The Liebster Award

liebster-award 2


Hi, everybody!

Over the weekend I was honored by Reflections of a Bear, a blog and blogger out of Australia who found me through chronic illness tags. She nominated me for The Liebster Award, which is a way for bloggers to recognize other bloggers and introduce websites they like to more people. How very cool is that?!?

The rules of The Liebster Award are a little like a chain letter with a positive spin (there are no threats of bad luck if you choose not to continue it). If you are nominated you include a link back to your nominator’s site (which I would do regardless because it is a great resource for people with chronic illness and very funny-if you check out her site now you will get to read about a ridiculous spider infestation!) Next you answer questions they’ve asked of you. Then you nominate five or more bloggers who have less than 1000 followers and who you would love to pass this award on to.  Then you ask them at least 10 questions of your own.

So…..let’s roll!

1. Why do you blog?

At first my blogging began as an “author page”, a website I could include with submissions to show literary magazines that I had a “platform”. I had been working on creative non-fiction essays off and on and wanted to prove that I lived in a modern world and could navigate things like blogs and social media. All very clinical and business-like, that’s where it began. But now I love my blog as a space where I can clarify who I am, what I care about, what bothers me, what I’ve discovered. It has been a place to find my own voice and explore my own world. When I am able to reach out to other people through it, when I find common ground with people I already know and love or new friends from the other side of the world, that is just amazing. I also am able to give my writing a home when it is too odd to find a home somewhere else, which makes me remember that I always have a place where I am loved even when I am too odd to fit elsewhere.

2. What is your most embarrassing ‘brain fog’ or awkward moments?

With fibromyalgia fog, I’ve mixed up words while reading Green Eggs and Ham before and had my, at the time, five-year-old have to correct me. I’ve told the kids to get in an “envelope” instead of an elevator before. Most of my fog is related to not getting the right words out at the right time, so being met with confused looks or little kids correcting me often is fairly embarrassing! 

3. If you could wake up with a superpower tomorrow, what would it be?

This might be cliché, but I would love to fly. I’m fairly terrified of heights, mostly because I’m a terrible klutz; I’ve even tripped over a painted line in a parking lot before. I could enjoy heights so much more if I knew being klutzy wouldn’t lead to my imminent death. If I tripped at the Grand Canyon and made it look like a super cool take-off instead, how fun would that be?

4. Share one odd rule or saying that your family has, or had when you were growing up?

When I was a kid everybody in my immediate family (myself, my parents and my three younger brothers) would yell out, “Peanut butter!” as soon as they walked in the door. Whoever was home would yell back, “Jelly”. It’s sort of a call and response to let you know that the person coming into the house is friendly, and that the person who’s home understands that someone just walked in. That way you know who is where and no one gets sneaked up on. You can reverse the order if need be, too. I’ll still call out “Peanut butter” on nights when my husband’s flight comes in really late and I hear someone walking around downstairs at midnight. If he doesn’t call back softly “Jelly” I get a little panicky that someone else just broke into the house. That way, too, he knows I’m awake and doesn’t have to tiptoe to bed.

5. Something you hated as a child and now you love? (The answer cannot be naps!)

Tomatoes. I would eat ketchup, tomato soup and tomato sauce as a child, but I absolutely hated tomatoes. Now fresh tomatoes are one of my favorite parts of summer. We end up with about fifty from our garden and I can’t wait to chop them up and toss them with balsamic vinegar for bruschetta. I also have a perfume that smells like tomato plants which is one of the stranger things I’ve asked my husband to get me for Christmas. True story. I will say though, I have always hated ham, and I’m fairly certain I always will.

6. What is the most delicious food you have ever eaten?

I am Irish-American and Italian-American, and I say very affectionately that I appreciate the Irish side for the music, and the Italian side for the food. One of my favorite Italian dishes is a stuffed artichoke. You trim an artichoke of all its spikes, spread the leaves apart, cram each leaf with seasoned breadcrumbs, garlic and parmesan cheese, top with a lemon slice and steam it for a good length of time. You eat it leaf by leaf, scraping the tender bottom and breadcrumbs off with your teeth and discarding the rest until you get to the heart. It is a process, both to make it and eat it, and I’ve had to adapt it now that I can’t eat dairy, but it is always my favorite.

7. If you were an animal, what would you be, and why?

A hedgehog. Just so damn cute, and a little prickly. Sums me up pretty well, I think.

8. One little thing that annoys you more than it should?

I inherited this one from my mother. It drives me up a wall when someone says, “very unique”. Unique means “one of a kind”. There cannot be varying degrees of “one-of-a-kindness”. You cannot be “very unique”. If a broadcaster says this phrase I’m apt to yell at the screen.

9. If you could magically play one instrument perfectly, which would you choose?

Electric guitar. I guess this kind of goes against my favorite animal, as an electric guitar isn’t exactly cute and cuddly. There is something screechy and bad ass and full of swagger in a guitar. It’s a guy’s game, usually, and I would love to shake that up. I would love to have an alter ego that is all yelling and bravado and power. Maybe I need a tattoo of a hedgehog with an ax, blend the two.  

10. Favorite Quote?

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” Zora Neale Hurston

This is the one quote that has gotten through my hardest times. The year I developed constant pain and didn’t understand why. The years I didn’t know what to do with my life. The years that were lonely and apart from people I love. I believe in this pattern, very deeply. I have had enough experience with the settling power of answers, of finally knowing, that it helps me weather uncertainty and confusion even when it is very painful.

11. Share a silly joke that makes you laugh.

I absolutely loved the TV show 30 Rock. There is a moment in an early episode where Liz Lemon walks in on Jack getting fitted for a tuxedo and asks, “Why are you wearing a tux?” to which Jack replies, “It’s after six. What am I, a farmer?”


Now I would like to nominate

Scott  at Sparky Boy Thoughts for magical, speculative fiction that gives you one scene of a feature length tale every day

Dawn Claflin for excellent resources and support for fellow writers

Melibelle in Tokyo for thoughtful posts about teaching, family and culture

Peter at Off and On The Alaska Parkinson’s Rag for resources for Parkinson’s Disease and excellent comic strips illuminating what living with PD is like

Mom of 3 Misses for a newer blog on anxiety and grief


Here are my questions for you…

  1. Why do you blog?
  2. Who is your favorite author, or alternately, what is your favorite book?
  3. What is your favorite childhood memory?
  4. Who has been the most influential person in your life and why?
  5. What would an ideal vacation/get away look like?
  6. What is one thing you do exceptionally well, but you can’t often talk about it because it would seem like bragging? (I am very calm around bees, mentioned this once and the other person felt I was judging her for panicking around bees. I don’t tell people about this skill often because of this!)
  7. What is your favorite food?
  8. Have you ever practiced an acceptance speech in the bathroom mirror, and if so what award was it that you “accepted”?
  9. What makes you laugh?
  10. What is something you would like to see happen in your lifetime?

Surrogate Soulmate


My husband is most certainly my soulmate, the constant North Star whose presence points me in the right direction. Well, he’s actually more of a wandering star, traveling for work nearly every week. Houston, Calgary, Paris, London, Rio …Cincinnati. All the glamourous destinations. I miss him, greatly. Oh, the family grinds on and our boys have inside jokes with me that their dad is unaware of (I’m not going to tell them here, that would spoil our fun), but it is hard. That person who makes me laugh the most, and who never asks me to help him with common core math homework, he is gone a lot. And it often feels empty.

So I have gotten myself a surrogate soulmate, for when my real one is unavailable. If I am feeling the onset of insomnia borne from loneliness, I will get out one of my Pearls Before Swine comic books by Stephen Pastis. Now, no getting on my case. I have read and appreciated fine works of literature: Steinbeck, Austen, Camus. I used to teach them, even. None of those authors reminds me for even one second of my soulmate the way this collection of comic strips does.

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? No, I shall compare thee to an anthropomorphic rat, goat, pig, zebra, crocodile and the occasional lemming. This comic strip is subversive and smart and dumb and hopeful and misanthropic and silly and honest and funny. And so is my guy. I don’t get lost looking at the empty side of our bed, cast in dark shadows from my nightstand lamp. I giggle quietly for a few minutes before I set my glasses down, click off the light and burrow into my pillow to sleep peacefully. Because both my soulmate and my surrogate soulmate know how to sell a really bad pun, making me laugh every single time.