The Stories I Tell ~ from The Word Cellar

Stories. Anecdotes. A free round of words for everyone!

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I love stories. I'm the one at social functions with a dozen new anecdotes. But I worry about hogging the conversation. Sometimes I tell myself that I'll be quiet and let others do the talking. But no matter how hard I try, my stories insist on bursting out! Here I can let my stories (the classics that I tell again and again, as well as new ones that unfold along the way) run free. I'm a professional writer and editor, and sole proprietor of The Word Cellar. I write for a variety of publications and clients on everything from green buildings and nuclear reactors to entrepreneurship and the arts. If you need words written, edited, or enlivened, I can help. Contact me.


No One Cares About My Cat

Three days after my last post, I started reading No One Cares What You Had for Lunch: 100 Ideas for Your Blog by Mighty Girl Maggie Mason. Here's an excerpt from the back cover:

Millions of people are blogging today, and most of us could use better material. We apologize for "how long it's been since the last post," offer halfhearted complaints about "not feeling like posting today," and desperately begin to catalog our lunch orders. Ham and cheese? Your Pulitzer awaits.

... Writer, editor, and long-time blogger Margaret Mason offers up 100 suggestions that will keep your blog engaging, fun, and full of fresh content. ...

So enough about your lunch, your cat, your afternoon nap--buy this book, my friend. Write something good.

Wait? No one cares what I had for lunch OR about my cat?

Why didn't someone tell me before I waxed poetic and posted pictures of my little kits?

At least I haven't listed my lunches.

But wait! Mason's Tip #31 encourages bloggers to write about their perfect meal, whether it's one they've already eaten, would like to prepare, or have yet to enjoy. Is this really any better than writing about what they had for lunch?

Yes and no. If I post about my lunch (or my cat for that matter) because I lack the imagination and scope to write about anything else, that's bad blogging. But if a blogger wrote sparkling descriptions of noontime meals, that might be worth reading. For example:

Ham and cheese on white bread with mustard.

Maybe Not Boring: Thinly sliced pieces of spiral-cut ham accompanied by an aged white cheddar on artisanal ciabatta bread smeared with grainy mustard.

Of course, that type of description works better when the subject matter (the ingredients) are worth mentioning. Can prepackaged Oscar Mayer ham and a slice of processed American cheese on Wonder Bread with French's Mustard sound so sweet? Maybe...

Nationally-known, brand name ham with uniquely American cheese on soft white squares with tangy yellow mustard.

Okay, maybe not. (That last one sounded eerily like something from a corporate resume.)

Either way, I think lunch can be interesting. As can cats. Maybe the last post about Cheska's trip to the vet was a skosh boring, although I think the last sentence redeemed it: "She looked at him as if to say, 'Oh, more hissing? Okay, whatever. I'm just gonna walk over here.'"

I think the keys to quality blogging are to know your audience (actual or intended) and write something worth reading. And you people keep coming back, so how bad can it be, right?

Even though this blog is named after my business, I've used it as a personal platform and avoided linking to it from my writing website. But I'm aware that clients (actual and potential) could find me here nonetheless. I'm thinking about ways to use blogging as part of my business. I have a few ideas, but would appreciate any suggestions. I would like to draw an audience beyond my friends and family members, as much as I appreciate them. How can I create a blog that can compare with these: Dooce, Superhero Journal, Mighty Goods, Cute Overload, and other that have a wide readership and make it onto award lists. Seriously, I'm collecting your ideas. If you're a quiet reader of this blog, now's your time to post.

Oh, and for the record, little Cheska Sue had a bacterial infection in her intestines but is feeling much better after five days of antibiotics. Five days of bitter pills stuffed into chicken-flavored treats. Five glorious days of treats galore. Oh the yumminess! "Hooray for treats!" says Cheska.

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add to kirtsy | 2:13 AM | 15 comments


Little Cheska

My poor kitty has been sick, with nastiness coming out of both ends of her furry little body. We spent three hours at the animal hospital on Sunday. I tried not to get too stir crazy as we waited for the trauma cases to clear out. Cheska tolerated the barking dogs in the waiting room as well as can be expected, which means she hunkered down in her carrier and looked sullen. The vet didn't find anything obviously wrong with her and said that it's hard to diagnose just from her symptoms. She may just have eaten something nasty, or she could have a more serious disease. In the end they gave her some fluids and a shot of Pepcid (!) and sent us home. They offered to run tests, but I figured I'd go to my own vet for that. Cheska has been better today, but still under the weather. So it's back to the vet tomorrow. Poor sweet girl.

Gatwick has finally stopped hissing at her, which means the scent of the hospital must have finally worn off. He gets freaked out easily. But Cheska? She could not have cared less. She looked at him as if to say, "Oh, more hissing? Okay, whatever. I'm just gonna walk over here."

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add to kirtsy | 2:36 AM | 1 comments


Laundry Day

Thursday was Laundry Day. With capitalized letters because we were running out of handy things like towels and underwear. I usually do a load of laundry here and there -- it's a luxury of working from home. But I've been in a funk lately and have slacked on my housekeeping duties. Which leads me to this slightly embarrassing, but mostly amusing, tidbit: For the first time ever, I think, I had absolutely no clean underwear to wear. Not even the ugly ones that are all stretched out, or the ones that are just a little ripped at the seam, or even the ones that are maybe just a tad too tight. No undies at all. So what did I do? I dug around in a dresser drawer and found my swimsuit bottoms. Because I needed clean underwear to go to the bank and I couldn't wait for the laundry to be done. I don't remember the last time I actually wore them for swimming, but today they worked just fine as gutchies. By some definitions, swimsuit bottoms are underwear:

Some clothing is specifically underwear, while some is also used as swimsuit (if made of suitable material), and both T-shirts and some shorts are suitable as underwear as well as outer clothing. Suitability as outer clothing is, apart from outdoor or indoor climate, largely a social and sometimes even a legal matter. One of the criteria for shorts not to be suitable as outer clothing may be that it has a fly that avoids exposure of the genitals just by an overlap of cloth, without buttons etc. (Source:

Even though my swimsuit bottoms could be worn as outer wear, I chose to wear pants when I went to the bank. But as I sat there asking for a refund of the $70 in fees that they had wrongly charged me, I secretly knew that at any moment, I was ready to go for a nice refreshing dip from the waist down. If the occasion so arose. Which it didn't. But still. It's good to be prepared.


add to kirtsy | 12:27 AM | 4 comments