Henry the Blogger

If you ask me, my dog, Henry, is getting kind of uppity.  Sure, he’s a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, which means he descends from royalty. And, yes, he also expects a certain lifestyle, one befitting a king. Some might even say that Henry is a high-maintenance dog. But that would be an understatement.

Does this dog deserve a blog of his own? Hmm...

Recently, Henry noticed that there are many dogs out there with a blog, and now he has decided that he wants one, too. But here’s the thing: Henry can’t type to save his life. I don’t know how the other dogs do it, like Lola, Bassa or Uptown Dog. They have great blogs. But, when it comes to typing, Henry is all, ahem, thumbs. I’ve tried to teach him the basics. I figured, if he could type with just one paw, he’d be ahead of the game. But he refuses to even learn, and often ends up just pawing at my desk.

Clearly, this is one dog that cannot learn new tricks. Which is why, last night, during dinner, he asked me to be his secretary.  I nearly choked on my peas.

“I beg your pardon, Sir?” (You need to use words like  “pardon” and “Sir” when addressing royalty.)

Henry then said that what he really means is, he wants me to take dictation for his new blog.  But he doesn’t understand that:

  • I’m pretty busy as it is, and can’t take on yet another project, even if it is for a good cause.
  • He barks his thoughts rather slowly, which in turn, would take me forever to write down.
  • Sometimes I can’t figure out what he’s trying to say. Learning bark language isn’t the easiest, you know.  Like one time, when he said, “Cavaliers make amazing….and that’s how I lost my dignity…if only they fed me better.”

That’s all I could get out him. “Make amazing” what? Crocheted sweaters? Annoyances? And what’s this about losing his dignity? I’ll never know.

So I asked Henry, what he would call his blog if he had one.

“Untangling the Web,” was his immediate reply.

Apparently, he’s under the misguided impression that I’ve been successful with my tangled web of a blog, and so, he wants a crack at untangling it.

“After all,” he added, “Your readers have yet to hear my side of the story.”

His side? “What exactly is your side of the story?” I boldly asked. He shrugged and told me I could read about it in his blog, if he had one.

I then said, “A year ago you didn’t even know what a blog is.” He curtly countered that, a year ago, I didn’t have much of a following, and suggested that it is only when I’ve used photos of him that my readership has seen a spike.

“Not true!” I cried. “You haven’t seen my stats lately!” I then reminded him that he cannot have a blog, simply because he cannot type. To which, Henry said, rather miffed, that it was rather unseemly of me to remind a king of his flaws.

Henry retreats in a huff.

Feeling guilty, I said, “Cheer up, little man. I’m happy to write about you in my blog, now and then.”

He, cheekily replied, it’s the then I’m concerned about. The tall person allows Bassa to blog everyday. With you, I’ll be lucky to get exposure twice a year. I pointed out that he likes Roxy and she doesn’t have her own blog.

Which is when he gave me the stink eye, and retreated to one of his many plush beds, looking a bit despondent.

“Well, Henry,” I said, “Is there anything else you want to add in your defense?”

“Blogs about dogs are trending now, you know,” he said, wagging his tail.

Shaking my head, I went to wash the dishes. Oh, Henry, it seems we are at a standstill.

For a royal dog, he’s quite good at laying on the guilt. In fact, you could say, he’s got me feeling rather sheepish these days. Still, I’m not ready to give in and will have to think about this some more. After all, there’s more than one way to skin a cat.

London Actress Picks Me!

I’ve won the Kreativ Blogger Award!

I just knew She Writes would propel me to stardom!  (Read my recent post, titled, She Writes!)  I haven’t been a member for long, but I’ve already gained oodles of fellow writer friends and have helped to plan a Meetup with other local She Writes members.  We’re getting together for lunch soon. Can’t wait!

And now my blog is the proud recipient of the Kreativ Blogger award! If you ask me, this is the equivalent of winning the Pulitzer Prize or the Publisher’s Clearinghouse. So, I’m taking a bow and shouting from the rafters with joy. Yipee! Applause, applause!

So whom do I have to thank for all this wonderful, amazing and practically overnight sudden fame?  One of my new blogger friends, that’s who! And happily, we met thanks to She Writes. Isabelle Gregson is her name and she says she bestowed the award on me because I “make her laugh.” Imagine that!

Her blog, As the Actress said to the Bishop, offers an inside look into the world of an actress living in London who’s pounding the pavement in search of her breakthrough role.  (I’m rooting for you, Isabelle!)  Be sure to check it out!

There are two rules to accepting the Kreativ Blogger Award.

Rule #1: Pass it on to 10 other bloggers. No problemo! Congratulations to the following bloggers, whose writings I enjoy. Trust me, these folks are among the best.

  • Aging and Other Inconveniences – A funny angle on getting old from a Texas gal who was raised on a ranch, and once called a “Hoer” while on a date. If you want to know about aging gracefully, you won’t find it here.
  • Genesis Meranda – Charming, random and very consumer savvy. Grab a bag of Doritos or a slice of Sara Lee and enjoy.
  • The Good Greatsby – This one’s owned and operated by a guy named Paul, and one of these days he’s going to be invited to host Saturday Night Live. He’s that funny, with a super skewed take on all kinds of stuff.
  • Herding Cats in Hammond River – A charming slice-of-life blog with a small-town Lake Wobegon feel. You’ll chuckle; you’ll feel comforted, too.
  • Ironic Mom –  You just gotta love anyone whose motto is, “If you can’t laugh at yourself, laugh at your kids.”  And her six-year-old twins give her lots to amuse her—and us.
  • Leah’s Thoughts – Leah’s my longtime friend who writes about being a young mom, her faith, cooking delicious meals and all the books she’s read (don’t know where she finds the time).
  • The Life and Times of a Self-Proclaimed Saucy Bitch – Think chick lit. Think Jersey Housewives. Now toss those out the window and meet one sassy, Saucy Bitch with a lot on her mind and she’s not afraid to let you know. You’ll enjoy! You’ll want to dish with her, too. Enough said.
  • Me 2.0 – The author of this blog, Mikalee, feels like an old friend, but we’ve only met in this virtual world.  Yet, we’re struck by the similarities in our lives. Read about her travails as she machetes her way through the jungle that is divorce. Been there, done that.
  • Sunshine in London – A rather clever, South African woman with a fresh, sunny perspective on life in Merry Ol’ England. I keep hoping she’ll add me to her blogroll—maybe dreams do come true?
  • Writer’s Block – I have a special fondness for this blogger.  Cappy, or Caps as I like to call her.  She’s young and smart-alecky wise beyond her years. The girl has moxie! And so what if she duped me with her April Fools prank? I like her style!

Rule #2: Share 10 things you don’t know about me. Ok, here goes–no, wait! On second thought, I think I’ll save these tasty tidbits for my next post. Stay tuned!

She Writes!

Or, Bloggin’ Baby Boomer knows no Bounds (That’s me!)

I’m a woman with backbone and I have a bona fide confession:  I LOVE to write.  Which is why I adore the printed word and which also explains why, at the tender age of 6, I drove my mother crazy while sitting in the backseat of her Chevy, obsessively reading aloud all the street and retail signs, not to mention billboards we’d pass along the road.  Shop Rite. Stop. No U-Turn. A&P. “I’d rather fight than switch.” And so on.  Sometimes I’d make my mother slow down, to give me time to read even more signs.

Fifty years later and I’m a bloggin’ fool and, if you know anything about bloggers, well, there’s nothing a blogger won’t do to get a little attention (Translation: More visitors to the blog). I mean, we love writing, but without an audience, what are we—just trees falling in the forest, with no one to hear our cries? TIMBER!

And as a writer, I must say, I love chatting, tweeting, exchanging emails and submitting comments to other bloggers.  So, who knew I could have it all with one amazing, glorious site? I’m speaking, of course of She Writes.

Here’s their raison d’etre in a nutshell:

She Writes is a community, virtual workplace, and emerging marketplace for women who write, with over 14,000 active members from all 50 states and more than 30 countries. Leveraging social media tools and harnessing women’s collaborative power, She Writes is fast becoming the destination for all women who write.

I came across She Writes while discovering  “Out of My Mind,” a blog written by Linda Cassidy Lewis, author of “The Brevity of Roses.” Her post, ironically called,  “The Problem with Writing,” was recently Freshly Pressed by WordPress.com.  Well, as I read her post and scrolled all the way down reading the gazillion comments she received that day, I noticed a little icon badge on her site, that said quite simply, “I’m a member of SHE WRITES.”

Kamy Wicoff, She Writes Founder/Chief Innovation Officer

Which piqued my interest, and so I clicked. From there, I entered a whole new, exciting world of women writers who love nothing better than to write and network.  Sheer perfection, if you ask me!

Of course, I first had to complete a simple, but very probing, application to make sure I really was a writer, or at least serious about it.  Are you a blogger? Check.  Are you published? I cringed. Err, no.  Do you review books, television or film? Does having a crush on Colin Firth count? Do you offer services to other writers? Uh, a pat on the back, a “you go, girl” on occasion. Is that an acceptable response?

Are you part of a writers’ group or a writers’ salon? Is “N/A” sufficient? Though, frankly, I wouldn’t mind being part of a salon—sounds fancy!

I submitted my scant answers and was told I’d have to wait to learn whether or not they’d accept me. Talk about pressure. I was sweating bullets for 48 hours. I was sure if they didn’t accept me, it was because they’d seen me for the writing imposter that I am. Not published, indeed! Who did I think I was, trying to get in on the ground floor?

But OMG, they liked me! They really liked me! At least that’s what I assumed when I got the email stating I was in like Flint. I did a little happy dance until I realized I was in the office and everyone was staring.

When I got home that night, I dove into my new She Writes home with gusto, following their tips for newcomers, in order to create my page. Uploading a picture, writing all about my wonderful, writing self and, of course, detailing my zeal for blogging.  Then I perused the more than 250 distinct writing groups to see which ones I could join. Here, at last, my chance to find like-minded writers in such tantalizing groups as, “She Writes in California,” “Bloggers: Let’s Make It Work,” “Multicultural Writers,”  “Funny Women,” “Baby Boomers” and “Blog to Book.” (As to the latter, well, a girl can dream, can’t she?)

I’ve already made eight friends on She Writes (Soneet, Shary Folkmann, Amy Wise, Scrollwork, Julie Farrar, Tina Lane, Rukhpar Mor, Tele Aadsen and Sierra Writers), and can’t wait to make more–assuming they still like me. No matter. I just adore my new She Writes home! I may even move there and live forever within its pages of comments, encouragement, and words of wisdom from the over 14,000 members.  That is, if I can figure out how to take my toothbrush with me.

So friends, it comes down to this: If you’re a writer I encourage you to become a member (my friend, Leah, just did!). And if you do, tell them I sent you.  It’ll help me earn brownie points and hopefully keep them from throwing me out for the unpublished rapscallion that I am!  After all, I’m just having too much fun with She Writes!

A LEGO a Day: Day 94

When my son, Josh, was seven, one of the things he loved most was creating elaborate scenes with his favorite toy, the Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles. Of course, all the scenes he’d conjure up depicted various stages of fighting. Inevitably, Josh would ask me to take a photo of his scenes, using my old, pre-digital camera. Trust me, my photos could never do his battle scenes justice.

Now, I’m excited to share with you someone who has taken photos of a classic toy to a whole new level. This fellow WordPress blogger, Dan Phelps, is a genius!  Dan, a 5th grade school teacher from Tennessee, brilliantly uses the LEGO toys to create visual stories, often with comical, twisted captions.  He posts a new photo everyday, so you’re going to want to check his site and check it often–if not daily! Below is a link to one of my favorites.  Enjoy!  You can find more at Dan’s site, http://legomyphoto.wordpress.com/.

Day 94.

At that moment, TK-788 and TR-114 made a pact to never speak of this day again to anyone.

Honorary “Singleton” Goes Global!

I’m international! I’ve crossed the pond!

For, fellow bloggers, Lia and Jules who hail from Ireland and England, respectively, have asked me to be a guest blogger on their site, Ramblings of a Singleton. Which is bloody cool, if you ask me.  And their blog’s name is very “Bridget Jones Diary,” wouldn’t you agree?

Bridget Jones, the original singleton, did a lot of rambling in her diary.

I just adore Helen Fielding’s book about Bridget Jones and her madcap adventures in love. So I’m excited to write for Ramblings because that makes me an honorary singleton!

This past Monday, the Irish Blog Awards were announced and Ramblings made the short list for Best Group Blog.  Quite a feat! Which makes posting on this site quite an honor.

Each week, Ramblings has a new theme, and this week the theme is, “Are you afraid to be alone?”  You can read my post below:

Am I Afraid of Being Alone?

Are you crazy?  Am I not from New York, the city of eight million people, where the Statue of Liberty welcomes swarms of  “huddled masses”? And where restaurants place tables so close together you’re rubbing elbows with complete strangers? How can I ever be alone—let alone be afraid of it?

Actually, these days, I find myself alone quite a bit and fear not, I am fearless when it comes to being alone. I need to be alone to decompress from the week. I need to be alone in order to write. After all, you can’t have any distractions when putting pen to paper or, in my case, fingers to keyboard.

Long ago, I embraced my inner being-alone side.  For someone who grew up with four brothers, two parents, one sister and a cousin living in our three-bedroom  brownstone, I had plenty of opportunities to be on my own. Alone in my room. Alone in the basement. Alone in the backyard. Alone and wide awake in the wee hours of the night, indulging in my favorite pastime: watching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers marathons. Yes, being alone is all it’s cracked up to be.  Take it from me: It’s the bomb!

For me, being alone started with my parents, who banished me to a lifetime of alone-ness when they named me Monica, which in Greek means “solitary.” Thanks to them, my name relegated me to a lifetime of solitary purgatory and I’m convinced it’s why I couldn’t stay married. For better, for worse, I’ve lived up to my name more times than I can recall.

Any fear I had of being alone I lost when I was eight, and my parents sent me to live abroad. I stayed with relatives who spoke Spanish, a language that, at the time, I understood but could not speak. So I found myself alone in my own little world.  Then at 15, I was alone again, while my family lived elsewhere. But at least this time I was in familiar territory, my neighborhood in New York.  I spent a year living on my own, as a boarder in a widow’s home. (I wrote about that experience, which you can find here.)  With no one to talk to at first, I was most definitely in a singleton state of mind.

Today, I continue to enjoy my “alone” moments.  I’ve seen many a movie alone, and taken walks alone. I’ve even gone out for breakfast and lunch alone (although not on the same day).

Yet, here’s where I draw the line: dinner out alone. You won’t find me making a dinner reservation for one.  That’s a commitment. That’s a statement.  It’s also my Achilles heal, but don’t hold it against me. I don’t know why, but somehow dinner alone is tantamount to saying, “I’m lonely!” “I can’t get a date!” And while the latter may be true for some of us (ahem), I am by far, not lonely. Not one bit.

I accept being alone. My home is my sanctuary, and if it weren’t for my dog insisting on being walked, or the necessity of having to commute to work, I could bask in being alone for days on end. Given a little encouragement I could easily see myself becoming Little Edie in “Grey Gardens,” or Miss Havisham in “Great Expectations,” or simply a female version of Mr. Recluse himself, Howard Hughes. Ok, maybe that’s going a little too far, but you get the point. If I ever do show the traits of a recluse, you have my permission to shoot me or push me off a bridge.  In the meantime, I plan to continue appreciating my alone time, which I get to spend with me, myself and I.

So, am I afraid of being alone? No. Though, I’m not a recluse—yet. But if you do see me becoming one, call in the reserve!  And if you’re looking for Miss Lonelyhearts, then look no further than Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window.”  Now, if I could only muster up the nerve for dinner alone, then I could live happily ever after. Alone.