Riding the Tina train.

Dear friends,

After years of blogging in virtual anonymity, I have finally, mercifully figured out the key to success:

Write about Tina Fey.

See — in my previous incarnation as Mayberry Magpie, I figured writing about small-town life was my ticket to blog fame. Two letters: N and O.

Then, I must have thought #gratitude would eventually trend big, but I’m still waiting. Today, it seems to be #FredWillard and #NameMyDickAfterAMovie. Too bad, really . . . although if #gratitude ever catches on, I’m certain I’ll be the next big name on HuffPost.

I had no idea, however, that writing a couple of posts in which I mentioned Tina Fey and my girl-crush on her was just the tag I needed to increase my hits.

During the last couple of weeks, a few dozen people a day have stopped by solely based on a Google search of Tina Fey. I know that a “few dozen” a day is a joke compared to the likes of Pioneer Woman or Kelly Rae, but still.

And I will say it: I can only imagine how disappointed those searchers must be when they land on Debt of Gratitude.

What I cannot imagine is how deep into the Google search results they must dive to find me. (They must be Tina Fey stalkers reading all the way to search result #49,861.) Oh, and the really tragic part? Even people who Google “Tina Fay” and “Tina Faye” and even “Tina Fay’s weight” find me.

Because I aim to please and I hate to think the poor folks who land here find nothing to their liking, I have decided to write a post wherein I mention Tina Fey’s sex life, nude photos of Tina Fey, Tina Fey’s secret love, why Tina Fey won’t admit to reading Fifty Shades of Grey but will play Ana Steele in the movie version, Tina Fey feet (hey, it popped up 9th on Google’s suggested search terms for Tina), Tina Fey’s scar (#3), Tina Fey’s belly fat, Tina Fey’s affair with Fred Willard, and the tragic dismemberment of Tina Fey’s nanny by Tina Fey’s crazy stalker.

You’re welcome.

Oh, and hey! Thanks for stopping by.

With gratitude {for the deep well of Tina love in American popular culture},

Joan, who needs to back away from the WordPress stats page and would if only she could move without weeping after day 3 of interval training

Joisey girls.

Dear friends,

Not long ago I was kvetching to a friend about how much I’ll miss Kate when she moves away to college, about how time is slipping away, about . . . oh, you know — that thing that mothers do.

And my wise friend, who has been the source of many good ideas and advice over the years, suggested I needed to plan a girls’ trip with Kate — a week’s getaway after she graduates from high school, just the two us, as a kind of rite of passage/celebration/cementing of the mother-daughter bond experience.

I was all over the idea and mentioned it to Kate immediately. I told her we would go anywhere she wanted to go (within reason of course, which my girl is nothing if not reasonable) and to think about it.

A couple of nights ago I followed up with her.

Joan: Have you been thinking about where we might go for our girls’ trip?

Kate: Anywhere is fine, Mom. Wherever you’d like to go, I’m sure I’d enjoy it.

Joan: No, no, no. I want you to pick. It’s your trip.

Kate: Well, I was talking to a friend and I was thinking how fun it would be to go to Hoboken.

<insert screeching tire sound>

Turns out, guess who is in Hoboken?

Photo credit: hddavila2007

Our favorite baker ever, Buddy of Cake Boss!

Kate started her confectionary odyssey before I did. In fact, she’s the one who inspired me to take up baking. Long before I was spending my Sundays making multi-layer, filled cakes from scratch, Kate was creating and selling these little delights:

So Hoboken it is! And while we’re in the neighborhood, I suggested we ought to drop in on the Big Apple. Because there’s just a few things we might enjoy over there, like hanging around outside 30 Rock and stalking Tina Fey.

I’m so excited, I’m tingly! I’ve been to NYC three previous times, in 1976, 1987 and 1999, but Kate has never traveled there. The last time I was in Manhattan, I went to the top of the World Trade Center for the first time. Kate and I both want to see Ground Zero.

If you’ve been to NYC more recently than 1999, would you do a girl a favor and drop me some suggestions? Where should we stay? Where must we eat? There’s so much to choose from, I need a carefully edited itinerary and would welcome your input.

With gratitude {for the anticipation and excitement of planning a big trip},

Joan, who in her secret dreams believes she could have been a real-life Carrie Bradshaw, pink tutu and all (except for the Mr. Big part because she is clearly more into the Mr. Moms than the Mr. Bigs)

Funny who?

Dear Friends,

A new reader (who happens to be my new friend in my new town) commented on my blog yesterday and said she thought I was funny. As much as I appreciated hearing that with three exclamation points, in a weird way, it made me feel worse.

Because I am not funny.

I aspire to be funny. I read other funny bloggers and secretly desire to be them. But I am not them. (You want funny? Read this. Or this.)

And since I am not them, I usually spend a lot of time thinking about how much I suck and nurturing my girl crushes on the funny bloggers. And on Tina Fey.

Wait, wait, wait . . . this is not a bloggy pity party, okay? I know what I am.

I am warm. I am sweet. (Oh my god, “warm” and “sweet” totally explains why I have such meager traffic on this site.) I am genuine. I am introspective (hopelessly so). I am self-deprecating. I am sometimes sarcastic, though I am mostly optimistic and affirming. I have a vocabulary that rocks. (I don’t put it on full display in this forum because, you know, I don’t want to appear snooty or elite-ish. But, just so you know,  I regularly have conversations with other eloquent friends in which words like verisimilitude, imprimatur, atelier, pejorative, and zeitgeist are thrown about.) And, I occasionally write prose that others have called “lyrical” and that makes me happy. (Okay, I called it lyrical, but I am a discerning judge of good writing.)

And those are all good things, I suppose, especially for a woman who’s writing a gratitude blog.

But what I secretly desire is for you to spit out your coffee or blow Pepsi through your nose when you read me. What I secretly desire is for you to think OH MY GOD that girl is sooooooo funny that I’m going to pee my pants then I’m going to send this post to 10 friends!!!

I know it ain’t happening. And I’ve accepted it.  It is my lot in life to be warm.

For what it’s worth, I’m related to two funny people. My son regularly makes me laugh out loud, both in person and via his Tweets and Facebook posts. He has an incredibly quick and satirical wit and my other secret desire is that he will give up his dream to major in Agriculture at Mizzou and instead become a comedy writer and produce all the best material for my girl-crush Tina Fey. Then I will finally get to meet Tina Fey and she will, undoubtedly, ask me to marry her.  We’ll be too old at that point to have kids, but since we both already have “been there and done that” (where “been there and done that” equals all things involving a penis or its progeny), I think our marriage will be mostly happy and fulfilled. And very funny, thanks to Tina.

Also, Mr. Mom is notorious for making people laugh so hard they spit out their food. We used to belong to a supper club a few years ago (where club equals five married couples who got together once a month to drink and eat dinner as a distraction from the mind-numbing boredom of suburbia) and he regularly achieved the “food spitting” standard of funny among our friends.

I can remember one occasion in particular where I thought our friend, Brad, was going to have to be revived. I wish I could tell you the joke, because then you’d spit out your coffee and I could take credit for it on this blog, but it’s too racy for this forum.  Suffice to say, it was funny, and all the more so because it involved a pejorative statement about one of my body parts, to which Mr. Mom attached an unusual but clever name. And because I saw this joke coming a mile away (and thought it was really funny, and not insulting, because the joke is always sacred and comedy trumps personal feelings), I sat stone-faced through his telling like the perfect straight man I am.   Which, I think I’m safe in saying, made Brad choke even harder. So I got a little satisfaction from knowing Brad was a half-step away from being a Heimlich survivor and I had a small role in it.

Plus, I don’t really think you can scale the heights of gratitude, which I aim to do, while being too funny. Because then the gratitude –if hilarious — might sound sarcastic (read: insincere), which I don’t aim to do.

I’m going to settle, then, for warm. And grateful. And affirming. And you’ll just have to pee your pants elsewhere, as sad as that makes me.

With gratitude {and a perennially straight face},

Joan, but you can call me Mrs. Fey