By Maria Schulz
Happy Anniversary! Yes, I just celebrated my 3rd year of blogging and the creation of my Tales of A Hungry Life blog. So what have I learned in my 3rd year of blogging?
- Blogging will not make me a millionaire, even by accident. I can’t tell you how many people tell me about their friend of a friend who got 12,000,000 hits writing a blog about the many uses of soy, and now gets advertising up the ying yang. Even better are the stories of 14 year olds who are independently wealthy thanks to their blog on “1,000 Ways to Make Soup.” They end the stories with, “So are you rich yet?” Um, no
- People don’t really like leaving comments. I wish they would, but it’s kind of like inviting people to your house for a party—and demanding that they tell you how great you are. Sure, it seems like a wonderful reason for a party, but if you force it, no one will ever come back.
- I used to think I would run out of blog ideas, but that hasn’t happened so far. Even my worst days include something that makes me laugh. The silver lining is that when something goes really wrong, I think: BLOG POST!
- Doing something scary can be good. While I have not yet cracked the traditional publishing houses, I have 60+ posts to my name thanks to the “Publish” button on WordPress.com. Sweet!
- I may still be too shy to stand in front of an audience and tell jokes, but I’m not too shy to write what I think is funny and share it with the world.
- Some people will never like my blog. I have gotten comments that claimed my writing made them want to drink and that my ideas are too vanilla. As I’ve said before, my writing makes me want to drink, and I like vanilla.
- The flip side of that is getting comments from people who have been full of encouragement. Suzanne, Neil, BGLou, Lisa, Turafish, Lexiesnana, Tony, Kathie, Chris, Anne, TC, John, Cindy, Cora, WordImprovisor, Stacy, Karen and everyone else who has ever left me a comment, thank you for all of the kind words of encouragement.
- The world can be heartbreaking sometimes, but my blog doesn’t have to be. I hope you can come here to find a laugh or two, and leave with a smile.
I wrote 20 posts in the last 12 months. Here are my top five posts from last year:
12 Things My Teachers Taught Me: Let Sister Pit Bull eat cake, it’s easy to be kind, use your critics’ comments to become a better writer, and never turn in junk. I had great teachers (Mr. Reines, Mr. Brodsky, Sister Barbara) and not-so-great teachers (Sister Pit Bull, Sister Margaret, Sister Clara), and every single one of them made me a better person…whether they wanted to or not. I think our teachers are undervalued and blamed when they should be esteemed and supported. After all, don’t we want them to succeed?
My Bucket List: Once I knew that the Mayans had declared December 21, 2012 the end of the world, it was time to create my bucket list. From hiring a personal chef to forming my own tiny person’s basketball league (hey! I finally get to play center), I wrote down all the things I wanted to do in life. I would love interviewing Kristin Stewart, even if all I have is a banana for a microphone.
The Next Big Thing: another writer tagged me and I had to answer interview questions about my writing projects. It was a riot thinking about what makes me tick as a writer, and even more fun to see the comments people had for me. I thoroughly enjoyed my “Mariah Carey/Barbara Walters moment.”
Mayans, Memories & Manicottis: this was the recap of all the things I accomplished (or didn’t) on my Bucket List, now that the world did not end. I made Manicottis! I ripped all the tags off my pillows! And no, I am still not a center on a little person’s basketball league.
Roger Ebert & Me: this was my latest post, and one I thoroughly enjoyed writing. It brought me back to the days of watching Siskel & Ebert, going to the movies, and spending time with my grandmother. Those are just a few of my favorite things, and I got to enjoy them all thanks to those two movie critics. Plus, I got to think about my Heaven: which movie is my favorite, and which ice cream I can eat endlessly and never gain a pound. Hey! It is Heaven after all.
Finally, to celebrate my Anniversary, I decided to cast a new show starring the lovable Lagalantes and their extended relatives. We had Lagalante: The Movie, a movie starring Terri Garr as my mother and Rosie O’Donnell as Sister Clara; Lagalante: The Musical starring Angelina Jolie as me (it is my show); and now: the audience participation vehicle that travels to beaches all around the country. It’s called “Now You’re My Cousin.”
It’s sort of like Tony & Tina’s Wedding, only you don’t have to get dressed up to come. You should wear flip-flops, a bathing suit & sun block. The cost of admittance is a ticket (duh) and a covered ethnic dish that is completely inappropriate for the beach. Think lasagna, peppers and eggs, paella, kielbasa, flan, etc. Don’t come empty-handed, or the cast will tease you relentlessly for the duration of the show. Come to think of it, you will probably be teased relentlessly anyway. But still…bring food.
The play is set in the early 1970s. Since everyone is a LOT younger, we will need an entirely different cast.
DAD: Matthew Broderick (yes, I cast him as Tony in the musical; but he and my Dad can easily be played by the same person)
Mom: Gloria (from Modern Family)
Jude: any rock-n-roll kid that dresses like Jimi Hendrix
Tony: Harry Potter look alike
Louie: Drake Bell look alike
Paul: younger version of Hayley’s boyfriend from Modern Family
Joe: a look alike for the brother on The Wonder Years
Chris: a Fred Savage look alike (the kid from the Wonder Years—okay, I’ve been watching a lot of Modern Family & The Wonder Years)
Maria: a big-mouthed precocious Disney kid who is blond and gorgeous (this is a fantasy, after all)
Nonie: Nancy Walker look-alike
Uncle Don: Paul Lynde look alike
The cast above will immediately start pulling lucky guests from the crowd to play our cousins. When they slap a name tag on you, you must act the following way for the duration of the day:
COUSIN RICHARD must throw COUSIN ELLIE into any nearby body of water (pool, ocean, baby pool, large puddle, etc.) all day long
COUSIN BOB must attempt to teach Maria how to swim by holding her head under water, risking possible drowning
COUSIN LORRAINE must hold up seaweed to her face and pretend she has sneezed. Repeatedly. She must run after the children and pull this gag often
COUSIN PETE should sing Perry Como songs. An audience member who looks and sounds like Perry Como should play this part
COUSIN ANGELA must laugh at everything Dad says and say, “Oh Junior! You’re such a troublemaker!”
COUSIN SAMMY should try to proposition all of his female cousins, especially the ones under the age of 12
COUSIN TOMMY must seek out Chris, and the two must talk about music. They must exclude Maria because girls are dumb. Thankfully, Tommy will redeem himself years later by going to the prom with Maria (this is a different play set in the 1980s)
COUSIN MARY tries to feed everyone she can find. Her cooler contains lasagna, eggs and peppers, eggs and sausage, cake, cookies, beer, soda, home made wine, milk and Bosco. She is constantly laughing.
COUSIN PETE tries to teach everyone how to play bocce. He is patient and kind, and it takes him forever to complete any game of bocce
COUSIN SAL tries to get Pete to stop pulling strangers into the game.
The Lagalante boys will all get into trouble; stealing beer, throwing Paul off the swings, jumping off the see saw while small kids are on it with them, chasing sea gulls, etc.
A special guest appearance features SISTER CLARA (Rosie O’Donnell, in a habit and granny bathing costume from the 1900s). She is there to make sure none of the kids have too much fun.
SISTER MARY ELAINA/ANGIE also shows up (played by Charlotte from Sex in the City) wearing a habit and a bikini. Sister does not know if she wants to be a nun or a layperson; she talks about this with everyone who will listen, including other “cousins,” old and young alike.
The dialog will be improvised and include constant yelling. Lots of grills will be going, music will be blasting, and our crowd will take up all of the tables, the bocce court, and the adjoining basketball and baseball fields. If people who aren’t a part of the show try to use any of these things, we will yell at them until they run away.
The play starts at 8 am and ends at 6 pm. Be ready to eat a lot, drink a lot, swim a lot, yell a lot, and go home fat, drunk, hoarse and sunburned.
Want to come?
Chicken Cutlet Parmesan Hero
What—you don’t consider this beach food?
And here’s one from Rachel Ray:
Wrap multiple sandwiches in tin foil and put them in your cooler. Make sure you bring enough to share with dozens of others. Then head on over to “Now you’re My Cousin.” Don’t forget your ticket and a bottle of aspirin.
So, Hungry Lifers: which post of mine did you enjoy most this past year? What will you bring to “Now You’re My Cousin?” Do you like vanilla? Leave a comment below (or not) and let us all know. Thanks again!