Thanking my readers in a tangible way: The Reader Appreciation Award

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As the first month of this new year crawls to a close, I am grateful to be given a brand new and very special award: The Reader Appreciation Award from Sharla at catnipoflife. Sharla and I exchange scoops, family news, compliments and regrets that we don’t live close enough to visit in person pretty much every day. She has become more than “another blogger.”

She is a friend, the real deal and my world is better because she is in it. I think the world is better for everyone because she is in it and if you have never visited her site, please do. Poetry, quotes … thoughts, feelings and reminders of why being alive is worth the trouble. That’s not facetious: sometimes I need a reminder!

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There are a few rules for this award, fewer than for most. As the name implies, this goes to other bloggers who have taken the time to comment and sometimes, contribute to your blog … those readers and followers who have moved from the anonymous category into virtual friends. Some live so far away I know we’ll never meet, yet we depend on each other and we care.

What you can’t do:

1) You can’t award it to anyone who has already gotten it during the same year. So if you got it in 2012, you can’t get it until again until 2013. It can be difficult to determine who has which awards since many bloggers get awards but don’t display the badges, at least not obviously. I’ll just take my best guess.

2) The award can’t be given back to the person from whom you receive it. This is a problem because Sharla is always on the top of my recipient list and she is giving me the award. Drat.

As to whom you should give the award, this one is quite specific. The Reader’s Appreciation Award is given to the top 6 blogger/commentors on your site. This is a little complicated for me personally. Of the top six, two are my husband. No, I only have one husband, but my site recognizes him as two people depending on whether he is writing from his desk or laptop.

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Consider yourself awarded!

It would seem odd to give him a blogging award since, although he is an enthusiastic commenter, he isn’t a blogger but he is my biggest and bestest fan. So instead, to Garry who is always rooting for me, I appreciate you a whole lot.

Sharla herself would be getting this award, but she’s the one giving it to me so again — thank you!

The envelope please:

After due diligence, the award goes to:

Gabrielle at My Heathen Heart

jcalberta at A Celebration Of Western Movies … Pardner !

Bob Mielke at Northwest Photographer

Tyson Carter at Head In A Vice

Sally at My Beautiful Things

Emily Guido at “The Light Bearer Series”

This list is in no particular order and there are people with whom I have a lot of interaction that are not on the list because I can’t include everyone, though I would if I could. Because I appreciate my readers more than any of you can know. You are the people in my world who make doing this, writing, posting, sticking with it every day, worth it. You are the folks who let me know that I’m being heard, being understood. You guys “get” me; that’s something special.

I want to extend my warmest appreciation to all my visitors, followers and readers. Although I have listed only six names (my top six commenters after excluding my husband (times two) and Sharla for reasons previously noted :-) so if your name is absent it isn’t because I don’t appreciate you. Moreover, this award is about thanking readers.

It’s meant to be given away … so if you have supporters to whom you would like to express your gratitude, feel free to grab the badge and pass it on! This is about saying thanks to the wonderful people who support our efforts and enrich our lives. In the end, it is about the joy we get from giving something back to those who “feed” us!

As always, I add the proviso that awards are supposed to make us feel good, happy. We all know that fulfilling the “requirements” of most awards is time-consuming and sometimes, close to impossible. Please do not feel obliged to press yourself beyond your comfort zone. Whatever you do in response to this award, have fun, feel appreciated and don’t stress. This isn’t supposed to make your life harder!

 

Shine On!

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A huge “Thank you” and a hug to Emily Guido for giving me The Shine On Award. I am not convinced I deserve it, but I very much appreciate it.

During the months I’ve been blogging, I’ve encountered many fine, generous people, folks who have offered me support, friendship and encouragement with no agendas. It’s enough to renew my faith in humankind. Emily Guido has been among my most staunch supports. She is one of a handful of people in my acquaintance who has displayed genuine courage. She doesn’t merely do what she must; she does what she can because she believes it matters.

“Shine On” is not a blogging award. It originated in the real world a few years ago and is awarded to men and women who serve their community. I’m not sure who was its original creator, but the award’s description is consistent:

“The recipients of our Shine On Awards are not only incredible men and women who made or are making history, but are also the people remarkably like us all. They work hard, struggle with balance, and dream of a better world. We applaud them for the extraordinary ways they have shared themselves to benefit others.”

Four to be honored at second annual Shine On Awards: The Ogemaw Herald

“There is not nearly enough applause in the life of the average American woman. And you might well think that if you won a Nobel Prize or were the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, the juggling act would get easier, but not so. The winners of our Shine On Awards are not only incredible women making history, but also women remarkably like us all: They work hard, struggle with balance, and dream of a better world for themselves and the people they love. We applaud them. And we applaud you, for making a difference in someone’s life every single day.”

 Shine On Award Winners – Women Honored for Charity Work – Good Housekeeping

I’ve found this quote … almost word for word … in multiple places. This award has entered the blogging universe, but it did not originate here. I hope I can adhere to the original spirit of the award — offering recognition to people who have contributed to the greater good of their community.

In the blogosphere, our community is the World. I have put considerable thought into what service I offer other than entertainment. Is offering my opinion and distributing the opinion of others who I believe positively contribute to a sane public dialogue a sufficient service?  Perhaps, though I never thought of it that way. The blogging universe is young. As a group, we are still feeling our way around, figuring out where we fit on this huge stage.

There are blogs on every conceivable subject from fashion to cooking, sports, film, books. decorating, gossip and making people laugh. History buffs and movie mavens, authors, poets, painters and photographers and everyone else have a home on the Internet. More rare are people whose goal is to make the world a better place.

If, as a group, we have any power, it is that we can disseminate information and ideas, offer perspective on issues that concern us. We can sometimes influence minds and opinions and that’s no small thing. Regardless of whether we touch a few dozen people or tens of thousands … whether we focus on art, books, movies, technology, education, faith, ecology, politics … or any of millions of issues, we do what we can.

As a generalist without a specialized focus, I try to encourage literacy, civility and dialogue between people who have something valid to say. Like most of you, I try to do the right thing. I may not agree with your definition of “the right thing,” but I acknowledge the importance of differing opinions. Disagreement is the backbone of a free society.

It isn’t easy for me to recognize the validity of opinions with which I disagree. In fact, it’s the hardest thing I do and one of the most important.

There is far too much hate, anger, and meanness on and off the Internet. Cloaked in the first amendment, people promulgate hate, violence, cruelty and ugliness. I’m sure demagogues and hate-mongers have existed throughout history, but the Internet brings them into our homes and pushes them in our faces. It has become impossible to ignore and I’m not convinced ignoring the clamor is the right thing to do. Ignoring evil is a kind of tacit agreement. Silence doesn’t send the right message.

The recent presidential election brought home with stunning clarity how far we are from being a civil — or civilized — society. I am disturbed at how many people are recklessly careless of how they express themselves. They are either unaware or unconcerned (both?) with the impact their words have, how much pain they cause, how much damage they inflict.

“Words can never hurt me” was a childhood mantra, but it isn’t true. Words hurt, words damage. They destroy reputations and ruin lives. Lies parade as facts. I would never dispute anyones’ right an opinion, but spewing hate isn’t an opinion. Intentional cruelty isn’t an opinion. Applauding and encouraging violence is not an opinion. These do not deserve respect. Hiding behind the first amendment doesn’t make hate, cruelty and violence acceptable. Just because you can’t be jailed for saying it doesn’t make it right. When I can, I weigh in, try to offer informed opinions and support for causes that matter to me. If that’s community service, then I guess I serve. But there are so many others who deserve to be honored, I feel rather like I’m sailing under false colors. All I can say is thank you and I hope I live up to it.

The Shine On Award recognizes individual contributions to the community.

There are no specific requirements, no designated number of recipients or questions to answer. The only requirement is that a recipient be an individual who has contributed to the good of the community.

My two candidates are women who have worked hard to help those who can’t help themselves and to educate others on issues that matter to them.

Jenny Threet of Rumpy Dog has waged a relentless campaign to help save dogs, cats, and other animals who have been victimized or abandoned. She never gives up on the furry creatures she loves and always strives to protect and save them. She deserves recognition for the good work she does. There are a many beautiful creatures who would not be alive today were it not for her efforts.

Jo Ashline of A Sweet Dose of Truth is a fine writer. She is mother to an autistic child and has put her heart and soul into educating people about autism. She takes on other causes too, but autism is near and dear to her heart. She is a determined soldier for truth and justice. I admire her dedication and passion and am very pleased to nominate her for this award.

And that, my friends, is it for now. Some of you to whom I would award this prize have already received it . To the best of my knowledge, my two candidates have not previously received it. I hope I got it right.

There’s no time limit as to when or to whom you can choose to pass it. The important thing is to not cheapen the award or its meaning. It isn’t an award for fine writing, taking beautiful photographs, or making people laugh. All of these are wonderful things, but there are other awards to show that kind of appreciation.

Congratulations and keep on doing what you do. The world is better because you are in it.

Blog of the Year – 2012 … And now we are five!!


I just got my fifth star from Eunice at Living and Lovin:Living Life surrounded by all I love. PEACE. Thank you I am extremely grateful and touched. I didn’t expect it and I’m not sure I deserve it, but it’s great to have it!

I also received the Blog of the Year Award  from Tyson at Head in a Vice , then from Sharla at CatnipOfLife, another from Bette Stevens at 4WRITERSANDREADERS … and yet one more from Sharla via her second blog (talk about ambitious, I can barely keep up with one blog, much less two), Awakenings  … I’m all the way up to five stars. 

It’s amazing to me to  have gotten any awards, but a fifth star is really special and deeply appreciated. I’m not sure I deserve it, but it has turned out to be the high points (five high points) of this otherwise rather difficult holiday season.

Today was the day the world was supposed to end, but it being the Winter Solstice, it actually was the shortest day of the year, which is not the end of the world, just the official beginning of winter … and ironically, the beginning of the lengthening  of the days, the shortest day, the longest night … but also, the beginning of the return of the sun and a hope that spring will come again.

It’s no coincidence that Christmas … Yuletide falls approximately on the Solstice. Every religion, every culture celebrates the solstices as well as the equinoxes. Christianity, as it was developing, adopted an “easier to join them than fight them” attitude … as had every other religion and culture before it. It doesn’t make the holiday less meaningful, it just lets people celebrating at a time that feels familiar, comfortable.

I still have a lot to do. All the wrapping, the grocery shopping. Our trip to visit friends after Christmas just got called off due to illness … hopefully just delayed.  I find myself not feeling the magic. Not feeling festive. Tragedies in the news, close friends sick, one family member passing … and a serious scarcity of money have all combined to make this a dreary excuse for what is usually a fun time of year.

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And then someone gives me a little star … a bit of recognition … and the world is just that much brighter. Thank you again.

There is definitely something to be said about this virtual world of ours: it is a world of sharing, caring and preparing: Sharing around the world, Caring for others, Preparing for the future. Whatever endeavor you are engaged in at the present moment or seek in days to come, there is always someone willing to tell you his or her story which will in provide a beacon of light down a sometimes dark highway.

The ‘rules’ for this award are simple and easy:

  1. Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award.
  2. Write a blog post and name/tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award.
  3. Please include a link back to this page Blog of the Year 2012 Award and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!).
  4. Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them.
  5. You can now also join The Facebook group – click ‘like’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Facebook group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience.
  6. As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars.

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Because this is an award that you can “collect” and get many times, I’m going to give it back to people who I know have gotten it before, but who I’m reasonably sure don’t have all six stars yet. I may be wrong, but I think so.

You are people whose work I follow. You mean something to me. You make me laugh, make me feel, make me think, teach me stuff. Some of you suggest ideas, movies, or books to read, watch, or learn, technology, cameras and accessories I might want. Some of you champion causes important to me … and some of you are living lives I wish were mine. Many more of you are living lives a lot like mine and I empathize and sympathize with you. You make me feel less alone.

All of you have touched me. It may not matter a lot to you, but it makes a big difference to me.

For those of you are getting this award again and need one of the other versions with a different number of stars, I’m including (thank you again Sharla) all six of the award medallions at the bottom of this post.

Since I got this fifth star today, I’m going to pass it along to people who to whom I gave it before, but who I’m pretty sure don’t yet have their sixth stars (no, not me … I can’t give it to myself and I wouldn’t if I could … Jeez):

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Feel no obligation to do anything beyond your comfort zone. I know the holidays are on us and if you are anything like me, you don’t have time to spare. Do whatever feels good to you and don’t feel obliged beyond that. I may take a week off blogging altogether after this: I’ve got so much to do, I finally feel like if I don’t give myself a break, I’m going to break.

May your holidays be bright, may all good things come to you and yours. May we all move into the New Year with joy and purpose, overcoming all the problems that assail us and coming out the other side.

Revel in the season! Be happy whatever it is you celebrate … and may you enjoy everything you can in any way that brings you peace and joy.

“VERY INSPIRING BLOGGER AWARD” – My Cup Overfloweth

Very Inspiring Blogger award

Tonight I went with my husband to Sutton’s Congregational Church. They were having their Christmas Concert and Garry and a friend of his had produced a documentary about the concert … how it was put together, how the choir family pulled together to create this every year. It’s playing now on local cable stations around the valley.

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This was the official Christmas concert performance. Considering how trying these past few days have been, a trip to church to hear Christmas carols was exactly what we needed. It was a nasty night. When we got out of the car at the church, the entire parking lot was covered with black ice. It was drizzling, but just cold enough so that the drizzle froze instantly on all the paved surfaces. I barely made it the 20 or so feet from the car to the church without falling and the minister did fall on her way out of her house.

The concert was lovely. Good singing, lots of smiles. And I took pictures and by the time we left the church, it had warmed up just enough so that the ice was gone. As the minister said, we had been blessed.

And now, blessed again by yet another gift of a Very Inspiring Blogger Award, courtesy of  Dear Kitty. Some blog: On animals, peace and war, science, social justice, women’s issues, arts, and much more. This is a woman whose causes are my causes, whose passions are also mine, a woman who I greatly admire. I am touched and honored to receive this award from her.

I often don’t feel particularly inspiring, but inspiration comes from many sources. I am glad that my words and pictures … and the other posts I find and reblog because I think they are important and worthwhile … provide inspiration for others. It makes the effort worth it to know that there are people “out there” who read the words and it means something to them.

That somehow I’ve gone in less than a year from “who’s that?” to getting more awards than I imagined possible leaves me a little breathless. Awards are always given by people who do not know us intimately. I am sure if people knew me better, they’d be incapable of giving me an award because they would, as my old friends do, remember that time I had one Mai Tai too many, fainted dead away and had to be dragged home by three big guys in a fork lift. People who know you very well may love you, but they don’t give you awards. Moreover, anyone who met my second husband or first boyfriend would never find me inspiring, although I might serve as a cautionary tale … if that could be considered inspirational.

The difference between something that gives me a migraine and something that inspires me can be razor-thin. This last week, full of tragedy and madness has been inspiring … but not in a way I would ever have chosen. It’s been a grim week. I only hope that from this something positive will emerge. I guess we’ll see how long people remember and if all the talk turns into some kind of action.

Being told that I’m an inspiration is an inspiration. It means I have not become irrelevant and maybe the experience of a lifetime is was not entirely wasted. All of you in my blogging world inspire me. I read your stories and poems. I admire your photographs and art. You change my view of the world, the way I do things, give me food for thought. If I do a bit of the same for you, I am glad.

Keith and St. Nick

Happy whatever you celebrate. Celebrate everything, why don’t you? Rejoice that you are alive, because you have a friend, a roof over your head, and maybe something to eat. Forget for a while all the problems and craziness because it won’t forget you … it’ll be there, waiting, when the party’s over. Love you all!!

The rules of this award are:

  • Display the award logo on your blog
  • Link back to the person who nominated you.
  • Tell us at least seven things about yourself that you would like to share.
  • Nominate other bloggers for this award and link to them. I am not going to set a specific number. I know how difficult it can be to keep coming up with nominees and rather than burden you all with having to find everyone all at once, you can keep a few awards in your back pocket and pass them along when the time is right. The holidays are upon us all, so please don’t feel pressured to push beyond your comfort zone.
  • Notify your chosen bloggers of their nomination and the award’s requirements.

Seven things about myself that I haven’t explicitly said before (at least not where anyone could hear me) are:

  1. I was a music major in college, then finally graduated as a drama/broadcast dual major. I would have stayed for a third major in social science, but they told me I had to graduate.
  2. My favorite movies are comedies. I love to laugh.
  3. I have owned so many cats and dogs that I really can’t remember all of them any more.
  4. I’m a good cook, but after more than 40 years of dishing up meals, I’m very happy to eat other people’s cooking.
  5. If the mother ship comes and offers me a ride, I’m outta here.
  6. I learned to read in about two hours when I was five.
  7. I believe that anyone could write well if they would just remember that writing is just talking through your fingers. Good writing should sound as natural as speech. Most people try too hard; others don’t try hard enough.

My nominees (the envelope please):

  • Lust and Rum: New York, thy name’s “Delirium” — because I grew up in New York and  Anton Brookes’ photography and commentary reminds me that I still love it. His pictures are touching, evocative, the kind of photojournalism you rarely see any more.
  • Wessays – by my old friend Wes Richards whose writing is so good  that every time I read one of his posts, I immediately feel inadequate.
  • Awakenings: Awakenings from Then ’til Now allows you to Embrace Your Past, Empower the Present, Enrich Your Future. Because Sharla inspires me every day in more ways than I can count.

For all of you to whom I’ve already give awards, know you are likely going to get more. I like you, I like your websites, your thoughts, your pictures, you opinions … so you’ll have to cope with getting a few awards now and again. There are worse fates!

Blog of the Year – 2012 … Four Stars (Gee) AND a new recipient!


Having received the Blog of the Year Award last week from Tyson at Head in a Vice , then a second from Sharla at CatnipOfLife, and yet another from Bette Stevens at 4WRITERSANDREADERS … and, as it turns out, one more from Sharla via her other blog, Awakenings  … I’m all the way up to four stars. I’m dizzy from all the attention.

Boy, this is really cool. I feel so appreciated. Wowie zowie! Thank you all my friends. I’m not sure I deserve it, but I really like it!

It was just yesterday that I realized I had to address this award right now. The year is almost over. I am not ready. I am never ready. Ethelred the Unready (my favorite of the ancient Kings of Britain) had nothing on me. I dare anyone to prove that he, she, they or it are any more unready than I am.

I cannot believe how quickly time is passing. The Christmas tree is up, though half the lights are still refusing to do the thing that lights are supposed to do … and while we have no snow on the ground (Thank you Lord!) , the weather reports are full of dire predictions, leading me to assume this will be a white Christmas — if they aren’t just making the whole thing up so that they have something to say.

The tree — which we keep in a box in the attic because we have four dogs and bringing a real tree into the house would indicate a level of insanity exceeding even this family’s quotient — went up on Monday afternoon while I was sitting around waiting for the radiologist to figure out how to make the x-ray machine take a picture of my lungs so that I could enter the holiday season reasonably certain that nothing alien was growing in there (it isn’t).

He never did get it that particular machine to work, so we had to walk across the road and through the ER at the other hospital to get a picture. That machine, though older and far less fancy, worked. As my reward for being such a patient patient and suggesting that if a reboot didn’t do the job, probably the machine was broken (I’m such a genius!), he let me watch the digital image of my lungs appear on the big screen.

Bright lights, bright nights

Bright lights, bright nights

It was very rewarding. There was nothing to see. When you are visiting your oncologist (what? you don’t have an oncologist? doesn’t everyone have an oncologist?) is exactly what you yearn with all your heart to see. Nothing is good. Nothing is delicious and boring and means that you have a moderately good chance of being around next year to see another picture of nothing.

Once upon a time, I had goals, aspirations, dreams and hopes. I was going to write a novel. Hollywood would buy it, I’d be an internationally renowned author. rich in honor and rolling in the big bucks. Kind of like Stephen King, but not in Bangor. I’ve always preferred the coastline of Maine‘s rocky shore. I wanted one of those houses that sort of hangs on the cliff and looks like it’s going to fall right off. These days, several catastrophes later, I think I’d prefer being a few hundred yards back from the cliff. I’ve seen too much television footage of houses falling into the ocean. I don’t think I need to become newsworthy because my house fell into the Atlantic. What good is renown and wealth if one is swimming with the fishes?

Today, my hopes and dreams are more compact and down to earth. I want to live another year … preferably many more. I want to have enough money to keep a roof over my head, food on the table, medication that will prevent my demise, and I want the same good things for everyone. There was a time when I would have assumed these were things everyone had, not something that needed to be wished for. Many things once taken for granted are now gifts to be treasured.

There is definitely something to be said about this virtual world of ours: it is a world of sharing, caring and preparing: Sharing around the world, Caring for others, Preparing for the future. Whatever endeavor you are engaged in at the present moment or seek in days to come, there is always someone willing to tell you his or her story which will in provide a beacon of light down a sometimes dark highway.

One way or the other, soon enough white flakes will fall and then, as in one of the old black and white movies of which my husband is so inordinately fond, the page of the calendar will flip over, the ancient Mayans will slink back into their tombs until their next resurrection and anyone who told his or her boss to screw off will be pounding the pavement (or these days, the keyboard) in search of green(er) pastures.

If I can’t digress, what is the fun of blogging? If I have to stick to the subject, built a logical case for whatever drivel I’m spouting and just be limited to saying stuff that make sense, what will I write about? My life doesn’t make sense. Does yours? If you have a life that is orderly, sensible, a life in which you can predict what each day will bring, then you are probably still very young, so you can still look forward to the craziness of the future. Life happens to everyone, sooner or later. And some of the craziness is fun! Some surprises are good.

Having given awards to pretty much every blog I read and enjoy, and excluding only those who actively refuse to accept awards, I feel inclined to say “back at you” to many of my friends and to let as many people as I can know that I appreciate them. You whose blogs I read, who inspire me, encourage me, and bring me joy and make my world a better place — who make the whole world better because you are in it — all of you deserve awards.

To every one of you who promote causes you believe it, continue to fight the good fights, try to right wrongs, attempt to enlighten, inform, amuse, and raise the consciousness of those who you are able to reach, all of you deserve this award. And, you’re going to get one, even if you have one, even if you have two or three or four. What you do about them is up to you, but know that I notice you, appreciate you, and am grateful you are part of my life.

The ‘rules’ for this award are simple and easy:

  1. Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award.
  2. Write a blog post and name/tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award.
  3. Please include a link back to this page Blog of the Year 2012 Award and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!).
  4. Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them.
  5. You can now also join The Facebook group – click ‘like’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Facebook group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience.
  6. As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars.

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Because this is an award that you can “collect” and get many times, I’m going to give it back to people who I know have gotten it before.  I think I’ve given awards to all of you before, at one time or another. Some of you have been happy about it, some of you have ignored me. I’m not giving it to anyone who has pointedly told me to get lost. One clear rejection is enough for me.

The point of passing these around is not that you’re getting the Oscar of blog awards … or even that you’re getting another award or if the award thing delights or annoys you. It’s recognition from me, a fellow blogger, that you have made a difference in my world, changed my thinking, helped me learn, enabled me see differently through the camera’s lens, through words, via movies or books or ideas or any combination of these things.

You are important to me. You make me laugh, make me feel, make me think, teach me stuff. Some of you suggest ideas, movies, or books I might want to read, watch, or learn, technology, cameras and accessories I might want. Some of you champion causes important to me … and some of you are living lives I wish were mine. Many more of you are living lives a lot like mine and I empathize and sympathize with you. You make me feel less alone.

All of you have touched me. It may not matter a lot to you, but it makes a big difference to me.

For those of you are getting this award again and need one of the other versions with a different number of stars, I’m including (thank you again Sharla) all six of the award medallions at the bottom of this post.

Because I got another star today, I’m giving out one more of these to someone whose blog I really love … and you can tell how much I like his writing by how many times I reblog  his posts … like, uh, most of them I think.

Here you go — a star to:

Beasley Green: Write up my street … because he manages to make me laugh and think at the same time, which is not unlike chewing gum and walking at the same time (something which isn’t as easy to do as it might sound to the uninitiated). I know you’re busy, but please, write more!

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I’ve probably forgotten somebody, maybe more than one somebody. If I did, it’s an accident, I assure you … unless of course you are one of the people who have explicitly told me to not give them awards. I wanted to make sure all of you know that you are important and that I honor you.

Feel no obligation to do anything beyond your comfort zone. I ask only that you play nice and remember you really don’t have to do anything if you don’t want to.

May your holidays be bright, may all good things come to you and yours. May we all move into the New Year with joy and purpose, overcoming all the problems that assail us and coming out the other side.

Revel in the season! Be happy whatever it is you celebrate … and may you enjoy everything you can in any way that brings you peace and joy.

Awards Time

Marilyn Armstrong:

I won’t have time to properly thank Tyson for this very special award for next couple of days, but it seemed like letting him speak in his own words would be a good temporary fix :-) Lately, I feel almost embarrassed at the number of awards and accolades coming my way … to such an extent that I have spent a whole lot more time than anyone should trying to figure out why … ultimately concluding that (a) I must be doing something right, and (b) people have run out of other candidates.
But of course, that’s not really true, because no matter how many awards you get, or I get, I never give them to anyone that I don’t genuinely feel deserves recognition.

There’s another issue involved: In our daily lives, most of us don’t get recognition. We work, we do what we are supposed to do, what we have to do, what we are expected to do by others and ourselves. In my 40 years of work, I’ve gotten very little recognition beyond the occasional “Good job, Marilyn.” No statuettes (Garry has a lot of them!) plaques, etc. I just didn’t work in that kind of industry. No annual awards. Having a job IS the reward. Now, with blogging, I feel like I’m making up for lost time. I will pass this (and another couple of awards) to others. I hope I can make a few other folks feel that their efforts are not going for naught.

Meanwhile, to my faithful audience, please feel free to express your admiration with large cash donations :-)

Thank you all for finding my stuff interesting enough to read, look at, comment on … and even send me the occasional piece of hate mail. In this society, without hate mail, you hardly count in this world.

Originally posted on Head In A Vice:

Awards

Over the past few weeks I have been lucky enough to receive a few of these online awards that are doing the rounds. I always take them in the way I think they are intended, and that way being from one blogger to another who likes or appreciates your work. I know some people dismiss them, and that’s cool, to each their own, but I feel that the person choosing me and my site at the very least deserves a public thankyou!

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“VERY INSPIRING BLOGGER AWARD” – An honor, a privilege, a puzzlement.

Very Inspiring Blogger award

First of all, thanks to Mike Smith at  MikesFilmTalk who honored me with this, my second Very Inspiring Blogger Award. I have no idea why anyone finds me inspiring, but I like the idea.

I suppose the most inspiring thing about me is that despite everything, here I am, sense of humor intact. Survival is inspirational, but surviving while retaining a sense of humor is better. Unless you are going to be drowning in a sea of your own tears, you’d better laugh because no matter how much crap you’ve already gone through, I can personally guarantee that there is more just down the road past that traffic light. Crap, much like the tax collector, can always find you. You might just as well stop trying to hide because it’s pointless. What’s going to happen is going to happen. If it doesn’t kill you, it’ll make a great story.

Somehow I’ve gone in less than a year from “who’s that” to frequent honoree of awards … inspiring and brave and wise. Getting awards is all about finding someone … or someones … who don’t know you well enough to realize what a jerk you are.  I mean really … does anyone who you know close up and personal ever give you an award? No, right? That’s because they remember that time when you had one brandy Alexander too many and danced on the table … or that other time when while passing something around, you fainted dead away and had to be dragged to your tent by three big guys and a fork lift. These people love you, but they don’t give you awards. Intimacy precludes formal honors. Moreover, anyone who ever met my second husband or my first boyfriend could never find me inspiring. Perhaps if there were an award for it, I could be a cautionary tale, a warning to not do that!

Too much stuff

Mike sort of reminds me of me. That’s probably how come he has gotten a lot of awards from me and will get more. He doesn’t just write about movies. He writes about life. His life, and just any old life. He thinks about stuff. He’s had a hard time and I suspect that 2012 will never be marked in his mental landscape as “one of the great years.” Mike has managed to survived the worst life could throw at him and while he isn’t thrilled with it, he’s found ways to cope without whining and can apparently still laugh. Around here, that’s an achievement worthy of note. Somewhere, he got the message that life is neither fair nor easy. For anyone.

Inspiration comes to me from so many places, but oddly, the comments I write to Mike on his posts have, at least half a dozen times, morphed into posts of my own. He has a knack for saying stuff hovering on the edge of my consciousness that while I’m commenting to him, I realize is something I’ve been meaning to write.

Then, there are the books I read, the shows I see on the telly, current events, the weird stuff that happens at home to me and friends, and the way the light filters through the trees. The difference between something that gives me a migraine and something that inspires me can be razor-thin.

Doggy ChristmasBeing told that I’m an inspiration is an inspiration. It means someone still listens to me and I have not yet become completely irrelevant. The older one gets, the more the fear of irrelevancy stalks us. Not just me, but whole generations who were shakers and movers and now find themselves as designated “old people.” In our society, we don’t honor old people. We just shove them away and try to ignore them. Blogging lets me continue to be a part of the world and to still have a bit of impact on it. I’m not going to shake up the establishment, but I might just inform, inspire, awaken a few minds … or at least make someone who’s having a bad day, smile. That’s something.

All of you in my blogging community inspire me. I read your stories, poems and look at your pictures. You make me want to do more and be better. If I can do a little of the same for you, then I am glad.

I’m going to pass this honor to a few of the usual suspects, a couple of surprises … and suggest that any and all of you with whom I am regularly in contact, whose blogs I follow … any of you could equally well be recipients of this or one of the (I’m losing track) other awards I still need to deal with. Truly, if I hadn’t so recently received another of these so that I could take the post I wrote for it and redo it, I’m not sure I’d have been able to deal with this today. Christmas is near, my project deadline is breathing down my neck, my family has gone completely wacko and all I’m eating are homemade cookies which is unlikely to make me a more attractive or healthier person, but wow, they taste great.

Happy whatever you celebrate. Celebrate everything, why don’t you? Rejoice that you are alive, because you have a friend, a roof over your head, and maybe something to eat. Forget for a while all the problems and craziness because it won’t forget you … it’ll be there, waiting, when the party’s over. Love you all!!

The rules of this award are:

  • Display the award logo on your blog
  • Link back to the person who nominated you.
  • Tell us at least seven things about yourself that you would like to share.
  • Nominate other bloggers for this award and link to them. I am not going to set a specific number. I know how difficult it can be to keep coming up with dozens of new nominees and rather than burden you all with having to find in a single batch so many blogger, I will suggest that as you find worthy blogs you would like to honor, pass the honor to them, then let them pass the honor along as they find worthy recipients. No need to rush!
  • Notify your chosen bloggers of their nomination and the award’s requirements.

Seven things about myself that I haven’t explicitly said before (at least not where anyone could hear me) are:

  1. My second husband was a moron. I have no idea why in the world I married him. I will never understand. It may have had something to do with drugs and sex.
  2. My favorite shows are reruns. M*A*S*H is the best.
  3. I have a back so bad and a spine so damaged there’s no medical name for it.
  4. I make killer chile.
  5. I’m still waiting for the mother ship to come and take me away ala Cocoon so I can be young again.
  6. My first IQ test showed me to be a genius of the highest order. I was 11 years old. It’s been all downhill since. Now, I’m lucky if I can remember my name.
  7. Before settling down to writing, I was going to be a pianist. Which is how I completed a full major in music before realizing that I’m not good enough to be a musician, at least not classical. But once upon a time, I was pretty good.

My nominees (the envelope please):

For my friends to whom I’ve already give several awards (you know who you are!) and who live in fear of getting another, you are doomed. If I missed you this time, trust me … I will get you on the next round. And if you like any of these awards, feel free to just take the award, pat yourself on the back, and pass it along. It really is all about sharing. Share and be glad!