I am definitely blessed by having terrific readers!
Michelle of Steadily Skipping Stones nominated me for The Versatile Blogger Award. I am pleased, amazed, and humbled. I want to echo her words that echo those of Sally Field: “You like me, you really like me!” When I started my blog back in March, I was writing for me, but I quickly learned the power of readers and their feedback. I still write for me, but knowing there are others out there who will read and respond truly makes my musings communication.
I feel especially blessed by the quality of the blogs that I read regularly—they make me laugh, cry, think. Michelle is in that group. I just started reading her post in June, right after I had been awarded The Versatile Blogger Award for the first time. I did not nominate her then because I was just starting to get to know her—but I would name her as one very worthy of blog awards today! She has my utmost thanks and appreciation.
The rules behind The Versatile Blog Award sound simple:
1. Post a link to the Versatile Blogger who gave you the award.
2. Share seven things about yourself that are not widely known.
3. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award.
4. Send notices to those you nominate.
Actually, Rule #1 is as simple as it sounds: Thank you Steadily Skipping Stones for thinking of me when nominating me for this award. I appreciate the nomination as well as your blog. Rule #4 is not so bad either—I will track down emails and let my nominees know how great I think they are. Rules #2 and #3 are not as easy as they sound. For one thing, I am not thrilled about blatantly talking about myself. I know, I know—then why do I write a blog? But there I write about thoughts and things, not about me, but I will do my best.
Rule #3 is perhaps the most deceptive. In some respects it is difficult to limit the nominations to only 15 bloggers; however, I also want to make sure I praise the blogs I feel I know well who consistently offer quality writing and intriguing insights. I did name 15 bloggers when I was first nominated for this award a couple months ago—and I still read them and value their contributions, but I am not going to name them again. But I will again impose a time limit on my selections—I need to have been following the bloggers I nominate long enough to know their work. Figuring that the rules are flexible, I am only going to nominate 5 award winners this time around.
Seven Things You Might Not Know About Me
1. I used to be a teacher—that’s not the point. When I was in the classroom, I would try to help students develop their descriptive-writing skills by using a rather traditional visualization exercise. Close your eyes, visualize your favorite place, relish all the sensory details—what do you see? Texture, colors, actions? Then eventually, the students write about what they “saw.” My confession? Whenever I actually do the exercise myself, I cannot see anything—it is all black. My sister has the same problem, so maybe it is hereditary. It seems to be a symptom of my visual memory being poor. If someone says, “You remember, we turned at that red house back there,” you can bet I will not remember! I can draw the layout of my old apartment not because I can see the place in my mind’s eye but because I can use my words to say what the layout was like—and then I’ll draw that. I can recognize faces and such, but I cannot close my eyes and imagine someone’s face and then tell another what to draw, for example.
2. An extension of #1 is that I do not remember my dreams. I think it’s because I just do not see any dreams. I may recall an occasional snippet of dialog and when I was younger I talked in my sleep, but I do not remember my dreams.
3. One of my favorite things to read for escape from day-to-day problems is murder mysteries, especially those that feature dogs. You see, I miss my dog, so I like to see dogs in action in books. There are several series that have dogs as primary characters—the novels are fun, no matter what it sounds like. There are two series that I especially like. Laurien Berenson writes a series that features Melanie Travis, a mom and teacher who also sticks her nose into mysteries; she owns a standard poodle that she shows at kennel clubs—so there are dogs all the place! Susan Conant writes a series that features Holly Winter who is a columnist for a dog magazine; she owns two malamutes who are somehow engaged in solving the mysteries, which also involve other dogs in some way. As an English major from way back, I am rather embarrassed to have admitted liking these works as much as I do. I read good literature too, but these are really fun!
4. I grew up watching TV after school and into the evening. I can remember once when I must’ve been about 13, giving my parents such grief because wherever we were going as a family meant I had to miss The Carol Burnett Show. Ah, the horrors of a life without VCRs or digital recorders! Today, I do not care what shows I miss, but I do have TV on as background most of the time if I am home. In part, little noises drive me crazy, so without the TV on I am constantly distracted by outside noises (kids, pets, plumbing from upstairs, whatever). I rarely just sit and watch something anymore, but it is on for me to keep an eye on while I work on other things. Ah, the fun of multi-tasking!
5. I was amazed the other day when a catalog arrived proclaiming a pre-Christmas sale. It is August, for heaven’s sakes. I was chagrined, miffed, flabbergasted, to say the least. The other catalogs were pushing fall—which is also too early. But after being distraught about how quickly the year is flying by and how our world is bombarded by commercialism, I found myself actually perusing the catalog and thinking about what to order—not now, but eventually. It seems I am responsive to crass commercialism after all. Drats! I would like to be above that, but it does not seem a battle I want to tackle right now. I am resigned to my flaw—much like eating chocolate. I console myself by proclaiming, “I am not a quitter!”
6. Speaking of Christmas, there are several movies that I always watch over the holidays! They somehow represent Christmas. I am okay if I do not watch It’s a Wonderful Life. Most of my favorites are traditional: The Christmas Story, Miracle on 34th Street (original), National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Scrooged, and Die Hard. Yeah, Die Hard. It somehow says Christmas to me—think setting, bringing presents to the kids, holiday party, and closing Christmas Carol.
7. I am amazed by the power of fortune cookies. They are an extension of the idea that attitude can help dictate feelings. For over a year now, I have been embroiled in a conflict resolution scenario that I am consciously not talking about on my blog. Its resolution is moving forward but very, very slowly. Patience is not one of my virtues, so there are times when I get down over how slowly things are moving forward. I was in one of those funks this week. Then I stopped for some Chinese food en route home one day. It is a drive-thru Panda Express. As I was pulling away from the window, the young woman leaned out of her window and said, “Here—I forgot to put fortune cookies in your bag!” With so much attention drawn to them, I took the time to carefully read the message: “Good News is coming your way. It will be here any day.” Ya know, that silly little piece of paper made me feel better. Go figure.
Although I am supposed to name 15 new award recipients, I am naming only five at this time. But there are some other worthy blogs worth exploring. First, please be sure that you visit The Monster in Your Closet; this is by Deborah who first awarded me this prize a few months ago. She is remarkable, brave, witty, insightful—read her work! Also, remember to visit Michelle’s work at Steadily Skipping Stones. If she had not recently been named as a recipient herself, she would be on my list. Her work is thoughtful, provocative and engaging. Second, when I was initially awarded this prize, I did name 15 bloggers to receive the award; they are still excellent bloggers worthy of your time and attention, so visit them as well.
Finally, here are the 5 new bloggers I am naming as recipients, listed below in no special order.
Frank’s writing is varied, witty, insightful. He presents a range of topics from his “Opinions in the Shorts” that comments on the social and political happenings of the day to a chopped dinner with friends to insights on such topics as food, entertainment and economics.
Meanderer captures powerful images that show the world through Nature as well as our interaction with it. Sometimes it is a single glorious flower, but other times it is a series recording the harvesting of a hay field or explorations of structures such as windows and doorways and fences. The photos help show the world with a bit more clarity and humanity.
The Petal Pusher offers photographs that show a great perspective on a variety of subjects that give her readers a new way of seeing the life that is around us as well. For example, we tag along on her vacation to St. Martins, appreciate her take on the weekly photo challenge, and understand her comments on current events and matters of nature. As a bonus, she also offer a Quote a Day, such as “Silence is more musical than any song” by Christina Rossetti.
Susan Okaty has been writing her blog for a bit over a year, sharing her views on the life around her with insight and precision. She helps the rest of us see our worlds with more detail and understanding as well. Her subjects are varied (weddings, gardens, loss, past events, photo challenges, current events and favorite things, for examples), but they always pull the reader in and offer new perspectives and some enhanced understanding.
While her focus is her survival tactics against cancer, her site is so much more than that. She shares a love of life and a willingness to fight for what’s special by commenting honestly about her medical procedures but also about her family and summer activities, about her worries about being a good parent, and about all the things in life we all deal with, whether we are also fighting cancer or not.