Tag Archives: blog

How to Be Featured in “The Blog”…A Guide for Family Members…

Since I officially have 100 blog posts under my belt (I can’t see them because of the “muffin top” but they’re there, somewhere!), I feel qualified to write this handy guide for family members of bloggers around the world…any resemblance to persons living or dead (except members of my own family) is purely coincidental.  Here are ten things that will get the blogger in your family to talk about you in his/her therapy session  blog:

1. Be talented at something.  I have featured both my 16-year-old daughter, Anna, (https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/05/17/introducing-anna-guest-photographer/ and https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/05/22/introducing-anna-guest-photographer-part-2/ ) and my fiancé, Jim, (https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/04/25/introducing-jim-guest-photographer/ ) for being incredible photographers.  Jim and his son, Devin, are also my live-in Tech Support people…all I have to say is, “Dammit!  We’re off the Net again!” and one of them comes running!  Hope is a good singer – I talked about her entering Saint John Idol (https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/07/09/sweating-and-small-stuff/ ).  I have highlighted Brianna and Anna in posts about being a reluctant “Cheer Mom” (https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/04/26/adventures-of-a-reluctant-cheer%c2%a0mom%e2%80%a6/ and https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/05/09/adventures-of-a-reluctant-cheer-mom-part-2/ ).  Being really bad at something works too – until recently, I was totally incapable of making piecrust, and mentioned it all the time (https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/06/02/my-bucket-list/ and https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/07/22/can-she-make-a-cherry-pie/ ).

2. Give a word a whole new definition.  Twelve-year-old Hope was asked by her older sister last week what a “Lamborghini” was.  “I think it’s a type of noodle?” she responded hopefully.

3. Have a freak accident.  You may have to wait for the blogger to call the ambulance…she’ll be busy photographing your pool of blood for her blog (okay…I’ve never done this myself, but I have talked about when I went through a glass door when I was seven (https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/06/21/its-all-about-me/ ), when Anna fell into the blackberry bushes, and when Hope fell off her too-high heels (https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/08/29/todays-post-is-brought-to-you-by-the-letter-p/).  Readers love hearing about other people’s pain!

4. Turn the TV/rap music/computer game up really loudly while the blogger is working on the daily post (so loudly that the neighbours call to complain).  This will inevitably lead to a rant in the blog about the joys of raising a family while attempting to practice one’s craft.  Interrupting the writing session with inane questions like “What are we having for supper?” will have the same result.

5. Say something funny.  Hope was riding in the van with her two much older sisters on the way to a Backstreet Boys concert.  Upon being informed that she wasn’t born yet when they were popular, she observed: “I missed a lot when I was in Mom’s stomach.  It was boring in that egg!” (thank you to the Health Education teacher at Hope’s middle school – I think that perhaps Hope didn’t quite grasp the egg concept!).

6. Be cute.  It also helps to be fuzzy and have four legs – I’ve featured our schnoodle, Jake, many times (https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/04/02/a-girl-and-her-dog/ and https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/07/12/my-dog-ate-it-again/ , among others).  Most pet owners will probably have to read this tip to their pets (Jake didn’t need any help…he’s checking his e-mail as we speak!).

7. Do something annoying, like putting your dishes in the sink when the dishwasher’s not full, leaving food wrappers open, or depositing a wet towel in the hamper.  This is guaranteed to gain you a place in the blogger’s next rant!

8. Be considerate and loving.  I have talked about how grateful I am for all of my family members (when they’re not driving me nuts with things like those in #7).  Anna and Hope made supper on Monday, Jim made it last night, and Devin and Brianna will cook on Friday – it’s a new thing we’re trying, called “Give Mom a Break!”

9. Have a personal crisis (lose your job, be bullied at school, have a bad hair day, get dumped by your girlfriend, etc.).  The blogger will probably mention it and even ask for advice about it in his blog.  Who needs therapy when you can have input from readers all over the globe?

10. Mispronounce a word.  Anna recently pronounced “Mafia” with the same accent as you would say “Sophia” (I blame French immersion).  Ditto on using the wrong word for something – the blogger will need to share that.

P.S. It is usually completely useless to beg the blogger not to feature you in his blog, although I have been known to consider it (note to the kids: I like the green bills with the Queen on them).

Okay…now for the serious part…Thank you to my family for being such good sports about my blog…without you, I wouldn’t have any good material!


Filed under blogging, family, rants, satire

My New Header…Or How I Discovered My Hidden Artistic Talent…

This morning, I opened up my friend Jane’s blog to discover she had changed her theme to a fresh, summery one…I loved it!  I decided that I should change mine too (I hope she doesn’t mind me following in her footsteps – things she does often inspire me!). 

I started browsing through the 100 or so themes offered on WordPress, but found very few that really appealed to me…then I discovered that I could keep the theme I already have, but change the header.  Perfect!  I looked through several photos I had on my computer, but found it very difficult to find an image that fit the weird proportions required (760 x 190 pixels).

Then, an idea struck me.  I have Paint Shop Pro on my computer…why not play with an existing picture, and make it into something unique, and use that as my header?  So I did.

Here is the image I started with:

Original image...

After about a half hour of experimenting with various effects (I particularly like “Wave”), it morphed into the image  you now see at the top.  I was thrilled because it came out so perfectly (my mom was an artist, but I draw like a seven-year-old!) – even the colours coordinate.  My artistic daughter, Anna, was amused at my enthusiasm…”I’ve been playing with that program for years,” she said.  “That’s elementary stuff,” she scoffed.

“Elementary, my dear Anna, but I like it!”


Filed under self-discovery

One Month Down…

Today is the one-month anniversary of starting this project, this blog called “Herding Cats in Hammond River.”  My first post was Tuesday, March 23rd – bad things usually happen to me on Tuesdays (see https://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/04/06/tuesdays-twinkies-teflon-and-tv-dinners/), but this is one of the best things I’ve ever done.  I started this project three years (almost to the day) after I stopped writing a community newsletter for West Saint John called “West Side Story” – people I ran into kept telling me how much they missed my paper, and I was missing it too!

Initially, I started it as a way to keep a record of my efforts at making our family of seven more self-sufficient by growing and cooking more of our own food.  Soon however, I changed the subtitle to “Musings of a A Matriarch,” because I found that I had so much more to share than was covered by my original focus (also,  you can only read about my little seedlings so many times before switching your screen to something else – by the way, our dog got at them yesterday while we were at work – broccoli is devastated, and cabbage and Brussels sprouts are on life support – I was in tears!).

Jake, The Plant Destroyer...

I am a huge procrastinator, so this has been a good way to combat my “putting stuff off” mentality – hopefully, my audience (“my public” as I jokingly call them) looks forward to reading my blog every day as much as I enjoy writing it…I just passed 700 hits – not bad for a month (although I’ve got a long way to go before I reach another blogging colleague’s stats of 2500 hits/day!).  The Top 5 posts were: Virgin Post, Miss Muffet and Her Quest for Curd, Wood That I Could, Connie’s Dream, and A Rant (I’m amazed that more than 30 people clicked to see what I was bitching about!).  Being a big fans of stats, I would love it if I needed more than one hand to count the number of subscribers…if you like my blog, please subscribe (click on the “Sign me up!” button – top right)…that way, it will get sent to your e-mail every day, and you won’t miss anything!

Sign Me Up! button...

One of the benefits of doing this blog has been meeting (online) other amazing female bloggers – I have formed a strong bond with one of them, Jane (PlaneJaner’s Journey – http://planejaner.wordpress.com/).  She is a beautiful writer, much more literary than I am!  She has encouraged me from the very first day I started.  Even though we live on opposite coasts, I often wonder if we are sisters who were separated at birth.  I look forward to the day when we can actually hug each other without typing on the keyboard!

Jim and the kids are enjoying learning things about me they didn’t know, and are being good sports about me using them as writing topics (or targets, as the case may be!).  “Am I in your blog today, Mom?” Hope asks.  My own mother passed away in the fall of 2007 – I’m sharing my memories of her, too…I think she’d approve!

The Family - Christmas, 2009

My extended family has been particularly supportive…one of my aunts (who I haven’t seen in 17 years) commented that it’s like I was gone from her life, but now I’m back.  Another aunt (a published author, no less) says: “[We] read with anticipation, feel a closeness to you and a tenderness, like never before.”  I often think about my blog posts as letters to my family, even though I can’t remember the last time I actually wrote a letter…e-mail has taken over my life!

My Aunts and My Mom (in pool) - early 1980's...

So, thank you, readers, for taking time out of your day to see what I’ve been up to…I will continue this project as long as we are both having fun!


Filed under self-discovery