200 and Counting

Well, I’m not one to brag but sometimes I just have to toot this old horn of mine. For, this is my 200th post.


And, maybe that’s not a big deal to some, but to me it’s the cat’s pajamas. The bee’s knees. For, in the nearly two years that I’ve been blogging, I never thought I’d get this far, and I certainly didn’t think I’d have this much to say! Why, that’s more than 180,000 words on topics that run the gamut, from silly to the ridiculous to plain borderline crazy.

Of course, Henry, my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, did help.  He’d tell you himself, but he’s in a funk right now as the reality has finally dawned on him, that he’s not going to make it to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Worry not, I told him, for he’ll be able to watch it all on The Today Show, and everyone knows how much dogs love to watch Matt Lauer globe trot around the world (not really). He’s living the dream, Henry says, rolling his eyes.

In other news, allow me to fill you in on how I did with my Fifty/Fifty Challenge in May.  I’m getting close to the halfway point, so you’d think by now I’d be honing in on the midway mark to my Fifty/Fifty goal.

Think again, mon frere.

Yes, the clock is ticking, the year is running its course, and right now I’m feeling like Ray Milland in The Big Clock. That’s the 1948 film noir thriller, in which Ray Milland plays a hapless guy whose boss’ mistress is murdered and Ray Milland becomes the number one suspect, caught in a web of deceit, jealousy, intrigue, power and corruption.  Add to that, poor Ray has mere hours to find the real killer (his boss) or get the book thrown at him.

Yep, that’s me. Except instead of facing a murder rap, I’m facing a stack of unread books and a TiVo, so stuffed with films I’ve yet to see, I need a plunger just to get the darn thing working.

So, here’s my official list for May:


Dark Shadows:  If you haven’t seen this latest film from Tim Burton, starring Johnny Depp, run, don’t walk to the nearest theater. It’s absolute fun. A fond tribute to the campy classic by the same name, back when soaps aired live and props and scenery would fall on the set during what was supposed to be a serious scene. Depp is in high form as the 200-year-old vampire, Barnabas Collins.

Other films I got to see in May? Two that celebrate amore in all its glory: Love Story and Lady and the Tramp.

Yes, Lady. The story of a Cocker Spaniel and the mutt that befriends her. Look for the spaghetti scene. Awfully cute.

Now, as for Love Story, I have to wonder why it was such a big hit at the time—a blockbuster, even—but then I remember that those were different times. I really tried to like it and I almost did, but, for crying out loud, couldn’t Jenny Cavalieri, played by Ali McGraw, have a little backbone? Wasn’t this the height of the feminist movement, after all? And yet, Jenny gives up her dream of studying music in France, just to marry a petulant boy who hates his father.

Then, when Jenny gets a fatal disease, the doctor alerts her hubby, Oliver—and not Jenny. She’s kept in the dark!! The doctor even tells Oliver to try to keep the news from her for as long as he can. What’s wrong with this picture? Shouldn’t Jenny know that she’s dying, so that she can make her final arrangements and say her goodbyes?

Yikes, I hope Hollywood isn’t planning a remake, as I’m not sure it would fly today. What do you think?


Well, I started two books and am still reading both (don’t judge me).  But I did read a children’s book (so that counts, right? 😉 ) Here’s my review of On My Way to the Bath:

Move over Eloise and Fancy Nancy! There’s a new girl in town and her name is Livi.

Like her two predecessors, Livi is a girl after my own heart. The kind that is creative, sprightly, and capricious. Dare I say this pint-size tyke is “Livi-acious?” What’s more, she’s about to take a bath—ready or not!

On My Way to the Bath, is a new children’s book written by comedian and blogger, Sarah Maizes, and is sure to delight young and old. For Livi will do anything to get out of taking a bath, even if it means having to transform into a snake, or perform a tuba solo in a marching band. Anything, to avoid the dreaded tub of water.

Livi hits a nerve for me, as I can remember many a time I didn’t want to take a bath and all the bubbles in the world couldn’t lure me into the bathtub.  I only wish I’d had an ounce of Livi’s moxie to keep my bath time at bay.

In the end, Livi dipping a foot into the bathwater is inevitable, simply because everyone needs a bath at some point, right? But how will she get there? What will it take? That is the point of the story and remains to be seen. To find out, you’ll just have to read the book!

So, tell me. What movies did you see or what books did you read in May?

Happy 200th to me!

77 thoughts on “200 and Counting

  1. Monica – yay!! Clinking my coffee mug to yours (still early here). You’ve a wonderful voice, wry wit, and are a truth story teller. I’ve so enjoyed getting to know you through your words. I also enjoy that you keep us readers coming back with fresh content. I’d ask you, what have you learned about yourself through the blogging process? Do you think your writing has grown, your mind expanded, your writing goals changed? As for you 50/50 and movie/book goals.. you’re getting closer and closer. Movies, too many to list (my guilty pleasure), reading was odd for me in May. I read poetry, Cleopatra, skimmed a Flash Fiction how to perfect book ( I never read this sorts of book cover to cover). Happy 200th !!

    • Thank you, Brenda! Blogging has helped my writing tremendously. I’m more confident, and can write so much faster, at least my amusing essays, anyway. Takes me a bit longer to write personal stories, like the one I just posted today about my childhood in Queens. I once heard someone say that writing is like any art or skill. You have to practice doing it, and for me blogging is like practicing. I’m clocking a lot of miles here–and who knows? One day, I may actually get a whole book out of this! 😉

  2. Monica, congratulations on your 200th post! You go, girl! For the life of me, I don’t know where you get the time or the energy to read, post, watch movies, walk Henry, and work.
    Monica, you are nothing short of Wonder Woman! I have nothing but admiration for your writing, friend. Here’s to 200 more posts! 🙂

    • Thank you, Bella. It means so much to me when you leave comments. I always look forward to hearing from you. As for being Wonder Woman, Henry keeps me in check. His very presence is a reminder that I can’t write all the time. I have to take him for a walk once in a while. Heh-heh. Perhaps we all need reality checks now and then, no? 😉

  3. Even a computer crisis (my husband’s, which of course consumes me as resident tech-support) could not keep me from being part of your ‘200’ celebratory post. You are a prolific blogger, indeed (there’s no award for that, is there?;-) ‘Lady and the Tramp’ is an all-time favorite of mine — I’m sure that doesn’t surprise you. Time moves so quickly I can’t recall what movies I saw in May, except for the recent silly but typically Sasha Baron-Cohen ‘The Dictator.’ But I highly recommend ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen,’ which I may (ha ha) have in fact seen in April. Re: books — I just finished a wonderful one — ‘Running the Rift’, which fell on the heels of ‘Between Shades of Grey’ (a poignant YA book not to be confused with other ‘grey’ one.

    • Thank you so much, Deborah! I keep hearing Salmon Fishing is a good film. Will “catch” it when it comes to DVD. Was the Dictator any good? Love your comment about “Between Shades of Grey” and not to confuse it with another of similar name. Heh-heh!

  4. Congratulations Monica!!! I love reading your Blog, and I didn’t skip a post since the day i have joined. I think it’s when you did that same writing post together with Bella!! I loved it!!!

  5. Congratulations on your 200th post! What a milestone! Give our condolences to Henry on not being invited to the Diamond Jubilee. At least he doesn’t have to wear a funny outfit and stand around all day. 🙂
    Bella and DiDi

    • Thanks, Bella and DiDi! Not having to wear a silly costume is small consolation for a royal dog who set his whole heart on taking part in the pomp and circumstance of the Jubilee. Better luck next time, I say!

    • Thank you, Kim! I’m sorry you didn’t like Dark Shadows.I suppose I have fond memories of the original soap, so I was in a mindset to love it.

      Have a wonderful weekend!

  6. Congratulations on the milestone! And thanks for the critique on Dark Shadows. I’ll try to get to the theatre to see this one. After all, I am a big Johnny Depp fan.

    • Renee, being a big Johnny Depp fan helps. He seems to always play peculiar roles, which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Re milestone, thank you. I’m now on my way to the next one–300!

  7. Monica, I saw Love Story when it came out and I boo-hoo’d then. I doubt I would now, for the reasons you state.

    Just finished a book on the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, which actually was a kinder account of her than most (he abdicated to marry her). Am now in the middle of John Jakes’ The Gods of Newport – robber barons of the late 1800’s – early 1900’s. Makes me feel like I’m rich and right there with them!

    • Eloise, I’m quite familiar with the story of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. So much has been written about them and so many films, too. Glad to know that the one you’ve read is actually kinder to her. Robber barons! Sounds fascinating. You do appreciate history, don’t you? Me, too!

  8. Love The Big Clock. Congratulations on your 200 posts. I hope to hit that number before the year is out. As for the 50/50 I just haven’t taken the time to update my list. You’re post reminded me I should do it this weekend. Looking forward to more posts from you and Henry.

    • Big Clock is gripping film noir. Brilliant, brilliant, with a top-notch cast. I hope everyone sees it if they haven’t yet. Yes, I have to update my 50/50 page, too. Thanks for the reminding me!

  9. Oh, the big 200… congratulations Monica! And to think I cried watching Love Story! Of course, I was sheltered back then, raised on the Cinderella fantasy before feminist ideas crept into my concious. Congrats on nearing halfway on your 50/50, too! I have a stack of books done read, just waiting for me to update my list… not sure if I’ll make it on the movies!

    • Thank you, kindly, Nancy. Yes, the first time I read Love Story and the first time I saw the film, I sobbed. It was so moving. But now, with age and divorce, comes female empowerment. I’d find another doctor if he insisted on telling someone else I had a fatal disease, before telling me. Thank heavens for HIPAA! (Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act)

  10. 200 posts? Splendid! Keep ’em coming! Sorry about Sir Henry missing the Queen’s big splashy event — the Sheltie didn’t get an invite either! Your summary of Love Story was a hoot, but hit the mark. Why, indeed, didn’t anyone notice what a wimp poor Jenny was? Do doctors still keep dying patients in the dark??

    • Debbie, and what was she dying of anyway?? They never say. All I know is one moment she’s sitting on the bleachers in the freezing snow, watching Oliver skate or something, the next she’s asking if it would be okay if they got a cab (instead of walking) so that she could go to the hospital. A few minutes later, she’s dead! What happened? She was looking fine until that moment. Don’t get me wrong. I loved this movie when I first saw it–but I was a teen then and easily influence by Hollywood’s promise of true love and happily ever after’s–unless they’re dying in a most romantic way. Like Jenny.

  11. Congratulations, Monica. It’s interesting how so many people start out all excited about blogging and then fall off the radar in just a few months. I believe you’ve got to love writing and the interaction with others with the same passion as you clearly do. I’m so grateful that we stumbled across each other in this vast blogosphere and thank you again for bringing me into that wonderful FB group.

    • Jayne, I never thought of it that way but, come to think of it, I’ve noticed that some who I used to follow, I no longer do. This is simply because they’ve stopped, and when I visit their blog, it’s weird to see that it’s still there, with the last posted dated months or even a year ago. These blogs are like ghost towns on our blogosphere landscape. But, I’m still standing and plan to for a long time to come. You’ll have to pry my dead, cold hands off the keyboard to get me to stop! 😉

      I, too, am grateful to know you. You’re a natural in our FB group. There was an “opening” and it had your name on it. Serendipity, my friend.

  12. Seriously?!?! 200??? You really know how to make a girl feel inadequate!


    Congrats, Monica!

    Brett and I almost saw Dark Shadows last weekend, but decided against at the last minute. We were in the parking lot of the theater reading reviews online…and became discouraged. I wish you had published #200 a wee bit earlier!

  13. Congrats, Monica! Woo-hoo! 200 is a big deal!

    I read Jonah Lehrer’s Imagine: How Creativity Works, and also had the good fortune to see him speak at an Arts & Lectures series. I’ll be blogging about it at some point.

    Happy reading, writing, and movie watching to you!

    • Woo-hoo is right! I’m thrilled for I love blogging and hope to continue for some time to come. Never realized until I started, just how much joy I get out of writing. Plus, I have so enjoyed meeting so many wonderful, thoughtful and amusing bloggers. Your blog, Becky, is so special because you have found a way to showcase your husband’s work and frame it with your beautiful writing to create something so special and evocative. Kudos to you, my friend!

  14. Congratulations, Monica! I love reading your wonderful posts, especially the ones on books, words, and films, but all of them are enjoyable reading. You are very talented. I gave myself a challenge in May of reading Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” – so far I’m only reading it on Sundays afternoons and am now up to about page 250. Speaking of baths and children’s books, there’s a wonderful book called, “King Bidgood Takes a Bath,” and, no, there’s no relation to me – however, I bought the book for every member of my family just because of the title. It’s a fun story of a king who gets his toe stuck in the fawcet and all sorts of crazy characters try to save the day.

    • Thank you, Karen. I so appreciate the fact that you are one of my most loyal readers. It means so much to me! I love the title of that book. How funny the name of the king is the same as yours. lol. Take care, my friend! 🙂 Btw, are you watching General Hospital? I’m enjoying it. Nice to see some old, familiar characters.

      • Oh, I just noticed my typo! I meant faucet, not fawcet — don’t you just hate it when you see you made a typo and it’s too late? I sure do. I sometimes watch General Hospital, but I’m not attached to it like OLTL, but I do like it when Tea is on.

  15. Monica, congrats on rfeaching the big 2-0-0! I love reading your (and Henry’s) posts! Also impressed with the 50/50 challenge. Lady and the Tramp has to be one of my all time favorites. Especially the spaghetti scene.

  16. Ooooh fantastic Monica – that’s just brilliant. I am so happy for you. Please keep writing and I will keep reading. I saw that two of your readers have mentioned books I love ‘The Elegance of Hedgehog’ especially, and Peter Mayle who writes the most exquisite stuff. I am still on a WWII kick. I have many books to read this Summer, but it is so busy that I am already wishing I could take a breather, just so I can sit quietly and read.
    The most exciting bit is the Golden Jubilee of course. I have gone crazy. I bought my Hello Magazine with all the photos that are just beautiful and I am following every bit of it. Tell Henry not to feel too bad, there’s so much on t.v. he will be quite satisfied when it is all over. Then the Olympics begin…

    • You’ve got a deal, MM! Hey, if you have a WWII kick, have you heard of this book?:

      New York Times bestselling author Amanda Hodgkinson earned great critical acclaim when she published her debut novel, “22 Britannia Road.” Echoing books like Suite Française, 22 Britannia Road is a wrenching story of WWII and its effect on families. It is most touching in its depiction of one couple’s desperate desire to create a home in the aftermath of war when neither can quite remember what home is.

      Thought I’d recommend it. Not that I’ve read it, yet, but it’s on my list. When I was planning my European vacation, I wanted to go to England again, but it’s because of the Olympics that I’m staying away.

      • Monica, I just got it. We really do think alike. I have just finished ‘The Piano Teacher’ it was so good because it is the other ugly side of WWII – the Japanese occupation of the colonies and the subsequent torture of the British and well, basically anyone they wanted to have a bit of with. It is based in Hong Kong. Since our beloved Colin is filming this subject right now, I was thrilled I picked the right book. I have a thing for Penguin published books 🙂

        Oh I would love to hear where you’re going. It is such a wonderful thing to see the world. Hmm, you’re right though, going to London with the Olympics is probably not a good idea.

  17. Yeehaaa! Congratulations Monica! I’ve read a good many of your 200 posts and I wish you (and us, your readers) many more!
    I’m just about finished the book The Elegance of the Hedgehog – it’s exquisite ! No movie though 😦
    PS. Sarah Maizes was at the Erma conference- LOVED her!!!!!

    • Thanks so much, Astra. Pretty exciting! I’ve been watching that number creep up on my stats page and the closer I got to 200, the more elated I started feeling.

      You’re the third or fourth person that has recommended The Elegance of the Hedgehog book. Such a funny name, can’t imagine what it’s a bout, but will definitely look into it!

  18. Maybe I can join the 50/50 challenge next year. I just couldn’t see it and thought to myself when you announced it, ‘Now, why in the world would she do that?’ But now, as everything unfolds, I can see how this can inspire and inform your own writing. I still wonder if it’s a bit much for me but I can try at least.

    Love that story of Livi though. I used to sit on the side of the tub, splash around and then I was done. I don’t know why I went through this stage. Little Totsy didn’t, thank goodness.

    • Of course, Totsy, you should join. I hope you do. From the get-go I was thinking I’m not going to make it, but I decided to do it just to give me fodder for my blog. So what if I don’t make it? It’s fun trying!

      That Livi story is adorable. I hated baths, too. A necessary evil. But once I got in, it was lots of fun!

  19. I’m behind on my movie watching, but have been reading a lot. Right now I’m in the middle of Half the Sky. It’s an alarming and depressing journalistic book about the plight of women in many parts of the world, but at least the authors offer resources and suggestions for ways readers can make a difference. It’s hard to get through, but I think worth the effort.

  20. Wow, that’s a lot of writing! Congrats! I agree about Love Story….although it did make me cry like a baby! I always thought it was totally unfair and weird that they didn’t tell her she was dying. anyhoo…the Johnny Depp vampire movie is good? Looks too weird. There are really no movies out now that I care to see. Ha!

    • Michael Ann, I remember enjoying the movie. It was such a tearjerker and I didn’t think about the sexism in it, but that film was a reflection of the day. For, I don’t remember anyone protesting it at the time, either. We just accepted it as it was. Tim Burton movies are weird, but Depp is kind of endearing in this one. Huggable, as far as vampires go.

  21. Congratulations! Sadly, I forced myself to finish a couple of books in May that we’re big disappointments (I won’t list them). But now I am excited to finish Lena Roy’s “Edges,” begin, Uvi Pozansky’s “Apart from Love,” and then onto Catherine Stine’s “Fireseed One.”

    • Britton, I’m proud of you for sticking with them. I generally bail on books that I don’t find captivating. Please come back and share what you thought of Lena, Uvi and Catherine’s books. They are amazing women so I’m eager to know your thoughts on their books.

  22. Congratulations Monica on your 200th post; that is quite an accomplishment. I for one have enjoyed reading almost every one of them (almost because I haven’t read them all, not because I only enjoyed reading some of them). As for reading updates, as anticipated, I am sorely behind in films but right on schedule with books. My new love is a book coming out this summer called The Sausage Maker’s Daughters. Don’t let the title scare you off; it’s actually a fabulous read, and of course I’ll be planning a sausage tasting event with the author later this summer!!

    • Susan, I’m so glad to hear from you (I’ve missed you!) and hope you’ve been having a good time with your son. The title of the sausage book intrigues me. Can’t wait to learn more. We need to plan a film night! 🙂

    • Thank you, Kathy! And I’m doing the happy dance for you, too, because you have the makings of an enthralling memoir and I can’t wait to read more! 🙂 Have a great weekend, my friend.

    • Thoughtsy, the Big Clock is absolutely riveting! I also like the 1987 remake titled, “No Way Out,” with Kevin Costner. If you haven’t seen it, you must! But I’ll always be partial to the original.

  23. Toot!!!! Toot!!!!!
    Well done Monica, although a recent arrival at your blog, I have read most of your postings and enjoyed them all.

    Books wise I am currently reading one called Office Life! by Keith Waterhouse. Also re-read A good Year by Peter Mayle, which I have the film version of as well on DVD and it always amazes me the differences between the film and the book versions.

    As for Henry missing the Royal Jubilee tell him not to panic, there will be wall to wall coverage and also if her has a look at the right time at this web cam http://www.abbeyroad.com/Crossing he can see the Horse Guards passing to and from Barracks. The web cam is outside the famous Abbey Road Studios where the Beatles made many of their records.

    I had a quick chat with the Corgi’s and they are gutted Henry wont be able to make the celebrations, they have some special Jubilee dog food this weekend, though one told me he reckoned from the taste of it that it was a leftover from the silver Jubilee!

    Have a good weekend Monica, I am playing trains all four days, it will be a busy bank holiday…

    • Robert, you are making me laugh with your comments about the Jubilee and the leftover food. Ha ha! And, thanks for sending the link to the web cam. It’s helping Henry to cheer up immensely. Please let the Corgi’s know that Henry sends his best regards and hopes all goes well for the celebrations. He’d also like them to peer into the webcam so he can see them close-up. Is it a bank holiday because of the Jubilee? Hope you have a good weekend, too.

      • Hi Monica.

        Yes the Corgi’s will try and peer into the web cam, but they will have to sneak some step ladders out of the palace and that might not be easy.

        They have hidden the Jubilee dog food and as the servants can’t find it they are back to their normal food and appear much happier.

        Yes it is a Bank Holiday here on Monday and Tuesday, the forecast weather wise is heavy rain for Sunday and Monday so looks like the river pageant is the only thing that wont mind the water.

        I have four busy days on the railway so hopefully pictures to follow especially as we are running the Belgian coaches favoured by the tubby Belgian detective on some of our services.

        Have a good weekend Monica and Henry and don’t do too much work!!!

      • You really have quite a sense of humor. Subtle but clever. I can see the Corgi’s climbing the step ladder now. Thank heavens the Jubilee food has mysteriously vanished. Perhaps I should put Sherlock Henry on the case?

        Best of luck with the railway madness you’re sure to see. And, two days of Bank Holidays in a row?? Are they for the same holiday or are there two different ones you are celebrating. In any case, lucky you.

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