Friends along the way: Shary and Lola


Lola says good-bye to me (note the coffee mug in the background…it kept me going to the next blogging stop!)

Yesterday I got home from my cross-country road trip, and it’s feeling awfully quiet and a little lonely at the dining room table. You see, in addition to all the driving and sightseeing along the way, I also saw some old friends, some family, and I had the opportunity to meet two of my blogging friends, too!

The first of my visits was with Shary Hover (@sharyhover on Twitter) and her dog Lola. The three of us took a lovely walk in her San Diego neighborhood—the weather was perfect as only San Diego can be—and then we sat outside in Shary’s backyard. Shary is quite the gardener, let me tell you. It was a delightful reprieve from road weariness to sit at a shady table and have a glass of wine and talk about books and writing with a good friend. I’ve known Shary since I first started blogging over two years ago, and not only are we blogging/Twitter buddies but Shary is also a trusted critique partner, so we’ve had the opportunity to talk on the phone several times, but this was our first in-person meeting.

Shary was lovely and welcoming and the tour of her garden and neighborhood was a lot of fun, but I have to say that a true highlight of my visit was Lola. She is one smart dog, let me tell you. Not only does she help Shary with her blog posts, but she is a master at tricks! She does the usual: sit and stay, down, but then… on command she can also do a high five, wave with both paws(!), crawl along the floor on her belly, and perform a twist and a ric (turn one way then the other). She also knows the difference between her inside and outside tennis balls, and she alerts Shary when there are airplanes “in her airspace” or squirrels and birds in the trees. In addition to her great intelligence, she is light on her feet, and her fur is beautiful and soft. She’s also one of the snuggliest dog I’ve ever met. Shary says Lola has faults, but I don’t actually believe it!

After a delicious dinner with Shary and her husband, I had a great night’s sleep and for breakfast some of the most delicious California grapes I’d ever had (no, this is not a paid endorsement for grapes or for San Diego, either), I hit the road with a travel mug filled with delicious coffee, heading for my next destination: blogging friend Melissa Crytzer Fry’s desert abode. More about that later this week!

I feel incredibly lucky to have met Shary in person. I only wish we lived closer by so we could meet more than once in a blue moon! Thank you again for being so welcoming, Shary!

Have you ever met a blogging friend in person? Please share your experience!



  1. Aw, how lovely for you to have met Shary, and Lola sounds a delight. I bet it is quiet back home… I am a little glad you’re home safe and sound though after your last (or last but one?) post about the crazy drivers! ;o) xo

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      The meeting truly was a delight, Abi! And thank you for your concerns — it was a little rough the last day or so, but I had a great time despite it all! Home safe and sound (and happy!).

  2. Shary says:

    I’ve met and befriended a few local bloggers and writers (all delightful people), but you’re the first who drove all the way across the country. Lola and I were delighted to meet you in person, but now she’s wondering where you went. We’ll just have to make do with phone calls and e-mails until the next road trip. 🙂

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      Yes, phone calls and emails until the next road trip it is. I think MEH is a little envious so we may need to plan a tandem trip… and San Diego would definitely be on the agenda. Meanwhile, if you ever have a hankering for Maine, you know where we are! Thank you again!

  3. I’m more and more jealous that I wasn’t able to join you from San Diego back out to Arizona. Shary’s garden sounds heavenly, and her dog … well … just plain AMAZING. Does she train cats, too? We’ve got two Bengals who could add to their Circus Trick — i.e. jumping and twirling — repertoire!

    Julia – I’m so proud of you for making this long trek – the second half solo … It sounds that the adventure was SO very inspiring and life affirming. I’m so glad we got to meet face to face! Next time, we’ll need to figure out a way to get Shary and Lola to the desert, as well!

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      I’m thinking writer’s retreat in the desert… or Maine… but the desert seems handier and perhaps more inspirational with the wonderful wildlife (which I’ll be writing about next time!) and wide open spaces. As for the training, I’m pretty sure Shary would be able to train your cats if her garden and Lola are any indication (she’s a natural!) 🙂

  4. Well, Lola is really making Arthur look bad. Did you see my training Arthur post? I would link yours, but Arthur couldn’t face the humiliation.

    Glad you’re home safe and sound. Sorry we weren’t able to meet up. Maybe next time.

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      I can relate to Arthur’s feelings. My own dog Abby doesn’t do half the tricks Lola does… although I *know* Abby (as a lab) can drool more than Lola can, haha. I was SO bummed that my drive home took me far north near the Great Lakes. I was happy to see Cleveland for the first time, but knew no one there, and I would’ve far preferred to be in your neck of the woods, Christine. We need to work on that!

  5. Cynthia Robertson says:

    San Diego sounds like it was wonderful, Julia. Lola is so cute. Her fur does look soft, and glossy.
    Looking forward to hearing about your stay with the lovely Melissa!

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      San Diego was amazing and I didn’t mention this part, but driving past the beaches was truly inspirational… rolled down the windows and breathed in that amazing salty air. You just don’t get the same feel here on the east coast! Next time we need to have a west coast/southwest meet up — you in? 🙂

  6. Erika Marks says:

    Well you know better than anyone who my first-blogging meet-in-real-life friend was–YOU!!

    I love reading about your travels and how you connected (at last!) with two very dear friends–one of which (Melissa) I had the pleasure of finally getting to chat with today on the phone!! Not to give away any spoilers but she did happen to mention that she had a sensational time with you;) –so I am, of course, extra excited to hear/see news of your time together.

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      I didn’t remember that I was the first blogger friend you met!! I’m so happy that we were able to meet, too, Erika — what a fun visit we had! Yes, Melissa and I had a lot of fun; I’d agree that it was sensational. I can’t wait for you to hear more about it!

  7. Leah says:

    I live not far from Shary! Would have loved to meet you. Isn’t Shary lovely? And Lola is a cutie too.

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      Luckily now that my daughter lives in California, I’ll have many more chances to meet blogging friends! Can’t wait until we get a chance to meet in person, Leah! (And yes, I agree, Shary is lovely!)


  1. […] We also stayed in six hotels. I met two wonderful blogging friends for the first time in real life: Shary Hover and Melissa Crytzer Fry. I laughed and cried with and hugged a million times two friends I’d […]