Thursday, July 31, 2014

When The Trolls Come Out To Play

     Most writers dream of having an article become viral on the internet. It has been on my bucket list for a long time. I've submitted humorous posts to dozens of websites, and although they were shared on social media, none ever made it to viral status.

     On a hunch, I submitted an older, poignant piece I'd written about my son to The Huffington Post (you can read it here). Within 24 hours, the post went viral. Was I elated? Yes. But I was also naive about the backlash it would create.

     At first, the support I received on the article was encouraging and compassionate. Unfortunately, it didn't take long for the internet trolls to come out to play. They circled like hungry sharks, and when the meat of my post was dropped into their tank, they went into a feeding frenzy.  My stomach was soon in knots--- I had to close my laptop and walk away. There were hundreds of comments on the site, but I stopped reading them after the first handful of cruel remarks were posted.

     This experience, on many levels, has been successful…. but it has also baffled me. Who are these trolls and why do they feel the need to bash writers? I was accused of being a horrid mother raising a demon seed, and told that I deserve what I get with my teenage son. I had to assume these remarks came from Stepford parents who had perfect children.  I was also labeled as a "whiner" (surely they meant "winer" since I have a fondness for pinot grigio) and a person lacking any skills in writing  (check back with me on that one after my book is published next month). The overwhelming, snarky responses had me wondering if there was a full moon out or the possibility that somewhere in the world, a group of people on a compound drank too much grape-flavored Kool-Aid.

     I fully support freedom of speech, but I was also raised with the old adage, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." Have I read material that I thought was garbage? Of course. But I never felt the need to attack the writer by challenging his or her position. What these trolls fail to understand is that there are ways to debate issues and share personal opinions without sinking to belittling and name calling. Spewing venomous remarks on a writer's post tells me that this person has yet to outgrow the bullying tactics they learned from their days on the elementary school playground.

     I've come to the conclusion that this brand of nastiness is derived from insecurities and unhappiness, driving these people to spread their misery to others. They're well aware of their insufficiencies and are transferring their frustrations onto everyone else in order to build themselves up. The same can be said about trolls in the workplace and in extended families. Rather than feed into their anger by becoming defensive, I've learned to shrug them off. I pity them more than anything; they have yet to grasp the concept of confidence and true happiness.

     Ironically, the people who attack writers are actually helping them to succeed. The drama and controversy they create drives more traffic to the writer's site, enabling it to become viral. For that, I am grateful….but don't expect a thank you note from me anytime soon.

     Here's my suggestion to all the internet trolls who thrive on tearing others down: If you have time to write long, sarcastic diatribes on an author's article, then you have far too much time on your hands. I suggest that you put that extra time and energy into something more productive, such as volunteer work in your community. Perhaps THEN you'll discover manners, humility and grace.

Have you been attacked by internet trolls? Let's hear it!  

***Want more Menopausal Mother? I've been hopping around a lot this week! You can read my featured posts on Huffington Post, Midlife Boulevard and In The Powder Room. Read them here:

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Wacky Wednesday Writer's Guest Post By: Aussa Lorens of Hacker. Ninja. Hooker. Spy.

     I've been grinning for days in anticipation of introducing you to my special WWW guest. Please welcome Aussa Lorens of Hacker. Ninja. Hooker. Spy! I've seen her name floating around the inter webs and is it any wonder? She is a BlogHer Voice of The Year 2014 recipient as well as a 2014 Badass Blog Award winner. I love Aussa's off-the-wall brand of humor ----it speaks to me. She could be my way, WAY younger sista from another mista. Hey, the lady works at a psychiatric hospital, so you KNOW she has some great experiences to share!

     Please welcome Aussa to Meno Mama's site today with lots of comment love. If you get a chance to visit her blog (which I highly recommend that you do!), you'll see that she gets more comment love on her posts than almost any blogger I know. This lady ROCKS!


Friday, July 25, 2014

Fly On The Wall In Loco Land

    Welcome to another edition of Fly On The Wall, a group posting hosted by Karen of Baking In A Tornado. My issue this month is not with flies, but with mosquitoes. Those blood suckers are EVERYWHERE this summer! They're like the annoying, uninvited guest who crashes your BBQ, drinks all you beer and steals the last of the potato salad. I'm fed up with these bionic insects from hell  and would rather deal with the flies.

     If you were a fly (or a mosquito) on the wall at my house, this is what you would have heard at the BBQ:

"The dog snores so loud, she sounds like she just inhaled a pig."

"I don't understand why we still have so many mosquitoes in our yard when we've done every method possible to combat the little vampires from sucking our blood."
"Obviously, we have the Russian Chernobyl strain."

"I love our Tempur-Pedic mattress!"
"I don't! If I'm near the edge, it sags downward and makes me feel like I'm free-falling off a cliff. The memory foam remembers that I'm not a rock climber."

"There was a free tree giveaway at the park today."
"I know, but by the time I got there, all the good trees were gone. The only thing left were the tiny trees. I thought I'd stepped into a chapter of Gulliver's Travels."

"When I'm lying in bed at night and I have the urge to pee, I slap my bladder to stop the urge."
"So…..what does that make you? A bladder slapper?"

"Let me get this straight… sent a taxidermy raccoon to The Bloggess for publicity purposes?"
"Yep. And it worked. Got a nice thank you message and blurb from her for my book cover."
"Maybe from now on I need to send in taxidermy rodents along with my job applications."
"If I catch you hovering around my chinchilla cages too long, I'm kicking you out."

"Why do you stand so long in front of the open refrigerator? I'm beginning to think you're looking for the Museum of International Foods."

"Thankfully we have hurricane impact windows, otherwise they would have shattered by now over our granddaughter's wild banshee screams."

"My stomach hurt so bad that I thought it was either gallstones, a hernia, or I was having labor pains."
"Since You're a man, you know you can rule out one of those things right away."
"Yeah, we can rule out the hernia because the last heavy thing I lifted was a six pack of beer."

"What did I do to deserve a dirty toilet brush on my tongue?"
"That was an accident! I didn't mean to tap your tongue with the brush!"
"It was like licking a lollipop with bristles….or a Charms Blow Pop the smelled like feces."

     I hope you enjoyed your voyeuristic view of my crazy family life. Don't forget to visit the other 13 bloggers participating in today's Fly On The Wall.  AND REMEMBER: Beware of the brown toilet brush!

****Want more Meno Mama? This week you can find me TWICE on the Huffington Post! Holy Moly! First is my serious post about raising an ungrateful generation of children over at The Huffington Post here: and then they featured my funny one on colonoscopies here: I also have a humorous post for you about my husband's unemployment featured over at the Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop. You can read that one here:

Buzz around, see what you think, then click on these links for a peek into some other homes:                          Baking In A Tornado                                Just A Little Nutty                                          The Momisodes                          Spatulas on Parade                                   The Sadder But Wiser Girl                          Follow me home . . .                  Stacy Sews and Schools                          Menopausal Mother                                    Go Mama O                                    Kim Ulmanis                        Dates 2 Diapers 2                            Dinosaur Superhero Mommy                         Someone Else’s Genius                      Battered Hope    

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Wacky Wednesday Writers Guest Post By: Smack Of Ham

     One of the best things that has come from doing my weekly Wednesday guest features is the talented bloggers I get to meet and work with here on the site. It has been an honor getting to know today's WWW guest---a VERY funny family man who has just published his first collection of hilarious stories. Please welcome John Bryson of the blog, Smack Of Ham  ( LOVE that blog name!!!) and author of the ebook, The Blackout! And Other Stories From Around The House. I love John's style of writing and as always, I appreciate reading a man's point of view on family life. Do yourself a favor and visit his blog site----it's very entertaining and the posts are relatable on every level, especially if you're a parent.

     Please welcome John Bryson to Meno Mama's site today with lots of comment love and enjoy his tale of the lost keys. Thanks!

Key Findings

It's quite an honor being asked to guest-post for Meno Mom on this Wacky Wednesday.  Actually, it's quite intimidating.  Marcia writes for Huffington Post, appears In The Powder Room, has been featured on a podcast, and has her writing immortalized in a book.  And her blog has actual readers, the human kind with two eyes and a pulse, that aren't just her hitting refresh a lot of times on her home page or creating elaborate fake internet identities, such as J. Bryson, Bryson, J., J.B., or John B., to boost her total readership.

While Marcia's list of accomplishments is most impressive, about the biggest credit I can feature on my resume is my stint as a featured writer for Lethargy Monthly.  I was two weeks late submitting my article, "Lunch - The Final Meal Before Bed," but they didn't seem to mind.

Now that I'm being featured in the big leagues I know I have to come up with something huge - an exciting story that will keep Marcia's readers on the edge of their seats, drawing from the most compelling moments of my rich and textured life.

So, this is a tale about how I recently lost my keys.

As much as I'm all about not losing my stuff, I will admit that on occasion, I have misplaced a minor object or two, including $1,800 worth of Disney tickets and irreplaceable court documents confirming the legality of our most recent adoption.  So, it came as no big shock to realize that, over the recent Memorial Day weekend, I misplaced my keys.

My wife and kids were away that weekend feeding the mosquitoes while camping with the in-laws, leaving me unsupervised and to my own devices, most of which were of the electronic variety, but also included renting movies, eating fast food, and losing my keys.

Upon realizing what I had done, my first plan of attack was to search every room of the house that I had gone into while my family was away.  I checked the bedroom, bathroom, and family room, including under the big recliner where I rested my widening hind-end the bulk of the time.  

The one room I didn't have to check was the kitchen.  Due to my disdain for meal preparation and tendency to enjoy eating out, I didn't touch an appliance in the kitchen all weekend - the only thing turned on in that part of the house was me after seeing some Betty White cleavage on the cover of an AARP Magazine which I found sitting on the counter for some reason.

Convinced I had searched the house thoroughly, I remembered that besides watching the latest installment of the Die Hard franchise, A Good Day To Cash In On The Die Hard Name With A Vengeance (And A Side Of Tartar Sauce), I had cut our lawn.  Fearing that the keys had slipped out of my pocket while riding my orange Husqvarna up and down the weedy acre of patchy grass, I commenced walking around my yard, head down, trying to pick out the shiny gleam of a lost keychain.

Having less luck than a drunken younger version of myself at a Vegas blackjack table, I decided to retrace my steps around town.  My first stop was the video store, where I had no luck with finding my keys. On the bright side, the clerk did offer me anything from their lost and found box, which included an array of sunglasses, six umbrellas, a pair of dentures, and a stack of Florida presidential ballots from the 2000 election.  

My next stop was the local Jimmy John's, which I had visited twice, ordering a #9 with easy mayo both times.  I walked in and asked about the keys and was told they didn't have them.  Both times.

I headed back home ready to give up.  I plopped down into my recliner and heard an unusual jingle amidst the usual creaking of my body and the chair's protesting springs.  Further investigation revealed the missing keys had fallen down the side of the chair and had gotten wrapped around one if the aforementioned springs. After a not-so-good good half hour of operating on the underside of the overturned chair, I was able to liberate the keys with a pair of pliers, a dozen obscenities, and three bandages for my scraped knuckles.

I suspect this is the last time I'll be left at home alone for the weekend.


John Bryson is a big fan of Meno Mom and can be found at his occasionally updated web site Smack Of Ham Presents and on Twitter @SmackOfHamBlog. Most recently, John has published his first book, The Blackout! And Other Tales From Around The House, a collection of nine humorous adventures that you can read on your Kindle, computer, or iPad.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Why I Hate Horror Movies

     I've just completed the fourth round of edits with my publisher and can finally see the bright, red ribbon at the end of the finish line. I'm being very picky about the edits because I want "Who Stole My Spandex" to be in perfect form (unlike my body, which is getting increasingly pear-shaped from sitting in front of a computer screen for 15 hours a day). A PDF version of the manuscript is being sent out to 18 Beta Readers now and will go through one more round of edits with another editing team before being published.

     If you can bear with me just a wee bit longer, the book will soon be in everyone's hot little hands. In the meantime, I'm sharing another one of my favorite posts that was featured at In The Powder Room last year. This post will explain why I will never, EVER watch another horror movie again!


I've never understood why people love horror movies. I don't enjoy getting the hell scared out of me or pooping my pants in fright. My kids thrive on “jump scare” movies. If my heart needs a jump start, it's going to come from a medical professional slapping some paddles on my chest and yelling, “CLEAR!”
The Exorcist hit the box office when I was in middle school. All the cool kids crammed into the theaters on opening weekend, but my mother refused to let me see the movie. Which probably had more to do with Linda Blair stuffing a crucifix up her nether regions than her actual demonic possession.

Fast forward ten years when the Poltergeist came out. I didn't WANT to see this movie, but it was the talk of the town and I'd be damned if I was going to miss out on all the fun. BIG MISTAKE. My bladder muscles have never been the same since I saw that movie and no amount of Kegel exercises are going to get it back into shape.

Poltergeist convinced me that my home was built over an ancient Indian burial ground and that I'd be sucked into my television set by their demonic spirits. Because of that movie, I haven't slept without a night light since 1982.

For years I lived blissfully ignorant of popular horror movies until my teenagers convinced me to watch The Ring. Yeah, let's scare the shit out of Mom and shave a few years off her life. If they wanted early access to their inheritance, they could have done it in a more humane way rather than tell me this movie was “not at all scary.” Being the na├»ve parent that I was, I fell for their sadistic plot to give me early gray hairs and watched The Ring.

Suffice it to say, I spent the following two hours curled up in the fetal position, chewing my cuticles until my fingers looked like they had been through a cheese grater. I spent WEEKS sitting up late at night, just waiting for a creepy girl with stringy, black hair to come crawling out of my television set. That movie was my early introduction to Mr. Insomnia, and we've been carrying on a cozy affair ever since.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a total wuss. I can watch The Walking Dead and American Horror Story---as long as every light in the house is on and all the doors are locked. And it doesn't hurt to barter sex with The Hubs for extra assurance that there are no zombies roaming the backyard in search of brains or creepy dudes in black, latex suits hiding in my closet.

Paranormal Activity, Saw and Carrie? No, no, and HELL no. Unless the theater provides free jello shots and has a Depends Undergarments dispenser, don't expect to see me in line for the next Halloween horror hit.  

***You can catch more Meno Mama this week over at Humor Outcasts where I'm revealing the changes in my life after I discovered the world of blogging. Read it here:

Book Cover Reveal: Stacey Gustafson's "Are You Kidding Me?"

     I am ridiculously happy to let you in on a little secret. My friend, Stacey Gustafson, has written a book! I met this funny lady last April at The Erma Bomback convention in Dayton, Ohio, and knew right away I'd met a kindred spirit. She's pretty much in the same stage of life that I am, so needless to say, we had a lot of laughs about our crazy family lives. Now that I've met Stacey and know how hilarious she is, I can't WAIT to read her new book, "Are You Kidding Me? My Life With an Extremely Loud Family, Bathroom Calamities, and Crazy Relatives."  Personally, she had me at the words, "Bathroom Calamities"!!! Here's a teaser about the book:

Hop into your minivan and get ready to cruise through the crazies of Suburbia! Humorist Stacey Gustafson makes an entertaining tour guide inAre You Kidding Me?, a brash, voyeuristic peek inside the topsy-turvy world of suburban motherhood, midlife madness, and all points in between. If you’ve ever called SWAT on a neighbor, faked a heart attack in church, or pulled your hair out while questioning the sanity of your family, Stacey’s tongue-in-cheek brand of humor will resonate with you. Enjoy the ride and don’t forget to fasten your seat belt. 

Doesn't this sound like some great reading with lots of laughter guaranteed? I can't wait to get my copy! Stacey's book will be released in the fall 2014. It will be available in eBook and print for your convenience.  You can also check out her funny blog site at:  Don't miss out on this one, folks! You're going to LOVE IT!


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Wacky Wednesday Writers Guest Post By: Rich Rumple

    It's always a special treat for me when I get to feature a male writer on my site, since most of my guests are mom bloggers. Please allow me to introduce you to my awesome WWW guest today---Rich Rumple of the blog by the same name:!

    I met Rich last year in a Facebook writer's group, and after checking out out his blog, I KNEW I wanted to feature this funny man on my site. His dry wit and midlife humor is totally relatable to me. His post today put a big smile on my face because it sounds EXACTLY like something that would happen at my house. Hey, he mentions Hershey's chocolate. What's not to love?!? Please welcome the talented, witty, Rich Rumple to Meno Mama's site and leave him lots of comment love. Enjoy!


I hit 60 last month.  No, not in golf … in age.

As I grow older, television advertising grows more and more ridiculous.  This barrage of idiocy has no let up as night after night sponsors do their best to prey on those brain dead from viewing too much reality television and copycat talent shows.

Yes, this type of programming is a favorite of my Alabama born, grits loving, bleached blonde wife.  (With those attributes, anyone from the South knows she immediately qualifies for a handicapped parking space and a free can of Skoal dip at any Dairy Mart below the Mason Dixon Line!)  So, I’m stuck watching them, too.  

Commercials become particularly aggravating as one grows older, as it is a pain to leave the room during them.  Simply too much effort is needed to raise one’s tail from the pleasures provided it by a soft recliner cushion.  Besides, energy levels drop as one ages.  My wife recognizes this from my reluctance to leave the room when gas needs to be released.  I just sit there and rock the jelly bean jar because of my desire to conserve my energy for more important things, like going to the fridge after another Diet Coke.

Yes, after thirty-four years of marriage, romance takes a back seat to farting.
Back to advertising!  (Sorry, I tend to get off track more these days as my ramblings push the walker with wheels down many forgotten paths.)

I, as a man, have no need to feel fresh in my crotch as some commercials proclaim so boldly.  I realize that this must be a woman thing, but I do remember days when I visited that area upon occasion before sex was an activity to only be fondly remembered.  Seriously, if I’d ever visited the magic “V” and found a springtime freshness awaiting me, I’d probably grab a can of weed killer thinking I was in the wrong place and spray away before I caught poison ivy!  Either that or Raid … which I found out long ago in college really did work effectively when I got a case of the crabs from a State Fair Queen and had no money to go to the doctor for treatment.

Oops … rambling again.

Commercials that are supposed to make fat people skinny tend to irk me off, too.  I mean, the easiest way to lose weight is to stop eating.  There’s a survival show called “Naked and Afraid” where they strip down a man and a woman to the stubs and nubs and leave them in the wilderness for twenty-one days.  It never fails, the woman always loses about 15 pounds during that time, and the man around 25 pounds.  (Which shows you that men really do have about ten more pounds of crap in them than women!)  They don’t need any type of a diet pill that can cause nausea, headaches, loss of balance, possible loss of consciousness, elevated blood pressure, and/or diarrhea.  They just don’t eat!  Amazing how that always seems to be the answer, isn’t it?

In college, I recall running five miles every morning and every evening, as well as having a strong sit-up and toe touch regiment.  It was the only time in my life I actually had a six pack ab area.  In addition, living off campus at the time, my food allowance was almost non existent, especially with the price of Raid.  Exercise and little to no food makes one lose weight.  (Raid will also end one’s relationship with partners dedicated to oral sex!)

I’ve really got to stop rambling.

All of the male enhancement product commercials are completely unnecessary, too! First, I believe there’s a reason old men find it time to stay soft.  Think about it.  If picturing your grandparents getting it on turns you off, imagine what it does to them seeing each other in person!  

And, when you get older and become grandparents, playing various bedroom games can be dangerous.  I wonder how many bones have been broken tripping over lassoes and spurs and falling off the dresser trying to catch the other one running around the room!  Envision your nude grandfather lying there, with a drug induced erection, screaming, “I’ve fallen and I got it up!”

No, sex for the elderly is something my wife has decided is not for us.  She keeps saying, “What if you have a heart attack and die during it?”  

My response is simple.  “Just keep going and enjoy it.  You’ll probably have three or four hours left if the pill lives up to its promises!”

She doesn’t have much energy left these days either.  

No, my wife has decided we’re done with sex.  Hard to believe sex will never happen again.  I’m going to miss it, but I guess I can always watch my neighbors through the busted blind on the left side of their bedroom window.  (Don’t ask me how I know about that!)  

Oh well, there’s always Hershey’s Chocolate and Almond Nuggets to take its place!  

I must say, though, there is some interest in finding out what it would be like to have a four hour erection.  Don’t know what I’d do with it, but at least I could say it happened!

Maybe I could go to Walmart and stand next the fruit section singing, “Oh yes, I have a banana. I have a banana today!”

My wife doesn’t like that line.  I’m not surprised.  She wouldn’t know what to do with a four hour erection either.  She’d probably have me stand next to her while she was ironing so she’d have someplace to hang my shirts.

Damn … rambling again!

Time to say goodbye.  Since this is a guest post I’ll make it shorter than I usually do on my own blog.  I’ve probably scared away half of the regular readers by now anyway.

Either that, or they’re all gathering at Walmart in the fruit section.

See you all there soon!



Rich Rumple is a published author of multiple Sales Training and Customer Retention manuals, as well as several short stories and countless newspaper articles.  In addition, he wrote and created a stand-up comedy act of which he successfully performed for years onstage.  Having lived in nine different states and several years in Europe, he now seeks a home where the locals will permit him to stay, instead of running him out of town with blazing torches and sharpened pitchforks.  Boarding his personal rocket for the world of creativity with cigarettes and Diet Coke in hand, he allows his fantasies to run wild and his mind can only follow, sometimes.  You can find his humorous rantings and ravings at