Need a reason to keep fostering connections through your own blogging home? Every time I get frustrated with the latest round of online ‘improvements,’ I remember Big Al and the Lizard of the Loo.

I’ve never met Big Al. He’s just a child. In England.

But I have met his Auntie Kate. I started following Kate Shrewsday’s blog several years ago, because I love the oddball English trivia, weird Russian stories, dog-and-cat extravaganzas, and her husband Phil’s dedication to authentic pudding burning, I mean, making technique.

I love everything Kate writes. So much that when I happened to be in London several years ago, I begged asked her to meet me. We dragged our husbands to a pub, and it was like we’d been friends for years. (Meeting the people I read in this space is still one of my biggest arguments for doing it in the first place. With the dwindling connection we’re likely to feel in social media in the coming months, where better than to try to foster deeper connections than here, where we control our own platforms???)


My most favorite topic on Kate’s (or just about any) blog is when she gives updates about her wee nephew Big Al. I’m such an Al fan that Auntie Kate even sent me video from one of his school events, and I watched it like a preening relative.

Several years ago, when we had a lizard living in our bathroom, I even made a video for Big Al. Because they don’t have weird pink lizards in England, I thought Big Al might like to have a vicarious pet all his own.

And, according to Auntie Kate, Big Al and his family STILL watch the Lizard of the Loo video. It was one of my first Reader Questions, really. Since they’ve been so popular, I thought it would be fun to revisit early days.

To remember why we seek connection in this platform.

To reinforce why it still matters.

To see photos from my appearance at Landmark Booksellers Main Street Festival booth in Franklin, TN yesterday (and to see me really giddy over meeting Jim Crutchfield, author of The Natchez Trace: A Pictorial History), click here: Andra Watkins Tumblr

I’m always happy for an excuse to visit Beaufort, South Carolina. The town that was too pretty to burn during the War of Northern Aggression, I mean, the United States Civil War. (Well, because a bunch of Northerners owned the sprawling mansions by the time the Union Army got there.)

I’m glad. Whatever it took to save this treasure, an hour’s drive south of Charleston and an hour and a half from Savannah, GA: Maybe those dang Confederates weren’t too proud to beg.

Perhaps you recognize the sprawling marsh vistas and Spanish moss from the movies. The Big Chill, perhaps? Or Forrest Gump? Beaufort is very cinematic, and that’s another reason why I enjoy any excuse to knock on its front door.

Okay, the real reason?

I’ll take any excuse to drive through the ACE Basin. Nothing but marsh grass and blue sky on either side of the road. Boiled peanuts from a rusted out trailer. And worship at Old Sheldon.

I can never go that way without a little detour to Old Sheldon’s ragged teeth, its heartburned insides, its refusal to kneel to the command of fire and ice.

Thanks to the Sea Island Rotary Club for asking me to speak on Tuesday. For giving me a pass to wallow in all the reasons I’m proud to be a Very Southern Girl.


If you’re ever in the Charleston/Beaufort/HiltonHead/Savannah area, Old Sheldon Church is worth a trip. Just look at these photos to see why: Andra Watkins Tumblr

I’ll be ranting about geekery tomorrow, specifically Internet Geekery and all the recent changes that impact bloggers in the Great Blogosphere. Also, I’ll have another Reader Question video, so please stop by. (And ask more questions. As you’ve seen, I’ll do just about anything for an excuse to make a fool of myself with my iPhone. But not like that US Airways person (do NOT click the link if you’re at work……….seriously……..DON’T………..)

People don’t like change. I’m a people. Therefore, I don’t care for change, either.

But change I must.

Starting today, I will post on this blog three days a week: Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 6am EST. I will still respond to comments, interact and read blogs as normal. I just won’t be posting seven days a week. June 20, 2010 was the last day that this blog did not have a new post or a newly-posted re-post, so this will be a very big change for me….and maybe for some of you.

I have a Very Big Deadline to hit. I’m excited. And petrified. I can walk 444-miles in 34 days. I’m capable of enticing my dad into a grand adventure before the clock strikes midnight.

Can I make that into a compelling story?

Time—sleepless, shifting, maddening time—will tell.


I read a fun book on my walk.


Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume One by Helena Hann-Basquiat was a crazy, sophisticated romp through the world of all things dilettante, led by the ultimate cruise director, Helena herself. (And sometimes by Penny, her delightful niece.) The book turns pages by jumping around the history of your favorite dilettante, with hilarious outtakes to an appendix that is in itself wordsmithery. It’s a not-to-be-missed journey, darlings. A soundtrack of Life. A very fun romp (and I type that knowing I read the book when my feet felt like doing anything but romping.)

Buy this book. Read this book. Help this deserving writer find her place among the stars.

You can get the book at Amazon by clicking here: I’m a Darling, darling.

To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis is available in paperback and e-book formats at these outlets: Click to Purchase To Live Forever.