The Best Laid Plans

791B2402-2A36-443B-B3E2-5D8DE08F01FAJoyce was very pleased with herself, nodding her head in approval. She looked at the smoked salmon pieces laid atop of the cream cheese on the crackers that she had carefully prepared and arranged. “Good job,” she said to herself.

Maxwell, Joyce’s latest boyfriend, was coming over for afternoon tea and would be bringing his young son and daughter from his previous marriage. It would be her first time meeting his children since her whirlwind romance with Maxwell began two months earlier.

Joyce was excited when she heard the doorbell ring, and ran to the door and flung it open. “Welcome,” she said in a singsong voice. She looked at the eight year old boy and the five year old girl, and was surprised to see the little girl holding a kitten.

Maxwell, noticing the look of shock on Joyce’s face, leaned in, kissed her on the cheek, and said, “Vicky wouldn’t come over if I didn’t let her bring Mr. Paws. They’re inseparable. I hope it’s okay.”

“Of course it is,” Joyce said, not meaning it. “It’s so nice to meet you and Mr. Paws, Vicky.” And then she turned to the boy and said, “You must be Brian. Please won’t you all come in?”

“Where are the cupcakes?” Brian demanded to know. “Dad said we were coming over for tea and cupcakes.”

Joyce gave Maxwell a questioning look. “I said we were coming here for tea and snacks,” Maxwell tried to explain. “I guess he assumed that meant cupcakes, since that is what his mother used to serve with afternoon tea.”

Joyce looked at Brian and said, “We’re having smoked salmon bites. I’m sure you’ll love them.”

Brian ran into the dining room just ahead of Vicky, who was still clutching Mr. Paws. Brian started to reach for one of the smoked salmon crackers, when Vicky objected. “Hey,” she yelled, “I saw that first.”

“Did not,” Brian said, pushing his sister away from the table, causing Vicky to drop Mr. Paws.

Suddenly Joyce and Maxwell heard the sound of something crashing to the floor and breaking coming from the dining room. They exchanged glances and ran into the dining room to find that Mr. Paws was feasting upon the smoked salmon bites.

Joyce screamed and tears started streaming down her from her eyes. “This is total chaos,” she shouted as she batted Mr. Paws off the table and tried to salvage what the cat hadn’t already eaten.

Vicky kicked Joyce in the shin, started to howl, and went running after the cat. Brian then began complaining, once again, that there were no cupcakes. Joyce was not the type who did well in face of mayhem. She told Maxwell to take his kids and the cat and to leave.

Once Maxwell, his kids, and the cat were gone, and she had calmed down, Joyce picked her phone and called her best friend. When her friend asked her how the afternoon tea with Maxwell and his kids, Joyce said and said, “You’ve heard about best laid plans, right?”

Written for Paula Light’s Three Things Challenge, where the three things are “cupcake,” “kitten,” and “romance.” And for Teresa’s Prompts using the photo and the line, “I saw that first.” And for Your Daily Word Prompt (mayhem).
Photo credit: PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay.

Rory’s Friday Foursome

A696F2A0-3402-47DD-8985-881AA74C5C8BOops. I misspoke. Rory’s not having a Friday foursome…at least not that I know of. What he is having is another Friday Four, where he asks us to respond to four simple questions.

1] How often do you update your ‘About Section’ in your blog and do you consider it an important aspect to your blog and if so – why?

I haven’t updated my About page since I created it when I started this blog 21 months ago. I haven’t changed, so there’s no reason to change/update my About page. As to whether it’s an important aspect of my blog, yes, I believe it is. Whenever I discover a new blogger, the first thing I do is check his or her About page. If there isn’t one, or if there is the generic “This is an example of an About page…,” then fuhgedabouddit. I’m not going to bother following any bloggers who don’t bother to share a something about themselves and what their blogs are all about.

2] Which do you prefer and why and what entices you to become involved with them?

  • Competitions
  • Challenges
  • Quizzes
  • Prompts

I respond to a lot of prompts from other bloggers and I also have three prompts of my own. I consider “prompts” and “challenges” in this context to be synonymous. The challenge is to incorporate the prompt words and/or photos into intriguing tales. I’m less inclined to participate in competitions or quizzes. Now that I’m an old fart, I’ve lost my competitive edge and my brain is quiz-averse.

3] How often do you ‘reblog’ or share other blogger’s posts?

I rarely reblog, but I always link back to the prompt/challenge posts I respond to.

4] What prompts you to do so?

What prompts me to reblog? As I mentioned, I rarely do so. I suppose if I come across something that I think is totally unique and that really speaks to me, I might reblog it. But I’m more likely to write my own post and link back to the post that prompted it.

An Honest Blogger

4CD745AD-5CB5-4C3D-A497-9439E58964DBRory, A Guy Called Bloke, wrote a post today in which he asked this:

How honest are you to your blog and as such, to your readership? Do you think you can be too honest, too open?

This question really struck a chord with me. Why? I was once told that, since I blog anonymously, I am not an honest blogger. Why? Because I’m hiding my true identity, and unless or until I reveal my true identity, I’m being dishonest and disingenuous.

Well I call bullshit on that. I have my reasons for blogging anonymously, primarily having already been the victim of identity theft — twice! So it has nothing to do with being dishonest or disingenuous.

With that out of the way, on my blog I write a lot of flash fiction, often in response to word or picture prompts. Fiction is stories that describes imaginary events and people. Fiction is invention or fabrication as opposed to fact. So, by definition, writing fiction is not about honesty.

I also respond to Q&A prompts, and I do try to honestly answer the questions posed. And finally, as my blog’s tagline says, I post about life, society, and politics.

Other than members of my immediate family, few of my friends or acquaintances know who Fandango is. If they did, the real world me might feel more constrained when it comes to expressing my deep down inside thoughts and feelings on my blog. After all, I have to interact with these people in the real world and I’m a relatively private person.

Thus, it’s here, on my blog, where I’m probably being more honest and genuine in expressing my inner self than I am in the real world.

So back to Rory’s question, I feel that I am honest on my blog and with those who read my blog. As to his second question, I do feel there is a risk of being too honest and too open — in the real world. But not when it comes to my blog, where I can write and post any damn thing I want.

I’m a Man Of Many Words

67557C99-854A-4E95-B81E-93E7122DDDD8How man words? Well, according to the highly reliable and completely accurate WordPress stats, I wrote 385,508 words on my blog in 2018. Those 385,508 words were spread across 1,644 post during the year, for an average of 235 words per post. That’s not a lot of words per post compared to a lot of other bloggers, but many of the prompts I respond to have word limits of, say, 100, 150, or 200.

I posted an average of 4.5 post per day last year. My blog was visited by 27,770 visitors, an average of 76 per day. My posts received 117,582 views, an average of 322 per day and 72.5 per post.

My 1,644 posts received 41,262 likes (113 per day and 25 per post). Also, 24,916 comments, (68 per day and 15 per post).

And as of midnight, December 31, 2018, there were 1,607 people following my blog.

Excluding my daily one-word prompt, FOWC with Fandango, here were my most viewed posts each month:

January: Couples Counseling

February: Perspective

March: A tie: Warning Signs and Top of the World

April: Bloggers Beware

May: Househunters International

June: The Way You Write

July: All Dressed Up and No Place To Go

August: Better Than Sex

September: To Prompt or Not to Prompt

October: Missing the Point

November: Weird Words

December: I’ve Never Skied Naked

Yes, I know that this post has been one big brag about me and my blog. But were it not for all of you, who read and respond to my posts, there would be nothing for me to brag about.

The interactions you provide, your likes and comments, are what makes blogging worthwhile. You have embraced my FOWC With Fandango prompt more than I could have anticipated, and I owe a great big thank you to those of you who post regularly in response to that prompt.

And I want to thank the others of you who post your own prompts. Your words, photos, and challenges provide us bloggers with the inspiration we need to write such creative, entertaining, informative, fascinating, and sometime silly posts.

So in what I consider to have been an otherwise crazy, chaotic year, thank you for providing something to look forward to each day, for a way to cope with the nonsense swirling all around us. Thank you for reading my blog and for being my inspiration.

Happy 2019.