I’ve got a mixed bag for you today – the first is because something happened a year ago today that I can’t ignore and the second is a lovely recognition which I have been far too slow to acknowledge.
So…first off: Happy first birthday to our kittens! After several visits from the neighboring tom cat up the road, it became pretty obvious to me that the cat who had adopted us in the fall of 2011 was getting rounder by the day. Our kids even noticed. “Wow, Purny is sure getting fat!” “Hmmm…,” I responded, not sharing my suspicions, “she sure is.”
Purny – short for Copernicus – was dumped near our house by her previous owners. We know because she had a collar when she first showed up, and she was terribly skinny. It was also fairly clear that she’d recently had kittens. So the people who had her decided they didn’t want her any more when they had her little kittens to adore.
She began hanging around our house and we bought her some food because clearly, she needed it. She started to let us pet her. Soon it was clear that she was there to stay. Then, six months later, three kittens joined the family.
They were, of course, adorable. For about 8 weeks we loved them and played with them and knew, in our hearts, that we couldn’t keep them all. We prepared the kids. We found two lovely homes for them. But still, when it came time to give them away, it broke our hearts – and not just the kid’s hearts.
The only thing that made it better was the smile on the wee girl’s face when we handed her her new kitten, which she had already named, “Carlos”…aka “Carwos” in her three-year-old way of speaking. Carlos has become one of their family – he is incredibly patient and friendly and his family is hoping for more little Carloses in the future!
We gave the other kitten, Cali, to some friends who have a wonderful conglomeration of animals at their house: an enormous, black, friendly dog, many cats (but they wanted more females), a couple of peacocks, several sheep and quite a few chickens. Cali was lonely for a few days, adjusting to her new circumstances, but then she became her master’s best little outdoor friend, jumping up on his work table, butting into everything, and earning her nickname, “Trouble”.
Trouble was, “Trouble” was too friendly. She crossed the street to visit some fishermen at the nearby public fishing access. They petted her and exclaimed over her, and the next thing “Trouble’s” owners knew, the fishermen stole her.
Life is full of good and bad stories, isn’t it? I have never seen my ten-year-old daughter cry as much as she did the day we told her.
BUT…we still have the third kitten, Zephyr, so named because a “zephyr” is a calm breeze, and he was the calmest of the kittens and is still a lovely, purry, friendly cat and we are so happy to have him in our family. Yes, he and his mama fight some…but they also will touch noses – something I haven’t been able to capture on film yet – and we’re convinced that is proof that they like each other.
OKAY…now for the second thing in this mixed bag:
I have been very kindly nominated for the “Liebster Award” – isn’t that lovely?!
So…I will try to obey all (most) of the rules of the nomination.
1) Add the award icon to your blog! Ok. Done.
2) Link to your nominator to say thank you.
I was nominated by Deb Dundas over at Midway. Deb writes about a variety of things, including book reviews – which I always enjoy! The link to her blog is to a somewhat sad story about a guy she knew once who is now down on his luck. It’s a good story to make you appreciate what you have and to not be stupid about your choices in life.
3) Answer the questions the tagger has set for you, give 11 random facts about yourself, & create 11 questions for your nominees to answer.
What’s your favorite book? How can I ever choose just one?! Ok. Fine. Peace Like a River, by Leif Enger.
Who’s your favorite author? Again, impossible to choose! Let’s just say H. A. Rey and leave it at that.
Skiing or snowboarding? Neither.
Cultural or “shake and bake” vacation? Totally cultural.
Favorite place? Orcas Island, Washington.
Air conditioning or au naturel? Air all the way.
City dweller, suburban, or rural? Rural…though city life has its appeal, too.
The most exotic place you’ve ever been swimming? I don’t swim, but I suppose Hawaii in the 8th grade. I got sun poisoning and spent the rest of the vacation covered up.
Who is your hero? Any old lady who is kind and patient and wrinkled.
Which musical instrument do you play (or wish you could)? Piano – badly.
The last live musical performance you saw? My middle school children’s band concert.
MY 11 RANDOM FACTS:
1. I love salads but I don’t like making them.
2. I collect cookbooks. Sometimes I use them.
3. I can’t tell a joke to save my life.
4. I lived in Germany for 2 years but I can’t speak German. I studied French for 2 years but I can’t speak French. I took one term of Russian and finally admitted that I’m not cut out to speak a foreign language.
5. I dislike wine. This didn’t go over too well in France.
6. I used to dress funky. Now I excel at the busy mom look. Not nearly so impressive.
7. I like attention. Hence the funky dress code of my pre-mom years.
8. I do not understand how anyone can possibly enjoy beets.
9. I cannot draw to save my life. If someone was like, “Draw a fabulous picture or die,” I’d say, “Ok, Jesus, here I come!” (See “Who is your hero?” above!)
10. I overdosed on Hazelnut Creamer right after college. A lot better than od-ing on a few other things I can think of, but to this day I can’t abide the stuff…but it is a bummer when my favorite café is out of French Vanilla.
11. I dislike Monopoly. There. I said it.
3. Choose 11 up-and-coming bloggers with less than 200 followers, go to their blog, and tell them about the award.
I don’t have 11. I decided instead to stick with Minnesota/near Minnesota bloggers that I haven’t mentioned before…
That left me with three.
And here are my 11 questions for my nominated bloggers to answer:
1. French Vanilla or Hazelnut?
2. Tennis shoes or heels?
3. Flying or driving?
4. Chocolate or Vanilla?
5. Small towns or large cities?
6. Summer or winter?
7. Movie or a book?
8. Soup and salad or meat and potatoes?
9. Music or silence?
10. SUV or bicycle?
11. Skiing or swimming?
I have a confession to make (it’s been awhile since I’ve confessed anything on here, so it’s about time): My e-mail inbox has 4042 messages in it.
Now all of you efficient/non-procrastinating/tidy people can pick yourselves up off the floor (or pat yourselves on the back) and know that I wish I was you.
It is possible that, were my inbox emptied on a regular basis, I’d have noticed the lovely e-mail hidden in all the clutter much sooner. As it was, upon checking my blog on Saturday morning, I noticed something rather extraordinary: I’d had over 50 views already that morning and it was only 9:00.
“What does this mean?” I asked myself. “How can this be?”
I “refreshed” the page again. Just to make sure.
“Yes! It’s true! And I have a bunch of “likes”, too! What’s going on?” I said not a word – barley even acknowledged the thought – as I clicked over to WordPress’ homepage.
“Could it be? Really?”
YES! IT IS!
I shouted to my husband, sitting not two yards away, “I’m FRESHLY PRESSED!”
His blank look did nothing to deter my happiness.
“That means that I‘m featured on WordPress’ homepage! It means they like me! They really like me!” (Yes, I was channeling my inner Sally Field.)
(By the way, I’m on page two now, if you want to joy of seeing my photo and link in person.)
THANK YOU SO MUCH and WELCOME to my new readers. I am so glad to have you along on the journey! I am still working on visiting all of your pages so thanks for being patient!
I also have to say THANK YOU SO MUCH to all of you who’ve been along for awhile, too! I love getting to know you all.
Here’s a fun stat: WordPress chooses TEN new blog posts a day to add to their homepage. This is out of 31.7 million new posts a month. Here’s the link to prove that. And here’s another useful link: So You Want to be Freshly Pressed.
But here’s the truth of the matter: This post was not my best-written post, not my funniest or most emotional or most educational, interesting or sentimental. It’s just that it happened to get noticed. They do say that a catchy title is hugely important so I guess I had that going, at least. (Note, however: my previous post had the same title…and it didn’t get chosen! So titles aren’t everything…it’s a group effort!) Interesting photos are good, too. They also say that having links included in the post is good as it emphasizes the fact that blogging isn’t all about you, the blogger, it’s about world-wide connections.
I find this to be both encouraging and discouraging. Encouraging because ANYONE can be Freshly Pressed. It doesn’t take a perfect writer or an impeccable blog. Discouraging because hard work on a fabulous post does not necessarily equal “success” – if being Freshly Pressed is a measure of success. I think that the encouraging trumps the discouraging in this scenario.
I know that I have found with my other blog – the one that is through my local newspaper – that they are more apt to print (in their physical paper) timely/seasonal/human interest posts. I know I have seen that play out on the Freshly Pressed list, too, which is another thing to remember if striving after such a thing. For the Love of Vinyl wasn’t any of that, however! They liked it because it was nostalgic.
And, in this day of hurricanes and political stress and terrorism, people like to be reminded of simpler times. So, if you have a turn table, “go, put your records on….” You’ll be glad you did.
PS – my inbox now has 4050 messages. Time to get to work.
Everyone is busy right about now. Busy gardening, busy vacationing, busy running kids from place to place, busy relaxing.
Between the running around and the rehearsing (more on that in days to come) I’ve been busy reading. And washing my windows (thanks, Norwex) and throwing birthday parties that are only six months late. “Happy birthday,” Meep’s friends said to her, and she, very properly, replied, “Thanks”…rather than saying, “Acutally I’ve been ten for half a year already, it’s just that my mom is kinda behind the times.”
I’ve also been busy taking photos…and realizing that I really ought to read my camera’s instruction book…but that’s boring, so I haven’t yet.
So I give you today some photos and the memories that go with them from the past few weeks. The days have indeed been fine…though the epiphanies mostly center around the all-important question: “What’s for dinner?” as opposed to deeper things.
But that’s okay. It’s all good.
Most of the photos are self-explanatory, but let me explain the first two.
I may be wrong when I say this, but as far as I can remember, I’ve never made a point of meeting a “virtual friend” in the bright lights of reality…as opposed to the muted tones of the on-line world. All that changed early this month when I e-mailed my blogging friend, Audrey, at Minnesota Prairie Roots that I’d be visiting her town for a play and could we possibly meet up like at a park or something where the kids could play and she’d have ample oppotunity to cut our visit as short as she wanted…if she wanted!
Instead we got a warm invitation to their home, a delicious dinner, and made some “real-life” friends as opposed to merely virtual ones. Audrey and her husband Randy were lovely hosts. And, happily, our husbands hit it off and had plenty of things to talk about as opposed to standing around awkwardly and wishing that their wives would be a little less verbose.
Audrey’s hospitality extended to having games and sidewalk chalk ready for the kids, bandaides available for skinned knees, wild black raspberries ready for watering mouths, and freshly-picked strawberries and angel food cake for dessert. Does it get any better than that?!
How good it is to make a new friend.
PS – Audrey was recently “Freshly Pressed” (for the second time in her blogging life) here on WordPress – isn’t that cool? Please check out her blog if you haven’t before. (Being “Freshly Pressed” means that she was chosen out of thousands of bloggers to be featured on WordPress’s homepage. Neat, eh?!)
Blogging has many rewards. I am meeting new friends – that’s YOU – through your comments and many of your own blogs, and I am getting a chance to write, which is the reason I began to blog in the first place.
I resisted blogging for a long time – mostly because I believed I didn’t have time for it. Well, as it turns out, we make time for that which we love. The trick, of course, is to continue to do the other necessary things as well as the blogging.
Which means I better hush up and go do the dishes.
But quickly, let me tell you about two nice blogging honors I have received in the past few weeks. First, Betsy over at Bits and Breadcrumbs. She has recipes, a sense of humor, and lovely photographs of her food! Plus, I love her blog’s name. Thank you so much, Betsy, and thank you for being patient with my response! (By the way, my son would have been “Betsy” had he been a girl…but we’re pretty thankful that he was himself instead!)
Betsy was kind enough to award two honors at once: The Kreativ Blogger Award and the Sunshine Award, which was also awarded to me by Renee at CravesAdventure . Renee is an encourager. And an adventurer. She is a positive force of nature! I appreciate her outlook as well as her photographs of places she’s been and things she’s done. More than just a travel blog, hers is a happiness blog.
Thank you both so very much for these kind awards! I appreciate the mention on your blog and I am very glad to be a part of the blogosphere with you!
I guess there are some rules when receiving these awards. I have to answer a few questions and I have to nominate a few bloggers!
Favorite color: Bright red
Favorite number: 3
Favorite animal: Koala – though I’ve never seen one in person! Or maybe a Manatee – but that’s sounds politically correct, and I’m nothing if not rebellious against political correctness…
Favorite non-alcoholic drink: coffee
Facebook or Twitter: Facebook, although Twitter is beginning to look more professionally important.
My passion: writing (surprise, surprise!)
Getting gifts or receiving them: I love both!
Favorite pattern: Tartan – preferably Fraser!
Favorite day of the week: Sunday
Favorite flower: Daisy
Now for the nominees!!!
Storytelling Nomad – Katy is on the same road to becoming a writer that I am on and she often posts things that I can very much relate to. She is Australian and I must say that I just wish I could hear all of my Australian and New Zealand blogger friends actually speaking because, of course, being American I love a good Australian accent! But that aside, hers is a blog I definitely appreciate.
Whatimeant2say – If you need a laugh, this is the place to go for one. This blogger – let’s call her Mrs. Cap’n Firepants (not to be old fashioned, but to use the name she uses for her husband) – writes daily about her omnivorous bulldog and anything else that comes to mind…all of which she makes humorous. Who knew that even driving one’s daughter to school could be a source of hilarity? I so want to come up with pseudonyms for my family, but I can’t possibly do as well as she has.
You’re a Writer! Valerie has a very helpful blog for those on the writing trail. She posts practical advice, giving good examples of whatever she’s discussing – grammar, resources, writing style, etc. She brings a lot of experience to her blog and I am certain that many people could benefit from her useful information.