Monday, November 11, 2013

I Have Been Nominated! (In the Category of Want What You Have) #52Weeks

My husband very sweetly tweeted a link to my blog to one of his Tweeps who also happens to blog, and she nominated me for a Liebster Award. I had never heard of the Liebster Award before, so I Googled it. The Liebster Award is by bloggers for bloggers to recognize bloggers who have not yet crossed the threshold of readership that allows our blogs to be turned into major Hollywood motion pictures starring Meryl Streep. (Admit it, we all secretly want that to happen.) It’s a self-perpetuating award. Before this post is over, I will have nominated a few bloggers myself (I think they’ll meet the less-than-1000-readers criteria), but even if they see this as more of a chain letter than a fun game to play, at the very least, Ms. Waters handed me a perfect topic for this week’s #52Weeks blog post, which is a true gift.

There are rules to the Liebster Awards, you see. And the first rule is:

1. Write a blog post about the Liebster Award.

So that’s this week’s what-should-I-blog-about drama sorted out without much effort on my part. It morphs nicely into the second and third rules:

2. Thank the person that nominated you.

3. Post a link to their blog on your blog.

So thanks KJ Waters! I’m adding your blog, Blondie In The Water, to my list of blogs to follow. The rules continue:

4. Display the award on your blog and include it in your post and/or display it using a widget.

Okay, that’s not a problem. The Liebster Award looks like this:

At this point, were I the person writing the rules, I would move rule number 9 here, because otherwise this ongoing list of rules makes no sense. You see, rule 9 is:

9. List the rules in your post.

It makes more sense to get that rule in early. It allows one to then work on the next two rules, which give this award a chain-lettery feel. (I’m not original in this observation – other bloggers have mentioned this in their requisite Liebster Award blog posts.)

5. Answer the 11 questions about yourself provided by the person who nominated you,

and rule 6,

6. Give 11 random facts about yourself,

My nominator’s questions were pretty good ones. Truthfully, I am stumped by number 3. It’s not that I don’t regularly make a fool of myself, it’s just that some time ago I quit giving a crap what other people thought of me. Since then, I don’t get embarrassed anywhere near as easily. It’s a good head space to be in.


1. Give us a snapshot of your favorite beach or pool memory.
Magens Bay State Park, St. Thomas, USVI – This beach should have been jam packed with people.
We honeymooned on St. Thomas a week after the September 11, 2001 attacks. While we remained steadfast that our trip would not be cancelled due to a cowardly act of terrorism, apparently not everyone felt the same way. St. Thomas was nearly devoid of tourists. In our 600+ room resort, only 67 people were registered. The service was spectacular. So was Magens Bay StatePark, voted one of the world’s most beautiful beaches by the knowledgeable folks at National Geographic. We went on a Friday, which locals assured us was usually the busiest day. For us, the beach was empty of all but two or three families and the nice bikini-clad girl who brought us beers from the snack bar and had plenty of time to chat with us (we were her only customers). My photo album from that trip is filled with pictures of empty beaches, empty pools, an empty shopping district. It was amazing. We’re afraid to go back, because we will never have the island to ourselves quite like we did that year.

2. What is your favorite genre to read for pleasure? A quick review of my book collection confirms that I read more science fiction and fantasy than any other type of genre (unless you count cookbooks – I have a fair few of those as well). I was ever an escapist as a child. Narnia, Middle Earth, Xanth, Robert Heinlein’s recognizable parallel universe – I lived in these places. J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series enthralled me as an adult. Now my biggest regret is never having gotten my Hogwarts acceptance letter. I can literally make myself sad about it every September 1.
Me, engrossed in the last few pages of the last Harry Potter novel -- an intense and emotional day.

3. I would love to know about one of your most embarrassing moments. I'll share mine if you're brave enough to share yours. I'll even give you two …Oh gosh, there have been so many.

4. Who is your favorite celebrity and why? Here’s another question with too many answers. I respect a number of celebrities for a wide variety of reasons. If I had to pick a single favorite right now, it would be Tom Hanks, because I think he is gifted and he is known for his kindness.

5. What is your favorite place on the planet? Why? My favorite place on the planet, to date, is the New River Valley here in Virginia. I live in Christiansburg, work in Blacksburg, and as I commute my whopping seven miles to work each day, views of the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains surround me. I live in one of the prettiest places on earth; you cannot tell me otherwise.
6. Tell us about your next book idea. If you don't have one or aren't ready to share it, make something up and give us a wink so we know it’s a fake. I’ve taken the #NaNoWriMo challenge this year (and am so far losing it spectacularly). The novel is a space-fantasy-adventure-quest-spy-thriller called “Unspoken.” Santiago Fillup is on an intergalactic spy mission to track down the Words of Power before they are found by the sworn enemies of his home planet. Will the emerald Jewell help or hinder him? Only time will tell...

7. What is your favorite social media site and why? (twitter, facebook, pinterest, instagram ...) I could answer Twitter or Facebook with equal sincerity. I started on Facebook first, honoring a New Year’s Resolution to reconnect with people I had lost touch with, and it worked in spades. I started using Twitter about a year later for work, but I’m hooked, and I have actually met a few really wonderful people...some of whom are local. We do lunch and brunch and happy hours, and it’s been great to take a virtual tool and use it to make friends in real life.

8. Name one thing on your bucket list and tell us about it. I was born at the Rota Naval Air Station in Rota, Spain, but my family only stayed there until I was about 18 months old, so I have very little memory of the place of my birth. I want to go back to Rota one day, hopefully with my mom and my sister (my father has passed away) and see the town with adult eyes, and make memories I can keep this time.
I was born in this hospital.

9. In your opinion, what is your most redeeming quality? Something that makes up for the hot mess we all hide from everyone. If it isn’t the cookies I bake and give away, then it must be the fact that you will always know where you stand with me. I am a big believer in Say What You Mean, and Mean What You Say. I won’t lie to you or about you. If you are mean or intolerant, I will not waste my time with you. If there is anything I can say or do to help you, I will do my best to give it to you.
Last year's gingerbread cookies.

10. What is the last book you read for pleasure. Thumbs up or down? The last book I read for pleasure that I have actually finished was Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling), and I loved it. Rowling is (in my opinion) a master of characterization...even wizards are really believable coming from her imagination. Her first foray into murder mysteries is just as wonderful. In case you are curious, I am currently reading both Me Talk Pretty One Day, by David Sedaris and The Mistress of Art and Death by Ariana Franklin, and I am enjoying both very much.

11. What is the furthest you've been away from home. Was it for work, on vacation or other? Distance-wise, Portland, OR is the furthest place from home to which I have traveled. The happy occasion was my cousin Jay’s wedding. The entire family got together for this, including cousins from California who I had not seen for decades. Sadly, it was the last time I saw my Aunt Nancy alive (though not the last time we spoke). If I had known it was my last chance to get a Nancy hug, I would never have let go of her.
My family at Jay & Jamie's wedding. Aunt Nancy is the first woman on the left.


1. My favorite color is teal.

2. I have never read the novel, Moby Dick, and I intend to die being able to say that. (Don’t hate on me. I may have been Melville in a past life.)

3. I do Tarot Card readings for my friends. Some friends no longer let me read for them (but damn it, it is NOT my fault that her mom was diagnosed after she pulled the Lightning Struck Tower). But I don’t identify as a witch or a psychic, and I would never take money for it.

4. I love baking cookies just about more than anything.

5. My cats get away with ANYTHING at my house. One is old, one is young, both are dying, and if they want to “take tea” on the kitchen counter, so be it. I promise I always clean thoroughly before I bake cookies (or cook anything, for that matter).
You tell Smitty he can't sit there. I don't want to bother him.

6. I believe in love at first sight. My husband taught me that it is real.

7. I think ALL fast food should be taxed as heavily as cigarettes or alcohol. The stuff is just as deadly. I die a little inside whenever I hear of parents rewarding their kids with a trip to McDonald’s. It’s punishment, that “food.”

8. I used to know how to knit, crochet, and tat lace. I can no longer do any of these things. I’d love to meet someone who can re-teach me how to use my grandmother’s tatting shuttles.

9. I have a collection of magic wands, none of which actually function.

10. I talk to the moon whenever I see her. Of all the bodies in the heavens, she enthralls me the most.

11. I regularly cook with hot sauce made from ghost chilies. Be careful if I tell you something “might be a little spicy.”

This brings us to rule 7,

7. Nominate 5-11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have less than 1000 followers.

This rule is not as straight forward as it seems. I had trouble finding out the number of followers on the blogs I read most often, so I am not completely sure they all meet the 1,000-followers-or-less requirement. Hopefully they do, but in any case, here’s who I nominate for a Liebster Award:

  1. Phil S. Phorward: This person motivated me to start blogging regularly. I will always appreciate him for that. Phil is a fellow #52Weeks challenge taker and a very talented writer.
  2. Dan Wiedlich: Dan is also a fellow #52Weeks challenge taker. Dan has the soul of a poet. I wish he posted more; I love his writing, but he works full time, he’s in graduate school, and he probably insists on things like eating and sleeping.
  3. Andrea Badgley: I love this blog. Andrea is an amazing writer, and her feedback on my writings has been really helpful.
  4. Kristian Yelverton: Here’s another blogger who I wish had time to post more frequently. Funny stuff. She, too, is a fellow #52Weeks challenge taker.
  5. Jessy Irwin: Yet another fellow #52Weeks challenge taker, Jessy is a technical genius, best I can tell. She gets to check out cool things like Google Glass and hacking classes at DefCon, which she then blogs about.

I’m not sure any of them will have the time to play along with the Liebster Awards, and I will respect that, but just in case they want to play along, I must now follow rule 8, which is:

8. Create a new list of questions for the nominated bloggers to answer.


  1. What is your favorite food/beverage pairing?
  2. Tell me about the first story/blog/poem etc. that you ever wrote.
  3. Do you think your birth order has impacted your personality? If so, in what ways?
  4. Do you believe in astrology? Why or why not?
  5. Star Trek or Star Trek Next Generation? Discuss. (If your answer is Voyager or Deep Snooze Nine, skip this question.)
  6. Who is funnier in your opinion, Bill Murray or Tom Hanks? Why?
  7. If you could change one thing about your physical appearance, what would it be and why?
  8. Name a work of literature or art that inspired you.
  9. Finish this sentence: My favorite thing about Halloween is...
  10. What do you think we can do better to end hunger around the world?
  11. Name the celebrity that you dislike the most. Why?

Now I only need to take care of rule 10:

10. Inform the bloggers you’ve nominated them for the Liebster Award. Remember to give them a link to your post so that they can learn about it,

and I can get back to the #NaNoWriMo novel writing challenge. By the end of today I will need to have written 18,337 words to stay on pace to win the tee-shirt. At last count, I only had 13,427 written; as I said earlier – I’m losing spectacularly. But hey! At least I won the Liebster Award!


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