Tag Archives: bloggers

I’m Versatile Again This Week!

Yesterday, I opened my new friend Melissa‘s post over at Play 101…she had been given the Versatile Blogger Award, and had graciously passed it on to me and 14 other bloggers.  I encourage you to check out Melissa’s blog…she is a TV news reporter who writes both eloquently and sensibly about many different topics, including parenting her two young children.  She’s funny too!

Versatile Blogger Award

This is my third VB award, and one of several blogging awards that I’ve been given in the last couple of months.  The rules state that I must link to the person who gave me the award (done), list seven previously unknown facts about myself, and pass it on to 15 newfound blogging buddies.  I’m running out of people to pick on give the award to, so I’m going to tweak the last part a bit…I hope Melissa doesn’t mind!

Seven Things About Me I Don’t Think I’ve Told You (And You Might Not Want to Know)

1.  My feet are really big…I was wearing a size 7 by the time I was 11.  I am now a size 10.  I hope my feet stop growing soon!

2. I was my elementary school’s president in Grade 6 (I really wasn’t that popular…it was a three-room school with fewer than 100 students!).  My campaign slogan was: “Don’t Go Bananas Over Boys!”  Maybe I’ll let Hilary borrow that if she ever decides to take a run at the presidency!

3. I love feeling the bristles of somebody’s brush cut…I used to surprise the little boy sitting in front of me in Grade 2 by running my hand up the back of his head at random times.  I think he liked it…

4. My little brother and I were once interviewed by a newspaper reporter while our dog was delivering puppies in the same room (we used to do a community newsletter in our hamlet of 150 people – I was 13, and he was 10)!

5. Lilies are my favourite flowers.

6. I often have strange, inexplicable dreams: Last night, I dreamed that a former co-worker was playing the banjo (she doesn’t – I checked).  The night before, I dreamed that a guy I knew in high school was throwing me into the trunk of his car and kidnapping me (he’s a hairdresser who dabbles in photography, art and fashion design – very scary!).

7. I refuse to eat olives…they look like eyes, and don’t taste good to me at all!

Passing On the Award

Instead of just picking 15 people who have already been awarded multiple times, I’ve chosen some of my favourite posts to share with you…feel free to respond with some of your favourites too!  It’s all about sharing the love! 

1. 36 x 37: All Pipes Lead to the Ocean.  Maura has a devastating accident, and has to break the bad news to her sons.

2. Big Happy Nothing: May I Have Some Assertiveness Training, Please? Amiable Amiable and I have a lot in common…we’re part of the newly-formed Doormat Club!

3. BlurtI Am Not a Pharmacist, But I’m Willing to Try.  Omawarisan recounts how he deals with having a similar phone number to a drugstore. 

4. H is for Happiness: Phoenix.  Harsha remembers the Mumbai bombing in 2008. 

5. Lanny the Leopard: Guest Post (originally on Hippie Cahier).  A young man goes off to Boot Camp, as told by his faithful friend.

6. Ironic MomExplaining the 80s to Children.  Leanne tells her 6-year-old twins about a period of ancient history.

7. Jacquelin Cangro: Eighteen Minutes: The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire.  Jacquelin relates the tragic story of a workplace disaster that led to safer working conditions for all of us.

8. Life is a Spectrum: The Long Distance Runner. Four-year-old Billy runs a race, and teaches us all a very important lesson.

9. Mostly Bright Ideas: Ideas to Live Without.  Contrary to the title of his blog, Charles illuminates some really bad ideas.

10. Murrmurrs: What We Have Here is a Failure to Procreate.  Murr explains the decision she and her husband made not to have children.

11. Plane Janer’s Journey: Male Readers Beware…The Ladies are Going Bra Shopping.  Jane’s piece supports her theory that “it is harder to find a well-fitting, reasonably priced, attractive bra than it is to find a good man to marry.”

12. Simply Diane: In Celebration…Red Mary Janes With No Buckles.  Diane recounts the story of adopting her daughter.

13. Sunshine in London: Not Just Another Winter’s Tale.  Sunshine remembers her late father-in-law in this love-filled post.

14. The $#!& I Think About: The Secret Lives of Cats.  Have you ever wondered what cats really do when their owners aren’t around?  Be sure to read both parts of this hilarious series!

15. Todd Pack’s Messy Desk: Cool Hand, Luke. Todd has a frank discussion with his 5-year-old son.

This is but a tip of the iceberg in terms of the talented people who are part of my blogging community (I only have great writers on my blogroll – check out He Said, She Said and They Said)…I wish I had to time and space to highlight all of them! 

What posts have you read recently that made you laugh, made you cry, or made you think?

69 Comments

Filed under blogging, friends, memories

What a Difference a Year Makes!

One year ago today, I sat down at my computer and began an odyssey into a strange and wondrous place that I knew virtually nothing about: the blogosphere.  Armed with a desire to get back to writing regularly after a three-year hiatus, I sent my thoughts hurtling into cyberspace.  What a positive and enlightening journey it’s been!

The Readers

If people didn’t read my blog, it wouldn’t have a reason to exist…I am so thankful that each of you takes the time from your busy day to come for tea in Hammond River!  I would like to make special mention of my first blogging buddy, Jane at PlaneJaner’s Journey.  Jane’s been with me since the very first day, encouraging me and telling others about me!  I will always be grateful that we found each other, Jane, and am proud to call you my friend!  When I first started, hits on my blog averaged about 35 or 40 hits a day…now I’m getting 125 to 150 a day!  I’m closing in on 25,600 hits, and 4100 comments for the year!  If you’re a “lurker”, don’t be shy…please leave me a comment…I promise to answer it!

The Community

I really had no idea that there were so many crazy talented writers out there when I started this project…smart, thoughtful, funny people who have taught me so much about good writing!  I have blogging buddies on five continents!  I’m sending all you guys a virtual brownie (I hope nobody’s allergic to cyber-sweetness!)…thanks for “getting me”!  In honour of my “blogiversary”, I have added several new people to my blogroll today (see “He Said”, “She Said”, and “They Said”).  Please take the time to check out their blogs: there’s nothing that makes me happier than hooking people up with great writers!  Many of these folks have been Freshly Pressed, and most are the recipients of multiple awards…Mama don’t allow no junk on her blogroll!

Take two...they're small...I made them just for you!

The Posts

If someone were being really nice, they would probably classify my blog as a “cornucopia” of topics.  Truthfully, I write what I feel like writing…several of my readers have commented that they never know what I’m going to write about next!  I like not being “predictable”…that equals “boring” for me!  Some days, I’m a “mommy blogger”, others I’m a “foodie”.  I write about gardening sometimes, and tell stories about the wild animals that share our land.  Other times, I’m an amateur historian, or relate stories of my own childhood.  I rant…a lot!  I talk about music, and books, and our bookstore.  I’ve dabbled in fiction.  I even took an action figure on a tour of our city!  Changing things up is how I like to roll!

Recognition

Herding Cats in Hammond River has been Freshly Pressed twice by the powers that be at WordPress.  Thanks to the folks there for maintaining a quality blog site…there were a few technical issues last night, but they seem to have been resolved!  My fellow bloggers have been very generous about awards: They think my blog is “Bloody Brilliant”, “Versatile”, “Stylish” and “Memetastic”!  Thanks for the love, you guys!

The Family

I couldn’t do my blog without the love and support of my family…thanks for waiting patiently for dinner while I finish a post (or photograph what I cooked), and letting me make fun of you in public!  With you guys around, I’m sure I’ll never run out of things to write about!

Here’s to another year of Herding Cats in Hammond River!  Thank you, everybody!

Hugs,

Wendy

71 Comments

Filed under blogging, friends, self-discovery

It’s Not My Style…

This past Saturday, my friend Amiable Amiable at Big Happy Nothing passed me The Stylish Blogger Award.  My friend, AA, is very sweet (be sure to check out her highly amusing blog!), but clearly delusional in bestowing this honour on a woman whose children have threatened kindly offered to suggest Style by Jury do a makeover on her (“They’d give you brand new pearly whites!” says Hope, hopefully).  Nevertheless, being the gracious sort (and not wanting to hurt AA’s feelings), I am proud to accept this award, and pass it along to other deserving bloggers.

Stylish Blogger Award

 

The requirements I must follow as an award recipient are as follows:

1. Write seven things about myself. 

I’ve decided (since I’m likely to repeat myself in my advanced age) to share with you seven little-known facts about me and my lack of style (Stacy and Clinton from What Not to Wear dream of getting their well-manicured hands on someone like me!). 

2. Present the award to six bloggers.

There are few people on my Blogroll who I haven’t already picked on honoured with various awards, but I will offer up some of my latest additions for your perusal.  I may lack that “je ne sais quoi,” but I’ve got a whack of stylish writers on my Blogroll!

3. Contact those people. 

Will do (just as soon as the post is up!).

4. Create a link back to the person who honored me. 

Done!

Seven Fashion Tips/Facts About Me I Hope No One Chooses to Follow:

1. My first (and second pair) of glasses were cat’s eyes: the first pink, the second blue.  I was seven…I thought they were cool!

Me with my Aunt Nancy's ponies, ca. 1968...a fashion plate even then...not!

2. I made my own halter tops in junior high from a simple trapezoid shape with drawstrings strung through the top and bottom…I was a 34A until I was 16. 

3. My parents didn’t have much money when I was growing up, and I bought all my own clothing from the time I was fourteen.  One of the things I desparately wanted was a pair of Levis jeans.  One day, a local store advertised in the newspaper that they had Levis for $3.99.  When I got to the store, the “on sale” jeans were actually cords, and they were burnt orange in colour.  I bought them anyway. 

4. In Grade 10, I recut a pair of hand-me-down bell bottom jeans (remember the really big bell bottoms popular in the mid-70’s?) and sewed them into a long granny-style skirt…I spent the rest of the year tripping over it!

5. I was not a “girly-girl” in high school, and rarely wore regular-length skirts.  Girls had to wear skirts for band though.  I found out (from a photograph in the yearbook) that I had played my flute in a band concert sitting in the front row with my legs wide open (lucky that I wore granny panties then, just like now!).

6. Before I had kids, I used to have money to buy shoes.  Shoes in Canada were always more expensive than they were in the U.S., so I’d wait until we went to the States to visit relatives to make my purchases.  On one such trip, I was thrilled to find a pair of pointy-toed suede cowboy boots for only $38 (they would have sold for over $100 in Canada at the time).  Some unkind people referred to my prized boots as “pickle-stabbers”!

7. In college, I went through a brief period where I wore hats all the time (it was the early ’80’s).  I built up quite a collection before I came to my senses and realized I wasn’t a “hat person.”

My Six Stylish Blogger Nominees:

The proper words in the proper places are the true definition of style.

Jonathan Swift

I have chosen my victims winners with Jonathan’s quote in mind…please check them out if you don’t already know them:

1. Another Stir of the SpoonJeanne and her husband, Curt, write one of two wife-husband blogs I follow (and they’re just as crazy about birds as Jim is!).  It is an eclectic mix of food, art, gardening, books and nature.  Just today, I learned about “real” ramen (as they do it in Japan), and “shino” glaze on pottery!

2. EduClaytion. Clay is the history professor we all wish we had in college…he makes history and pop culture fun!  There’s a rumour that the look of the “Flynn Rider” character in Tangled was modelled after him…the real Clay is definitely cooler and smarter than his cartoon twin!

Flynn Rider from Tangled…

3. Jumping in Mud Puddles.  I discovered Vickie after she was Freshly Pressed in mid-December…I kept reading because she cracks me up!  Vickie’s a fourth grade teacher in West Virginia.  One of my favourite posts of hers involves a lost ring

4. Life From the TrenchesAmy used to write mostly about etiquette, but has expanded the scope of her blog in anticipation of her imminent return to the “away from home” workforce.  She recently took up a challenge presented by one of my commentators to do a post on flatulence etiquette (we may collaborate on a book, but don’t hold your breath…or maybe you should!).  Amy handles whatever she writes about with good sense sprinkled with a liberal dose of humour!  
5. Loose Leaf NotesColleen is a poet, photographer, journalist, and a grandmother in Floyd, Virginia.  She shares my love of music and tea.  You never know what you’ll find when you visit Colleen…one of my favourites of her features is Thirteen Thursdays.
6. Reinventing The Event HorizonKathy is an artist and creative writing teacher currently living in Haiti with her partner, Sara, who works with a NGO doing relief work.  Kathy accomplishes the seemingly-impossible task of finding beauty in the ruins of a country devastated by poverty and a series of natural disasters.  Her writing is always thought-provoking and honest (she will probably be honestly horrified to discover she’s “won” another award…she just got the Memetastic Award…more homework!).
I’m off to dust off a spot on the mantel…maybe we should get those fireplaces working again! 

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Filed under blogging, friends, satire, self-discovery

An Award, A Maniacal Kitten, and Lies I Never Told You…

Earlier this week, my friend Amanda at Life is a Spectrum foisted off bestowed a new blogger’s award on me, The Memetastic Award.  It was conceived by Jillsmo at Yeah. Good Times.  I had to Google “meme” to find out what I was “tastic” at!  Apparently, “meme” rhymes with “cream”, and describes a concept that spreads via the Internet.  Here’s the award:

Memetastic Award…

(I feel younger just displaying it…maybe I should start dotting my “i”‘s with little hearts?  It almost makes me want to start using Emoticons…ooh, the horror!).

The rules for accepting The Memetastic Award are as follows:

1. You must proudly display the “absolutely disgusting graphic” (her words) that Jillsmo created in your post [check].

2. You must list 5 things about yourself, and 4 of them must be bold-faced lies (I can totally do that…it will be fun!).

3. You must pass this award on to 5 bloggers that you either like or don’t like or don’t really have much of an opinion about.  I’ve decided to pick on pass it on to bloggers I haven’t previously spread lies good words about.  Jill claims to not care why we picked who we pick, but I’m going to tell you why (Amanda picked me because she said she thought I would provide a happy home for the “maniacally-delighted cat”…unfortunately, Jim and his kids are allergic to cats!  My daughter, Kaylee, has two cats with issues…maybe she has room for one more?).

4. If you FAIL to follow Rules #1-3, Jillsmo will become the stalker from hell (or something to that effect)…I’m not tempting fate on that one!

5. Once you’re finished, please link your celebratory post back to The Memetastic Hop, so Jillsmo can see how far her diabolical scheme has gone.

*****

Five things about WENDY…which one is true?

1. I was once a principal dancer for the National Ballet of Canada, but was forced to retire due to a mysterious epidemic of hernias suffered by my male partners.

2. I used to have a bread-baking show on The Food Network called The Yeast You Can Do!

3. I recently took an action figure of Angelina Jolie on a photographic tour of my city, and I’m still allowed to walk around unsupervised in public.

4. Jim and I have a villa in Tuscany.  We go there for a month at a time and stuff ourselves with food our kids don’t like, and listen to our music all day long!

5. My house is spotless, and filled with books, antiques and art.

*****

And the victims winners are (in alphabetical order, by blog name):

1. Big Happy NothingAmiable Amiable has got lots of room at her house for the kitten, who’s sure to provide amusing antics to entertain AA and her husband (now that their children have moved out).  The cat will help keep those pesky birds away from the bird feeder too!

2. Flying Gma’s Blog.  Jeanne can entertain the cat by taking it up with her when she flies her plane.  I’d suggest investing in a kitty-carrier, though…might be kind of hard to see where you’re going with a crazed cat wrapped around your face!

3. H is for HappinessHarsha is more a dog person than a cat person, I think, but her little fellow, Ishaan, would have fun with a kitten, especially a mischievous one!  I bet the maniacal cat has never been to India!

4. I’ll Have NunavutIan and Suzanne really need another cat to keep the older ones young.  They could always use it as a scarf to keep warm too!

5. Lady Justine’s BlogLady Justine already has a menagerie at her house in France…she’s such a soft touch with animals, she’ll be happy about adding a kitten to the mix.  Maybe it can help her potty-train Tilly!

Be sure to check out all their blogs and harass ask them when they’re going to post the obnoxious kitten!  Thanks again to Amanda for this honour…stop in at her blog too!

 

45 Comments

Filed under blogging, satire

Still Learning in 2010…

Taking the lead from my blogging friends, Todd Pack, Izzie Darling, and Lady Justine, here’s a list of the things I learned this year…if you want to read the full story on any of these lessons, search a keyword or click the appropriate tag in the sidebar:

1. Our dog thinks porcupine poop is dessert.

2. Hope loves Jake enough to share her toothbrush with him.

3. Homemade rolls don’t have to be “pretty” to taste good.

4. Egg cartons are not good containers to start plants indoors in.

5. Dogs love to destroy egg cartons with seedlings in them.

6. Jim’s parents are our biggest supporters.

7. Bleachers are hard things to sit on for more than a couple of hours.

8. I am really out of shape.

9. Seeing a toy from your childhood 40 years later brings you right back to that time in your life.

10. If the winter is mild enough, spinach from last year can survive.

11. Maple vinaigrette makes spinach salad a beautiful thing!

12. There’s no such thing as “too many bird feeders.”

13. Squirrels can do amazing tricks to get to a bird feeder.

14. Some people keep their toilet paper in the breadbox.

15. Mothers-in-law are often right.

16. More people in Saint John knew when the new Costco was opening than were aware of the city’s 225th birthday this year.

17. Rhubarb runs amok if left to grow unchecked.

18. Orthodontists make more per hour than most of us.

19. Sometimes plants get a lot bigger than the seed package says they will…my five-foot sunflowers ended up being seven or eight feet tall!

20. I like portobello mushroom/swiss veggie burgers.

21. Our dog enjoys eating Popsicle sticks.

22. Cosmopolitan was a literary magazine back in the early 1900’s.

23. There is only one kind of hummingbird which frequents New Brunswick: the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird.

24. I love Mint Crisp M&M’s.

25. I learned what a “fisher” was, after seeing one cross the road in front of our car.

26. Before you construct a really big birdhouse, figure out where you’re going to put it and how to get it up there!

27. My dad’s a good singer, and I’m not the only one who thinks so!

28. They sell live ladybugs at Home Depot.

29. Right after you purchase twenty tomato plants, the forty you started from seed will rally.

30. Ladybugs aren’t always red with black spots…sometimes they’re brown with cream spots.

31. As long as they’re under warranty, Vogue Optical will replace glasses which have been chewed by a dog!

32. We have a cherry tree, and eight high-bush blueberries I’d never noticed before.

33. “Beaver Tails” are too expensive to buy now.

34. Hope really likes getting muddy.

35. Wallpaper is nearly impossible to find.

36. Hummingbirds are fearless.

37. The Chinese cabbage I planted is not the “head” type.

38. How to make good piecrust…the secret is lard.

39. Some people will ignore a sign that says: “Danger – Do Not Touch.”

40. Deer can be aggressive.

41. Organic broccoli often goes to seed faster than I can harvest it.

42. I love rutabaga!

43. I found out what “purslane” looks like.

44. It’s never a good idea to put a chicken burger into a toaster.

45. I don’t hate all sci-fi…I enjoy “Eureka.”

46. You can purchase a sailboat on the Internet.

47. Ripe canteloupe is not a good lunchbox food.

48. Picking things from the garden in the dark is really difficult.

49. I suck at “Musical Chairs.”

50. The blogging community is full of incredible people…I am so happy to have made their online acquaintances!

I’m looking forward to learning more in 2011!

58 Comments

Filed under blogging, cooking, family, food, gardening, memories, nature, self-discovery

Stale and Wrinkled…

HAMMOND RIVER, NB (CP)  Unidentified sources report that writerwoman61, author of the once award-winning blog, Herding Cats in Hammond River, is not adjusting well to her slide into obscurity.  She spends her days staring aimlessly at the computer screen, tabbing between Facebook, Bejewelled Blitz, and her Hotmail account, hoping in vain for a comment (any comment) on her blog.  She eats honey-roasted peanuts straight from the jar, without using a napkin!  She hasn’t cooked anything more exciting than meatloaf all week, and her garden is sadly neglected.  Her dog isn’t even happy to see her when she comes downstairs in the morning!  Things weren’t always like this.

Only a week ago, writerwoman61 left the bookstore for a much-needed appointment with her hairdresser…her locks were getting long, stringy and gray, and her eyebrows were harbouring small rodents.  Nearly three hours later, she was beautiful presentable again, and arrived home to find that her blog had been featured on the WordPress home page…she had been Freshly Pressed for the second time in four months (despite that unfortunate misunderstanding with WordPress editor, Joy, when writerwoman61 wrongly accused her of spelling a word incorrectly)!  An embarrassing ecstatic happy dance ensued, one which sent all four teenagers shrieking in horror from the room.

By the end of the day, there had been 947 hits on writerwoman61’s blog (a 1200% increase over her usual traffic!).  The next day, there were 631 visits.  Writerwoman61 busied herself responding to the hundreds dozens of comments on her featured blog post, and marvelled at the response to an entry she considered fluffy at best…certainly not her finest work!  She hoped that the visitors took the time to check out some of her other posts while they were there!  She also found some new bloggers whose coattails she could ride blogs she added to her Blogroll.

When she looked at her Dashboard on the 3rd day FP (Freshly Pressed), writerwoman61 became despondent.  It was early July all over again…déjà vu!  She hadn’t put up a new post, and only 42 people had dropped by!  That night, she sat down at the keyboard and churned out a new post…who could resist a post about pets?  The next day, the blog was back at its “normal” traffic level of about 80 hits.  Writerwoman61’s spirits perked up a bit.

When Monday morning dawned, writerwoman61 had a bad case of writer’s block…her stats dropped again.  She spent the day getting groceries and doing laundry.  October 19th was her friend J.T.’s birthday…a post about a guy who’d lived through three bouts with cancer and a heart attack would definitely attract some readers…she was right!  There were 84 hits that day, and 83 the next.

As of 3:15 p.m. AST today, there have only been 40 hits on Herding Cats in Hammond River…writerwoman61 is about as popular as ants at a picnic…can a blog called Hoarding Cats in Hammond River be close behind?

53 Comments

Filed under blogging, satire

My Blogging (Half) Birthday…

Half Birthday Cake...

Six months ago today, I wrote my Virgin Post, and the entity known as Herding Cats in Hammond River was born.  I started my blog as a way of getting back into writing after a three-year hiatus, and as a motivational tool to help me achieve goals.  One of those goals was to grow some of our own food…that happened.  Another one was to become more self-sufficient, and stop buying so much “stuff” (that didn’t happen!).  Here are some of the things I’ve learned in the last six months:

1. The blogging community is full of incredible people…I have lots of them on my Blogroll (check out He Said/She Said at right side).  These folks are not only talented writers, but caring human beings who provide support to others, especially when times are tough.  They are my biggest cheerleaders (and sometimes, toughest critics), and I’m so happy to have made their online acquaintances!

2. Having a blog is like having a child…it needs care and attention, and sometimes other family members get jealous!  Like children, a blog is a product of its mother/father, who often reveal their deepest thoughts and feelings to the world.  Bloggers are some of the bravest people out there.

3. I really love comments…they’re my “pay” for writing this blog…I do this as much for you as I do for myself!  If you like (or don’t like) something, please take a second to let me know!  I always respond to comments…I care what you think!

4. The number of people who subscribe to my blog is slowly increasing, but not fast enough for me…I want more!  If you like my blog, please hit the “E-Mail Subscription” button…it’s under my mug shot, and says: “Sign me up!”  You can also subscribe to the RSS feed (button to the right of the title).

5. Even though I’ve posted 115 times, I still don’t know what people are going to react to…it’s an interesting (and sometimes scary) process to hit the “publish” button and send your words out into cyberspace!  I apologize (again) to anybody I’ve offended…

6. I seem to be incapable of writing short posts (less than 500 words).  If I don’t have more than 500 words to contribute on a given day, I’d rather not bother.  As a word lover, I feel that it’s my duty to spew out use as many interesting words as possible (properly and correctly spelled, of course, grammar fanatic that I am!).

7. I find that writing about different topics keeps me stimulated (wait, is that a squirrel over there?).  I hope that my blog’s lack of focus “variety” is stimulating for my readers as well.  I get a lot of my best blog ideas at night… 

8.  I endeavour not to waste my reader’s time (I recently read a blog post about the advantages of plastic cutlery over regular silverware – there’s two minutes of my life I’ll never get back).  If I write about something silly, I guarantee it will at least be amusing!

9.  In my Virgin Post, I stated, “I’m hoping that this blog will help keep me from procrastinating.”  Ironically, I often use my blog as an excuse not to do other things, like laundry!

10. I’m grateful to my family for allowing me to tell strangers what they’ve been doing.  Also, thanks to my resident photographers, Jim and Anna, for letting me use their pictures!

Thank you to everyone who takes the time to read these “musings of a matriarch.”  I plan to keep this up as long as time/energy/enthusiasm permits!

36 Comments

Filed under blogging

Honourable Mention…

Wow…first the Bloody Brilliant Blogger’s Award, and now I’ve been “tagged” by Hippie Cahier, a self-described “woman of mystery” who shares my appreciation of both Todd Pack’s Messy Desk and Blurt.  I checked out some of Hippie’s blog last night…nearly peed myself laughing at this post: Confessions of a Worrier Princess

Thanks, Hippie, for tagging me…I’m supposed to answer 8 questions about myself, and then tag 8 other bloggers (who then repeat the process).  So, here it is:

1. If you could have any superpower, what would you have? Why?

I want the ability to tell when people are lying, and then be able to point that fact out to other people.  Anyone who lies for their own gain would experience an immediate change of colour to their tongue…the bigger the lie, the brighter red it would turn (husbands who lie when asked, “Does this outfit make me look fat?” would be exempt).  I think my superhero name would be Lady Lie Detector (and my costume would be tasteful, but show lots of cleavage).

This guy told his wife he was working late...it was a lie!

2. Who is your style icon?

If I had lots of money, I would like to dress like Meredith Vieira.  She dresses casually, but always looks good.  I also really like Sears’ Jessica line.  Most of the clothes I buy now come from consignment stores or Value Village.

Meredith Vieira...cool style...

3. What is your favorite quote?

This is a hard one…I am a “quote junkie.”  I’m going to give you two:

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.  Mahatma Ghandi 

I learn something new every day, even if it’s something small.  If you ever stop learning, I believe you’ve got one foot in the grave!

Well-behaved women seldom make history.  Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

I have this quote on a mug, and a tote bag.  I’ve never let men tell me what to do, and I never will!

I want this shirt!

4. What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?

“Your daughter is so well-behaved!” (and then I turn around and look behind me to see who they’re really talking to).

5. What playlist/cd is in your CD player/iPod right now?

Hmmm…don’t have an iPod…don’t know how to work one!  I often just pop a CD into my computer and listen to it.  It would probably be something folk or blues (probably one of the artists I have links to on the right side).  I’m also fond of CBC Radio 2 Concerts on Demand.

6. Are you a night owl or a morning person?

That’s an easy one: morning person.  I’m up at 5:30 during the week, and might sleep in until 8 on weekends.  If I don’t get to bed some time between 10 and 11, I’m really cranky the next day!  Being a morning person can be a problem when one sleeps with a night owl, but I’m slowly getting him “trained.”  At least he’s stopped staying up half the night!

7. Do you prefer dogs or cats? 

I like both, but I think dogs are my favourite.  Cats really don’t need us except to look after them…they usually don’t follow you around unless they want something.  Our dog is a huge suck…he always wants to be with us, wherever we happen to be!  Even if we’ve only been out of his sight for a couple of minutes, he jumps around like it’s Christmas when we come back!  “Oh, Mommy!  I’m so happy to see you!” 

This is Jake, hanging out on the trampoline with the girls...

8. What is the meaning behind your blog name?

Well, let’s see…I live in Hammond River, New Brunswick, with Jim, our four teenagers, and my dad.  Managing daily life is sometimes nearly impossible, like “herding cats” (refer to #7).  I have to tell a funny story about my friend, Renée, over at Life in the Boomer Lane:  Renée is a tiny bit technically-challenged, and was talking to her daughter in England on Skype to get her to add a link to my blog on Renée’s.  Her daughter misheard, and added a link to “Hurting Cats in Hammond River.”  We try not to do that here…

So, I’ve finished my assignment…the taggees are Maura at 36 x 37 (a recent discovery from Freshly Pressed – she’s funny and thinks I’m “delightful” – plus, she’s from Ohio!) and anyone who comments on this post and feels like doing it…I already gave most of my blogging friends a “shitload of homework” (as my friend, Nancy, at Embracing Myself so eloquently puts it) when I passed on the Bloody Brilliant Blogger’s Award!

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Handing Out the Hardware…

A couple of days ago, my friend Izziedarling over at The Whatever Factor presented me with The Bloody Brilliant Blogger’s Award.  Here’s what it looks like:

The Bloddy Brilliant Blogger's Award

This is high praise coming from Izzie, whose blog is smart, funny and snarky at the appropriate time – she is unafraid to use her keyboard to point out the stupidity in the world!  She described me as “enlightened.”  I begged her to pass that on to my children!  Izzie and I share a love for peonies, sweet tea, red licorice, Italy, reading, collecting (but not hoarding), baking bread, music, and dancing.  She can also spot a bargain a mile away!  Show her some love by stopping in and leaving a comment on her blog!

To be honest, this isn’t my first award…it’s just the first one I’ve acknowledgedJane at Plane Janer’s Journey and Laura at Laura Best, Author  both gave me The Versatile Blogger Award back in July.  Jane was the first person I wasn’t related to I didn’t actually know who read my blog and commented on it!  She has been one of my biggest supporters, and I’ve met some of the other people on my list through her.  We both love gardening and cooking.  Her blog combines ordinary life, spirituality, and humour in a well-wrapped package – check out her hilarious tales of the Angry Samaritan!  I fully expect to buy a book with her name on the cover some day!  Laura lives the closest to me of any of my blogging buddies, being in Nova Scotia, the next province over.  Already a published author of a young adult novel, Laura’s blog concentrates mainly on writing.  She brings forth a unique perspective on the process of putting thoughts on paper.

The Versatile Blogger Award

Part of accepting these awards is coming up with seven fun facts about yourself, and then passing the awards on to bloggers you enjoy…I have no problem coming up with people to give the award to, but coming up with seven things I haven’t already talked about in my blog was a challenge for me (plus, I am Queen of the Procrastinators – no secret, there!).  Maybe three times was the charm to help me get around to it?

I finally got around to it...

So here goes…seven things about me I don’t think I’ve mentioned before:

1. My middle name is “Gaye.”  What were my parents thinking?  My children give me lots of grief about it.

2. I look horrible in the colour mauve…it makes me look like I have one foot in the grave.

3. I once argued with my third grade teacher about the pronunciation of “shone.”  She said, “shawn” but I was convinced you said it like “shown.”  I was wrong, Mrs. H., and I’m sorry!

4. I like to fish…the best part is finding the worms.  I throw anything I catch back in the water.

5. Grammatical/spelling errors irritate me, and I will correct you if you make them!

6. [whispering] I don’t think the Beatles were the greatest musical group ever (please, no hate mail!).  They were okay, and made a lot of money.

7. I once used nearly every barf bag on the plane while travelling on a commuter flight from Toronto, Ontario to Columbus, Ohio…the plane was so small, I had trouble standing upright (I’m 5’5″ tall).  Instead of seats, there was actually a couch with seatbelts in it down one side of the plane!  It was a very turbulent ride.  The businessmen were all staring at me…never again!

And now…the envelope, please…here, in alphabetical order, are the winners of the Bloody Brilliant/Versatile Blogger Awards (take two, they’re small!):

Amanda’s Wrinkled Pages: Amanda is a mother of four who still manages to find the time to write.  I discovered her through her being Freshly Pressed in early August.  Amanda often takes real life situations, and relates them to the writing process.  The post which hooked me was about her husband always beating her at Scrabble – I am an online Scrabble fiend, and my college buddy always beats me!

Blurt: Omawarisan is a man of mystery and extremely clever humour.  This southern guy has an ongoing piece about an “action figure” of Angelina Jolie (the Jolie Pez Project) and its adventures.  Omawarisan has Policies on the use of Blackberries in the bathroom, white chocolate Easter bunnies, and live nude dogs (yes, he’s twisted, but in a good way).  He once wrote a piece about suction cups…it was hilarious!

 Embracing Myself: I met Nancy through PlaneJane.  Nancy is the closest thing I’ve got to a mom in the blogging world…I love her because she never pulls any punches and isn’t afraid to say what she thinks.  This ordained minister lives in Idaho with her physician husband on a farm with more than 100 alpacas and assorted other animals.  Nancy’s blog is a mixed bag of spirituality, humour, and self-discovery.  She is also one of the biggest promoters I know of other bloggers.

Infernal Memo: Alex is another one of my Canadian blogging buddies.  She is a mom, and a published author of one book, with several more in the works.  I actually relinquished my crown as “Queen of the Procrastinators” to Alex when she announced that she was going to write a 25,000 word novel in eight days (she did it, too!).  Alex’s blog concentrates mainly on writing, with some potty-mouthed observances from real life thrown in (I love it!).

Life in the Boomer Lane: Renée is the funniest real estate agent I know…she recently confessed to creating mishaps in her life solely to amuse others!  Also a published author (x2), Renée blogs about the misadventures of her cat, her husband’s penchant for buying things while she’s away, and crazy things she sees in her travels (which apparently depend way too much on a GPS).  I love her self-deprecating style!

My Odd Family: Katybeth spoils other people’s pets, and gets paid for it.  This Chicago mom is cooking and baking challenged, but definitely has no trouble with writing!  You never know what Katybeth will write about (her blog is odd, after all), but it’s often funny, and always intelligent.

Shakti Mama: Juliana is a thinker…always analyzing things, and giving us the beautiful results in print.  I discovered her through Laura.  This young mom lives with her husband and baby in a 100-sq.-ft. RV.  Juliana’s blog is about self-discovery, spirituality, and empowerment.  I see her as the author of at least one self-help book some day…

Simply Diane…Dirty Laundry: Another recent discovery through her being Freshly Pressed, Diane writes about everyday life as the mom of four.  She manages to make cooking and cleaning up after her big family sound interesting and funny (something I also strive to do!).  Diane’s post about the Homework Battle Smackdown had me nodding and laughing at the same time…it’s a scene that’s been repeated many times at our house.

smalltownbiglife: Kerri is a former journalist, who can also write wonderful poetry.  She always makes me think with her blog posts, which often take a current event and turn it into something truly breathtaking.  Another mom, she shares my love of good food!

Some Species Eat Their Young: Chase is another recent discovery…he was just Freshly Pressed last week.  This dad of four kids, aged 6 and under, chronicles the entertaining chaos that takes place in his young family’s life every day.  Chase is a hands-on dad, being up to the challenge of doing his 3-year-old daughter’s hair when called upon to do so (and he did a great job too – I saw the picture!).  Just reading his blog makes me tired, but it also makes me laugh!

Sunshine in London: Sunshine is sort of my twin (if I was born 9 days earlier in South Africa instead of Ohio, and I was a beautiful, slim blonde).  We were married the same year (she’s still married, I’m not) and both worked in non-profit communications (we’re both unemployed).  Sunshine shares my love of music and language.  A newbie to blogging, Sunshine provides an amusing picture of what it’s like being an “outsider” in London.

TEStazyk: Tom is a reformed retired accountant who is now doing post-graduate studies in world literatures.  Living in beautiful New Zealand, Tom originally hails from Cleveland, Ohio (another Buckeye, yay!).  Tom’s blog is an eclectic mix of humour, current events, and everyday life.  His writing is smart (as a post-grad student’s work should be) and insightful. 

The Absence of Alternatives : Lin is convinced she needs therapy…I say she’s “crazy like a fox.”  Her blog is probably one of the hippest on my list – she writes about many topics, and does it well (and isn’t afraid to use four-letter words, if necessary).  Lin is also a mom, and a talented photographer to boot.  She is incredibly smart and well-informed…Lin’s recent rant on Sarah Palin’s “mama grizzlies” video was brilliant!

The Highly Uninteresting Misadventures of Average Girl: AG takes stuff we moms do every day and turns it into the funniest thing you’ve ever read!  I seriously think AG is the new Erma Bombeck!  Her piece giving advice about high school should be posted in girls’ lockers nationwide!  I am going to have to invest in some Depends if I continue to read her blog on a regular basis (and I will – read, not buy Depends)!

Theycallmejane’s Blog: Jane is the second “Jane” on my list.  Another good writer and mom, Jane blogs on a variety of topics, juggling multiple blogs like a pro (she has multiple awards to prove it!).  She shares my love of music, books and cooking.  Jane is truly one of the nicest people on my list (but they’re all nice!).  Her blog is sometimes funny, sometimes thoughtful, but always bang-on!

Todd Pack’s Messy Desk: Todd is a lot like me, I think.  He likes words, and music, and food.  He’s not into Nascar or wrestling.  Todd writes about lots of things cleverly.  His posts are often about childhood memories, and they’re sometimes long (as mine are).  Todd also answers every comment on his blog, an admirable quality which indicates what a nice guy he is.  

Winn’s Window: Koreen is another Canadian friend.  She has connected me with other Canadian women bloggers.   She is a photographer, and mom of a four-year-old.  Koreen is a great “describer” – her account of her son at play in “Balance” is genius!  Her blog is another mixed bag incorporating photos and everyday life.

Congratulations to all my blogging brothers and sisters!  Please keep doing what you do!  Now pass it on!

I encourage everyone reading this to click and read these talented writers’ work (whew!  I might need a nap – I think this is my longest post ever!).

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Random Things I’ve Learned This Week…

For lack of something else to talk about, here’s a wrap-up of some of the amazing (and not so amazing) things I’ve learned this week:

1. How powerful the “Yada-Yada Sisterhood” is:  I’ve spoken on several occasions about how much I value the friendships I’ve made through writing this blog, especially with talented female bloggers.  So far this week, I’ve made an editing suggestion for someone’s novel (replacing a word that didn’t quite work), recommended a post written by a new friend to another friend that helped her get over some self-doubts she was having, and connected an old friend with someone whose blog I felt she would relate to.  One of my blogging friends wrote a poem about peace that was so beautiful, I put a link to it on my Facebook page.  I love that so many diverse women are part of the community that is my Blogroll!  I invite you to explore these blogs at the right side of my home page if you haven’t already…all the authors are unique, but united in their generosity to share their words with us!

2. What a great example someone can be.  Our Saint John community lost an important volunteer this past week: Paulina was 85 years old, and active with many different organizations.  If she wasn’t selling raffle tickets on a gift basket in the mall, I’d see her walking for exercise.  She never stopped – she always had something to do!  Paulina was a quiet, gracious woman who will be greatly missed by all who knew her.  I’m glad I had the opportunity to meet her!

3. How someone can injure themselves getting dressed in the morning.  I believe I’ve mentioned this before, but Anna is slightly challenged in the coordination department (she inherited all my grace and charm!).  While getting ready for the first day of school yesterday, she lost her balance while putting on her jeans, fell, and broke the zipper on her pants.  She also scraped her leg on the bathroom vanity…

4. How important it is to do things with your partner that they enjoy.  Since Jim and I started watching Eureka together, he’s commented on how much it means to him that I’m doing something I normally wouldn’t do (watch science-fiction) just to spend time with him (well, him and Colin Ferguson – see previous post). 

5. That it’s possible to buy a sailboat on the Internet.  We had a customer in yesterday from British Columbia, who was purchasing a 52-foot boat from a man in Lorneville, New Brunswick.  The plan is for he and his lady to sail it home through the Panama Canal.  He found the listing on a broker’s site on the Internet, and this was his second trip to New Brunswick to make the deal. 

6. That how hard it rains is directly dependent on how slowly the tourists in front of you are walking.  We have cruise ship passengers in town today…’nuff said.

7. That simple suppers sometimes taste the best.  Anna and Hope made supper for us on Monday night: taco salad and macaroni salad.  My dad enjoyed it and couldn’t stop talking about how good it was!  I liked it just because somebody else cooked it (and there were leftovers for lunches the next day). 

8. That my garden will produce cucumbers after all (at least one).  I found what was the first cucumber the other night, and could quite possibly be the last…the pumpkins and squash have completely taken over the patch.  I am also hopeful about peppers – they’re finally starting to blossom!  I harvested some more rutabagas too…the slugs seem to like them almost as much as I do!

9. That I respect the strikers’ right to strike, but not their right to impede my progress.  I was on the way to do some errands yesterday, and encountered a lone picketer in front of Brunswick Square where members of the Delta Brunswick Hotel staff are on strike.  As I brushed past him, he said very sarcastically, “Thanks for respecting our picket line.”  Resisting the urge to smack him, I continued on my way to the post office to mail my package.  I was so angry, I completely forgot about going to the banking machine, and picking up an item I needed at the drugstore.

10. That ripe canteloupe is not a good thing to pack in a lunch.  Jim attaches his lunchbag to the strap of his laptop bag, and it bumps against the back of his leg when he walks.  He had the unpleasant sensation of something wet on his pants when he arrived at work yesterday…the canteloupe slice I’d thoughtfully packed for him had liquified in its plastic wrap, and was all over him and his lunchbag.  Sorry, honey!

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Filed under blogging, family, food, friends, gardening, rants, satire, self-discovery