Dear Oh Dear– Blog of the Year!

While away on vacation, I received a most splendimonious accolade! Expat Alien- writer, blogger, world traveler and All Around Brilliant Person- has gifted me with a Blog of the Year award! Question: How cool is that? Answer: Very. I’ve been experiencing a lot of blog anxiety these days, afraid of boring you with the trials and tribs of my journey into self-publishing hell, and the subsequent promotion of the resulting e-book. It’s all made me extraordinarily grumpy, dazzlingly unfunny and at times, just plain awful. Despite my descent into yawndom, Expat’s seen fit to honor me, and I’m as grateful as the ghost of Jerry Garcia.

As I’ve mentioned before, I have issues with awards. Not receiving them– that part’s fun and easy. It’s the passing them on part that ruts my tires. In the Days of Yore, one of my greatest joys was Sherlock Holmes-ing around for new blogs to follow, new treasure troves of rich, sparkly words to delve into. I love blog stalking. I still do it now and then, but lately, I’m writing as though my keyboard is wired to an incendiary device, like the one Dennis Hopper rigged up in the movie Speed. If I slow down, my bus will blow. Also, my brain is very small, and when I’m in full-throttle writing mode, it’s hard to cram anything else into such a tight space, not even the nutrition labels on cereal boxes. My schedule leaves little time or energy for reading (or anything else). I lose track of my favorite bloggers, which consumes me with Godzilla-sized guilt. I take a catch-up day every one in a while, but still, it often leaves me feeling neglectful of my end of the blogging seesaw.

Another issue– many of the blogs I follow have a “no awards” policy, which I understand and respect. In the past, I’ve given them out anyway, because I really don’t care what someone does with these colorful little rectangles of love. I just think that it’s nice to let people know that I appreciate and enjoy their efforts. I also like to promote talented bloggers and share their work with you. Eventually though, I stopped this practice, because it often seemed to put both the honoree and me in a weird position, each of us feeling the need to apologize and explain:

Fabulous Blogger: I’m sorry, but I just don’t accept blog awards.

Me: I know– I just wanted to give you a shout out, and encourage readers to check out your blog.

Fabulous Blogger: Okay, well thank you. But I just can’t pass it on. It always leaves someone feeling left out. Besides, the award clashes with my color scheme.

Me: I know. It sucks. But please don’t worry about it. I don’t want you to feel obligated– I just think you deserve recognition.

Fabulous Blogger: Okay, well, thanks anyway.

Me: You’re welcome.

(Awkward blog silence)

Despite all of these concerns, this is one award I’m handing out. It isn’t small potatoes– it’s big, genetically modified, mutated potatoes with butter and sour cream on top. It’s the Blog of the Year, ya’ll. Of course, every blog award comes with a set of rules, and here they are for this one:

The Rules:

  • Select the blogs you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012 Award’.
  • Write a post and tell about the blogs you have chosen and present them with their award.
  • Please include a link back to this page and include these rules (do not alter the rules or the badges).
  • Let the blogs you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the rules with them.
  • You can now also join our Facebook page – click the link here Blog of the Year 2012 Award and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience.
  • 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…

As that last bullet states, this award’s different than others in that a blogger can win it over and over again– six times to be exact. Each award brings with it another star. My first order of business is to return it to Expat Alien, whose blog is just swell. She tells tales of her travels in a down-to-earth, oh-so-charming way, and manages to educate in the process. She’s written a book of her exploits as well, entitled Expat Alien: My Global Adventures. You can discover all of her fabulosity yourself by clicking here. 

And now the hard part. Arrgh. There are so many blogs I love. Years’ worth. Often, I form an emotional attachment– there are just so many talented, smarty-pants people out there. I don’t just mean that they can write. I mean that they have a way of relating in a genuine way that reels me in and makes me feel connected. It gives me a bad case of Happy Heart. If you’re not mentioned here, it doesn’t imply that you’re not one of those writers. In fact, if I’m following your blog, you probably are. Cary Grant never won an Oscar or a Blog of the Year Award, but people adored him.

With all of these disclaimers out of the way, I’m going to attempt to pass this award on to five other  deserving bloggers. Please don’t feel beholden if you don’t want to do anything with it– even if Cary Grant had won an Oscar, he’d probably have just used it as a doorstop.

So here goes:

Miss Snarky Pants: Because I love her, even though she’s tall and thin and gorgeous and smart. So funny she makes me tinkle, and I’m not talking about the lovely sound of my laughter. Also, she bought my book. Hmmm…maybe there should be some sort of special award for that. 

Rendezvous with Renee: Because her posts are warm and funny, open and honest. Plus, she flashes her husband in public. 

Chime: Because of the way that Phil Canon strings words together and bends them into the most beautiful shapes. 

Broadside: Because Caitlin Kelley is prolific, productive, inspirational and funny. A consistently excellent blog for writers and readers.

Kylling Sara: Although she’s moved to a new location, I have to give an award to Sara for this blog. A survivor of horrific childhood abuse, she’s documenting her journey, past and present. A brave and honest soul.  

So there you have it. I’m fighting the urge to list about seventeen other deserving blogs, but I’m going to stop now. I’ve got writing to do, and I don’t want this laptop to explode.

Tweakin’, Tootin’, Twitchin’

After investing thousands of dollars in hypnotherapy and acupuncture and undergoing years of extensive counseling, I’ve finally worked through some of my techno-phobia.* Thanks to those who have pushed the little PayPal button on my sidebar. I spent some of that dough on a domain and parked it in a little reserved space at WordPress. This little broom closet of the Blog World is now officially

Wow. I’m a dotcom. It feels good. I love dots.  The painting above is by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. She loves dots too. The photo below is of Javier Bardem. You can just stare at him if the rest of this post proves too boring.

I’ll never be able to express my appreciation to those who feel moved to donate to this site. You’ve invested in whatever the hell it is I do here, and it means more than you can imagine. I’m still not exactly sure why it’s advantageous to be the mistress of my domain, but I suppose I’ll find out.

Making the switch to dotcomdom proved to be much simpler than I’d anticipated, but still, it all makes me as uneasy as a rabbi at a pig roast. There may be glitches and bumps along the way. If there’s anything screw up-able in all of this, I’m sure to find it. I’m nervous.

If you’re a follower of this blog—WOOHOO! Er, ahem–I mean, thank you so much. A reader informed me that she had to re-click the “follow” button due to my dot com switcheroo, and you may need to do the same.  If you have to re-subscribe, I apologize in advance for any grief it might cause you. Please let me know if you encounter any problems. Not that I’ll be of any help, but I’m a terrific commiserater.

Being a rather insecure woman, I sometimes ask Amadeus for his assessment of my appearance before we go out. He sighs and acts like it’s nonsense, but I value his opinion. As I tell him, “You’re the one who has to look at me.” Then he says, “You look fine,” and we drive off to McDonald’s.

It’s the same with this blog. In the coming days and weeks (and, knowing myself, months) I’ll be tweaking and tuning and making a few changes to its appearance. Just the prospect of tackling this project gives me hives, but it’s time to reorganize and attempt to make this site more reader-friendly. I’d love any feedback or suggestions you might have. After all, you’re the one who has to look at it.

Horn Tootin’

Sara, at kyllingsara has given me an Awesome Blog Content Award. This is a wonderful accolade, because although she’s fairly new to the world of blogging, her site is riveting. She’s a fearless, talented writer, and it’s impossible to read her posts without being deeply affected.  I urge you to visit there. Thank you Sara!!!!

RedFlameFire nominated me for a Versatile Blogger Award! I’ve mentioned RedFlameFire here recently. Her blog is another that I’m drawn to for its heart and intelligence. Thanks so much, RFF!

Lastly, but not leastly, Ann Marquez at Calliope’s Tablet has bestowed upon me a One Lovely Blog Award. This one has special meaning (not that the others don’t). Since the first day she commented here, Annie has been an ardent supporter, cheerleader and friend. She’s a published author who devotes a great deal of time paying it forward by sharing her thoughts, opinions and experiences with stressed-out writers like me. The time has come for Annie to concentrate on her own writing again, and this award was one of her last gestures of kindness before going on blog hiatus. I heart you, Annie. Thank you. By the way, you can find a nice review of Ann’s book, Journey into Probate and Back, here.

I LOVE receiving these awards. I’m horrible at determining who to pass them on to. It’s like trying to decide on the best dish at a Chinese buffet, or being forced to choose the cutest Beatle. Since I recently posted an extensive list of Blogs I Love, I’m going to give it a rest for a little while. When some of this construction dust clears, I’ll compile another list, rent a ballroom and roll out the red carpet for more fabulous bloggers. I can’t wait to see you at the after party!!

The rules of these awards usually dictate that the winner divulge a number of facts about him/herself. I almost never do this, because I’ve been blabbing about myself on this blog for about five years now, and it often seems that the needle on the Divulge-O-Meter can’t possibly move further into the red.  When you’ve resorted to telling the world that you can bend your tongue into the shape of a three-leaf clover, you’ve pretty much reached the bottom of the barrel as regards self-trivia. I finally did manage to scrape some factoids together, though I’m thankful the rules don’t specify that these tidbits have to be interesting.

1: Though my husband Amadeus loves football, I remain fairly clueless about the entire concept of large men in tight pants and hardhats crashing into each other at full force, all because of a little brown leather spheroid. I used to occasionally become bored sitting beside him while watching this phenomenon, until I mentally began turning everything the sportscasters said into sexual innuendo.  I do this all the time now. When commentators start discussing tight ends, positions and what great hands a player has, I just smile. Note: this works especially well during post-game  re-caps.

2: My daughter has joined the Air National Guard. She aced her entrance exam, killed on her physical, and today she swears in. She’s a great swearer.  She’s doing it for the sign-on bonus, the college program and the benefits, trying to build a secure future for her daughter (the Grandpea). Still, she’ll be at basic training for 5 months. The Pea will be with her daddy, but the separation will be hard on all of them us. She’ll no doubt be spending a lot of time here at Camp Mimi.

3: I’ve learned so much from Amadeus. I love his easygoing nature, the way he interacts with the world and the deep impact that music has had on his life. He’s a good, good man, and his presence enhances my life immeasurably.

4: I’m related to a bandleader who was the musical director for Ed Sullivan, Jackie Gleason and Kate Smith.

5: I believe that there are few songs more beautiful than the Grandpea’s rendition of “Skidamarink a Dink a Dink.”

6: For five years, I lived in a trailer out in the middle of Nowheresville. We had no phone and no running water. Chickens would barge in through holes in the cabinets and lay eggs in strange places around our aluminum abode. This was during the period that my ex-husband and I refer to as our “Green Acres” marriage.

7: When I was a little girl, I had freckles, and I hated each and every one. My mother assured me that they’d fade as I got older, but I didn’t believe her. I tried everything short of washing my face in battery acid to get rid of them. This included eating burnt toast and scrubbing with lemons, like Jan Brady did on “The Brady Bunch.” Nothing worked, but Mom was right. Time took care of them.

8: Amadeus and I don’t have cable television, and we seldom miss it. We’ve become addicted to retro TV. Many of our evenings are spent with Perry Mason, The Untouchables, Peter Gunn and The Fugitive, unless the weather’s bad, in which case our evening is spent cursing at the bad reception.


Please forgive me if the preceding paragraphs are as blah and zig-zaggy to you as they are to me. You see, I am deep in the throes of withdrawal. I have once again given up my addiction to those cylindrical tubes of joy, cigarettes. Goodbye, happy yellow package. Goodbye my peace-pipe smoking, Native-American friend.  

The decision to quit was motivated more by finances than health concerns, but the end result is the same. I’m bitchy, twitchy and foggy. It’s difficult to form sentences and my eyes keep going out of focus. I’ve been sleeping a lot, and I swear, I’m hallucinating. Earlier today, as I lay curled like a Cheetoh on the sofa, sweating and drifting in and out of consciousness, I glanced over at my husband and realized that he looked like a 6-foot tall Bic Lighter, though I kept this information to myself.

I’m determined to kick this addiction. Though I’ve tried and failed in the past, this time I’ve figured it all out mathematically, and I believe I can do it.

Estimated cost of cigarettes per year: $2,817.36

Gym membership per year: $530.00

Annual savings: $2,287.36

Of course, this doesn’t include the retainer for the trial lawyer I’ll need after I go insane and kill the first little old lady who runs over my heel with a grocery cart. Anyway, there’s a fitness center within walking distance of our house. I plan to treadmill and resistance train and Zumba my way through withdrawal, and save thousands of dollars in the process. I’ll keep you posted on my progress, once the tremors subside.

Good Godzilla, this is a long and rambling thing. Sorry. I hope you have a safe, happy and memorable Memorial Day weekend. Oh, and thank you for visiting!**

*Techno-phobia: A deep and abiding fear of 21 century gizmos. 

**No tobacco plants were harmed during the making of this post.

For the Love of Blog

You like me! You really like me! – Sally Field

Well, you like my blog, and that makes me happier than an otter at Sea World. You have no idea.

In the past few days, I’ve been happily overwhelmed by awards.  They couldn’t have arrived at a better time.  As I mentioned in that last post, I’ve felt pretty dejected lately, and believe me, there are few things worse than a moping Moonbeam. Okay, a car wreck maybe. Post-nasal drip and cold oatmeal. But I’m pretty unbearable when I have the blues.

But lookie what I got! Four— yes, FOUR blog awards! It’s made me gleeful. It’s turned my frown upside-down. It’s kepts me from throwing my laptop against the brick wall outside our condo.

It’s the blogging equivalent of winning four Nobel Peace Prizes. Okay, no it’s not. But it’s pretty sweet.  Four bloggers enjoy reading my words enough to bestow such honors. It’s incredibly nice.

Here’s what I got:

A Liebster!! This came from the oh-so-wonderful Ann Marquez, author of the book Journey into Probate and Back, and blog mistress of Calliope’s Tablet. I heart Annie. She’s an enthusiastic encourager of writers and a fantastic friend.  Wow—I love saying, “Liebster.”

The Versatile Blogger Award came from bead, from The Bead Den Craftivities. Bead and I have been following each other for years. She designs beautiful jewelry, she gardens, and she and her husband stay busy building their Dream Life. She’s creative and has a huge heart (She also once made a fantastic campaign video for me, when I was trying to drum up support to get a puppy. I won!).

I’m always on the lookout for new blogs to love and was surprised and honored to receive ABC (Awesome Blog Content) Awards from two blog authors whom I’ve only recently started stalking. Expat Alien is a Global Nomad. She was born in Rangoon, Burma and has lived all over the world. She writes about her life and travels, and a variety of other subjects in a way that gently grabs my attention.

Last night, I was reading Rendezvous with Renee, another new BIL (blog I love), when I saw my name on her list of nominees for the ABC Award. I was completely surprised and very happy, because I’ve just discovered her hilarious site and have a hunch that she’s a kindred spirit. The tagline on her blog says, “Blogging about life, love and the occasionally shitty day.” A gal after my own heart.

So here’s the thing. I don’t quite know how to pass all of these awards on.  I follow a lot of excellent blogs– there are so many that I’m taken with, and so many bloggers who deserve kudos. How do you narrow it down? Who gets what? What if someone starts crying because I inadvertently left them out? It’s a weighty responsibility.  I thought about smooshing the awards together, but the “Verliebawe Award” just doesn’t sound right.

Some bloggers hate receiving these accolades, some love them, some ignore them altogether. Personally, I think it’s quite lovely. It gives me a yippee-wow feeling. How fantastic to find out that these brain hodgepodges of mine are on someone’s Recommended Reading List.

That’s what I’ve decided to do here. I’m giving you a Recommended Reading list. Besides the ones mentioned earlier, these are some of the blogs that I’m diggin’ these days. It’s not all-inclusive, and I’m so sorry for omissions (you’ll find other great blogs on the sidebar as well).

Ashley Jillian – This girl knows how to blog and tweet. I’m so jealous.

Boots LeBaron’s World – This former Hollywood publicist writes poetry and tells great stories from “back in the day.”

Chime – Prose poetry

Chris9911′s Blog – Random funniness and bikes

Domestic Diva, M.D. – A cookin’ doctor who serves up a great story with every recipe.

Gin & Lemonade – A disabled expatriate’s world. Funny and uplifting.

Going Dutch—Malou’s photoblog. Stunning!

Happy is the New Perfect – Be’Anka’s a professional writer who offers words of wisdom about letting go of perfectionism.

LadyRomp— Stories about and quotes from women who change the world. Girl power!

MusEditions – Muse is a longtime blog friend with a nice, squishy heart and a lovely way with words.

Next Stop, Willoughby – A baby boomer’s weird and wonderful  tribute to pop culture

Paltry Meanderings of a Taller Than Average Woman – She’s funny, she’s tall, and she loves David Sedaris as much as I do.

PigeonHeart—I like the way she writes, and PigeonHeart’s a great name.

raincoaster—I’ve been following this blog for years. Wicked smart and funny as hell. Is hell really funny? Probably not, but raincoaster is.

Rantings of an Amateur Chef – For someone who doesn’t cook much, I certainly read a lot of food blogs. This one is heavy on the delicious, light on the ranting, with a side of funny.

RedFlameFire—This blog yanks my heart out and smashes it like a patty melt. Powerful , emotional and beautiful.

Straight from Helle—Hell-arious!

The Literary Man- A post-pourri about NY’s literary and art scenes. Great photos too.

The Task at Hand – I love Linda’s beautiful, unique writing style, as well as her subject matter.  One smart sailor.

You Knew What I Meant – An English professor shares humorous horror stories, extracted from her students’ papers.

In a category (and a league) of her own, I have to mention Kendall’s Blipfoto blog, Kendall is Here. I didn’t even know what a Blipfoto was until recently, when I started browsing Kendall’s album on Facebook. I have no words to describe the beauty of her words and photos. You’ll just have to experience it for yourself. Thanks for this gift, Kendall.

This is only a partial list of blogs I regularly peruse and enjoy, and to me, they’re all award-winners.  I’m sorry for not following proper award protocol, and I know I’m leaving some important someone(s) out.  I feel guilty, but my eyes have become fireballs while writing this, and I have to stop now. Before I leave, I’m sending this award to all of you:

Please feel free to add it to your blog, or to give it to someone whose blog you admire. Thanks everyone, for the wonderful things you do to my itsy bitsy brain. Should the spirit move you, please pass the blog love on by listing some of your own favorites in the comment section (or feel  free to link to picks from your site).