Home Publishing Not What You Think!

imagescluttered-frig

“How can I get up on our refrigerator like all my friends do?” my youngest son asked me. After admonishing him that household furniture isn’t for climbing on top of, (and shaking my head at other parents’ inability to properly discipline) I realized he was actually inquiring as to how one of his watercolor paintings could be displayed on the front of the fridge!

Along with plastic bright-colored alphabet letters, (even though I have zero preschoolers anymore!) and the tiny nonsense magnetic poetry words (someone recently pushed a few random tiny rectangles together to form the sentence, “I will pour out yesterday after we love today and squirt out tomorrow!”) the fridge spotlighted his five older siblings’ important school flyers, report cards, old photographs, party invitations, announcements, pencil doodles, and yep, tons of really cool student art.

All of this paper paraphernalia was tacked up in such overcrowded disarray, the built-in purified water dispenser was probably anticipating an eviction notice.

But hey, (now that he mentioned it!) it dawned on me that my son wasn’t the only one excluded. Nothing of mine had made it up onto those shiny stainless-steel paneled doors (which I now considered so prestigious, they rivaled The New Yorker. And received more hungry stares a day than a big time magazine’s circulation!) either, and I was supposedly the Queen of this here kitchen. Hmmph. A new career goal was born.

Mustering up my self-confidence, I finally submitted something to The Refrigerator, and here’s what happened.

Dear Author,

Thank you for breaking the ice and trying us with your recent listicle cleverly titled, “Groceries Needed for Sunday’s Bridal Shower.” While we feel it has a certain ravenous charm, the subject matter may not be cool enough for the fresh image our staff strives to preserve. But chill out (and don’t get cold feet!) because we’ve forwarded your piece on to another appliance whose sleek surface we feel may be a better fit.

Cheers,

Frigidaire, side-by-side model #FFPSS2677RF

Next came this.

Dear Writer,

Hey, what’s cooking? I’ve received your work for possible inclusion in our upcoming doorthology. Though I quickly warmed up to the idea of featuring specific food brands, I’m not so hot on possible copyright infringement. Could Betty Crocker sue? That’s the burning question!. At this point in time, I think I’ll pass, but your concept will go on the back burner for a future issue and I invite you to send something else so I can evaluate your range. Piece of cake, right?

Yours Truly,

General Electric Convection Oven

I was feeling truly rejected but he also must’ve forwarded my submission to another colleague because this notice quickly arrived.

Dear Dishpan Hands,

We appreciate you thinking of us as a possible placement for your original endeavor, but currently we’re at maximum capacity and fully loaded with other people’s work.  Try us again during our normal cycle as we often miss a spot and then we might see the glass as half-empty. Future submission guidelines include staying energy efficient and editing out dirty words, as our motto is “Keep it clean.” Hopefully this wasn’t a detergent err a deterrent in your publishing career.

Sparklingly Yours,

Whirlpool 24 Inch Built-In Dishwasher

I gave up all hope and concluded that my writing would never see the light of day on a kitchen display. And that’s when I got the next best thing . . . 

Dear Little Miss Menopause,

Congratulations on taking the plunge with your writing because you’ve just bowled me over!  I’m flushed with pride to accept your recent work and will post it prominently as soon as I get a handle on our next issue, but let’s just say, “you’ll be on a roll now!” I know it stinks, but please keep a lid on your excitement and don’t go clogging blogging about this news just yet.

Have a nice day!

Downstairs Guest Bathroom Toilet

There was only one thing left to do . . . write a
“Dear John” letter to thank him for giving me this porcelain publication promotion.

just-because-your-refrigerator-has-lots-of-magnets-doesnt-mean-it-is-clutter-21767328

Blogs R’ Us! (Almost Famous!)

photo-67Have you heard?  They are casting a new television show that will portray real life bloggers in their online funny personalities!  Eagerly filling out the application right here, I was disappointed to get an email back from the Big Wig in charge (at CBS no less!) saying I wasn’t quite what they were looking for. However, I wouldn’t let that stop me.  After seeing a therapist for my recent issues, I have a new found self-assurance in my creative talents.

If blogs are coming to television and they are already in the movies with films like Julie and Julia, surely there’s room for one or two more? The producer reluctantly agreed I could drop by today at 4 pm to present a few of my Blog concepts for Hollywood and some original titles.  I could just feel it – – I was about to become a television star.

Now you must understand something — I don’t want to be famous for me. That’s not it at all.  It’s my teachers from elementary school that never got any recognition that I’m thinking of. It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to have a show similar to Oprah’s where I can bring one onstage each week, while shouting, “Yoo hoo, Mrs. Gretchanbaum from 4th grade, come on out.”

I got a little lost inside the thirteen story building, but finally found the correct place and was surprised to find a “Blogs R Us” sign displayed on their door.  Wow, CBS must really be serious about bringing blogs to tv to have their own suite dedicated just for that.  It was warm and cozy inside with a fireplace in the entryway.

“Trust yourself and don’t take no for an answer,” was my new mantra after seeing my confidence-building therapist just this morning. As soon as I spied an important executive standing nearby I launched right in, belting out the words I’d rewritten to Gilligan’s Island:

“Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale,

A tale of a fateful blog,

That started from this quirky mind

After clearing her brain fog!”

When I concluded with my grand finale, “Here on Bloggagan’s Island!” they looked positively dazzled — so I continued without missing a beat to share some of my other ideas for titles.  I figured I would start with the classics:

  • I Blog Lucy
  • Captain Bloggeroo
  • Bloggie and Harriet
  • The Bloggerly Hillbillies
  • The Blog Newhart Show
  • Blogwitched
  • I Dream of Bloggy
  • Blogger Knows Best
  • The Bloggymooners
  • Leave It to Blogger
  • Blognanza
  • The Bloggy Bunch
  • Bloggie’s Angels
  • Laverne & Bloggy
  • Hill Street Blogs
  • Hawaii Blog-O
  • The Blog Boat
  • Welcome Back Blogger
  • Who’s The Blog?

Their expression darkened a bit however, and me being such a quick judge of age, I decided to throw out shows more from their generation than mine:

  • The Blogs of Hazard
  • The Blogsby Show
  • Blogney and Lacey
  • Bloggie Howser MD
  • The Fresh Prince of Blog-Air
  • Third Blog from the Sun
  • Bloggerly Hills 9021 . . .

“Sorry, who are you again?” A crowd started to form in the lobby.

“I’m Little Miss Menopause, but never mind the Little, I’m about to become the next Big Thing!”

“I believe that.”  He glanced at my figure.

“Please.  You haven’t heard the best one.  Blogfeld!  A show with a blog about nothing. Naturally I think I would be perfect for that one.”

“What’s she talking about?” A woman whispered.

“She seems to be under the impression we’re looking for television shows.”

In that moment I knew my approach was all wrong.  It was movies they wanted.  For the big screen.  Of course!  I switched to my best Scarlett O’Hara impression, “Oh Rhett . . .Where shall I go?  What shall I do?”

“Gone with the Blog!”  Someone shouted this out while snapping their fingers excitedly, as if playing Charades.

Whatever.  It was “Gone With the Words.”  But if they liked the other, I’d sell that too.  I took a deep breath and spouted out the rest. . .

  • The Wizard of Blog
  • Casablogga
  • King Blog
  • The Blog of Frankenstein
  • Sunset Blogavard
  • It’s a Wonderful Blog!
  • Invasion of the Bloggy Snatchers
  • Rebel Without a Blog
  • All the President’s Blogs
  • One Blogged Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  • Night of the Living Blog
  • Seven Blogs for Seven Bloggers
  • The Blogfather
  • Blogshank Redemption
  • Rosemary’s Bloggy
  • The Lord of the Blogs
  • Bloggers of the Lost Ark
  • A Blogwork Orange
  • Who’s Afraid of Virginia’s Blog?
  • The Blogs of Wrath
  • Groundblog Day
  • The Silence of the Blogs
  • Smokey and the Blogette
  • Lawrence of Bloggia
  • To Kill a Bloggingbird

I paused to inhale.

“She forgot the classic horror movie, ‘The Blob.’  Would be really easy to tweak that.”

I gave her a dirty look.

“Look just give me a chance.  If it’s children’s movies you’re after, I have . . .

  • Mary Bloggins
  • Snow White and the Seven Blogs
  • Bloggy & the Beast
  • Bloggatouille
  • Honey, I Shrunk the Bl . . .

“Excuse me.  There seems to be some mistake.  We are NOT a production company for television OR movies.”

“You’re not?  But the sign on your door?”

“Oh, did they put that letter “B” up there again?  Every time the “B” falls off the sign on “CBS Studios” upstairs, the janitor mixes up the floors and puts it on our door instead.  We’re “Logs R’ Us.”  We sell everything you need to start a fire!”  He picked up a black iron poker as I moved toward the door.

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I took the stairs because it would be faster than the elevator. I arrived just as a salesman was walking out carrying a bunch of grates and fireplace screens.

“I’m here to pitch you some new blog concept shows,” I announced with the same enthusiasm I had downstairs.

“You’re too late,” the CBS executive said, humming ‘Come on Baby, Light My Fire.’  “That man you just saw leaving.  He works downstairs at “Logs R’ Us” and he was on fire with the ideas.  He just sold us  “Towering Blogferno” and “Blogdraft.”  They’re going to be hot BlogBusters at the Blog Office!”

Did I tell you I’ve always wanted to be a famous songwriter for Elvis? But you must understand — it’s not for me…it’s for this new blogging generation who doesn’t get to appreciate all his outdated songs.  Let’s see, there’s . . .

  • You Ain’t Nothing but a HoundBlog!
  • Heartblog Hotel
  • Jailhouse Blog
  • Suspicious Blogs…

 

 

Has Your Muse Taken a Snooze? (Or Worse, Blown a Fuse??)

photo-362Got writer’s block?  You might want to try what I did….

An Interview with My Muse

Me:  So….what gives?  You’re so quiet in there.  You gotta come up with something new to get me going.  I never have anything nice to post like all the other Bloggers do.

Maisy Musey:  You gotta be kidding me!  You’ve got a closet full of Inspiration.  And…. You just got Freshly Pressed. What more do you want from me?

Me:  That ratty old thing?  That’s been hanging in there since Valentine’s Day.  Besides, it was just a coincidence they picked that one.   You never give me anything new and exciting anymore.

Maisy Musey:  (sighs) Here we go.   And what’s up with my name?  We’ve gotta change it.  I can’t work like this.  It’s depressing.

Me:  Okay, okay – –  I can understand feeling a little out of sorts after WordPress featured us.  The letdown after the spike in stats.  And maybe the intense pressure to come up with something else as a follow-up.  But you can shake these Muse Blues. I know you can!  Here – – Lemme sing you a little song — “a Muse-ical” if you will.  “la-la-la – – The Muse will come out tomorrow….betcha bottom dollar that….”

Minnie Musey:  Shut up.  And stop with all these cutesie names.  I am NOT a-mused.

Me:  Yes, you most certainly ARE a muse.  And you’re my muse.  You’re just a bit mixed-up.  “Musion Confusion” they call it.   Here….try a better, stronger name.

Moses Muse:  Oh, so its Moses now, is it?  What am I- – a Jew’s Muse?   Listen you, I’ve paid my Muse Dues.  You got what you wanted.  I’m on strike now.  That’s right.  You heard me – –   I.  Refuse.  to.  Muse.

Me:  What?!  With my new followers?  What am I supposed to do?

Moses Muse:  Tell them you have some News.  Your Muse took his departure Cues after finally getting some Clues and feeling Used.   He was tired of Cruising for a Musing Bruising.

Me:  I don’t believe this!  All my readers will jump to the wrong Musion Conclusion now. Like I’ve given you a Musion Contusion or something.  Yeah, sure.  Besides,  you just can’t go into Musion Seclusion.  How am I going to keep up with the “I’m really a witty writer” Illusion?  Please!?

Sybil:  Has it ever occurred to you that you don’t even have a Muse? That you just talk to yourself??  You do have a track record you know.photo-363

Me:  You miserable Excuse for a Muse.  You just watch.  I’m gonna Peruse a famous writer’s Muse.  Someone with profound, Profuse Muse Views.   A Muse who won’t Accuse.  Hemingway’s Muse!  Now that’s a great Muse for me to Choose to Reuse!!

Ernie:  (Belches)  Hey man!  I am definitely not the Muse for you.  I’m a Male Muse.  Into minimalism.  Not all that girly chit-chat.  Any of these sound familiar?  1.  Farewell to Arms  2.  The Sun Also Rises   3.  The Old Man and the Sea. (And my strong personal favorite) . . .  4.   For Whom the Bell Tolls?

Me:  Don’t give me that Muse-o,  Macho B.S.  You’re sensitive deep down, I know it.   You could have easily made those titles into 1.  Farewell to Feminine Charms  2.  The Daughter Also Sets (the table)  3.   The Cold Man and His Tea.  (And a terrific wedding planner called…) 4.  “For the Groom Rochelle Controls”

Ernie:  Okay, Miss Smartie Pants Blogger….you don’t need a muse.  Just take all the classics and tweak ’em with your  own little womanly touch.  See how far it gets you.

Me:  You don’t have to ask me twice. Go back to the Booze, Hemingway Muse!

Little Miss Menopause’s Take on Literature Greats

1.  Crime and Punishment – – Grime and Tarnishment  (A Housekeeping Guide)

2.  Sense and Sensibility – – Blintz and Minceability  (A Cookbook)

3,  Wuthering Heights – –  Withering Nights  (A Sex Manual After Age 50)

4.  The Importance of Being Earnest – – The Importance of Being an Internist – –  (How To convince your kids to become a doctor)

5.  The Catcher in the Rye – – Scratch Her in the Eye  (What to do when you find the woman your husband cheated with)

6.  Red Badge of Courage – – Shred Bag to Discourage  (A Shopaholics Recovery Bible)

7.   Great Expectations – –   Weight Fluctuations   (It’s normal to put on a few pounds throughout the monthly cycle)

8.  War and Peace – – Drawer of Fleece  (Sweats ARE okay on weekends)

9.  Scarlett Letter – – Car-Knit Sweater (Driving Hobbies while your hubby takes the wheel)

10.  Call of the Wild – – Bawl of the Child  (Beyond Time-Out Punishments for your Little One)

Okay, alright. Those are awful.   I admit it.  I need my old Muse back.  Nobody should Lose their Muse.  I promise to be kind, grateful and most of all to think of a dignified name.  That’s right  – – I, Little Miss Menopause, do solemnly swear to attend a support group to stop “Muse Abuse.”  The meetings are held in the local Museum, of course.

And how do you treat your writer’s Muse when it goes Mute??

 

Real Solutions? First We Need the Real Problems!

This weekend I was putting about 8 lbs of unnecessary junk mail I regularly receive (not online, but in my real life mailbox) into the trash (I know I should recycle that stuff but I keep thinking, “what can they possibly remake out of 83 notices from my homeowner’s association saying that I do not recycle properly?”) when I noticed an interesting catalogue. I won’t say what it’s called so I can’t get sued, but it has the word “Solutions” in the name and then no other words. Their tag line is “Products that make life easier.”

The first thing I noticed about this catalogue is that my backyard/garden (basically the area where I kill baby cherry tomatoes) must be having a very difficult time of it. For instance, the suffering would be greatly reduced if I were to order, “A Glass Bird that Waters my Plants for Me.” What a thoughtful little critter! (as pictured below)

photo-204And speaking of birds, the hummingbirds in my neighborhood are being overflown and therefore utterly exhausted, so I really ought to be offering them a “Hummingbird Perch/Swing” (pictured below) to rest their weary wings.  Yes!  That’s why I need this perch, or (come to think of it) it could be because they need to be enticed back into the vicinity after taking one look at the “Glass Bird” (above) and squawking out a warning to one another, “Stay the f**k away from that woman’s yard.  Do you see what she does to us?  It’s like the Tin-Man of Hummingbirds.”

photo-205Once all the hummingbirds reflock to my grounds because of the ample seating (since I will now provide Flapaloungers – – hey, it’s only right,  Barcaloungers are for dogs, right?)  I must now purchase an “Ant Moat,” (pictured below) but one shaped like an umbrella. (Description:  As ants head for the hummingbirds’ food, they become trapped in the moat and never make it to the nectar in the hummingbird feeder!)  Wait, what is this?? The perches weren’t enough – I have to feed hummingbirds as well?photo-206
Meanwhile Fruit Flies (in YOUR garden, not mine as I have zero fruit) have gradually increased their intelligence so much so, that now we need to trick their pesky little brains into thinking a trap disguised as a mushroom won’t hurt them. When my daughter takes her SAT’s this spring, I am going to ask what some of her Fruit Fly friend’s scores were as a means of comparison.photo-207

There’s also a “Mosquito Manager” which is a blanket treated with a proprietary formula that repels those itchy blood suckers PLUS fleas and ticks as well. Oh!  And a “Runaway Rodent!” (not a sadistic sequel to the children’s book, “Runaway Bunny” I promise!) which plugs into any outdoor outlet and emits a soundwave that gives Rats the idea your yard would be undesirable. Fortunately it speaks nicely to hamsters and gerbils so they won’t be offended. Beware!  Batch 2027cx  is being recalled.  It seems some practical joker engineer (some DO have a sense of humor) wired the contraption so that after shooing the rodents from the yard, it invites them into the kitchen for a spot of tea.

But as you may have noticed,  I’m not going to show you those silly products in photos because I am far too eager to show you the one product that will render all these other gizmos and gadgets completely useless, allowing you to gather them all up for your next garage sale.  Ready?photo-208I’ve made it a thumb-sized photo so I don’t disturb my Dear Readers with it’s girth, but as you can plainly see, it’s none other than “A Sasquach” lovingly crafted as a life-size garden sculpture!!  Guaranteed to scare any and all the wildlife (mentioned above) away forever.

Will even control the wild neighborhood children population; plus their parents will thank you for brand new, creative nightmares.  “Monsters under your bed was getting really trite, Susie.  But Big Foot in Stephanie’s (our menopausal neighbor’s) garden?  Now that’s something for me to blog about!”

I can’t end here on a scary, negative note, so let me introduce two adorable things that will also solve some yard issues for you.

“A Frilly Green Sleeve” for days when your hose feels like a Plane Jane photo-209(Far Right)

photo-210And “A Garden Notepad” (pictured at left) because this is the first place my children look when they come home from school for instructions from me.  Sometimes I tell them to grab a quick n’ easy snack of roses or dandelions; other times I ask them to please do their homework on the fallen plank of our fence.

Once in a blue moon, I will scribble a note for my lover to head around back to see how provocatively my hosed is dressed today.

But ultimately, you’re gonna have to swallow your pride and order this last item in the catalogue, because it only makes sense.  Wait for it – – photo-211“A Fake Ivy Fence!” With all the comings and goings, repellings and lurings, love notes and seductive hoses – –  any conscientious, good neighbor will want to conceal their Nature Scenic Soap Opera from other homeowners.  After all, getting a warning in the mail about improper recycling is nothing compared to being reported for “Lunatic Landscaping.”

So fess up (please?) in the comments section and tell me what the most inane gimmick was that you succumbed to.  Did you immediately regret it?

The (Almost) Arrest of my Freshly Pressed Houseguest (In Jest)

photo-180At first I was highly intrigued and quite honored.  A Freshly Pressed Blogger personally contacting me.  ME ?!  It all started about a week after my blogging here began – – I noticed I had one view every single day coming in from a very faraway, exotic country.  Cool, I thought.  Then the View turned into a Follow.  Cooler! I noticed the award badge on their site (Coolest!) and so I read the piece that was Freshly Pressed and I became Freshly IMpressed!

Her first comment to me was extremely flattering, praising my humor and suggesting that with a little of her advice and a few tips, I too might follow in her footsteps.  “Lead the way,” I thought.

That was the beginning of constant interactive comments on both our blogs and she seemed very amused by my posts.  She loved my parody post about the  Movies  , as well as the one about opening a new kind of restaurant that had an “unusual” Menu.  Then came the message that stepped just a tad outside of the normal “Blogger Zone.”  Had I ever been to her country?  And guess what?  California was someplace she’d always dreamed of visiting some day! Hmmm, I wondered.

Is this blogger just a wee bit mixed-up and is now harboring the notion that WordPress morphed into HomeSwap.dotcom?

Nonetheless, I’d been working on trying to be more affable lately, (plus working on using the word “affable” in my blog) and it was true that I had an extra bedroom since my divorce. And I DID live in a city that boasted such tourist draws as SeaWorld,  Legoland, a world famous Zoo, plus beautiful beaches.  And was just a Mickey Mouse-sized hop, skip and a jump from Disneyland.  What the heck.

When I met her at the airport, she couldn’t wait to show me all the delicious apricots from her homeland. How did she get past security with all that fruit, I wondered?  The drive home witnessed her hanging her head out the passenger’s side like my Labradoodle , oohing and ahhing at every street corner.

And then abruptly she rolled the window up, her hair still lacquered into place, and turned to me in an expectant manner.

Houseguest:  So. . . Say something funny.

Me:  What do you mean?

Houseguest:  Make me laugh.

Me: (Laughing)

Houseguest:  No, you’re doing it wrong. You are not the audience. You’re supposed to be the comic.

Me:  Seriously?

Houseguest:  You’re not funny at all.   Can you even tell a joke?

Me:  I don’t think you are allowed to heckle a writer.  Are you?

Houseguest:  See?  Once again, not funny.

Me:  (Swallowing hard)

Houseguest:  You’re just a One Hit Blogger, aren’t you?

Me:  (Shoulder shrug)

Houseguest:  That’s right.  You wrote one crummy piece on how to not blog like an old Fogie and suddenly the world’s your stage.

Me:   Not an Old Fogie.  It was an Old Codger.

Houseguest:   Whatever.  Just drive.

The week was starting off splendidly.  Yep, you heard me. But how could I have made her stay here any shorter than that?  When you come from that far away, two whole days are basically devoted to travel.

Once settled into my home, she immediately made a break for my bedroom and logged onto my own computer!  I could hear the typing from my kitchen.  Hard, definitive, angry strokes.

I distracted myself with calling a friend….

Friend:  That’s unbelievable.  Tell me more.

Me:  When we got here, the first thing she did was roll around on my sofa, sniffing it intently.  Read the Red Text  on my About Page  if you are wondering why she did that.

What does this have to do with anything?  Click the

What does this perfume have to do with anything? Click the “About Page” link above.

Friend:  Oh I know why.  I remember you writing about that. Wow, what a piece of work.

Me:  Her or my About Page??

Friend:  LOL.  You’re sooooo funny!  What a hoot!

Me:  That’s another thing.  She says I’m unfunny.  She was expecting a cross between Tina Fey, Erma Bombeck and Lucille Ball.

Friend:  Nah, you’re more Carol Brady.

Me:  Thanks a lot. And she doesn’t even speak with an accent.  I am wondering if she really is from that country. Or was ever really Freshly Pressed?

Friend:  Freshly Pressed?  What’s that?

Me:  When your writing gets read by millions.  It’s something I’ve always….

Friend:  Gotta go!   The  kids are running stark naked down the street, handing out cookies to advertise our next garage sale.  We’re expecting a big crowd.

After our bath, we're gonna run down the street naked.

After our bath, we’re gonna run down the street naked.

When my houseguest from another country (?)  finally emerged from my bedroom, she wore my good black dress and casually sat down at the table, announcing she was starving.

Houseguest:  I checked on your computer.  You were never hacked like your blog  about hackers   claimed you were.

Me:  And your point is ?

Houseguest:  You’re a fraud.  Did you ever really have that incident happen in the dressing room when you went jean shopping??  Are you even the one writing all those blogs?

Me:  Of course I am.  Haven’t you ever seen a movie that’s based on true events?  They bend the truth a little  for drama.  I do it for humor.

Houseguest:  So what IS  true about you?

Me:  (blushing)  That’s kinda personal.

Houseguest:  You’re not even quite as old, fat, ugly, stupid or as disorganized as your blog makes you out to be.

Me:  Thanks??

Houseguest:  And are you even having an affair with your mailman??  Like it said in Paying It Forward Backfires?

Me:  Well  I  do know my mailman.  And I sometimes put on a clean shirt to fetch the mail.

Houseguest:  Haven’t you ever heard of Truth in Advertising?

Me:  But I’m not selling anything!

Houseguest: (looking me up and down, noticing empty ring finger)  Oh no?

Me:  Listen you, whoever you really are.  There’s not like a “Blogger’s Code of Ethics,” you know.  I can write whatever I want.  True or not.  I love blending fact into fiction to give my followers a laugh.

Houseguest:   You’re just scared your life is too boring to tell the truth.  You can’t handle the truth!

Me:  (looking around for Jack Nicholson)  So, what are you going to do?

Houseguest:  I’m going to blow the blog whistle on you.  Publish a long post announcing just how misleading you are.  You won’t have a follower left in hell by the time I’m done.

With that, she flounced off toward my bedroom and I heard the door slam and lock.  The ferocious typing resumed!  I’d seen the movie Pacific Heights.  How was I ever going to get this woman out of my bedroom, let alone my house?

Wow, I thought. “The truth IS stranger than fiction.”

Me: (thru the door)  Yoo Hoo.  What are you doing in there, Strange lady?

Houseguest:  Blowing your cover.  How’s this for a title?   “San Diego writer is  NOTHING  like her blog!”

Me:  Oh Please.  Please??   (the word sounds similar to….)  Police!  I’m calling the police.

Houseguest barricade?  Sounds high priority.

Houseguest barricade? Sounds high priority.

Houseguest:  Dream on.  Nothing you ever say or write is true.  What an imagination.  No cop is ever gonna come out here over this.

I watched as the officer’s brows raised incredulously when I gave my account of what happened. He made no move toward my bedroom to arrest her.  His partner simply said, “She sounds like a real character.”

“But…but…you have to handcuff her!  I can’t have her ruining my blogging career before it even starts.  And she eats more than all three of my teenage sons put together.

“Ah hah.  Maybe you don’t really have any teenage sons??”

“Never mind that,” I said, flushing (I swear it wasn’t a hot flash!)  “She can’t stay!!”

Both men tipped their hats and said in unison, “Sorry Ma’am.  But you’re the only one who is capable of getting rid of her.  You’ve always had the power all along.”

I looked down at my feet.  No glittering ruby shoes.  There was only one way to guarantee that everything turned out okay in the end.  To make this “houseguest” disappear and ensure that I wouldn’t come off as a liar in my own blog.  That’s it!  Certainly everyone has heard of this . . .

“Life Imitates Art!”

It just had to work!  I sat down at the kitchen table and without hesitation, logged into WordPress.  With the same amount of determination, exactness, and aplomb as my houseguest, I typed the ideal title:

         “The Quest For the Perfect, Freshly Pressed Houseguest!”

“Dear Readers:  Would anyone like to visit San Diego?  I have a spare bedroom in a really fun city.  Please come with a carefree attitude and know that not everything you read is true ….. blah, blah, blah.”

When I put the finishing touches on my post and added a few images, I walked to the back of the house and opened the bedroom door . . .

My houseguest had completely vanished.  All that remained were a few fresh apricots on the desk – –  definitely from the tree in my very own backyard.

Do You Have “Blog Blur?” Find Out With This Quick & Easy Quiz!

photo-173BLOG BLUR – The insidious blurring of the lines between your Blogging life and the real world.

*Choose the answer that best describes how you feel about the question.

1. When You talk about individuals named,  “Inspire The World 2Day” and “Morning Grouch” and “MenoMama3” and “WeaverGrace” and “The Underground Writer” and “Bitter Ben” or “BumblePuppies,” do your family and friends assume you are referring to:

a)  New Muppet Characters that are making a debut on Sesame Street  this week  to teach kids about Feelings

b)  Some very troubled individuals in the new Twelve Step Anonymous program you recently attended

c)  Very real (and talented) Bloggers that you often have communications with

2.  A member of your household just lost their job.  A good friend of yours has recently started a steamy love affair.  Your child just got a C- on a History exam.  A second cousin (who’s a painter) has named her newborn child, “Hunter Green.”   All of these people have the following immediate gut instinct:

a) To call you for support, encouragement, understanding or applause.

b) To hide this news from you because they don’t want to upset, burden, or distract you with their daily lives.

c) To advise you that this latest information is copyrighted, trademarked, or patented and under no circumstances are you to blog about it!

3.  When you complain about having trouble with a dashboard, your significant other:

a) Makes an appointment with the Toyota dealer to have the warning lights and the speedometer looked at.

b) Reminds you that if you slow down and stop dashing thru your day, things wouldn’t be so boring.

c) Immediately logs into WordPress.com and says, “Well, here’s our problem right here.  You’re blogging too damn much!”

4. The Daily Prompt is:

a) A clever scenario that triggers the desire to write a blog

b) My body’s signal that I need chocolate

c) A note I leave on the dishwasher for other household members that says, “Empty Me Now!”

5.  If someone inquires about Stats:

a) You smile, bat your lashes, and tell them yours are, “36-23-36, of course.

b) You rattle off the number of TD’s, Interceptions, Fumbles and Passes Complete for the Denver Broncos and loudly assert that they should have won the Super Bowl.

c) Whip out a computerized print-out, a yellow highlighter, and show the person how many Views your blog is currently receiving from Egypt.

6. Someone asks you to please stop following them so closely, you:

a) Apply the brakes and remember that in driver’s training you learned it’s one car length per every 10 mph.

b) Remind them that it’s a free country and if you want to wear skinny jeans with a paisley plaid flannel shirt and a backwards baseball cap, you will.  They don’t have a monopoly on fashion!

c)  Immediately click the “Unfollow” button on your blog.  You’ll show them!  They were lucky you even gave them the time of day in the first place.

7.  When someone asks if you are happy with the new Post, you:

a)  Nod and offer to give them the name of your contractor that built the entire side fence around your house.

b)  Tell them, “Absolutely not, the price of stamps these days is outrageous.”

c) Launch into a diatribe about how many drafts it took you and how nobody even left a single Like or a Comment.

8.  Freshly Pressed is:

a) The long lost art of placing roses and other lovely flowers in between the pages of a scrapbook

b) Something your dry cleaner tries to skimp on with your dress shirts.

c) The number one item on your bucket list!

9. After you Tag, you:

a) Shout, “You’re it!” and then run like hell.

b) Remind yourself that labels and stereotypes are  never useful in society because we are all individuals

c) Hope and pray that every search engine in the world brings up your blog first

10.  If a houseguest remarks, “I sure think your Background is fun,” you:

a) Tell them that it would be nice if only the Italian genes on your mother’s side weren’t so strong-willed.

b)  Assume they’re being sarcastic and offer to change the music playing in your home to something classical.

c) Thank them, but then ask if they think it clashes with your header?  Does it send the right message?  If you pay them would they custom design a different one for you???

* SCORING: Mostly A’s – You’re able to compartmentalize and keep both aspects of your life in order.  Mostly B’s – Your Worlds Are Colliding just like George Costanza in Seinfeld.  Mostly C’s – You have Blog Blur so bad, even Extra Strength Windex won’t clear up the confusion for those around you.  GET SOME SEPARATION RIGHT NOW!  (Right after you leave me a comment!)

What Would the Hackers Say??

photo-169Yahoo recently issued a warning for all us users to change our passwords due to compromised email accounts by Hackers. There’s just one problem. I forgot my password three months ago and the answer to my security question as well.  (Too many people knew that my childhood dog was called Ginger (big Gilligan’s Island fan) so I decided to be tricky and pick one of my favorite authors instead of a canine name. But now I’ve got brain-fog (Menopausal symptom #11, google it) over which writer I picked way back then.  I’ve already tried Hemingway and Fitzgerald.

Turns out you cannot change your password to something new unless you know the old one.   So the good news is, all I need to do is 1) CounterHack into my own account when the hacker is looking the other way or going to the bathroom 2) get my old password back 3) Reset it to keep him out for good.  Viola!

As you can tell by this post so far, I’m a “Hack Writer” so I think it’s rather fitting that I be one of the first people getting Hacked. However, If I’m not successful at a “Hackback,” (which is kinda like a Pingback?)  it’s because I don’t drive a hatchback and I never had a knack for Hackeysack, which is clearly a drawback, so just cut me some slack.  Having said all that, (and not very easily, mind you!) perhaps I can persuade my Professional Hacker to answer a few questions about my emails instead?  So Mr. Hacker,  if you’re reading this – – I just need to satisfy my curiosity before you lock me out of my account forever.

C’mon just tell me this much – – while you were poking around inside my Inbox, did you happen to notice if my novel got an acceptance letter from an agent?  Or if my old boyfriend ever got back to me about meeting for coffee to see if we could rekindle something? Man, this dog/author name thing is gonna drive me crazy.  Was it John Grisham? Anne Rice?   Dr. Seuss?

To be honest, I’m feeling highly embarrassed (and violated) thinking of hackers inside my personal email.  (you can glimpse some of my email here   My mother always taught me to wear the proverbial nice underwear in case of a car accident (imagine my mortification when I went into Victoria’s Secret as an adult, asking to see something lacy in their “Paramedic Panty” Line) and I was also raised to keep my room tidy or goodness knows, what would the robbers  say?  And I always made sure my diary was grammatically correct in case it fell into the hands of a snoopy English teacher. So you can’t really fault me for being worried about what the hackers would say? Wow! It’s on the tip of my brain….Was it Danielle Steel? Tom Clancy?

I imagine hacking is lonely work so they must do it in pairs.  I’d like you to meet, “Mr and Mrs. Hacker.”  Let’s listen in, shall we?

Mr Hacker – – Will you get out of her Nordstrom’s account and her high school reunion emails already?  We have a job to do – –  let’s just get in, get out, and get on with the identity theft. (rubs hands together)

Mrs. Hacker – – Shame. She never did lose those last 5 pounds to fit into this killer red dress. I don’t think I want to take on her name if I have to use  her height and weight on my driver’s license too.

Mr. Hacker – – Focus Harriet, Focus.

Mrs. Hacker (pouting)- – We never go out anymore.  Day in and day out, it’s just hack, hack, hack.  Hacking my life away.  I shoulda listened to my mother and married the Virus Creator Guy.  At least then I could have put my romantic flair to good use writing that “I Love You” attachment that messed everyone’s hard drive up.

Mr. Hacker – – Stop giving me  flack over this hack and stay on track.

Mrs. Hacker – – Honey,  you know I always have your back.

Mr. Hacker – – Then don’t be such a yakker, put down that graham cracker, and get to work,  you Slacker Hacker!

A Hacker Snacker!

A Hacker Snacker!

Mrs. Hacker – – Oh look, her Visa bill shows weekly therapy and massages. That’s the life.

Mr. Hacker – –  Wow, Six kids?  What was she thinking? No wonder she needs therapy and massage.  And who has a childhood dog named Stephen King?

Mrs. Hacker – This is one bizarre chick. I just went to sabotage her Facebook account but all she does is post about the weather.

Mr. Hacker – – Yeah, and look at her WordPress blog.  I thought we might have a little fun messing up her settings and putting up some ugly headers, but she’s done a great job  of that all on her own. Look at that hideous purple feather thing.  Geeze.

Mrs. Hacker – – Look, she’s got 85 photos of the same parakeet, she’s planning her own surprise birthday party on Evite , even rsvp-ing to herself, and her bucket list has “Get Freshly Pressed” listed at the top of it.

Mr. Hacker –  A Dry Cleaning/Ironing  obsession?   Dang, these Yahoo Users get weirder every day.  Next thing you know, we’ll come across a rough draft for a story about a married Hacker couple.  From now on we stick with Google subscribers.  C’mon Harriet, let’s get the “hack” outa here.

Footnote:  I finally changed  passwords  on my “Mac.”  Had to “rack” my brain, but now I guard it safely in my “backpack.” I won’t divulge it, but let’s just say no “Quack” should be able to “Hack” me again.  I’m tired and gonna hit the “Sack.”  😉  But please scroll down to Comments and leave me your best “comeback!”

Never let a Big Mac Attack sidetrack a good Hack.

Never let a Big Mac Attack sidetrack a good Hack.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/02/daily-prompt-groupthink/

Paying It Forward Backfires!

photo-167Disclaimer: The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

It all started with an innocuous online message.  “ 1)  Make a list of five people and do an act of kindness for each.   2)   Ask each of them to pass it on to five more people.   3)   Enjoy making the world a better place!”  Simple, yes?   Oh right, there was a fourth step.   4) “Now you’ve seen this message and cannot Unsee it!  If you break the cycle of good deeds – – bad things will happen!”

This was “Pay It Forward” Damien Omen style!

“Unsee it??”  My  OCD  now  properly  activated,  I decided to keep a carefully detailed journal for proof and safety documentation.

        1st   Act  Of   Kindness:  Sent My Mother Flowers

       Result:

Mom:   Got your flowers. This  your way of saying, “the bloom is off the rose?”

Me:   Ma,  Nobody says that anymore.

Mom:   But you’re thinking it!

Me:   I just wanted you to have some grace and beauty.

Mom:   Some Grace.  I dropped a glass pitcher trying to water them. And in a few days, I’ll have a dead bouquet. There’s your Beauty.

Me:   Okay nevermind.  But do me a favor, do something nice for five friends, ok?

Mom:    I should do YOU a favor and do something nice?  You want something nice done, do it yourself.

Me:    Alright.  I’ll do kind deeds in your honor.  And put your name on them.

Mom     Don’t do me any favors!   Better you should  sign it, “From Your Secret Pal.”

Me:    Nobody has those anymore.

Mom:    My Mahjong ladies are here.   I have to defrost the water.  It’s  still  frozen.

Me:    Ma,  That’s  called  ice.

Me:    (into dial tone)   Be careful.  There’s a cycle of goodness that shouldn’t  be… Hello, hello  Mom?  How’s your rheumatism?

2nd Act of Kindness:  Put Chocolate Heart in Son’s School Lunch.

photo-163

            Result:

Son:   What’s with the candy?  One of your nags to see Dr. Tartar  for my cavities?

Me:   Not at all.  Just conveying love.

Son:   Well, now Savannah is jealous.

Me:   And you’re absolutely positive she wasn’t born in Georgia?  Maybe  conceived?

Son:    Seriously?!   It’s called a Destination Name.  Very popular.

Me:   Okay, okay.  So your Resort-Style, Vacation Girlfriend is jealous because your own mother loves you?

Son:   Hell,  I  couldn’t  show  her  that  Lame-o  note of yours.   So she thinks the heart  is  from Madison,  (who was not born OR conceived in Wisconsin)  but who beat her out of head Cheerleader and now she hates her guts.

Me:   Sorry to hear that.  But please abide by the rules and pay it forward.  I have this cycle…

Son:   Why do you always have to bring your monthly friend into everything?  Maybe after my Physics finals.

Me:   (swallowing hard)   Uh   oh.  You’re  in  the  middle  of  finals??   (Secret Pal better strike again!)

3rd Act of Kindness:  Left a Water Bottle for the Mailman

generic water bottle: no trademark infringement!

generic water bottle:
no trademark infringement!

       

           Result:

Mailman:   I’m sorry Little Miss Menopause,  but  I  gotta  issue  you a citation for using marked US Postal Service property as a trash receptacle.

Me:  (batting lashes)   It was  terribly  warm out.  I thought you might be thirsty.

Mailman:   It’s 62 degrees out.  Are you having one of your Hot Flashes or Confusion Episodes,  Miss  Meno?

Me:    No,  I  am not.  Clearly,  I  was  NOT  littering.  There was a “Pay it Forward” note that was attached.

Mailman:     I’m  returning  your note,  postage  due.

Me:     You don’t understand.  We mustn’t break the chain.

Mailman:    Chain letters are illegal to send through the mail.   I’ll have to report that too.

Me:     Okay, okay.  But please, when you get home – – can you just cook your  wife  a nice dinner or something?

Mailman:   That’s  very  unlike  me.  She’ll  guess  you and  I  are  having an affair.  Plus she’s about to have a baby, remember?

Me:  (swallowing harder)   OMG,  Rosemary’s  Baby!!!

Mailman  (pats  my  hand)     It’ll  all  be okay once  your  Xanax  gets  bumped up.  See you at 11 pm tonight when  I’ll  make a delivery  with  “the complete package.”  I’ll knock three times.

Me:   Shouldn’t you ring?  Doesn’t the Postman Always Ring Twice?? (Note to self: Write a blog about people conversing using only Movie  Title  dialogue)

4th Act of Kindness:  Bought  Random  Buff  Guy  a  Coffee  at Starbucks

Forget Trademark infringement. Maybe they'll sponsor my blog!

Forget Trademark infringement. Maybe Starbucks will sponsor my blog!

        Result:

Guy:   This  some  kinda  sick  joke?   I’m on a health kick.  I just gave up caffeine a week ago.  It interfered with my steroids.  I’m  only  here for  the  chocolate crumb cake.

Me:    Oh, sorry!  Could you pass this coffee to the cute, elderly lady behind you, then? But say it’s from you.  I’d like you to take the credit.

Guy:   Oh  man  Gramma!  Is your tongue ok?  This crazy broad  in front of me  made me  give you scalding coffee.

Me:   (leaning)   Sorry,  Gram.  But  did you see that movie, “Pay It Forward?”  With Helen Hunt?

Guy:    Hard of hearing.  She’s looking around for  Candid Camera.

Me:     No,  not  Funt,  Dear.  Hunt.  Hunt.  HUNT!

Guy:    Now she thinks you’re calling her a female body part.

Me:     Naturally.

5th Act of Kindness: Go to Stationery Store and Buy a “From Your Secret Pal” Stamp and Send Blank Checks To…(deep breath)

1. My Mother’s entire Mahjong group  2. Her Rheumatologist  3.  Son’s Physics teacher  4. Our dentist,  Dr. Tartar  5. Son’s girlfriend Savannah  6. All her Timeshare cheerleader friends:  Madison,  Brooklyn,  Tallahassee,  Seattle,  Massachusetts,  &  of course, Mt. Kilimanjaro  7.   The Mailman’s Wife,  8.  Their  OB-GYN,  9. Starbucks Staff,  10.  The Buff Guy’s Grandmother’s Hearing Aid Salesman, 11. Helen Hunt  12.  Alan Funt  13.  (and for good measure) Emily Blunt & Bonnie Hunt.

Oh and what the hell,  send Steven Spielberg the ominous “Pay It Forward” note.  (Evil laugh)  Let him be the one to worry about “Just when you thought it was safe to go to your mailbox!”  He could use a Prequel.

photo-165

Hum the Theme from Jaws starting now…..

Do Opposites Attract?! (Maybe if you have a Magnetic Personality)

  Blech!

Blech!

“Birds of a feather flock together.” Maybe that just means you should marry someone who also owns a parakeet. In honor of February and Valentines Day, I’m trying to find out if there’s any truth to that age old theory that opposites not only attract; they make for long sustaining unions?

First I will confess to writing Snopes.com to convince them to list this notion as an urban legend based on my past, personal (and polarized!) relationships, which went downhill faster than Lady Gaga can belt out, “Bad Romance.” Now I’m not talking the Donny and Marie syndrome, (“she’s a little bit country, he’s a little bit rock n’ roll”) I mean true fundamental differences at the very core of your personalities. So can extreme opposites ever really work out in the long run?

I’ve been married nine times. Note: In reality I’ve only walked down the aisle twice but I’m trying to disguise my situation because my ex-husbands are best buddies and claim they’ll collaborate to sue me if I ever blog about them. (Like you can copyright aggravation!) Maybe after reading this, they’ll join forces and search for the seven other stashed away, missing ex-husbands instead!

Husband #6 (really #1 but shhhh!) seemed like your typical romantic bachelor during courtship, but I soon realized he was a Sciencemathologist. That’s code for being a total left-brained thinker. (Note: I’m a right-brained creative, emotional personality type – just in case fabricating seven extra marriages and concocting the word “Sciencemathologist” didn’t tip you off)

This husband expressed his affection by custom ordering Valentine conversation candy with the periodic table elements on them. I found this slightly endearing – after all, how many chalky, heart-shaped Pepto-Bismols proclaiming, “crazy4u” can you consume? And there’d be instances when I’d need the atomic number for both helium and aluminum, right? Suppose I simultaneously bought a party balloon and a roll of Reynolds Wrap?  Hey, it could happen.  photo-155

“Oh Honey, No diamond engagement ring, please. I’ll just loop some carbon atoms around my finger,” said no Bride-To-Be ever!

Instead of anniversaries symbolized with the traditional gifts of paper, linen, silk, bronze and pearls, he favored titanium, sulfur, lithium, sodium (sodium got me a saltshaker) hydrogen, and chlorine.  No, that last one doesn’t mean he built us a swimming pool. My friends deemed it “quaint” but I wasn’t sticking around for the big ten-year gifts — plutonium and arsenic.photo-156

A certain other husband (who shall remain numberless) was a painstakingly slow decision maker, a fastidious planner, and tossed food out days before the sell-by dates. I’m carefree and spontaneous, (sounds better than saying disorganized and impulsive) and happen to know Dannon puts premature expirations on their yogurt. Heck, I even throw caution to the wind and buy day-old donuts. Needless to say, leaving the house simultaneously was impossible, let alone going away on vacations. Miles ahead, I’d sneak through airport security, (harboring full-size tubes of Colgate, mind you) while back home, he hunched over the bathroom sink, deliberating, “should toothpaste really have baking soda in it?”

Yep, he highlighted expiration dates.

(above) Yep, he highlighted expiration dates.

And SEX! So how was intimacy, you might inquire? Scheduled and organized. Or maybe that was just a game of “Twister” we always played? (“Left hand on red negligee!”) Where was his soap-opera push me down on the pillows passion play? Things were entirely too calm in the boudoir and elsewhere. Grocery shopping was equally regimented, with elaborate lists written for a week’s worth of dinners. Do you know on Sunday if you’ll be in the mood for beef-stew on Wednesday in the dining room? Or (ahem) “Beefcake” on Friday in the bedroom?!

I’m certainly not the only one grappling with these oil & water issues. My friend Tiffany (who promises NOT to sue me if I mention her scenario) enjoys expressing herself with eloquent and flowery phrases that even Hallmark has plagiarized. However her boyfriend (who doesn’t care enough to send the very best, but still expects a little somethin’ somethin’) is one of those “Love Ya” kinda guys.

You know the type. They can’t even be bothered to spell “love” correctly, so she gets “Luv Ya!” And exactly what part of speech is “Ya” anyhow? Pretty sure it’s an exclamation like “duh or “meh.” If a man can’t commit to using a solid personal pronoun, then he shouldn’t be dangling his participles in your direction. But yesterday Tiffany excitedly called to report a new revelation . . . he switched to “Wuv You!”  Not wanting to shatter her “Tiffany Epiphany” I said, “Congratulations, Tiff. Now you can say you’re in a relationship with a guy who speaks fluent Kitten.”

photo-162

I still haven’t come to any definitive conclusions on this whole opposite dilemma but as you read this, I’ll probably be answering the door to find both my exes standing united, holding an official court summons.

On the porch will sit a Bunsen burner and some stale Sourdough rolls. “Even though you didn’t use our real names and you changed our marital numerical order, we still recognized ourselves in your blog” they’ll accuse in unison. And I’ll be hard pressed to deny it – after all, personality traits as distinctively irritating as theirs are hard to camouflage.

But I’ll finally have my answer to the age-old question. Do opposites definitely attract? No, but they definitely attack!

Have you been drawn to your opposite?  Did it last? I’d love to hear.

           

Bad Bitter Butter!

Bad Bitter Butter!

  

He HIGHLIGHTED the exp. date!
He HIGHLIGHTED the exp. date!

                .

photo-162

How To Become a New Blogger & Not Sound Like An Old Codger! (or Codgerette)

Pen and Ink or Calligraphy Blogs like this are coming back in vogue, so you should strengthen your fingers!

Pen and Ink or Calligraphy Blogs like this are coming back in vogue, so you should strengthen your fingers!

DISCLAIMER:  (Are you noticing all my recent posts have disclaimers? I think I’m onto something)

Anyhow….DISCLAIMER: I am far too young (and therefore not too qualified) to write this particular post. You might find its content laughable. I sincerely hope you do.

However that being said, my grown children apparently think a “How To” post exactly like this one needs to be out there. And they (coincidentally) formulated this thought immediately after I told them that I (49 years and holding) have started my own blog. Hmmmm.

Here’s how the conversation actually went.

Me:   Guess what?

Daughter:   You rewrote your Will and I’m back in?

Me:   Funny.  No,  I’m starting a blog.

Daughter: (rolls one eye)   Oh, that  IS  funny. Well, you can post your updated Will on the blog then. As well as your Advance Medical Directives and funeral instructions. Make it a static page.

Me:   Are you implying nobody will be interested in anything I have to say?

Middle Son:   I’d be interested in your cremation. And at what point on Space Mountain I should scatter your ashes?

Me: (dryly)  I really hope Disneyland cancels your annual pass.

Eldest Son:   So that’s your last dying wish then?

I should add that I actually have six kids, however three of them always mumble or talk so softly that I can never catch anything they say. But whatever they said, it was probably not as respectful as above.

So here we go . . . (Note: I am using a typical “How to Start a Blog” template and customizing it for an audience that is WELL ABOVE my age range. Yeah, right.)

1. GIVE YOUR BLOG A UNIQUE NAME – – I happen to be partial to, “My Foggy, Soggy, Groggy, Sloggy, Smoggy Bloggy!” But that’s just me. This has to be YOUR blog. Your own identity. You could choose something like, “Oh, My Aching Blog,” or “How’s That Again?” or even “The Old Blog and The Sea,” if you want to be literary and you like Hemingway. Poor examples of a name would be “Blanche’s Bland, Bleak Blog,” or “Blackbeard’s Bleeping, Blathering Blog.” Unless of course your name is Blanche or Blackbeard. Then go for it! Remember your blog name is key to getting a Follower. Note: Someone can choose to Follow you without wearing dark sunglasses or hiding behind dumpsters in bad neighborhoods.

2. TECHNICAL ASPECTS! – – These are crucial to adhere to.  You should always first Gargle the name you have in mind to make sure nobody else is already using it. Gargle Searches are easy to conduct (and you don’t need warm saltwater) as I found out the other day. It is important to make sure that some guy named Url agrees to assign you a personal Dough-Main Name. Of course if you don’t bake bread (and who really does anymore these days?) then you might not care. Oh, but be sure and invite someone to Host your blog! Because really, when it comes down to it, good manners are still important – – even on the world-wide-web.

Bloggers like to know other bloggers can make a mean sauce. And carbs are not the devil anymore. Use this!

Bloggers like to know other bloggers can make a mean sauce. And carbs are not the devil anymore. Use this!

3. COME UP WITH AN EYE-CATCHING LOGO OR PICTURE. – – Really! Even if you can’t see it without your glasses on, chances are someone else might be able to squint and focus. A distinctive image is everything for a blogger. For example, I was toying with using a Geritol bottle that had fallen down and couldn’t get up, but I figured that might be too cleverly symbolic and it could go over my target audience’s head down at WordPress-ure.Com. The picture to the left would be a good choice. But don’t use your high school yearbook photo, even if you were on the rowing team. If your grandchild draws something, have them use permanent markers so your computer screen doesn’t smear.  Whatever you decide, be consistent and use this same image on ALL your future communications (even sympathy cards for friends) from now on. I was lucky enough to find a place that silkscreened my own blog photo onto a front door welcome mat that’s shaped like a cow.  Now, that’s branding! You might want to leave this iconic image off any of your ARP correspondence though – –  unless your local branch is Italian. (see photo of pasta)

4. BE ORIGINAL! – – This is very important. Stand Out. Your audience wants fresh material, not the same stale stuff over and over again.  Think donuts.  Add filling and glaze.  Keep careful notes about what you’ve already blogged about so you don’t repeat those especially tasty “good & plenty” stories. If they missed it the first time, that’s just their loss. However, writing about your childhood is still considered fine. Whenever I do it, I just sneakily leave off the “Back in the day….” intro and people are none the wiser. Also, here’s a little tip that nobody else will give you. Try to throw in phrases like, “No worries,” and “It is what it is,” and “Let’s roll!” and “I really rocked that . . . article of clothing.” The thing that is usually being rocked is a mini-skirt or a bikini, so dig up a picture from one of your scrapbooks or photo albums and cut and paste it on your computer screen. (I think I’ve read that glue sticks work best for this.) Reminder: nobody says “Awesome” in this day and age, so substitute “Sweet” and even “Super Sweet.” And “Chilling” is not for wine anymore. Plus “Bad” is actually Good! Don’t worry, it will all make more sense as you continue to blog. Just remember to be careful – – you want to come off as being totally Hip, but you don’t want to fracture yours.

5. WRITE! – – It cannot be said enough. Find what you are passionate about and just start typing. Your energy will come through. People might even re-blog your piece on “how you caught a pharmacist not crosschecking all of your prescriptions.” (I personally keep a handwritten list in my purse of everything I take, but again, that’s just me.) Engage your readers by asking questions at the end. A good one is usually, “Can you repeat this entire post back to me so I can make sure you heard it correctly?” Sometimes concluding with a “Call to Action” can trigger a wave of intense enthusiasm. Like the time I asked every single one of my 14 Followers to please boycott Denny’s coffee shops since they won’t turn off their air-conditioner and it gets so drafty in there. Don’t try to petition anyone to turn down music in nice restaurants though. Talking isn’t cool anymore. And don’t worry. I will get right back to you regarding whether or not it’s still cool to say “cool.” I’ll gargle it.

Hey!  Last night I got a blog! (No, it's not a poodle or a Pit Bull) I'm blogging! So let's roll!

Hey! Last night I got a blog! (No, not a Poodle or a Pit Bull) I know it sounds Cray-Cray, but I’m blogging! So let’s roll!

6. PROMOTE! – – What in the world do you think places like Stumble Upon, Tumble Down, Bumbling and WatchYourStep.com are for?  These are excellent sites (sights for sore eyes . . . lol! I just love wordplay) and they are tailor-made for us to advertise on. And I know everyone says that you need to tag your posts for these places to be more effective – – but really, do you want to tag something that isn’t getting viewed much and later on may need to be put on sale or clearance? And if a post is doing really well, you may even want to mark it up. So skip the tags. Too confining. But don’t skip Word of Mouth. Say the following to your circle of friends: “Guess what? I just started blogging!” Loudly repeat that phrase (with clear enunciation) for anyone who warns you not to do it at night or you’ll get mugged.  Or if they start talking about it being hard on your knees and joints. Last point in this section, don’t constantly beg and cajole friends to repost what you write. Nobody (especially plumbers) likes a clingy blogger. . . A Clogger.

7. BE RESPONSIVE! – – Answer all comments and other interaction from other bloggers. If one of your comments begins with “Hey Pops!” or “Dear Grandma,” don’t play the part of the wounded blogger. Boo-hoo-hoo. Just remember sticks and stones. By the way, the “Dear Grandma” comment could actually be from a love child you didn’t know your eldest son fathered. Stay open to all possibilities for the most successful inline experience.

8. GET SMART! – – (Wasn’t that a great show? I miss Don Adams!)  Always stay on topic. It’s a cardinal sin to go off on tangents.  (Barbara Feldon was so pretty in that show, too. I wonder if it’s on anymore?) Another good rule of thumb for bloggers – – when you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Posting a blank blog can be considered mysterious, intriguing, dare I say even exciting, like Katie Perry singing that you’re a Firework!  Baby! Also only post when there’s the highest amount of traffic.  I know, I know – –  we all hate rush hour, but if you don’t have a gas-guzzler computer with an old search engine,  you’re in good shape and won’t need a new Hard Drive. The absolute best times to put something new on your blog are… A) When you think your Follower has awakened from his nap.  B) December 31st at midnight (the most festive way to ring in the New Year!) and C) Both A & B. But not C.

9. RECIPROCATE! – – Visit lots and lots of blogs. It’s okay to drop-in without calling first. And say “Hey” not “Hello.” Even “Hi” is completely out. Always comment back when someone leaves you their comment. Say this – – “Super Sweet comment. How bad of you! Gonna chill now, but I got your back. Bye.”  Trust me, you’ll be golden.

10. TAKE CONTROL! – – You wrote it, You posted it, You own it. Now don’t be afraid to stand up for it! (By now you should know what “it” is!) Increase your exposure by joining services like “Bob’sBogBlogLogLapTopDog,” and then provide an RSS feed.  RSS stands for “Really Sorry, Sir” but you can change that to “Ma’am” as needed.  Create new threads, yarns and even an entire crocheted sweater on all sorts of other forums. The last part of taking charge of your own blog is to frequently check your Stats. You want to get as many hits and runs as possible in one day. Even if they don’t leave a note. It’s okay, insurance will cover it.

There, we’re done!  Now I’m just going to submit this to my kids first for a little light editing before I post it on my blog. Always proofread your work because your Follower won’t find you credible if you have typooos and punctuation issues,?.’  He or she could be a retired English teacher and then where would you be?  Oh and as promised, I remembered to gurgle and yes, it’s definitely still cool to say “cool.” Happy Blogging!

UNUSUAL BOOKS FOR THE NOOKS (And Crannies in Your Life)

Bonus if you know why this image correlates with the title of this post!

Bonus if you know why this image correlates with the title of this post!

Disclaimer: This topic has no author turning over in his grave. It’s all in fun.

Let’s turn “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” into “If You Give Your Spouse Some Nookie.” I think books should grow with us as we age. I don’t want to keep packing up my beloved classic children’s literature into cardboard boxes to be rummaged through by sticky hands at garage sales for a quarter. Any writer expecting to have their children’s book become a Classic AND sustain a permanent place on our bookshelves needs to offer an intriguing 2nd Half-Of-Life version. We are no longer wearing footie pajamas and reading in our bean-bag chairs. Now we’re donning housecoats (what IS that type of apparel for, anyhow?) and reclining in our Barcalounger chairs.

In that spirit, here are some new “Grown-Up” Title modifications and a few of my recommendation notes to the Author.

SELF-HELP SECTION

Goodnight Prune (Good Night Moon)

Are You My Udder? (Are You My Mother?) This one should be carefully illustrated so as not to offend certain body types.

Withering Nights (Wuthering Heights)

Les Menopausals – Hey Vic – – You were so close with the whining women, the depressing outlook, and the frumpy dresses.…just kill off that pretty little Cozette.

Are You There Bod? It’s Me, Menopause (Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret) – – Self-explanatory content but I suggest the Dust Jacket have a fun-house mirror on it.

Poky Little Progesterone (Poky Little Puppy) – – Hurry back home, sex drive!

Mopey Chick (Moby Dick) – – On Depression

The Legend of Weepy Wallow – – On Grief and Sadness

Scratch Her In The Eye! (Catcher In the Rye) – – Yup. When the Depression Fades, There’s Rage!

STILL MORE  SELF-HELP SECTION! (And we need it…Oy!)

Shred Bag to Discourage (Red Badge of Courage) New Tips For old Shopaholics

Calm Lawyer (Tom Sawyer) A list of Divorce Attorneys who don’t yell.

Struck Thin (Huck Finn) The latest “Lose 10 pounds overnight” diet book.

All of Her Lists (Oliver Twist) Household Organization book

All of Her Cysts (Oliver Twist) Medical Diagnostic Manual

PURE FICTION

Kvetcher and the Rye – – An older Jewish woman visits a Deli

The Middle Spouse I’ll Remarry Series (The Little House on the Prairie Series) – – Includes Titles:  The Middle Spouse on the Contrary, Middle Spouse is Scary & Middle Spouse is on Dairy – – about a Lactose Intolerant Hubby who falls off the wagon with ice-cream.

Games the Defiant Teach (James and the Giant Peach)  – – Spy/Espionage novel about rebellious grown children who give aging parents wrong directions on how to play Words With Friends and Candy Crush.

Sale of Two Pretties (Tale of Two Cities) – – A couple of well-preserved, middle aged women become Call Girls

Pat The Money! (Pat The Bunny) – -Latest Wall Street Thriller…comes with a velveteen dollar bill.

Nancy Drew a Most Wanted Photo, to Help Police Find Her Deadbeat Ex-Husband – Enough said? Mystery solved!

Bi-Curious Georgia Series – – Includes Titles:  Injurious Georgia, Spurious Georgia and Luxurious Georgia (after the divorce settlement)

Court or Oy! (Corduroy) Yes, Lots of lawsuit books coming out.

Ramona the Best Chest is Never A Pest!

Henry Huggins & Henrietta Kissings – A match made in Beverly Cleary heaven.

Wilma Wantsa (Dark) Chocolate (Satis)factory (Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory)

PURELY ADULT SECTION

(For those of us who haven’t thrown in the sheets just yet.)

Where the Wild Flings Are! (Where? Where??)

Charlotte’s Web of Sexual Deceit!

Pat the (Playboy) Bunny!

Rebecca Of Little Blackbook Charm

The Sketcher and the Thigh (That J.D. Salinger, gosh he sure is prolific!) – – Here I’m envisioning a coffee table artistic book of classy nudes.

Hop On Cop – – Dr. Seuss meets strippers in uniform!

Lean Legs & Gam (Green Eggs & Ham) – – yeah, I could have gone for an exercise book here, but Fetish seems more fun.

Challenge: In a comment below, Think of your own fave child/teen book and try to “Adultersize” a new title. Or leave one for me (to try!) to do.