Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Birthday

Today is my birthday. If you asked me a year ago where I would be on my birthday, I certainly would never guess that I would be sitting in Boca Raton with my mother AND Sophia, who flew in all the way from Los Angeles just for my birthday. I’m not in a talkative mood lately, so I’ll tell you more about Century Village later in the week. Sometimes I feel pressured to write something here, thinking that if I don’t blog at least three times a week, you will abandon me, which is probably true, but it is also important to remind myself that I exist outside of this blog.

Today, Sophia, my mother, and I took a drive into West Palm Beach, once the home to the rich and famous, now a city taken in by Ponzi Schemes, and checked out two museums, The Flagler and the Norton. We also found an ice cream parlor where the chocolate ice cream was deemed by People Magazine as the “best in the country.”

March 7th is also the birthday of my blog. I started Citizen of the Month on my birthday in 2005. My template is exactly the same today as it was on that day four years ago, having spent the day before my birthday in 2005 “designing” my header in Illustrator. It amuses me that so little has changed with my blog in those four years. There is still no advertising, and the blog remains consistently uneven, ranging from the stupid to the emotionally distraught.

I’m not particularly proud of my last year as a blogger. I spent too much time on Twitter and ignored my blogging friends. Twitter is so focused on “followers,” that I began to perceive some bloggers as more worthy of my attention than others, as if networking and cliquishness was the ‘real’ point of being online, not the writing, or the community spirit. I believe the online world has given me the opportunity to become a better person, not a worse one, and I failed considerably. I might seriously dump Twitter when I return to New York, because I don’t like myself when I am Twittering.

I am inspired by those of you who blog honestly, comment freely, and show a sense of community. I look up to you. As I enter my fifth year of blogging, I want to thank you for another year as my blogging friends.

95 Comments

  1. I’d never abandon you, but if you dump twitter I may fly out to NY and kick your ass. Happy birthday, Neil. Hope this next year is a good one.

  2. Happy Birthday Neil

    Eat Cake … lots of it.

  3. I hope that you have an awesome birthday and well…I LIKE you being on Twitter.

  4. Happy Birthday. I am a new reader to your blog so that goes to show if you lose some readers you will acquire some too. Life is a balancing act and I guess blogging in a way might be the same? I don’t know. I blog honestly, as you say, I have no idea if anyone reads it. The way I see it, just like in life I will appeal to some people more than others and some of them will stick around while others will drift away.

    Happy Birthday again and have fun writing.

  5. Happy Birthday, my friend! I hope you are living it up in Florida with all the ladies (I’m sure there’s at least one hot nurse taking care of a geriatric around there.) πŸ˜‰

    I can say with utmost certainty, you will not lose any of your true blogging friends if you choose to take a break. It has been so liberating to step away and take care of more important things that I’d been neglecting. And, I don’t miss Twitter AT ALL. In retrospect, there’s something to be said for not saying every 140 characters that pops up in your head.

    Have a great birthday! I’ll be thinking of you…

  6. I’m glad to have you on Twitter, but understand if you need to drop off it. I’ve seen some other bloggers take a break and wonder if I should as well.

    Either way, I’m here, I’m reading and I’m sending lots of birthday wishes your way.

  7. Oh Neil…you know how ambivalent I am about social media. I can’t really decide if it’s a place for writers or just people marketing themselves or their blog as a product. And it bugs me, on some old-school (old-fashioned? outdated?) level, when writers become product. Then again, maybe I’m just wrong in my thinking that a blog is is anything like a short-story collection.

    I have no advice. I hate Twitter. I keep trying it, though, because I’m an idiot. Facebook feels more personal and less “look at me! look at me!” – but then I hear it’s now been given the death knell because it’s a favorite of old people.

    No advice, just my continued best wishes.

  8. Congratulations on 4 years, oh, and incidentally, Happy Birthday! Hope it’s memorable!

  9. I started blogging in 2005 as well. I just ended up moving around a bit.

    Happy birthday to you and your blog!

  10. !!!Happy Birthday Neil!!!
    πŸ™‚ So glad that I “found” you.

  11. I have to say, I hope ALL the twitterers go back to blogging πŸ™‚ Happy birthday, Neil!

  12. Happy birthday Neil. M xx

  13. Birthday Wishes!
    I would never have characterized your blog as “consistently uneven.” I really enjoy the varied aspects of “you.”

  14. I just noticed the itty bitty smile on the bottom of this page – subliminal influence?

  15. Happy Birthday! Enjoy Florida!!

  16. Happy Birthday to a new friend I made last year! I am so happy yr here and I know yr fifth year of bloggin will be awesome! I hope today is stellar!

  17. Happy birthday, Neil.

  18. Just don’t ask me to dress up like a mommyblogger for your birthday this year. I have some limits.

  19. I selfishly hope you don’t give up Twitter, although I am feeling ambivalent toward it myself lately. I enjoy your tweets more than most anyone’s, and that’s how I discovered you to begin with. But do what you have to do.

    Happy birthday.

  20. Abandon you?!

    I just woke up, reached for my phone, logged into my reader, saw a new post from you,and pounced. Yours is a fresh, original, unique voice (even after all these years! Don’t you know how rare that is?) I’m not going anywhere.

    I’d tell you to ease up on yourself but my sense is it’s a trait that adds to your gift, and I’m selfish.

    Happy birthday, my friend. Enjoy Boca Raton. Live your life. You are loved, and by many, exactly as you are.

  21. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Neil, and I wish you many more to come.

    The more I read about Twitter, the less interested I become. Facebook is enough!

  22. Okay, the question we’re all dying to ask…is it really the BEST CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM IN THE COUNTRY?? Cause if so y’all are getting some drop-in company.
    Have a fab birthday, Neilochka. 25th?? :>)

    PS. Twitter remorse?? I’m so old school I feel guilty about the time spent blogging. xxxoooo

  23. Happy Birthday Neil.

    Please stop beating yourself up.

  24. come what may, have a happy birthday, neil. and celebrate with some toojays.

  25. Happy Birthday! Congratulations on four years of blogging – that’s great!

    Your blog inspires me. I like that you’ve kept it simple (although I would read if you chose to change the layout and sell advertising too) and I like that your content varies. I feel welcome commenting, on occasion a bit out-gunned with the brain power and “real writers” who hang out here, but always encouraged to “Say It!”. I believe you’re sincerely on the side of anyone trying to cultivate a creative voice, regardless of the audience size and demographic they choose or are able to attract.

    Today I’ll celebrate you, Neil. I hope you have a wonderful day in Florida with your mother (I still think of her in the photo you posted, working at her desk, a younger woman with a cigarette in her hand) and Sophia. All the best to you in the coming year!

  26. Happy Birthday!

    Never forget you should do what makes YOU happy…within reason of course. πŸ˜‰

  27. Happy Birthday, Neil! I’m glad your ladies are with you.

  28. Work had me consumed yesterday and I missed your birthday. . . HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY!

    I hope this year is one of your best.

  29. Happy happy birthday! (btw I have to limit myself on twitter because otherwise I cease to exist basically offline – which is bad when you have a toddler trying to eat your earplugs)

  30. Happy Birthday!

    Long time reader, first time commenter here.

    It’s my birthday too. πŸ˜‰

  31. happy birthday, i’m glad you are spending it with the two most important and loved women in your life.

  32. Happy BIrthday! My eyes threatened to spill tears when I read that Sophia joined you in Florida. Before blogging, I would have thought it crazy to cry happily for folks I don’t know. Well, Ira Glass induces good crying, but, oh gosh, you know what I mean. I’m all a babble!

    Those of us who know Century Villages cannot get enough stories. My mom left South Florida and know she is in the Villages. That place is a royal hoot too. There are more golf carts than vehicles in the Publix parking lot.

    Can you imagine our retirement villages? Hipster culture? It actually wouldn’t be too difficult to design our communities.

    Happy Birthday! I’m over the moon for you!

  33. Sorry for the poor writing. You deserve more effort.

  34. Century Village! Oh my, what memories. My best friend’s grandmother had a place there and we spent quite a few vacations there.

    Happy bloggy birthday and happy birthday, Neil.

    Your sentiments on Twitter? Wordy McWord.

  35. happy birthday neil. I’ve missed you about…

  36. Happy Birthday Neil to one of my favorite men! Wishing you lots of love and happiness on this special day and always!!! Many more happy birthdays to you sweetness!

  37. Happy birthday to you and your blog!

  38. Happy Birthday, happy blogging anniversary, all of it…!

  39. Do not beat yourself up. We all fall into the blogging trap. At least you are reflecting with warmth and kindness and humanity. I just rage over it and what good does that do? None at all.

    I liked your updates on twitter too, btw. I took a twitter break because I found myself just being mean about what I thought was stupidity, and I don’t want to be mean anymore.

    You are lovely, Neil. Let yourself off the hook.

  40. Happy Birthday, Neil!

    Name me one blogger who hasn’t gotten their head stuck up their ass as far as perspective and losing it goes. There aren’t any. Happens to everyone, so don’t knock yourself too hard. πŸ™‚

  41. Happy Birthday, love!

  42. Happy birthday, Neil. I love your blog and love the community that we are all a part of. Sure, write more if you want but you can’t leave us all together. We love you too much!

  43. Hope you had a wonderful birthday and will have a great year ahead!

  44. Happy Birthday, Neil.

    We all have periods of time where we think that “more” is better and then we think that the more “popular” the blogger, the better for us. I went through that stage and am so very glad to be out of it. I’ve now started downsizing and getting back to my roots and it feels damned good.

    I hope you rind yours too. πŸ™‚

  45. Felliz Cumpleanos Neil!

    Enjoy your day!

  46. Happy Birthday to you and your blog! I’m glad to have met you, Neil, and feel fortunate to call you a bloggy friend and a Twitter friend. πŸ™‚

    Stay honest. I look forward to meeting you in July at BlogHer.

  47. Happy Birthday! I’ve recently started hitting your blog, and I’m glad I found it!

  48. …”but it is also important to remind myself that I exist outside of this blog.”

    Yes, it is. And sometimes that gets lost along the way.

    Happy Birthday, Neil.

  49. Happiest of birthdays to you Neil. I hope you’ve had a great time w/Sophia and your mom. I’ve missed your on twitter … which is kind of weird. But you are always THERE when I check in and all of a sudden this week … not so much. That being said, what real value does Twitter add to the world? None.
    Congrats also on your blogoversary. I have yet to hit my one year point. Do the first 6 or 7 months count when I didn’t realize I was supposed to try and write for READERS? Hmmm. Things to ponder. Happy birthday!

  50. HAPPY FRICKEN BIRTHDAY NEIL!!!!!!!!!

    If you were here, I would get you drunk and not stop you from doing some very stupid things with women who look pretty damn good to you because you were drunk but who are really very ugly.

    Sending you all my platonic love.

    TRO

  51. Please imagine me doing my best Marilyn Monroe for you, Neil…

    β™ͺ Happy Birthday to you! β™«
    β™ͺ Happy Birthday to you! β™«
    β™ͺ Happy Birthday, dear Neil! β™«
    β™ͺ Happy Birthday to you! β™«

    …and many more!!! πŸ™‚

  52. Oh, with only an hour to spare, I want to wish you the best of birthday wishes, and to sing you Yom Huladit Sameach, but fortunately for you, I’ve lost my voice and sound more like a canada goose than a human being. Honk!

    As for your twittering/popularity thing, that’s exactly why I left twitter for several months. When I came back I rid myself of all the “popular” bloggers, and only followed those people I found interesting and relevant to me. And I stay off twitter almost the whole day, stopping in only once or twice for a few minutes.

    I agree with you that twittering has interrupted blogging, and that is shown by the number of bloggers who don’t even post twice a week now, but are twittering every time they wipe their ass. BORING.

    Plus, I learned to stay far away from those that use twitter for their own self-promotion. Anyone that has to warn you 35 times that they will be on some lame radio show in 5 more minutes deserves to be ignored. I’m not much into self-promotion, especially when it’s coupled with the idea that the person is the end all and be all on every freaking subject. BORING.

    Everyone’s blog is uneven. Even Dooce. It’s OK. We keep coming back because we love you, Neil. It isn’t just your writing, it’s the emotions behind it. People want to share in your hardships and pain as well as your humor and absurdities.

    I can’t imagine you in Deerfield Village for too long, so come back to NY soon.

    Happy Birthday!

  53. Hope you had a great birthday!

  54. Happy Belated Birthday/Blogaversity! I hope you give up twitter – I never hear from you anymore. Will you be back in NYC by April 30th? Perhaps we can put a face to the words…..

  55. Happy birthday to you and congratulations on your long blogging history. Keep it up!

  56. Congratulations! I actually opened my Google Reader and I don’t know if you remember but you were one of the first (and only) blogs I put on there, because I’m all slow to progress and stuff. There was your birthday post, and it caught my attention. I hope you come back to NY with a renewed sense of purpose. Happy birthday.

  57. hey there…

    happy birthday. Here’s to a year of sorting out and starting back on the path twoards happiness. You deserve it.
    Cheers!

  58. Happy birthday, old man!

  59. hdays are great AND neverending – much like we all wish your blog to be. I do hope however, that you are younger than I am since then you will most likely always be around to brighten my day.

    So selfish, but there it is.

    May you live in interesting times darling.

  60. Happy Birthday, Neil! Have a marvy time in Florida. Forget about Twitter…it’s so flighty!

  61. Hope the rest of your birthday was great, Neil. I’ll never forget that birthday of yours where Sophia orchestrated that outpouring of love, cards, and gifts, that was amazing (was that two years ago already?). You are always too hard on yourself. But that’s a way more attractive quality than being too high on your talents and skills (which are many).

    P.S. to Ginger: Cool musical notes, how did you do that??

  62. Happy birthday, Neil. I would follow you on Twitter, except I won’t. I have twiddled with Twitter, and my conclusion is: why? I’m interested in your stories, not your farts. Twitter is self-indulgent, voyeuristic useless nonsense. An amusing experiment, but let’s get over it now and move on.

  63. Happy Birthday, Neil. Glad you got to spend your special day with those two very special ladies.

  64. Happy (now belated) Birthday Neil! I hope it was great!

  65. Thanks for the birthday greetings!

  66. I’m so late. Way behind on my blog visiting. But, it’s still fun that we have the same birthday. Happy birthday to you! I’m glad you got to spend it with your family.

  67. Happy Belated Birthday!

    I have to say, the way people talk about twittering and how it affects their blogging and other online time makes me glad I never succumbed to the temptation. While I’m sure the real-time nature can be enthralling, I just prefer a more fleshed-out exercise like blogging provides.

  68. I was so wrapped up in my own birthday I forgot to wish you a very very very happy birthday my friend.

  69. happy belated Birthday, Neil! I hope it was a good one and that the ice cream lived up to its reputation. I suppose you could always blog your daily tweets if you wanted to keep both.

  70. happy birthday and blogday
    πŸ™‚

  71. Happy birthday! I’ve much enjoyed your blog these last few years.

  72. Congrats Neil! Here’s to many more adventures and brilliant posts.

  73. I am so late on this. Β‘Feliz CumpleaΓ±os!

  74. Century Village? Are you 100?
    Happy Birthday… πŸ˜‰

  75. I hope your Day of Cake was awesome, good sir. It’s nice to remember we all exist outside of this crazy world we call Blogging. xo

  76. Happy Birthday Neil. Sorry I’m late……..

  77. Happy birthday Neil. Century City, huh? I had a run in with them once in the Publix. I had to redefine my notion of the word “mean.”

  78. Happy birthday.
    Happy anniversary.
    I still don’t know what a twitter is.

  79. Happy Birthday! I’m so jealous that you’re in Boca. I hope it’s a big blue day. πŸ™‚

    I have the same issues with Twitter, at least during the few weeks (was it months) that I was regularly Twittering. I’m trying to use it different ways now. When it comes to *blogging*, I think you have to pick – Will you blog? OR Will you microblog?

  80. Neil, I haven’t been here in a while, but it’s good to be back. Happy Birthday. And please don’t leave Twitter because it will be fun to follow you.

  81. well I have enjoyed my recent introduction to your blog and your writing (also human) foibles. You seem pretty *real* to me … albeit I don’t twitter or tweet so maybe your alter-ego there is different somehow.

    Congrats on the milestones. nicely done!

  82. Happy belated birthday!

  83. Wow, well happy belated birthday and happy four years to your blog!

    Hope you had a great time in Florida!

  84. happy belated birthday and blogevarsary.

    Your mother is living in Century Village in West Palm? She seems so not the type

    Do they let PBS ladies in?

  85. Happy birthday! To you and the blog! That’s one holiday Hallmark hasn’t jumped on yet…

  86. Happy Birthday Neil.

  87. Happy belated birthday, dude. Sorry I missed it. Looking forward to tonight’s show with you.

  88. Happy Birthday Neil.

  89. A belated Happy Birthday Neil! You’re a king among bloggers. Hope you had a great day!

  90. Sorry I’m late! I’ve been saving this post in my reader to be sure to wish you a great next year. Happy late b-day, Neil!

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