Are You Out There? I Imagine You Are . . .

When I log in to write a new post here, it’s like putting a message in a bottle and tossing it out to sea. Maybe nobody will ever read one single word, and therefore it’s as if I haven’t written anything at all.  Or maybe a certain someone (that the bottle was secretly meant for!) will be be surfing (the ocean or the internet?) and analyze it closely, looking for hidden codes or puzzling underlying messages to decipher and then act on what they’ve read between the lines and track me down in the real world. Maybe they’ll find my phone number and call me with important similarities that can’t be just coincidences. Maybe . . .

So these words are for YOU . . . I imagine you’re out there somewhere and things will go down just like this:

  1. You’re a woman around my age who always longed for a sister. My weird words make you laugh and you strongly identify with things like chronically being out of style, becoming a librarian who shouts instead of whispers, and recreating slumber parties you didn’t get invited to as a teen where you stay up all night and eat Twinkies while doing impersonations of Rizzo in Grease singing, “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee. You’ll leave me a comment and we’ll plan to meet on a cruise ship to Alaska because….well because we’ve both always wanted to dance on a glacier.

  2. You’re a single guy who finds my wordplay to be foreplay. My puns, double entendres, and euphemisms drive you to distraction. When you read my work, you fantasize about having unprotected syntax, premature articulation, and propositioning me with prepositions. If you peruse my blog at your office, you’ll urgently need to take a break in the lunchroom where you’ll eat other employee’s food because you’re hungry for that which you know not how to pack yourself. You’ll contact me and we’ll instantly fall in love and go on a talk-show discussing couples who were destined to be together because of Linguistic Lust.

  3. You’re a literary agent who receives ho hum query letters by the hundreds from would-be authors, but you’ve always preferred to extract the diamond-in-the-rough from the blogosphere quite by accident, just like Lana Turner was discovered drinking a soda in Schwabs drugstore, even though that’s just an urban legend. So 26 blogs ago, you’ve been following me and saying to yourself, “Her Words! I must have Her Words. On coffee mugs or on tee-shirts — they’ll make an absolute fortune. And I’ll take 25 percent.” Then you’ll contact me, exploit me, and find a publisher for my humorous recipe book. Because food should always be funny.

  4. You’re a college student who doesn’t exactly know what you want to do with your life but somehow my blog about turning rock songs into news articles greatly inspired you. To cheat. That’s right, you thought to yourself, “If she’s out there literally transcribing the lyrics from Stairway To Heaven into a breaking news story (and not getting into copyright trouble) then I’m lifting the words to “C’mon Baby, Light My Fire” and typing them up for my next English essay.

You know that it would be untrue

You know that I would be a liar

If I was to say to you

Girl, we couldn’t get much higher . . .

5.  You’re a grandmother type who doesn’t have anybody to spoil but you’ve discerned from reading my blogs that I have six kids and thus you think you’ve hit the jackpot with knitting sweaters, baking banana bread, dispensing advice, treating them to frozen yogurt and in general starting every sentence with “When I was your age…” Next you fly to San Diego and stay in our guest room, insisting everyone call you “Grammy Goldie” but once you get slightly senile, we put you in a maximum security home for the aged and visit you only once a year because we’re not really related. Sorry in advance,

6.  You’re another author and you’ve been looking for that perfect writing style, (that would complement your own brand of genius) and also a team player who bestows actual unique titles on book chapters, rather than just assigning them a boring number. You contact me and we collaborate on a new novel about librarians who shout — which will become a NY Times bestseller, or should that be a “BestYeller?”

7. You’re a fellow insomniac who notices the timestamp on my blog posts and either wants to share with me some personal tips about falling asleep at a reasonable time, or else you want to play me in Words With Friends into the wee hours of the night. My username is OneQuoteGal. I sometimes try putting any letters together to see if they’ll go through. Is that cheating? Find me anyhow.

8. You’re a retro television show watcher and have seen how many posts I’ve written on The Brady Bunch and I Love Lucy. You’re compelled to feel sorry for me that my hairstyle is still from Charlie’s Angels and my idea of a good time is straight out of Bewitched even though I cannot twitch my nose. You contact me strictly to discuss who shot j.r.? And also the twist ending of Newhart. You’ll leave a comment right now telling me your favorite Twilight Zone episode and we’ll bond immeasurably.

9. You’re looking for a place to live in sunny San Diego and you think I’d make the ideal housemate. Okay, “ideal” might be exaggerating just a tad. You think I’d be the type of roommate that mystery thriller movies are made about — the kind who has a secret locked door in her house that leads to? And plugs flashing night lights in the baseboards of her living room so the mice can have their own discotheque, and designates two whole shelves in the pantry and refrigerator in which to store your private food but then insidiously eats it all because it looks better than my own. That kind of housemate. C’mon….write to me, I’ve got a spare room and you just know we should be cohabiting.

10. You’ve got sadness and fear deep down in you that you also try to disguise (or avoid completely!) with humor. You found this post of mine right HERE buried within all my quirkiness and wondered, “Is this fiction?” It’s not. You contact me and we talk depression and anxiety and instill hope within one another.

11. You’ve battled an eating disorder once upon a time (or now) and you understand that it’s not really about food, weight, or body size. You find me on Facebook and we support each other during the times life closes in and threatens to shut us down.

12. You’re a mid-life individual wondering, “Is THIS really all there is? This hamster wheel world that continually goes round and round with the same old thing? And why oh why can I not learn to be more grateful?  Or just meditate and stay in the present moment? How on earth is everyone else DOING this? Hint: They’re not. We need to talk.

13. You kinda already know me in real life and come here specifically because you think I’m a wild card or a loose cannon who might impulsively write something about you. And it might be far more interesting than the real you. And maybe, just maybe you’ll let me know you’re more than just an acquaintance, that you feel a real connection with me, and we can go the distance in friendship.

14. You’re someone else entirely, (not previously mentioned above) because I am afraid if this goes on for too long, nobody will ever read it. Even if they’re the one the message in the bottle is specifically meant for. But rest assured, I also write this blog especially for YOU. And you know who you are. So tell me!

 

Dear Reader . . . Won’t you finally reveal to me who you are? 

Stephanie Debra Lewis, AKA Little Miss Menopause

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

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

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

SUPPORT GROUP SOCIALIZATION

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

LEADER: People-Pleasing!

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

LEADER: Perfectionism!

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

LEADER: Catastrophization!

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

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

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

LEADER: Approval-Seeking!

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

LEADER: Controlling!

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

LEADERS: Boundaries!

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

LEADER: Self-Deprecating AND Passive Aggressive!

ME: I am soooooo sorry.

Leader: Overly apologetic!

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

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

PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE AT SON’S MIDDLE SCHOOL

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

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

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

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

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

ME: Magnification!

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

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

PRINCIPAL: I suppose I Could.

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

FIRST AMERICAN NATIONAL UNIVERSAL WORLDLY BANK

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

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

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

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

ME: You’re in denial!

TELLER: That’s a river in Egypt.

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

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

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

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

ME: Reclaim your power!

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

ME: Black & White Thinking!

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

FAMILY TIME

SON: What’s for dinner?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Your Ex Back (Even If You Don’t Want Them Back!)

Wait a sec. . . I think my title is supposed to say, “Getting Your Ex Back (Even If THEY Don’t Want to Come Back!”) But either way, it makes as much sense!

Hey! Did you know that . . .

the “Reunite With Your Ex!” industry is thriving!

Not a day goes by I don’t get an email shouting, “8 Ways To Make Your Ex Beg To Reconcile!” or “10 Phrases To Text That Will Make Your Ex Realize They Made a Huge Mistake!” or “How To Get Your Ex Back And Ignore All the Valid Reasons You Broke Up With Him in the First Place.”

And my personal favorite, “How To Lure Your Ex Back Without Looking Like a Psycho!”

Last week I sat at a cocktail table with my girlfriend Tiffany (Yes, Stephanie and Tiffany — it’s beyond precious!) at a Mix N’ Mingle event when she immediately burst into tears lamenting, “Why am I here? I just want him back. I’d give anything for that to happen.”

Immediately a man in an ugly green tuxedo shirt and suspenders materialized from behind a pillar and launched into a routine so smacking of a vacuum salesman, I anticipated him scattering clumps of dirt on our white linen tablecloth and sucking them up with his expensive sample machine.

“For just $1,000, I’ll have him crawling back before the New Year. He’ll be full of yearning, promises, engagement rings, and offering homemade Key Lime pie.” He danced a little jig as he spoke.

“She hates Key Lime and besides . . . ” I started to say.

“Really? That’s my favorite pie,” he interrupted.

“Then maybe YOU want her ex back?” I winked.

He pretended I wasn’t there, and turned his attentions back to Tiffany, who btw is not the sharpest tool in the box.

“My schemes are guaranteed to have him crawling on hands and knees no matter whom he’s currently frolicking with.”

“He’s frolicking with God,” I stated solemnly.

“OMG, he is??” asked Tiff, incredulously.

“I’m very sorry for your loss,” he said to Tiffany and then without missing a beat, threw a bunch of mud on our table — at which point she paid him $89.95 for a DustBuster.

“Forget that creep,” I told my friend.

“But I do still love him,” Tiffany protested.

“I meant the jerky salesman, Tiff.  Sheesh, even I have better ideas to get your guy back!”

Suddenly Tiffany had an epiphany! (But again remember — not the brightest bulb in the chandelier.)

“That’s right!  You’re creative!  You can help me. So far all I’ve come up with is losing ten pounds because he’s always hated my muffin-top. I just KNOW you’ll give me advice that will work.”

After reluctantly researching this idiotic topic, I realized there are two contradictory schools of thought. One was basically to disappear completely, because supposedly he’ll miss you terribly and come running back.

And the other is the exact opposite — recommending you definitely do NOT vanish because then he’s liable to develop complete amnesia and forget all about the amazing sex you had on the balcony during your cruise to Alaska. (What? No cruise to Alaska?? Well now we know exactly how to get him back, don’t we? Anchors away, my eskimo friend!) So essentially this technique advocates staying very much on his mind!

Alright so back to my dimwitted friend, Tiffany. I created two index cards outlining each of the very different ways to proceed. Essentially little cheat sheets for Tiff to pick one strategy and then follow it. Easy Peasy.

 

 

 

 

 

But Tiff couldn’t make up her mind which method to try . . .  so of course she utilized them both!

One day she unfriended him from all social media, cancelled every one of her memberships, and changed her phone number/email address. The next day she sprayed her signature perfume on the welcome mat of his front door, requested all radio stations play their favorite song, and had billboards put up on his route to work with pictures of her and another guy. (It was just her twin brother and they’re not identical, so this didn’t blow her ruse.)

She carried on like this for weeks, alternating days of being totally in his face with days of falling off the face of the earth — until I was sure the poor slob didn’t know whether he was coming or going — much less what Tiff was doing!

Meanwhile she also continued her Atkins diet and lost 10 lbs. However one fateful day she discovered he was on a European vacation for three months and the person she’d been seducing back was his 85 year-old grandma who was house-sitting. Not a good plan.

At this ridiculous news, I decided to permanently end my career in the field of “Reconciliation” and  just stick to writing. As a last ditch effort, I suggested that Tiff text him with an offer no man can refuse….having really great Make-Up Sex!

But Tiff claimed that he liked her face au’ naturale, without any mascara or lipstick — so I had to explain the concept.

The next day Tiffany was elated to report his response was, “Yes! But before we have great makeup sex, we need to have a really HUGE tiff.”

It was a Win/Win! Not only did Tiffany think he was referring to her name, but she was also thrilled to increase her calorie intake.

THEY SOOOO DESERVE EACH OTHER!

READERS:  HAVE YOU EVER BEEN DESPERATE TO GET AN EX BACK? WHAT DEPTHS OF DESPAIR DID YOU SINK TO? LEAVE ME A COMMENT!

Is it a Speakerphone or a “SNEAKERphone??”

speaker-phone

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

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

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

97a2ef40a23743b2aacced49a6ae8c9e

    Do You Have Options for Declining An Invitation This Holiday Season?

72-og Here’s a very simple (yet timely) question for you, Dear Reader.

When you are invited to yet another gathering or festive night out and you’re not going to be attending, do you give a reason why or do you just politely refuse?

During “The Ghost  Host of Christmas Past,” I’ve felt obliged to elaborate and provide a good enough reason, (or an innocent made-up excuse!) to avoid hurting the host’s feelings. But recently people have told me this is unnecessary and it’s actually oversharing.

Below is my track record with this social grace ….

ME: I’m so sorry, but I’m already committed.

INVITER #1: Really? To do what?

ME: I’m committed to not saying more than that when I decline invitations.

INVITER #1: No really, what exactly are you doing instead??

Note To Self: Get less assertive friends.

ME: Thank you for thinking of me, but I have another engagement.

INVITER #2:  Again? OMG! Hopefully you make it down the aisle this time! Feel free to bring your new fiancé.

Note To Self: Next time use more specific language, while still not stating exactly what you’re doing since it’s none of their business.

ME: I’d love to, but I’m having an affair of my own that same evening.

INVITER #3: No wonder your engagements never last, you cheatin’, lyin’ slut, you!

Note to Self: Go back to my little white lies.

ME: Darn, I’d really like to come to your annual potluck tree-trimming party, but I’m allergic to pine.

INVITER #4: It’s artificial this year. Vinnie always pees on all our real trees.

ME: Well I’m allergic to dogs.

INVITER #4: Vinnie is our 15-year-old son.

ME: Seriously! Was he born in a barn??

INVITER #4: Yes. I went into labor cleaning the horse stall and gave birth on a bale of hay. . .

ME: Ahhhh! Which I’m very allergic to?

INVITER #4: In our previous house.

ME: Guess I’ll be bringing peanut butter cookies to your potluck tree-trimming party.

INVITER #4: I have a life-threatening nut allergy. You’ll bring 2 dozen filet mignon steaks instead.

Note to Self: Google who said, “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” Hmph. Guess honesty IS always the best policy.

ME: To tell you the truth, I just really don’t want to come.

INVITER #5: Well frankly, I really didn’t want to invite you but your siblings forced me to.

Note to Self: Let a few weeks go by and then call Mom and apologize for not being more tactful. 

ME: Unfortunately I won’t be able to make it because my really messy closet has me barricaded from my front door.

INVITER #6:  “When first we practice to deceive . . .” Oh come now, you can do better than that! A messy closet. Sheesh, what do you take me for? I’ll expect you at 7 pm, unless you send visual proof of that whopper.

mes

INVITER #6: Uh…Maybe my guests can bring some hangers and come over and help dig you out. It can be a “Coming Out Of The Closet” theme shindig. 

Note To Self: Wear those mustard yellow pants hanging in center of closet. AT. Every. Single Party. (To eliminate future invites.)

READERS: When someone declines your invitation with a vague, “Thank you for thinking of me and I hope you have a great time!” Be honest — Are you a teeny bit offended, wondering if they could totally attend, but just don’t want to? And how do you personally say, “Thanks but no thanks?”

invitation-expression-7-638

Couple’s Conundrums Creatively Clarified! (How do little things get decided in a new relationship?)

FullSizeRender

First of all, how do two people (who’ve been dating) even decide they’ve actually become a “Couple” unless they’ve had that specific, “Are we or aren’t we?” talk.  Instead everyone looks for telltale validating signs — the changing of the relationship status on Facebook, the deleting of a dating profile, or the specific way an introduction is made. (I’d like you to meet my…..my WHAT??) Some even view the ultimate official coupleship marker as meeting the other person’s family. But suppose within two weeks you just happen to bump into his awkward parents for the first time in the lingerie department of Nordstrom as you’re trying on a teddy that will hopefully captivate him? Does this mean . . . BOOM! You’ve now rocketed from a lowercase “we” to a capital “US!” (with an exclamation point) right in the fitting room? Nope, it simply means his nerdy parents also still like to have a little fun. Ew.

But that’s just one of the mystifying issues that may need clarifying in new relationships. Here are three other concepts that are intriguing to think about when everything is so brand spanking new. (And nope, spanking didn’t make this list.)

An Over-Thinker’s Guide To Couple’s Conundrums!

  1. WHO YA GONNA CALL??  — How are those special (and ridiculous) nicknames for one another originally determined within the coupleship? Does she just say, “Gee, I’ve always had a thing for ‘Kitten’ on the Father Knows Best series. From now on you call me that, ok? Meow.” (BTW, Kitten would be a true PET-name!) Or does one person think up two options and then invite the partner to give their input? i.e. One day he offhandedly says, “So yeah. Ya wanna be my ‘Old Lady’ or ‘Little Lolita?’ Operators now standing by for your vote!” Or do couples connect their terms of endearments to personal stuff that nobody else knows about. For instance, his first word as a baby was “Baa-Baa” (stupid, but maybe he couldn’t say bottle?) making him sound like a little sheep. Plus he’s a black belt in martial arts so of course you’re gonna try and work a karate move into his new name as well. Put both concepts together and whadya get? He’s now you’re little “Lamb-Chop!” Okay that particular example? Maybe not so much.i-shall-call-him-squishy-2-4558-1455894011-1_dblbig
  2. BEDROOM PREFERENCES? — It’s the first time you’re sleeping together (not actually hitting the sack, but you get the euphemism?) so how is it decided who’s gonna be on the bottom? Perhaps in prior relationships both parties preferred to be the one who looks down on the other person? But suddenly there’s an indoor wrestling match, jockeying for the top position before the bell rings! Really? Alternatively when it’s your very first time “sleeping together”  (And I mean actual “staying over night snoozing” this time!) how do you resolve who gets to sleep on which side of the bed . . . if you’re both accustomed to being on the side closest to the window? For efficiency sake, I suggest a little check-box notice left on the nightstand (much like hotels do with their complimentary continental breakfast room service door-tag which you hang outside to designate preferences for whole wheat over white bread, and orange over tomato juice.) So yours would say —   Circle Your Choices:  1. Sex Position:  Top/Bottom  2. Side of Bed Sleeping: (as per facing the foot of the bed)  Left/Right  3.  Lighting: Off/On  4. Snoring Remedy:  Shaking/Hitting/Shouting 5. Cuddling & Snuggling Duration: Part-Time/Full-Time/Roll Over Immediately After!  5. Linens: Extra Blanket/Just Sheet  6. Temperature:  Coolish/Cozy/Stuffy  7. Windows & Door: Wide Open/Slightly Ajar/Bedroom Gets Sealed Tighter Than a Drum In Case of Prowlers. 8. If You Awaken First:  Rinse & Repeat/Hands Off and Lemme Sleep In!21an8lv
  3. SOCIAL CONTROL? — Which one of you makes the plans now that you’re no longer formally “just dating?” (There are 52 weeks in a year and equality suggests an even 50/50 split in calendar calibration — so simply alternate who’s in charge bi-weekly? Think of it as sharing the custody of your Joint Fun before the actual divorce.) And for that matter, when does “going out” taper off and both people deem it cool to just spend Saturday night staying in just “hanging out?” (If you do this, consider inviting other “official couples” over and playing my version of The Not-So-Newlywed Game!)  And finally, if you officially declare Coupledom just before the holidays, how do you decide whose family you’ll be joining? (Note: This is where some people like to bring out the gender wars and say it should always be celebrated with the female’s family — citing that stupid old saying, “A son is a son until he takes a wife, but a daughter is your daughter for the rest of her life.” Having FOUR sons I’d like to say “Utter Nonsense!” and offer my own little saying, “Go to the holiday table that calls you by your new Pet-Names, promises calorie-free eating, and thinks of dish-washing as a New Year’s Day resolution to be broken by Jan. 2nd!)

PROBLEMS SOLVED!

funny-couple-fighting-with-pillows-in-bed_1098-1664

HOW IS IT DETERMINED WHO STARTS THE PILLOW FIGHT THE MORNING AFTER YOUR VERY FIRST SLEEPOVER?

 

Is it a Soul-Mate OR a Parole-Mate?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Forget Renting Cars, Houses, Office Space, — Now You Can Rent Me!

for rent meIt all started when I recently read about Japan, (you can catch up on it too, right HERE) where you can hire someone to impersonate your relative, spouse, co-worker, or anyone else for that matter and keep them as LONG AS YOU WANT. Smart Asian single women are hiring male actors to portray the role of a lifetime – – – their loving husbands (and fathers of their existing children!) — until death do they part. (Or their lease is up!) In some cases, the children never find out their parent is just a loaner. Hmmm, shades of The Truman Show anyone?

I decided to Google and see if this bizarre social phenomenon was happening in the United States and to my surprise, I stumbled upon  Rent-a-Friend  which of course meant that I had to try it out immediately so I could blog about it pronto!

But first I had to think up a unique angle, a niche, some clever way to corner the market! If the current website offered only Friendship rentals, my mind exploded with other interesting ways to fill the relationship gap/void in people’s lives — all while maintaining a witty rhyming title, of course.

For instance there already exists “Rent-a-Gent-a” (a male escort service) and “Renta-Yenta” (a female nag and busybody errand runner) but is there such thing as “Renta-Accenta?” (Someone who comes to your home speaking only the foreign language of the country you’re about to travel to, so you’re already accustomed to their native tongue when you arrive?) I think not! But there’s an overwhelming demand for that service nowadays, wouldn’t you agree? As well as my other suggestions below….

Presenting My Ideas For Renting People While Still Maintaining Cutesie Rhymes!

Lease-a-Police-a: When your neighbor throws a loud, obnoxious party and you need to break it up, but real law-enforcement takes so long to arrive because they’re too busy catching actual killers. For extra $$, Lease-a-Police-a will come to your home (after halting the festivities next door) and perform a hot bachelorette striptease as well!

Lease-a-Justice-of-the-Peace-a: For all these Japanese people who are faking their marriage with the rental spouses, (see above) they’ll also need a fraudulent officiant to conduct the pretend ceremony, no?

Lease-a-Niece-a: Because sometimes you want to go shopping, get manis-pedis, and attend a fashion show WITHOUT the hormonal commitment of raising a complete daughter.

Lease-a-Piece-a: When you open the door, they ask . . . “So ya wanna piece of me?”

Lease-a-John Cleese-a: Alright, obviously I ran out of rhyming words at this point, but who couldn’t use a real life reenactment of Monty Python?

Charter-a-Martyr: For all those who have yet to experience what having a Jewish mother is like.

Charter-a-Self-Starter: Short of a maid, I can’t think of a personality type I’d rather rent!

Engage-a-Teenage-a: For the regretful but masochistic Empty-Nester! A week’s rental will last you a lifetime, trust me.

Hire-a-Crier: Afraid your funeral will be rather sparsely attended? These people will show up on time to bawl, weep, and suffer up a storm at the news of your loss. Your surviving friends will be duly impressed.

Hire-a-Liar: No longer will you need to perfect your phony cough when you call in sick to work. Liars will attest to your dismal health with your boss as well as get you out of all social commitments with full-proof alibis that begin with, “I’m with him right now and trust me, he’s certainly in no condition to _fill in the blank_ !”

Hire-a-Squire, a Vampire, an Umpire, a LiveWire, a Ball-of-Fire, or a Pacifier: Alright admittedly these all need a little more work, but have great potential.

A Loaner Moaner: Remember the neighbor who had the wild and noisy party (above) but didn’t invite you?? A loaner moaner will make them equally jealous by putting Meg Ryan to shame from THIS SCENE IN WHEN HARRY MET SALLY,  And bonus — you don’t even have to be at home to elicit your neighbor’s complete respect and admiration cuz she just keeps going and going….

“Don’t Borrow Sorrow From Tomorrow!”: This isn’t a relationship rental, but it’ll make a hell of a bumper sticker for a different business I may start.

UPDATE: As I continue to fine-tune my above quirky brainstorms, I went ahead and made my own profile for that more conventional “Rent-A-Friend” website and have already become a pal to at least a dozen outcasts, hermits, and wallflowers! I’ve been handsomely compensated to accompany a lonely retiree to dinner and a movie, cheer a man on in his first tennis match, (he lost) go on a cruise with a woman who gets seasick easily, (I held her hair) and feed a widower some brisket while reminiscing about his late wife. (Yes, I was also the Crier for Hire at their lovely memorial service.) But in each and every booking, inevitably (before my friendship appointment came to completion) I’d find something they said highly disagreeable, start a heated argument, and end things by storming off in a huff shouting, “And don’t bother accompanying me to the the exit, I’ll gladly see myself out!” thereby slamming the door behind me.

That’s why I’m thrilled to announce my new (non-rhyming!) yet very sincere, FREE service service called simply, “Rent-a-Rival” —  because let’s face it . . . with a friend like me, who needs enemies?

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Scary Relationship Terms — Ghosting, Haunting, & Zombie-ing!

unnamed-file-2447In honor of the month of October (and Halloween!) may I present some relationship/dating terms that actually are commonly used nowadays, along with some words I’ve just invented — because I cannot believe the real ones actually exist! Let’s see if you can tell which ones I’ve made up?

Ready to play??  Go!

GHOSTING — One who simply vanishes, never to be heard from again, instead of having a mature conversation about breaking-up.

WITCHING — Someone who casts a magical spell over you, keeping you strangly compliant when they steal all the covers on cold nights or devour the last pint of your favorite Ben and Jerry’s ice-cream. (Yes, the Chunky Monkey you were saving to break your diet with!)

COBWEBBING — One who lies about his whereabouts to you because he’s having secret affairs on the side. This is where we get the famous old proverb, “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when at first we practice to deceive!”

BROOMSTICKING— Someone who is terrified of flying so they always suggest a cross country road trip, playing up the potential to have a “great adventure” and citing, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey!”  You could get to Maine faster on a broomstick!

STEPHEN-KINGING — A tightwad with an elaborate DVD collection, claiming it’s so much “cozier” to stay in and watch a movie — which wouldn’t be so bad if it was Shawshank Redemption. (Hey, did you know Stephen King’s novella was the basis for that awesome movie??)

ZOMBIE-ING — After the person “Ghosts” you (see above) they suddenly return a few weeks later (back from the dead?) as if nothing has happened — sending a sly text, “Hey, how’ve you been? Wanna come over for some Chunky Monkey ice-cream?”

MASKING — A partner, (usually female) who will not be seen without any make-up on. She awakens at 4 am, sneaks to the bathroom to apply Maybelline rouge on her cheeks so she exudes a natural sex-appeal glow when her partner first opens his eyes and glances at the rosy-cheeked female on the pillow next to him. Why do you think Nars brand blush has a color called, “Orgasm?”

HAIR-RAISING — Someone whose tresses seem to grow straight up, like the author of this blog, who looks like she’s been frozen in time from the 80’s when hair was big and vertical.

Little Miss Menopause demonstrating “Hair-Raising” style.

 

JACK-O-LANTERNING — One who is overindulgent with pumpkin flavored products this time of year while expecting you to share in their excitement that pumpkin spice deodorant is now being marketed.

VAMPIRING — A woman who still remembers what it means to be on Team Edward and if you never saw the Twilight movies, you’re outa luck in the bedroom.

HAUNTING —  After someone Ghosts you, (but BEFORE they Zombie you) — they can HAUNT you by suddenly inhabiting your online world, such as following you on Instagram or friending you on Facebook. Constantly reminding you that, “I still exist!” seems to be the sole purpose of this particular spooky tactic.

BONE-CHILLING — This is when the chef of the relationship decides that the latest trend of making you eat daily bowls of Bone Broth would be enhanced by serving it ice-cold, straight from the refrigerator in gazpacho form.

DYING — One who relies on the excuse that their cell-phone battery is running out of juice to end conversations with you abruptly.

DEVIL-ING — The chocoholic of the relationship who chooses “the dark stuff” over having sex every time. Example: You shoot your mate that familiar “come hither” look and instead of responding, “Why you little Devil, you!” they reach for a slice of devil’s food cake.

TRICK-OR-TREATING — A generous date who treats you to a night out at the movie theater and then (as you eye the Hershey’s Kisses at the concession stand because you’re into Devil-ing!) proceeds to trick you into believing that all candy is pure evil. Don’t even get them started on what they put in the butter on the popcorn!

MONSTERING — This person drops subtle hints that once you marry them, you’ll have monster-in-laws — frighteningly loud, controlling and bossy. Get out while you still can!

ELVIRA-ING — A female who always dresses to show off her two prominent assets, even if you’re just bringing her home to meet your mom–Morticia Addams.

So how’d you do, Readers? Actually the only real terms are the ones in the blog title. Check out their legit usage right here.

I’ve made up all the rest to have a little pre-Halloween fun. Booooooo!

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Personality Practicality! (Can a 12 Minute Test Actually Peg Who You Really Are??)

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I’ve always known about the Myers–Briggs Personality test and thought it was just a fun little quiz like, “What Your Pasta Preference Says About Your Favorite Sex Position.” Certainly I put zero stock in the reliability or accuracy of it until a recent conversation with Bethany my bossy older sister, (never mind that my mother would name us Stephanie and Bethany!) during which she casually suggested I change the title of this blog to “Once Upon Your Grime” and give housecleaning tips.

BETHANY: Wow. Calm down. You’re so sensitive to constructive criticism. Does “ENFP” mean anything to you?

ME: Is that the spin-off of the TV show WKRP in Cincinnati? Is Loni Anderson still blonde and perky?

BETHANY: I have no idea. And no, it’s the initials which I would stake my life on you getting if you were to take that famous online personality test.

ME: Really? ENFP??  Lemme guess. That stands for Effervescent, Naughty, Friendly, and Perfect? I always wanted to be termed as a little bit “Naughty.”

BETHANY: Err, not quite, Sis. Why don’t you take it yourself and find out. Here’s the link. But I’m absolutely certain I’m correct about you!

So I gave honest answers to all the official nosy questions and sure enough, (much to Know-It-All Bethany’s prediction!) I DID come out with exactly the initials ENFP — which I read stood for Extraversion (E), Intuition (N), Feeling (F), Perception (P). Only mine had a little dash and another letter too. Like this:  ENFP-T

Upon further research I found the “T” was for turbulence. Oh c’mon now. I’m not an airplane! So the implication was that I create Turbulence in life? Why don’t Myers and Briggs just come right out and say, “T is for Tasmanian Devil?”

I refused to be labeled as such and so I took the test again, this time choosing all different responses. And once again, within five minutes, my results ENFP were emailed to me. But this time followed by another dash and two letters — TM (Test Manipulator!)

I took that darn test eight more times, completely switching out my answers, using different computers, wearing different clothes, and changing my hairstyles, not to mention while eating shiitake mushrooms — and each time my fate was sealed with those same four initials getting emailed back to me. Branded as a permanent ENFP, I slowly began to accept my destiny (and order monogrammed towels!) while exploring what career choices were good for me and who my ideal mate should be.

Finding out I would make a superb Horse-Exerciser, a Bingo Caller, and an Elevator Inspector was not the worst of it. Far more upsetting was that I should never have walked down the aisle with the two men I had married. But the most devastating news of all? Apparently an ENFP like like myself is biologically incapable of producing children with the different logical, (normal!) initials all my offspring have! So now I must question whether or not I am really their mother, or were all six kids switched at birth?

My obsession didn’t stop there. I wanted to know how the test could know I was someone who made up jokes with no punchlines to test people’s authenticity (if they still laugh at my nonsense, they’re insincere!) and that instead of buying whole bottles of perfume, I rub magazine pages (with samples of Channel #5 embedded in them) on my wrists and neck.

We’re not talking general everyday personality traits like when horoscopes say Pisces people are creative. (Duh!) No, this thing was eerily Twilight Zonish spot-on for me, and so I put in a call to Myers and Briggs immediately, wanting to know how they could figure this all out from questions like, “Do you prefer to stand in the center of a room or close to the walls in a crowded party?” I was told Myers and Briggs were a nice mother/daughter team who had passed away a long time ago.  Hmmmm.

Only when the I reread the end of my test results and it said, “Recommendation: Start a blog called, Once Upon Your Grime and offer cleaning hints!” did things start to come clear for me. It was Bethany all along.

ME: Hi! I’m sure having fun with the link you gave me. Good thing I don’t take it very seriously though. Just curious, what are your own initials?

TIFFANY: HTBW

HTBW = Hates To Be Wrong.  (Naturally!)

Dear Readers, Why don’t you take the test right HERE and see if you agree with the initials you receive and Bethany’s assessment of your personality! Post a comment about it so I can see what my busybody sister has to say about you! 😉

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