Award: The Black Cat Blue Sea Award

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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 πŸ™‚

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.


Rules

  • 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 πŸ™‚

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  πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

The Living Book Tree

Marie @Marie’s Library

Heather@Dinasours, Donkeys, and MS

Fran@Cesca Lizzie Reads

Claire @Brizzle Lass 

The Orangutan Librarian

Holly @ Dressed to Read

Darque Dreamer Reads

My Questions:

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?

 

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65 thoughts on “Award: The Black Cat Blue Sea Award

      1. I do! And one cat who thinks she’s bigger than they are, lol!! We used to have 2 more cats, but they passed away at 14 and 17, so they lived a long time! They weren’t crazy like she is, lol. I love cats though. I’ve always been a cat person until we got dogs πŸ™‚

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      2. Haha. Cats always think they’re on top of the world and stronger than bigger animals. I also am a cat person but if I had a dog, I think I would also become a dog person. They (dogs) are way more loyal than cats.

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      3. LOL, too true! They are just full of themselves. Although my old cat Pandora never acted like that. She acted more like a dog, lol. She would walk outside with me and follow me around, never take off, and go every where with me. She was the most awesome cat ever. Chloe is just rotten, but she and Onyx play really well together which is funny. Probably because they’ve grown up together. He was 2 when I got her. Dogs are definitely loyal. Mine act like they are dying if I leave the room lol. And they would do anything to protect me. We know it is only going to be a matter of weeks or months until my oldest dog passes, and I can barely imagine what it will be like. She hasn’t left my side in 14 yrs…she sleeps with me, lies at me feet or beside me on the couch even though I clearly have a no dog on the couch rule…dog’s are just special. Cat’s are too. Animals are just the best…

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      4. Ooh I am so sorry that you’re dog is going to pass away soon. At least, you had some amazing years together. We also had a dog called Magnum (like the ice cream) who was just like a human being. He understood every emotion going through anyone and would comfort me when I was sad. He passed a long time ago but we never got an other dog afterwards. I have 4 cats (the each have a strange name). The one that also follows me and my mom everywhere is called Batman because his face is white but it’s seems like he’s wearing a black mask. The other one is called Blackos (black + ending of a lot of Greek names, It wasn’t very original), she is the only the girl and has a strange habit to slap everyone with her paw (like a bitch slap). Felix is the odd one out because Batman constantly scares him away because he doesn’t want to share his territory. He is also the only one that isn’t black, white like the other ones. Biggy is the one that never is home and constantly goes on road trips and after weeks comes back to eat and again leaves afterwards. (We think that a grandma is secretly feeding him because he’s fat even after his weeks of absence)

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      5. You’re so sweet! It’s better to know and be prepared than not know I think. The vet just says to watch for increased pain, when she can’t walk at all anymore, or just when her quality of life is low. She says our dog will tell us when it’s time, so I’m letting her guide me. I’ll never let her suffer. She’s definitely been the best dog ever and knows me so well! I don’t think I could get another dog after her.

        I love the names of your cats! My cat likes to smack people to. She just whacks you for no reason. It’s annoying! Poor Felix!! Biggy, lol. Sounds like he’s being feed! I always feed any cat that runs around and they get really fat!

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      6. We had the same thing with my grandmother’s dog. We put him down when we saw he was in pain. It’s always hard to let a dog, who understands you and is close to you go. I really hope you’ll have some quality time before she leaves.
        Haha I hope you were entertained by my cats’ names! We don’t need reality TV at home because we have got all the entertainment we need from our cats. It’s always great to find a pet lover. I am happy I found your blog. πŸ’•

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      7. Aww, that is good! You can’t let an animal suffer. She’s on pain meds but I will know when it’s time. I have a feeling I will just be able to look in her eyes and know. I’m preparing myself a little bit every day and making each day as good as I can for her. She gets spoiled now with things she never was before…people food and since she can’t climb the stairs anymore I sleep in the family room with her every night on my pull out couch so she is not alone. She’s never been alone, and I don’t want her to be alone now. I think she is loving all the attention ❀

        I was! Cats are awesome! When they play it is crazy and hysterical! My one cat makes us laugh, so I can only imagine 4, lol! It is great to find a pet lover! Not everyone understands when you really love your pet πŸ™‚ I'm happy we found each other's blogs!!

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      8. Thanks! I hope she is! She seems to be except for the lack of being able to walk like she could. Being spoiled…definitely ❀❀❀
        We had 5 kittens when we 1st got married!! We started with 1,then 2, then 2 more, then 1 more, lol!! It was craziness! They were up all hours of the night doing insane things, hahaha. I had to give 3 of them to friends since I had renting an apartment and had “snuck” the last 3 in. At least I still got to see them! But wow! I hope you don’t miss your kitties too much while gone! ❀

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    1. Thanks!! And you are welcome!! Take all the time you need πŸ™‚ I’m catching up on awards and tags and book reviews, lol. I’m behind on everything…which is partially why I’m awake at 4:30 am. Ugh! But I’m going to bed now or I’ll never go to bed, lol. TTYL!! I can’t wait to see your answers but seriously no rush πŸ™‚

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  1. Wow, we have so much in common! I showed horses too (if that wasn’t your fake out!) and I love to paint/draw/color! It will take me a bit to get to this! I am in the process of trying to switch my blog over from wordpress.org to wordpress.com ….. What a headache!!!!!! I don’t want to start over…just migrate all my files.

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    1. No, we have those in common! They’re both true 😊

      That sounds like an awful pain! You’d think they would just move over. How annoying! Take your time of course!! I certainly understand 😊

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      1. You’re welcome! Are you self hosted? I’m considering becoming self hosted but wasn’t sure how much a pain it would be. And your message cut off with love the…
        But I’m sure I thank you for whatever you said you loved! πŸ˜€

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      2. love your ?’s! Yes, self hosted but I need to switch from wordpress.org to wordpress .com……I’ll keep you posted!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Mines the free wordpress.com so I wonder if it would be easier to switch to a self hosted wordpress.com. I’ll have to check on that! Still good luck 😊

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  2. Great answers and thank you so much for putting so many sweet words about me ❀ You're the sweetest, Stephanie!! I really enjoyed your detailed answers and I've always been amazed by how honest and warm-hearted you are! Great post!! And, your doggies are cute ❀

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    1. Thank you! And you’re welcome for what I wrote about you! I’m really glad we’re friends!!

      I write too much, lol. But I’m glad you enjoyed my answers 😊❀ And thank you so much for what you said. I just try to be me when I write 😊 Which is why I talk to much, lol. I love my doggies, thanks!

      You didn’t try to guess my untruth, lol. πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‚

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      1. LOL, I do hate cooking!! I totally do!! πŸ™‚ The only time I “like” to cook is Christmas dinner and for friends. Even then I don’t enjoy it. I can cook very well, but ugh!! It bores me to tears! I love to bake!! That is what I love to do, lol! I could bake every day because then I get to eat it, lol! And it is so much fun and interesting πŸ™‚ No cooking….baking!!

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      2. I do love to paint! My mother is an art major/private art teacher, so I took lessons from her when I was younger. I’m not good like she is, but I enjoy painting. I haven’t done it in forever though. My husband bought my canvas and acrylic paint for my bday and some charcoal and paper but I still haven’t opened any of it….

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      3. My goodness, you’re awfully good at fibbing! This is so hard! lol But come to think of it, I sense something artistic from you. That makes sense!

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      4. Thanks!! I like being artistic! I think Pisces are supposed to be artistic? Wow Noriko, I just had to go back and edit my post, lol! I realized I put 4 things I liked, lol. So I wasn’t fibbing. I can’t read questions right, hahaha!! They were all true! I did this last night at 3 am so I must have been out of it. So I went back and reworded the one that was supposed to be the fib!! When you said I was good at fibbing I realized there was something wrong, lol. πŸ™‚

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    1. Yay!! Glad you are excited to do it!! I can’t wait to see your answers! And thanks; I really enjoyed answering the questions. I feel like I wrote too much though, lol. I’m always going overboard, lol! It’s the English Lit professor in me….I write too much as if I were lecturing, lol!!

      I really, really hate shopping in stores. But I LOVE online shopping 😊 I love new things but I won’t shop unless it’s online. Then I buy ridiculous amounts of things and get lots of stuff! I adore spending money hahaha!!

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      1. LOL, it was a good guess and you were right since I love to online shop…it’s like an addiction!! It makes my husband freak out, lol.

        I really hate to cook though!! I absolutely hate to cook! Ugh! I will do anything to get out of it. But I’m a fantastic cook…not to toot my own horn, lol. The only times I like to cook is if we are having say a cookout. And I will cook a huge Christmas dinner with no complaints. The rest of the year its take out, frozen food, my husband cooks, one of my teenage boys cooks, or I throw the quickest thing in the world together. Now if it’s baking that is a totally different matter. I would bake every day because I love to eat it, lol. And it’s more fun to bake than it is to cook…

        I know I talk too much and write too much…

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      2. I hate to cook too. I hate touching raw chicken too, haha. I’m having to cook a lot more because I am a housewife now. My husband moved us across the US for his job and I didn’t want to have to start over in the lab field, plus my diabetes needs attending to, so I agreed to stay home. I need to find more easy recipes to make veggies taste better. I HATE VEGGIES!!

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      3. Lol!! I refuse to touch raw chicken or ground beef!! 😝 Just nasty!! My husband is out of town several times a week or at least gets home late but I don’t care, lol. It’s Chinese or pizza. And my kids can cook, lol. Or it’s grilled cheese night. But I honestly don’t have time to cook with work and taking classes full time. Oh, I like veggies but my hubby hates them unless it’s corn, potatoes, green beans or limas. That’s part of why I dislike cooking is he is so damn picky in what he eats, lol. I love all kinds of food and he’s all like yuck…🀣

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      4. I am usually the picky one!! I prefer to eat like a kid, lol. I do love using our crock pot though! I make chili, bbq chicken, pasta e fagioli, meat loaf, taco meat, and chicken with green beans and potatoes in my crock pot!

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      5. Yes!! If I can make it in my crockpot, I will cook it, lol! Then they start complaining about me using the crockpot too much. Why I don’t know! It tastes the same! I will cook a lot during the fall and winter making soup, chili, etc with my crockpot. The rest of the year they are on their own! We’ve already had take out 3x this week, lol.

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      6. Holy cow, I’m like totally out of it today! HAHAHA! You were so right with your guess and I’m like no, blah blah. I read the question wrong for the award!! I went back and reworded it!! I do hate shopping at stores but I’m a maniac shopper online!! Oh my god!! My UPS guy hates me with a passion, hahahaha! I get at least 1 to 2 packages every day because I’m always buying my 7 yr old clothes or myself shoes. And I have a serious addiction to lipstick at Sephora, lol. And yes, I do buy most of my groceries and have them delivered so I don’t have to walk around and waste my time in the grocery store, lol. I’m so sorry!! Good grief….we are talking about how much I hate cooking, and I’m like wait, but that is true!!! You probably think I’m a total ditz!

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      7. It is, lol. I budget for it instead of buying groceries, lol!! Did you see that I totally messed up?! I can’t read worth a damn!! I read the question for the award wrong and put all 4 true things when I meant to word one of them as a fib…oh my lord! You were right! I don’t hate shopping as long as it’s online shopping! I will online shop all day long! My UPS guy literally hates me I think because of the number of packages that I get…so I went back and edited my post to fix it!! And edited the comments so they make more sense to anyone reading them! HAHAHA! Here I was like, oh I hate cooking, yeah! You guessed it, lol when I really do. I’m sitting her cracking up and my husband is looking at me like I have 4 heads.

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  3. Aww thank you so much for nominating me!! I really don’t know which one of those wasn’t true- but I want to know!! I like the idea of you riding horses competitively- cos that would be so cool!! And if you’re into art then we’ve got that in common πŸ˜€ You’re answers were really sweet!! And I’ve been to all of those places- except NYC which I’d like to visit one day. And it sounds like you have the best of both worlds!! πŸ˜€

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    1. You’re welcome!! I don’t hate to shop…online, lol!! I was a little sneaky…my UPS man hates me because I probably get a package every day, lol. Wow, it’s been 20 yrs since I rode competitively but it was amazing! I love horses. They are just wonderful, gentle souls!! Art is fantastic! I need to start painting again but just never find the time. You definitely have to visit NYC!! We do live in a fantastic area. I love it here 😊

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  4. I just got 3 boxes today from Amazon, lol. It’s an addiction. I probably should go to Shopaholics Anonymous, lol. I was lucky my grandparents owned horses or I probably wouldn’t have learned. My cousin learned first, and I had to too since she was older lol. You’ll love NYC ❀

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