It was a pretty exciting weekend for me this past weekend!! I was very honored to receive another blog award but not only was I nominated for it once but twice in the same day! That makes me feel extra, super special! Thank you, Norika @Diary of a Bookfiend and Mischenko @ReadRantRock&Roll for nominating me for this award! You are both super sweet for thinking of me! I am so happy that I have met you both! Since meeting both Noriko and Mischenko and really getting to know them as we’ve started talking pretty much every day, I have come to consider them really good friends! They are wonderful people to know, and I encourage you, if you haven’t already, to check out each of their blogs and follow them! Norika has a lot of wonderful content: book reviews, daily musings, and I love her Tidbits About Japan segment where she shares so many interesting and fun things about Japanese culture! Mischenko also has wonderful content: book review, author Q & A’s, movie reviews, music, wonderfully healthy, organic recipes, and many other great things! Please be sure to take a look at both their sites 🙂
What exactly is the Black Cat Blue Sea Award?
This award is for bloggers who strive to write for everybody, and no matter how many viewers they get, make an impact on a reader. This award is an expression of gratitude to the nominee. It should be awarded to anybody that you choose deserves it, and it doesn’t mean that they must have hundreds of followers and likes.
- anybody nominated can nominate up to eight other bloggers
- the nominee answers three questions posed by the nominator
- the questions you ask while nominating can be any three questions
- if any of the questions asked are offensive or the nominee simply does not want to answer, the nominee does not have to answer them to earn the award
Here are Noriko’s Questions for Me:
1. What would you like bloggers to do more of that they aren’t doing right now?
I think that each blogger is unique and each and everyone does an amazing job with their blogs and expressing their creativity. I really don’t think I should have any expectations towards my fellow bloggers since it is their blog and not mine, their content, and it is a creative outlet for them. I don’t think bloggers need any pressure from other bloggers expecting them to post specific content or writing reviews only one way or doing anything else a certain way. Advice certainly from other bloggers is greatly, greatly appreciated, especially to new bloggers and help, yes.
I know when I started blogging in May that I was my own worst enemy by giving myself a set of expectations that I felt were required as a blogger. I put so much stress on myself that what I had so much fun doing for the first few week quickly become more of a chore than anything, and I seriously considered shutting down my blog. Connecting with other bloggers, forming relationships, and becoming part of the community really helped a lot with decreasing the expectations that I was unduly putting on myself. Also, having to go on medical hiatus and reevaluate my health and my blogging schedule was the best thing that could have happened to me, minus having my fibromyalgia flare-up that is. But it showed me that I was blogging for ME too not just my followers, and I had to make sure that I found a right balance in everything. Keeping it fun and stress-free makes everything else fall into place for me, and I think if anything, that is all that I would want to see from all bloggers…have as much fun as you can and don’t overstress yourself over your content or your schedules! We’re all in this together to support each other’s creativity, blogs, and help each other in any way we can 🙂
2. Tell us 4 things about yourself, one of which is not true… And see if we can guess.
- When I was a teenager I rode horses competitively, both dressage and showjumping and when I was in graduate school, I taught horseback riding lessons to younger kids and competitive riding lessons to older students over the summer for extra spending money…I needed money for shoes and lipstick you know.
- I absolutely hate to cook. That’s not to say that I can’t cook; I can cook and cook very well, but I hate being in the kitchen over a stove. Most meals in our house are either take-out, made by my husband, bought from Whole Foods, or scrounged together.
- I hate going shopping at the mall and the stores with a passion although I love lots of new, beautiful things like new shoes and have a major lipstick addiction hahaha!
- Besides reading to relax I like to paint and draw. I’m not too bad at it and almost considered majoring in art or art history instead of literature for my undergraduate degree. I could spend days in art museums.
3.Describe a perfect day that balances all the things you love.
My perfect day is really a day where my fibromyalgia is not flaring up and keeping me either confined to bed or resting on the couch because I’m in so much pain or having a flare-up of other symptoms, so we are going to go with it’s a fairly good day pain wise where I can do the things that I enjoy. And it’s a summer day since the rest of the year has my family and me scattered at school, etc during the day and only seeing each other a few hours in a day….
My typical/perfect day goes something like this: My 7-year-old usually makes her way into my bed early in the morning, so I love cuddling with her and then waking up and watching her still sleep since she is growing up much too fast. If it is just me and my daughter (one or the other of her brothers are usually at work or headed out the door), we get something to eat. I usually make a large mug of Earl Grey or Irish Breakfast tea for myself and then spend the rest of the day sipping on Cold Brew coffee, more mugs of tea, or lemonade. Then I normally skip breakfast for myself while she usually has oatmeal or her favorite cereal. We eat outside so we can enjoy the beautiful morning before NC’s glorious, morning air turns into a humid blanket so thick you can barely breathe. While it is still nice enough outside (if it’s not 100 degrees!), we take our pup Onyx for a walk; he’s 10 but he still acts like a crazy puppy. We head back home and make sure that we give lots of love to my other dog, my baby girl Branna. She is 14 and is too old to go on walks now since she has really bad arthritis and needs our help walking at times. But that is okay since she’s content with lots and lots of love from all of us and lying with her head in my lap all day just like she has since she was 5 weeks old; she’s my constant companion all day and night and my love.
After our walk, my little one either wants to play with her toys, play with Chloe our cat, read, or have her daily computer time. I use that time to catch up on WordPress, Twitter, and Goodreads and try and get a blog post written for the following week (trying to stay ahead although I’m still behind, lol), or read. We both take a much needed computer break and usually head for the pool; if all of us are home, it’s much wilder with 4-5 of us in the pool, and I usually just float and watch the craziness that ensues. If it is just the 2 of us, then we just swim around and play tag or go underwater and see who can hold their breath the longest. I win every time, ha! It’s around 3 or 4 pm by then when we get out…more play time with Onyx in the house with his squeaky toys, cuddles with Branna, off to shower, and then hubby is usually home by 6 unless he’s had to go out of town for the day. We all sit down to dinner together unless one of the boys is working or on a date. Then the rest of the night is just about relaxing. Sometimes it’s back in the pool for an evening swim, sitting with the neighbors while the kids play, talking on the phone with my BFF or my stepmom, or just talking about my day with my hubby or my sons. I usually spend the rest of my night catching up on WordPress and Twitter, catching up on the many books I’m reading, working on my lesson plans and my syllabus for classes that begin in 4 weeks (yikes), and trying to write the same blog posts from earlier in the day since I have severe writers block and it will take me all day…or two or three to write one post..it’s true! Since we’re basing my perfect day on one where I’m having a good day health-wise, then I’m in bed by 1, which is still early for me since I’m a night owl and always have been! It’s a perfect day if I was relatively pain-free and spent time with all three of my kids, my hubby, the pups and the spoiled cat 🙂
My Beloved Pups: Onyx and Branna
Here are Mischenko’s Questions for Me:
1.If you could turn back time and do something differently, what would it be?
That’s a tough one since I’m really happy with my life the way it is now and wouldn’t want to change it or decisions I made that brought me where I am in case it changed me from having my kids or my hubby…tempting fate like that scares me. But I know that I would turn back time and take a leave from work to go back home to Tennessee the last 6 months or for even longer when my grandmother was at the end of her fight with Alzheimer’s to care for her. It was a terrible, terrible time for everyone who helped to nurse her since not only was it awful to watch her health rapidly decline and her change from the once vibrant, elegant, intelligent woman all of us knew to a shell of herself but also the toll it took on everyone who cared for her. Since I was not there, I didn’t experience it, but I have heard from aunts, uncles, and a few cousins how hard it was physically and emotionally to care for her towards the end, and I would have loved to have been able to help with some of that burden.
My grandmother is the person that I most admire in the world. She was my rock when I was growing up, she was the person who I ran to when I needed anything, who protected me and stood up for me against her own daughter who was emotionally and verbally abusive. Besides my husband and children, there has been no one who I have ever loved as much in this world. Her death was like a blow to the stomach. It toppled me in a way that I have never felt before and never really recovered. I still mourn her even though she has been dead 5 years as of July 12, 2012. I would love to turn back time to be there with her during her last days; to hold her in my arms and give her the same sweet comfort she gave me as a child; to bathe her beautiful face; to sing to her the songs she sang to me as a child and I sang to my own babies…apparently, the song “You Are My Sunshine” always made her smile and she would try to sing along; to be there when she was at her very worst and fighting against being taken care of because I would have known that wasn’t really her; to read to her the poetry of Emily Dickinson because she was the first person to share with me Dickinson’s brilliant poetry; to hold her and give her one last kiss as she left this world for the next. It would have been my utter joy even in the hardship to care for her and do all I could to make her comfortable even if she didn’t know what I was doing, even my name, or know who I was anymore since she so selflessly cared for me so many times in so many ways when I was younger. That would be my wish and my deepest honor…
2.Name three or four things you most appreciate in your life (family, job, etc.)
- My three amazing kids
- My husband of 20 years
- My supportive and wonderful dad and stepmom
- My career as an English professor at the same college for 16 years as of this August that allows me because of my long-term position to be able to start this semester teaching every single one of my classes exclusively online!! This is very exciting news for me that I had been in negotiation with my Department Head about because my Fibromyalgia has gotten so debilitating, and my request was recently approved! It will enable to me to teach completely from home, in my PJs, and I will be only be required to have office hours a few hours 2 days a week on campus! It will allow me to rest as much as I can while teaching…health first!!
- The days that my health allows me to do “normal” things instead of being in so much pain that I am either in bed on and off during the day resting/sleeping or on the couch having to take breaks all day. Those days are the best since it is so hard for my daughter for mom to have bad days, which I feel so guilty. My best days make me feel like a normal mom doing normal things and for those days, I appreciate and give thanks for more than I can ever, ever put into words.
3.Are you a city mouse or a country mouse?
I love, love the city, and I love visiting NYC or all my the visits that I’ve been lucky to have overseas to places like London, Paris, Rome, Prague, Vienna, Barcelona, Amsterdam, and Milan but I could not live in them for long. The bustle and noise would get to me. The country would be more my style with the wide open spaces, the peace and quiet, the “wild” animals, the beautiful skies, and the vast living spaces, and the clean, fresh air. But I guess in truth I’m a town girl like I am now. Smack dab in the middle of the city like Raleigh and the country. The town is big enough that I can walk 15 minutes from my house to the Starbucks down the street or the nail salon across from that. The best elementary school in the county is a 5 minute walk from my house, which is one reason why we bought our house where we did A 5 minute drive will take me to the local farmer’s market and a 5 minutes drive in a different direction will take me to a local family farm that does berry picking in the spring, pumpkins in the fall, and is where we get our Christmas tree in December. But I’m close enough to the city that I can go to the ballet 15 minutes away in Raleigh or see a Broadway Musical also 15 minutes away in Durham. I can see concerts 10-20 minutes away and go see The Carolina Hurricanes play hockey in Raleigh just 10 min down the road. Living in the town, or at least my town offers the best of the country and the city.
Here are my nominees:
And as always, if you have already done this award or don’t do awards then feel free not to do this one!! Just know that I was thinking of you when making my nominations and I think every one of you does such a wonderful job with your blogs 🙂
1.What is your guiltiest pleasure?
2. What is your greatest joy in life?
3. Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your 13-year-old self?