10 Things to do during Menopausal Insomnia

1. Turn on the ceiling fan and open all the windows

2. Confirm the actuality of restless leg syndrome

3. Mentally rehash every time you were a jackass to someone

4. Mentally rehash every time someone was a jackass to you

5. Turn off the ceiling fan and close all the windowsTips-To-Beat-Insomnia

6. Watch TV to find an Oscar winner pitching skin products and wonder why is Helen Hunt doing that?

7. Listen to your stomach growl and hope the fat eats itself

8. Go online and Google “Menopause” and “Insomnia”

9. Write a blog post

10. Finally get back to sleep ten minutes before your alarm goes off

Are You Game?

Other than owning stocks, I’m not much of a gambler. However, if you are itching to dip your toe into the world of gaming, online casinos can be a great way to start. Playing a table game within the comfort of your own home is much less intimidating than being seated at a brick and mortar casino with fellow players staring you in the face. A certain degree of anonymity is afforded when playing at an online casino that helps provides an optimal learning environment. But for the overall experience to be an enjoyable one, be responsible. Online gambling is still played with real money: Don’t blow your retirement fund! 

gambling_jpg_2443274bThat said, online casinos have made it so that new players to their sites can reap some big rewards. They offer different kinds of bonuses to give new players a chance to try out their site without initially using any of their own money. There are different kinds of incentives so it’s really important that players know what the expectations are of these rewards. Often, the funds aren’t for immediate withdrawal and sometimes a certain betting criteria must be first met. Responsible gamers take the time to read the fine print to prevent misunderstandings down the road.

To ensure a responsible gaming environment, players also must make sure that they understand the ins and outs of the games they play. Games such as online slots seem simple but can sometimes be more complex than they first appear. Also, simply wagering your money without knowing what you’re doing is an irresponsible approach to gambling. Online casinos have made it possible for their members to educate themselves regarding certain games. Tutorials as well as chat help rooms are often found at online casino sites to provide information to players regarding games before they play them. Also, some sites have free games which let players practice before betting money. So, are you game?

The Tipping Point of Bad Behavior

When do we reach the tipping point on bad behavior? Aren’t we saturated yet? God knows, I never need to see another “real” housewife from anywhere or keep up with a single Kardashian. But, for me, the tipping point came when I heard about Self magazine making fun of a woman running the Los Angeles marathon in a tutu. Now, I personally think that ANYONE who has got the guts and tenacity to run over 26 miles in one day should not only be celebrated but probably be elected to Congress because they have got more character than I (or most Congressmen) will ever muster.

But, evidently, the sultans of style at Self think anyone running in a tutu is lame (I shudder to think how they’d judge me). So they ask this runner for permission to use her photo in their magazine and she says yes and is excited to be in the magazine and then sees this under “BS Meter — what’s lame this month”:


And here’s the kicker (wait for it…): the tutu-wearing runner is running her first race… After. Surviving. Cancer.

Now the lame editor of this lame magazine has apologized — perfunctorily — and gotten a whole bunch of press (although I think Sheryl Sandburg needs to buy up this rag and fire the whole lot of them). But my point is not merely that ridiculing a sick person is evil, it’s that this constant state of one-upmanship that has been trending — and gathering steam — in social media is evil.

There is a tsunami of bad behavior that has invaded our television channels and our magazines and, well, us. I can’t watch it anymore. I can’t read it. Look, I’m no Pollyanna by any stretch and, yes, I love sarcasm and banter that is witty and intelligent and helpful to individual and cultural growth. But this epidemic of bad behavior fueled by the 24/7 infiltration of media is, I’m convinced, going to lead to society’s downfall — a bunch of self-absorbed, snarky, entitled cliques interested only in their own shallow needs who thrive on degrading those of us simply trying to get by. Did our ancestors fight and win World War II so their heirs could watch trash TV and take non-stop selfies and surf the internet all day? Really?

We’re better than this, America. And the only way to prove it is to stop watching, stop reading, and stop buying this crap. The one thing of which I’m certain is this: If we don’t buy it, watch it, wear it, or tweet it, the media will stop producing it. Show that we are more discriminating in what we consume and we will rise above this degradation being shoveled at us.

I vow to turn it off and tune it out. Anybody with me?


Are We Looking at Ourselves Too Much?

SelfieIt dawned on me the other day that I never look in the mirror anymore. In fact, I don’t think I’ve looked in the mirror since 1988.

I look inwardly a lot, constantly self-evaluating and analyzing. But, since I never look outwardly virtually at all, I still think I look like I did in 1988.

So my mind’s eye sees myself as a svelte 26-year-old while my real self is a 51-year-old who’s rapidly losing the war to muffin top. No wonder I haven’t really looked in the mirror in three decades.

article-2272983-17544E69000005DC-62_634x405Now this wouldn’t be a problem — and I’d certainly be happy to continue living in my river of denial — if I weren’t an actress who auditions in front of other people for jobs that require me to be in front of the camera. This is the revelation I had the other day upon leaving a meeting with an agent and noticing that 1) I had failed to notice my blouse had come unbuttoned and was exposing my bra and that 2) a watering eye had caused my mascara to smear the side of my face. I looked like Ray Lewis in drag. Well, at least I’m not a vain actress…muffintop-large

Still, is it better to not look at yourself at all or, as is the trend lately, to look at yourself all the time? I say this is a recent trend because a study just came out stating that elective plastic surgeries are on the rise because of selfies (photos taken of yourself via a smartphone). So young women — beautiful young women — are getting unnecessary Botox, facial peels, and nose jobs because they look at themselves too much. Come on, ladies, you are more than your imperfect nose, your thin lips, your porous skin. At least, this muffin-topped, slightly rumpled Hollywood actress thinks so.


Too Old for a Lead Apron

My right knee has been hurting me lately (like for the last 20 years) so the other day I had it X-rayed before seeing the doctor. The X-ray tech took one picture and when she returned to set me up for the next shot, I said, “Don’t I get a lead apron?”

download (1)“Oh,” she said, “I can give you one, but we usually don’t offer after a certain age.”

Because?” I prodded.

“After a certain age a woman is no longer likely to be pregnant.”

“Well, God knows I’m not pregnant, unless it’s the second coming…”

“After 50,” she said, tired of me already. “We don’t offer the aprons after 50.”

So, ladies, if we’re too old to be fertile, we’re too old to protect from unnecessary radiation. Just think of all those years I wasted (by choice) not breeding like a rabbit. Now I’m old, useless, dried up, and childless. Luckily, the X-ray technician came from a family of fourteen which is plenty of breeding to make up for my idle barrenness.

Oh, and, yes, for the remainder of my X-rays I did use the lead apron to cover my 51-year-old fruitless ovaries. Why? Because I am, women are, more than our reproductive systems.


Jack T. Dog’s 2nd Annual Oscar Review

"Can I have a slice, Ellen? I'm a good, good boy." -- Jack T. Dog

“Can I have a slice, Ellen? I’m a good, good boy.”
– Jack T. Dog

Last year, my dog, Jack, wrote arguably the most insightful review of the Academy Awards telecast in the history of reviews. This year, he’s doing it again:

“‘What are you wearing?’ Grrrr… ‘What are you eating?’ That’s worth paying attention to…”

“‘Happy’ makes my mommies want to dance and makes me want to chase them with a toy…”

"I'd run this guy out of my yard." -- Jack T. Dog

“I’d run this guy out of my yard.”
– Jack T. Dog

“Oh, Ellen’s passing out pizza… Rufff… Now that’s a good host…”

“Who is that plastic monkey introducing Idina Menzel… even I know who she is. ‘Let it Go’, girl…”

Comfortable in My Size 16 Skin

As women age, do we grow into our own skin? If we’re lucky we do.

I remember my 20- and 30- something selves frequently wishing I had abs of steel or less cellulite. (Of course, “cottage cheese” thighs are hard to tone when their owner loves chili cheese fries.)

keep-calm-and-eat-chocolate-1363I’ve long wondered what I want more: An enjoyable life or a enviable life? Do I want to be the skinny bitch who incites jealousy? Or do I want to partake of life’s caloric pleasures? Frankly, this is a no brainer; I’m not going to Paris without sampling their croissants or attending a Dodgers’ game and not having a Dodger dog. Hell, I’m not even going more than a night or two without imbibing my beloved glass of wine.

And you want to know the really interesting part? A recent study agrees with me. It turns out that, last fall, a British retailer released results of a study stating that women who wear a size 16 are the happiest and most comfortable in their own skin. (This thrilled me to no end until I realized that a British size 16 is an American size 12; I chose to wave my Union Jack and continue ingesting my Thin Mints and Chardonnay.)

The bottom line is that the research found three-quarters of larger women are happy with their appearance, nearly twice as many as those who are size 6 (an American size 2). Well, no wonder, those girls are hungry! (That’s why they’re called skinny bitches…)

So, here’s to feeling happy — and, yes, healthy — in our own skin. Now, pass the gravy…



Winter Weight

I should go into hibernation.

bear-2This holiday season I have done my best impersonation of a large brown bear, that is if a large brown bear were to stay inside wearing only stretchy pajamas or sweat pants… and eat.

And eat.

And eat.

I realized how much winter weight I had gained when I tried to dress up for our New Year’s Eve outing and could not fit into my nice pants. Finally, I squeezed into my fattest pair of fat jeans (made roomier because I had worn them several times and not washed them; in this, my slothfulness paid off). But we were going to a nice restaurant, so I had to disguise my jeans with a stylish shirt. The shirt I chose fit well the last time I wore it — in 2007. It wasn’t until we were at the restaurant that I realized I had to take short gasps of breath because a deep intake of air kept forcing open my shirt’s middle button.

Fortunately, this discomfort did not hinder my enjoyment of a five-star, four-course meal.

However, at the concert we attended after dinner, I started fidgeting in my chair. My XL-sized shirt felt like a child’s small. Between measured breaths, I cursed the shoddiness of workmanship these days. How could my blouse have shrunk this much?

Then it hit me: I had never washed my shirt. Not once.

I couldn’t blame some poor garment worker for my discomfort. The only person to blame was the one sitting in her dirty fat jeans and straining to keep her shirt buttons from exposing the twins.

God help me, I have become a bear. And not an athletic one from Chicago or even a fabulous one from San Francisco.images (1)

So Happy Effing New Year, everybody. As for me: I’m going to sleep until it’s 2015.

Menace to Society

Bitty and I are upstanding members of society. Bitty is a social worker. I…well, I’m a good for nothing actor and writer, but Bitty’s kind deeds make up for me.

tumblr_mdar6r74Cl1rp02wmo1_500We have a dog that barks occasionally. At the mailman, the gardeners, the solicitors. We like that his bark scares off criminals who have been increasingly displaced and wandering our neighborhood. We keep the dog locked in a dog run on the far side of the house when we are away from home, and even bought a bark collar. Perhaps you read this previous post written by none other than Jack T. Dog.

But if you ask our neighbors (who are not even directly behind us), you’d think we’d killed somebody. Actually, given the NRA sticker on the neighbor’s truck, a trifling little murder might be forgiven.

But not letting an old dog bark a few times.

The irony?

The wife is into zen. You know, New Age spiritualism and thoughtfulness. She practices in her meditation room with all the windows open. (Let me take this moment to mention that all the windows are open in the house. All. The. Time.)zen3

Now, look, I’m all for being spiritual and zen and thoughtful. Be a Buddist, be a Krisha, be a Christian, whatever floats your boat. Be whatever it takes to be more relaxed and enlightened.

But this situation reminds me of a friend who a dozen years ago was viewing open houses in search of one to buy. After touring a house in which every inch of every wall was covered with plaques effusing morals and righteousness and goodness, this friend said to me, “If you need remind yourself — on every surface of your house — to be a decent person, then what kind of person are you really?”

Uh, yep. If you need to work so hard to be zen, or thoughtful, or spiritual that you can’t tolerate your neighbors or their occasionally barking dog, then what kind of person are you? One that should get a clue and close your damn windows. We’ve comprised (dog collar, locked dog run). You can do the same.

Thank you for this very cathartic rant. I feel better after practicing my religion — writing.

The Post where the Dog Gets a Bath

I could probably drum up some metaphors about how the dog enduring a bath is a lot like how we humans endure so many unpleasantries in life, but, heck, I’m just gonna show you these videos for one reason: they’re funny. And kind of endearing. Because as much as Jack T. Dog does hate getting a bath, he sucks it up and takes it. Why? He chooses not to bite the hand that feeds him. So, ha, I guess I made metaphorical sense out of it after all.

First up, part one: “The Pre-Wash”

Next, part two: “The Rinse Off”

And, finally, “The Payoff (a.k.a. The Treat)”