Thursday, February 26, 2015

Bringing Movies To A Urinal By You

As a frequent movie goer, my closest friend couldn't wait to tell me about an app that signals the best time to take a bathroom break during a film. The RunPee app enables you to catch up on what you've missed in the comfort of your own public stall, or urinal. I needed to learn more.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Choo-Choo Jumped The Track: A Terminal Online Dating Drama


My dear divorced friend decided to heed my advice by joining an online dating service after her recent breakup. Thus far, she has had less than satisfactory results.

My friend got off to a great start with a man who seemed easy to talk to. Soon they exchanged phone numbers, so they could schedule a time to meet. He sent her a text saying he would get back to her after he went to a family friend's funeral. She expressed how sorry she was, and mentioned how nice it was that he had shared so many memories with his childhood friend's father. He thanked her, and forwarded photos of the threesome during happier times.

Next, they tried to set up a place to meet, and the conversation changed directions. "You seem to have it all together and look good. Most intelligent/successful ladies enjoy all except the physical requirements..." Then he started in about steering away from separated women, as he had been "burned" by them in the past. In the midst of this discombobulated diatribe, he sent her a photo of his granddaughter. He concluded by texting, " Sweet dreams Anna."*

My friend simply replied, "My name is not Anna." Suddenly it hit him, "UGH...Audrey. Sweet dreams, Audrey."

Later, my friend tried to clear up the separation issue. "I think you must be thinking about another woman you are talking with. My profile says I'm divorced. Please get your profiles straight. I have no time for this." Keep in mind that my friend used no exclamation points in her texts, indicating she was very calm and cool throughout.

This sent him off into a tailspin. "When I become as organized as you and mistake free, I will consider myself perfect. Yes, I had a long emotional day and thank you for slamming my mistakes in my face from one day of Internet chatting!!! I hate making an error; however when someone so ruthlessly perfect and dictates my screw up over and over again is the sign of a self-centered person I choose not to have anything to do with! You make me feel as I cheated on you from one day of chatting!!!! I'm not into childish games or drama. So I totally screwed  (word substitution) up and you won! However lost a chance at the best guy there is. Bye Miss Perfect and again thanks for making me fell like a total...."*

I guess we're allowed to fill in the blank of our choosing. He either stormed off or passed out mid-sentence. We can safely assume that whatever he wanted to say would end in at least three exclamation points. Personally, I don't like to exceed two in any given conversation.

For his grand finale, he sent her a selfie of his naked backside. My friend couldn't help but notice he had no tan lines. Maybe he had fallen asleep once too often in the tanning bed.

The next day he sent her an apology. She responded, "I appreciate the sentiment. Take care of your grieving friend, and all the best."

Then he said, "Wish we could start over."

He tried again five hours later, "What do you think?"

After no response, he sent another message six hours later, "Is that a no?"

*These paragraphs have been unedited for my amusement. Regrettably, I assume full responsibility for all other errors.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

What's Sexy After 50


Note: With Valentine's Day approaching, I thought it only fitting to revisit this post from November of 2012. Though we currently subscribe to People Magazine, mysteriously the Sexiest Man Alive issue of 2014 never appeared in our mailbox. It must have run off with the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. Regardless of the fact that they're published several months apart, Christian and Anastasia have their games, and we have ours.  

As I was perusing People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive issue, I thought about how my definition of sexy has changed over the years. Though Channing Tatum looks great with his shirt off and is an amazing dancer, I don't know if he has what it takes to top my list. Sure he would be delicious arm candy, but would he ever stop doing push-ups long enough to give me what I really need?

While most of the buff men in the issue pump iron, I get steamy watching my husband iron his shirts. Instead of texting naughty messages like many celebrities do, my husband prefers a more personal approach. He lets me have a front row seat while he's cursing at bad drivers. 

Lately, I've found that simple sayings are music to my ears. Some of my favorites include:

  • No that doesn't make you look fat.
  • You were right, Julie.
  • Cancel the service guy. I'll install it right now.
And my all time favorite is when he's telling our boys:

  • Listen to your mother.   

Men who cook are incredibly sexy. My husband is master of the grill, and even our friends delight in watching him barbecue. Whether he's adding marinade, inserting timers, or slicing with the precision of a Samurai Warrior, it's always a treat to see him in action. My dad was known for his special London broil, and my husband has continued the tradition. Our sons are currently in training. 

Some of our neighbors could also be in the running for Sexiest Man Alive. There's Devin who's either outside mowing the lawn, raking the leaves, or shoveling the snow. He's always quick to smile and wave no matter how inclement the weather.  Stan drives carpool, and even packs his kids' lunches. Good neighbor Ted leads a dog walking group with other moms. He also volunteers at the local school, while his boys are off at college. I've never seen any of these men without their shirts on, and I prefer it that way.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

IWSG: Writing Your Way Out Of Groundhog Day

It's time for the February edition of  The Insecure Writer's Support Group. Now that our favorite groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow; declaring a longer wait for spring, we're sure to spend more time agonizing indoors about our insecurities. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh, and the rest of the IWSG, we won't have to go into hibernation.

Since Phil has predicted six additional weeks of winter, there has been more press lately about the wonderful 1993 movie, Groundhog Day. Bill Murray stars as a weatherman who is forced to live the same day over and over again. This made me think about how I sometimes feel like I'm in a Groundhog Day rut.

I usually eat the same breakfast, gravitate toward the same clothing, watch the same TV shows, and find the same things funny. This often spills over into my writing. I usually write about the same topics, and the same characters, though I try to throw in occasional newsworthy pieces with a twist.

The pivotal point in Groundhog Day began when Bill Murray's character decided to make the best of the situation, and made each day slightly better. He became more of a people person, and had the ultimate do-over. Fortunately, as writers we can accomplish this through the magic of editing.

Instead of just going through the motions, my character could decide to walk to work every morning, eat smaller portions, and celebrate by buying herself some new form-fitting clothes. Then her daughter could invite her quiet, and unassuming grandmother over to see her transformation. "Grandma, don't you think Mom looks pretty buff?"

Grandma looks all around the room in search of her daughter. When her granddaughter points at her mom beside her, the elder woman replies, "Is that your mother? I thought you were with Punxsutawney Phil's sister, Patti. I guess when you've seen one rodent, you've seen them all; though that is a nice shade of lipstick you're wearing. Honey, hand Grandma her purse. I'm sure I have a tweezers, or a weed wacker in there somewhere."

This still sounds vaguely familiar. Maybe I should just start small by eating breakfast for dinner, and watching Groundhog Day all over again.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

How The Chopper Has Ruined My Life


It looked like an ordinary package when it arrived in the mail. Never would I have guessed how a device that was designed for convenience would completely take over my kitchen. The chopper had become an all-consuming event for my husband and younger son. They would constantly discuss what vegetables my husband should pick up from the store, so they could work feverishly slicing and dicing to create gourmet dinner salads for two. 

At first I was thrilled to give up my position as head of the kitchen, until I realized I was demoted to chief bottle washer. They had all the glory, while I was still stuck cleaning up their messes. Slowly my kitchen was turning into a battlefield, and I was the enemy. I never knew what I would step in, or what might come crashing down on me from the ceiling. I was forced to walk around my own kitchen wearing goggles, and combat boots with a fully loaded Swiffer.

Then the cravings began. I started gaining weight from watching their healthy eating. I couldn't exist on salad, so I would make myself a grilled cheese sandwich on bread that actually tasted like bread. Of course I had to have some chips with it, and things continued to get uglier, and uglier. When they looked up at me in disgust I cried out, "I can't live on horse food."

The other night when my husband was calmly chopping away, he noticed an important ingredient was missing from his salad. As his left nostril began to flare, I decided to text our son at work, "Did you kidnap Dad's avocado?"

I can't tell you how many times I've texted him without receiving any response. In this case, he knew it was an emergency, and instantly got back to me. Our son explained that he took the rest of the avocado with him to work, and half of it had gone bad already. He also mentioned that he told his dad to pick up another one at his favorite store on his way home from the office. Then I responded, "Dad did get another one, but it isn't ripe yet. I hope someday he'll forgive you."

At first he didn't realize I was kidding, and couldn't stop apologizing. When I think about all of the clothes, cell phones, and electronic devices that never made it home from college without a second thought, and how he was guilt-ridden about a single avocado, it proves my theory that there really is such a thing as eating too many fruits and vegetables. 

Sorry to cut this short, but it's three o'clock, and I must start cooking dinner before my kitchen is taken over by the mad choppers. Fortunately, I only had to make the reservation in my own kitchen a month in advance.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Phishing For The Meaning Behind Calls From My Own Caller ID


Early this morning I awoke with a start. When our house phone rang, the caller ID listed our home number. How is that possible?  Suddenly, I felt like Drew Barrymore (above) in the movie Scream. I nervously picked up the phone expecting the person on the other end to say, "Are you alone in the house?"  Instead I got a recorded message urging me to find out more about lowering my credit card rates. I'm not sure if I was imagining the heavy breathing or not, but I showed them, by quickly hanging up.

Later, I went to CNBC contributor, Herb Weisbaum for answers. He spoke to Bikram Bandy, head of the Do Not Call program at the FTC, "A person's own phone number is not likely to be on the blacklist, so these telemarketers hope to beat the filtering software by spoofing that number."

According to the Council of Better Business Bureaus, I could have been the victim of one of several different "phishing scams." If I had stayed on the line longer, the "robo call" might have asked me  to "verify my credit card number under the guise of lowering (my) interest rates."  

The BBB offered these common sense tips on What to do if a scammer calls:
  • Hang up. Don't press any buttons and, if you received a message, don't call the scammer back. It may give the con artist information he/she can use.
  • Don't trust Caller ID. Scammers have technology that lets them display any number or organization name on your screen.
  • Never give out any financial information. If you did not initiate the call, do not provide bank account, credit card, or Social Security numbers over the phone unless you have thoroughly done your research and verified the caller.

Just when I was starting to feel better about learning how to protect myself from scammers, I heard how showering can be a dangerous experience.


In a recent study conducted by two dermatologists, daily showers were shown to put your body at risk. As mentioned on the Today Show, "Showering too often: dehydrates skin, irritates skin, washes away good bacteria, and increases risk of infection." The dermatologists recommend showering every two to three days in frigid weather depending on "how active you are."

Now I look forward to ignoring both familiar and unfamiliar phone calls, while lying around in my own filth. Why do I suddenly feel like I'm living a college boy's dream?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

IWSG: Awkward Introductions

Welcome to the first installment of the Insecure Writer's Support Group of 2015.  As a fresh start to the new year, Alex J. Cavanaugh asked us to open with an introduction about ourselves. I began blogging almost four years ago when we became empty nesters after our younger son went away to college. Because I knew my kids would never speak to me again if I picked on them too much in public, I started writing about my mom who in her own words, "Never has, and never will be a burden."

Through Facebook, I reconnected with high school friend Rhonda Albom, who told me about the A to Z April Challenge, and from there I met Arlee Bird, and  Alex J. Cavanaugh, founder of the IWSG. Through the support of the IWSG, and the friendships I've formed in blogland, I was proud to publish a poetry anthology with seven very talented women last September. My partner in rhyme for Old Broads Waxing Poetic,  Susan Flett Swiderski, and I met during  A to Z, as well as Delores. Though we didn't meet until later, Joanne, also participated in the challenge. In addition,  Robyn  and  Liza, along with our cover designer Michael, are all part of the IWSG. Thanks also to Daisy and  Fishducky. All of you have proven that it truly does take a village.

After I graduated from college, my brother introduced me to another person I will always be grateful to. It turns out that she belonged to the same organization that I was a member of in college. Women In Communication Inc. or WICI. This led to an interview at a financial magazine that I didn't even know was hiring. It's amazing how being involved in one group (WICI) led to my first job, and how the Insecure Writer's Support Group  led to my first book about thirty years later.

Back then introductions were a lot easier than they are now. An eager college graduate, is often perceived quite differently than an eager middle-aged person. In some situations an older person's enthusiasm can come off as being anxious, desperate, or even downright creepy. While a young person is respected for being ambitious, a middle-aged person may be frowned upon for trying too hard.

That's what makes the IWSG so special. It's a rare place where the jocks, techies, cheerleaders, mathletes, theater geeks, and class clowns all sit at the cool table in the cafeteria. A place where you're always welcome with open arms no matter where you are on your writing journey. Although Alex does draw the line at people who still wear white after Labor Day.