Awards

WHY YOU HAVEN’T BEEN FRESHLY PRESSED (MAYBE)

freshly-pressed-circle3x3I got Freshly Pressed last January. Since then, I’ve put some time into figuring out why I didn’t get it earlier — and why I finally got it after all. And why I’m unlikely to get it again.

1. Freshly Pressed is not an award for general excellence. It’s not an award for your blog. It is an individual award for a specific post. The posts that win are almost always in response to a Weekly Challenge — and happen to grab the attention of one or more editors.

2. You can write superb content every day, year after year. But if you don’t respond to the weekly challenges and/or don’t write something that makes an editor’s brain go jingle-jangle, you will never be Freshly Pressed. Think of it this way: WordPress supports millions of bloggers. The editors can’t scan them all. The challenges give them a manageable number of posts to consider. If you don’t participate, you are unlikely to get noticed. It really isn’t personal.

3. What the editors think is special will probably not be what you consider your best work. I’m embarrassed at the post that got me Freshly Pressed. It isn’t — in my opinion — my finest work, nor is it representative of my writing in general. I don’t even like it. That’s why I haven’t linked it to my Freshly Pressed badge. Many other awardees feel the same way. What inspires an editor versus what inspires you can be very different.

4. Alternate theories: You don’t write as well as you think you do. You use a lot of texting abbreviations (WTF, LOL, IMHO etc.) instead of real words. You don’t understand grammar, don’t use the spell-checker, and don’t punctuate sentences. You write to a very narrow audience and your high school classmates are probably the only people who know what you are talking about. Sometimes, the problem is you, but no one wants to hurt your feelings by telling you.


Before I got Freshly Pressed, I had no idea why a blogger did or didn’t win. It has taken me all the time between getting the nod and now to figure it out.

Why I Doubt I’ll Get It Again

These days, I rarely like the weekly writing challenges, so I usually don’t participate. I check them out, but if the prompt leaves me underwhelmed or uninspired, I don’t do it.

It’s Nice To Be Recognized, But It Doesn’t Change Anything

I got my badge and rather than making me feel rewarded for my best work, I realized it was totally random. My best work is never going to be recognized because it isn’t written in response to the weekly challenge. It won’t make some editors brain go BING!

If You Really, Really Want To Be Freshly Pressed

For those of you who wonder how come you write so much and so well — yet never get the editors to notice you, this is the answer. Stop writing what you feel like writing and start writing what they want to read. It’s also possible that your style is just not what they’re looking for. It isn’t a judgment of your writing and again — it isn’t personal. Consider that William Faulkner and Thomas Wolfe would probably not have made an editor’s brain tingle. Blogging is what it is and has its own parameters.

Afterglow

The best part of winning is having the badge to display on your site. It’s like getting into an exclusive country club, then realizing you don’t play tennis, don’t like the food and have little use for the other members. You can brag about membership, but you don’t really want to go there and hang out.

HOW’S MY AUNT LOTTERY THESE DAYS?

Gone with the Windfall

You just inherited $1,000,000 from an aunt you didn’t even know existed. What’s the first thing you buy (or otherwise use the money for)?


The last and by last, I mean final, time I inherited a little bit of money was when my father died. How long ago was that? Three years? Something like that.

It was definitely the best timing of our unfortunate father-daughter relationship. We were sinking like a stone (financially) . The septic system had packed up, one of the cars had died and life had gotten a bit grim here on the Kachingerosa.

After the executors finally came forth with money (almost two years), we had the septic system fixed so we wouldn’t have to abandon the house — no septic, no living quarters. It turns out in this neck of the woods, indoor plumbing isn’t a choice.

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And we’ve been paying off things ever since. It wasn’t a million dollars, though. Not even in the same neighborhood but enough to save us from living in the car — which wasn’t paid off either.

These days, what with all the senior members of my family having passed on, it’s hard to imagine a remaining aunt, much less one with enough money to leave me a million. I think it would have to be Aunt Lottery.

I don’t care where it comes from, but I sure could use a nice little influx of cash. Fix up the house. Install a chair lift. Modernize the kitchen. Get the dogs their annual hair “dos” and take them to the doggie dentist. Acquire a car that will make it out of the driveway in the winter … and fix the driveway so it can be cleared come snow.

Upgrade the heating system. Get new air-conditioners. Repair the chimneys.

Never mind. We’ll manage. But hey there, Aunt Lottery! Can you hear me? If I buy a ticket, would you maybe consider choosing me as the winner?

WHAT’S WITH 1337?

What’s with the 1337 thing? WordPress uses it for a lot of things, for the top number in posts, in follows. I figured it must have some kind of historic significance to them, like the amount of money they had when they started the company, or maybe a time or maybe map coördinates.

Nope.

I looked it up. Whatever did we do before we had Google? Of course, before the internet, we would not be looking it up because this is the straight stuff: pure internet/gamer/hacker gibberish — er, slang. A bizarre distortion of language and a techno-geek in-joke.

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1337 means LEET,  a twisted version of the word “élite.” Which, over the years, has become internet slang for superior. Here’s the math: 1337 (1 – L, 3 – E, 7 – T) = LEET = ELITE.

This is supposed to be tres cool. Do you think it’s cool? I’m curious to hear what you think. I think it’s lame and annoying, but hey, I’m old. Definitely not one of the cool kids.

In fact, I’m not a kid at all.

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AWARD, AWARD, AWARD!

Marilyn Armstrong:

I wanted to write all about these awards and of course, the one that was given to me — The Imagine Award. Which I love because if there’s one quality I value in myself and others it’s imagination. But time is short for me right now and I thought perhaps a simple reblog and a HUGE thank you might suffice. Love you Sharla! You’ve been a true and faithful friend and a wonderful supporter.

Originally posted on catnipoflife:

My, my, my! Three awards! Thank you, Raani, Ute, and Texas!

friends-followers-awardThe Friends and Followers Award comes by way of Raani York. Raani writes a very unique blog, which you must visit in order to truly appreciate.  While she writes in many categories, my favorite is her letters to celebrities. What a hoot! She carries them for one wild ride! Then, of course, there are Jake’s antics and viewpoints recorded as the Diary of a Cat Prince :-)

According to Raani, this is a relatively new award. It was created by Nerissa at Nerissa’s Life. The Friends and Followers Award was created to celebrate the 75,000th hit at Nerissa’s blog. Congrats, Nerissa!

Here are the rules:

  1. Post the award on your blog. 
  2. Thank the blogger who gave you the award and follow them (by any means necessary ). 
  3. Pass along the award to a few friends…

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A MEGA THANK YOU TO MY GOOD FRIENDS

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FIELD OF FLOWERS AWARD

The creative and marvelous Cee Neuner has graced me with not one, but three awards, none of which I’ve gotten before.

First, I want to thank Cee at Cee’s Photography She is not only a wonderfully creative photographer, she’s a truly supportive friend. She puts a lot of effort into supporting the work of others. Always willing to share the credit and help us find our own fans and followers. She creates prompts that are fun, low stress and aim at getting lots of people involved. It’s been a real joy getting to know her.

I’ve been trying to avoid awards. I have so many. It seems there must be other people who need attention and the “lift” an award brings … but saying no makes me feel like an ingrate so I’m doing this … a mega thank you, long overdue.

But after this, no more, okay? It’s an embarrassment of riches and there are so many young, relatively new blogs out there where some attention and an award would make them feel that they are finally appreciated and noticed!

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INNER PEACE AWARD

The three awards from Cee are THE FIELD OF FLOWERS AWARD, THE INNER PEACE AWARD, and THE LIGHTHOUSE AWARD. Each suggests I name a bunch of other blogs to honor, but everyone I connect with is full up with awards. So you are welcome to choose to come and accept an award, responding on whatever level makes you feel comfortable.

I more than understand if you just don’t want to deal with it. Our lives do get busy and full. It can seem less of an award and more an exercise in playing creative “tag you’re it”! Let’s not make it stressful!

About Me, First Go Round

LIGHTHOUSE AWARD

LIGHTHOUSE AWARD

I’m a writer, first and foremost since it was my profession for my entire working life, now my joyous avocation too

A photographer second– but not far behind. I’ve been a serious amateur photographer since I got my first camera the year I turned 22. I think I’m finally getting good enough to feel I’ve made progress

I have a ton of medical problems. I am going in for some big deal heart surgery at the beginning of March. I will be in hospital for about a week and get (oh joy) to spend my birthday (again, third time) in hospital — but hopefully, not the ICU. I don’t think I’m going to die. I do firmly believe I’m going to really hate this — but who likes major surgery, right?

With a teensy bit of luck, will be back annoying everyone in short order.

I started blogging for no particular reason but, to paraphrase something everyone says, “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” I’m conscientiously unstructured, unfocused and free-wheeling.

I never want blogging to feel like work. I want to be able to surprise myself and everyone else with variety, wild mood swings, and abrupt changes of subject.  I’m happy that my two co writers – Rich Paschall of Sunday Night Blog and my kick-ass husband, Garry Armstrong — are as free-wheeling as am I. They will be carrying on here to the best of their ability while I’m down for the count.

Regardless — if you want predictability, to know what’s coming? There are lots of blogs that fill specific niches. This is not one of them.

More Honors (I am truly humbled!)

DRAGON LOYALTY AWARD

DRAGON LOYALTY AWARD

From the fabulous Alienorajt, I am honored with the Dragon Loyalty Award. I think I may have really earned this one. I am nothing if not faithful to other bloggers whose sites I admire and who I feel spread “The Good Stuff” around.

There are so many nasty, miserable sods out there … then … there’s Alienora! Thank you my good friend!

Alienora is a writer. She writes bawdy, honest posts. Sometimes fiction, often funny, almost always deeply touching. A woman of integrity, with great heart, please visit her.

Stuff About Me – You really want MORE?

I’m supposed to come up with 7 more things. Okay, if you insist:

  1. Born and raised in New York city.
  2. Married first time at 18. Bore my son at 22.
  3. My grandchild was born in 1996 and when she isn’t making trouble, she’s the light of my life. Okay, even when she is making trouble.
  4. Writer since forever.
  5. Photographer since a few years shy of forever.
  6. Collect old hard plastic and antique dolls as well as ancient Chinese pottery.
  7. I’m a hard-core reader. Take away everything else, but leave my books. And a few tunes.

Four More? Yes, more!

FOUR AWARDS!

FOUR AWARDS!

From my good and loyal friend, Sharla Shults at The Catnip of Life and Awakenings, comes this collection of awards. Like me, Sharla accepts and offers, but doesn’t feel obliged to make anyone do a lot of work. Getting an award is supposed to be fun! From Sharla, it always is!

Sharla writes about life, love, this country and those we honor. She writes poetry, short fiction, and just …. rather like me … about stuff she find interesting and fun. Music, holidays and the great people who are part of our history.

Visit her. She’ll charm and delight you :-)

Versatile Blogger that’s me!

versatileblogger11Almost forgot and I do apologize. I’ve been collecting all these awards in a file, always planning to do something about them and never quite getting around to it. But here’s the final award — one I’ve gotten previously a couple of times but which seems more appropriate than most.

This award comes from Great Blue Herons, a beautiful photo blog with pictures that make me drool and wonder how come I never get the wild things to stay put and pose for me! You will not, I promise, regret visiting her sight. It’s an inspiration!

I’m (Sort of) (In A Way) Passing Out Batons!

YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO A DAMN THING. i JUST LOVE YOUR BLOG!

YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO A DAMN THING. I LOVE YOUR BLOG!

Everyone to whom I would give awards has already given me awards and mostly, I’ve returned the favor. It has begun to feel a lot like a chain letter. So many of you have honored me, it’s truly humbling. I give to all of you a most heartfelt thank you. ALL of you, the people I follow, those about whom I comment … I hear your voices loud and clear. You have supported me, been there for me for two years and you know who you are.

This is my gift to you, originally from Sharla. It’s the award that says it all, the one you can proudly display without worrying about paying anything forward or back. Come and get it! If you are reading this, you’ve earned it!!

Come take an award. Pick one you don’t have. Take them all :-)

YOU ALL DESERVE THE HONOR and I’m proud to know you!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SERENDIPITY – 2 YEARS OF BLOGGING

Two years of blogging: February 4, 2014

So I was sitting here, watching one of the last Jay Leno Tonight Shows and suddenly it came to me. I thought “I must be approaching my blogging anniversary.” So I went to look it up, which turned to be more difficult than I expected.

Finally, I went to the trophy thingie on WordPress and saw that I had an anniversary icon … dated today.

It’s exactly the same as my one year icon. Identical. Be that as it may … it’s been a mad, mad, mad, mad, mad, mad couple of years:

  • 126,000 hits
  • 18,560 comments
  • 1,927 posts
  • 1,677 blog followers — not including followers via Twitter, Facebook, Tumbler, Google and comments.

My top post in terms of hits is still that odd post about the TV show, Criminal Minds. It scored a whopping 10,135 hits, something I don’t think I’ll match. It was a fluke that Google put me on the top of their search engine for that show. You can read it and wonder — along with me — why in the world it was so popular: The FBI can’t do a simple Google search?

I finally got Freshly Pressed. It was a lovely surprise, especially since I didn’t expect it. After all that blogging without having gotten the nod, I didn’t think it would ever happen. Never say never. You can read about it in HOLY EXPLETIVE! I AM FRESHLY PRESSED! and WRITING FOR THE RIGHT REASONS. The post that did it was most uncharacteristic of my usual stuff — by far the creepiest thing I ever wrote: GONZO GEORDIE HAD AN AX.

I posted at least once per day for all of last year, not counting that unfortunate week on Cape Cod when I had no WiFi.

Thanks to all of you who’ve been my faithful friends and to all my new friends. I hope we can all celebrate when the next anniversary rolls around!

WRITING FOR THE RIGHT REASONS

I wrote a lot of posts before getting Freshly Pressed.

In the beginning, I didn’t think about it because I didn’t know about it. After I became aware that such a thing existed, I figured I’d get noticed eventually. My turn would come. I’m insecure about a lot of things, but not about writing, probably the result of doing it every day for 50 years. Eventually you become comfortable and know you’re really a writer. You have proved it to everyone, even yourself.

freshly-pressed-circle3x3So I waited for that email to come. As almost everyone I knew seemed to be getting awarded — except me — I started to get worried. Then hurt. And I started to brood on injustice which is always a bad sign for me … a very bad sign.

Finally, after airing my grievance — mostly in comments on other peoples blogs about how bad they felt about being overlooked … I took a deep breath and realized I was being stupid and self-destructive. I was letting this thing get to me. It was sucking the fun out of blogging. I’d become focused on winning a prize rather than enjoying writing.

I don’t even remember when I knew I was I writer. It wasn’t something I decided. Writing was part of me as long as I can remember. It has been my therapy. Catharsis. My hobby, my profession, my dreams. The best part of me has always come through when I write. I was letting this thing … this award I didn’t get … take that away from me.

I went cold turkey on expecting recognition. I didn’t stop wanting it. I can’t help wanting recognition. It’s part of that type A personality thing, the competitive piece of me. And I’m sure a little teensy part of my brain nurtured an itsy bitsy hope it might yet happen, but to the degree I could control my feelings, I quit thinking about it, hoping for it, expecting it.

Most important, I gave up being angry. Because holding on to anger is bad for me. It messes with my head while leaving the object of my anger unscathed. It’s one of the few life lessons I’ve learned and accepted. I can’t go there.

I’m glad I kept writing. Most of all, I’m glad I didn’t keep writing only to win a prize, but because I love to write.

A thousand or so posts later, I got the letter.

There is a moral to my tale. Do what you love. Maybe the rest will follow. Maybe not. But when you’re doing what you love, you are a winner.

And the post that finally did it is: GONZO GEORDI HAD AN AX

HOLY EXPLETIVE! I AM FRESHLY PRESSED!

Congrats, you’ve been Freshly Pressed!

That was the subject of the email and it was addressed to me. I was stunned into speechlessness and that doesn’t happen very often. What can I say except “WOW.”

I’ve written 1850 posts, gotten 120,200 hits. I have 1350 WordPress followers. But never Freshly Pressed. I figured I had pissed off the editors. I’m good at pissing people off. I do it all the time with followers, friends, family and total strangers. Why not the editors of WordPress? After a while, I gave up hoping it would happen. I stopped waiting, figured okay, it’s not so important. If there’s one thing I know, absolutely 100% I can do, it’s write. I have a body of work and a résumé. I don’t need external validation.

Mass Broadcasters 12Except, it wasn’t true. I may not need it, but … okay, I’m human. I crave recognition. Writers — all artists, really — want recognition, whether or not we are ready to admit it. Apparently the trick was to stop brooding about how come it never happened and just … write.

The piece which got the nod is GONZO GEORDI HAD AN AX, a piece of writing so different from my usual style I’m not sure how I feel about it. I know I wrote it … but it was like someone else wrote it too and I was a conduit. I hope I’m not channeling serial killers. I know I’m odd, but that’s more odd than I want to be.

Garry was disappointed when I explained Freshly Pressed doesn’t come with a statuette or even a plaque. He wanted to know if I can create one. I can try. There’s no end to what you can do with Photoshop.

Garry has awards all over the house. Plaques and statuettes abound to such a degree that the last two — from the Massachusetts’ Broadcasting Hall of Fame and Hofstra University’s radio station WRHU Broadcasting Hall of Fame — are on the fireplace mantel. There’s no room on the walls. Let me say up front that Garry deserved every one of those awards, but he feels I should have awards of my own, preferably including something tangible. I didn’t work in an industry that gives awards. If you got a regular paycheck, that was the award …. these days, even more so. I’ll think about it. Anything to make my guy happy and I suppose I wouldn’t mind either.

For my friends who are unFreshly dePressed and yearning for recognition, all I can say is — sometimes, after you stop expecting it, the thing you want happens.

Thanks everyone for sticking with me. You are the best!

Hot Rod Cowgirl Nominated For The 2013 Blog Of The Year Award!

Marilyn Armstrong:

Another star for me … and a well-earned sixth star for Hotrod Cowgirl, one of the first blogs I ever followed and still one of my favorites. It’s beautiful and poetic. It speaks of life and the land we love and if you have not yet visited, please do!

Originally posted on Hot Rod Cowgirl:

Hot Rod Cowgirl Nominated For The 2013 Blog of the Year Award!

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Yip-Yip-Yee-Haw!

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Blog Of The Year 2013…Wowzers! Minnie Mouse Of The House says Meowzers!

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Ellie says Bowzers! Look at her jump for joy!

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Melody, Buck, Annie, Pat, Tucker and Dasher are excited as they have enjoyed entertaining you and keeping me busy blogging:)

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It seems only a few days ago that I accepted this awesome nomination the end of 2012…and where did the last year go?

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And Wowowow! I’m excited to receive a nomination for the 2013 Blog of the Year Award from Sharla at http://catnipoflife.wordpress.com/

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Sharla opensCatnipoflife with a line of wisdom that is so very true!

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“Observe life at its best, listen to life’s songs, embrace life’s bounties, breathe the breath of life and savor life to its fullest.”

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Catnipoflife is about the school of life…the life we live and the lives lived around us…times…

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Versatile Blogger Award

Marilyn Armstrong:

A big thank you to Tim Neath for giving me a great start to 2014! If you aren’t already following him, he does fantastic movie reviews. Check him out. And thanks again, Tim!

Originally posted on timneath:

The Vesatile Blogger AwardWhat a way to start the year, only a few posts in and I have been nominated for The Versatile Blogger award, thanks to vinnieh. A big thanks to the fellow film fan, please check out his thoughtful reviews!!

This is not the first time I have received the award, which entails a list of short tasks to carry out and spread the love that comes with the award.

  1. Thank the person who gave you the award.
  2. Include a link to their blog.
  3. Select 15 bloggers you follow and want to pass the award onto.
  4. Nominate the 15 bloggers and inform them of it.
  5. Finally, list seven interesting facts about yourself.

With the first two checked off I shall announce my winners below. Of course there are many more than 15, which always make it harder to choose.

  1. patternsthatconnext
  2. Serendipity
  3. In Search of Lost Pictures
  4. Painters Progress
  5. Russel Ray…

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NOT FRESHLY PRESSED? HELP IS ON THE WAY!

What is Freshly Pressed? It is the opinion of editors hired by WordPress. It promises that some blogs are better than others, deserve special recognition and indicates that these people know what good is and have assigned themselves the task of giving out this recognition.

YOU ARE A WINNER - 150 12X12

I believe in merit. I also believe in fairness. While some awardees have created funny, creative, original material and have earned recognition, that is far from universally true. Many other recipients are nothing special, writing stuff that has no social value and little relevance. It’s not especially funny or even interesting. But it is whatever pleases WP’s editors — and they answer only to themselves.

Freshly Pressed gets dangled in front of bloggers not only as an award, but as the opportunity to gain a broader readership. They will promote you, put your material where everyone can easily see it. For those of us who have labored long and hard, produced a lot of really good material only to have it ignored, it’s a virtual slap in the face and it hurts.

Why are the same sites recognized over and over again while others, as deserving or more so, are shut out? Some of us apparently can never meet whatever ephemeral standards are being applied. Because the judging standards are never stated, you can never object to the judgment. There are no criteria to be met, just that somebody noticed you and deems you worthy.

This kind of thing makes many people, including me, feel sad. We aren’t just blogs. We aren’t faceless corporations. We are real live people doing something for which we get no reward except the chance to have our words read, our photographs reviewed. Yes, we crave recognition. Who doesn’t? Who doesn’t want the validation of being Officially Recognized? Even if it’s by a self-appointed board of recognizers?

I’ve appointed myself an official recognizer. Allow me to present my bona fides.

I spent more than 40 years as a professional writer by which I mean I got paid to write and my work was published by the people who paid me to do it. There is nothing which screams professional more than that. I also wrote and published a book that still, to this day, actually sells a few copies here and there, though it was published originally in 2007. Just last week, Amazon notified me that I have earned $10.24 in royalties this past quarter (be still my heart)!

I am a real editor of real books and a pretty good photographer, if not the most skilled user of Photoshop. However, my skills are improving and towards that end, I have created an award. It’s the “I deserve an award,” award. You don’t have to pass it along to any specific number of people. You don’t have to reveal 12 inner secrets you’ve never revealed before. You can send it to people you think would like to have it and deserve it. Display it on your site and maybe this thing will catch on.

Have fun. Remember, guys and gals: We do not need validation or approval from WordPress. Their opinions as to what constitutes quality are no better than mine or yours. It is merely their opinion. If people like you, read you, visit your site, look at your pictures, comment on how they appreciate what you do? That is validation. That is approval. That means something. Don’t let a lack of “official” recognition sour you. Don’t stop having fun doing what you do!

This badge is 375 pixels square and should fit comfortably into a column or footer. I’ve put one on my front page so you can see if that’s the size you want. If you want a badge in a different (smaller or larger) size, I can fix it for you. Let me know what you want.

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I’m going to pass this to a few of you and leave it to you to pass it to others. Use discrimination and give it to sites that do quality work, help others, rescue dogs, provide important medical information that can be hard to find. Give it to those whose pictures make you say WOW, whose posts make you laugh and cry and think.

I’m picking a few of you to get the ball rolling, but many more of you deserve it. I am just flu-ridden and too tired to pick through the many worthy bloggers I know. I’m not ignoring anyone, honest. I have the kind of chest cold that makes me feel a poke in the eye with a sharp stick might be more fun. You know, wheezing, coughing, can’t breathe, eyes running headache, fever and even more body aches than usual? I’ve gotten this far, but I can’t go another inch. I’m done and used up. Love you all!!

You don’t have to do anything with this if you don’t want to. And anyone reading this is welcome to join in and pass this to others who you believe have been unfairly overlooked. It is entirely up to you.

Let’s encourage each other. Be strong and blog on!

ENCHANTED SEASHELLS: Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife

The Library Lady and Rosie Bear: Humor / Book reviews

4 writers and readers

Catnip of Life

Sunday Night Blog

Sweetwildflower: Recipes, Crafts, Tips, Writing

THE SUNSHINE AWARD POUR MOI … TIMELY INDEED!

See on Scoop.itForty Two: Life and Other Important Things

Thanks  znjavid!

I love that you thought of me for this award. She and I have had fun chatting about her children’s book, my husband’s clothes, and the differences between grocery stores in Dubai and Salt Lake City. Check out her blog at:

A Mom’s Blog http://zainabjavid.wordpress.com/

— And NOW — From me …

October 2013

October 2013

Thank you to The Library Lady and Rosie Bear, a delightful website that you absolutely should go visit. She writes about life with a light touch, about writing, her travels and more … with charm and grace.

I’m pleased and proud to receive this award. I’m not giving it out to a bunch of people because I’ve been slinging awards all over the Internet recently — an embarrassment of riches — and I’ve run out of steam.

I’m absolutely CERTAIN beyond any possible doubt that all of you who follow me, even occasionally, know more than you could possibly want to know about me. Too much information is my middle name.

So thank you. I’m honored and proud and congratulations to all you other winners! It’s a good day to be me … or you!

See on geanieroake.wordpress.com

IMAGINE THAT! THE IMAGINE AWARD COMES TO SERENDIPITY

Dawn Hosking, a woman who hasn’t let fibromyalgia (ouch!) stop her … or even more than slightly slow … her hurtling passage through cyber-space, has honored me with a brand new award created by the lovely Jenny at My Fibrotastic LIfe.  

How can I not admire Dawn’s site? It looks a bit like mine, after all. It is one of the few blogs I can visit that has sufficient white space. I can read it and stay awhile without getting a headache. Too many of us clutter our sites with every widget and badge until there’s no place to rest your eyes. Fine if that’s what you want, but I appreciate white space. Probably that’s a remnant of my life in the world of books. But I digress.

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She deals with her physical issues without whining. That’s not easy. Sometimes, I feel extremely whiney. Snivelly and whiny and miserable and scared and all I want is to go online and beg people to send love and cash (or checks or money orders). Usually I resort to humor to keep from humiliating myself, but she does it with just enough humor to keep from being — what’s that word? Oh, I got it. — dull. That’s what she isn’t, just in case you got lost in my Byzantine sentence structure. She keeps us reading and wanting more. To really spice it up, she includes information that is accurate, useful and can be passed on the medical professionals who rule our lives.

And speaking of writing, Dawn can. Write, I mean. She can tell a story. Whether it’s about herself, or something imagined, or just talking about “stuff” going on in the world, on WordPress, or whatever. She expresses herself simply, cleanly, without excessive embellishment or convolutions. Like the white space on her page, it’s refreshing and easy on the brain cells.

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About THE IMAGINE AWARD: 

“The Imagine Award” is an award created by Jenn Mulherin (who is the writer of the blog “My Fibrotastic Life!”) in October of 2013. This award was made in order to recognize the bloggers who express their passion and dedication towards their blogs through their creativity.”

How is creativity found in a blog?

There are many ways by which bloggers can express their creativity. Creativity can be displayed through:

  1. Words — fiction writing, real-life experiences, memories, humor, poetry, quotes, metaphors, tackling issues, parody, reviews and so much more. What can’t you do with words? The sky’s the limit and these days, not even the sky is a limit.
  2. Graphics including photography, comics, computer-drawn graphics, cartoons, paintings, illustrations and more.
  3. Video. Personally, linking a YouTube video is about as far as I’ve gotten with this one, so I greatly admire those who have found far more creative ways to use this medium.
  4. Layout of the post itself and the blog page. We are all constrained to some degree by whatever template we choose, but within those constraints it is remarkable how many artistic choices remain to us.
  5. I’d like to add community to this list. It takes a unique type of creativity to draw others in to form a community. It sounds easy, but it’s not. Some people create networks that stretch around the globe while the rest of us remain essentially on our own … wondering how those amazing others form solid durable relationships with people they’ve never met in person.

Why is creativity so important?

Creativity is one quality in a blog that not only draws readers, but shows how much a blogger cares about his or her (or their) blog. Taking care of a blog is like taking care of a plant. To keep it healthy and growing, you feed the blog with your ideas and give it a lot of love. And time. (I dream about mine!)

Here’s what you need to do to accept the Imagine Award:

In a post dedicated to this award:

  1. Copy and paste The Imagine Award into your post.
  2. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link their blog page to your post.
  3. List 3-5 things about the nominator’s blog that you like (which you think are very creative).
  4. Nominate 5 other bloggers/blogs which you think display a fantastic use of creativity and imagination.
  5. Notify your nominees.
  6. Display The Imagine Award to your blog’s award page.

Should you prefer to decline The Imagine Award, that’s okay, but please — pass the award to a blog you find really creative. If it inspires you, even better.

Now, back to that envelope. Since Dawn has already given this to a couple of people who’d be on my list … well … you beat me to it. Great minds think alike and if this isn’t proof, I don’t know what is. I’m giving this to people who actually inspire me. I refuse to be responsible for what they do about it after I give it to them. I give the awards. You will have to deal with them :-) Just play nice and say thank you Marilyn (all together now: THANK YOU MARILYN!)

LASERS, MONSTERS AND BARBARIANS OH MY! is a totally bizarre blog that makes me laugh. Half the time I haven’t any idea what he is talking about. Creative language skills and effective integration of graphics media — including video — has made this one a keeper, even though I wind up scratching my head and saying “huh?”

ALIENORAJT – Creative, sensual and blunt writing from Ali’s pen… And so it is! What she doesn’t mention is she is funny, sensitive, kind, bawdy, bizarre and a master (mistress?) of words. They fall from her virtual pen like a tidal wave of wit and unique imagery. Sometimes, imagery so intense I can’t escape it for hours … or at all. Ever. Like a haunting (annoying?) little song, it just goes round and round. Whatever else, call this woman creative. Fantastically, magically creative. In every way. Her response is here..

CHRONICLES OF AN ANGLO SWISS is one of the most eclectic and amusing sites I know. She writes (very well) about anything and everything, from family life to cooking and politics. Her humor is wry and ironic. She employs subtle wit and honesty as a rapier. I never miss one of her posts and reading her stories and anecdotes gets me thinking about what I am going to write. Great work!

I’M JUST SUPER SAIYAN is pretty new, but she’s a pistol of creativity. It’s worth a visit just for the hand-drawn cartoons. And she’s funny, witty, and so far … prodigiously productive. Being a grandmother, it’s fun for me to plug into a younger world and see what they’re doing, saying. The new words used in an old way, the old words used in a new way. For graphic creativity and humor, this young woman absolutely deserves The Imagine Award.

DRALIMAN ON LIFE - Because sometimes life just makes you stop and think. Not only does he make me stop and think, he makes me stop and laugh, makes me admire his very cute cartoons. Are they cartoons or doodles? Droodles? Whatever. I didn’t know physicists had a sense of humor. Go figure, right? He’s also … gasp … a shockingly talented writer, both of fiction and oddball posts about anything and everything. I worked as a tech writer for a very long time … and to find someone who’s a scientist or engineer who’s funny and can write too? Wow. I mean, that’s like discovering a new species of something cute and furry, or a star cluster or well something anyhow. Check him out. You will like him, I absolutely guarantee it. Or your money back. Has anyone ever gotten their money back? Just asking.

A FAMILY OF WORDPRESS AWARD

This award was made by Shaun @ http://prayingforoneday.wordpress.com “I am part of the WordPress Family Award.” I’ve received it from Annmarie at Sweet Wildflower where you always get a hug and something good to eat.

It’s very timely since, having started a second blog at Blogspot, I am pondering the difference between therm and WordPress and finding that though I rack up good numbers there, the whole sense of family is missing. Maybe it’s too soon to expect it, but this still feel like home to me

There can’t be much my followers don’t know about me. Photography, writing, humor, sad. I write and I take pictures. My husband writes (a little, when prodded) and takes pictures so good I’m getting envious (no I’m not … I’m just proud!). I struggle with life, try to remember that what is terrible today may will be a belly laugh tomorrow.

Rules:

1. Display the award logo on your blog.

2. Link back to the person who nominated you.

3. Nominate others you see as having an impact on your WordPress experience and family

4. Let your Family members know you have awarded them

5. That is it. Just please pick people that have taken you as a friend, and spread the love.

The Envelope Please

Now it is time for the thank yous. No one is obliged to do anything with this except know that I appreciate you and consider you friends.

HeadInAVice – Tyson was one of my first cyber friends and he’s still with me. Thank you again.

alienorajt - Alienora who writes like an Angel demon, makes me laugh, cry, think … and makes me feel loved. Hard when you’ve never really met :-) Thank you!

For Rarasaur - Rara is the rarest of the old timey dinosaurs. What a fine friend she has been to me, supportive and kind and cheerful even while her own problems swirl around. This is a mere token, but I’d like you to know I care.

For R. L Culpeper who makes me think and keeps me on my toes :-)

To Awakenings - Sharla, we have traveled a ways together. We struggle, but it’s getting better. Believe it. We’ll go there together.

Eagle-Eyed Editor, you have been there from the start. I owe you. More than one!

Bette Stevens — 4writersandreaders — a gift to all of us, always ready to lend a hand, offer encouragement. Thank you!!

Other friends belong here and I would put you on, but many of you don’t “do” awards. If you ever want one, drop by. I have a dozen or so extras and you can take your pick! I haven’t forgotten anyone. As far as I’m concerned, you ALL deserve this award because you are all my family.

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ARE YOU SURE? REALLY? 100,000 HITS? ME? WOW … THANKS GUYS!

100,000 HITS

A few hours ago while we were stuck in traffic on Route 95, I hit two major milestones: 600 followers and 100,000 hits. On the same day — entirely coincidentally. I wrote this post a couple of days ago . I knew the 100,000 would happen this week. (The 600 followers was a total surprise.)

When I started blogging, I wasn’t sure why. A year and a half later, I still couldn’t tell you why. I still don’t know. The simplest explanation is the truest: I enjoy it. I love writing and having people read it. Having an audience is a huge gift. Writers really need readers. Anyone who says they write for themselves is lying … to themselves, if not everyone else. Fortunately, readers need writers. Together we have a wonderful synergy.

I mustn’t forget photography. I’ve been taking pictures almost as long as I’ve been writing. Posting my favorites — not to mention Garry’s photos and other members of the family — really beats out slide shows after dinner or emailing them to people who may or may not even open the attachment. Finally, I get feedback. Somebody out there likes me!

I’m not as good a photographer as many of you. Some of you who follow me — I can’t figure out why. I’m flattered, of course, but you are so much better than me. Despite all the years this has been my hobby, I’m still a babe in the woods with Photoshop. I never seem to get the beautiful “finish” the rest of you get. Part of it is equipment. Lenses to be more exact. I don’t have the great glass I would like. I wish I could throw money at it, but not now. I live in hope of miracles.

Where does hope live? Where is the place we live when life’s not treating us well? When things are going wrong and if you stop and think about it, your brain turns to jelly and you can’t form a coherent thought? When the magnitude of the problems in your life exceed your capacity to process?

Me? I read, write and make pictures. I read your posts, look at your pictures. Sometimes I comment, often I read, look, smile and leave a “like” behind, kind of a calling card to say “Hey, I was here!” I wish I could spend more time on your sites but I run out of time. This blogging thing … it really chews up the hours and days.

I started small. I posted something once in a while and then didn’t post anything for a while, then started putting a few things up now and then. Then … oh, I don’t know. I just got into it. There was no epiphany, no revelation. One day, I just felt I should write, post a picture. The next day, I felt that way again, so I did and then more than once a day.

It was the presidential election that sucked me into the maelström with a vengeance. Talk about lively. The Internet wasn’t merely buzzing. It was screaming. People who normally wouldn’t get involved were out there, giving their opinions on every public forum. The cyber world was wild and I got a share of the action. I doubt I’ll ever post numbers as high as I did in October and November 2012. Crazy numbers, crazy time.

It’s easy to blog when there’s huge controversy everywhere, gigantic hurricanes washing away the right coast of the U.S. It’s harder now. There is always a horrible political thing going on but I find myself writing about my smaller world. Sometimes, it’s about how my little world intersects with the great big world. That’s when politics become deeply personal.

The road, as J.R.R. Tolkien says, goes on and on … back to the point where it began.

And so it does. There’s no starting point, no inherent end. I write, I take pictures and will do that as long as I can. Eventually, after the New Year, I’ll have to stop. For a while. Hopefully not too long a while, but I know it will happen. I hope you folks will remember me and come back to visit now and then.

Meanwhile, it’s been a Hell of a ride. I remember when I got my first 5,000 hits and thought “Wow! 5,000! Never thought this would happen!” and the numbers kept marching upward. A couple of months ago, it became obvious I would cross over the 100,000 mark — a biggie. So … what next?

I never had a plan for my site. 100,000 hits was never a goal. I never told myself if I get “this many followers” or “that many hits,” I will know I’m successful. I consider myself successful because running this site gives me so much pleasure and I don’t want to stop. There are popular blogs that baffle me (why?) and wonderful blogs that fall by the wayside. You can take you best guess at figuring out (1) what constitutes success and (2) why it comes to some, but not others equally or more deserving. Some of is luck, stumbling onto a topic that catches peoples’ attention. And getting noticed by people who help promote you. And I suspect much of it is persistence — posting interesting material often so everyone knows they can always find new stuff on your site.

I never had a goal. I still don’t. I love writing and photography. I enjoy meeting people from all over the world. Learning how their lives are the same and different from mine. Chatting through comments. Getting new ideas. It is the stuff you guys say, in comments and on your own sites, that triggers what I write. You feed my imagination, inspire my muse. And challenge me to be better.

Thanks. Everyone. Really thank you. Truly you are the wind beneath my wings.

Magic Time – Induction at the Hall of Fame – Garry Armstrong

From the Hall of Fame induction — September 12, 2013 — pictures of happy people having a really great day. These are the pictures from the ceremony and immediately after it.

At the Hall of Fame, September 2013

At the Hall of Fame, September 2013

Plus, a great picture of us by Bill Brett (Boston Globe) and a rare picture of Garry and his brother, Dr. Anton Armstrong … and Garry at the podium accepting the award. Typically these events are a bit of a letdown, but this one was not. It was just what we wanted it to be and maybe even better!