Tuesday, July 31, 2012

All Good Things



Success is a journey, not a destination.”  ~Arthur Ashe

Here we are, July 31st.  It’s the end of the month; summer is two-thirds done.  And for my fellow UBCers, this represents the end of the month-long challenge to truly focus on our blogs by writing and publishing a post every day.  I feel fortunate that I managed to keep up my daily posting, and I end this challenge with 35 entries.  I will display my completion badge with pride.

But, from what I’ve observed, everyone who participated in the challenge was successful.  Everywhere I looked, I saw comments that writers were posting more diligently than they’d done in the past, regardless of their schedule or final count.  I heard readers who commented on the new and exciting things they’ve learned this month.  I saw business owners making plans and making contacts.  I saw individuals coming together to support the group.  And I saw people making new friends.  All of that could be nothing less than successful.

So, it will be just a tiny bit bittersweet when I paste that new ribbon over on the side of the page, because I recognize that something good is coming to an end.  Without the push of the challenge, it’s likely that many of us will drift back to our own corners of the world.  Oh, some will drop back in on the group page, and hope to find others still there.  And, of course, I’ve popped some of my favorite new blogs into my reader so that I can easily keep up with what’s going on with the people I’ve become so interested in this month.  I’m not too proud to hope that maybe one or two have done the same with my blog.  But, it seems likely it will not be the same. 

So before we go our separate ways, I send sincere thanks to my fellow participants, for being part of such an engaging few weeks, and hope that we’ll meet again in October.  And, I hope that you will all remember just how successful July has really been.

UBC-completed

Monday, July 30, 2012

The It Girl

 

tag

                                                                             Image Credit:  the|G| photostream

As I mentioned last week, there’s a game of tag going on in the UBC group.  It’s been a ton of fun, learning extra bits of information about the different bloggers—things that we might not ordinarily see in their daily writings.  And, in the tagging back portion of the game, we have the chance to get introduced to blogs we might not have visited yet.  (There is a lot of activity going on over at UBC; I don’t think anyone could possibly keep up with all of it.)

Since I sent my last entry out into the ether, I have been tagged back from others, not once, or twice, but SIX different times!  Wow.  I am really feeling the love!  It makes me feel really good to know that folks have visited here and been interested enough in what I have to say to include me in their game.  I have never been so popular.

But, as other topics rolled through the week, I have not found the time to respond to the questions that were posed, and now I’ve accumulated 50 of them!  I’d like to think at least a few people who wander through here are interested in just about anything that I might utter on any given day, but I’m not deluding myself that any of them really want to listen to me rattle off the answers to 50 random questions about myself.  So, I won’t subject anyone to that.  Instead, I will make the arbitrary decision to simply answer twenty, including some questions from each of my taggers, and try to keep at least most of the answers short and to the point.

I also will not subject the UBC group as a whole to 66 tag-backs, especially with only one day left in the challenge.  Instead, I will simply say that if anyone needs a topic to post about (now, or anytime following the challenge), these questions are always sort of fun, so I’ll create a list that is free for the taking any time you need a bit of chatter to get you through the day.  And, to borrow an idea from Ronda, if you don’t want to make an entire post out of this sort of thing, pick one question and answer in the comments.  I’m always interested in learning about the readers who come by.

And the last order of business before getting down to the Q&A:  even though I’ve made it pretty clear that I won’t be following the rules as written, I’ll include them for anyone who might want to play along more precisely:

  1. Post the rules
  2. Answer the question your tagger sent you
  3. Tag 11 new people to answer questions; create your own set of questions or use the same ones you were given—the choice is yours
  4. Tell these people that they have been tagged

Oh, I lied.  One other piece of business not covered by the actual rules, and that’s a sincere note of thanks for the people who tagged me to begin with.  Much gratitude to the people who invited me to play:  Stephanie, Monick, Sara, Minette, Nikki, and Sue.  Click their names and visit their blogs; you won’t be disappointed.

1.  What was your very first blog post about? 

About starting a blog.

2.   Do you belong to any other FB writing groups? Which ones?

Nope, but I’d be interested in hearing about any good ones folks might recommend.

3.  What’s the single best piece of advice you ever received?

Always tell the truth.

4.  Who is your favourite author and why?

Stephen King, because he tells a good story about things I would never think about on my own.

5.  Why do you write?

Because I can’t not write.

6.  What topics do you write about?

Whatever floats my boat when I sit down at the keyboard.

7.  If you could go anywhere in the world today, where would you go and who would you take with you?

Australia has been at the top of my to-visit list for a long time.  If money was no object, I’d take my husband and son, and my sister and her family.  Realistically, when I finally do make it down under, it’s likely going to be just hubby and me.

8.  What’s your favorite kind of food and why?

For the most part, meat and potatoes:  steak and bake, burger and fries, chicken and mashed . . . you get the idea.  But I’m also very partial to basic Mexican food (tacos, burritos, etc), as long as it’s not spicy.

9.  What’s your favorite type of exercise?

A nice walk, though I’m also very fond of the Michael Jackson Experience on the Wii.

10.  What is your favourite quotation?

I like a lot of them, but I’ve got two perennial favorites listed on my Facebook page, so I’ll share those:  “The secret of success is constancy of purpose” (Benjamin Disraeli) and “Do or do not; there is no try” (Yoda).

11.  What 3 websites do you most frequently visit?

Yahoo, Google, Facebook

12.  Who do you look up to the most? (dead or alive)

My mom, no contest.  She was absolutely the best person I ever knew in my life.

13.  If you won the lottery (millions of dollars), what would you do with the money?

Pay off my house (even though I know that’s not the best tax move), pay off all my sister’s bills, set up a trust for my son and my nephew, give a chunk to cancer research, then stick the rest in the bank and travel.

14.  What would you say your biggest accomplishment has been?

I’m pretty proud of the work my friends and I did to get Brian Keith a star awarded on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  (You can see the details here.)

15.  What is the most important principle in life for you?

Be kind to others and true to yourself. 

16.  What one thing would you change about your house if you could?

I’d gut my kitchen and start over.

17.  As a kid, what did you want to be when you grow up?

Astronaut, lawyer, writer.  My brain is wired for neither science nor zero gravity, so astronaut is clearly out.  In a couple of years, I’ll have a degree in paralegal, but that’s as close to an attorney as I’m likely to be at my age.  And I’d still like to be a professional writer.

18.  What is your favorite type of movie?

A good action/drama (Air Force One, Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, Raiders of the Lost Ark), or a nice chick flick (anything with Hugh Grant)  Or, just about anything at all with Tom Hanks, Robin Williams, or Harrison Ford.

19.  Who in your life do you want to spend more time with?

My BFF, Kim.  We’re not incredibly far apart, but even a couple of hours is a long way when you’re dealing with daily life.

20.  If you could make a living pursuing just one type of writing, what would it be?

I’d write novels.  But I don’t know what kind, which is why I haven’t tried it yet. 

 

My questions, to anyone who wants to play: (I’m using some of these and some new)

  1. If you could make a living pursuing just one type of writing, what would it be?
  2. What is your favorite quotation?
  3. What’s the single best piece of advice you ever received?
  4. What is the most important principle in life for you?
  5. If you won the lottery (millions of dollars), what would you do with the money?
  6. What would you say your biggest accomplishment has been?
  7. What are your top 5 favorite movies?
  8. Other than writing, what kind of creating do you enjoy?
  9. What’s your favorite kind of milkshake?
  10. Do you have siblings? If so, how many?
  11. Favorite sitcom of all time?

Okay, that’s it.  Thanks so much for dropping by.  If you tag yourself into the game on your blog, be sure to let me know so I can come read all about you, too.  Otherwise, please do leave an answer to any question(s) you choose in the comments.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Musing

 

As you’ve heard me say many times in the past few weeks, I’m participating this month in the Ultimate Blog Challenge, designed to create the habit of writing/posting every day (and, hopefully, increase some traffic to your site in the process).  And, while the idea is to post every day, the actual challenge is to end the month of July with 31 posts.  As it happens, I’ve already reached that goal; this will be #33.  I could put the “completed” badge on my site right now and call it done.

The problem is that I set myself the goal of writing/posting every day, and I’ve done that so far.  I’ve got the couple extra because I participated in a meme here or there along the way that caused me to post twice daily a time or two, not because I was stockpiling for the day when I wouldn’t have anything to say.  But maybe I should have stockpiled. 

I had several ideas on what to talk about today.  And, I’ve still got a few unanswered tag requests that I need to address, hopefully this month, so I could make a post out of that.  But, none of that really tripped my trigger today.  What I need is a visit from a Muse.  There are nine of them, right?  Surely one of them could spare a moment to drop by my place for just a short chat.  I’d say I’d prefer Calliope (though there is certainly nothing particularly epic nor poetic about my writing most days), but beggars can’t be choosers, and I’d be glad to see any of the Ladies. 

While I’m waiting, I think I’ll browse through some photographs, maybe surf the web a bit for some reading, and drop in on some of my favorite blogs.  Surely some of that will help me become more inspired, even if Calliope and her sisters choose to stay away. 

Muse

 

 

 Image credit: JeffFran photstream.


What tricks do you have to get words flowing when you’re feeling uninspired?  I’d love to hear about them.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Six Word Celebration

 

 

Happy birthday to my sister, Susie.

Susie


 

                                                                                                                                     Connect with Six Word Saturday here.

Friday, July 27, 2012

It’s a Fiver: From Social Media Humor to Frivolous Dreams

 

 

Somehow, I’m always a little surprised when Friday rolls around again.  It’s true what they say about not having a strict schedule:  days to tend to blur.  five question friday

But, Friday it is, so that means it’s time for another visit with Mama M and her famous five questions.  Between 5QF and blog games/awards, it seems that I’ve been answering a lot of random questions of late, so if you’re tired of hearing my views on such arbitrary minutiae, this might be a good time to wander elsewhere.  On the other hand, you can’t really be all that surprised.  I mean, the site is called “Idle Chatter”, so it’s right there in my header, for goodness sake.   It’s like truth in advertising, right?  (“Ages three and up.  It’s on my box!”  Gold star for those who recognize the mostly unrelated quote.)

Anyway, if you want to join in with 5QF, click the picture up there, or add yourself to the linky below.  In the meantime, here we go . . .

 


1. What is the funniest thing you saw on Facebook/twitter this week?

It wasn’t funny in and of itself, but . . .  Anyway, there’s a Facebook page for folks playing along in the daily photo challenge.  The day’s theme was heart, and a member posted a pic of heart she’d constructed.  Turns out it was made out of packing peanuts, but I thought it was Cap’n Crunch.  I’d say it’s my love of kid cereals again, but I wasn’t the only one who thought it.  See?  Not really funny at all, now that I’ve said it out loud (virtually speaking).  A definite “had to be there” moment.

2. What is your favorite Olympic event?

Don’t hate me, but I’m not an Olympic fan.  There are some I dislike less than others, I suppose, but none are my favorite.  But I’ll cheer for the good ol’ USofA whenever we’re on the field.  Or court.  Or whatever. 

3. Do your kids do chores around the house? If so, what are they and how old are the children? Do they get paid for them?

My “kid” is 20, and he was better with chores 14 years ago!  Maybe I should go back to construction paper charts with stickers.  Winking smile

4. If you get bad service/food do you complain or keep quiet?

I typically keep quiet, especially about the service.  Food can be corrected if it’s been prepared wrong, but complaining about bad service is unlikely to accomplish much.  And, I spent a lot of time in customer service with people only complaining about “bad” service because they wanted something for free; it’s rare that I get treated so badly that I think I deserve some sort of financial compensation.  And, on that rare occasion, Brian doesn’t have any problem speaking up, so I’m covered!

5. If you could pick ONE frivolous item for your home, what would it be? (massive room sized closet? swimming pool? greenhouse? etc...)

Well, I’m a little spoiled.  I’ve already got a swimming pool, and my closet is at least the size of a small room (though it’s hard to tell right now because of all the crap jammed in there!).  But, even if I didn’t have those things, I think what I’d want is a theater room.  You know, wall-sized TV, amazing sound system, big, plush recliner seats, popcorn and soda machines in the back corner, the whole deal.  I’d like that an awful lot.

That’s it.  If you’ve stayed with me this far, thanks!  And if you don’t want to play along officially, just leave me your answers in the comments below.  As we’ve established, I’m all about the random chatter.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Another Bit of Sunshine

 

I’ve been a little down lately.  Nothing major, just too many days sitting around the house, I think.  I’m pretty sure that I’m past the point of wishing I still had my old job, but I’m certainly not done wishing I had a job.  And I’m definitely looking forward to starting classes next month, just to give myself something more constructive than doing the dishes and cooking dinner.

So today is just a reminder for myself, and anyone else who’s maybe feeling stuck inside themselves right now.  The key to getting out of this kind of funk is to forget about yourself for just a minute and put some effort into someone else.  Do a good deed.  Make someone smile.  Something—anything-that brings a moment of pleasure to someone other than yourself.  It’s amazing how quickly your outlook can change.  I know this to be true; I just need to remember it on days when I need a little sunshine.

Sunshine

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

B is for Blogger Award

 

It’s ABC Wednesday again, and I was debating what to write about.  I’m new to this challenge, but it seems to me the participants are fairly evenly split between those who choose a theme for the entire alphabet round, and those who choose random topics each week.  For myself, I’m all about random, so that’s the route I decided to take.  But, that meant I needed to figure out something to write about today, and—if I do say so myself—I’d come up with a few pretty catchy ideas.  The boys in my life: Brian and Billy.  The birds in my backyard, including a recent bunting.  My BFF.  Branson, Mo, where BFF and I are planning a weekend in the next couple of months to celebrate my birthday.  Really, my mind was positively brimming with Bs.

But, sometimes, the best ideas for a post just pop up out of nowhere.  So it was this evening when I sat down at the computer and found that I’d been nominated for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award.  As you might have noticed, I am a blogger, and blog starts with the letter of the week, so . . .

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award


I was honored with this award from Sara, at Recovery Corner.  I have to say (again) that meeting so many wonderful folks has been the absolute best part of participating in the Ultimate Blog Challenge. (Click on the badge over on the right side of the page if you’d like to know more about the UBC.)  Thank you, Sara, for making an already great experience even better with your kindness.

Sisterhood Rules:

1. Thank the giver

2. Post 7 things about yourself

3. Pass the award on to 7 other bloggers and let them know they’ve been nominated

4. Include the logo of the award in a post or on your blog

I think number one has been covered, but I also think you can never say “thank you” often enough, so, again, Sara, thank you for including me in this award.

And now, seven bits of information about me.  That’s pretty broad, huh?  Let’s see what we find out.

  • I’ve been a Star Trek fan as long as I can remember.  Not the kind that wears costumes at questionable times, or thinks Kirk and Spock are real, but a fan just the same.
  • Shelties are my favorite kind of dog.
  • Starting next month I’ll be attending college to become a paralegal.
  • I like to visit new places and be a tourist. And I’ve got the thousands of photos to prove it.
  • I like Broadway musicals; Camelot is my favorite.
  • A couple of friends and I co-authored an episode/viewer’s guide for the television show Hardcastle and McCormick.  (Blatant self-promotion:  find the book here.)
  • I don’t really like to fly, but a seaplane ride over the mountains and glaciers of Vancouver ranks as one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.

And now, the hard part: sharing the award with (only) seven other bloggers.   Of course, this is a Sisterhood award, so there’s a fair chunk of writers ineligible, but that still leaves an awful lot of fine folks to choose from.  For this round of sharing, I’m going to stick with only UBC participants, since I feel so fortunate to have found this amazing challenge, so I’m going to share the love there.  So, in no particular order, these are seven women who are writing blogs that have entertained me, or touched me, or spoken to me in some way.  I’d encourage you to stop by and check them out.

  1. Cathy, The Health Coach Group
  2. Melinda, Musings
  3. Danielle, Cloakeynotes
  4. Nikki, It’s Simply . . . Life
  5. Minette, by Design
  6. Sandi, An Average Woman in a Superwoman World
  7. Connie, Sunfire’s Ramblings

So, there you have it.  A blogger’s award, some background on me, and a bunch of other blogs so you can branch out a bit.  And, if you want to balance it all out, find a bucket full of Bs here.

ABCW11

 

Shall We Play a Game?

 

No, not global thermonuclear war—something far less serious than that.  (For those of you too young to recognize the non sequitur, it’s from a movie, and you can watch the set-up scene here.)  At any rate, this is a blogging game, where writers tag in other writers and ask them to play along by answering a few questions.  Folks get to learn a bit more about each other in a fun and engaging way, and the tagged bloggers (if they choose to play along; no one’s holding a gun to their heads, or anything) get a post for the day.  Score.

tag

                                                      Image Credit:  the|G| photostream

 

I was tagged in to the game by Hannah, at People Watch.  I’m glad she included me, because this does seem like a lot of fun, so, thank you, Hannah. 

Like every game, this one has rules:

  1. Post the rules
  2. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post
  3. Create eleven new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged (or use the existing ones)
  4. Tag (eleven) people with a link to your post
  5. Let them know they’ve been tagged

So, for the questions.  Hannah gave us the option to use the same set of questions she answered, or a new set that she created.  I hope she won’t mind that I’m going to mix and match.

1.  What is the thing that makes you want to get out of bed each day?

I guess just the idea that you never know what’s waiting.  Sure, it might be the same old routine you’ve done hundreds of times before, but it also might be a once in a lifetime kind of day.  There’s just no way to know until you get out there and get started.

2.  If you were a brand (e.g. Apple, CocaCola, Virgin), what would you be?

No question, I’d be Disney.  Standing for fun, and family, and unrivaled customer service—that’s the brand I’d want to be.

3.  What do you tell yourself to get through painful, difficult, or challenging times?

There are a lot of clich├ęs that I actually believe, things like “everything happens for a reason”, and “you’re never given more than you can handle”, etc.  But, mostly, I remember that I’ve been blessed with family and friends that love me, and I know that they’ll be there for me no matter what I might need.  You can get through just about anything with that kind of support.

4.  If an alien landed on earth, what would be your ‘top tip for living here’?

Share whatever special skills you’ve brought, but don’t show off.  Make friends when you can.  And remember that—no matter how advanced you are—we’ve got things to teach you, too.

5.  What is your favorite form of art and artist (anyone and anything you consider art qualifies)?

Music, though as for a favorite artist, that’s really hard.  I can’t remember a time I haven’t enjoyed listening to Billy Joel, so I guess I’d go with him. 

6.  If you were an animal, what would you be?

A cat.  Maybe a big lion, and maybe a fuzzy little house cat, but some kind of cat.  They’re smart, playful, inquisitive, independent, and they always know what they want.

7.  What childhood fable, fairytale, or movie stretched your imagination and sticks with you today?

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  Be nice, do the right thing, take responsibility for your actions, and let good deeds be their own reward.  And always be grateful when even greater rewards come your way.  It’s a wonderful way to live.

8.  Do you have a special place, real or imagined, where you go to in your mind or reality to regroup, seek peace, or just be?

It’s an empty beach, at night.  The only sound is the rhythm of the waves, lapping on the shore and occasionally crashing against the rocks.  There’s a light breeze, carrying a faint sent of something sweet, like honeysuckle.  And up above, about a million stars in a cloudless sky.  I’ve been there a thousand times without ever leaving home. 

9.  What’s your happy song?

Like I said, I love music, so even sad songs can often cheer me up, weird as that may be. But a couple of really peppy tunes that always bring a smile are “Bad Day”, by Daniel Powter, and “Walking On Sunshine”, by Katrina and the Waves.

10.  Look around you at this moment and choose one thing to smile about or be thankful for. What is it?

My son.  He’s almost 21 and seems stuck in a phase where he has little current use for his mom and dad, but he’s still the best thing I’ve ever done.

11.  If you could do anything at this moment to make yourself happy, what would it be?

Locate and visit the physical version of my beach.

 

And for the questions I’m passing along to the next group, it’s a mixed bag, too.

  1. What is the thing that makes you want to get out of bed each day?
  2. If an alien landed on earth, what would be your ‘top tip for living here’?
  3. What’s your happy song?
  4. Do you have a special place, real or imagined, where you go to in your mind or reality to regroup, seek peace, or just be?
  5. What childhood fable, fairytale, or movie stretched your imagination and sticks with you today?
  6. What’s your idea of the perfect evening?
  7. As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  8. What’s your favorite kind of movie?
  9. If you won the lottery, would you tell anyone?
  10. If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be?
  11. Do you believe in destiny?

 

And, lastly, the people I’m tagging into the game.  I’m including you because I’ve enjoyed reading your blog and I think it would be fun to know more about you.  But, keep in mind, this really is a game; it’s supposed to be fun.  That means if creating this post doesn’t fit in with your current topics, if you don’t have the time or energy to think it through right now, or if it simply isn’t your cup of tea, that’s okay.  This tag doesn’t come with any dire warnings about consequences for breaking the chain.  In other words:  tag, you’re it—but only if you want to be.

  1. Chelle, Treat Me to a Feast: Notes From My Abundant Life
  2. Angie, The Daily Hottentots
  3. Suzy, Someday Somewhere
  4. Jacqueline, Future Pull
  5. Ronda, Choice Life Strategies
  6. Cathy, Cathy’s Voice Now
  7. Athena, Athena Brady
  8. Caryn, Caryn’s Thoughts
  9. Harriet, Harriet Stack
  10. Holly, Aggravation Station
  11. Jen, Snapshots

Okay, that’s it, my entry into the blog tag game.  Thanks again, Hannah!

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Sunshiny Day

 

I have to say that I’ve been having an excellent time participating in the Ultimate Blog Challenge this month.  I’ve found some really entertaining blogs filled with fascinating stories, conversed with some really interesting people, and gotten some really good ideas for the future.  I’ve also been lucky enough to see some new traffic here to my own blog, and I’m grateful for that.  And, today, I’m really grateful to be able to say that one of my visitors has nominated me for a bit of recognition, and I’m thrilled to be a new recipient of The Sunshine Award!

sunshine-award


Many thanks to Emily at My Inspired Life with Fibromyalgia, both for visiting me here to begin with, and for enjoying it enough to share this special award with me.  And it seems particularly special as this is an award designed for “bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere”; I’m honored to be thought of in such a way.

Of course, the award comes with some rules, which I am more than happy to follow, especially since they’re pretty easy: 

  • Post the award along with a link back to the person who gave the nomination
  • Answer some questions
  • Nominate 10 fellow bloggers for the award and link to their site
  • Comment on your nominees’ blogs to let them know you’re sharing the love with them

See?  Easy-peasy.  Well, picking the deserving blogs to nominate might be difficult, but I’m going to give it a shot.  First, though, the questions . . .

1.     Who is your favorite philosopher?

Well, except for a semester in freshman year, I’ve never really studied philosophy in any great depth, so I can’t say as I truly have a favorite philosopher.  But, during that single freshman class, we did cover one of the very best short stories I’ve ever read.  It’s called “The Star”, written by Arthur C. Clarke.  Not technically a philosopher, but I’d consider him a visionary, and I think that’s close enough.  If you’ve never read it (or would like to enjoy it again), you can see it here.

2.    What is your favorite number?

17.  It’s my birthday number, as well as the first half of the registry number of the USS Enterprise, so what more do you need?

3.    What is your favorite Animal?

I’m not sure I can totally answer that, because I absolutely adore animals in general.  Maybe I’d say bears, because I’ve always been fascinated by those big, fuzzy creatures.

4.    What are your Facebook and Twitter urls?

Facebook:  facebook.com/cheri.defonteny

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/cherilynde

5.     What is your favorite time of the day?

I think it’s probably late at night, when everyone else is asleep, and I’m free to watch whatever I want on TV, or read, or exercise, or pretty much whatever I feel like doing.

6.    What was your favorite vacation?

I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of really good vacations, so this is a difficult question.  I think I’d probably have to vote for spring of 1991.  In the previous few months, I’d received the best news of my life (pregnant with my son) and the worst (mom’s terminal cancer diagnosis).  I’ve got a close family, and my husband and I had taken several vacations with my mom and sister.  That spring, we packed our bags for what we feared would be the last time and headed west.  Most of the time was spent in the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen, Sea Ranch, California.  We were blessed that we actually got another year (and another vacation) together, but I think this might still be my favorite.

7.     What is your favorite physical activity?

There’s nothing better than a nice long walk, especially if you’ve got some great scenery along the way.

8.    What is your favorite non-alcoholic drink?

My instinct is to say Sonic Coke (Coke is great on its own, of course, but the Sonic ice makes all the difference).  But, for the past year or so, I’ve really been working on a better approach to health and fitness, so I’ve cut way back on the soda—like one every couple of months or so, if that.  The only thing I drink regularly these days is water and iced tea, and I prefer the water.

9.    What is your favorite flower?

Daisies.  Simple, colorful, joyful.

10.  What is your passion?

I’m passionate about treating people the way I want to be treated.  There’s a lot of pain and suffering that goes along with everyday life, and I don’t want to be part of it for anybody.  Oh, and I’m pretty fond of writing, too.

And, now, the 10 bloggers I’m nominating next for the Sunshine Award (which ended up being even harder than I anticipated), in no particular order:

  1. Amy, Tao Te Ching Daily
  2. Hannah, People Watch
  3. Riki, Refreshingly Riki
  4. Steph, Steph Nickel’s Eclectic Interests
  5. Melissa, The Bright Side
  6. Debi, The Romantic Vineyard
  7. Glenda, CopperLeaf Treasures
  8. Candy, clhPhotography
  9. Jeannie, For What It’s Worth
  10. Renee, A View to a Thrill

Most of these blogs I’ve found through the UBC, and all of them I don’t get to visit as often as I’d like.  But, when I do, I always find them positive and creative, so I think they’re all deserving of the Sunshine Award.

And thanks again to Emily, for spreading the sunshine this way.

 

 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Life Lessons From a Kitchen Appliance

I bet you’re wondering how someone can learn something from your typical kitchen appliance, right?  Let me tell you a story . . .

We bought a new refrigerator this weekend.  I was mostly excited about it; after all, who doesn’t love to get new and shiny things?  But only “mostly” excited, because for as long as we’ve had our old fridge—about twenty-five years now—I’ve said that when we finally replaced it, the new one would have ice and water in the door.  Brian has never wanted that, but it’s long been my opinion that he got his way the first time around, so I should get to pick the next one.  And though he disagreed with my thought process, he didn’t really argue about it too much.

But then something even more new-fangled came about:  French doors.  I got distracted by the novelty of it all, and for the past couple of years, I’ve been thinking we might want to go that route when we finally gave up on our old clunker, though I had some serious reservations about the freezer situation.  But, Brian really liked the bottom freezers he’d seen, so I figured it would be a nice compromise: I’d get my ice and water, he’d get his bottom freezer, and it would look really nice.  What could be wrong with that?

Sadly, what I’ve realized in the past few months as I’ve been researching, is that the typical French door models are far too big for our current refrigerator space.  Oh, they would fit, but hang out past the wall, and stick out past the countertop, and just generally look a little bit awkward, completely overshadowing the new and shiny effect.  So, we opted for a smaller version, which allowed us to get the nice looks, but—unfortunately—meant I had to give up my long-anticipated ice and water in the door.  But at least I was getting a built in ice-maker, something I’ve spent the past 25 years without, so I thought it was a compromise I could be okay with.   And, like I said, I still thought it looked pretty nice.

                                                                                                                                       fridge 2                             

fridge 1                                                                

     

               See?  New and shiny.


But now, it’s 36 hours later, we’ve moved all the stuff over to our new fridge, and my worst fears have come to pass: the bottom freezer is really a pain.  There’s no good way to organize things, and it’s way too small for stuff we normally keep on hand.  (Well, not way too small, but at least a little bit too small, and that’s with everything crammed in so tight we can’t see what we’re looking for.) So now I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on something that’s not really going to meet even my basic needs, and I’m still destined to spend the next couple of decades without ice and water in my refrigerator door.  Definitely puts a damper on the excitement of a new appliance.

The moral of this story:  Be true to yourself; don’t let the new and shiny things lead you from the path of something that you’ve always wanted.

What life lessons have you learned from an unexpected source?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Six Word Prayer

 

Like many of us, the tragedy in Colorado has been on my mind.  There really are no words to describe my thoughts and feelings, and if there were, six would not seem enough.  But, really, all I have to offer are my prayers, so maybe six is all I need.

Six Word Prayer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                              Image credit:  Brenda-Starr

And if you’ve got six words to string together on any topic today, you can link up to Six Word Saturday here.


Friday, July 20, 2012

Take 5; It’s Friday

 

Welcome to the end of another week, everybody.  And with another Friday rolling around, you know that means it’s time for another five questions, so let’s get this show on the road. 

five question friday


1.  What do you call them—flip flops, sandals, thongs, or slippers?

Um . . . I don’t think I understand the question, as three of those things are actually different things.  Flip flops and thongs could be used interchangeably, and, strangely, my preference has changed over time.  In my youth, I called them thongs, but now I call them flip flops.  I don’t know why, but it’s true.  But to me, sandals and slippers are totally different things—from each other, and from flip flops.

2.  Are you a “my kids can do no wrong” kind of mom, or a “Johnny punched you? Well what did you to to him first?!” kind of mom?

Somewhere in the middle.  I absolutely understand that even my kid can do (and has done) wrong, but I’m more like, “Johnny punched you? Tell me what happened.”

3.  Would you confront a good friend that looked/looks down on your husband/significant other?

Confront may be too strong a word, but I’d certainly discuss it with them.  If you can’t have that conversation with a “good friend”, how good are they, really?

4.  Biggest pet peeve?

Had to think about that for a minute, but I guess I’d go with habitual liars.  Not the kind that lie about important things (that goes beyond a pet peeve for me), but the kind who are constantly telling falsehoods about things of absolutely no consequence—usually just to make themselves look better.  Kind of like braggarts.  I don’t particularly care for that behavior, either, but it’s worse when you’re bragging about something untrue.  I’m sure there’s a word for people like that, but I don’t really know what it is, other than “annoying”. 

On the other hand, I’m also frequently annoyed by people on my Facebook feed who do nothing but post stupid funny pictures.  For the most part, you’re on my feed because I’m interested in the things you have to say, so I don’t like it when you don’t ever actually say anything.  (Not that there aren’t some people who I wish would say a little less now and again, but that’s a whole other topic.)

I dunno.  Liars, goofy Facebook posters.  Both tick me off.  And, come to think of it, for just about the same reason:  not being their true selves.  Maybe my real pet peeve is posers.

5.  What’s your favorite take out meal?

Almost has to be pizza. (Preferably Pizza Hut, though of late we’ve been into Papa Murphy’s.)  I’m actually kind of a junk-food junkie, so I’ve had a lot of take out in my lifetime, but I think pizza’s the best thing to actually make a plan around the idea of going out to get something to bring home.  Come to think of it, I haven’t made a plan for dinner tonight . . .


So there you have it, this week’s edition of Five Question Friday.  If you want to play along, just jump on the linky below.  Or, leave your answers in the comments—I love to see what other think.

BTW, for those playing along with the UBC, this is my 24th post for the month; I’m on a roll! (Not to be a braggart, or anything!)  It’s still my intention to post every day, but I do like having a little breathing space, just in case life gets in the way.


 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Welcome to my Soapbox

 

“I believe with all my heart that civilization has produced nothing finer than a man or woman who thinks and practices true tolerance.”  ~ Frank Knox

Earlier today, Liz, of Eternal Lizdom fame, published a piece encouraging everyone to Stop Hatin’!  I thought it was an important message, and it inspired me to write a little bit about my own thoughts on the subject. 

When I did a post recently listing, among other items, things that I hate, bigotry was at the top of the list.  The idea that any person could so narrow-mindedly believe that they are 100%, completely correct about anything that they believe is incomprehensible to me; last time I checked, there were no perfect people wandering the planet.  But, the further idea that this same person could not only discount all ideas that are different from their own, but—by extension—discount the people who believe differently is absolutely mind-boggling. 

So I vote differently than you.  Or I worship differently.  Maybe I look different than you.  Have different relationships with my family, buy a different brand, join a different club, spend my money differently, think, feel, believe differently.  So what? 

Now, I will grant you that the things that we think, feel, and believe certainly are a large part of who we actually are, so it’s entirely possible that if I do all of those things differently than you, we might not be very good friends.  We really might not have much in common that would make us enjoy spending time together.  But you know what?  I’m not going to know that until I try.  And neither are you.  If you are discounting people based purely on the basis of what group—any group—that they belong to, you’re doing yourself a disservice.  And, if you’re doing more than discounting them, if you’re actively disliking them, you’re doing everyone a disservice.  You see, the real problem with all the contention and separation is that it doesn’t stop with the person doing the hating.  It carries over to their friends, spreads to their co-workers, and infects their kids. 

Not that this is news, of course.  Way back in the 40s, Rodgers and Hammerstein were taking grief for trying to spread the message of tolerance in South Pacific.  I’d like to share with you the lyrics of one of my favorite songs from the show:

You've got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You've got to be taught
From year to year,
It's got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade,
You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught before it's too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You've got to be carefully taught

The background of this particular storyline is about racial differences, but the details don’t really matter.  Different is different, and those who discount people because of those differences—people who hate those who do not conform to their idea of the way things should be—are bigots, and their behavior makes me a little bit crazy.  As Liz said, we all just need to stop hatin’.

Not that it will be easy, of course.  Some of our dislike for those different from ourselves is so ingrained that we don’t even recognize it as bigotry; it’s just the way we feel.  That’s sort of the point of the song, the way people are insidiously indoctrinated without even knowing it.  But it doesn’t have to stay that way.  As with anything, recognizing the problem is the first step to the solution.  We can’t change everyone, but each of us can examine our own belief system and behavior and we can change ourselves.  Another snippet of lyrics to further illustrate the point, this time from Michael Jackson:

I'm Starting With The Man In
The Mirror
I'm Asking Him To Change
His Ways
And No Message Could Have
Been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World
A Better Place
(If You Wanna Make The
World A Better Place)
Take A Look At Yourself, And
Then Make A Change
(Take A Look At Yourself, And
Then Make A Change)
(Na Na Na, Na Na Na, Na Na,
Na Nah)

It really is up to us.  No more possible friends need be lost because of superficial assumptions; no other couple ever has to defend their right to follow their hearts; no future generations need ever know what bigotry is like.  I propose that these differences do not matter.  That, deep down, we are all very much alike.  We all hope, fear, love.  We want the best for our loved ones; we want to be free to live our lives according to our beliefs; we want to be happy.

We can all have those things that we want, as long as we remember that we are all sharing this journey here on Earth, and that we’re really not so different after all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A is for Animals

 

One of the fun things about being exposed to so many new blogs via the Ultimate Blog Challenge is that I’ve also run across different memes that appeal to me, and without UBC, I likely wouldn’t have stumbled on to them. 

So today I begin ABC Wednesday.   According to their site, this project is in year number six, which seems like a really long time in Internet age.  I’m glad to have caught it at the very beginning of Round 11, so thanks to Suzy at Someday Somewhere for that. 

For today, A is for Alaskan Animals. 

Alaskan Animals


Last summer, to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary, Brian and I took a cruisetour to Alaska.  My greatest hope was that during our trip we would get to see plenty of the animals that make AK famous, and we were not disappointed—especially with the bears, which was what I really wanted to see.  The black bear in this picture was actually in a conservation park, but we did also see one in the wild, and SEVEN different grizzlies!  Bears, moose, caribou, eagles, seals, whales, beavers, mountain sheep, running salmon, birds of several varieties—we certainly got our money’s worth from the animal perspective.  And, we even got to see a couple of kennels for Alaskan sled dogs!

All in all, quite possibly two of the best weeks of my life, and the animals were a big part of the fun.  I can’t wait to do it again!


ABCW11

 

 

 

 


If you’d like to play along with ABCW, just click the badge and link up.

Dear Body . . .

 

body image

A month or so ago, this amusing little e-card popped up on my Facebook page.   I chuckled in commiseration and continued scrolling through the posts.

But the thought has stuck with me, more true than I would like, and less funny than intended.  That’s what happens when you strike a chord with those of us who have been overweight most of our lives, even though some of that time, “overweight” has just meant “at the high end of the healthy range”.  It’s all about perception.

So, since I couldn’t get the thought out of my brain, I came to the conclusion that I should write about it, and penciled it in for this week.  Then last night I was reading Midnight Musings, and she had a post about a love letter to her body.   Her post is part of a syncroblog/link up over at SheLoves, inviting everyone to write such a letter to their body and share it.   It seemed the perfect way to maybe talk about what’s been on my mind, so I’m going to give it a try. . .


I have been unfair.  I didn’t recognize it at the time, but it’s true.  I’ve put unrealistic expectations on you and never took the time to stop and consider all that you’ve done for me.  In my youth, I was not accepting of you, and I wished—oh, how I wished!—that you could be different.  Different:  smaller, prettier, sexier; what you were was rarely enough. 

And if it wasn’t enough that I diminished you so, I treated you pretty badly, too.  Oh, I never subjected you to drugs and alcohol or anything so dramatic, but lazy days in front of the television, tons of food from a drive-through window, and poor sleeping habits were the norm.  Eventually it caught up with you, as life wore on and we aged, and you became what I already believed you were.  It’s like you finally gave in and accepted what I’d been telling you all those years.  Unfair probably doesn’t begin to cover it.

Recently, I was looking through some old photos, and I came across one of you, from the days when I thought you were fat, and I couldn’t believe my eyes.  I wished immediately that you could be that way now, and regretted that I’d been so dissatisfied then.  I hope that you’ll believe me when I tell you how sorry I am to have made you feel so inadequate.

When I looked at that picture, my first thought was, “I would give anything to look like that again”.  But, the truth is, I wouldn’t really give anything.  I wouldn’t give the one thing it would take: the life that we’ve lived.  I wouldn’t give up the life that you helped me bring into this world—the life that is now a young man.  I wouldn’t give up the years that we’ve had together, you and I, the years that brought me to where I am now.  I wouldn’t go back. 

But, hopefully, you knew that long before I stumbled across that old photograph.  I know that I still don’t treat you as well as I should, but I hope you know that I’ve been trying to do better.  You’ve seen me trying to be more active, and you’ve helped me to get better at that.  And you must’ve noticed that I spend far less time at the drive-through windows now.  All of that is for you.  Because, while it may have taken me a long time, I have realized how unfair I’ve been to you.  I’ve realized that I should never have taken you for granted.

So, even though I wouldn’t go back, I can go forward, and that’s what I’ve been trying to do.  I do know that I’ve been unfair, and I’m glad that you’ve stuck with me long enough for me to realize it on my own.  You didn’t resort to major illness or disease to make sure I got the message.  Through it all, you’ve been much better to me than I’ve ever been to you.  And I’m glad you’re giving me a chance to change.  But, even as I change, and even as I work to take better care of you, I will do my very best to no longer diminish you, to never make you feel as if you are not good enough.  You alone have kept me going this long, have allowed me to live a life for which I am truly grateful.  So, please, accept my apologies for the past, and my promise for the future.  I will not compare you to others; I will not hide you in shame; and I will do all that I can do to make you feel as great as you deserve to feel.


What would you say in a letter to your body?  If you’re so inclined, the topic is open throughout the day, and you can link up with SheLoves here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My Personal Addiction

 

Television is intensely personal.~ Jessica Savitch

For last Tuesday’s daily photo, I told you about my favorite color, inspired by White Collar.  Well, if I’d looked ahead in the prompt list, I probably would’ve waited, and used them for today’s subject: your addiction.   There is no doubt that I’m truly addicted to this television program. 

But, really, my addiction goes deeper than that, to the medium itself.  After all, it was only just yesterday that I admitted to being a TV-aholic.  It’s been that way as long as I can remember.  Movies are great; live theatre is always fun; and books can take me places like nothing else.  But television . . . television is intimate.  With TV, I get not just an interesting story and fascinating characters, but relationships.  I can’t really explain it, but week after week, episode after episode, I feel like I get to know those characters, understand the way they think and feel, know how they’d react in certain circumstances.  It’s why I get crazy if the writers start taking short-cuts and making stupid mistakes with the characters in their care, because I know when something isn’t right.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m not one of those weirdo people who can’t separate reality from make-believe.  I don’t get the actors mixed up with their characters.  I know it’s not real.  But it is a wonderful escape, that comes into my home every single day.  Hard to get much better than that.  And, as addictions go, it’s pretty harmless.

17.  Your Addiction

  My addiction: television.  Currently fascinated with White Collar and just about all things USA Network.


What harmless addictions keep you busy?

Acting Out Optimism

 

“Comedy is acting out optimism.”~ Robin Williams

One of the few downsides of summertime is that most television programs are in their off-season with no new episodes airing.  For a TV-aholic like myself, that can be kind of a downer.  But because I am a die-hard TV-aholic, I’m certainly not opposed to watching re-runs, even if I’ve seen them many times before.

So it was that tonight I was scanning through the channels and found a couple of episodes of Mork & Mindy airing.  Brian wasn’t too thrilled with the choice, but watching that old goofiness is how we spent an hour of our evening.  When Mork & Mindy was in first run, you couldn’t keep me away, even in the final season or two when it became a pale imitation of what it had been originally.  And, sadly, the episodes tonight were some of their later shows. (Yet one more example of the pitfalls of putting the two main characters together romantically.) I watched anyway.

And besides being mildly amused by the show—and very amused by the 80s fashions—I was once again struck by my admiration for Robin Williams.  Truly, the man is a comic genius—a wonder to behold.  I know a lot of folks will say that he’s just a drugged-up comedian, and no doubt some of his hilarity was drug-induced along the way.  I’m glad he’s gotten himself free of those addictions, and still find him to be as talented as before.

So, I thought I’d share some moments from Mr. Williams with all of you, so that you may also be reminded of his talent, or maybe even witness some of it for the first time.  Pick one and see what you think.  Better yet, watch them all and see some of the many facets of his talent.  Enjoy.


 

    Some may not remember, but Mork’s original appearance was in an episode of Happy Days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Mork & Mindy—how it began

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  The movie as a whole—and certainly this scene—is more drama than comedy.  But I think Patch Adams is some of Williams’ finest work. ***If you haven’t seen the film, SPOILER ALERT***

 

 

 

 

  I’ve been watching Disney movies all my life, and Aladdin is still my favorite.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Inside the Actor’s Studio is often interesting to me, but with Robin Williams, it’s more performance than interview.

 

 

 

 

 

Who’s funny to you, and what are some of their best moments?