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{August 21, 2014}   Dear Thing Living Under My House

Dear Thing Living Under My House,

I know you’re there. I hear you outside of my house. At all hours of the day. And night. I work from home. And sometimes, when I’m alone and it’s very quiet, I can hear you. Scratching … clawing … dragging against the flimsy, manmade, laughable barrier between us. It is most unnerving. I don’t even know what you are.

Or who you are.

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I know you’ve figured out that I am aware of your presence. Because you seem to vanish into thin air when I summon the courage to rush outside to catch a glimpse of you. But you’re very fast. And eerily stealthy. And I know that you’re watching me.

I know that every time I cower on my hands and knees, desperately clutching a flashlight and searching for answers, that you are staring directly into my eyes. Into my very soul. And there, cloaked in the shadows not moving or even breathing, you remain hidden just waiting for me to surrender and retreat into the house so that you may continue with your diabolical plan to drive me to madness.

For the record, I am not the only one who knows you’re here. It’s painfully obvious that the cat has known about you for weeks. Stupidly, I dismissed him and assumed we were dealing with the usual benign suspects. He tried to caution me time and again, stopping to howl at the window, at the exterior wall or (because my home is raised three feet off the ground for your convenience) at various points in the floor. He hears you.

But your main concern should not be my sharp-toothed, albeit somewhat sluggish, fifty-percent-declawed feline warrior. Rather it should be my husband. He doesn’t tire easily. And your mind games only awaken the inner obsession and insatiable thirst for justice that make up the very fiber of his identity. He will stop at nothing until he’s taken you. Dead or alive. It matters not.

See you in Hell,

The woman who lives directly above your lair

Written in response to MamaKat’s writing prompt asking about something that spooked me.

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It’s time for Ketchup With Us, hosted by Mel and me on the 1st & 15th each month. Today, we’re talking about firsts. ANY firsts. Tell us about one in your life. Or just link up an old post. You decide.

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Tomorrow is my son’s first day of school. He’s going to be a freshman in high school. Don’t even get me started on that one. I’ve already cried twice today and it had absolutely nothing to do with that. For the most part anyway.

With Vivien already entrenched in her school, I wanted to do something special with Dean today on his last day of summer. Something besides just prepping all of his clothes and supplies. And last night,  I finally decided what that something special would be. It’s a timely choice for his age as well as for this week. Plus it gives me the opportunity to share something with him from my youth.

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I’m not sure I’ve seen this movie since it first played in theaters. Back in the year Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Nine. (Doesn’t it feel like that should be written on parchment paper? Preceded by “in the year of our Lord.”) I can’t believe this movie is now twenty-five years old. I could tell Dean wasn’t completely sold on my selection.

“But, Mom … it’s soooo old.”

“And it looks boring.”

“Wait. It’s about school? And boys reading poetry to each other? Wow. I can’t wait.”

Okay, so he didn’t actually say any of those things. But I could read them all over his face. After all, this movie offered no planet-altering explosions. No spectacular special effects. And nobody like Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg or whoever else plays the smartass/hero in teen movies these days. It couldn’t possibly be any good.

What do I know? I’m just a mom.

But I didn’t care. I sat him down, found it on Amazon and clicked “purchase.” He’s a smart kid. I knew he’d like it if he gave it a chance. Plus, from the very beginning, there were kids smoking and cursing enough to distract him from the fact that this was an “intellectual” film. (I have absolutely no idea why I used quotes there.)

Fortunately, my gamble paid off. He had a few questions during the movie. We paused it once or twice so I could (over-) explain a thing or two. And, by the time we got to the pivotal scenes, he was fully invested. So I could cry quietly without fear of eye rolling and snickering. I assume 99% of you have seen the movie in which case you already know what I’m talking about. To the 1% who haven’t, I have no intention of spoiling it for you. Do take the time to see the movie in its entirety. Soon. And don’t watch the following clip. It made me cry today. For an entirely different reason than why it made me cry back in 1989.

Dead Poets Society. It’s a great movie to revisit. Compelling, stimulating. I’m glad I was with Dean when he saw it for the first time. He’s already asked when we can watch it again. Because he wants his sister to see it. And he wants to be there when she sees it for the first time.

Because it’s that kind of movie. I get it, Dean.

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Our esteemed Ketchup With Us Featured Writer from last time is …

bethere2day

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BEHIND THE KETCHUP

Click here to read how this foolishness all began.

KEEP TRACK OF OUR STUPIDITY

SPREAD THE WORD & POST OUR BUTTON … please!

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FINALLY … THE LINK-UP!

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WE give you a picture* to inspire you to KetchupWithUs.

YOU link up something Fabulous!

And, for the love of the Annual Lay’s #DoUsAFlavor Contest, TELL YOUR FRIENDS!

* In honor of firsts, we’re reposting the first picture prompt we ever used for KetchupWithUs … back in the year of our Lord Two Thousand and Twelve. :)

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1. Sleeping late.

No, that’s not me. Please. I know better than to sleep with a smoky eye.

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2. Summer drinks.

Especially when they have cucumber in them. I like to pretend I’m being healthy.

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3. Movies.

From Blended and The Nut Job to National Treasure and Walter MittyI honestly think I set a personal best for numbers of movies seen inside of ten weeks this year. (That’s a whole lot of sedentary.  I’m going to make a kick-ass old lady.)

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4. Summer feet.

No, these aren’t my … you know what? Screw it. These ARE my feet. I am a professional foot model. And this is a small sampling of my portfolio.

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5. All Shook Up

Elvis music set against a Shakespearian plot line housed in a Methodist church. It’s a wild formula that made for a great couple of months with my girl.

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6. Family vacations.

Sure, there are always a few moments when we want to kill each other. But the memories we make and the food we eat always outweigh the death threats.

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Created in response to MamaKat’s weekly writing prompt.

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All this talk of Elvis and the recent pilgrimage to Graceland got me to thinking, I’ve never had a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich. You know what I mean, right? The sandwich Elvis was supposedly eating when he died whilst sitting on his (ahem) throne. Some storytellers even go as far as to throw bacon on that infamous sandwich.

Of course, by now we all know it’s just an urban legend. Because not only did Elvis NOT die eating on the toilet, I’m still not even sure he’s actually dead. And, for that reason, I decided to try my hand at a little Hunk-Hunka Heart Disease Special … just in case he ever swings by for a meal.

What? It could happen.

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Viv and I made these together the night we came home from Memphis. We couldn’t wait. I should point out that this recipe yields only three sandwiches. Yet it calls for ONE ENTIRE STICK of butter. I should also point out that I chickened out and used only a pat for each sandwich. I’ve become accustomed to my veins running loose and free and I like them that way. And the sandwich (cooked in a pan a la grilled cheese) was still plenty indulgent.

Check it out. (Caution: I am not a food photographer.)

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The post was written in response to MamaKat’s writing prompt asking for a recipe I love. This one was pretty dang easy. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Thank you.

Thank you very much.

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It’s time for Ketchup With Us. Hosted by Mel and me on the 1st & 15th each month, this one is SOOOO easy!

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Selfies. We’ve all taken one. Or hundreds. They can showcase your whereabouts, your accomplishments or sometimes just your new haircut. Showcase being the key word. Because they’re often regarded as vane and not very community-minded, maybe it’s time for a new trend.

Enter the USIE (sometimes spelled ussie, always pronounced fussy). And we want to see yours. Need some examples?

Most famously, taken by Bradley Cooper at the 2014 Academy Awards.

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Less famously, by my friend Mel with one of our favorite fellow writers (Linda at ElleroyWasHere.com) at last year’s BlogHer conference in Chicago.

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Our esteemed Ketchup With Us Featured Writer from last time is …

Feed Me Dearly

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BEHIND THE KETCHUP

Click here to read how this foolishness all began.

KEEP TRACK OF OUR STUPIDITY

SPREAD THE WORD & POST OUR BUTTON … please!

olddognewtits.com

<img src=”https://olddognewtits.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/ketchuplabel125copy2.jpg” alt=”olddognewtits.com” width=”125″ height=”125″ />

FINALLY … THE LINK-UP!

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We give you an USIE to inspire you to KetchupWithUs.

All you need to do is LINK UP YOUR OWN USIE!

And, for the love of the flapping motion needed to develop a Polaroid picture, TELL YOUR FRIENDS!

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1. Sleeping

Yep. That probably makes me pretty dull. But I love it. And I very seldom get enough of it. Especially with a pink bunny.

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2. Getting a massage

No, that’s not me. I’m the jackass at the keyboard writing about getting massaged, remember?

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3. Eating cheese

You guys had to see this one coming, right? This chick is exhibiting one of my favorite pastimes. Except she’s a disgrace to the cheese-loving profession.   Jarlsberg?!!? Woman, please.

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4. Watching a movie

I love movies. I could watch them all day. And yet, compared to the average person, I’ve seen so very few. How is that fair? P.S. If anyone reading at this moment wants to see a movie, text me. Now. (Bet you think I’m kidding.)

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5. Singing on Broadway

What? The prompt asks for Nine Things I’d RATHER Be Doing. Right now, I’m wearing an old Johnny Depp T-shirt sitting on my bed typing a goofy blog post with  Disney’s Jesse on in the background. You know what I’d rather be doing? I’d rather be singing on Broadway. With the right song, I’ll bet I could … oh, never mind.

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6. Being the one holding the pen at a book signing

Well, as long as I’m singing on freakin’ Broadway …

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7. Traveling internationally with my family

With your family, Michele? I know. That’s what *I* thought as soon as I typed it. But yes. I want to see as much of the world as I can. And I want them with me when I see it. Honestly, sometimes I wish I was more of a gypsy.

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8. Time traveling

Well, crap. Since my suitcases are packed, right? Let’s see. I think my first points of interest would be … my children’s babyhoods (I’m bringing a better camera this time), my teen years (for a little damage control … and some classic MTV) and maybe the 1960s. I want to be on Ed Sullivan. (What? Did you expect 1776? It’s like you guys don’t even know me.)

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9. Hugging my kids

This is the one thing on my list that I could actually go do right now. Come to think of it, if I chew while hugging with a DVD on in the background, I could probably knock out THREE simultaneously.

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This post was written in response to MamaKat’s writing prompt asking for Nine Things I’d Rather Be Doing Right Now.

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It’s time for Ketchup With Us. Hosted by Mel and me on the 1st & 15th each month, our link-up gives you TWO ways to play: (A) Write about anything for 10 minutes OR (B) Link up an old post. Or both!

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Eight days?!!? Gosh, has it really been eight days since I last wrote something for the blog? Shame on me. Well, except I can’t take all the blame. Because I was, as they say, at sea for an extended period of time. Overeating, overdrinking (but only one day), oversunning and overworrying about my kids who ran amuck on that ship like they were a couple of college kids.

We had a great time. All eleven of us. (We like to travel in throngs.) And I’m just now starting to catch up on my sleep. So I wanted to take a minute (ten to be exact) to share a few points of interest from my most recent cruising experience.

(1) If you’re going to sing a song karaoke-style, take some time to choose your selection wisely. And think about the original person who performed it. If you can’t hit every note in the shower, then you sure as hell can’t hit it in front of a room full of people. I’m still shaking my head at my own stupidity. Sheena Easton. What was I thinking?!!?

(2) The Mayan Ruins in July? If I wouldn’t take on an activity during the summer months in my home city of New Orleans, then I certainly shouldn’t be trying to do it in Mexico. It’s 651 miles CLOSER TO THE EQUATOR.

(3) Just because the catamaran crew says I can drink as much as I want doesn’t mean I should drink as much as I want. You’d think I would have learned that back in college. Or in my 20s. Or in my 30s.

(4) Dave and I need to create trivia contests on the boat. Or at least the 80s music trivia contest. (pause for questions) Why yes, I’m glad you asked. As a matter of fact, we DID come home with a 1st place trophy.

(5) Four is apparently the maximum number of appetizers I should order in one sitting to create a meal of “small plates.” Not surprisingly, cream of mushroom soup, a crab cake, a (distinctively small) sushi sampler and a cheese plate can be quite filling when combined to create one overindulgent feast the likes of which we haven’t seen since ‘Gluttony’ was depicted in Brad Pitt’s Seven.

I could go on. And maybe I will in another post. But, for today, I just wanted you guys to know I was back on the grid. And that I didn’t forget about you. And that I so appreciate my friend, Mel, stopping by to say hi while I was away.

Did we take pictures? Well, sure. We took plenty. But for now, I’ll just leave you with one, taken of Dave and me at dinner the last night. For the record, the picture beneath it was taken at dinner on a cruise just like this one exactly ten years earlier.

Please be kind when you compare them.

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Our esteemed Ketchup With Us Featured Writer from last time is …

Adventures in Weseland

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BEHIND THE KETCHUP

Click here to read how this foolishness all began.

KEEP TRACK OF OUR STUPIDITY

SPREAD THE WORD & POST OUR BUTTON … please!

olddognewtits.com

<img src=”https://olddognewtits.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/ketchuplabel125copy2.jpg” alt=”olddognewtits.com” width=”125″ height=”125″ />

FINALLY … THE LINK-UP!

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WE give you a (completely random) picture to inspire you to KetchupWithUs.

All YOU need to do is link something up.

And, for the love of Heinz-Ketchup-FINALLY-Available-in-Dip-n-Squeeze-Tubs, TELL YOUR FRIENDS!

Vote for me @ Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




It’s time for Ketchup With Us. Hosted by Mel and me on the 1st & 15th each month, our link-up gives you TWO ways to play: (A) Write about anything for 10 minutes OR (B) Link up an old post. Or both!

* * * * * * * * * *

What do you write about when you don’t know what to write about? Well, now THAT is a good question. I guess after writing for thirty days straight about everything from my kids to the big summer musical I did with my daughter to, well, the crap in my refrigerator that isn’t actually edible, it’s hard to think of anything else.

What the hell has happened to me lately that qualifies as interesting?

I ate something a few weeks ago called Duck Fat Fries. Is that interesting? I don’t know, but it sure as hell was delicious. To the extent that there’s an excellent chance I’ll be placing a to-go order with this high-end restaurant pretty soon. (Seriously, where’s my phone?) Ducks. I don’t like to eat their gamey meat. Who’d have thought potatoes fried in their grease would be do damned yummy? (Please don’t tell PETA I said that.)

What else? What else?

Ooh! A rat licked my face. No. YOU shut up. I AM being serious. But I should probably mention that her name is Lily. She’s owned. She wasn’t just a random rat I met on the street. I have standards. I’m not some cheap floozy who lets just ANY rat I meet lick all over my face. Because that would be weird.

Of course, this rat was a girl. Should I be concerned about that? Should I be listening to more Indigo Girls (how sad that that’s my newest reference) and booking tickets to Lilith Fair? Does that even still happen every year? And also, have I just offended anyone with my tongue-in-cheek reference to my wandering gender preference for girl rats? Anyone who knows me at all knows I’m kidding.

Tolerance is my middle name.

Actually, it’s Annette. Or it was Annette until I got married and dumped it for my maiden name. Which was fine with me because I could never get past the old Grease lyric. You guys remember, right? Stockard Channing sang it at the slumber party when she was making fun of Sandy. “Would you pull that crap with Annette?” It always confused me as a child. Let’s just say I took it way too literally and couldn’t figure out why, for the life of me, anyone would ever want to do that. Disgusting.

Oh, but back the rat. You guys don’t believe me, do you? Well, that’s why I had my picture taken. With a rat. Licking me. On the face.

How many of you can say that?

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I tried to smile. Lord, how I tried.

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Our esteemed Ketchup With Us Featured Writer from last time is …

Lefty Pop

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BEHIND THE KETCHUP

Click here to read how this foolishness all began.

KEEP TRACK OF OUR STUPIDITY

SPREAD THE WORD & POST OUR BUTTON … please!

olddognewtits.com

<img src=”https://olddognewtits.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/ketchuplabel125copy2.jpg” alt=”olddognewtits.com” width=”125″ height=”125″ />

FINALLY … THE LINK-UP!

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WE give you a (completely random) picture to inspire you to KetchupWithUs.

All YOU need to do is link something up.

And, for the love of Peter Pan Peanut Butter, TELL YOUR FRIENDS!

Vote for me @ Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




It’s time for Ketchup With Us. Hosted by Mel and me on the 1st & 15th each month, our link-up gives you TWO ways to play: (A) Write about anything for 10 minutes OR (B) Link up an old post. Or both!

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1. Because KWU attracts some of the sweetest writers out there.

2. Because I can always count on a good laugh with every link-up.

3. Because I can usually count on a good cry with every link-up.

4. Because we’re coming up on our 50th link-up later this year and (mustering the courage to say it) we’re considering putting the cap on the ketchup bottle if we don’t get more linkers. (fleeing room in tears)

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June is Blog Post by Numbers Month. Wanna play with Mel and me? Just write a “listy-type” post with a number in the title (ex. FOUR Reasons I Love Mayonnaise, SIX Things You Can Do With A Paper Clip). Then link back to us and tweet us about it so we can include you on June 30th in our final list of Great Bloggers Who Played the Blog Post by Numbers Game!

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Our esteemed Ketchup With Us Featured Writer from last time is …

Adventures in Weseland

* * * * * * * * * *

BEHIND THE KETCHUP

Click here to read how this foolishness all began.

KEEP TRACK OF OUR STUPIDITY

SPREAD THE WORD & POST OUR BUTTON … please!

olddognewtits.com

<img src=”https://olddognewtits.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/ketchuplabel125copy2.jpg” alt=”olddognewtits.com” width=”125″ height=”125″ />

FINALLY … THE LINK-UP!

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WE give you a (completely random) picture to inspire you to KetchupWithUs.

All YOU need to do is link something up.

And, for the love of Nabisco Triple Double Sandwich Cookies, TELL YOUR FRIENDS!

P.S. Father’s Day and KWU Day coincided this year. I think it has to do with the moon being in the 7th house or Jupiter and Mars aligning or something. Anyway, because of this lunar phenomenon, I released TWO posts in ONE day today. Know what that means, right? (awkward pause) It means I’ll see you Tuesday! :)

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It’s time for Ketchup With Us. Hosted by Mel and me on the 1st & 15th each month, our link-up gives you TWO ways to play: (A) Write about anything for 10 minutes OR (B) Link up an old post. Or both!

I’m using the link-up today to kick off a half-baked plancrazy scheme … creative idea that Mel and I have for the month of June. A while back, I was brainstorming for the future of ODNT and playing around on Google. In particular, I was looking at articles that claimed to reveal the secrets behind what makes a blog post go viral. Because clearly, I have no idea about such things. (comical, exaggerated sigh)

One of the many articles I found was entitled 3 Things You MUST Do To Make Your Content Go Viral.” Having just passed over similar posts called “How to Improve Your Chances of Going Viral: ELEVEN Steps” and “THIRTY-TWO Ways To Make Your Blog Post Go Viral,” the idea of only three things to do sounded preferable so I clicked it.

And here’s what it said.

  1. Ensure you have a number in your title.
  2. Be yourself.
  3. Collect data about your market and analyze, analyze, analyze.
  4. Keep it short.*

*Good for you! You’re paying attention. There are actually four points here. That was the author’s ways of playing a little joke on his readers to make them think the article was shorter than it actually was (aka #4). 

Anyway, in looking at these helpful points, only one really jumps off the page to me. Because I’m always myself (#2), I’m lazy and SO not going to do this (#3) and, sure, I can get a little verbose at times but I’m certainly not releasing any War-and-Peacian-length blog posts. (#4).

So let’s get back to #1. I’ve written a few “numbered posts” over the years. Examples:

And I love each and every one of them. Plus, lists are popular for a reason. They’re fun to write and often easier than a lengthy epistle. Which gave me an idea.

What if Mel and I each wrote a numbered post every day for the month of June? (I’m going to hate myself by about June 8th for this over ambitious idea.) The posts can be about anything … “Ten things I love about my tennis shoes,” “4 Reasons I Prefer Winter to Summer,” etc.

But WAIT! There’s more.

Mel and I want to encourage YOU to play, too.

  1. Write a numbered post in June.
  2. Link it back to us and tweet us about it.
  3. On June 30th, we’ll include your blog link in our final posts listing everyone who played Blog Posts by Number.

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Who knows? Maybe at least ONE of us will go viral. It’s worth a shot … right?

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Our esteemed Ketchup With Us Featured Writer from last time is …

Georgie Lee

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BEHIND THE KETCHUP

Click here to read how this foolishness all began.

KEEP TRACK OF OUR STUPIDITY

SPREAD THE WORD & POST OUR BUTTON … please!

olddognewtits.com

<img src=”https://olddognewtits.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/ketchuplabel125copy2.jpg” alt=”olddognewtits.com” width=”125″ height=”125″ />

FINALLY … THE LINK-UP!

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WE give you a (completely non sequitor) picture to inspire you to KetchupWithUs.

All YOU need to do is link something up.

And, for the love of the Dr. Scholl’s Gellin’ like Magellan Commercials, TELL YOUR FRIENDS!

Vote for me @ Top Mommy Blogs - Mom Blog Directory



et cetera
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