Bloggers Gone (Mildly) Wild

I’ve been lucky to have met several bloggers over the years. As lovely as all of them turned out to be, I admit that I had my doubts.

What if they’re really ax murderers?
What if they think I’m totally uncool?
What if I end up wearing a fake mustache, plaid earmuffs, and yellow yarn on my head in public?

Preparing to blow the hipster restaurant crowd away with our epic dorkiness.
Preparing to blow Portland away with our epic dorkiness.

Ayuh, that’s right. I met up with Jules from Go Jules Go AND Peg from
Peg-o-leg’s Ramblings! I know!! INSANE!! I was delirious from the pure excitement and adrenaline. Or maybe that was because I pounded down a Blueberry Ale in ten seconds.

The Three Amigos: Three Blondes Make Everything Right
Three Wrong Blondes Make Everything Right

The best part was we didn’t even really plan (much) for this to happen — it was like fate, destiny, or pure coincidence. Jules is from New Jersey and just happened to be up here in Maine for Labor Day weekend. Peg is from Illinois and she and her family just happened to be up here in Maine for Labor Day weekend. And it was my birthday! I’m 29 for the 18th time. What a gift it was to chill with some bloggy peeps!!!!! (extra exclamation points absolutely justified)

After bribing Peg’s visiting family with lobster rolls, they graciously allowed me to hobnob with WordPress celebs Peg and Jules (and her adorable dog) on the Portland waterfront.

boo

me-and-julse-and-uncle-jesse
Chillin’ with Uncle Jesse.

I tell you I have never been so giddy. Peg is exactly like you’d imagine from her blog times 100. She’s beautiful, bubbly, and hilarious. I’ve already met with Jules a few times, so it goes without saying she’s gorgeous, witty and totally rocks. The three of us had lunch, gabbed about stupid blog stuff, and played with vibrating lobsters

What? The restaurant handed them out to us so we’d know when our lunch was ready! Sheesh!

me-and-peg-and-the-lobster-vibrators
Hello, Portland Press Herald? Breaking news — Darla, a born-n-raised Mainah, actually hates lobster.

I’d love to end this post by bragging about how after lunch we jetted off to party on a rented lobster boat while we toured lighthouses and Stephen King’s estate, but that’ll have to wait until next year.

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Bonus footage: Jim Gaffigan tells you exactly why I don’t like “lobstah”


Have you ever met a blogger in real life? Did you get as nervous as I did? Did you also make a complete fool of yourself in public? (Not hard for me to do…) Do tell!

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50 Happy Things for 2015: Bloggers Unite in Flood of Gratitude

Dawn, who writes the blog Tales from the Motherland, invited me to join a group post about all the things we’re thankful for this year in order to spread love and joy around the holidays.

But we have to come up with 50 and only give ourselves 10 minutes to do it.

Sounds a little stressful to me.  So in preparation, I inhaled a few slices of fruitcake, chased them down with some spiked eggnog, then burped up a storm. Ah! Now I was ready to compile my glorious list of holiday cheer.

And because this is all about sharing, we’re inviting you guys to join us. I promise that you will feel truly positive and grateful after you do this exercise.

50 Things That Make Me Happy:

  1. My kids.
  2. My husband.
  3. Yeah, I love my family more than anything else in the entire universe.
  4. Did I mention my family?
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  5. Star Wars. I saw the first one in the theater with my dad when I was a kid.  It was mesmerizing and I had a huge crush on Han Solo. And I don’t know if you’ve heard, but it’s back with J.J. Abrams. Yeah! I just wish to god I had kept my little 1980 Princess Leia action figure. I think my brother fed her to our dog, who not coincidentally was named Princess.
    23018722111_d6c9f1bd23
  6. Shopping for gifts online in my bathrobe.
  7. Coffee! Oh, dear sweet nectar of the gods! Sometimes I just want to dive right into my mug and go swimming.
  8. My mom. She knits like crazy and loves to listen to the Doors. Yup, she’s badass.
  9. Forgiveness. My mom and I have had a pretty rough relationship, but age has mellowed us out. We’ve forgiven each other for many things in the past.
  10. Coldplay. Shut up. I love them! When I hear their music my soul feels instantly lifted. It’s full of positivity and I need more of that in my life.
  11. This year, I actually won a contest to see David Gray (one of my faves!) in a private little concert on the pier by the ocean. We sat on a cozy couch on a deck with about 20 others and listened to him sing as ships sailed by in the harbor. It was the perfect setting.
    My future living room.
    My future living room.
    Singing "Snow in Vegas", his duet with LeAnn Rimes.
    Singing “Snow in Vegas”, his duet with LeAnn Rimes.

    And I even got to hug him afterward!
    11406820_10153513611097873_4037039793727175901_n
    He had such dry humor and he was very polite. He said to my husband, “How you doin’, mate?” Mate! Oh, those charming Brits. Plus, it was his birthday so I got to eat cake. Best. Day. Ever.

  12. My microwave and crock-pot.
  13. The smell of my Christmas tree when I walk in the door.
  14. My husband for being such a loving, attentive dad. My kids worship him.
  15. Singing alone while driving.
  16. Humor. I live for the funny. I have to laugh every day or I’ll die.
  17. Late night TV when I have insomnia.
  18. Listening to my daughter play the violin.
  19. Singing Adele songs at full blast with my daughter.
  20. My son’s dimples and smile.
  21. My bed. Is it just me, but isn’t that moment when you lie down after a long day the single best thing ever? I love sleep.
  22. Blogging. It’s always been such fun and I love to do it.
  23. The Internet. I can’t live without it. I remember the very first time I was introduced to it. My brother told me to type a word to search and I typed “fart” and all these fart jokes popped up like magic. Mind blown. My life was never the same after that day.
  24. My body. It may be getting wrinkled and fluffier, but I can still go for long walks. I can hug people. I’m just happy to be alive at this point. Only took me nearly 45 years to figure this one out.
  25. Oh, my god, did I get to 50 yet?!
  26. I will never get to 50.
  27. My little tiny Prius that only costs about 12 bucks to fill up now.
  28. El Nino! It’s still balmy and almost Christmas here in Maine. After last winter, I’ll take it.
  29. Polar Express. We can’t get enough of this movie. Isn’t Tom Hanks amazing?
  30. Christmas Vacation movie with Chevy Chase.
    national-lampoons-christmas-vacation
    Especially the scene with the squirrel in the tree. Or my favorite line from Eddie: “You know that metal plate in my head? I had to have it replaced, cause every time Catherine revved up the microwave I’d piss my pants and forget who I was for a half hour or so.”
  31. Laughing until you cry. See above movie.
  32. David Bowie and Bing Crosby’s “Little Drummer Boy.”
  33. Chocolate.
  34. The fact my daughter is more obsessed with the TV show Survivor than I am. It’s our little ritual to watch it every week together.
  35. Video games. I love to play them with my kids and I sometimes win.
  36. Pecan pie. I’m making my first one this weekend. And it reminds me of one of my favorite films, When Harry Met Sally.
  37. I work from home and get to be the one to pick up my kids after school. This is one of the major reasons I work from home. I want to be there for them as much as I can. I’m sure they won’t mind if I live in their college dorm room closet one day, right?
  38. Love. I have a lot of love in my life and I’m forever grateful for all of it.
  39. Meditation. It helps calm my racing mind.
  40. Christmas lights. I could sit out in the living room all night and just gaze at the tree. Very peaceful.
  41. Football. When I watch a game I feel like my late dad is sitting next to me. Late as in dead, not as in “late to the game” late.
  42. Dark humor.
  43. That every morning without fail my husband brings me my coffee right after I wake up. He’s been doing this for over 17 years. (I think maybe it’s because he knows how cranky I am before that first sip.)
  44. Wahoo! I’m at 44! And you’re still here? Bless you.
  45. Music. I couldn’t survive without it. It’s magical and transcends everything else. I hear a song and I’m instantly transported to another time or place. My mind is free, just busted wide open. It’s therapeutic and saves my soul.
  46. Writing. Words. Writing words. Yeah. It’s good.
  47. Books. I have about 20 new ones I need to read but don’t have the time.
  48. Gray hairs. I actually love having a little bit of gray. It makes me feel like I’m saying to the world: “Yeah, that’s right! I’m old! Don’t mess with me!”
  49. The Big Bang Theory. I have major crushes on Sheldon and Leonard.
  50. My blog readers. I truly appreciate every comment and like. (I think there are still a few of you out there, right?)

Whew, I’m done!  Now it’s your turn.

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If you’d like to join in, here’s how it works: set a timer for 10 minutes; timing this is critical. Once you start the timer, start your list. The goal is to write 50 things that made you happy in 2015, or 50 thing that you feel grateful for. The idea is to not think too hard; write what comes to mind in the time allotted. When the timer’s done, stop writing. If you haven’t written 50 things, that’s ok. If you have more than 50 things and still have time, keep writing; you can’t feel too happy or too grateful! When I finished my list, I took a few extra minutes to add links and photos.

To join the bloggers who have come together for this project: 1) Write your post and publish it (please copy and paste the instructions from this post, into yours) 2) Click on the blue frog at the bottom of Dawn’s post HERE. 3) That will take you to another window, where you can past the URL to your post. 4) Follow the prompts, and your post will be added to the Blog Party List.

Please note that only blog posts that include a list of 50 (or an attempt to write 50) things that made you feel Happy or 50 things that you are Grateful for, will be included. Please don’t add a link to a post that isn’t part of this exercise.

Have fun, guys! Happy Holidays!

 

 

 

 

So you want to be a blogger

Sometimes I receive emails from newbie bloggers asking me stuff like:

“Hey, Darla! How in the hell did your blog get to be sort-of-but-not-really popular? Why on earth do you have as many followers as Danny Bonaduce’s Twitter account*? You ain’t no big thang! Please explain.”

As I’m sure Danny “The Dooch Man” Bonaduce would tell you — it takes pure luck plus the perfect amount of narcissism mixed with self-loathing to become this mediocre.

True dat.
True dat.

If I had to pick one thing that helped skyrocket this blog into “eh-dom”, it would be the day my post about getting my hair cut was picked by a WordPress editor for Freshly Pressed back in the days of bloggy yore, circa 2010. Soon people all over this great land of ours were leaving me comments like, “Nice post” and “Please visit my blog at buttmunch.com!” It was a magical time. My stats climbed (then plummeted) and my ego exploded (then imploded). Messy.

Still I was convinced my little post was picked at random and that’s because it was. Random. It had to be because what good writer ends their sentences with the word ‘was’? Or even worse, I’m thinking a WordPress editor was in the middle of cleaning her keyboard of doughnut dust and accidently typed in the words “bad hair Darla” to find me.

Then for some odd reason WordPress put me under “recommended family”. This led many family-oriented people to my blog. Yet I had this burning desire to occasionally swear and write about broken asses. Write what you know and all that bull. I followed my bloggy dreams and never looked back. Over the years I’ve dropped hints for WP to switch me to humor but they insist I’m never funny. Fine, I’ll be a friggin “mommy blogger”. But I’ll be damned if I blog in torn yoga pants and a shirt covered in mac-n-cheese with my hair all a mess and oh yeah, right … I guess I am a mommy blogger. Damn it all to hell.

So it was a bit of luck that got this blog going. But then I took that luck and ran with it. And ran and ran and ran. Then I sat down again because I was winded and by golly, I blogged and blogged and churned out endless heaps of ridiculous posts, up to and including this one. To be honest, it does take a fair amount of blood, sweat and wine for me to crank out this shit. I don’t just sit down and spew words onto my laptop. (current post excluded)

So, you also want to be a “famous-in-your-own-mind” blogger?

Here’s what I’ve learned in my five years at WordPress:

  • Less is more. (Danny Bonaduce, I’m talking to you)
  • Wrong is right. (Danny Bonaduce, I’m not talking to you)
  • Just write. Who cares what a reader might think?
  • Always care what a reader might think.
  • If it makes you laugh or cry, it’s good enough to post.
  • People will get offended. They’ll think you’re being serious. Holding up a sign might help.

570ccadc6f792041a972d425703bffb8

  • Bullet point lists are the key to any good post.
  • Self-deprecating humor usually works because it sounds like “self-defecating” and who doesn’t want to see someone else shit all over themselves? Fun.
  • Find your voice.
  • Keep your voice even if you have to break all the rules. We’re not writing for The New York Times. Yet.
  • When your voice is hoarse, rest. Don’t force it. It’ll come back again.
  • Write, write, write. Edit, edit, edit. Sleep, sleep, sleep.**
  • Have fun. Play nice. Be good.
  • (Wait — that’s what I told my kids yesterday on their first day of school, sorry.)

Fellow bloggers — any other advice you’d give a newbie? Besides “you’ll never make a dime blogging so you might as well give up now?”

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*Danny actually has 25,000 followers. This means you probably shouldn’t be taking advice from a blogger with half the followers of someone who calls himself The Dooch Man.

**I really like sleeping.

Blog Review 2014

Like most of us, I’m obsessed with meaningless numbers. Sadly, I tend to let them define my self-worth. I was born in 1970. I’m 140 pounds. I need to workout for 6,000 straight minutes to burn off the 3, 786 calorie doughnut I just inhaled.

Somehow I think these numbers mean something.

Yet no matter how much these numbers fluctuate (and believe me, my birth year is not set in stone) deep down I am still the same ol’ me. Numbers aren’t so important in the grand scheme of things.

For instance, I used to get excited that I have nearly 10,000 blog followers.

Until today when I realized my son also has a blog.

He’s twelve.

His blog is on Mario Kart Wii U.

He just started it yesterday.

His entire blog profile?

Hi!!! My name is C. Do you like pie? Good day.

He already has over 500 followers.

So I looked over the past year’s stats for my blog this morning (because I admit I do love numbers) and noticed a few things. When I write about blogging, I get the most views. My post Is Blogging Dead? got close to 1,500 hits. Yet oddly enough, posts like “Yes, but how high does a flea jump while farting?” get only one view. Crazy.

As for countries, I had over 26,000 hits from the US, but only one hit from someone in Madagascar. What gives? It’s a mad mad world.

Thank you all for hanging out and reading my blog, I do appreciate it. Happy New Year!

Oh — and do you like pie?

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 37,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 14 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Is Blogging Dead?

Is disco dead?

Is Elvis dead?

These are the pressing questions of our time and sadly, there are no clear answers.

We live in a social media world, where information is condensed, repackaged then regurgitated straight back into our tiny brains. We’re constantly bombarded with buttloads of useless drivel. We have twitter, youtube, GIFs, Justin Bieber. Everything is getting shorter and more obnoxious. In response our attention spans are adjusting. We crave quick blasts of information and grow tired and bored if we’re forced to focus more than two sec–holy crap, I’ve lost you already, haven’t I? What — this paragraph is too long? Not enough pictures to break up the monotony? You’re wondering where the GIF is?

FINE. Well dammit, here it is! Lap it up! Enjoy it! Get those lazy-ass neurons zapping again in that noggin of yours! God, you’re pathetic!comedy animated GIF
Ok — I admit, that’s a pretty cool GIF. Who doesn’t like a good snort of jambalaya?

Still, whatever happened to taking our time? Whatever happened to slowly digesting a good read? Whatever happened to Elvis? Is he really dead? Personally, I think he’s on an island somewhere with Steve Jobs and an iPhone 10 giggling his ass off.

But seriously. Is blogging dead? I’m asking again because I forgot what the point of this post was. The GIF above is distracting me. [jambalaya!] Does anyone really read an entire post anymore? [jambalaya!] Like say, any of my incredibly stupid and pointless posts, like this one?  [jambalaya!]

Don’t answer that.

[jambalaya!]

I like to think I’m not one to be sucked into the latest trend of super-short bite-sized social interaction.  I like to think I am above kowtowing to the masses. I’d like to know what kowtowing means.

So I looked back over my posts from over four years ago and I noticed a startling trend with my blogging (ahem) “career”:

  1. My posts got significantly shorter.
  2. My paragraphs got significantly shorter.
  3. My ass got significantly wider, and okay, shorter.

Apparently, reading anything more than 140 characters is like, so 2010. Libraries are dying. Stephen King is enraged more than usual. What does this all mean?

If blogging/writing/reading/thinking is dead, what will I do with my time now? Talk to my cat Mr. Piddles? Tough luck there. He’s got over 10 million followers on YouTube, the smug bastard. Although, for someone who spends an inordinate amount of time covering up his own feces, I am impressed.

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Aw, isn’t he adorbs? I could get lost in his eyes forever…sigh…huh?…..where was I? Oh yeah!

I think it’s time we take back our minds, America! We need to start reading full sentences again! Start thinking for once! Put an end to paying attention to Justin Bieber! Otherwise, our brains are doomed, people! Doomed!

So in the off chance I haven’t lost most of you readers already, here’s a post all about how social media is ruining our minds. Keep in mind, it was written three years ago and in that time I’ve no doubt most of our minds have been completely ruined beyond repair. Anyway, I actually read the article and found it fascinating. Of course, it helped there were a lot of real purty colorful graphics and short bullet point lists or I would have lost interest after the first sentence.

________________________________________________________

Do you think reading is dead? Or Elvis?

Do you like to read long or short posts?

Do you like to read?

Do you know how to read?

Is it because you don’t have time?

Or is it because you really do have time, but you’d rather spend it watching this GIF?

stephen colbert animated GIF

Yeahhhhhh…….that’s the stuff…..

I feel so dirty now.

How Blogging Has Changed My Life. Really.

blogging-tips-for-marketers

Maybe it’s because my fourth blogaversary is coming up, but I’m getting sentimental. I’m looking back over the years and thinking about what this blog means to me.

I’ve debated for days how to write this post without coming off as sappy or narcissistic and I’ve realized it’s impossible. Those are the two things I’m good at.

I don’t know about you, but my blog has been an important part of my life. It came at the perfect time. Four years ago I was spending my days posting stupid facebook status updates about the toast I had that morning, feeling like I had no creative outlet.

I was a stay-at-home mom feeling like I had lost touch with the world. Like I had lost my identity along the way. I needed to make connections with others.  I wrote my first post, the mind-blowing “What’s a widget?” received one comment from my cousin in Florida and I was hopelessly hooked

Blogging is like opening up your house for strangers to come in and sift through your medicine cabinet and underwear drawer. It’s very scary to let people in, to be so intimate and vulnerable. What if people judge my granny panties? What if people find out about the prescription strength hemorrhoid cream? (not mine)

Life is all about pushing through those roadblocks of fear. Testing your limits, seeing what you’re made of. Hiding the hemorrhoid cream in a better place next time.

I wasn’t popular as a kid. I wasn’t outgoing. I was painfully shy. And by that I mean other kids would take turns giving me atomic wedgies on the playground.

Oh I was always observing everyone else for sure, because you can pick up a lot about human nature that way. Like figuring out how fast I had to run to avoid being put in a headlock and given a noogie. Thankfully this knack for observing others helps with my writing a little. Except for this paragraph. Oh god I hate it. Just bad bad writing overall. Oh well, too late.

So — surprise, surprise — I had huge insecurities most of my life. I’m in my forties and feel like I’m finally letting most of those go, letting them fall away. I’ve told that negative inner voice to shut the hell up already.

And you know, it feels good. More than good. It feels like I’ve given myself permission to be the true me — the good, the bad, the ugly. I feel FREE.

Here’s a sampling of my inner dialogue/conflict now:

Darla, you are such an idiot.

Shut the hell up.

Darla, your face resembles a Shar Pei. A very old, very wrinkled Shar Pei. Not the good end.

Shut the hell up.

Darla, your ass is droopy. So droopy it’s morphed with your jiggly thighs to become one giant mass of ass. Really, I can’t even tell where one body part ends or begins now.

Shut the hell up.

Darla, your writing sucks. It sucks bad.

Shut the hell up.

See? Seems easy to do, but it took me a long time to get to this point. Go on, try it — tell yourself to shut the hell up for me. You’ll feel like a weight’s been lifted.

How has blogging helped me reach this point? It all comes down to you guys. Every time you take the time out of your busy day at work playing Candy Crush Saga to leave a nice comment, it gives me a positive boost. To be honest, I still can’t believe anyone wants to read my writing at all.

But maybe you don’t want to read my blog.

Maybe you were moving a heavy bookcase by yourself, it tipped over and now you’re lying on the floor trapped underneath a mountain of books. Your smartphone flew out of your pocket and it’s just inches out of your reach. Your pet parrot Mr. Pickles unlatched his cage and swooped down to help because you had spent months teaching him how to call 911. But then he realized you had forgotten to feed him again that morning so instead he angrily pecked at your phone, inadvertently typing the URL address for this blog and now all you can do to pass the time is read this drivel from a distance as the weight of the bookcase slowly crushes your spine into dust while a squawking Mr.Pickles digs his talons deeper into your face and poops on your forehead.

If so, I’m sorry. Next time get a dog.

It’s been four years of blogging and I still don’t really know what I’m doing. But I don’t care anymore, I just go with it. What — you say you could tell by the quality of my posts? Shut up.

So you know how sometimes you feel a little trepidation the moment before you hit ‘publish’ on a post? I used to get anxious posting some things. I’m not sure why.

Now I feel a level of confidence when I write. I’ll never be completely satisfied and that’s not the point for me anymore. When I post I think, Hey, guys! Whassup? Here I am, this is me. And what about you? It’s that basic human connection, that someone out there might “get me”. This is the only reason I blog now. (I’m not sure there was ever any other reason.)

This confidence has spilled over into other areas of my life. I went back to college full time and I’ll graduate as a medical assistant next week. I made the Dean’s List every semester, high honors. Yes, I think I have permission to brag because I studied my giant mass of thigh/ass off.  I start my externship soon at an OB/GYN office and hope to train to become an ultrasound tech.  I’ve done things this year I never thought possible at this stage in my life.

Yes, this is me. Shut up.
Yes, this is me. Shut up.

Was I scared the first day of class when I realized I could be my lab partner’s mother? Hell yeah!

Was I shaking like a leaf the first time I had to draw my lab partner’s blood? Of course! But then, so was my lab partner.

I wanted to quit school so many times, to just give up. Fear was this heavy weight bearing down on me (much like your bookcase and again, I’m sorry) Every semester I wanted to run and hide underneath the covers.

Instead I made a choice to face my fears head on, to allow myself to make mistakes and to be okay with it. I know you might not believe me, but blogging has been a catalyst in this transformation.

By writing again, I’ve found the true me again. She was there all along, buried underneath choking fears and insecurities. (again, poor choice of words but I told you not to buy that large-print copy of War and Peace)

And I really like this new me. She’s all right.

Blogging has changed my life. It’s opened up a door I thought was closed forever.  My creative side is back, I’m writing again.  I’m starting to do things in my life that make me happy.

Me.

After all, I believe it was the great Shakespeare who once said, this life sure as hell ain’t gonna be lived by anyone else. You’re right, it was Oprah.

So thank you.

Thank you for reading all these years.

Thank you to all the other bloggers for constantly writing entertaining posts so I have zero time to write my own freaking posts, you big jerks.

I’ve met some amazing people in the past four years, some I’ve gotten to know online and some in real life. I feel truly lucky and blessed to have ridden this wackadoodle WordPress rollercoaster with you guys. (ridden’s a word right? ah, who cares)

I’ll be posting on my blog much less this year due to my new career sticking people with needles and all, but I’ll still be around now and then. Writing is like breathing for me, without it I’m as good as dead.

And hopefully I won’t ever write another post about writing or blogging again. You’d like that, wouldn’t you?

Okay, that’s all from here. (too much from here by the looks of my word count, damn!)

Have a great summer guys! See you around. Take care of yourselves. Stop sending me Candy Crush Saga requests on Facebook.

(And I sincerely hope Mr. Pickles finds forgiveness in his tiny heart and dials 911 for you. In the meantime, read War and Peace while you lie there waiting for my next post. I hear it’s a good story.)

 

Become a Blogger in 39 Easy Steps!

Hey kids! Want to become a blogger? It’s easy! Just do the following:

  1. Roll your eyes when blogger friend suggests you start a blog.
  2. Start blog.
  3. Write first post. Make sure it’s short and stupid because you’re certain no one will ever read it.
  4. Get two followers. Ego instantly inflates while at the same time you’re baffled someone willingly wants to read your writing.
  5. Write second post and this time make it way too long but still very stupid.
  6. No new followers. Tell yourself you don’t care. You’re writing for you, not them.
  7. Write third post, mention the Kardashians and add fun colorful images.
  8. Get first comment.
  9. Become obsessed with blogging.
  10. Write posts every other day.
  11. On the days you don’t write posts, think about brilliant ideas for posts.
  12. Think about dumb ideas for posts.
  13. Realize you have no way of differentiating what will be considered dumb or brilliant.
  14. Keep at least a dozen of the lamest posts half-finished in your draft folder in case of emergency.
  15. Write a post about writing or blogging.
  16. Get tons of new followers and more comments. Tell yourself you’re the best thing since microwaved pizza rolls.
  17. Tell spouse blogging will make you rich one day.
  18. Ignore work, chores, spouse, kids and hygiene so you can comment-bomb every blog on WordPress.
  19. Get to know a small circle of other bloggers in “real life”.
  20. Now blog only for the sense of community, not stats.
  21. Re-read older posts and think This is the worst shit I’ve ever read! I suck at writing! I’m a complete sham!
  22. Feel guilty.
  23. Wonder why people keep following blog.
  24. Wonder why you’re still not rich from blogging.
  25. Become jealous of the blogger who went “viral” with a half-assed post you could have written.
  26. Realize most of your followers never actually read anything you write.
  27. Start writing posts simply because you like to write.
  28. Tell yourself, screw the stats!
  29. Check stats.
  30. Weep.
  31. Tell yourself you’re done with blogging forever.
  32. Take blogging break.
  33. Wait for one week.
  34. Get a dumb idea for a post, like “Become a Blogger in 39 Easy Steps!”
  35. Write post because you have no choice, you need that fix.
  36. Hit publish button.
  37. Cry over your plate of microwaved pizza rolls.
  38. Wait for comments while telling yourself you don’t care and you’re done with blogging.
  39. Repeat steps 8 – 39.

 

 

Bloggers Gone (Mainely) Wild

What happens when bloggers get together?

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Last week an amazing thing happened. I met two WordPress bloggers in person.

Yes, bloggers are actually human. They exist in an alternate reality I like to call “real life”. And online relationships can turn into genuine friendships. I know, crazy!

Jules from Go Jules Go and Rachel from Rachel’s Table decided to make the trek up to Maine. Not only to possibly catch a glimpse of Stephen King or enjoy the local cuisine — but to see me.

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My mind reeled as I imagined all the shenanigans we’d enjoy. Maybe we’d visit L.L. Bean’s at 2 am and try on flannel bomber hats while chugging maple lattes! Or we’d have a pajama party and stay up all hours of the night giggling about boys while braiding each other’s hair! (but if one of them even so much as dared hide my bra in the freezer I would go home immediately)

But first, they had to do the seemingly impossible — drive the six hours up 1-95
(aka The Big-ass Pothole Highway to Hell) to reach me.

Unfortunately, their epic adventure was filled with obstacles like horrible winter weather, a flat tire, and a late-night rescue via tow truck somewhere off 1-495 just north of Boston.

They were supposed to be in Maine Thursday night. I got a message from Jules late that night as I sat anxiously by the phone crafting their friendship bracelets. They were stuck on the side of the cold dark highway with a flat tire.

I thought they’d never arrive. Maybe they could hitchhike? Hop on a scooter?  Catch a free ride in the back of a UPS truck?

Fast forward to Friday night — a full 24 plus hours after they had left for Maine — still no blogger peeps. They were trapped in Massachusetts at a repair shop, the victims of endless paperwork and tire rims that had to be “special-ordered”.

I looked wistfully over at my punch bowl full of gin and ginger ale and wept. Why, universe? Why keep us kindred blogger spirits apart? It’s so not fair! Who will drink all this gin? And devour my 50 ft. long Subway with extra pickles?

EAT FRESH!
EAT FRESH!

Well, I would, of course — but it wouldn’t be half as fun without my friends. Maybe more like 10% less fun. I do love my gin and pickles.

But I never lost hope, they would get to this godforsaken frozen hell of a state eventually!

A new day dawned Saturday and they were finally safe and sound in Maine. I booked it to Freeport, giddy that our blogger meet-up was finally becoming reality.

It was so worth all the hassle.

Yay! We're finally together! (I might have already had a hangover in this pic)
Yay! We’re finally together! (I might have already had a hangover in this pic)

We managed to cram a lot of fun into those 24 hours we had together.

We ate food.

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Then we ate more food.

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We laughed while drinking and eating.

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It was pure magic.

Well, until Jules chose not to heed my warning to “never feed the bears” in the L.L. Bean parking lot. She learned her lesson the hard way.

Apparently Mama Bear is on a gluten-free diet.
Apparently Mama Bear is on a gluten-free diet.

Thanks Rache and Jules for everything.  I love you both.

Be sure to visit their extended version of our bloggy meet-up  here at Go Jules Go and here at Rachel’s Table.
(I’m hoping they don’t publish those photos of me drunk with a lamp shade on my head, weeping and belting out “I Will Survive” on karaoke night.)

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Have you ever met any bloggers in real life before? Any blogger meet-ups you’ve got planned for the future?

A Blog by Any Other Name

I remember how challenging it was three years ago when I had to cough up a name for this blog.

Mainly because both She’s Menopausal and She’s a Mean Mofo were already taken.

I picked She’s a Maineiac on a whim and just went with it. At first, I regretted it. Too many vowels, hard to spell, could’ve used a hyphen. Maybe a dollar sign instead of the S.

But it grew on me because it really fit my personality. After all, I’m from Maine. I live in Maine. I’m a she. It was like it was meant to be.

I was recently asked by a WordPress editor: Hey, Darla!  What gives with your blog name? and the result is an interview I did this week for The Daily Post.

daily post

This series spotlights bloggers and details the stories behind their blog names.

As thrilled as I was to do this interview, sadly, my backstory doesn’t involve sex, drugs or rock and roll.  More like an ice hockey team, a couple Advils and a cold cup of coffee.

But please do drop by The Daily Post today to find out why I chose my blog name and not something else more intriguing like She’s A Man.

Click here Choosing the Perfect Blog Name: She’s a Maineiac

How did you guys come up with your blog name? Are you still happy with it?
Did you have any other choices you wished you had gone with instead?

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I want to thank you all for being the best group of readers a Maineiac could ever ask for. I heart you all.

Hopefully, I’ll be back to posting more regularly after my finals-from-hell week is over. (But that’s only if my lab partner doesn’t accidentally sever one of my arteries during our phlebotomy exam today.)

Happy Holidays!

The Freshly Pressed Curse

Hey, kids! It’s time once again for me to interview myself!

Y’know….(ahem) because no one else wanted to.

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The last time I sat down with myself for an exclusive interview, things got cray-cray up in Darla’s hizzle when an enraged Maineiac toppled the kitchen table à la Desperate Housewife Teresa “The Feds Are Only Jealz of My Fame” Guidice.

Let’s see if this time around I crack a chair on my own forehead Jerry Springer-style.

*****

Me: Good morning.  Today we are going to discuss something that is on every WordPress blogger’s mind.

She’s a Maineiac: Butt implants?

Me: Yes. (tilting head) Have you considered those?

SaM: Well, of course I have. But I thought we were going to discuss the Freshly Pressed phenomena?

Me: Oh, I suppose. God.  (rolling eyes) So, Freshly Pressed–I mean, seriously. What’s the deal? What gives?

SaM: It’s like winning the lottery. Except there’s no money involved.

Me: I don’t understand.

SaM: It’s like being struck by lightning. Except there’s no lightning involved.

Me: You’ve lost me.

SaM: It’s like winning a pretend medal in an imaginary world that only exists in your mind.

Me: Mmkay. Now I’m getting it.

SaM: It’s like finding out everyone in WordPress World thinks your parents are away for the weekend, so they drop by your crib to trash the joint. Maybe drink all your Pabst Blue Ribbon or paint their blog’s URL in ketchup on your bathroom ceiling before they peel out of your driveway in their jacked-up pickup while blaring Crazy Train out the windows and leaving empty Slim-Jim wrappers in their wake, never to return again.

Me: So you didn’t like this Freshly Pressed experience?

SaM: Oh no! I really enjoyed it! (sighing) Best days of my life!

Me: What’s it like? How did you find out you were first Freshly Pressed?

SaM: I woke up, took a long drag off my cigar, opened up my email and Boom — 150 pending emails from WordPress.

Me: You smoke?

SaM: No.

Me: What did you do next?

SaM: I ran around in circles screaming, “What the frack?  How in the hell do I delete all this email?” I honestly had no clue what had happened. I certainly didn’t realize Freshly Pressed was a thing’ back then in 2010. I thought I was picked completely at random.

Me: You were picked at random.

SaM (glaring): Anyway. So I clicked on the front page of WordPress and saw my first FP post up there, right next to a post featuring brownies. I knew right then, I had made it. My husband certainly didn’t think so.

Me: How so?

SaM: When I told him, he just scratched himself, yawned and said, “Gee, that’s nice, honey. What’s for breakfast?”

Me; You threw scrambled eggs at him, didn’t you.

SaM: Well, I had to make sure I spent the next 24 hours glued to my laptop, approving comments like, “Great post!” and “Please visit my blog!” And they were fried eggs.

Me: Are there any drawbacks to being FP?

SaM: Oh sure! Like trying in vain to find that one single breathing non-blogging person on the planet that gives two shits you were Freshly Pressed.

Me: Anything else?

SaM: Nothing prepares you for the inevitable fall from the top, that death spiral of stats when FP fades in a few days. Once the party’s over, you’re left standing on your toilet-papered front lawn, clutching an empty punch bowl and crying, “Come back! Please!”

Me: Do they come back?

SaM: If you’re lucky a few stragglers are left behind who decide to stick around, mainly because they’ve passed out on your couch in their underwear. After three years of blogging, I can honestly say I much prefer the genuine relationship I have with my loyal readers and commenters over being briefly in the spotlight.

Me:  Aw, c’mon! You sure there’s not a teeny-tiny part of you, somewhere back in your equally teeny-tiny mind that would love to be Freshly Pressed again?

SaM: Hell yeah! Of course! We all want it but we all act like we don’t want it — unless we get it. If we do get it, we’re happy — but only briefly. And it’s not cool to brag about getting it, so we act like we don’t care we got it, even though inside we’re thrilled.  But only briefly.

Me: Ummm…

SaM: And this Freshly Pressed high is fleeting because things tend to slide back down to normal pretty damn quickly.

Me: So it’s like getting butt implants?

SaM: Exactly.

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And so concludes Part 2 of my Q&A with myself. No chairs or tables or butts were harmed during the interview.

*****

Like this? See Part 1: My Exclusive Interview with Me About My Blog

Up next: WordPress Rehab with Dr. Drew