You’re never fully dressed without a…

blog wrinkles scars happinessSMILE!

I just read about that woman who didn’t smile or laugh for forty years in an attempt to hold off wrinkles. And from her photo, the trick seems to have worked. But I just can’t imagine a day—much less decades—without smiling.
How could I not smile on my wedding day? How could I not smile in joy and relief at the birth of my healthy, beautiful daughters? I could I not laugh out loud when my four-year-old spilled the not-yet-set red Jell-O all over the fridge and cried, “Oh, shit!” Or when I first held my precious granddaughter?
Simply not possible. Or worth it.
Experts agree that while wrinkles may be kept at bay, friends and family may be confused or put off by our lack of expression. Reading facial cues allows other humans to know how to respond to us. Even with expression it’s sometimes hard to know. Why would we deprive those closest to us of clues to our mood? What’s the point?blog Smile%20its%20free%20therapy
Besides, smiling is good for you. It releases endorphins, the hormones that make us feel better.
I know my smile has opened doors. It’s masked my own unease and fear. It’s put a new acquaintance at ease and perhaps charmed an adversary or two. Moreover, it’s the most easily deployed tool in my arsenal of social skills.
Sure, at sixty-five, it’s a little late for me to try the no-smiling therapy. The wrinkles, crinkles and creases on my face show signs of a happy lifetime habit of much smiling.

How long could you go without smiling?

Here’s a video clip of “You’re Never Fully Dressed without a Smile” from the 1982 film adaptation of “Annie.” I hope it makes you smile.

Secrets of Successful Bloggers


Networking is the Secret Ingredient to Blogging. What is the one secret ingredient to blogging?

Are you a blogger who has tried everything you can think of to improve readership?  Are you tired of being discouraged by falling stats?  Be concerned no more.  There is a definite answer to getting more readership.

This is a follow-up post to How To Be A Successful Blogger: 19 Experts Share Their Secrets.  Even though I just published it a week ago, it is my most successful post.  I am still a relatively new blogger, but the post was getting triple-digit page views for many days after it was published.  According to my definition in 4 Ways to Make Your Blog Posts Go Viral,  my interview of the 19 bloggers went viral since it had unusually high page views.

However, despite the favorable response of the readers, the post did not offer a definitive answer since the nineteen experts disagreed…

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Won’t you be my Liebster?

liebster-1-e1422620241514Liebster means sweetheart, so the nomination process is merely spreading some blog love. Thank you to two kind and generous blogging sisters who nominated me for the Liebster Award. The first nomination came from Goodwoman at The second came from
I have to admit, it’s taken me a while to get around to this item as I have some mixed feelings about burdening someone with the work involved in accepting this award, so if you don’t want to accept, no worries. Continue reading “Won’t you be my Liebster?”

Letting the River Run

blog river rush

 The Blogging 101 assignment for today is to personalize a prompt from the Daily Post. Here’s the prompt:
“Tell us about the last experience you had that left you feeling fresh, energized, and rejuvenated. What was it that had such a positive effect on you? “

That’s easy. This. Yes, this. You. Here.
You see, I started Blogging 101 on a bit of a whim. I hate not knowing how to do something so useful and cool. And it was free and I could do it in pajamas and fuzzy slippers. And without make-up. How perfect is that?
 Little did I know that it would break open the logjam that’s been obstructing the flow of words from my brain. Yes, I’ve written a few posts and tweaked my blog. I’ve sketched out my next column. But more importantly (to me, at least), I’m making real, honest to goodness progress in the long slog of rewriting my five-year-old NaNaWriMo novel. The words and ideas are once again rushing. Yes, I expect there are a few boulders and bends along the way, but I feel like I’m moving forward once again.

Are you my sister?

blog sisterhood

Thank you that sunshiny girl over at for the nomination.

The rules for the award to follow are as follows:

Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you, linking back to their site

Put the Award logo on your blog

Answer the ten questions sent to you

Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer

Nominate seven blogs

Questions I Answered:

1. What made you decide to create a blog? I thought it would be a good outlet for my writing impulses that don’t fit into my newspaper columns or the still-to-be-finished novel. It’s also a nice way to connect with other and learn new things. I’ve heard that potential publishers expect you to already have a platform.

2. Share something personal about yourself? My 65th birthday is in one month.

3. What are you passionate about? Being a good grandma and a better writer.

4. Do you have any goals for your blog (short-term or long-term)? If so, please share. To post something good about once a week and (at least) to re-blog other’s posts that warrant sharing.

5. What is your favorite color? Red.

6. Throwing your fears aside, what would you actively pursue? I’ll continue working on my novel (rewriting, editing now) and try to get an agent and publisher.

7. Are your blog posts on topics that you know innately or do you take time to research your topics? A little of each, but only on topics that interest me. Usually I’ll see, read, or hear something that inspires me or calls for a response. Me and my big mouth.

8. What is your blog about? Please share. Bits of wisdom. You see, I’m very old now and need to share what I’ve learned before I go, hopefully with a light touch and a bit of humor. I’ll likely use memories as a jumping off point and try to draw a lesson from that experience. I don’t want to make it about the past though. I want to make it about learning lessons and moving forward.

9. What do you envision for your blog? A friendly little chat among friends where we can inspire each other to be kinder, healthier, happier, more accepting, and more forgiving. Life is short and getting shorter every day.

10. What process did you go through in naming your blog? Ooooh, so not done with this. I thought that because I write and want to get a book published one day that using my name would be best.  So I started with that. After seeing all the cleverness and variety out there and writing a few posts, I thought I needed to put in a little more effort. I believe that I still have a lot to learn. And I remember taking a writing class for which we kept a learning log. And I taught school. So that’s where I am now. It may not stick. I’m open to suggestions.

Here are the questions for my nominees:

  1. How long have you had a blog? How many do you have?
  2. What is the purpose of your blog? Is it primarily personal or professional?
  3. Have you had a bad blogging experience? What was it and how did you respond? What did you learn?
  4. Given a day free of responsibilities, what would you do?
  5. Favorite season?
  6. Where do you live? Describe it in a sentence or two.
  7. What year were you born?
  8. Tell us something funny about your family or your pets.
  9. What are the qualities you look for in a life partner?
  10.  Are you an early bird or a night owl?

My nominees!

I’m a Big Chicken

chalk le poulet

I think of myself as a big chicken, bumpy white flesh and all, so I loved Silver Lining Mama ‘s “Stick out Your Neck” post yesterday. It reminded me that the older I’ve gotten, the braver I’ve become. I worry (a little) less about what others think.

Back in 1997, I participated in a Northern Nevada Writing Project Invitational—a workshop for teachers, based on the premise that we practice what we teach. We wrote. And wrote. I become comfortable with sharing my writing. Two years later, I began contributing to a decidedly left-leaning (granola-eating, tree-hugging, feminist…), opinion column in our local newspaper, The Nevada Appeal. That experience toughened me up. My name and face go above every column. For better or worse, I own my words.

chalk wicked chickenThe newest neck-sticking-out adventure for me was writing a NaNoWriMo novel and joining The Lone Mountain Writers, a respected, local critique group. Talk about feeling exposed! The first time I had a piece up for review was like my worst showing-up-naked-at-work nightmare. Now five years later, I’ve survived and—more importantly—learned. The other members are wise, talented, honest, thoughtful, and kind.

Thanks for reminding me that being brave isn’t about not being scared. It’s about being afraid and taking that step anyway. So here I am, blogging. If I’m lucky, no one will even notice my bumpy white skin.

Dear Reader,


I feel like I know you already. We’ve had coffee together, read the same books, and grieved the loss of a loved one. Or an election. We’ve gained and lost weight. We’ve celebrated and commiserated. We’ve laughed over our struggles with aging. We’ve waxed nostalgic. We’ve made plans for the future. We’ve gotten a little drunk. Together.

Over the years, I’ve learned a few things about us.

  • We believe in the inherent value and potential of every human being.
  • We believe in the freedom of choice in all personal matters, including whether and when to have a baby or whom to marry. We married for love and believe others should be allowed to do so.
  • We believe that knowledge is power and that knowing the facts helps us make better decisions for ourselves and our world.
  • We believe in the freedom of (and from) religion as long as others believe in ours.
  • We believe that most people are good and trying the best they can. Everyone is fighting a battle of some kind, some are just more visible.
  • We recycle.
  • We believe in spreading kindness, even if we get a little judge-y in our heads sometimes.
  • We believe trolls live under bridges and should stay there. We know life is short and that bullies and blowhards are simply not worth our time.

Please consider this an invitation as well as a note of gratitude. Stop by when you can. No need to call first. The coffee’s always hot. I’ll save you a seat by the window.

A Pet Peeve: Proofreading (or the lack thereof)


Is anyone else bothered by posts that didn’t seem to get proofread, even a little bit? I’m not saying I’m perfect. Nope. Not at all. See that little gizmo above the writing space on the Add New Post page? The one with ABC and check? Yup. Spellcheck.

Go ahead. Give it a try.

I know the surest way for me to find an error is to hit “send.” I think that’s why they also put that little “edit” button on every page.

I’m neither your teacher nor your mother. But with too many dumb mistakes I won’t be your reader either.

Who I am and why I’m here…

I’ve written for years, but blogging is new to me. Blogging 101 seems like a great opportunity to learn the basics. I hope the blog will be an archive for the newspaper columns I’ve written over the past fifteen years and serve to connect like-minded folks. In addition, I’ve been revising a NaNo novel for about five years and hope to post snippets of it from time to time. My interests are pretty varied, so you’ll find an assortment of topics to start with as I begin to define my focus. Thanks for stopping by!