How To (Not) Write A Blog Post

Let’s just say, for instance, that you’re in the midst of decluttering and packing up your house of 15 years to move to a new house about half the size. And let’s just say, for instance, that you’re also trying to get your normal jobs done and sneakily trick impress the people who sign your paychecks by making them think you’re organized and responsible and can handle moving and writing a food story about pumpkins-as-ingredients  and your weekly newspaper column at the same time. And let’s just say that you’re also trying to do your normal life things and keep up with friends and family and the cat-feeding schedule while you’re rationing boxes and figuring out if you need packing tape or sealing tape. But, despite all that, you still want to write a thoughtful blog post. What do you do? Recycle! Point your readers to other things you recently have written but they may not have seen. They won’t notice it’s second-hand material and they’ll be awed by your juggling skills and entertained by your mindless babbling well-reasoned insights. Not that I would ever do anything like that. I’m just saying.

Can I Call Myself A Photographer Even If I Didn’t Get Paid?

Woo-hoo! It finally happened: I got published!!! Well, sort of, anyway. But not for writing. See this book cover? Look on the far left-hand side, the second photo down, where the “3” is. See that photo of a cotton field? That photo, my friends, is mine. It came from me and my trusty beat-up old Kodak EasyShare that rattles around in my purse and usually is smeared with lipstick and coffee. The photo’s also on page 113 of the book, with my name. Spelled properly, too. Surprised? Me, too! What happened is that several months ago, I got an e-mail from someone named Sam Crowther. He said he was writing a book about growing up in Texas and needed a photo of a cotton field. He had found a blog post I’d written about cotton fields and wondered if he could use the photos. I have to admit that at first I was suspicious. Sounds like some sort of scam, right? But then I googled “Sam Crowther” and found out he’s a real person from an upstanding community-minded family and he actually did grow up in San Angelo, Texas, where his grandfather owned the hardware store. So there. I gladly gave Mr. Crowther permission to use the photos and then promptly forgot all about it, until this book arrived in the mail a few days ago, and there I am — well, my photo, anyway. I’m serious here — I totally was thrilled to see a photo I’d taken printed right there in a real live book. Amazing! Who says that blogging doesn’t actually lead to fame and fortune??? And I’m serious here, too: Mr. Crowther’s book is a fascinating read. He tells wonderful heartwarming stories of his small-town childhood and other anecdotes of his life that I’m betting you’ll relate to. E-mail him at Crowther to learn more.


Today I’m celebrating two milestones: It’s my birthday and it’s also the one-year anniversary of this blog. Both are in pretty good shape — I think, anyway. My day started off great and kept getting better. Younger Daughter, finishing up college in two-hours-away Birmingham, called this morning. In the middle of our conversation, the front doorbell rang. “Strange,” I thought. “An early-rising friend? Somebody from Sunday school?” Nope — it was Younger Daughter, faking me out. She had gone to my favorite Birmingham bakery to be first in line for my favorite almond croissants and drove the more-than 100 miles to bring me birthday breakfast. What a sweetie! I also got a phone call from 16-month-old grandson Capt. Adorable. His mommy, Older Daughter, said she coached him to say “Happy birthday, Grandma,” and I do believe I heard him say that. Or maybe he was making the “baaa” sound — his latest animal. Either way — adorable! I also had birthday lunch with Dear Husband and then a phone-call birthday serenade from my parents. Pretty good way to mark turning 52, I think.

And Coffee with Cathy is turning 1, thanks to you all. I love blogging and I love being part of the blogging community and I am eternally grateful to Dear Husband for encouraging me to do this. Where else but the blogosphere can you connect, communicate, express, vent, rant, laugh and learn in the company of talented and compassionate women all around the world? By blogging, you can be a part of something huge and powerful. Or, you can just climb up on your own individual soapbox and say (mostly) whatever you want to your own personal audience. You can talk about politics or decorating or cooking or music or divorce or your children or the Weird Annoying Neighbor next door. Me, I consider my blog my own lifestyle section of my own newspaper — don’t all reporters secretly think they could run the thing better than any publisher? At least this way I don’t have to worry about ad lines and subscription prices and ink costs — all I have to do is indulge in my favorite subjects of food, style, family, friends, books, music … I figure if it’s interesting to me it will be interesting to somebody else. And that’s the joy of blogging — there’s always something to pique your interest. I’m constantly encouraging folks to read and write blogs. It’s amazing the variety and diversity you can explore, the riches and treasures you can unearth with just a click. It’s free, it’s fun, it’s entertaining — what’s not to like?

Thanks to all for helping me celebrate today — and always every day for stopping by and saying “hello.”  Every comment, every visit, every ping and trackback and all that other stuff means so much. Here’s to many, many more!

Blogging and Computers

Arrrggghhhh! I am still stuck in Wonky Computerland and am having to struggle with our antiquated and dusty desktop while Internet access sort of comes and goes. All my favorite blogs are marked for immediate reading on my laptop, which is still in intensive care at the computer hospital. Without those daily readings, I realized how much I missed seeing Lecia’s photos on A Day That Is Dessert and reading Becky’s adventures at Suburban Matron. And countless others. Being out of the blogging loop makes me understand how much I enjoy checking in with the blogging community and being a part of such a smart, creative, funny and thoughtful group of (mostly) women. You all rock and I can’t wait to get back home. It’s rough out here without you.

Since I”m stuck today without my photos and lists of brilliant-ideas-to-turn-into-blog-posts (which are all on the laptop — well, the photos anyway), all I can offer is my newspaper column from this past week. But I do poke fun at my husband in it, so that’s always entertaining.


So many choices! So options! So many decisions! This is why fall is my favorite season. In summer’s heat and humidity, things sort of slow down and we (and by “we” I actually mean “me”) get lazy and bored and boring. But once September’s here and October’s only a calendar-page-flip away, we get re-energized. And we do need energy, because after weeks of not having anything to do, we suddenly have too much to do. Of course, by “anything,” I mean things that are fun and I want to do versus things that are not fun and I don’t want to do — think eating chocolate chip cookies versus cleaning out closets. Anyway, fall weekends mean choosing. Do I go to the concert or the football game? Do I visit the arts and crafts show or watch the homecoming parade? Do I hang out at the street festival or go hunt for the perfect pumpkin? Of course, money, time and gas availability are factors, but it’s still fun to have choices.

Friday night, I had to decide whether to be part of the debate crowd in Oxford, Miss., or watch on TV  — and the uncertainty of whether the debate would go on or not didn’t help. Anyway, I dilly-dallied around until it was too late — which is my usual way of making a decision — and so traded the excitement of downtown Oxford for the comfort of an indoor screen. Naturally, in my typical contrary way, I immediately wished I had made the effort to go! Oh, well. Anyway, you can feel as if you were there by reading the blogs at — the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal newspaper in Tupelo, Miss. I’m not sure who “won” the debate, but I am sure it seemed more of the same big talk, vague promises and it’s-not-my-fault excuses. Oh, yeah, and the classic I-predicted-this-years-ago-if-you-all-would-have-only-listened. The closer we get to November, the surer I am that I’m choosing to take a pencil with me to the polls. I’m just saying.