on) out for him to stumble upon.

Him: Ha. Someone actually believes you could wear a size extra-Small.

That does it.

Me: Haven’t you been the least bit concerned over the past few days? And haven’t you seen the amount of friend requests I receive on Facebook from men who look wild with desire?

Him: Yes. I meant to tell you to stop posting those graphic pics of your brisket and brownies.

Me: Sheesh. What will it take for you to feel threatened? To fight over me? To challenge someone to a duel?

Him: (looks around) Is that last question directed at me or did Sir Lancelot just ride into the room?

Me: OMG! Well, would you at least rescue me if I was tied down to the railroad tracks and a speeding train was imminently approaching?

Him: North or Southbound? Sorry. Absolutely. Of course. No question.

Finally! I decided to stop (the hypothetical questions) while I was ahead. He didn’t need to know that (in my mind) the reason I was tied to those tracks was because Jamie, (my VERY manly publisher) had shouted in a fit of jealousy, “If I can’t have you, then nobody can have you!”

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I love hearing from you. Tell me if you get jealous or if your mate ever does?

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/rhythmic/

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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How NOT to Get a Literary Agent (In 20 Simple Steps)

 

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If you’re a mediocre writer and want an agent to sign you….marry one. But if you’re a talented writer, all it takes is getting your book into the hands of the right literary agent and BINGO….instant representation! Just don’t do as I say and definitely don’t do as I do below….

  1. Binge watch all I Love Lucy episodes and realize your intense desire to have an agent discover your writing talent is just as fierce (if not more) than that of the famous, hairbrained redhead wanting to break into show business at Ricky’s nightclub.
  2. Decide you need your own equivalent of “The Tropicana” and register for a Writers Conference, where there are sure to be a ton of hot agents scouring to sign new, fledgling authors like yourself.
  3. Go on the internet to check out the hotel layout and notice they have lots of elevators. Forget taking the stairs for health reasons! Craft a captivating elevator pitch! Practice a witty escalator pitch too, just in case the elevators are out of order.
  4. While waiting in the airport for your plane, research “what to say in person to grab an agent’s interest.” Discover they love it when you liken the plot of your book to a mixture of two well-known exciting movies.
  5. Unexpectedly cross paths with a real live literary agent seated across the aisle on your flight. Blurt out, “King Kong Versus Godzilla!”
  6. Recall how Lucy Ricardo received lots of attention implementing creative publicity stunts. Eye the tall roof of the hotel with visions of “landing as a woman from Mars.” Consider the conference swimming pool as a place for a staged drowning so an agent can rescue you as you sputter out the opening line of your new novel, along with spitting chlorinated water.
  7. Wander upon some colorful tables set up in the lobby with established authors sitting behind large colorful stacks of their newly released books, cheerfully autographing covers for (what looks like) hungry agents.
  8. Open your backpack and impulsively place ten of your own self-published books (that’s all you’ve brought to the conference) on a nearby janitor’s supply cart so that (much like a bowl of unattended Halloween candy left on the porch for trick-or-treaters) every last copy will be gobbled up by influential individuals in the book industry.
  9. On the way up to the 12th floor to change clothes for the evening’s festivities, “accidentally” lean against the emergency button, (lurching things to a stop between floors 8 and 9) so that this group of agents are now a captive audience for your book pitch, and bonus – you won’t have to keep it under 30 seconds.
  10. Apologize when you find out they’re just other wanna-be-authors much like yourself, only angrier because you just made them late to the banquet dinner.
  11. Arrive in your room to see the red light lit up on the desk, indicating people have been trying to reach you. Wonder how many agents read the novels you left in the lower lobby, salivated, and have now beaten a path to your hotel room phone leaving messages like, “Let’s meet before dinner so you can sign my exclusivity representation agreement!”
  12. Call the front desk and retrieve a single message, “Nine of your books have been turned into the hotel Lost & Found. Please see the concierge to claim.”
  13. Daydream that the missing 10th book is under the pillow inside a prominent agent’s hotel room and he’ll be kept awake all night, turning pages.
  14. At the banquet, decide on a new tact that doesn’t involve displaying your books prominently in front of the cream-puffs on the dessert buffet. Resolve instead to place into the palm of any agent (reaching with an outstretched arm to shake your hand during introductions) a copy of your novel. What? ?  Like they’re gonna rudely just let it drop on the floor?
  15. Pick your book up off the carpet. Shout, “So nice meeting you!” to the agent’s backside as he hurries toward the stairway, because it’s recently been announced to “ride elevators at your own risk” at this particular writer’s conference.
  16. Walk into a workshop called, “Speed Pitching To An Agent” where the idea is to play musical chairs, quickly discussing your book with 15 different agents. Talk very fast! You’ve got this movie comparison thing down pat now. Tell them it’s a cross between “When Harry Met Sally” and “Planet of the Apes.” Claim you heard Nicolas Cage is dying for the lead role when your bestseller becomes an actual movie. What?? Do you think they have Nicky’s number and will call to confirm??
  17. Tell all the male agents “You wouldn’t understand my book, it’s geared toward female readers who want to become multi-orgasmic.”
  18. Sing your pitch or recite it in Pig-Latin.
  19. Contemplate launching into the VitaMeataVegaMin routine or lighting the tip of your fake nose on fire with a lit cigarette.
  20. Check-out of the hotel on Monday morning thoroughly encouraged because the janitor chased you out to the valet stand to thank you for leaving him your book with his cleaning supplies. He wants to know if you’ll mop all the lobby floors so he can find out how the book ends. Say, “Yes!”

It’s Feb! Hosting a Super Bowl or Oscars Awards party? Maybe combining the two?? Check out my new funny planning tips right HERE on the website Jewlarious! I’d love to hear from you over there.

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Sitting IS the New Smoking??

images-17  You better have a seat before reading this — in case you’re as shocked as I am. Or maybe not!  I’d love to take credit for creating this catchy warning phrase, but a quick internet search brings up headlines screaming the same sentiment for the past few years — like this one RIGHT HERE

Beware of the Chair!! But seriously? They’re asserting that you can never have puffed a cigarette a day in your life but (even with daily strenuous exercise) your chances of heart-attacks/strokes are the same as a smoker’s . . .  if you spend the rest of your time sitting.

“Sitting is the New Smoking!”

This gives new meaning to addictions and begs the following questions…

  • If you have a problem with more than 4 sofas a day, are you a chain sitter?
  • Should you gradually wean yourself off La-Z-Boy recliners, or just quit cold turkey?
  • After good sex, how likely are you to have the urge to reach for a barstool?
  • Can you tell by someone’s breath and smell on their clothing that they are a heavy sitter?
  • Is it still legal for restaurants to have sitting and non-sitting sections in their dining rooms?
  • If you’re a super active person but your spouse is a couch potato, are you being subjected to second-hand chairs?
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She won’t be smiling when she’s charged a “Nicobean” tax for sitting on this thing.

 

But the real point is…

“This Is The New That!”

It started with our ages, “50 is the new 40.” And the television show, “Orange is the new Black.” Now anything is fair game. So here we go…

For Kids:

  • Hugs are the new allowance!
  • Bath tubs are the new swimming pools.
  • Hatchimals are the new puppy under the Christmas tree!
  • Cellphone Trackers are the new “Call to let me know you arrived safely.”
  • Google is the new library.

For Women:

  • 155 lbs is the new 125 lbs.
  • Tossing & Turning and Night Sweats are the new gym workout.
  • Gray is the new blonde.
  • Nutella is the new breakfast of champions
  • “You’re a jerk, I deserve better!” is the new, “It’s not you, it’s me.”

For Men: (a little throwback in time!)

  • “Come over for a home cooked meal” is the OLD “meet you at Starbucks.”
  • Opening car doors for females is the OLD click your remote keyless entry.
  • A goodnight kiss is the OLD blowjob.
  • A perfumed love letter is the OLD sexting.
  • Sleeping on the couch after a fight is the OLD sleeping with her best friend.
  • His Girl Friday is the OLD Siri.

Disclaimer: It is highly recommended when perusing this blog, that you be (at the very least) sitting in a rigorous rocking chair so you aren’t endangering your health with stationary sitting. Also nobody can accuse you of being “Off Your Rocker” for reading Little Miss Menopause. 😉

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Dance Movie Women…Where Are They Now?

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Join us as we pay tribute and catch up with some famous female characters from the classic musical films we’ve all watched zillions of times:

  • Saturday Night Fever               Dirty Dancing
  • Grease                                          Footloose
  • Flashdance                                  Hairspray

Today’s your lucky day because through the magic of blogging, you’re about to listen in on their group therapy session!

Therapist: Hi ladies, how ya been?

Sandy: Who you calling a “Has Been?”  Fans are still Hopelessly Devoted to me.

Stephanie: Relax, Miss Sandra Dee. You misheard. She’s just asking how we are. Personally, I’m just barely Staying Alive.

Therapist: Great! Whether you’re a mother or whether you’re a brother… well I’m sure we’ve all had enough of those lyrics. I was going to have us go around the circle and introduce ourselves, but I think it’s rather obvious who everyone is — except for you there with the leg-warmers on.  And you are?

Alex: That’s okay. Nobody ever knew what my name was in Flashdance either. When they referred to me, they just said, “She’s a maniac, MANIAC!” Mainly I was known by my iconic sweatshirts. I gave everyone the cold shoulder in the 80’s.

Therapist: You certainly did. Please tell me more about how that feels. But first Baby, could you please scoot your chair back further so I can see everyone. Maybe sit closer to that wall?

Baby: Nobody puts Baby in a corner.

Therapist: Hmmm, Paranoia. And Dissociative Behavior talking about yourself in the third person.  I see we’ve got our work cut out for ourselves.

Tracy: I’ve actually already worked hard on myself to overcome society’s criticism about being the fat girl. I’m not ashamed of how I look. I’m just grateful I wasn’t born a negro.

Therapist:  Excuse me!??  Tracy Turnblad! That last part is completely out of character for you!

Tracy:  Sorry, I guess you can take the girl outa Baltimore but you can’t….well the main thing is – I role modeled self-acceptance.

Therapist: And how can any of us really tell when we’ve achieved self-acceptance?

Stephanie: Well you can tell by the way I use my walk, yada yada no time to talk. Music loud and feeling warm, been kicked around since I was born . . .

Therapist:  Really?  You’re amazingly confident even with that kind of child abuse.

Sandy: Me too. I always liked myself just as I was.

Baby: What are you talking about, girlfriend? You purposely turned yourself into a complete slut, forever teaching impressionable young girls that being a goody-two-shoes sucks, and the only way to be well-liked is to put out!

Sandy: Tell me about it, Stud.

Ariel: Yeah…Let’s hear it for the boy!!  Sometimes you gotta cut loose, kick off your Sunday shoes.

Therapist: Please do not remove your footwear here. And I really would like to be the one who leads this discussion.

Stephanie: Wow. Somebody has control issues. And it’s not Tony Manero.

Coco: You know, I just want to belt out one hit song and get some FAME. Okay, I confess…I wanna live forever!

Tracy: Sweetheart, you’re in the wrong room. The Washed-Up Movie Singers Support Group meets down the hall. Sheesh, that Irene Cara is still looking mighty fine.

Therapist: Can we please stay focused? Let’s talk about what dancing did for you ladies. You all have some great moves. What impact did that have on your relationships?

Sandy: Well when I lost the big Rydell high school dance contest, I thought I lost Danny too. After all, he only had eyes for Cha-Cha DiGregorio at that point. But I clung to the hope that “We go together, like rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong!”

Therapist: Yes, that makes so much sense.

Sandy: And I’d also remind myself that “We’re one of a kind, like dip da-dip da-dip doo-wop da doo-bee doo!”

Therapist: Very profound indeed.

Tracy: I have a little issue with my femininity. My mother was also a very big woman. But sometimes she was also a big man. She sent me double messages about which gender she identified with.

Therapist: Well, “Big” was the key. And you did the right thing by telling her, “Mama, I’m a big girl now!” without hesitating or missing a beat.

Tracy: Well, you can’t stop the beat!

Stephanie: Beat? Does this mean it’s time to talk about the child abuse now?

Therapist: I’m afraid we’ll have to stop here for this week. But I’d like to go around and hear from everyone what kind of time you’ve had today and please be honest.

Baby: Now I’ve had the time of my life. No I never felt like this before. Yes I swear it’s the truth. And I owe it all to you.

Therapist: Well at least you owe me $150 for this hour! Sandy, what about you?

Sandy: You’re a fake and a phony and I wish I never laid eyes on you.

Therapist: Lot’s of anger there. Maybe if you didn’t always keep that Elvis and his Pelvis so far away from you.

Tracy:  Or maybe if she ratted her hair earlier in the movie. Personally I loved everything about this session. I just wanna let the whole world know I’m still big, blonde and beautiful. And every day should be negro day!

Therapist:  Honey, maybe you should just say, “Black lives matter.” As for the rest of you, if you take nothing else away from this meeting, just remember this one word….

Sandy: Grease is the word!!!

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Scheduled Sex and Mystery Dates!?

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Scheduled Sex and Mystery Dates are two ideas that you might have been thinking of incorporating into your relationship because all the “Couples Experts” are talking about these things lately. Plus implementing both means they’ll balance (cancel??)  each other out.

Scheduled Sex can tend to feel a bit artificial and contrived — while Mystery Dates can counteract that with a sense of impromptu and spontaneity. Here are my tips for each concept.

Tips for SCHEDULED SEX

Verification! The good news is you can schedule sex as often as you want. But if you don’t pencil your partner in, (and get an advanced agreement that the date/time works for them) instead of climaxing to greater heights together, you’re gonna just be left so low. Just to be clear, that’s “SOLO.” (As in “uh oh!”) So always conFIRM, ConFIRM, ConFIRM! 

Vanishication! There’s no other surefire way to make your children disappear than by hiring a magician, so be sure and factor a white rabbit into the equation when scheduling sex.

Specification! Do you plan a work meeting without sending out the proposed agenda? No! Do you make a doctor’s appointment without letting the office know the reason for your visit? No! Do you call and arrange a day/time with your hairstylist without telling the receptionist if you want a dye-job, a layered cut, a fancy up-do, a perm, or just a blow-out?  No!  (Note: When calling beautician, Never combine the first word of the last service with the second word of the first service! Go ahead. I’ll wait whilst you go back and figure this one out!)  Well, it’s the same thing here — As long as you’re writing down a time/place for sex, you may as well suck every last bit of spontaneous fun out of the act by listing the specific type of foreplay (and exact positions during intercourse!) you’ll be expecting. So your calendar should look something like this after scheduling sex.

Feb 12, 9 pm. — Kissing, hugging, touching, cuddling, missionary, cowgirl/saddle straddle/rodeo and the stand and deliver!

If you’re a minimalist, (or work for Nike) a daily planner that looks like this is also permissible.

Feb 12, 9 pm. — Just do “it!”

Organization! Okay, so you’ve got things verified, specified, and your kids have been sawed in half. But now you still need to shower, shampoo, shave, moisturize, brush teeth, change the sheets, pick out what you’ll (not) wear, find good music, and rehearse clever lines that will make the whole scene seem unforced and natural. 

Celebration! Be sure and pick days that are worthy of having sex on. Favorite holidays include Friday the 13th, Groundhog Day, February 29th, Take Your Daughter to Work day, April Fool’s Day, Squirrel Appreciation Day, Backwards Day, and Crazy Hair Day.

Tips for a MYSTERY DATE

No Board Games! Your “Mystery Date” should not be just, “Surprise! We’re playing Monopoly, Scrabble, or Clue at the kitchen table tonight!” However, if you can get your hands on an old 1965 board game actually called, “Mystery Date” (with a little white plastic door in the center of it that opens to various pictures of men who are ready to court you — holding a corsage, a bowling ball, skis, a beach blanket, etc.) then send this to me so I can relive my childhood. I always managed to open the door to the “dud” date.

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Blindfold! If you have one left over from Scheduled Sex, use it as you drive your partner in the car to their mystery date. The real mystery will then become, “how in the hell can you see where you’re driving us??” Kidding. Tie it over your innocent passenger’s eyes to heighten the suspense of where you’re taking them.

Hint! Some people are just no fun, and by that I mean “control freaks” and by that I mean “me!” They will continually ask you to give them a clue. If they persist, you can satisfy their curiosity by telling them how they should dress for the mystery date. But keep ’em guessing by stating, “wear a bikini” (when it’s really for a broadway show!) or “wear a heavy jacket” (when it’s actually for a hot-tub) and I guarantee your partner will be pleased as punch. Or they’ll throw one.

No Calendar! Remember, Mystery Date is supposed to have the opposite effect of Scheduled Sex. There can be no details written down about where/what/how/. Otherwise there’s zero astonishment during your date, right? However if you’re really sly, you’ll pretend it’s actually Scheduled Sex instead of a Mystery Date. Then when they’re all ready and worked up to participate in the former, you can blindfold them, tell them to wear a ball gown, and drive them to a miniature golf park!

The Unknown!  Mystery dates are all about the element of the unexpected. So grab your partner, look deeply into their eyes, back them into the nearest wall, press your body tightly against theirs and say, “Forget Mystery Date or Scheduled Sex!” Then continue seducing them for a wild night of unbridled passion. Because frankly that beats anything any Couples Expert could ever recommend.

Readers: I hope these two ideas will help keep stale relationships staying fresh. Or you might just try using a chip clip.

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“Guilty As CHARGED!” (But the Thief Lives in Your Own Home??)

0a3b2cd8fc3a57f55e82c17f42b70ac1And you probably already love this crook dearly! That’s right — If you possess a mobile phone and live with other cell users, a terrible crime occurs in your home at least several times a week.

Your phone charger is either being (A) used without your consent (B) swapped for a seemingly identical, but ever so slightly different charger (different in that the replacement one looks like a starved rat gnawed through the end of it) or (C) blatantly snatched right out of the innocent grasp of your usual friendly outlet, never to be seen or heard from again.

Hanging up posters like this will be totally ineffective.

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Here are some insidious indications that you’re either about to fall victim — or if you’re already missing your charger, it is NOT the result of your poor menopausal memory, which many would love for you to believe.

10 Tips To Detect Cell-Charger Foul Play

  1. Anyone who casually asks you, “Hey, have you seen my charger around the family room today?” is immediately suspect because if they can’t find their own, this means they’ve already set their sights longingly on YOURS, which you believe is safely sequestered behind your locked bedroom door.
  2. Careful of wrapping a piece of uniquely colored duct tape around your charger cord. Such “defective” tape can inadvertently slide right off in the slick hands of a CCCC (Charismatic Cell Charger Coveter) and suddenly you have no identifying mark to point to when trying to assert your position of ownership.
  3. And don’t get overconfident and think scrawling your initials on just the plug part will do the trick. The initial “P” can effortlessly be converted into “B.” And an “H” can easily morph into an “A” (in the right wrong hands!) and before you know it, your cell charger can justifiably be claimed by someone named “Benedict Arnold.”
  4. Think you’re safe because in all capital letters, you spelled out your first, middle, and last name (in Sharpie pen!) all over the darn thing?  Think again. Remember that “As Seen on TV Miracle Permanent Stain Remover” you ordered which failed miserably to scrub the tiny indelible ink mark off your leather sofa? That sucker suddenly works like a charm!
  5. Warning! Seemingly helpful children who regularly play the card game, “Old Maid” (skilled at palming off the ugly spinster woman with crossed eyes and multiple chin hairs!) are instantly experts at redistributing previously mixed-up chargers, making sure you end up with the one in exceedingly ill-repair.
  6. Beware! Your daughter (who often gains your sympathy) by showing you her home screen so you can affirm she has only 1 measly flashing bar left) will one day tip her hand, revealing a screenshot pic taken at 1% battery which she permanently relies on to strengthen her fraudulent case of a dying cellphone. She won’t intend for you to see this, and that’s why it’s known as a “Fraud-ian Slip.”
  7. Household members who know you’re deathly afraid of spiders will enthusiastically shout, “Wow! Would you get a load of that black widow crawling on the INSIDE of our window, right where mom does the dishes!” When you run screaming from the kitchen, that’s when the heist is adeptly pulled off.
  8. Anyone who is overheard using the term, “Frayed” and subsequently witnessed performing strange, delicate balancing acts consisting of holding their hands at weird angles or building a platform out of blocks or tupperware, while charging their phone with something that resembles this . . . icordrx-fixes-your-frayed-lightning-charger-cable-465051-2and the next day is seen strolling jauntily around the house, whistling a carefree rendition of “When the Saints Go Marching In!” (while sporting a charger that’s miraculously healed) should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law!
  9. Take a hint from often burglarized neighborhoods and form a “Bedroom Watch Program.” Have a designated individual patrolling unattended cords after dark so people can sleep soundly. Report unexpected “unplugging sounds” or “yanking noises” promptly.
  10. Resist the urge to show concern or compassion to anyone who frequently utters phrases like, “I’m running dangerously low and expecting a job offer to come in the next ten minutes.” And if they desperately whisper, “Oh my god, I think I’m about to die any second!” do not hesitate to put your finger on the inside of their wrist while sweetly responding, “You’ve got a good, strong pulse there, soldier!” Then demurely add, “But Bravo! Now go try your act on your sister because she already “borrowed” my cell charger an hour ago.”
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WHEN YOUR CELL CHARGER BREAKS BUT YOUR SIBLING HAS ONE THAT WORKS!

Santa says, “I’m Sorry!” But Why Stop There??

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Youngsters everywhere are getting apology letters from Santa because he’s unable to get his mitts on enough of those wondrous Hatchimals. Yep, parents have gotten smart and are making Santa take full responsibility for lazy procrastinating on buying the most sought after toy this holiday season.

BUT AS ALWAYS, I TAKE THINGS A STEP FURTHER . . .

Template: Santa’s Apology to Jewish Children PLUS A FAVOR!

Shalom Jewish Kinder,

Oy vey, I’m terribly sorry you’re not getting that latest meshuganah fad hatching toy but as you know, you’re not on my gift distribution route — so when I fly by on my sled, sadly I must pass over your house. (Perhaps this is the real meaning of why you celebrate Passover?)  Please know however that it’s the thought that counts and I think about you often. I also think about your poor, exhausted parents who must come up with a new and exciting gift on each of the 8 nights of Chanukah. That’s EIGHT! Non-Jewish children are also feeling slighted they don’t get to stretch out Christmas for a week like you do. A great solution to these dilemmas would be that on just a few nights (let’s say an even six) your gifts will be things like socks, underwear, toothbrushes, and those cool refrigerator magnets the local pizza place gives out. Thank you for your understanding and maybe in your next lifetime we’ll be closer buddies.

Happy Chanukah (or however you choose to spell that)

Santa Claus

BUT WHY STOP THERE?

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Hey there Toothless Tot!

Since I’ve now surpassed the age of Tinkerbell, I’m realizing in my line of work that having a good memory is important. Wait, who am I older than again? Anyhow tooth be told, I’m no longer collecting your pearly whites, but instead I’m into recycling glass and plastics so I can save up for a dream cruise to Europe. Each time you bring the bin out by the curbside every Thursday morning, I’ll leave you one of your old teeth under your pillow. When the new guy takes over my old position, you’ll be all set to start raking in the bucks again. It’s no skin off my teeth to make this offer and it’s a win/win for us both. Whadya say?

Also the Easter Bunny just texted me. The crux of the message was that Halloween infringes a lot on the whole candy concept, so he’s now gonna fill baskets with carrots instead. There’s an option for celery, but if he doesn’t hear a real strong preference, it’ll default back to those orange sticks that make your eyesight better.

Wistfully Your Winged Wonder,

The Former Tooth Fairy

AWW, WHAT THE HECK,  IT’S WORTH A TRY . . .

Template: A Terrible Crime Has Taken Place To Someone You Depend On!

To The Family Who Is Accustomed To Everything Being Done For Them,

Recently you may have observed that the contents of your refrigerator have dwindled down to eight fuzzy strawberries, a jar of mint jelly, and a box of Arm & Hammer baking soda. You may have also noticed your clothes not getting magically folded and neatly stacked in your drawers, but instead confined to a laundry basket downstairs. And what about the empty toilet paper dispensers, you ask? And the dust piling up on the piano? Why are there no more Post-It reminders surfacing on the front door, so you don’t forget to grab your pre-packed lunch as you slam out of the house each morning?

There’s a tragic reason for all these changes. We have kidnapped “The Labor Leprechaun” and are holding her captive in the lint trap of the dryer. Let this strange bulletin also serve as a cryptic ransom note. If you want order to be restored in your home once more — beginning this evening, a homemade dinner must be cooked (complete with table set/cleared and dishes washed/dried) nightly if you ever want to see another vacuumed carpet. Do not attempt to alert the authorities at Good Housekeeping magazine, or you’ll never see your beloved Labor Leprechaun again.

Sincerely,

Santa, The Tooth Fairy, and The Easter Bunny

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Are Any of These 19 People At Your Holiday Buffet?

people-in-line-at-food-buffetWhy does standing in line for food bring out the DMV in people? This holiday season, do you know how to categorize the people at your buffets? Don’t worry if you don’t – I’m doing it for you right now. Soon you’ll have a clever classification for each of your family, friends, or coworkers. Just think — you’ll be able to easily identify who you saw last night at Thanksgiving or at upcoming Christmas/New year’s parties. Now you can label all your guests just like you label the chafing dishes. You’re welcome!

19 Types of People You’ll Meet at Holiday Buffets!

  1. The Buffeter Surveyer – These folks have read “helpful” articles with advice on handling smorgasbords. They know to approach the buffet in a calm, relaxed manner and to always have a predetermined game plan, which includes perusing all the offerings from one end to the other before making their final selections. They also know to use a smaller-sized salad plate to fool their mind into thinking they’re eating more! They’ll still pack on five pounds like the rest of us. These people are first cousins with “The Buffeter Weigher Conveyers” (See below)
  2. The Buffeter Overstayer – Buffets are their home base. They’ll linger, integrating all kinds of tasks – talking, eating, wiping, consulting, organizing, refilling, and generally becoming a permanent fixture by the soup. Not compatible with the next type…
  3. The Buffeter Get-Out-of-My-Wayer! – They mean business. Napkin tucked, first in line, making appreciative sounds, as you wonder if a nearby farmer forgot to take attendance in his barnyard today. Not to be confused with this next one . . .
  4. The Buffeter Wrong-Wayer — Always starting at the opposite end. You’d think they’d get a clue while they’re carrying food in their bare hands, because the plates are on the other side.
  5. The Buffeter Prayer Sayer – The Jewish buffeter who recites blessings over each food group and requests take-home Tupperware because without a To-Go container, forty years is a long time to wander through the desert. (But forty minutes is just the right amount of time to wonder through the dessert!)
  6. The Buffeter Cabareter – Hums songs about eating. Often heard belting out, “Food, Glorious Food” from Oliver or “Be Our Guest!”
  7. The Buffeter Delayer – You know they want food, they know they want food, but they sit until the last person gets up, not wanting to appear to be overeager. Soon you’ll overhear them whispering, “Shame she didn’t prepare enough food,” because half the serving platters were empty when they finally approached.
  8. The Buffeter Weigher Conveyer – Announces the calories in water and whips out a little kitchen scale for an official cranberry calibration. Do you know how many points creamed spinach count for on Weight-Watchers? Well, you will now.
  9. The Buffeter Betrayer – Intimately acquainted with the hostess, they won’t hesitate to spill the beans. Yes, even the pintos. “That salad isn’t really organic, Ha!” And, “It’s still just a Costco pumpkin pie, even if it’s sitting on a plate with a fancy doily.” Or, “Skip the baked potatoes, the skins weren’t washed.” Bribe them to keep their mouth shut with the promise of filling it with their choice of leftovers at the end.
  10. The Buffeter Okayer – You’ll not meet a more pleasant, jovial person in line. 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 help myself to goosing cousin Ruth as she helps herself to some goose?
  11. The Buffeter Layerer  – Obsessed with rearranging the sumptuous spread, even 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.
  12. The Buffeter Bouqueter – Gardening types who salivate at your floral centerpieces. Prefers Roasted Red Roses or Fried Fuschia Freesia to light or dark turkey parts.
  13. The 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 back. Now they’re gonna stand frozen and flummoxed in line, wondering how they can politely go backwards. Say this, “Aunt Jodie, want me to get you some ranch?” Problem solved.
  14. The Buffeter Clichér – This guy’s vocabulary is stuffed (fuller than the turkey!) with silly puns and double entendres. While staring at the carved bird, he’ll elbow you roughly while remarking, “Looks scary… It’s a Goblin! Get it?” Or “I’m suddenly in a fowl mood!” Simply tell him you gave up laughing at inane jokes “cold turkey” and move along.
  15. The Buffeter FoulPlayer – If it’s accidental, it can be forgiven – but youngster buffet-goers will drop a cherry tomato into the honey-mustard to see if it floats or sinks. That’s just the beginning of the havoc they’ll wreak. I hesitate to offer more examples, lest I offer more ideas.
  16. The Jimmy Buffeter – Knows all the lyrics to “Wasting Away in Margaritaville” and will get a real kick out of you handing him the pepper when he sings, “Searching for my last shaker of salt.”
  17. The Warren Buffeter – When you ask for some tips, he doles out financial advice. You just meant asparagus tips.
  18. The Buffeter OyVeyer – “Oy vey, my doctor says my triglycerides are high.” Ask them what a triglyceride is and they’ll just sigh deeply while reiterating, “Oy vey, I really shouldn’t be eating this.” Or worse, “Oy vey, should YOU really be eating that?”
  19. The Buffeter Essayer – Someone closely observing buffet behavior in the hopes of writing a semi-humorous blog. The nerve.

Did I leave anyone you know out?? Happy Holidays!

20 Thoughts I Have Tossing & Turning! (as you sleep soundly…)

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  1. Oh you’re doing that super irritating, sudden jerky movement thing with your body again. Having a dream, I suppose. Must be nice. Could’ve invited me. Of course you have to actually fall asleep to be included! Well I hope it morphs into a nightmare and you’re wide awake. Misery loves company nobody!
  2. Those very capable hands of yours just sitting there useless on the sheets for 6-8 hours every night. Someone should invent a way to harness the energy of a pair of hands for back massages, while the owner of the arms they’re attached to continues sleeping, none the wiser. It could be like a “Snoozing Toll.” Direct compensation to your restless bedfellow who has to just stare begrudgingly as you slumber.
  3. What was that loud noise coming from downstairs? Nobody else is home! I’ll give it three minutes and if the bedroom door doesn’t burst open, then I’ll know I imagined it and mercifully, I won’t wake you.
  4. I could pretend to talk in my sleep and say really bizarre things I could never be held responsible for. And you would never know I’m not really sleeping. Because APPARENTLY YOU ARE!!
  5. I wonder what the statistics are for the number of people who kick or hit others in their sleep?
  6. Okay what was THAT noise?  Two minutes!
  7. There should really be a pillow-flipping mechanism that senses when your pillow is too warm and automatically turns it over to the cooler side. Why is there no app for that?
  8. “You’re under arrest for stealing the covers. You have the right to remain silent. Because every grunt, groan, snore, snort, loud breathing, and sniffle is already being used against you.”
  9. I wonder how many songs there are about sleeping? The only one I can think of is “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” That seems like an open field for a writer like me to compete in. Ugh, never mind. There’s all these too, right HERE.
  10. How many words can I make from the letters in INSOMNIA? 1.minion 2.mansion 3.amino 4.moans 5. man. Man, this is a really stupid game.
  11. If a tree falls in a forest with nobody around to hear it, does it really make a sound?  If I shout “Sex!” right now in this bedroom while my partner is sound asleep, do I really need to follow-thru? Aristotle and Socrates got started this way.
  12. Maybe this is all a dream and I’m actually sleeping.
  13. Another noise! You are so lucky I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt and not waking you up.
  14. There’s no more lit-up digital clock radio on my nightstand to watch the minutes literally change before my eyes. Gosh, those were the days. “Boy the way Glenn Miller played…Songs that made the hit parade….Guys like us we had it made….Those were the days.” I wonder if the actress who played Edith Bunker really sang that bad?
  15. Look at you. Just laying there. Breathing in. Breathing out. Rhythmic, pathetic fool.
  16. I’m hungry. I’m starving. It might be fun to actually get thrown out of bed for eating crackers.
  17. The downstairs noise has stopped. But I have a good mind to tell you in the morning that you slept through a burglary while I bravely cornered the armed robber with a baseball bat and the police came with loud sirens and now I have a medal of honor for bravery. But you’re just going to the slammer for stealing covers.
  18. What would you look like if I french-braided your hair, drew cat whiskers on your face with my eyeliner, and put a clown nose on you?
  19. Why didn’t I fork out the money for that super expensive mattress where one side stays perfectly flat, but the other side sits up at a 70 degree angle, vibrates and plays backgammon with you?
  20. Some boring one-night stand you are, fellow!  If I wanted to stay up all night alone…I never would have picked you up from that nightclub. Sheesh, lose my number immediately!!

What’s your most common thought when you can’t sleep?

How To Fix Your Relationship in Just 11 Easy Steps!

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Forget the typical advice you read about improving communication and adding romance. My list is guaranteed!

  1. Swap Should for Could! Every time you start to tell your partner what they “should” do, switch to saying “could” instead. Example, “Today you could clean out the garage, organize your DVD collection, walk the dog, and take the kids to the park. Oh and you could also be the one who initiates sex tonight by starting out giving me a massage.” Rather than feeling pressure from you with your typical “shoulds,” they’ll thank you for having so much confidence in their grand potential!
  2. That’s The Way The Cookie Crumbles! Keep a journal with all the criticisms you have of your partner and when you have thirteen items, that’s enough for a baker’s dozen. Cookies, that is. Make that Fortune Cookies! That’s right, you will no longer criticize your partner, the convenient Chinese dessert will do it for you. Take a tweezers and carefully extract the original slip of paper from the cookie (because really, do those lotto numbers ever win?) then carefully stuff in your new little typed message. “Confucius says you will shave more often.” Or “One who is all knowing thinks you spend too much money at Nordstrom.” Always serve lots of rice at all your meals to justify opening fortune cookies afterwards.
  3. Send Anonymous Gifts! No, you don’t make your partner the recipient, silly! That’s totally old school and do they really need another coffee mug with “I’m allergic to mornings” on it, anyway?  These surprise presents are FOR YOU. And they get periodically delivered to your front doorstep by an anonymous source, right? Of course right!  Watch your partner have renewed appreciation for your attractiveness. If someone else finds you worthy enough to buy you presents, they’re going to be extra intrigued by you now. Because what could someone else possibly see in you?? They better find out fast!
  4. Zero Solutions It’s been said that men try to fix things too much and would be better off just listening. But this advice is really for everyone because truly nobody wants their problems to actually get solved. It would strip them of their identity. So after your mate confides in you their latest crisis, say cheerfully, “I completely understand what you’re going through and not even in a million years, would I have absolutely any idea how to help you. It’s such a shame you’re in this no-win situation.” Watch how happy they get that you’ve acknowledged what a loser they are!
  5. Bake. Hey, realtors do it for a delicious scent to sell houses. You don’t think a wafting chocolate smell from the kitchen can improve your relationship?
  6. Lights, Camera, Action! Go out to the movies and then talk afterwards. Sure, you could discuss the plot, the special effects, or the price of popcorn these days. But far better to instead ask your mate if your looks could hold a candle to the star of the film?  If they pause too long, stammer and stutter, you can immediately pout and look dejected. If they say, “Yes of course, you’re just as attractive as that stud or babe!” You can accuse them of lying through their teeth. Either way, you are now in prime position to embark on some great make-up sex back at home. See if you even make it past the front door!
  7. Read This Blog Aloud! You partner will ask, “What in God’s name is that drivel? Agree that the two of you could write a blog far funnier than this junk. Bingo, you’ve got a collaborative project to do together!
  8. Mumble! Instead of shouting during an argument, lower the volume until your voice gets softer and softer. They’ll be craning their head toward you with wild curiosity to catch even part of what you’re saying. For the grand finalé, (because everyone loves a good secret!)… lean forward and whisper into their ear, “You’re such a jerk!”
  9. Mirror Your Mate! No, don’t copy them. Write something really scary on the mirror in shaving cream or lipstick. Tell them it was the cleaning lady and now the two of you have a common enemy.
  10. Banish Boring! Everyone knows couples get into dull ruts. So just do the opposite of what they expect and that way you’ll be completely unpredictable. You can even announce proudly, “From now on, you should expect the unexpected!” After a while, they’ll  find this spontaneous, impulsive side of you to be a routine snooze-fest. That’s when you get to go back to being your true self. And now they’ll find that so refreshing!
  11. To-Do List! Does your partner feel like they are always the last priority in your life? Here’s a way to turn that around, showing them you save the best for last! Leave a list of chores in a blatant place where your partner is sure to see it. It can contain things like “Pay bills, clean oven, mow lawn, grocery shop, help kids with homework, etc.” And there at the bottom will be their name in all caps. But you should also add, “When I’ve done all of these things, I get to spend time with  mate’s name.  They’ll be so flattered to see that they are your reward, (they’ll also feel sorry you obviously have so much to do before it’s their turn) that they’ll do the entire list for you!

Disclaimer:  In the intro of this blog, it says “My list is guaranteed!” It does NOT specify for what.

Are you Angry With Me?

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How do you get angry and still look this attractive? Where are her furrowed brow wrinkles?

Sometimes a piece of “wise” advice backfires on you. When I was just 18, I had an unusual insecurity — a belief that certain people in my life might be upset with me. And not just slightly miffed. We’re talking thoroughly outraged or really furious. Only nobody ever voiced it. Instead they just gave me dirty looks, or treated me differently.

But was this an accurate perception or could I be imagining things?

My therapist (who was probably thrilled this was one of my more straightforward issues) had a simple cure. She told me, “Just ask them.”

Now why didn’t I think of that? Here’s how that’s worked out for me so far.

With Tiffany, My Oldest Girlfriend:

Me: Hi Tiff. I’m feeling like you’ve been treating me differently lately. Are you mad at me?

Tiffany: Are you getting neurotic again?

Me: Maybe. Would that make you mad?

Tiffany:  Because last time you got weird like this, we had to do that friendship circle thingy where we joined hands and recalled boys we liked in 6th grade and frankly I’m menopausal now and can’t even remember what I ate for breakfast.

With My First Husband:

Me: Are you mad?

1st Husband: Stephanie, I am not mad. Mad means insane.

Me: Sorry. I meant are you angry?

1st Husband: I am very irritated.You call yourself a writer and haven’t learned this difference by now?

With My Mother:

Me: Hi Ma. I’ve been feeling like you could be angry with me recently. Thought I’d check. Are you?

My Mother: No. But IF I were angry with you, what might it be for?

Me: Um. Maybe I don’t call you often enough?

My Mother: Could that be true?

Me: No, I don’t think so.

My Mother: Well what other reason do you suppose there could be?

Me: Uh, last Mother’s Day, I promised we’d go to lunch and we haven’t?

My Mother: Warmer . . .

With My Daughter:

Me: Are you upset with me for something?

Daughter: Is that your way of saying I’m in big trouble?

Me: Huh?

Daughter: You know. You reverse things. You’re really the one upset with me, right? Just tell me, Mom!

With My Second Husband:

Me: We hardly talk anymore. Are you angry with me?

2nd Husband: No.

Me: Okay good, just checking.

2nd Husband: You do that a lot.

Me:  I know. I’ve learned in therapy not to make assumptions. I’m glad everything is fine.

2nd Husband: Yes. But we should get a divorce.

With My Neighbor:

Me: When I saw you at the mailbox yesterday, you didn’t wave back. Are you upset with me?

Neighbor: No.

Me:  Well would you tell me if you were?

Neighbor:  No.

With My Fiancé:

Me: Hi. Are you angry with me?

Fiancé: You’d know if I were angry.

Me: I thought I did know. But I wanted to ask to confirm.

Fiancé: I’ve told you before, if I’m angry I’ll tell you directly.

Me: About how soon do you think you’d announce it?

Fiancé: Immediately. I wouldn’t conceal it.

Me: Are you insinuating that I conceal it? That I am passive aggressive?

Fiancé: What? Certainly not! Now you’re just mad.

Me: Don’t you mean angry? Because mad means a raving lunatic or crazy.

Fiancé:  I know exactly what mad means.

With My Therapist:

Me: I’m so angry with you. I want my money back from 34 years ago. Your advice about asking if people are angry doesn’t ever work.

Therapist: I know, I know. But I thought you’d figure that out on your own, and at least it would give you some blogging material on a day you ran dry and your followers would get a chuckle and it might even elicit some good comments.

Me:  Ohhhhh, pure genius. Thank you!

Dear Readers: So are you mad? And I mean angry, not insane. Leave me any comments below. I can take it, really I can. 

Barbra Streisand Accepts Neil Diamond’s Proposal!

eb58900d3a10257b964e34790cb1c50aWell at least they got engaged in my imagination. But first they need a little pre-marriage counseling to make sure they’re compatible and each understands what their expectations are from a marriage partner. Let’s listen in, shall we?

Therapist: Hello you two famous celebrities!

Neil:  Hello my friend, hello.

Barbra: What’s up Doc?

Therapist: Oh please, I don’t have a PhD in psychology, so just use my first name. It’s Caroline.

Neil: Sweet!

Barbra: Hmph. Obviously you’re not a big fan of my films? What’s Up Doc?  Ryan O’Neil. Four plaid suitcases get mixed up?

Therapist: Before my time. But I don’t mean to rain on your parade. I’m sorry if I said something I shouldn’t have.

Neil: No one heard at all, not even the chair. If you know what I mean?

Therapist:  Well, suffice it to say I’m a big fan of your voice, Barbra.

Neil: It’s a beautiful noise. And it’s a sound that I love.

Therapist: Well that’s a great start! So what can I help both of you with today?

Neil: She hardly talks to me anymore when I come through the door at the end of the day.

Therapist:  Oh. Is that all?  Well maybe she hasn’t gotten over the fact that you don’t bring her flowers anymore.

Barbra: And roses aren’t that expensive.

Neil: Money talks but it don’t sing and dance and it don’t walk.

Therapist: Let’s try a different tact. How did you two first meet?

Neil:  Where it began?  I can’t begin to knowing. But then I know it’s growing strong.

Barbra: Isn’t he annoying? Actually we originally met in high school choir. True story!

Neil: She was such a Funny Girl. But I told her, “Girl, you’ll be a woman soon.”

Therapist: So now she’s a Funny Lady?

Barbra: Honestly I don’t know what my age has to do with anything. The underlying issue here is that I’m not quite sure Neil is ready to settle down. And leave all those other females out of his refrains, ya know?

Therapist: There are others?

Barbra:  Well for starters there’s that hussy from the Bluegrass state.

Neil: Ahhh, Kentucky Woman. God knows I love her.

Barbra:  See that?  And Cherry, cherry. And don’t forget about Cracklin’ Rosie.

Therapist: Cracklin’ — Sounds like a cereal.

Neil: No, but she was a store bought woman.

Barbra: And then there was that Shilo.

Therapist:  Now I always thought Shiloh was his dog. Neil? Your input.

Neil: Shilo was when I was young. I used to call her name. But honestly I don’t recall much.

Therapist: What’s too painful to remember, we simply choose to forget.

Barbra: Thank you. And something else that bothers me. He starred in The Jazz Singer and could’ve easily suggested that I audition for his leading lady instead of Lucy Arnaz.

Neil: I Love Lucy.

Barbra: Well that depresses me too.

Neil: Me and you are subject to the blues now and then….

Therapist: I think the most important question is… can you both be your true selves with each other?

Neil: I’ll be what I am. Solitary man.

Barbra: He’s always proclaiming his identity. “I am, I said!” He shouts around the house.

Therapist: Barbra. I’d like you to make some physical contact with Neil right now. Then look into his eyes and tell him how you’re feeling.

Neil:  Yeah, hands touchin’ hands. Reachin’ out, touching me….touching you.

Therapist: You can do it, Babs.

Barbra:  (hesitatingly extends forearm) Hold my hand and we’re half-way there. Hold my hand and I’ll take you there. Somehow, some day, somewhere.

Therapist:  That’s very good progress this week, folks. But I’d like to see you for another session.

Neil/Barbra:  Do we really even need you anymore?

Therapist:  People. People who need people….are the luckiest people!

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25 Things To Do In Bed That Are Non-Sexual But Still Intimate!

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For the sake of this list, let’s presume there are some very good reasons why you’re looking to implement it. Let’s also assume you’ve already thought up basic cuddling/snuggling and watching movies. Great! Now it’s time to depart into some odd, quirky, playful, and unique little activities that may not have occurred to you simply because you’re not me.  Without further ado . . .

  1. Play Truth or Dare with one another.
  2. Plan a vacation just by talking. A real one, or a dream one, doesn’t matter.
  3. Take turns drawing on each other’s back. Start with letters. If you’re good at guessing those, advance to words. Slip in a few erotic words but when he guesses them, tell him he’s wrong and accuse him of having a dirty mind. Advance to sketching actual pictures on each other’s backs. Don’t forget to sign and date your portrait just as all artist’s do. Note: Do not auction off his back in an art gallery.
  4. *Use the flashlight on your phone (assuming everyone brings their cells to bed download-9these days!  And if you do, check THIS OUT!  ) to make cool shadows on the ceiling with your hands/fingers. Bonus if you can create witches or goblins which lead into this next one —
  5. *Tell each other your best campfire ghost stories. You do NOT need S’mores for this.
  6. Have an old fashioned pillow fight.
  7. Read aloud from the same book to one another. Alternating paragraphs. Use dramatic voice tone. Resist the thought that this is how you used to get your stubborn children to enjoy the act of reading. But it backfired and now they hate it.
  8. *Sing, hum, or whistle a few notes and challenge the person to guess the song. Your own “Name That Tune!”
  9. Share a list of pet peeves (it’s okay if it includes being in bed with someone but not getting any sex)
  10. Practice mind-reading skills. Concentrate hard and work on thinking of a number between 1-20 and the other person guesses. Then test your soul-mate connection by transmitting the number “69” instead.
  11. Have a staring contest. The prize is a massage for the person who doesn’t blink or look away.
  12. *Jump on the bed!  (Seriously? What are you, five??)
  13. 12. Here’s the real number 12. Brush or braid each other’s hair. Don’t imagine lice.
  14. Give one another a very bizarre survey. Ask questions like, “What’s your favorite type of flying insect? Do you prefer salted or unsalted butter? Which is worse, being hungry or thirsty or nauseas?” After you get through those basic questions, start on the bizarre ones.
  15. Share your bucket lists. (Shovel ’em all out!)
  16. *Foot massages. Skip this if someone can’t stand the thought of touching anyone’s toes. Also pass on this if one of you has a foot fetish, though how that can possibly be I will never know. (Note: I did not think up this one)
  17. Tickle fest. Find the spots you are both the most vulnerable. File this info away for future use.
  18. Shave her legs. OMG I am so completely joking about this one. But would you believe some male folk are not. Click HERE and read #2 on their list. But come back here and finish mine!
  19. Look at old photo albums together. Make fun of how his mother wears her hair.
  20. Play the “What’s Poking Me In The Back?” game. Best done in pitch darkness or eyes closed and using distinct grooming objects like combs, toothbrushes, but not razors because it might lead to #18.
  21. Meditate (or just deep breathe) together. Practice inhaling something you want more of, like sex. And exhaling something you wish would leave your life. I once exhaled the lice from my daughter’s hair.
  22. Do art together. Yes, in bed. I don’t mean the Patrick Swayze and Demi scene from the movie Ghost, unless you have a potter’s wheel and clay under your bed and he can hum that Righteous Brothers song. See #8. No, I mean those terrific adult coloring books which surely you’ve seen because they are literally on every cashier’s checkstand now. Okay not the artsy fartsy type? Fine. Play hangman. Note: Playing Tic-Tac-Toe is liable to lead to #16 and the Toe Hater won’t be happy.
  23. Play this game. I have no idea what it’s called, but it’s intimate. Have your partner close his eyes and extend his arm. With your fingers, lightly touch/tap/crawl up the inside of his arm starting from his wrist. He has to shout “Stop” when he thinks you are exactly on the crook of the inside of his elbow. You’ll laugh when you see how far off he is. But stay in the relationship anyhow.
  24. Explore “too bad you’re missing that special gene” challenges like A) Who cannot download-10trill their R’s when speaking? (trying to do this has become the bane of my existence and the amusement of many)  B) Who cannot curl their tongue into a sideways roll-up? C) Who puts their left or right thumb on top when clasping hands? D) Who has attached ear lobes? E) Who can encircle their own wrist using just their pinky and thumb?  F) Who can take their thumb and excruciatingly bend it all the way backward, touching the wrist on their same hand?
  25. After the extreme pain of the ridiculous double-jointed thumb task above, the conversation might veer into S & M (sadomasochism). But no, you still may NOT have sex. Instead think of other things to add to this novel list until you both get bored and fall asleep, which is the most practical and intimate thing you should be doing in bed anyhow.

*Credit for these goes to my fiancé!

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10 Things We Would NOT Do If Nobody Was Around!

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In the Twilight Zone, The Shopping Carts gang up and get their revenge on people who never put them back. 

In a recent survey (and I HAD to conduct a formal survey to write this particular blog, otherwise I’d be viewed as disgusting if I thought all these things up on my own!) here are the top 10 things most people wouldn’t bother doing if they were assured they were completely alone.

My bold commentary follows. (Or my commentary follows in bold!)

  1. “I wouldn’t recycle!”  It appears that if nobody is around, the commitment to our environment gets trashed. Quite literally. I myself have experienced the opposite of this. When people ARE around, I’m suddenly the President of the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repurpose” committee. i.e. During a party in my home, someone holding an empty soda can is asking where they should put it? I’ve stopped myself mid-sentence from directing them to my usual kitchen garbage and instead will pull out a “special container” (which is actually just an old toy chest) and pretend it’s our recycling bin.
  2. “I would no longer wipe down gym equipment when I’m done using it!” Okay, so now the truth comes out….your perspiration is actually just precipitation, like the fresh morning dew. But ours is….SWEAT.
  3. “I’d quit shaving my legs!” — I dunno about this one. Sometimes I think I do this just for myself. In fact, I often become so enamored with my smooth calves that if I were to stop shaving, I might file to divorce myself. 
  4. “I wouldn’t sit like a lady!” — With those hairy thighs?  Who could blame you?  
  5. “I’d stop using good manners when eating.” Right?  Somehow food tastes much better if you don’t have to be dainty when eating it.
  6. “I wouldn’t bother picking up my dog’s poop!” — Aha!  Alrighty. So this one is actually mine. I know, I know…it’s terrible. But I never wanted a dog in the first place and I have a notarized contract stating my children will be doing this chore. However, if a neighbor is standing outside watching me, I have been known to make Avoidance into an Art Form. It looks like this: First I make a big show of taking out the little plastic bag with a graceful flourish. Then I bend down and make sure it rustles the grass in a purposeful manner, just slightly adjacent to the actual poop. Next, I double knot the bag and proudly lift it up, feigning that it now has a bit of weight to it. (However, I manage to resist the urge to clown around, pretending to struggle with a twenty-five pound package!) My heart then begins to race as I saunter quickly off, fearing the neighbor will be one of those “checking” types and call me back, announcing, “And the Oscar for Best Pooper Scooper goes to Little Miss Menopause, but you’re completely full of it! So get back here and do it for real this time.” The whole charade probably takes a lot more time/effort/energy than if I just picked up after the dog in the first place.  
  7. I wouldn’t cover my mouth when I cough or sneeze! Have at it!  Let those germs spread far and wide. May as well burst out into song with “Born Free….”
  8. “I wouldn’t return shopping carts to their receptacles!” So you’re the one whose shopping cart is always blocking the primo parking space?
  9. “I wouldn’t wear a bra!” Or, “I wouldn’t wear clothing!”  I can’t get on board with either of these. I think I’d become highly offended and issue myself fines for lewd behavior.
  10. “I wouldn’t waste time washing my hands after using the bathroom!” (Note: Many people private messaged me this exact same answer. But only one person was brave enough to answer it in my public survey. That was my son. But I’d like to go on record stating this should be no reflection on my parenting — it’s a divorce situation, so I get to put this on his father.)  Having said that, I’ve hidden quietly inside public restroom stalls before (not for the purpose of this article, but for another strange reason.) and seen just how many people (when they think nobody else is in the bathroom) will skip washing hands. I’ve heard their rationalization too –Urine is supposedly sterile and therefore if they only pee, there’s no need to wash. In my OCD opinion, public restrooms are so filthy, they should even wash their hands BEFORE going to the bathroom. However if you’re in the sterile urine camp, you might want to read this conversation…http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=39150.0  And yes, these are naked scientists, so they obviously were the respondents for #9 above.

And there you have it — my top 10 list. I had a lot more answers than this, believe me. In fact, it should be noted that many individuals answered my question with responses like this . . . “I’d sing really strange songs in a dorky voice” or “I’d make funny faces at myself in the mirror” or “I’d pretend I was a fashion model posing on a runway as I walked down the sidewalk.”  Okaaaaaay.  But the actual question was, “What would you NOT do if there was nobody around to witness?” So while I think these people are fascinating personality types, and I’ve love to have them as my friends…..they need to brush up on their reading comprehension.

What about you?  What would you NOT do any more if there wasn’t someone around to judge you??andyrooney162017

Dying to Plan Own Funeral!

FullSizeRender (34)I don’t anticipate leaving this world anytime soon (that I know of!) but ever since Tom Sawyer faked his own death and then secretly came to his funeral and sobbed, I’ve been fascinated by this particular subject.

Now an online company called My Wonderful Life is encouraging us to take charge of all the details so the burden isn’t on our loved ones during their time of grief.

As a retired party planner, this seems right up my alley!

I’m a bit hesitant to bring up such a morbid subject to my very sensitive teenage children. Certainly they’ll become shocked and emotionally distraught, but I’ll quickly explain there’s nothing wrong with me– I’m just doing them a favor. Besides, being straightforward and candid with them has always been my philosophy.

Me: Kids, I’m planning my own funeral right now.

Daughter: Can you please be considerate and not schedule it during prom season?

Son: Did you eat the last of the Nutella?

Well, that went swimmingly. Clearly the rest is going to be a cinch.

Coincidentally, I recently attended a beautiful service for a dear friend’s mother and wept at the poignant beauty of it all. But afterwards, I walked away with what I’ll now term, “Memorial Envy.” (Are you listening Pinterest?) The daughter (my friend) gave a breathtaking eulogy speech, a son played the guitar while singing exquisite original lyrics. Still another sibling wrote a thought-provoking poem. They concluded by showing a video montage on a large screen set to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” (my favorite song!) which depicted highlights of her life, holding her grandkids, and experiencing family bliss. All for their dearly departed mother. Lastly, in another room as refreshments were served, her artwork was displayed on easels for us to admire. Perfect.

I allow myself to imagine my published novel up on a podium for everyone to thumb through. Hey, with all the people gathered that day to pay their respects to me, I could even hold an impromptu book-signing! That would be a neat party trick.

So who in the world would plan something as nice as this for me?  I better get cracking!

The “My Wonderful Life” website suggests starting with crafting your own obituary. Let’s see… that’s certainly an intriguing writing prompt. How about . . .

“Ding Dong, The Witch is Dead!”

A big fan of The Wizard of Oz, Stephanie D. Lewis (AKA Little Miss Menopause) just departed this earth, leaving behind a garage full of junk that nobody seems to know what to do with. After an appropriate amount of time, please come forward if you want several dozen pairs of sparkly red shoes, wicker picnic baskets with stuffed dogs in them, and yards of blue gingham fabric. In lieu of flowers, please paint your face green and cackle, “I’ll get you my pretty!”

“Oh what a world, what a world….” I bemoan, not quite satisfied with the tone or voice of this piece so far. Obviously a work in progress. I think I can extend this editorial deadline by a few weeks, emphasis on “dead” of course.

As any party planner worth her weight in confetti knows, a good theme pulls the entire event together. Since The Wiz of Oz is already being implemented for my obituary,  I think a “Writing” theme will do just fine. That’s it, I’ve got it! My memorial service will be held in a public library.

Instead of a traditional guestbook for people to sign, I’ll have a cool vintage typewriter at the entrance so they can “tap-tap-tap-ching!” their names like real authors.

.

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I think this guest meant to say, “Hope You Had a Wonderful Life!”

Tasteful floral bouquets sitting on bookshelves will be folded origami style from print-outs of my best loved Huffington Post Blogs. (Okay, maybe there will only be enough for one lily and a couple of gladiolas.)

flowers

Can you recognize which blog of mine these flowers are made from?

My favorite book-jacket cover will be enlarged with my photo on it — “GONE WITH THE WIND!”

The local librarian will announce to everyone. “It appears our last copy of Stephanie D. Lewis is permanently checked-out. She’s overdue, but we’ll waive the hefty fine because her final chapter was such a page-turner.”

My humor columns from local newspapers can be paper-mâchéd on the outside of my casket.

Oh that’s right….hmmmm, my casket. “Who should be my pallbearers?” I muse aloud, as my reverie is suddenly disturbed with familiar annoying voices, loudly squabbling . . .

Youngest Son: Make your eldest four kids do it. They’re the strongest.

First-born Daughter:  Eww, I’m not carrying her body. You do it!

I throw a book in their direction.

Me:  Will you kids just be quiet for once and finally let me . . . R.I.P?!

What do you think?  Would you plan your own funeral? If so, any good ideas?FullSizeRender (33)

 

 

 

10 Commenting Styles and What They Obviously Reveal About You!

FullSizeRender (31)This blog has not been feeling well lately (mentally) so I took it to a very renowned, highly regarded Blogchologist for a few therapy sessions. It spent some time on her couch while she asked some leading questions, gave it the inkblot test, and then formulated her opinion on every aspect of its personality, including all the comments it has received in the 2.5 years of its existence. I thought I’d pass on her analysis of all your reader commenting styles. For what it’s worth.

The 10 categories and descriptions below are mine, but her feedback is in RED.

  1. THE OVERLY FAMILIAR COMMENTER – Calls me Lil’ Miss, Missy Meno, or just “Hey Steph!” Prone to mentioning childhood memories, inside jokes, sexual asides, or telling me last night’s dinner sucked. These are obviously readers who know you well in real life but are feeling neglected and like they must resort to commenting on your posts to have any significant communication with you. They also are rather possessive and want to make it clear to the rest of your readers that they (and ONLY they) are privy to whether your hair really looks that strange in reality. (I can confirm it does.)
  2. THE CLEVER COMMENTER – Leaves remarks so hilariously witty, my original post seems a tad boring in comparison. Says things like, “Little Miss Menopause, huh? Does that mean you’re taking a short break from guys?  Men – Oh – Pause. Get it? Anyhow, I like your blog, but I’m hoping you’re not just some (hot)flash in the pan!” This type of commenter actually isn’t all that clever. They’re relying on silly humor, with the goal of emulating your redundant, insipid wordplay style so they might catch your eye as a possible future Guest Blogger on your site. They may even go so far as to leave some poison-pen writing in the hopes that you will fall deathly ill and they can log-in, (as you) and take your entire WordPress blog over. Why they would want to waste time doing this, I have no clue – but it might be an improvement.
  3. THE GENERIC WORDS COMMENTER – Always writes, “This was very funny. I liked it.” Even if I’ve written a meaningful post about putting my dog to sleep. Actually I analyzed your entire blog and not once have you written anything that could be called meaningful. Anyhow, this type of commenter feels sorry for you and is just being polite. Plain and simple.
  4. THE CORRECTOR COMMENTER – Their comments contain perfect grammar, punctuation, and are devoid of typos. They’ll point out that I’ve written “hear” when I meant “here.” Or that I lapsed into past tense when I started out in present. In short, if I want to hear from them, I need to screw up. Former English teachers or just extremely anal individuals with tendencies to not see the forest for the trees. If this is a parent and their child brings home a straight A report card, they’ll ask why there weren’t any  A +’s ?
  5. THE TITLE COMMENTER – They’ll leave a quick remark pertaining only to the subject line and possibly the first sentence. Business-like individuals who believe time = money. They have a quota of comments to leave and you’re just another cog blog on the wheel.
  6. THE TIT FOR TAT COMMENTER – They keep track of the frequency and the length of comments I’ve left on their own blog, and then make sure they do something very comparable. If I get too busy, they get too busy as well. These Tits for tat commenters have longterm resentments regarding their mothers for not breastfeeding them as infants.  
  7. THE COMPLEMENTARY COMMENTER – I can do no wrong in their eyes. Every word is a flattering adjective (brilliant & genius!) and the phrase “constructive criticism” sends shudders down their spine. You can spot these People Pleasers a mile away and often they will try to compensate for The Corrector Commenter by saying things like, “I didn’t find your changing from 1st person narration to 3rd person in the middle of a paragraph to be distracting at all.” They have a high need for approval and to be liked by every blogger they meet. Even someone like you.
  8. THE LINK-LEAVER COMMENTER – They’ll say, “That totally reminded me of this!” and then suddenly I have hyperlinks galore. It’s one thing if it’s pertinent, they’re proud of writing it, and they just want to share. But often it’s for monetary gain like for an online prostitute. Your writing could conceivably remind people of hookers, but it’s unlikely since your opening paragraph never has a good hook. Nevertheless, these are the people in society who will drop a piece of trash on the lawn with a garbage can two feet away. 
  9. THE ANONYMOUS COMMENTER – They mysteriously creep into the comments section during the wee hours of the morning and end their cryptic remarks with “Guess Who?” These are the people who keep “Your Secret Pal” notecard companies in business. They’re the ones who donate to charities and need zero credit or accolades. They’re also the guys who put the bomp in the bomp bah bomp bah bomp. And the ram in the rama lama ding dong.  We see these people in our office around age 45 for an identity crisis.
  10. THE NON-COMMENTER – They’re out there because I see their names by the thousands on my follower’s list and they’ll occasionally venture out to click “like” on a post, but never so much as a “LOL” gets typed. They must be very shy. Shy? That’s the least of their issues. These are the most disturbed members of our blogosphere. Often repressed, suppressed, and fraught with sexual dysfunction. Or otherwise suffering from:

Like I said, please take this analysis strictly at face value because personally I think it’s just a bunch of psychoBloggle. 

And now….YOUR comments? 😉

Obvious | The Daily Post
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/obvious/

It’s Just Me, Myself & I !

Lermaa1 (pic)When you’re as neurotic as I am, (aside from having a lifetime of writing) you’ve had a lifetime of therapy as well.

But psychologists can get extremely bored with you and your same old stories replaying, so they’ll often have you do simple “therapeutic exercises.” Nothing that would make you feel awkward or silly of course!  Just sitting on their couch and pretending a part of your personality is in the empty chair across from you. And then talking to it. “Speak to your Fear & Anxiety and tell it everything will be okay,” they’ll encourage.

And they love role-playing “games.”  But they always make me play the part of ME. Hmmph.

But if they find out you’re a published author, this one becomes their favorite idea — “Write a letter from your Younger Self to Your Present Self” or “From Your Future Self to Your Intuition.” Or “Your Small, Fragile Child” or “Your Angry Side” or “Your Control Freak.”

However, what they really get off on is having you do certain things with “Your Inner Critic.”

Let’s see . . .  so far I’ve embraced my Inner Critic. Then in a shocking move, I fired my Inner Critic. Apparently I hired him back however because next thing I knew, I was instructed to silence my Inner Critic. I still have to tame my Inner Critic, then challenge and conquer him. We’re very busy together.

My point being with all these different facets of my personality floating around various therapists’ offices, I thought it was high time I did something completely innovative with all of them.  I would invite everyone to a fun cocktail party!

“Hi Personality Traits!  Please come to a formal gathering so we can all get to know each other better and then we can rely on one another when we need help or when we just have an impulsive desire to be one well-rounded, sane person! Potluck, of course!  See you at my house. Oops, I mean OUR house.”

Sincerely,

Sybil err Stephanie

I was nervous an hour before the get-together but my Perfectionist showed up early and laid out the silverware, plates, and napkins in meticulous order. Okay okay, Miss Compulsive might have come along as well, but I think she busied herself threading fruit salad onto skinny wooden skewers. Soon the kitchen was alive with a cacophony of noise and conversation as various parts of me interacted.

Lazy Bones: Seriously?  Who do you think is gonna clean up this huge mess?

Eating Disorder (ED): And how come you’re only putting out healthy fruit and veggies and some measly cheese and crackers?  Where are the Oreos, Nutella, and pints of Rocky Road?

Mean Girl: Like oh my god! You can’t eat anything until you fit back into your cheerleading uniform from high school. And what makes you think anybody will show up to a boring party that Loser you throws anyhow?

Confidence: Hey everyone, after we have a few ice-breakers, I’m gonna read aloud one of my classic Huffington Post humor pieces. You’ll love it and never stop laughing.

My Fiancé: (Yes I just got engaged and he’s the only actual real person at this wild shindig!) That sounds great Stephanie.  I’m so proud of you, but first let’s go into your room…

Me: (tossing hair in a flirty flounce) Oh, really?  Right now?? Well okay, Handsome. Come along Inner Critic, Bitter About Prior Divorces, Blame, Shame, Aggressive, and Sarcasm. Oh alright, Fragile Little Child, you’re welcome in our bed too. In fact, let’s try this with everyone for a change! C’mon y’all — we’ll be swingers!

Inner Critic: Lights off!

My Fiancé:  Yep, that’s the drill.

Bitter About Prior Divorces: You’re just like the rest of my ex-husbands. Already implying our sex life is mundane and predictable.

My Fiancé: Let’s hammer out the details. And shelve it.

Fragile Little Child: I don’t wanna put this discussion on the shelf. Tell me now! You’re leaving me, right?  I feel scared and tiny. And vulnerable.

My Fiancé: I’m not going anywhere as long as you can take all my pounding.

Confidence: (fluttering eyelashes) Well I like it rough, but gentle can be nice too. I can handle anything you got!

Asks For What She Needs: But can I get a lot of support?

My Fiancé:  Definitely. It will hold up to a lot of abuse if nobody throws a wrench into it and you go easy with all your many hang-ups.

Self-Defense Mechanism:  Like you’re so perfect! You have a few skeletons in the closet too, I’m sure. Maybe you’re a skirt-chaser?

My Fiancé:  Skirts?  Nope, I just can’t wait to come out of this closet!

Waiting For Other Shoe to Drop:  What?? You’re gay? See that!  I knew something like this would happen to prevent our future happiness. Can’t you at least fix it to swing both ways??

My Fiancé: Stephanie, can you stop integrating all the different sides of you for just a moment? I need to concentrate on getting this extra storage wardrobe built. Otherwise when I finally move in, I’m afraid I’ll drown in all of your clothing! Why do you have so many dang dresses anyhow?

All Personalities: (simultaneously) Surely you don’t expect all of us to wear the same size, do you? !

Big thanks to my new fiancé who will hopefully be just as understanding as he was when he was my boyfriend that I use his “persona” here for PURE FICTION!

If Your Name is Jack, You Need Psychological Help?

jack

Therapist: Welcome to the therapy support group for (Barely) Functional, Fictional Jacks. Our first order of business is that we’re a non-smoking building, so Jack Be Nimble, please put out your candlestick.

Jack Be Nimble: I’ll be quick, Ma’am.

Therapist: Thank you Jack. And Little Jack Horner, please join the group, we have a chair for you right here in our circle.

Jack Horner: Sitting in the corner is just fine, Mrs. Jackson.

Therapist: You boys feel free to call me Jacqueline. But Mr. Horner, I do insist you join us. We’ll work on that social anxiety of yours later on, but our focus of the day is on eating disorders, over-exercising, and body dysmorphia.

Jack Spratt:  Nobody here deals with any of that crap.

Therapist: Oh, don’t they now? When was the last time you allowed yourself to eat a little fat?

Jack Spratt: Well I . . . um. . . well you know. I don’t trust our entire Fat system. They claim there are now considered good and bad fats. I figure better play it safe and eat NO fat.

Therapist: Oh nuts! Slice up an avocado, Jack. Eat salmon. You’re wasting away. And your wife, that little heffer, she isn’t helping matters by eating no lean.

Jack Horner: I brought some Christmas Pie to share. I’ll just go get it. It’s in the corner.

Therapist: What a good boy are you!

Jack Horner: What a good boy am I!

Therapist: Yes, Mr. Horner that’s what I just said. But what’s that on your thumb?

Jack Horner: I was born like this. It’s a terrible, hideous swollen purple defect.

Therapist: Oh, it most certainly is not! That’s your body dysmorphia talking, Little Jack Horner. There’s nothing at all wrong with your thumb. You just stuck it into a plum one time too many.

Jack (John Cougar Mellencamp): Little ditty about Jack & Dianne. Two American kids growing up in the heartland.

Therapist: Now is not the time to introduce your girlfriend to us, Jack. I’d like to concentrate on the Jacks who feel they must chronically burn off calories. Jack and his companion Jill are forever going up hills. Jack and the Beanstalk is, well he’s climbing up and down that tall vine so much it would make a golden goose’s head spin. And Jack Be Nimble hasn’t met a candlestick he can’t jump over. It’s textbook ADHD combined with compulsive exercise.

Jack (John Cougar Mellencamp): Jackie gonna be a football star. Diane debutante backseat of Jackie’s car.

Therapist: Ahhh, I see you also suffer from delusions of grandeur, eh? You probably think you’ve got a hit song on your hands.

Jack (John Cougar Mellencamp): Oh yeah…. Life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone.

Therapist: And some situational depression too.

Jack & The Beanstalk: May I interject something? There’s a grotesque monstrous giant chasing after me because I stole his golden harp. Would that make me a kleptomaniac?

Therapist: Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum, has anyone ever given you a paranoid schizophrenic diagnosis, Jack Old Chum?

Jack Spratt: Can we get back to my relationship with my heffer wife? I think we balance each other out nicely in the kitchen — between us both we lick the platter clean.

Jack Horner: Ewwwww, gross!

Therapist: Germaphobe.

Jack & Jill: I don’t suppose you could analyze why every time I take a fall, Jill comes tumbling after?

Therapist: Because she’s co-dependent, Jack. Choose better next time. Now I’m sorry but our time is up for this week. When we meet next we’ll discuss the common unhealthy dynamics in your childhoods since you all shared the same maternal influence.

All Jacks: She did the best she could under the circumstances. We forgive you, Mother Goose.

Receptionist: Excuse me, but your next patients are here.

Therapist:  Yes, please tell the Brothers Grimm I will be right with them. And all their Little Princesses as well.

Dear Readers:  I would love your comments on this piece or the last few in the series I’ve written (Fictional Characters On the Therapy Couch) 

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Poor Jack Nicholson….he’ll be next!

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This Jack really needs to think more outside of the box!

Colonel Mustard & Miss Scarlet See a Marriage Counselor

clue mustard

Therapist: Just to make it very clear — what happens here always stays highly confidential.

Colonel Mustard: Maybe we can write it on little cards and slide them into a sealed envelope in the middle of the game board?

Miss Scarlet: Oh will you just get a Clue? This isn’t about fun and games. That’s not why we’re here.

Therapist: Well maybe you can tell your husband the reason you ARE here, Miss Scarlet. What’s bothering you?

Colonel Mustard: Wait! Why does she get to go first?

Therapist: Check the rulebook. It’s right there in black and white. Miss Scarlet always goes first.

Miss Scarlet: Yes, that’s just the way I roll.

Colonel Mustard: Well this time, I’m making the first move. You’re just a little slut, wearing your slinky red dress all the time, with your long skinny cigarette holder. I see the looks Mr. Green gives you and I could just kill him for what he’s thinking.

Miss Scarlet: Did you hear that? You’re a witness to his threats.

Therapist: Please leave me out of this dangerous game you people play.

Colonel Mustard: Is it a crime to want my wife to be monogamous?

Miss Scarlet: When we go home tonight, we’ll sit down and talk this over in The Lounge.

Therapist: Wow. I’ve never known anyone with an actual room called The Lounge in their home.

Miss Scarlet: Never mind that. His fly-by-night behavior is for the birds.

Colonel Mustard: You leave Mrs. Peacock out of this. I knew you’d find a way to drag her into our personal affairs.

Miss Scarlet: You mean your affairs. She’s already very involved, I suspect.

Colonel Mustard: You should suspect. Because you ARE the prime suspect.

Therapist: Folks, settle down. My recommendation is you go back home and host a fun Murder Mystery Party. You know, your guests come dressed in costume, you put out lots of . . .

Colonel Mustard: Weapons.

Therapist: I was going to say appetizers.

Miss Scarlet: We’ll need a sharp knife for the cheese.

Therapist: My goodness, what’s wrong with you people? I think no matter how you toss the dice, it’s safe to say your marriage is over.

Colonel Mustard: The romance is dead. She killed it.

Miss Scarlet: You’re the one with the guilty conscience. You should turn yourself in; it would shorten your prison time.

Therapist: But if he goes straight to jail, how would I collect my $200 hourly fee? We could take a ride on the Reading railroad to a bank. Or you can take a Chance from the Community Chest?

Colonel Mustard: Can’t you see her community chest is already on display in that low-cut dress? Listen, I don’t know what game you’re playing right now, but deal us out. There are a million therapists in town. You don’t have the Monopoly on Couples Counseling, you know.

Receptionist: Sorry to interrupt but your next appointment is here, those two inventive male siblings.

Therapist: Please tell the Parker Brothers, I’ll be right with them.

This was the third in a series of shorts I am creating wherein Famous Fictional Couples see a Marriage Counselor.  Stay tuned for more. And please leave me a comment if you’d like to request an iconic pair rush to a shrink!

Could Captain Von Trapp & Maria Be Headed For Divorce?

HT_sound_of_music_julie_andrews_sk_150316_4x3_992Therapist: Before we begin I want to stress that anything we discuss remains in the strictest of confidence and will not be spoken outside of this room.

Captain: Or turned into childish lyrics and sung on bicycles. Am I clear?? Tooot, tooooooot–

Maria: Oh spare me your whistle, Captain.

Therapist: Tssk, tssk . . . control issues. So what can I help you folks with today?

Captain: How do you solve a problem like Maria?

Therapist: Hmmm…Anything you want to tell us, Maria?

Maria: Perhaps I had a wicked childhood. Perhaps I had a miserable youth.

Therapist: But somewhere in your youth or childhood, you must’ve done something good?

Maria: Well, nothing comes from nothing. Nothing ever could.

Captain: And that’s just about what this session is worth.

Therapist: Now, now Captain. Your wife tells me you aren’t very supportive of her creative household frugality.

Captain: Ya think? Nobody needs to wear window coverings just to military march around the house.

Maria: But the children. They just want love. Please just love them, Captain. The children.

Captain: Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.

Therapist: I’m sorry but that’s not a line of yours, is it? It’s not anywhere in my notes. Let’s save the Rhett Butler nonsense for later. He’s my next client, actually.

Captain: I said that to make a point. Sometimes I think she’s crossed over from the Gone With the Wind set – – they also have the Drapery/Dress Recycling thing going on. It’s like she’s taken Scarlett O’hara and Maria Von Trapp and blended them together.

Therapist: Could that be true, Maria? Do you think you have Transblender tendencies?

Captain: Haha, it was just a joke. Let’s get down to the serious issue, shall we? Whenever Maria is unhappy, she threatens to run away — go back to Abbey. Now, I don’t know who this Abbey person is, but I suspect it’s short for Abigail and my wife secretly likes girls.

Therapist: And how does that make you feel, Sir?

Captain: Haha, gotcha again. Kidding!

Maria: Honestly Georg, you’re so juvenile. It’s like I have an eighth child. You are 16 going on 17.

Therapist: Have you ever considered hiring a governess? To relieve the stress.

Captain: Ah yes, some pretty sweet young thing with a penchant for playing the violin.

Maria: Georg!

Captain: Fraulein, you will remember yourself!

Therapist: Who says that anymore? Is that even a thing?

Maria: Well, it’s time for prayers. God bless the Captain, Liesl, Friedrich, Louisa, Brigitta, Marta, Gretel and . . .

Therapist: Achoooooo!

Maria: Gesundheit and bless you . . . err, I’ve forgotten what you’re called. What’s your name? Well God bless What’s-Your-Name.

Captain: OMG. Look, is there any hope for this relationship? With a woman who has a severe phobia.

Therapist: What are you frightened of, Maria?

Maria: The hills are alive . . .

Therapist: Now we’re getting somewhere. But I’m afraid that’s all the time we have for this week.

Captain: Don’t you have any quick advice for her to conquer this fear? We may need to hike through the Alps one day.

Therapist: Of course — here’s a memorable tip . . . “climb every mountain!”

 

 

 

 

The Phantom of The Cellphone!

-font-b-phantom-b-font-of-the-opera-fashion-original-cell-phone-case-cover-for“You called three times but didn’t leave a message, is everything ok?” my mother asks. Confession: I regularly hang up on my mom’s outgoing phone message because she gives excruciating instructions on waiting for beeps, admonishes you to speak slowly, enunciate clearly, and requires you to give the date and time of your call. A former teacher, she insists on educating people on leaving proper voicemail.

But on this occasion I’m certain I didn’t call at all, let alone three times. I look at my caller ID log and sure enough I have telephoned my mother thrice within a ten-minute period this morning. The Benadryl I took for a cold must’ve made me groggy and blurred my recall.

A couple of hours later, I receive a message from my old Avon Lady announcing light blue shimmery eyeshadows just came in and how shocked she was to hear from me after more than 30 years. I’m also kinda shocked, envisioning her hobbling up to front porches at age 75, ringing doorbells, gleefully shouting, “Ding Dong, Avon calling!”

Minutes after we disconnect, my long lost Tupperware gal calls, claiming mere moments ago I telephoned her but promptly hung up when she answered. She wants to know if the reason I’m currently reaching out is to schedule a Tupperware party? “Does the word ‘Ziploc’ mean anything to you?” I ask.

What’s the deal with my cellphone and the 1970’s throwbacks? If I’m butt-dialing people, my ass is way behind the times.

Suspicious, I carefully set my mobile device flush on the kitchen table and scrutinize it cautiously as I eat my cottage cheese w/pineapple and lime jello. It behaves itself and doesn’t dial up Dorothy Hamil or Billy Jean King. Just a nondescript, innocent dark screen.

Just as I swallow the last of the curds, suddenly my cellphone emanates an ominous glow and a notification pops up stating, “1 outgoing call.” Seriously??  This was no pocket or purse dial! Paging Rod Serling.

I click on it to see the name Layla Down, a woman I loathe. For one thing, she always asks, “Who died?” just because I wear the color black a lot. And she pointed her finger at my youngest daughter Natalie for the lice infestation in the 6th grade. “Nitty Natty” sticks to this day. I shudder, anticipating what’s next and sure enough, it rings right on cue with the big fat phony Layla on the other end of the line.

Me: Nitty Nat’s mom speaking, how may I help you?

Layla: My, my, what a droll sense of humor you still have. So when’s the funeral? Actually I’m returning your call, Sugar.

Me: Uh, I never called you, Sweet Tart.

Layla: I have proof that you did, Sucralose.

Me: Think again, Sweet‘N Low.

Layla: Better wash your daughter’s hair, Aspartame.

We went on like this until we used up all the sarcastic (saccharin) terms of endearments and began repeating a few. Click. Maybe this was Siri’s revenge for when I let her nearly drown in the washing machine?

During the next week, my cellphone honed its interpersonal skills, not only making random embarrassing calls all on its own accord, (old boyfriends, old dentists, dead people) but it actually started efficiently connecting people together from my online address book via its 3-way conference calling feature!

It introduced my following Contacts to each other:

  • My gynecologist to my Rabbi
  • Dr. Harris, my cocker-spaniel’s vet to Harrison, a cocky Vietnam vet
  • My handyman Richard to Betty, a broken-down divorcee
  • My Weight Watcher leader to my chocoholic friend
  • My divorce attorney to my wedding planner
  • My hairstylist to my friend Nan, the Nun
  • My life coach to my son’s football coach
  • Sherman, a needy guy I dated (and wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy) to Layla
  • My therapist to my Mother (so she could analyze why nobody leaves her voicemail?)

And when I saw the newest popular trend on the market — a clear plastic food storage container (with a burping seal) filled with frosted lipsticks, I knew the Phantom of the Cellphone could take all the credit for striking again. He’d actually gone and hooked up my Tupperware Gal with my Avon Lady. Bravo!

The 6 Stages of Blogging We All Recognize and Relate To!

 

download (4)Yes, we’re familiar with those famous 5 stages of grief and loss (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance) from our psych 101 classes, but did you know there are specific phases you pass thru when becoming a blogger too?

DENIAL— Oh c’mon, it’s not like it’s an official blog that I care about. I mean it was never an intentional goal. WordPress was free and I thought to myself, ‘who writes anything down with pen and paper anymore?’ So a pretty little text box happened to pop open and I typed some thoughts into it to reread when I needed help falling asleep. One day, my children got into a wrestling match next to my computer and one of them bumped my hand on the mouse and it clicked “publish.” That’s all it ever was. I’m an Accidental Author. But if you like my posts, then yes, I am a Certified Blogger.

ANGER – Those other bloggers think they’re all so smart. What is this, high school all over again with those same exclusive cliques that think they can exclude me and ignore my very existence?  So what if I don’t fit in with the “Mommy Bloggers” the “Food Writers” or the “Politics Penmanship People?”  I don’t need a special Blogging Tribe anyhow. All those fancy fake Followers and their “maybe I’ll drop-in and check out your blog some time” phoniness, and those other designer name-brand Commenters? I’m just as good as them, they’ll see. Soon they’ll come begging for me to stop moderating their comments and post them immediately because my blog will be the happening hangout for the In-Crowd, baby!  I’ll show them, I’ll show everyone.

BARGAINING — Hey fellow blogger! I was thinking you could write a guest post on my blog because well, because you’re so utterly fascinating. And just perhaps (because you have an established online presence) maybe some of your fans would stick around and read some other stuff that I’ve written?  How does that sound?  Hello??  “Dear Humor blogger, this post of yours is just hysterical!  I’m reposting your link everywhere, tweeting it, pinning it, stumbling it, tumbling it, mumbling it, fumbling it, jumbling it, bumbling it, and yes even sharing it on Facebook. Plus printing it out on cocktail napkins for my next dinner party. Isn’t that nice of me?  I’m just naturally generous in that way. My blog? Oh, well if you insist. It’s really not necessary but I think having a nice balance of give and take is what makes the blogosphere go round, don’t you?”  Dear God – – If you just let my stats go over 20 views today, I’ll bring my entire family to church this weekend.  Even though we’re Jewish.

FEAR — I just know that last post I put out there was the stupidest thing ever written in the history of blogging-kind. Oh my god, what was I thinking doing a shtick called The Bloscars which was supposed to be a parody of “The Oscars?” Nobody is even entering my contest and I’ll be laughed out of the Blogosphere. Not because I’m so humorous, but because I’m a fool and I never think before I impulsively click “publish.” And there’s no taking it back now, that sucker got forwarded to both my subscriber’s emails. There goes my one chance to turn blogging into a lucrative writing career and now I’m getting old and I’ll have to go back to waitressing and be one of those women with varicose veins and support hose, with a name-tag that says, “Flo” and who shouts, “Put Adam & Eve on a raft and wreck ’em!” to a cranky chef in Mel’s Diner.

HOPE — Someone just commented that I made them laugh so hard, they need a Depends undergarment.  That’s pretty gross but very flattering!  Oh my god. Maybe they are an agent.  Or they have an Uncle who is an agent.  You never know. Just think, they read my post and then exclaimed, “Those words! That grammar and punctuation!  I must have more! Who is this person?  I’m gonna find them and make them THE NEXT ERMA BOMBECK!” Gosh, I really need to put my contact info on my blog.  I could miss being discovered all because I’m paranoid that a telemarketer will call me up and try and sell me a magazine subscription to Good Housekeeping.  Why, I could be the actual author of the article featured on the cover of Good Housekeeping. I love Good Housekeeping. And poor telemarketers are only doing their job. That’s it, I’m putting my phone number on my blog in a prominent place right now.

ACCEPTANCE – – You’re a blogger too?  There suddenly seems to be a lot of us out there now, aren’t there? I guess I’ve resigned myself to realizing that it’s highly competitive and it’ll never be much more than a hobby.  Hmmm, well it’s fun, right?  Of course right! We can form a support group for realistic bloggers who came to terms with their mediocrity. But we still get to go to blogging conferences. Hey, that’s it — we’ll meet in real life! Wouldn’t that be something to tell our children?  Your parents met at a Writer’s Retreat where daddy got the wrong badge and went around all weekend with people calling him, “Little Miss Menopause.” And when he returned it to your mommy, we fell in love instantly. Hey, that’s kind of a unique story. It would make a great novel. And it will get adapted into a screenplay like Gone Girl. A romantic comedy,  I think they call that a rom-com?  We’ll be famous, but don’t worry because I’ll write a humorous acceptance speech for The Oscars so they won’t play us off with music like they did to Leonardo Dicaprio. Eh, The Oscars or The Bloscars, what’s the difference??  The latter is far more clever and unique. (Yep, there’s soon to be a 7th stage of blogging called, “Cockiness”)

REMINDER: TODAY’S THE DEADLINE TO ENTER THE BLOSCARS AND WIN AMAZON GIFT CARDS! 

 

 

 

 

The Death of The Garage Sale

Make-money-selling-clothes-onlineGoodbye to Rummage Sales and Farewell to Estate Auctions! The cellphone has killed them off! That’s right, of all the free Apps you can download, there is none more ingeniously convenient than the one that allows you to make an appointment to invite local strangers to your home, knock on your door and promptly hand you cash for your trash, err I mean your used items.

I got so excited when someone told me about these apps (with names like Close 5, Nearby, and Shop/Swap/Plop/Drop (okay, I made that last one up) that I downloaded ten different ones.

It didn’t take long to notice that the same adverbs were repeatedly used to describe all aspects of my neighborhood’s resale merchandise. Everything was “Gently” worn or “Lightly” used or “Gingerly” sat upon. Where were all the items that had the living crap beat out of them, like the junk I needed to get rid of from my basement? “Designer Heels Slightly Walked In!” Seriously? Nobody tiptoed gracefully around our home in their sneakers. No, they stomped and romped, scuffed and roughed until a pair of Keds had zero treads and was reduced to mere threads.

Even the garbage collector would turn their nose up at our offerings and Goodwill would remind me that the emphasis should be on the word, “Good.”

Nonetheless being a writer, I caught on quickly about how to profile my stuff so I could competitively advertise with the best of ’em. For instance – – My great Aunt Martha’s badly scratched chest (but she once had a nice set of bosoms) with six drawers (stuck in the “pulled out” position) and made of pinkish particle board instantly became:

“An artistically etched antique rosewood bureau (french words always add class!) containing a half dozen open display shelves to showcase your negligees!”

when I got through listing the ad. My cellphone buzzed with interest and a full price offer was promptly made.

I learned two words to include in all my little ads that are guaranteed to elevate anything old, outdated and ugly into something special.  “Vintage” and “Retro.” Why my own face, eyes, hands, complexion and butt can’t be described similarly is beyond me but regardless, I’m grateful for the inanimate object glorification these two terms provide so that I can get top dollar for my great Aunt Martha’s hand-me-downs.

I also take a tip from real marketers and list many of my items with exciting tag lines like, “Brought back by popular demand!” (this was written about my king-sized mattress) or “Buy this and get another one free!” (I use this with things that normally come in pairs, like gloves and bookends.) But my favorite tagline is, “Help me remove the excess Junk in my Trunk!”

Meeting the suckers  people in the flesh who were about to fork over their hard-earned cash for my old shlocky wedding gifts (forget that the ink on my marriage license has long dried up, hell our divorce decree is completely yellowed from 20 years of being framed and hung on a sunny wall) was a fascinating experience. We are talking highly motivated buyers here.

After going to the trouble of borrowing their friend’s large SUV vehicle, programming my address into their GPS, then standing awkwardly in my living room while my six kids watched hopefully, praying this purchase would put them firmly into Disneyland territory, (and knowing they could run into me again in our local grocery market) were these strangers really going to say, “On second thought. That’s the grossest thing that’s ever been born into the second-hand consignment market. I’ve changed my mind. Goodbye!”

No Siree, baby!  If these people bid on something online, you can consider it SOLD! (Too bad online dating doesn’t work that way.)

However imagine my surprise when last week, I read the description of a piece of furniture that I just knew I had to have. It was an “armoire!” It was teakwood! It had ample storage! It was a “Designer’s Delight!” So I raced over to the address with the money I had just obtained from selling my mattress burning a hole in my pocket, jogged up their driveway, pounded excitedly on their door — only to look past the expectant eyes of their darling children and see that it was my old great Aunt Martha’s cruddy chest, with a new coat of paint on it.

“Well, hope you have fun at Disneyland, kids!” I said and handed over a crisp $100 bill.

Tomorrow I’m putting an ad up in Craigslist.  It will be for a Garage Sale so I can properly palm this thing off onto somebody else the old-fashioned way.

 

 

 

 

That’s The Way The Cookie Crumbles

cookieThe idea of a holiday cookie exchange conjures up “Fun, Frolicking, Festiveness, and Frivolity” but there’s another reason I will forever call the events I planned the “F-word Cookie Exchange.” I think it will become abundantly clear when I tell you the two groups with which I attempted to organize these recent nightmares. My Writer’s Round Table and my Group Therapy.

Let’s listen in, shall we?

Writer’s Round Table Cookie Exchange

Me:  I know! Next time we meet, let’s each bring a plate of cookies for one of those fun trades, ok?

Member 1: Great, I’ll pick up a variety pack at Costco.

Member 2: Uh…you have to bake to be in a cookie exchange.

Member 1: Really?  That’s funny. You don’t write, yet you’re in our Round Table.

Me: C’mon folks, be nice. This is supposed to be just for fun.

Member 3: Why should I put major time and effort creating War & Peace cookies if someone else just brings Fifty Shades of Grey cookies.

Me: (Trying not to picture a Lady Finger handcuffed to the bedpost) I guess that’s true.  If we wanted store bought cookies, we could just head to the market.

Member 1: I prefer to spend my time using a pen, not a pin.

Me:  A pin?

Member 1: A rolling pin.

Member 3: You could always pick up those pre-made slice n’ bakes and just plop them onto cookies sheets.

Member 1: That’s cheating. And I feel that the Pillsbury Dough Boy is not a fully fleshed out character. What’s his true motivation for squealing when someone pokes him in the tummy? And shouldn’t he have an antagonist?

Me: Okay, seriously???

Member 4: Did you know that Ernest Hemingway adored his mother’s Toll House cookies so much it inspired his book title, “For Whom The Bell TOLLS?”

Me: I didn’t know that. You smart cookie, you!

Member 4: Nah, that’s pure fiction — I just made it up. Pretty good, eh? Don’t steal that. Speaking of, I call dibs on Oreos. Nobody else better plagiarize.

Member 2: You can’t copyright a sandwich cookie.

Me:  You know what?  Let’s forget this whole thing and stick with writing. A cookie exchange was a half-baked idea.

Member 1: Yeah, and you get those by the (baker’s) dozen.

Group Therapy Cookie Exchange

Me: We’ve all become so close and understanding of one another’s issues. What do you say we have a festive cookie exchange next time we meet? Everyone brings a platter with 3.5 dozen, ok?

Mr. OCD: I really can’t think about odd numbers.  Can we round up to 4 dozen? I would feel so much safer if things were even numbers.

Ms. Germaphobe: Can we make a pact that everyone wears gloves while we bake?

Mrs. Agoraphobic: I will only be able to attend if the cookies are distributed in my own home.

Miss Panic Attack: I’m starting to feel quite anxious that I might burn them all.

Mr. OCD: Just check the oven every 30 seconds, like I do.

Miss Chronic Depression: It’s really hard to get motivated for something this heavy. I’ll probably just spend the day sleeping. Although I once tried a cookie recipe called, “Pumpkin, Peanut, Prozac, Percocet Surprise Bites.”

Mr. Low Self-Esteem: My cookies will get pushed to the lonely back row and they’ll all still be there after our meeting. I just know it.

Ms. Borderline Personality: OMG, people! This isn’t all about you. It’s not even about cookies. I’ll confess that I’m sexually drawn to Bakers and Cooks in general and this entire conversation triggers my abandonment issues from the time the Head Chef for Marriott left me alone in Ikea housewares.

Mrs. Binge Eating Disorder:  I would like to graciously offer to bake on behalf of everyone else. I have each and every ingredient to make 103 different batches.

Mr. OCD: Can you round down to 102 batches? I would feel so much safer if . .

Therapist: I’m sorry, but that’s all the time we have for our session today. Good work everyone. Next week we’ll discuss favorite childhood cookie brands. Be prepared to feel a bit unsettled if Chips Ahoy comes up–but I’ll be right here with you the entire time and we’ll walk through it together.

 

 

 

 

Rejection As The Best Motivation?

crop380w_istock_000012132005xsmallDear Editor,

I received your recent rejection notice and unfortunately it’s just not what I’m looking for at this time. It’s certainly a well-crafted piece and I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors, rejecting other aspiring writers. You may try me again in the future with something more upbeat.

Sincerely,

Stephanie D. Lewis

Aha! Rejecting the rejection letters! That’s the smart thing to do. I wish I could say that IS what I do. Instead when my writing gets turned down, it motivates me to try that much harder to get published in that particular venue. I become obsessively relentless. In fact, I seem to stop submitting to all the other places that actually like my stuff, in order to pursue chasing after the one place that clearly wants nothing to do with me. Sounds perfectly healthy, right?

On the off chance that this is typical human nature behavior and other people have similar responses, I’ve decided to take up rejection letters as a new hobby to see if it also motivates those around me to try their very best.

Recent Rejection Letters I’ve Sent

Dear Children,

Thank you for making your bunk-bed this morning. However, I regret to inform you it’s not exactly what I had in mind. The top sheet was all bunched up below the comforter, (simulating a sleeping body that creeped me out) the pillows were strewn haphazardly, and there were 8 used tissues crumpled in the center of the bottom bunk. Even the cat turned up her nose and slept in her Kitty Krib this morning.  Perhaps bed-making is not your niche and you would be better suited for playing Wii or skateboarding instead.

All my best,

Mom

Dear Bride-To-Be,

I am in receipt of the Halloween costume dress you picked out for me to wear as your maid-of-honor. I am sorry to be returning it at this juncture in time, but it’s just not a good fit for me. Literally. Also the eggplant color is horrific and if you think any woman would ever wear this again as a festive party dress, you’re sadly mistaken. I do appreciate you thinking of me in this capacity and look forward to future gowns you might submit for me to wear as I walk down the aisle to stand up for you at your wedding.

Thank you again,

Stephanie

ps. You two are all wrong for one another. Don’t be surprised if you get a rejection letter from your groom.

Dear Chef at Outback Steakhouse,

Thank you for auditioning this filet mignon on my plate. I’m sorry but it just wasn’t up to the caliber of flavor and tenderness I’m accustomed to. Feel free to try me again in about twenty minutes with more of your recent accomplishments, especially any vanilla offerings drenched in hot fudge and whipped cream that might be presented “on the house.”

Signed,

Your Customer at Table 9

Dear Dr. Goldstein,

Thank you for recently diagnosing my constant mood swings and elaborate white lies as Borderline Personality Disorder. While the acronym BPD is certainly impressive sounding, the whole label just doesn’t ring true for me. I could just be tired, irritable, and disenchanted with constantly getting asked to be a maid-of-honor. Ever think of that, Doc? I would like to invite you to submit a second opinion of my delicate condition in a few more weeks. However if you suggest I’m pregnant, you’ll never work in this town again.

Thank you for the recent appointment!

Stephanie D. Lewis

Dear Faithful Blog Follower,

It is with utmost appreciation that I thank you for taking the time to read “Once Upon Your Prime” and click the “Like” box. You certainly do so with aplomb and bravado. However lately your comments seem a bit jaded as if this is the 13th or 14th clever posting you’ve read in a row from me.  Though that may be the case, the redundant use of the word “genius” becomes rather tiresome. Ho Hum. At this point in time, due to the high volume of comments I’m currently receiving on “Once Upon Your Prime” (a whopping 3-5 per month!) I will be closing this particular section, so do not attempt to leave even an original comment as it will be promptly exiled.

Thank you for your understanding,

Little Miss Menopause

So far, the reverse psychology method of my rejection letters seems to have elicited some interesting results. a) A military style bed so tightly made, I could bounce a quarter off of it. b) A stylish black bridesmaid dress that I will proudly wear to my next funeral. c) Roasted chicken so garlicky I wouldn’t dare kiss someone even with ten breath mints. (But healthier than steak and the chef only spit on the parsley!)  (D) A physician’s diagnosis of “Just being your everyday, garden-variety bitch.” E) Followers who were so offended at my quirky humor, they promptly unsubscribed to my blog.

Oh dear . . . please come back my dear reader.  It was just an experiment in human nature.Mad-Rejection-Letter.jpg (1)

A Rose By Any Other Name . . .

hello!When I went to a networking meeting two weeks ago, I reached for a pen to fill out the “Hello, my name is . . . ” tag and instantly wrote down “Rose.” As I slapped “Rose” onto my chest, I thought WTF??

Yes, Stephanie is a three syllable name and does take longer to write down, but huh?!? So without any notice, I was “Rose.”

I was neither flowery nor thorny, and I certainly wasn’t Rose Kennedy . . .  nope. I was feeling very Titanic-y. Where was Jack Dawson?  “I want you to draw me like one of your french girls, wearing this. Wearing only this . . .”photo-74

In about an hour I was yawning, tired — evidently now channeling “Briar Rose” from Sleeping Beauty. But I was excited because I realized from this point on, I could be someone brand new each day!

Here are my results: 

Bernadette — Boy they sure clamoured around me at a cocktail party. (It might’ve been the platter of shrimp I was seated near)  They wanted to know if I spoke French? Finally I ended up giving a few people some legal advice after they twisted my arm and found out my closest friends know me as “Bernie the Attorney.”

Harmony — Barefoot in the supplement section of our local grocery market, three separate people (upon overhearing me answer my cell phone confidently with, “This is Harmony…”) asked me if I could recommend an herb for energy and tranquility.  “Well, if you gotta have both together then it needs to be organic, raw, whole, virgin, bitter, and very very green.” I said, knowingly.  “Vitameatavegamin!   Yes, without question, Vitameatavegamin will let you spoon your way to health. It’s so tasty, too. Just like candy.” Then I winked. There was no question in my mind who I was going to be the next day.

Lucy — As Lucy, I kept wanting to be in the sunlight so the reddish highlights in my dark hair might catch someone’s eye. But nobody really laughed at anything I said or did. Frustrated after telling each stranger my name and asking, “Don’t you love Lucy?” I overate a bunch of chocolate candies, stomped on a few grapes (no wine) and decided to look for Charlie Brown instead. The day was a total bust.  I fell asleep at night to Kenny Rogers crooning, “You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille.”

Mary – – This was an interesting pick for a nice Jewish girl. Although I was blessed once by two people as I sat in the Dr’s office waiting room, but in all fairness, I had just sneezed. I also was feeling cranky, grumpy and tired.  It could be the sore throat I’d been battling but quite frankly, I couldn’t stop thinking, “Mary, Mary, quite contrary…”  I needed to do something quickly to cheer myself up, so I began to smile really big and toss my hat up into the air.

 

Wouldn't it great to turn an entire world on with your smile?

Wouldn’t it great to turn an entire world on with your smile?

 

Minerva — Never having picked up a single Harry Potter book (or movie) in my life, I had no idea what I getting myself into with this name. I just wanted to sound smart. But it was too late. At the park, smart alec kids wouldn’t leave me alone. All sorts of questions about Hogwarts and Gryffindor and Muggles. Seriously? In one hour flat the name Minerva was getting on my last nerva and I immediately changed it to. . .

Grace — I resisted an urge to pirouette and arabesque right there in the sandbox, but quite honestly, elegance and class were now my middle name. I told all the confused children that I missed my calling and would catch them later, perhaps in the Royal Opera House and immediately went to a high tea where the waitress curtsied after I signed my name on the check. Perhaps I may have inadvertently scrawled the word “princess” before it.

Bertha— I didn’t think I’d last long as a Bertha.  I answered a few personal ads and nobody would write me back except one man who sarcastically responded, “Boy, I sure dig Bertha.” He asked for my measurements and I replied I didn’t know them, but offered to send him a photo instead. He wrote, “that’s okay, nobody can miss seeing you in Seattle.”  Seattle?  I googled “Bertha, Seattle” and decided that I was keeping this name for the entire day.  I needed to feel down to earth for once.

Mirabelle — I dunno. I always wanted to have “Belle” as part of my name.  Annabelle or Isabelle always captured my fancy, but Mirabelle just suddenly rang a bell.  I went to a different hair salon and wrote my name on the client log. When the stylist called out “Mirabelle” it took three times before I realized that was me, jumped and followed her back to her chair. She looked me over and told me that Mirabelle needed a pixie cut and maybe some spiky bangs. I got panicky and exclaimed, “My name is actually Stephanie!”  She shook her head, laughing. “Yeah, right.” I tossed my long hair indignantly, “Stephanie needs glamorous long curly tresses,” I insisted.  She cocked her head skeptically.  “And maybe some credibility?”  After informing me there was no way I looked like a Stephanie, I pleaded for her to just look me up online, read a few of my blogs, perhaps a Huffington Post.  “Oh,” she said suddenly getting it. “Let’s coax some of those natural gray highlights to show through, dearie.”

Gray? Dearie??  And in that moment, I realized with a long sigh — I would always be “Little Miss Menopause.”

Hey YOU!  What do YOU think is in a name?  Do you get upset when someone can’t remember yours?  UPDATE: As a bonus for leaving me a comment about this piece, if you tell me your first name, I shall tell you what I associate it with.  That’s highly valuable!

A Little Support for Support Groups.

photo 2 (4)I decided to join a support group.  But even though I fit every description of every psychological disorder in every self-help book out there, I couldn’t find a group  that “got me.”  So I figured I would start my own. How hard could it be? Give the younger kids to my ex for the night, put some folding chairs in a circle in my living room, set out some grapes, and throw out a topic. Easy peasy lemon squeazy.  Oh and I might serve lemonade. That was always refreshing.

I put this announcement online:

Hi my name is Little Miss Menopause and I’m starting a support group. I worry a lot so I was thinking of calling it,  WWW– ‘Women Who Worry’  but we can tweak when you get here.

The first two calls were from women worried they didn’t know how to twerk, until I explained what I meant by tweak.

Since this was to be an anonymous support group, I will not use any names to convey the dialogue at our first meeting. It could be any woman saying these things.  And trust me, it was.

Is this for women who worry incessantly and want to stop?  Or for women who feel guilty they don’t worry as much as they should?

Well I worry that what I worry about will actually come true. Kind of like the opposite of “The Secret.”

Can this also be a support group for women who have never read “The Secret?”

How about women who really hate “The Secret?” Secretly, of course.

I recently read somewhere that the act of worrying itself is eventually what we’ll die from.

Ladies, can we get started?  We’ll call it “Women Who Worry Too Much Or Not Enough and Aren’t Sure How They Feel About “The Secret” but Don’t Want to Die.”

And The Men Who Love Them?

No men.  I would need to wear foundation. And my skin really needs to breathe.

How about we focus on Joy instead of worry?  We’ll be The Joy Luck Club.

Kill joy.

When and where will you provide childcare?

That’s just like you!  I knew you would assume that women our age would all be mothers.

Don’t say that.  My name is Anonymous. You don’t even know me.

Well I know you’re catty.

I wish I could be a mother.

I wish I had a mother.

I wish my landlord let me have a cat.

Well, if all 17 of us pitched in, I suppose my eldest daughter could babysit for an hour upstairs. Say $2.00?

If we pitched in $5.00, do you suppose you could hire a housecleaner?

Can you start a support group for women who cannot afford support groups?

Shouldn’t we have said the Serenity Prayer by now?

I think this group could use more tweaking twerking.

Or maybe we could all turn our chairs toward the wall and sit facing away from one another.photo 1-21

After they left, I was exhausted but stayed awake all night tossing and turning.  I toyed with starting another support group for women with insomnia. But when would we meet? We’d be too tired during the day from being up all night. We could meet evenings, but we’d want to turn in early to try and fall asleep. Finding a convenient time was definitely a worry.

To distract myself, I read slips of paper I had all the women leave in the Suggestion Box before they left. It was mainly filled with more names of support groups they were suggesting I start.

  • Women Who Are Mean To Other Women At Support Groups
  • Women With Teenage Daughters
  • Women Without Teenage Daughters
  • Women Wanting To Trade Teenage Daughters
  • Women Who Have Lost Their Mothers (we should open with saying, “I’m sorry for your loss”)
  • Women Who Have Lost Their Mothers to Mahjong, Rummy Cube, and Other Games Seniors Get Obsessed With Today That are Considered Hip.
  • Women Who Hate Their Hips.
  • Women Who Have Lost Their Keys, Cell Phones or Glasses (should probably still open with saying, “I’m sorry for your loss.”)
  • Women Who Are Authentic
  • Women Who Hate Women Who Always Say the word, “Authentic”
  • Women Who Start a Support Group Just so they Can Have Something New to Blog About (I knew I recognized one of my WordPress followers sitting away from the group on my purple couch!)
  • Husbands Who Have Wives Who Go to Support Groups To Talk About Them and Are Afraid to Go To Work the Next Day and the Secretaries Who Love Them
  • Children Whose Mothers Cannot Drive Them Anywhere Because They Are Constantly in Support Groups
  • Couples Who Can’t Talk To One Another (We could meditate)
  • Couples Who Can’t Stop Fighting and the Therapists Who Love them.

And there was one question:

Will you ever have anything to eat other than grapes and lemonade?  I have IBS.  It would be refreshing if you could serve other refreshments.

At the next meeting I decided to do more of the talking and be more bold.

Thank you all for coming back.  I wonder if some of you feel as exhausted as I do.  I was thinking of starting a group for insomnia but does anyone have a suggestion when a group like that could meet?

In your dreams.

Cute. So I’ve gone over all the suggestions and I’ve decided there’s one name that will encompass everything . . . Ready?  It’s quite brief.   “Dysfunctional Households”

Women Who Grew Up in a Dysfunctional Household or Women Who Create Their Own Dysfunctional Household??

But I live alone.

Uh, I’m a guy, so this might be a typical male question. But by Dysfunctional Households, do you mean when the dishwasher and the floor sweeper break down.

No, I don’t mean appliances. I mean people.

Well I AM the dish washer and the floor sweeper.

Welcome to our group.

Great.  Just great. Does anyone have foundation in a porcelain beige shade I can borrow?

After they all went home, I knew I would never mention it, but secretly I would change the name to “Women Who Start Support Groups To Feel Important But Instead Feel Put Out.”

And as far as worrying?  I was no longer concerned at all.  I now had plenty of new material for months of blogs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Help Yourself! (Don’t Mind if I do!)

photo 1-18 1st Ex-husband:  I read the back of a self-help book the other day and it was all about you.

Me:  Really?  Was it “The Guide to Reinventing Yourself?”

1st Ex-husband:  Uh, No. It was “Stop Walking on Eggshells:  How to deal with a Borderline.”

Me:  You mean like people who still listen to that 80’s Madonna hit song with the same title?

1st Ex-Husband: Not quite. People who have an Emotional Intensity Disorder, to put it nicely.

Me:  Ugh. You just don’t “get me.” You’ve never “gotten me.”

1st Ex-Husband: Why do you always make quotation marks with your fingers when you say that?

Naturally I went out to the closest bookstore and bought a new copy.  The first symptom listed was:

  • Frequently saying to others, “You just don’t get me.”

Followed by:

  • All or Nothing thinking (well, CAN you be halfway pregnant?)
  • Anxiety & Depression
  • Impulsivity (I like to call it spontaneity)
  • Marked sensitivity to rejection (that covered every writer in America)
  • Control Issues (that covered every female in America)
  • An unwillingness to take responsibility and a tendency to blame others. (not me!)
  • Unstable Interpersonal Relationships (what do they expect when nobody “gets” you?)

As I finished up the last chapter, nodding and reluctantly agreeing, I received a phone call.

2nd Ex-Husband: Hey, just came across a book today that reminded me of you — The Bi-Polar and Her Environment.”

Me:  I’m guessing it’s not about a big white bear who prefers arctic weather, but she’s bi so she likes the sunshine too?

2nd Ex-Husband:  Nope. And did you just make air quotation marks with your fingers?  Hello? Are you there?

The neighborhood bookstore owner was politely holding the door wide open for me when I arrived, greeting me with the hardcover in his outstretched hand.  I read the entire 300 pages right then and there and sheesh — this book could not have been any more about me. Except when it wasn’t. Yes, I had mood swings and extreme behaviors but “a decreased need for sleep?” Not according to my snooze button. When I returned home, my phone was ringing determinedly.

Me:  Hello Mom.

My Mother:  My book club met tonight and . . .

Me:  Title and Author please?

My Mother:  “Should You Avoid the Avoidant Personality in Your Life?”  by Hadley Nuff.

If I drove fast enough, I could just about make it back to the bookstore before they closed.

The bookstore manager was locking up as I arrived, but had the decency to have the appropriate pages highlighted and bookmarked as he read the symptoms aloud to me. “People with Avoidant Personality Disorder experience long-standing feelings of inadequacy and are extremely sensitive to what others think about them. These feelings of inadequacy leads the person to be extremely inhibited and socially inept. They usually turn to blogging as a last resort.”

Me:  You made that last part up!

He winked at me as I grabbed the book and slipped him a twenty.

When I backed out of the lot, a parking attendant approached my car and generously handed me a stack of paperbacks. “I saw these and couldn’t help but think of you.” I glanced at the titles:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Adaptation Syndrome Disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Histrionic Personality Disorder
  • Intermittent Explosive Disorder
  • Reactive Attachment Disorder
  • Chronic Depressive Disorder

photo 3-9By morning, blurry eyed from the small print, I had already googled three psychiatrist’s names.  But which one would be lucky enough to hit the Jackpot and treat me?

If I couldn’t make up my mind, it probably meant I also had “Decision Disorder.” All three doctors would surely have a field day! It was obvious I had over 10 syndromes. But how had I kept all of these symptoms concealed from myself all these years, I wondered?  That was easy.  I also had “Defiance Denial Disorder.”

I was extremely nervous when I realized the doctor (whose name I chose from a hat) strongly resembled Jack Nicholson from “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” That must be a symptom of  “Concoct a Celebrity” disorder, I reminded myself in a calm, affirming manner. “Nothing they can’t prescribe a book for,” I reassured myself. “Relax.”

Me:  I don’t understand how I can fit the descriptions of everything.  Am I just very versatile?

Dr. McMurphy:  Yes and No. You see, Little Miss Menopause… And by the way, changing your name to one of your maladies is very clever indeed.

Me: Thank you.

Dr. McMurphy:  You see, many people (especially ex-husbands who develop a sudden interest in literacy) don’t realize how many of these diagnostic terms share a huge overlap of characteristics with one another.

Me:  So the authors of the books are all friends who studied about Me in medical school?

Dr. McMurphy:  It’s perfectly normal to think it’s always all about you, Miss Menopause. We call that Grandiosity and Narciss….

Me:  Never mind!

Dr. McMurphy:  The point is, all of these disorders fall under one larger umbrella.

Me:  So I have Rainy Day Syndrome as well?

Dr. McMurphy:  It does appear that a dark cloud follows you around, yes. But we have another name for you. It’s not any of these fancy sounding syndromes or disorders.

Me: I was afraid of that. Does it start with a C?

Dr. McMurphy:  Why yes.

Me:  Oh no!  And is the second letter an R?

Dr. McMurphy:  As a matter of fact.

Me:  But Dr…  I thought professionals didn’t use that word these days.

Dr. McMurphy:  If it’s too much for you, I’ll write it down on my prescription pad and you can look at it later. But there is hope.

As I walked downstairs to the pharmacy, I summoned up all my courage.  I could handle being called the “CR” Word. And so what if it happened to rhyme with Lazy.  I’d been called worse things.  I took a quick peek —

photo-62 This was more depressing than I thought.  I don’t think they’ll ever come up with a cure. I better call both my Ex-husbands and warn them it could get handed down to our kids!

photo 5-2

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

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

DEAR LITTLE MISS MENOPAUSE…

 

Dear LMM~

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

A Gentle Reader

Which actress did you like best playing Mrs. Kravitz?

Which actress did you like best playing Mrs. Kravitz?

 

 

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

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

Little Miss Menopause

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

 

Dear LMM~

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

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

 

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

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

Little Miss Menopause

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

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

 

Dear LMM~

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

Withering in Wisteria Lane

 

Dear Withering in the Fictional Street from that Television Show,

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

Little Miss Menopause

 

Dear LMM~

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

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

 

Dear Fixated,

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

Little Miss Menopause

Page 69 is especially revealing!

Page 69 is especially revealing!

 

Dear LMM~

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

Skeptical

 

Dear Skeptical,

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Synch with Your Shrink – – It’s Not What You Think. . . (Wink, Wink)

photo-292She was my 18th Therapist but I was her very First patient.  Here’s how it went down. . .

(Oh, it’s perfectly okay!  It doesn’t violate the Confidentiality Code when it’s the patient who does the blabbing.)

 

Me:  Um, I usually don’t sit in the leather chair behind the big, important looking desk?

Therapist:  Oh!  Sorry.  I’m a little new at this.  I thought if you had one of those Inferiority Complexes, that would cure you right away.  Plus I just ordered this new $1200 couch and I wanted to try it out myself to see if it was comfortable.

Me:  So how does it feel?

Therapist:  Well, lemme see.  I’m experiencing a little of what we call the Imposter Syndrome which means I’m afraid you might think I’m a fraud masquerading as a professional – – So my defense mechanisms have turned up a bit.  And I have some obsessive compulsive tendencies – – I want to reach behind your head and straighten that picture by a 1/4 of an inch.  Plus I’m feeling a little Borderline Personality-ish this morning with a dash of Seasonal Affective Disorder thrown in, which means I need more sun-exposure.  Would you mind opening those blinds a tad?

Me:  No, the couch.  How does the couch feel?

Therapist:  Oh!  Well the new factory smell is obnoxious and the fabric is kinda scratchy and there’s too much stuffing behind my lower back and I notice a slight tear in the…

Me:  (looking at watch) Well that’s all the time we have for today.  We’ll take up the topic of lumpy, bumpy, grumpy sofas at our next appointment.

Okay!  Keeping in mind that occasionally a therapist has more problems than the “patient,” here are “Ten Tips To Try” when beginning psychotherapy.

 

Miss Menopause’s Modern, Mature (slightly Morbid) Mindset Maxims

 

1.  You’re Not An Entertainer!   –  If you think your therapist looks bored, she probably is.  But resist the urge to liven up the session by ratcheting up your life a notch.  Don’t tell your therapist that you’re the reason Gwyneth Paltrow’s marriage Consciously Uncoupled.  Or that you like the name Gwyneth for that matter.  Save all creative embellishments for your humor blog.

2.  Be Faithful!  – –  See only one therapist at a time.  I once played the psychology field and saw three different therapists to decide which style I preferred.  Because I made the mistake you read in #1, I couldn’t keep my stories straight.  When the clinician on Tuesday asked how my Swinging was going?  – –  I began to embellish on nightly (spicy!) partner swapping and all the feelings of insecurity that brought up for me.  But it turns out that was the anecdote I had told my Thursday Therapist.  A week ago Tuesday, I had boasted that I was a Championship West Coast Swing dancer.   Needless to say (re: either story) I was diagnosed with “Delusions of Grandeur.”

3.   Don’t Do Dreams! – – Just don’t.  I recounted a dream I had that my ex-husband and I were arguing over where we should live.  During the nightmare (it just got upgraded to a nightmare when I recalled my ex wanted to live next to his mother)  I happened to be eating walnuts. (my dreams are weight watcher approved) Therefore I was eager to talk to her about the pros and cons of moving to another country, but instead I spent the next hour listening to what walnuts symbolize.  Thanks to that stupid dream, I now know that a)I care about people’s insides more than their exteriors (this is because I discarded the shells instead of saving them) b)  I’m always trying to get at the heart or core of the matter.  c) I’m searching for something that most people might think is a little nutty.  Oh!  And d) Instead of penis envy, I have testicle envy.  If only I had the foresight to dream about peanuts.  They are in the legume family.

Never admit you dreamed about these.  Instead crack one open behind your back and the therapist will think you injured yourself on her couch and might sue her.

Never admit you dreamed about these. Instead slowly crack one open behind your back and the therapist will think you injured yourself on that $1,200 couch and might sue her.

4.  Just Admit You Hate Yourself!– – You will save a ton of time and money if you just fess up to feeling insecure and nervous about your self-worth like the rest of us.  If you don’t, be prepared to discuss ad nauseam that the reason you lost your job, broke up with your boyfriend, didn’t win the lottery and always choose the slowest checkstand in the supermarket is because you Self-Sabotage.

5.  Do Not Flirt! – – Wear a Freudian slip underneath that short skirt!  No matter HOW attractive your shrink is, it’s crucial to act like you wouldn’t have the least bit of interest in kissing your therapist if you met them on Match-com instead of on a $1200 couch.  Bat even one eyelash and you’re in for a diagnoses of  “Transference” which means you’re redirecting feelings and desires (especially those unconsciously retained from childhood) toward a new object.”  That’s right.  I always undressed my Pet Rock with my eyes and fantasized that we’d run off to Stonehenge together.

6.  Never Utter the Twelve Letter Word!  – – It will send your therapist through the roof and bring out all his or her Anger Issues.  They trained for a long time to get their degree and they know what they are talking about when they say you are “In Denial, need some Self-Actualization and come from a Dysfunctional Family with zero Synergy.”  If you even so much as whisper the word “Psychobabble,” she will immediately regress you to a nose-picking, five-year-old with a bad haircut on the first day of kindergarten.

7.  Don’t Go on an Empty Stomach! – – I don’t care if you’re starving, never even so much as chew a stick of gum.  Therapists are well-schooled about the “Freud’s Oral Stage” and will watch every move your mouth makes.  Soon you will feel very deprived that your mother didn’t breastfeed you long enough.  Or worse, you were bottle-fed and that’s why drinking a 6 oz carton of chocolate milk brings out your passive/aggressive side.  But take heed, if you dare bring a sandwich into your appointment (squeezing in therapy on your lunch hour, right?) you’ll be analyzed for every Eating Disorder in the book.  Hold the mayo?  Anorexic.  Footlong Sub?  Bulimic.  Tuna salad wrapped in just a lettuce Leaf?  Carbaphobe.  Basil Chicken Salad with Arugula, dried cherries and apple butter paired with goat cheese?  Haute Gourmet Eater Syndrome.  Save the calories and aggravation.  Eat at home beforehand.

8.  No Cemetery Conversation! – – Unless you want to be labeled as “having a preoccupation with death,” or “suicide ideation” — never admit that you’ve written your own obituary and laid out the clothes you wish to be buried in.  Fashion tip:  Scarves can add a pop of color to a pale complexion.  Oh, and if you let slip that’s you’re dieting to fit into a size 2 graveyard gown, that Eating Disorder diagnosis will come up again.

Isn't it "normal" to wonder who will show up at your funeral?  Was Tom Sawyer in therapy??

Isn’t it “normal” to wonder who will show up at your funeral? Was Tom Sawyer ever in therapy??

9.  Don’t Use “I” Messages! – – The reason for this is because if you go in knowing too much, the therapist will have no life-coping skills left to teach you and before you know it, you’ll be saying that the squashed cockroach on the floor looks like an ink blot.  So give them an easy lesson that they’ll think they’ve helped you master and (they’ll have such a sense of job satisfaction!)  you’ll be discharged weeks ahead of schedule.  Plus they might even remove their snobby, framed graduate degree diploma from their wall.

It works like this:  Therapists want you to take responsibility for how you feel by using “I Sentences.”  i.e.  “I feel angry right now.”  Or even better:  I feel angry because I don’t know how I can pay your outrageous bill right now.”  Therefore do the opposite and start sentences with “You.”  i.e. – –  “You caused me some grief when you said my son has an oedipal complex.” Or, “You make me feel like I am just another number.”  Or, “You make me feel….like a natural woman.”  The latter is better off belted out like Carole King and yes, going to a Karaoke Bar with your therapist would still count as flirting.

10. Don’t Nail Yourself to a Cross! – – When you hear The Voice that proclaims you’re actually really Jesus, never refer to the incident as anything but Quirky.  Quirky can hide a multitude of crazy.  Best of all, no Self-Described Eccentric will ever find “Quirky” listed as a pre-existing condition on a health insurance exclusion form.  Oh yeah, and today’s your big day, Jesus – so Happy Easter!

That’s it!  If you ever find yourself on a therapist’s couch and there’s not a television and a remote control handy, the above list should keep you out of trouble and from having to talk about the time your mother flushed you down the toilet.  P.S.  That wasn’t you.  You only projected that was you.  It was really just your pet parakeet.

 

 

 

 

 

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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