Writer’s Workshop: Challenges and Crushes

I was going to do the “write a blog post inspired by the word: challenge” this week, because next Friday is the beginning of signups for the Blogging From A To Z April Challenge. You’ll note that the badge for this year’s challenge has replaced the QR code I had up there (they wanted me to pay to keep it there, can you believe it?), where Olaf is pointing…

I realized that I’ve already written about the Challenge for the Writer’s Workshop, though, so you can just go over and read it there. Seriously, it’s a lot of fun, you get to meet some other bloggers and read some pretty dynamite blogs, so I hope you’ll consider it.

Anyway, with that out of the way, I figured I should pick another prompt. It came down to a choice between “list your top 8 favorite candies,” which I’ve done already, twice in fact, and “tell us about a crush you had in high school.” So, I guess I’ll do the second. Promise you won’t laugh…

I didn’t date much in high school, so I spent a lot of time at home watching TV, especially on Friday nights. I think, besides In Concert and The Midnight Special, my favorite show was The Brady Bunch, for one reason…

Maureen McCormick as Marcia, Marcia, Marcia Brady (source: Express.co.uk)

Of course I had a crush on Marcia Brady. I think every guy around my age did. The ones who didn’t had a crush on her younger sister, Jan.

Jan Brady (Eve Plumb) (source: Newsmov.biz)

In fact, as Jan got older it became almost a “Ginger vs. Mary Ann” thing.

Dawn Wells and Tina Louise as Mary Ann and Ginger on Gilligan’s Island (source: The Age of Volcanoes)

So, if I wasn’t doing something else, which was most Friday nights, I’d sit and watch The Brady Bunch, really just to see her. I mean, she was everything: cute, dressed nicely, probably smelled good, and seemed like she was friendly, at least friendlier than the girls I was in school with. Marcia was supposed to be my age, meaning that, if the stars had lined up just right, she’d have been a classmate, and we could have commiserated over geometry. Or not. Probably not. Still, it was fun to imagine.

Maureen McCormick, who played Marcia, wrote a book, Here’s the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice, a few years ago, in which she said that Marcia was a pretty tough standard to live up to. In the book, she answers the burning question “Did Marcia and Greg ever…?” Guess I’ll have to read it to find out.

#1LinerWeds from the #AtoZChallenge Blog

A shameless plug for the Blogging From A To Z April Challenge. I know most of you are planning on participating, but for the rest of you, if you’ve never participated in the Challenge, here’s the idea:

  • Your post on April 1 is based on a word that starts with the letter “A.”
  • Your post on April 30 is based on a word that starts with the letter “Z.”
  • Each day, Monday through Saturday, the subject of your post starts with each successive letter of the alphabet. April 3 is “B,” April 4 is “C” etc.
  • A theme for your daily posts, one that ties all of them together, is encouraged, but not required. For example, my first year, I used the words of the NATO spelling alphabet, while last year my words were portmanteaus. Some people write a story, using a word starting with the letter of the day to start the post. But it’s not required; a couple of years ago, I just wrote blog posts using random words that started with the letters. A theme is more fun, though, as I learned from that year.
  • In the past, we kept a Linky list where people could sign up to do the Challenge, but this year, we’re doing things a bit differently: There will be a letter-of-the-day post on the Challenge blog, to which you can leave a link to your daily post in the comments. We also encourage participants to use the tag #atozchallenge in their posts and to share those links to Facebook and Twitter.
  • The object of the Challenge is to visit and comment on other blogs, and to have other bloggers visit and comment on yours. Many of the blogs I follow belong to people I met on the Challenge. It’s a great opportunity to expand your horizons as a blogger and get publicity for your blog.

The A to Z Challenge is the brainchild of Arlee Bird, a frequent visitor to this blog and proprietor of the blog Tossing It Out. This is my sixth year as a participant and second (or third, maybe?) as a co-host.

This coming Monday, March 20, is the Great Theme Reveal for the Challenge, when participants reveal their theme, if they have one. The Challenge starts on Saturday, April 1, two weeks from Saturday. Hope to see you there!


One-Liner Wednesday is brought to you each week by Linda Hill and this station. Now a word from Post Alpha-Bits cereal, now with brown sugar frosting!

Wednesdays for my Wife: Shopping for Mary

This is an Encore Presentation: I originally published this for the 2014 A to Z Challenge. By the way, the signups for the 2016 Challenge start on January 25, 2016, which is only forty days from today. I hope you join us. It’s lots of fun and you meet a lot of other bloggers. More information at the A to Z Challenge website.

Until the stroke, I did the grocery shopping. Mary would write a list with my input and I would take it to Kroger, Publix, or Winn-Dixie (when it was still doing business in Atlanta) and get everything on it.

Or at least try to get everything on the list.

I’m not talking about knowing what I was supposed to get and not getting it because the store was out of it. I’m talking about trying to figure out what Mary wanted and not being able to, or determining that what she was asking for was not available. Sometimes, I could figure out what it was she wanted: one week, she wanted “muffin thingies” and somehow I knew she meant the paper cups that line the spaces in a muffin baking pan.

Other times, it wasn’t so simple.

She sent me out once and one of the things on the list was “pastry shells.” I figured she wanted a pie shell, and brought one home.

“No, no, no, this isn’t what I wanted. The ones I’m looking for are a lot smaller.” I went back out and brought home tart shells.

“No, this isn’t right, either. I want pastry shells, but not these.”

“Fine,” I said. “Next time, you come with me and get what you want.”

She came with me to the store, we went to the freezer case, and she picked up a box of puff pastry shells. “This is what I wanted. Why couldn’t you get these?”

“Well, why didn’t you tell me you wanted puff pastry shells?” I had seen them every time I was at the store, but had no idea that’s what she wanted.

“I couldn’t remember what they were called.”


Other times, I flat out couldn’t find what she was asking for. She might as well have been asking for the firing pin for a nuclear device.

My favorite story about shopping, though, had to do with potato peelers.

Source: Amazon.com

One week, Mary sent me out with a list that included “potato peeler.” I brought one home from the store, no problem.

Three weeks later, I get a list, and she’s asking for a potato peeler again. I thought, didn’t I just buy her a potato peeler? I shrugged it off and bought her another potato peeler.

Two weeks later, she’s asking for another potato peeler.

“Mary, didn’t I just buy a potato peeler?”

“I can’t find it.”

“Did you look in the silverware drawer?” I knew that whenever I unloaded the dishwasher and found a potato peeler, I would put it in the drawer with the forks and knives and whatever.

“Yes, and it wasn’t there.”

We go to the kitchen and open the silver drawer. Like most people, we have one of those silverware caddies in the drawer, and everything else gets thrown in there more or less at random. I lifted the caddy, and found at least five potato peelers under there.

“Oh,” she said. “I guess you can cross that off the list.”

We still laugh about that.

#ROW80: A good week


I had a pretty good week. The summary:

  • Read 3 books: I got Busker by D. B. Rouse as a freebie, and read the whole thing. It was the enjoyable memoir of an itinerant musician and some of the things he ran up against on the road. That counts as my second book; I’m now reading Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer by Fred Kaplan; I just started it today. I knew he had little formal education, but he might have made himself one of the most intelligent presidents because (a) he read a lot, and (b) he wrote a lot. All I learned about him in school were the apocryphal stories about him. Somehow they glossed over the autodidacticism, and the determination he had to make himself as intelligent as he could. Had that been stressed, I might have taken my studies a little more seriously.
  • Write the entries for the A to Z Challenge: I’ve started with some of the shorter ones, and have about a half dozen done. Six out of 26 ain’t bad.

In other news:

  • After a relatively mild winter so far, we’re getting colder and there’s talk about snow, sleet, and freezing rain. I don’t like the sound of that.
  • Today would have been Dad’s 83rd birthday. Happy birthday, Dad!
  • I’ve decided to grow a beard. More like I’ve decided that the assault on my face with a sharp instrument isn’t worth it. Mary’s cool with it, as long as I don’t end up looking like Hägar the Horrible like I did the last time.

That’s it from me. Straight ahead.