Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Man Under Assessment from Grumblings..... by the Author of Paula Takes a Risk - Available March 2012

Man Under Assessment

Because of the competition amongst women, we are hesitant to leave a prospective date alone for too long in a room filled with other women. Short of taking him with you to the ladies room, locking him your car, or asking him to hold your purse; there is little you can do to identify him as “taken” or “under consideration.”  Wouldn’t it be great if you could place a reserved sign on a man?  Perhaps an ear-tag or sonar device could be used as either a visual indicator that the man is currently under assessment, or as a tracking device to trace his migration during the evening.

Perhaps a car alarm type device could be utilized.  If you need to excuse yourself from the conversation to use the ladies room, or begin assessment on another man, you would simply activate the alarm by pressing a button that’s conveniently located on your key chain, “chirp-chirp.”  If another woman approaches the man, a loud warning would sound.  “Please step away from the man. This man is currently under assessment.  If you do not step away from the man, an alarm will sound and the authorities will be notified.”

If the other woman persists, an additional, yet silent, alarm would be activated.  When the second alarm is set-off, the area would be swarmed by the older female members of your family, who would employ harassing and shaming techniques until the intruder retreats.

The intimidation techniques they use would include: waving a rolled-up newspaper, aggressive and loud hand clapping and foot stomping, and hollering, “Shoo! We’re trying to marry-off this girl.  She’s almost forty years old, for heaven’s sake.  Scram!”  If necessary, they will take a few quick combative steps toward the intruder to indicate that they are willing to chase her into the parking lot.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Survival of the Fittest from Grumblings - by the Author of Paula Takes a Risk - Available March 2012

Survival of the Fittest

There is a fierce, ongoing survival of the fittest competition occurring in bars and restaurants across the country. Perhaps it’s because of the well-publicized ratio of women to men. When women are on the prowl, they often exhibit animal traits when competing for the attention of a potential dance partner, boyfriend or … husband.  With claws exposed, they are willing to fight to the social-death in order to insure their places in the dating food chain.

 Women on the prowl can be characterized into the following animal categories: the house cat, the tigress, the gazelle, the elephant, the snake, the chicken, a pack of wolves, the kangaroo, the wild boar, the hyena and the vulture.
House Cat

This species M.O. is complete indifference.  She is aloof.  She sits quietly, preening and adjusting, knowing that she will draw attention to herself by simply exuding confidence.  She is an observer.  Without warning, she will suddenly rise and leave a conversation, only to return a short time later with a new toy.


The tigress lays low in the grass, sizing up her prey, and waits for the perfect time to pounce.  When she spots her target, she hunkers down and quietly assesses possible obstacles.  When the time is right, she springs into action. She flashes her teeth and with the lightening speed, she chases down her prey.  She grabs him by the neck, sinks her nails into his flesh and doesn’t loosen her grip until he has succumbed to her force.  Satisfied with her conquer, she licks her chops.  As she consumes her prize, she fiercely growls and swipes at the other women if they dare approach.

The gazelle moves with ease and beauty.  She glides through the bar.  Gracefully leaping from one conversation to the next.  She is sleek and moves at great speed.  It’s difficult for a man to catch her in the crosshairs.  But when she’s brought down, she is a beautiful prize.


She’s clumsy, forceful and hard to escape.  She’s difficult to ignore.  She’ll demolish everything in her path.  When she selects her target, she begins to kick up gravel, lets out a thunderous roar, aggressively flaps her ears and wildly swings her trunk to knock any obstacles out of her path.  The only hope of escape is to run. 

The snake slithers up and wraps herself around a barstool and waits silently. She may rattle her tail or spit venom at any intruding woman who dares to threaten her domain.  Men approach her with caution.  It’s difficult to ascertain whether she’s harmless or deadly.  Is she toxic?  Is she a docile house pet?  Or is she just slimy? 

The chicken wanders aimlessly, clucking, digging at the dirt, and nervously picking at the bar snacks. If engaged in a conversation, she will lay and egg with inappropriate comments, silliness or stupidity. Initially, her wackiness is endearing, but it quickly becomes a handicap when a pack of wolves invades the bar. 

 Pack of wolves

This group of women arrives at the bar in a pack with the common goal of seizing and conquering the next victim.  They work as a group.  They howl at the moon to announce their arrival.  With steely eyes they intimidate anyone who dares to enter their marked territory.  The group surrounds and then runs down their prey.  They share their prize.  If one wolf becomes too greedy, she will be cast out of the pack and forced to fend on her own.

She seems carefree.  She’s lively and bouncy and happily hops around the bar. Her pouch is filled with perkiness.  But an unwelcome intruder should never let down her guard, the kangaroo can knock down any competition with the force of her tail.
Wild Boar

The wild boar charges through the bar and forces herself into conversations.  She interrupts, spewing unsolicited, uninteresting facts until the group disperses and climbs up into safe territory where they know she can’t get to them.  She’ll persist for a while until she gets tired or spots another victim.


The hyena is loud, laughing hysterically, overly enthusiastic about nothing in particular. She draws attention to herself.  Is her behavior fun or is it embarrassing?  She has the ability to scare off the faint of heart.  Anyone who wants to have a good time gravitates toward the hyena.

The vulture circles the bar searching for her prey.  She is in search of someone who’s wounded or weak. She swoops down out of nowhere and takes the victim by surprise.  She relentlessly bombards him with her intentions, over and over, until he his rendered helpless and has no option other than buying her a drink or asking for her telephone number.

Whichever the category she falls into, each woman must stay alert and be aware of her actions and her surroundings at all times. If she lets her guard down or displays any signs of weakness she will quickly turn from the hunter, to the hunted, or worse, the road kill that passers-by swerve to avoid.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Drop in Visitor From: Grumblings... By the Author of Paula Takes a Risk - Available March 2012

Drop in Visitor

During a casual-flirty conversation with Roger, a co-worker, I said in an “I’m-available-ask-me-out-on-a-date” kind of way,  “When you’re in the neighborhood sometime, you should drop by.”  What I really meant was, “If you’re going to be in the neighborhood, call me at least an hour before you plan on coming by.”  I thought it was implied.  Fire a warning shot.  Give me a chance to straighten up the house and hide those items that might cause me some embarrassment or require an explanation if seen. 

So, at ten o’clock on Saturday morning, while I was skulking around the house wearing paint-stained sweatpants, a pajama top, and a pair of brown knee-hi argyle socks, the doorbell rang.  I put on a baseball cap to hide my severe case of bedhead and opened the door just a crack, knowing that I would quickly turn away whoever was on the other side. I figured it was my annoying neighbor or someone selling magazine subscriptions.  No such luck.  It was Roger. 

“Oh, what a surprise …” I said, forcing a smile.

“You said to drop by anytime.  So, here I am.” He held out his arms as if to say “ta-da.”

“Yes, you are.”  I stared blankly at him.

“Can I come in?”

“Oh … sure.”  What could I do? I opened the door and ushered him into the living room. “Excuse the mess … it’s the weekend, you know.”

“Did I catch you in the middle of folding your laundry?” He motioned to the basket of laundry that had been sitting on the living room floor since I had brought it in from the laundry room five days earlier.

“Oh,”  Think fast, “ yes ... that’s okay.  I’ll finish it later.”  The truth was that I was going to have to put it in the dryer again to get rid of the now imbedded wrinkles.

I smiled.  Suddenly, I remembered that I hadn’t brushed my teeth yet.  I knew that I would have to practice the inhaling-speaking technique.  It always gives me the hiccups.

He settled onto the couch.  He smiled and took a sweeping look at me. 

Oh God!  My clothes!  I flashed back to Halloween in the early 1970s when I dressed like a hobo and I had worn something similar to what I had on.

“Why don’t you make yourself comfortable?  I have to check something in the other room.  I’ll be right back.”

I quickly escaped into my bedroom.  It was a mess.  The bed was unmade.  I threw the bedspread over the tangled sheets.  All the bureau drawers were open, and clothes that needed to be taken to the dry cleaner were piled on the floor.  A box of frosted shredded mini wheats was next to the bed.

I flung open the closet.  What should I wear?  What should I wear? Roger had only seen me wearing business clothes.  Perhaps, something casual. I’ll show him my sporty side.  Jeans. Oh no, my current-size-jeans were in the laundry basket in the living room.  I spotted another pair toward the back of the closet.  As I reached for them, I knew that it was going to be a struggle.  This pair of jeans was a size, or two, smaller than I was that day.

“So,” I yelled from my bedroom “What brings you to my neighborhood today?”

“I got an early start today and had to drop something off at a friends house.  He lives right around the corner from you.  So, here I am.”

“Um-hum …” I grunted, as I continued to yank at the zipper on my pants.  I laid down on the bed.  Concentrate!  “I’ll be there in a minute.”  Finally, After a few more seconds of testing my upper body strength and sustaining severe thumb and forefinger cramps, the zipper was up.  I threw on a baggy sweater to cover the tummy glob that was oozing over the waistband of my pants.

“I’ll be right there.”  I walked past the living room and held up one finger through the doorway. 

I went into the bathroom to brush my teeth.  I hope he doesn’t ask to use the bathroom.  There were towels on the floor, toothpaste in the sink, various sleep aid and laxative boxes on the sink.  I picked up a towel and wiped out the sink and opened a drawer and swept everything else in.

I took off the baseball cap and looked in the mirror.  I no longer had bedhead, my hair was now plastered against my skull.  Oh great.  Isn’t this pretty?  I was horrified to see the under-eye make-up remnants, along with the multiple encrusted dollops of zit cream that had been strategically placed on my chin and forehead. Really pretty.  I washed my face, brushed my teeth, rearranged my hair and quickly applied some natural-look make-up.

As I walked into the living room, I picked up the newspapers and magazines and three pairs of shoes that had been kicked-off after I had come home from work on Monday, Thursday and Friday.  Wednesday I worked from home. Friday I wore the same pair of shoes that I had worn on Tuesday.

            “So, what do you have planned for the day?” I sat down on the couch.

He started, “Well, I thought that I’d come by and …” I didn’t hear another word.  While he was speaking, I looked across the room and noticed one of my bras hanging on the doorknob. I had put it there to air dry after I had washed it.

Roger noticed that he no longer had my attention.  “Are you alright?”

I was focused on the bra.  “What? … Uh, yes. What were you saying?”  Think fast! I stood up, crossed the room and sat down in a chair next to the bra.  I casually reached back, grabbed the bra and tucked it under my sweater.

Roger continued, “I thought that I’d just stop by and say hello.”

Is that it?  Stop by to say hello? Aren’t you going to ask me out for breakfast? “What about a cup of coffee?” Did I say that out loud?

“I’d love some.” He smiled.


I stood up and started walking toward the kitchen.  Roger stood up to follow me. Uh-oh!  My mind flashed on the mess in and around the kitchen sink.  What now?

As Roger started to follow me, I stopped in my tracks. “You know what?” I blurted.  “I’m out of coffee.”

Roger looked puzzled, “Oh … well, I suppose we could go out to get-”

“Great!” I turned around and walked him toward the door.  Then I suggested that he step outside while I set the burglar alarm.  I needed a diversion.  “I’ll be there in a minute.”  When Roger was out of sight, I fished around under my sweater, pulled the bra out and hung it on the doorknob on my way out of the house.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

And Guest From Grumblings.... By the Author of Paula Takes a Risk - Available March 2012

And Guest

The most terrifying two-word combination that a single woman can read is “and Guest” written in calligraphy on the front of an oversized, ecru-colored envelope.  Even the most self-assured woman is stopped dead in her tracks when she realizes that she is expected to bring a date to a social function and she can’t think of anyone to take with her.

I recently received one of those envelopes.  My friend Sharon was getting married. My first thought was, Oh my God. Who am I going to invite as my guest? I can’t show up alone.  “and Guest” implies that they are expecting me to bring a date.  An escort.  A dance partner.

  I went through a mental checklist of all of the men I know.  Let’s see now.  What about Henry? No, he’s married.  John? No, he’s seeing someone else.  Robert? No, his behavior embarrasses me when we’re out in public.  There’s Carl.  No, I unceremoniously dumped him and humiliated him in front of his friends and co-workers.  Humm, I wonder if he’s still holding a grudge?

I searched for my address book.  I frantically flipped through the pages trying to remember which men I hadn’t referred to as “The Asshole of the Year” to my friends.  Looking at the names, I wished that I had returned some of those telephone messages from phone calls that I had avoided. Messages that were left on my answer machine by men while I stood there listening their voices over the speaker as they poured out their hearts onto a twenty-second tape.  As I considered how my past behavior resulted in my current predicament, I reprimanded myself, I have to change my waystomorrow.

I began to panic.  I suppose I could respond and tell Sharon that I would not be able to go to her wedding. No, that wouldn’t work. I would have to come up with an excuse, a lie, and then I would have to remember it for the rest of my life. Then I would have to be on my toes at all times and be prepared to convincingly discuss my excuse, in great detail, every time Sharon reminisced about her wedding. Maintaining a lie for several years is just too much pressure for me to endure. Lying was not an option.

Wait just one minute!  Sharon knows perfectly well that I’m not dating anyone right now. Is she trying to punish me? Is she trying to humiliate me? How could she be so cold?  I became indignant, That’s it!  I’m not going and that will show her!  Those thoughts faded when reality stepped in and I remembered that the world doesn’t revolve around me and that Sharon’s wedding ceremony and reception were not maliciously planned with the express purpose of embarrassing me.

I thought about being honest and logical. Perhaps I could call Sharon and tell her that I didn’t have a date to bring and ask her if she had invited any single men who also need a date.  No, then I would look pathetic. Pathetic and desperate, a sad combination.

I looked at the invitation again. The date of the wedding was six weeks away.  I had to come up with a plan of action.  I could go out and actively pursue men.  Let’s see.  If I met a man this weekend, we could have three, four, possibly five dates before Sharon’s wedding.  We would appear comfortable together and after six weeks there would be a good possibility of some hand-holding and sweet glances.

But there was the very real possibility that I would not meet a potential “and Guest” right away. I calculated, if I met someone two or three weeks from now, we might only be able to get in a few dates before the wedding.  This could create a familiarity and comfort issue. What if I don’t know him well enough to determine what his idea of formal wear is?  It could be an expensive suit or a T-shirt with a tuxedo stenciled on the front.

I considered going to a popular restaurant in my neighborhood and making the announcement that I had been invited to a wedding. I would explain that I had been asked to bring a date and that I would be interviewing applicants from the hours of nine to eleven at the end of the bar. Along with proof of employment and a valid driver’s license, a list of three references must be provided. Transients and drunks need not apply.

The weeks flew by and before I knew it Sharon’s wedding day had come. I had not arranged for an “and Guest.”  I was going to the wedding alone, unescorted. Things could be worse, I thought.  Sharon could have asked me to be a bridesmaid.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Punishment by Babysitting From Grumblings... By the Author of Paula Takes a Risk - Available in March 2012


Punishment by Babysitting

I have come to believe that during a woman’s pregnancy a special “Mommy” hormone is activated.  This hormone contains the genes of extreme patience and the ability to translate baby talk, crying, whining and shrilling noises into English.  Moreover, this hormone also contains a homing device that disallows the mommy from running away from home out of pure frustration.

For those of us who do not have children and have not spent an enormous amount of time around them, we are at a loss regarding how to speak to and entertain them.  We erroneously think that we can handle anything they have to dish out.  After all, we deal will all types of people, personalities, and situations everyday.  How difficult could it be?

Nancy, a good friend of mine, ran into a bind regarding babysitting arrangements and asked me to “sit” with her kids for a few hours.  My afternoon was free and I wanted to be helpful, so I said, “Sure.”  After all, how difficult could it be?  I quickly learned the answer to that question.

On Saturday afternoon, Nancy dropped off Nick, age five, and Samantha, age two and a half, along with a bag filled with toys, videos, books, crayons and assorted Disney underwear.  Nancy told Nick and Samantha to be good and listen to my instructions.  Nancy assured me that she would return in two hours and rambled on with instructions. How difficult could this be? I laughed to myself.  I assured Nancy not to worry as I walked her to the door and said good-bye.

Through the window, the kids watched their mommy drive away, abandoning them for the afternoon.  When Nancy’s minivan was out of sight, Nick and Samantha turned around and looked at me with pouting expressions that said, “Now what?  Entertain me!”  Samantha crossed her arms across her little body.  Nick started fingering an expensive crystal figurine.  They stared at me.  It was eerie.

Now what? I thought to myself.  I remembered reading somewhere that it is important to get down to the children’s level.  Eye to eye.  So, with a big smile, I leaned over, put my hands on my knees and asked, “So, what would you like to do?” 

They looked at one another and shrugged their little shoulders.  Soon Samantha’s eyes started welling up with tears and she started that cranky, pre-tantrum, bouncing move.  Her lower lip began to protrude and then quiver.  I feared what came next.  It wasn’t long before a crying tantrum ensued.  Samantha started first.  Nick observed his sister and then told me that I was a mean lady for making her cry.  He raised his little fist and swung it at me and then, within seconds, began to cry himself.  Now what?  It had only been five minutes since Nancy left.  This was going to be a long afternoon.

At first, I tried being reasonable “C’mon guys, give me a break.  I understand that you miss your mommy but she’ll be back soon.”  Then, I pleaded. “Please stop crying.  We’ll do anything you want to do.”  I tried bribery.  “I’ve got ice cream in the kitchen.”  Finally, I gave up. “If you want to cry, go right ahead.  I’ve got other things to do.  Let me know when you’re done.” 

Suddenly the crying stopped.  I wasn’t sure if it was my clever unintentional use of reverse psychology or if they just had become dehydrated.  Whatever the reason, I wasn’t going to analyze it.  I was just hopeful that the crying portion of our afternoon was over.  Besides, I had suddenly and miraculously become their best friend.  They wanted me to sit on the floor and play with them.

Nick and Samantha unloaded the bag of crafts, toys and videos that Nancy had brought with them.  They insisted on playing with everything all at one time.  I read a book about a caterpillar to them as they watched a video, drew on my antique coffee table and played with plastic action figurines.  As quickly as it had begun, it was over.  Within five minutes they were bored.  They stared at me again.  When I suggested that they clean up their toys, they looked at me in utter disbelief.  It was as if I had asked them to give up snacks and all of their toys for the sake of world peace.

I noticed that Nick was cupping and squeezing his crotch.  “What’s the matter?”  I asked.

He informed me, “I have to go to the potty.” 

“Do you need help?”  I asked.

“No, I’m a big boy.” 

What did I know?  I said fine and pointed him in the direction of the bathroom.  I later found that Nick may be a big boy but not big enough to reach to toilet.  He had managed to pee all over the bathroom, the guest towels, the bath mat and cabinets.  I wasn’t sure if his aim was really bad or…really good.

Nancy told me that Samantha was doing well with her potty training.  So I asked Samantha if she had to use the potty also.  She looked up at me with her big blue eyes and shook her head no.  No, of course not, she had already relieved herself in her pants.  I asked her if she made number one or number two.  She held up four fingers. The permeating smell provided the answer.  Oh my God! I wondered. “What does Nancy feed these kids?  Limburger cheese? Does Kraft have a toxic waste flavored macaroni and cheese recipe?”  I suggested that I change her underpants.  She refused.  I begged.  Nick called her “stinky” until she cried.  Only then did she agree to a fresh pair of Little Mermaid panties.

Nick announced, “We want a snack.”

“Did you have lunch?” I asked.

“No.” Nick said. “We haven’t eaten all day.  Mommy didn’t give us any food.”

“What would you like?”  The second that question came out of my mouth, I knew it was the wrong thing to ask.

“Candy!”  Samantha shouted.

Nick chimed in, “Chips and cookies.”

“Does your mommy let you eat that?”

“All of the time,” Nick tried to convince me, “Everyday.”

I looked in the refrigerator in an effort to find something to serve as a snack to Nick and Samantha.  My refrigerator is full of restaurant leftovers, wine and the food that is served with wine. Humm. Brie? No. French cheese would be lost on them.  I pulled out a container of hummus.  Nick informed me that it looks like “throw-up.”  Mediterranean olive mix?  Nope, too salty and they had pits. How would I explain the bloating and choking to Nancy?  Well, I had a box of chocolates from Christmas which I had put freezer in an attempt to keep myself from devouring the whole thing in one sitting. No, too hard. Peanut butter, yes.  That was the answer.  Peanut butter and crackers.  Kids like that.  Another tragedy averted.

While eating her snack, Samantha looked up at me and asked, “Do you have any babies?”

Before I could answer, Nick told his sister, “No silly, she’s too old to have babies.”

How old do these kids think I am?  I thought of launching into an informative discussion about how women are having children well into their forties.  But then I realized that young children believe that anyone older than twelve is old.

            I noticed that there was a lot of eye rubbing and ear pulling going on.  Not to mention, the whining.  I recognized this ritual. “Isn’t it time for a nap?” I asked. I begged. Quite frankly, I was exhausted.  I wondered, “How do mothers do this all day everyday?”  It must be that Mommy Hormone.

“No!” Nick announced, “We don’t need a nap.”

Samantha started to cry and in a shrilling voice that only dogs can hear, she whined, “I don’t want to take a nap!”


Now what?  We had been through tantrums, played games, read a book, watched a video, changed underpants, and ate a snack.  The only thing left to do was to help them study for their college preparatory tests.

Nick announced, “We’re bored.”

“Well, what would you like to do?”

Nick lit up, “Let’s play hide and seek.”  Then he proceeded to explain the rules.  “We’ll hide and you find us. Count to a hundred.”

Before I knew it, Nick and Samantha ran out of the room.  I could hear them giggling as they made their way through the house.  Every couple of seconds I shouted out a number. “Twenty!” “Fifty!” “Eighty!” “Ready or not, here I come!”  This was my chance.  I sat down on the couch.

I heard Nancy’s minivan pull into my driveway.  I stood up and called out, “Nick and Samantha, your mommy is here!”

            When Nancy walked in, she looked around and asked me, “Where are they?”

I wasn’t sure. “We’re playing hide and seek and they’re hiding.”

Nancy smirked, “You needed a break, huh?”

Nancy called out for Nick and Samantha. They ran out to greet her as if they were being reunited after ten years of forced separation.

As Nancy was gathering all of their toys, she told them to thank me.  In unison, Nick and Samantha recited a well-practiced, “thank you” and ran out the door toward Nancy’s car.

“So,” Nancy joked. “Same time next week?”

“Next week? Sure.” I said. “That will give me just enough time to recover from today.”

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Bachelorette Shower - from Grumblings... By the Author of Paula Takes a Risk - Available March 2012

Bachelorette Shower

“The gift is in the giving.”  That’s what they say.  True-giving selflessness happens when a person does not expect anything in return for his or her actions. Sure. Okay, whatever you say.  But, after years of attending countless bridal and baby showers and purchasing one gift after another, I’ve become fed up.  How about some gift reciprocation?  Do I have to have an engagement ring or a fetus in order to receive a congratulatory gift?  Is this fair? Just because I don’t have a husband-pending doesn’t mean I don’t need mixing bowls. If you cut me, do I not bleed?  If I’m unmarried, do I not need cutlery?

I’ve lost count of the amount of times I have schlepped myself to the Pottery Barn or to a department store, in the name of friendship, to be faced with the saleswoman who is in possession of a gift registry list.  Or worse, spending thirty minutes trying to call up the list on the customer computer system that is “Out of Order.”  Not to mention the frustration of trying to decipher the meaning of M #1322 chg gls 12 or Horizon tstr bgl 1. It’s amazing to me that no matter how soon I get to the store following the wedding announcement, with the exception of the designer dishtowels and an oven-mitt-apron combination, none of the ‘affordable’ gifts on the registry list are left to purchase.

The idea of a bridal shower is fine.   But why should it be designated for only those people who have a wedding date set?  I ask you, who needs crystal stemware, dinnerware and serving pieces more than the single gal?  How am I supposed to impress a husband candidate with the chipped stoneware dishes, glassware from the gas station and my mother’s hand-me-down silverware?

Frankly, I am in need of entertainment equipment. And I think that it’s high time that there is a venue for the single woman to recoup some of her gift giving investment and collect some badly needed items.

I propose the idea of a Bachlorette Shower, a celebration of the unmarried status.  Throw a party for the woman who is single, confident and proud.  It’s a shin-dig for the woman who smiles and politely listens, without bursting into flames as her well meaning friends run down the annoying, yet benign, list of comments.

“When are you going to stop running around and settle down?”

“Poor thing.  You must be lonely.” 

“Don’t you want to get married?”

“Maybe I know someone for you.”

The agenda for the Bachelorette Shower would include the opening of congratulatory gifts which include the much needed, impressive serving pieces and crystal, and the dating essentials which include lingerie, date-outfits and gift certificates for spa treatments. In place of usual shower activities and games that include building a gift-bow bouquet and guessing a baby’s birth weight, the Bachelorette Shower would have drinking games, lively discussions about sex and a friendly competition about who has had the worst date.

It’s high time we celebrate the Bachelorette.  After spending thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours honoring those who have had life changing events, it’s time for the single woman to recoup some of her effort in the form of gifts, and well wishes from those who have benefited in the past.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Chapter 24 The Baby Shower From The Grumblings of a Chronically Single Woman - by the Author of PAULA TAKES A RISK coming out March 2012

Chapter 24 - Baby Shower

When a single woman arrives at a baby shower and announces that she has an appointment and can only stay for an hour or so, the hostess should not take it personally.  It has nothing to do with the mommy-to-be, the baby or the party.  For a single woman who does not have children, a baby shower is a mild form of torture.  Excessive “oohing” and “ahhing” is enough to cause a rash and shower games are down right painful. 

“Shower Games” are a no-win proposition for those of us who do not have any experience with children.  I do not possess the knowledge, the skill, or the inclination to identify an anal thermometer through a paper bag.  I think that it’s rude to guess someone’s waist measurement and discussions regarding unusual discharges, swelling, breaking water and breaking wind are all lost on me.  The only reference I have to the terms “carrying high,”and “carrying low” has to do with a garment bag over my shoulder and luggage on wheels.   And if you were to discuss bladder problems with me, I would suggest cranberry juice.

I don’t care what anyone says, the benefits of Kegel exercises (an isotonic exercise that is used to increase muscle tone around the urethra, bladder and rectum) are inappropriate lunch conversation.  There is always one woman at the party who gleefully announces, “I’m doing Kegels right now!”  This announcement is met by chuckles and knowing nods from the group and prompts a detailed discussion regarding when and where the others practice this ritual.  Call me uncaring, but I do not have any desire to know about anyone’s urethral fitness.

Labor stories are horrifying no matter how they are told. Only at a baby shower is it acceptable to discuss bleeding, oozing and leaking while eating lunch.  And as for lunch, is a “nice Chinese Chicken salad” the only food permitted to be served at a baby shower?  Is there a law that I am unaware of?  Sure, lettuce, mandarin oranges, and crunchy noodles are colorful and pretty but they don’t fill me up. I have attended countless baby shower luncheons and have never been served a hearty meal.  Perhaps the combination of a filet mignon and a discussion about placenta don’t mix well.

At a recent baby shower luncheon, I began to feel badly for Susan, the mommy-to-be, as I watched her drop one-of-everything on her blouse while she ate.  As her pregnancy had progressed, the distance between Susan’s plate and her mouth had grown, and had culminated into a large two-foot margin for error. She appeared to be embarrassed. After about the twentieth “oops” and “clumsy me” comments from Susan, I made an effort to make light of the pile of food that was accumulating on her chest.  I suggested that it would be a fashion marketing coup to manufacture a line of maternity clothes that have pre-existing food stains that have been imbedded into the fabric.  I explained that it would cut out the middleman, and no excuses or embarrassment would be necessary.  My suggestion was met by icy glares from the mommies.

When it was time to open the gifts, we watched Susan unwrap a pile of pastel paper covered boxes.  We “oohed” and “ahhed” as she opened each box.  She received tiny outfits covered with clowns, bears, and ducks. She laid each of them across her stomach, in an effort to show how it will look on the baby.  She got several little, crotch-snap, one-piece outfits called “One-sies.”  I’ll never look at a bodysuit the same.  Susan opened box after box that contained receiving blankets, a car seat, rattles and crib adornments.  I have to admit, I thought that most of the gifts were imaginative and adorable.  Then she unwrapped something called a Diaper Genie.  This item brought about a lively discussion about how it could be the best piece of furniture in the baby’s room.  Furniture?  Since when is a pail filled with dirty diapers considered furniture?

After a discussion about overloaded diapers and the most-disgusting-diaper story competition was over, the hostess of the party announced that cake was being served.  Interesting transition, I thought.  I said “no thanks” to a piece from the cake shaped like a pregnant belly and went to retrieve my purse from the pile of spit-up-stained coats and huge canvas bags that were filled with healthy snacks, wipes and plastic toys.

I grabbed my purse and returned to the party to say good-bye.  Susan, with the help of two other people, got up from the couch and waddled over to hug me and thank me for coming.  “So,” she said.  “When are you going to think about having a baby?”

“I’ve given it some thought,” I said.  “But for now, the only babies I am prepared to handle are the men that I date.”

Monday, November 21, 2011

Wayne - from Grumblings of a Chronically Single Woman, by Randi Sherman, the Author of Paula Takes a Risk, Available March 2012


I had a great job.  Not only did I get paid, have the respect of my co-workers and fine insurance benefits, I also had an outside line to the world.  Flirting and gossip were just seven numbers away.  Dial nine first. Convenient or not, I was, expected to communicate with a variety of self-absorbed, anal retentive types who actually expected me to conduct business with them. I did, however, have the opportunity to speak with a seemingly normal person named Wayne.  Wayne was an employee of a client.  We spoke on a regular basis.  His reckless attitude about the corporate rules and regulations intrigued me.  Overtime, Wayne told me about his interests and his alternative rock band.  His voice was an alluring raspy whisper.  He always paused and then exhaled as he answered each question.  I couldn’t decide whether it was sensual on or just the early stages of emphysema.

It had always been a fantasy of mine to get involved with an un-conservative, dumb-ass of a guy whom my friends and family would completely disapprove of.  I decided that had to think of a way to get Wayne meet me face-to-face.  During our conversations, I had always been somewhat reserved and conservative. Perhaps he thought I was uptight. One day, toward the end of our conversation, Wayne asked, matter of factly, about my plans for the upcoming weekend.  That was my cue.  I said, “Well, it’s been three weeks since my breast enhancement surgery and now I’m ready to go and try them out.  Do you want to join me?”

Wayne suggested meeting at a “bitchin’” restaurant.  He told me to look for a tall dude with long hair, a nose ring and wearing a “Dead” T-shirt.  Great, I thought.  I hadn’t been out with this caliber of man since I developed standards.

I miscalculated the traffic and arrived at the restaurant early.  Wayne wasn’t there yet.  I went to the bar and sat down with a group of friendly looking people.  We had a few drinks and shared told blind date stories.  As time passed, we started wagering money about what Wayne might look like.  We watched hoards of good looking men come into the restaurant.  None of them was Wayne.

Finally, after about forty minutes, Wayne loped in.  No one had to point him out to me.  I just knew that it had to be him.  He was the most unappealing man I have ever seen.  He was outfitted in rubber thongs and tight faded brown corduroy shorts that were screaming for relief.  The button from his shorts was missing and the proportion limit of the fabric was being tested.  The bottom of his ill-fitting bleached out, “Dead” shirt ended about three inches above the top of his shorts.  His white, flabby stomach emphasized the obvious separation of material.

The hostess took one look at him and motioned for the security guard.  My new friends and I just sat there waiting for the inevitable to happen.  My name was announced over the public address system.  Laughter erupted as the bets were collected.  I entertained the thought of not answering the page.

As I walked toward him, I couldn’t help but notice that Wayne had a wild eye.  One of his eyes was focused on my left breast while the other was staring at the far upper right corner of the room.  His nose ring was encrusted. He also was suffering from a chronic case of acne through which he was attempting to grow a beard.  His face looked, as I would image, the earth must have looked at the beginning of time, when the first saplings broke through the cooling lava.  Then he held out his arms and with an eruption of saliva when he said, “Stho, here I am.”

Once we were seated, Wayne grabbed a napkin and blew his nose so hard that I thought his head would implode.  Then he tossed the used napkin on the table, landing on my silverware.  If his appearance wasn’t enough of a diet aid, the napkin bit did the trick. My appetite completely disappeared.  His contribution to the conversation consisted of multiple bodily eruptions and a story about the time he drank so much that he “nearly puked out a lung.”  I sat there shaking my head in disbelief.  He was, in fact, the most disgusting man alive.

I looked at my watch and decided to cut my losses.  I told Wayne that I had to leave.  He said, “Cool.”  He said that it was nice to meet me but that there wasn’t any chemistry and that he had pictured me differently.

As I walked to my car, I had to laugh to myself because I realized that both my fantasy and the entire contents of head were left crumpled up in a napkin.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Hows my hair? - from Grumblings of a Chronically Single Woman by Randi M Sherman, the Author of Paula Takes a Risk,available 2012

How’s my hair?

Waking up and hearing breathing, other than your own, can be exciting, terrifying, or embarrassing.  To confirm your suspicions, you may slowly and quietly reach back to feel for a body lying beside you. Hopefully, you know who it is.  Without moving, use only your eyes to search the room for condom wrappers.  An uneasy feeling sneaks up on you as you tightly shut your eyes to consider the two questions that need to be answered before you indicate that you’re awake.  Was this a good thing? And, how’s my hair? 

No matter what the answer to the moral issue is, whether you want to marry this guy, suffer through coffee and a bagel or ask him lose your number, the hair question must be addressed first.  Sure, morning breath is an issue, but not a priority.  Rest easily knowing that no one wakes up with fresh breath. A quick back-of-the-finger-under-eye rub can minimize the remnants of yesterday’s make-up.  But, a bad case of bedhead can play havoc with the self-confidence and the ability to project a carefree easy-going attitude.

Do not call attention to your level of wakefulness.  If he senses that you are awake, he may want to talk or … something.  You may lose the window of opportunity for hair repair.  It is important to concentrate on your breathing to maintain a sleeping rhythm as you attempt to assess the hair situation. The movement must look as if it’s a part on your waking process. Pretend you’re stretching.  Run your hands through your hair to determine the pillow damage sustained during the night.  Is it salvageable?  Has it gone wild?  Is it sticking up? Do you have a Gumby bump? Is it flat on one side? Can a quick pass with your fingers temporarily fix the damage until you can get to the bathroom for the full inspection and adjustment?

Remember the goal is to avoid having to answer questions such as: What’s going on with your hair?  Or, What happened to you?  Go through you mental checklist. Does he require glasses to see?  Is it possible to make a dash for the bathroom?  How long can I hold my head-position on this pillow?  When all else fails, divert his attention with sex.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Hi everyone - and welcome to my blog

Hey there - so you've joined me - thanks
Im so excited that I may just burst - and what a mess that would be - so I continue to show some sense of decorum and self-control

Click on About the Author - to read about me, my history and what makes me tick
Click on Synopsis - to read about Paula Takes A Risk, my new humor novel - coming out March 2012

And read thru the blog - I am entering chapters from a book I wrote in 2002 - The Grumblings of a Chronically Single Woman.

Hey - would you join my blog - I update it almost every day with pithy stories.
And if I can be so bold - may I ask that you forward the blog information to everyone you know.

Lets create a buzz for Paula Takes a Risk - its hilarious

Order Food - from: Grumbings.... by Randi Sherman, the author of Paula Takes a Risk, available March 2012

Order Food

There are different types of food to order for different occasions.  There is interview food.  That is, during a job interview process, you maybe asked to meet for lunch or dinner. Food is not the reason for the meeting is it just an excuse. In that situation do not order loud food, finger food, messy food or food that requires a lot of attention or effort to eat.  Conversely, there is Super Bowl party food. Loud, crunchy, messy food.  In this situation, the food is equally as important as the occasion.  But what about first date food?

Within seconds of glancing at the menu, I usually spot the meal I would really like to order.  But what is the appropriate thing to order? No matter how self-assured I may be, I don’t want to appear to be a pig.  So, I’ll sit back and allow him to set the standard.

Time passes as I sit there wishing that I had mind reading capabilities to determine what is he going to order.  What if I order more food than he does?  What if I order something too expensive? Oh no! Suddenly, I cringe at the thought of my regular eating habits.  Gobbling down a jumbo burger and a large order of fries, in the time it takes for a traffic signal to change from red to green, or consuming a bag of chips, leftover Chinese food and a few cookies in the eight minutes it takes to microwave my real dinner, could be frightening to the faint of heart. 

Will my food preferences make an impression?  Good or bad?  Is my best bet is to order a salad, something from the appetizer menu or nothing at all?  This tactic may give him the impression that I eat like a bird, that I’m delicate. Who am I kidding?

Many women under estimate the intelligence of the men they date. I have found that most men have, at least, a basic knowledge of bodily function.  They know that human body requires food to sustain life and they do not believe that it can survive on “something light” or just a small tossed salad.  They also realize that it takes more than a small plate of steamed vegetables for a woman to maintain 180 pounds of weight.

The proclamation, “I’m not really hungry” is a lie.  You know it.  He knows it. The only thing you may accomplish with this line is in convincing your date that you must eat like a horse when you are alone, at home. 

The proclamation, “I had a late lunch,” is an insult.  This single sentence informs your date that you made a conscious decision to ruin your appetite and the dinner plans he had made for the two of you.

If your thought is to save him money, forget it.  Men are not impressed by the fact that you are counting their money.

Your date is not going to be impressed with your self-control.  A request for dressing on the side, a lemon wedge or something grilled “dry” is about as intriguing as reporting that you don’t kiss on the first date. 

After a brief study of the situation, my suggestion is: if you are hungry, order food.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

'Paula Takes a Risk' - Due out in March 2012
After thirty-four years of just letting life happen to her, Paula Tenenbaum’s mundane existence was suddenly interrupted. It was bad enough to be fired from her job because she was “average”, but on that same day, she was dumped by her boyfriend for being “un-dynamic.” Somehow, someway Paula needed to make a change. But before she could figure out what her next step would be, her scheming neighbor Larry tapped into her silent desperation and dreams and challenged everything that she believed about herself.

At first Paula is skeptical, but eventually she realizes that she has nothing to lose, as she takes on the persona of the successful, and dynamic individual that she always dreamed of being, navigating thru business, colorful personalities, celebrities and the people that she had adored from a far.

Written with sharp humor, huge personality, Paula Takes A Risk is the hilarious story about the metamorphosis of Paula Tenenbaum, who naively enters into an adventure that changes her life. This is a story certain to strike a chord in anyone who secretly desires change, but is afraid to make it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

About Randi - Author of Paula Takes a Risk

 Randi, a native Californian, lives in San Francisco. With her tremendous grasp of the obvious, Randi has always had the ability to find humor in the mundane and share the laughter. Her imagination and sense of humor grew as she got older and became more confident. She dares to examine and discuss everyday foibles, which obliges people to stop taking themselves ...too seriously.

Writing jokes and stories has been a part of Randi’s life since she was a teenager. Eventually, she spent time performing stand-up comedy at Los Angeles club amateur nights and studied Improvisation in the bay area. Realizing that she preferred having an income, living indoors and eating regularly, she reluctantly put those dreams on hold and entered the corporate world, yet never left behind her sense of humor and creative storytelling ability, skills which were not always appreciated during budget and strategy meetings.

Now, after living indoors for a while and eating, albeit too much, her book, Paula Takes a Risk is being published. Her unique wit, writing style and candor will surely make the reader sit or stand up and take notice.

Randi would never claim to have a genius IQ, the body of a super model or always have the right thing to wear. However, she can spell the words, “smart” and “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” Randi does have a model-like body that is cleverly concealed beneath twenty pounds of soft protective layering and she has the appetite of a bird. (By “bird” I mean vulture.) Her entire wardrobe consists of black, black and varying degrees of black, except for those items that are covered with lint because she put them through the wash with a tissue.
Things that Randi cannot live without: people to laugh with, her car horn, a gym membership where there are chubby women who break into a sweat while putting on a jog bra, wine, waist capes, and her partner, Carol.

Randi does not like mean-spirited people, liver, left-overs, communal dressing rooms, tight underwear, and people who point.

Randi is five-foot-seven.
See More
'Paula Takes a Risk' - Due out in March 2012


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Steven and Tiffany from Grumblings.... by the Author of Paula Takes a Risk, available March 2012

Steven and Tiffany

Steven’s participation in the initial telephone conversation pretty much stopped at “hello.”   Perhaps he is not a phone person. I thought. Very economical with his words. It appeared that he didn’t want to be bothered with the task of conversation. I was placated with a lot of um-hums and oh reallys. It appeared to be a weak attempt at appearing mildly interested. I felt as if I was auditioning. Our conversation was interrupted continually by the beeping of his call-waiting service. I became annoyed with this “please hold” stuff.  Each time he returned to our call there wasn’t an apology, an excuse, or a “where were we?”  Nothing. After about the eighth “could-I-put-you-on-hold…I’m expecting-an-important-call,” I hung up. I couldn’t figure out why he called, if he didn’t have time to talk to me. Was he self-absorbed?  Perhaps he was very important?  Frankly, no one is important enough to be rude.

A short time later the telephone rang again. Without giving it a thought, I answered. It was Steven. He invited me out for dinner on the following Saturday. He explained that he could fit me in at around 8:00 PM. Fit me in?! I don’t think so! I declined the invitation, explaining that I was sure that he was a perfectly nice person, but it appeared that he was just too busy and I prefer not to be “fit in” anywhere and at anytime by anyone. 

“Listen,” Steven said, “I’m really not very good on the phone. Please meet me in person.”

It seemed to be an honest plea, so I thought about it and agreed to meet him at his house.

I arrived and was greeted by Tiffany, Steven’s twelve-year-old daughter. A daughter.  A surprise. Where did he find the time? Steven had not mentioned her during our telephone conversation. Come to think of it, Steven had not mentioned much of anything. Tiffany was an average pre-teen girl. She was just beginning to shed the baby-fat, was suffering through the acne years, and was understandably a little self- conscious.  She kept crossing her arms over what badly needed a training bra. Poor Tiffany had about fifteen pounds of orthodontic appliances in and around her mouth.  Puberty was unkind to her.

Tiffany told me that her daddy had instructed her to entertain me while he finished a business call. The floor show consisted of a half-an-hour watching Tiffany empty and re-fill her purse with various pre-teen items: a velcro wallet containing her school ID and public library card. She also had a key ring that held a multicolored lanyard, a mini video game, a rabbit’s foot, a big plastic thing-a-ma-bob and one lonely house key. For good measure and the all-important-purse-bulk, she added a huge pack of chewing gum, a hairbrush, lip gloss, a pad of paper and an assortment of colorful pens.  Just as she offered to play her newest Miley Cyrus CD for me, Steven emerged.

Handsome would have been the understatement of the year. Chiseled, model-type features, and what promised to be a great body under his Armani suit. Hanging from his belt were two beepers, a smart phone and what appeared to be an electric garage door opening device. I didn’t ask.

When he smiled and warmly introduced himself, I forgave our telephone conversation, and the fact that he had taken almost thirty minutes to come out of his office to greet me. Hell! I almost apologized.

Steven had made reservations at one of the most popular restaurants in the city. “Okay,” he said, clapped his hands together and looked past me to his daughter. Tiffany grabbed her purse. Had I misunderstood? Were we taking his daughter on our first date? I convinced myself to be a good sport. I didn’t say anything about it.

Steven asked if I wouldn’t mind driving my car. His was in the shop. I didn’t say anything about that either.

When we arrived at the restaurant, we were greeted by Ginger, the restaurant’s hostess. She spotted Steven and did a sensual neck-stretch, pursed her lips, lowered her eyelids and exhaled with a mild moan. It appeared that she knew Steven…well. He leaned over the hostess podium and whispered something in her ear.She half-heartedly waved at Tiffany. Then she looked at me and made a face that looked like she was smelling garbage. She was a snob-hostess. If asked, she would tell you that she was a highly trained guest placement professional: A customer service coordinator who sincerely believed that the success of the entire food service industry depended on her expertise and cunning in relation to patron positioning. If asked, I would tell you she was a hostess in a restaurant. 

She grasped her grease pencil and began cross-referencing the reservation listing with a seating chart. Planning an offensive attack on a middle-eastern country takes less analysis and consideration. When she located our reservation, she said the customary, “Ah yes, here it is.” With a well-practiced index-finger-follow-me gesture, she led us toward our table. Steven was busy acknowledging other people in the restaurant. Using a controlled head-flick, a combination Hey-there-you-are-finger-point or a “Hey Buddy,” Steven was in his element. Mister Popularity.

Before we sat down, Steven said, “You go ahead. I have to say hello to a few people.” 

Tiffany and I were seated. So far, I had been completely invisible. Even Tiffany stared right through me.

After about twenty minutes, Steven returned. “I apologize for that…some business acquaintances. I’m doing a deal with them … you know … ”

The waiter delivered the menus. “Everything here looks delicious. Doesn’t it Tiff?”  Steven really wasn’t reading the menu. He was scoping the restaurant. He made eye contact with someone across the room and gave him an I’ll-be-there-in-a-minute nod.  “You girls order anything you want. I shouldn’t be long.”

As I watched him walk away, Tiffany looked at me and snickered. I wasn’t a date.  I was a babysitter. I was pissed.

I looked across the room at Steven, who was now enjoying appetizers with his companions. Was I going to take this? Not in this lifetime! Steven’s had made one a major flaw. We came in my car. Who’s the fool now?

There was one small dilemma though. Tiffany. Could I just leave her there?  You bet your ass I could. I grabbed my purse and made my way across the room. Steven didn’t look up until one of his friends nudged him. He looked at my purse, then at the irritate expression on my face and said, “What? You’re leaving?” 

I was amused by his astonishment. “Oh yes! By the way, you may want to check up on your daughter.”

 I turned to leave and Steven jumped up and followed me to the door. When he stopped me, I expected to hear, “I’ll make it up to you” or “Please give me another chance.”  Instead, I heard, “I can’t ignore these people. You’re just going to have to understand.”  

I was amazed.  My mouth dropped open.  “I don’t have to do anything, you asshole! I don’t have to be here. I’m not sure what your plan was but I don’t have to babysit your daughter either.  I’ve got my car and I’m out of here!”  I was pretty proud of myself.  I thought that I had gotten my point across beautifully, perhaps made a life changing impact on Steven.

“Oh.” Steven said stopping me. “Listen, speaking of that, as long as you’re leaving, would you drop Tiffany off at her mother’s house on your way home.”

Tiffany and I ate drive-thru burgers on the way to her mother’s house.