Friday, May 23, 2014

Celebrate the Small Things: A Blog Award


Anoosha at Little Big Girl was very sweet to nominate me for the Liebster Award. THANK YOU, Anoosha! This particular Liebster (my second) highlights the discovery of new blogs, which I was all too happy to do in the April Challenge. I discovered some very creative blogs, and Anoosha's was one of them. I encourage you to take a look if you missed her in the A-Z.

Other blogs nominated by Anoosha were: 
Creative Ramblings
Suzannes Tribe
Anything But Ordinary



Anoosha's Questions for me:

1) Why Blog?

For me, it is the same as "Why write?" I blog because I have to. I have this innate need to share my thoughts and feelings in this journey called life. I find that in addition to keeping me sane and focused, it brings organization and clarity to my thoughts. I started blogging with the intention of creating a blog platform for my novel, but it has morphed into something more.

2) What is your favorite sport/activity/hobby besides blogging or writing ?

Gardening, for one. My husband and I may be moving, so I have been doing some intensive gardening lately. Biking is my favorite personal sport. I would like to take up tennis again, and couple's dancing (hoping husband agrees). I seldom watch sports on TV.  

3) Which is your favorite Blog post ?

Mine? I wrote one about kissing in elementary school that riled me up a bit. I like posts that get people talking. I wish I could write more like that one. I also wrote a post about two bikers in Thailand who had lost their lives. They were living the adventure I would have enjoyed in my youth. A very sad end for the thirty-something couple, in a country I had traveled to and enjoyed immensely. 

4) What is your Spirit Animal ?

Well...I don't think I have one for real, but I did have an interesting experience with an eagle once. It was after learning about spirit
animals in a Native American class I had recently taken. An encounter with an eagle was very special, I was told. It meant that you would complete your journey. A short time later, I was on vacation. While standing on the balcony overlooking Washington state's beautiful Puget Sound, an eagle flew by so close in front I could almost touch its wings. I have always loved the eagle, and have a painting of one in flight in my home. It reminds me of the scripture: "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they will mount up on wings like eagles." (Isaiah 40:31)

5) Any guilty pleasures? 


Probably drink too much coffee. Strange thing about this beverage is that it is good for you in moderate amounts, but hard on the bladder in excess. I'm trying to cut down.


6) What is favorite book and why?

Have been asked this question before and could answer it in one of a hundred ways. Certain books (fiction and nonfiction) have been important to me at different stages of life. The only ones I consistently return to for inspiration are the Bible, The Norton Anthology of English Literature, and Anthology of American Literature.

7) Which fictional character do you most identify with?



Again, hard to answer. Will default to my childhood favorite, Jo, in Little Women. She wanted to be a writer (she wanted to be different) and that was inspiration enough.




8) If you could only describe yourself in three words what would they be ?

Creative, Adventuresome, Faithful 

9) When are you happiest ?

I need time alone to be happy. This includes in my home, garden, writing, and other pursuits. I am happiest when I can balance this with the people in my life....who are no less important, but know how grumpy I get when I am struggling with a goal or task.           

10) If you could meet anybody living or dead who would it be?

I would love to meet my two grandmothers as young women. My Norwegian Grandma had a deep faith (and jail ministry later in life). My German Nana looked so cute in a photo as a teen in her 'roaring twenties' flapper outfit. She later traveled around the world with my grandfather.

11) Eleven facts about myself:

1- I grew up in Tacoma, Washington.

2- My high school (Stadium) was modeled after a French castle 
Tacoma - Stadium High School 03A.jpg
Stadium High School
and built in the late 1800s. Famous speakers there include one U.S. president and a Washington state governor. A movie was made there, too.

3- I was a tomboy growing up and could beat the boys in arm wrestling.

4- When I met my husband it was like that 'Tony meets Maria scene' in Westside Story. The room stood still.

5- A terrible dancer. My mother signed me up for tap when I was four and I cried the entire time. (Odd, I now want to take couple's dancing with my husband).

6- Attended five colleges before getting a B.A. degree at the

University of Idaho. My son graduated two years prior, and daughter the following year. (It was an exciting time)

7- Frustrated with Christmas trees and all the mess. Does anyone know a good way to market Christmas ornaments?

8- 
In high school, I co-chaired the decoration of a float  for Tacoma's famous Daffodil Parade. We covered an entire float with daffodils.

9-  
I have six grandchildren (five boys, one girl).

10- Favorite holiday in the U.S. is Thanksgiving, 
because it keeps me thankful
Vince and me...in home-built RV8 - Joseph, OR

11- 
My husband and I recently found an airpark home (with a  
hangar) in Desert Aire, WA
and may be moving soon.  



My Nominees are:

1) Fanny Barnes Thornton
2) Things My Mother Taught Me (Leslie Melby)

Questions for you:

1) How long have been blogging and why did you start ?
2) What is your favorite sport, activity or hobby (besides blogging and writing) ?
3) Do you have a favorite song ?
4) What is your favorite animal and why ?
5) What would you change in the world if you could ?
6) What is your favorite book and why?
7) Which fictional character do you most identify with?
8) If you could only describe yourself in three words what would they be ?
9) When are you happiest ?
10) If you could meet anybody living or dead who would it be?



Rules for award:
Link back to the blog that has nominated you.
Nominate 5-11 blogs that have less than 200 followers
Answer questions posted to you by your nominator.
Share 11 facts about yourself.
Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer
Contact nominees; inform them they have been nominated.


This is a Celebrate post. I'm thankful to have posted something at all this week. It's been a very busy week cleaning house, filling out real estate paperwork, getting ready for a potential move and selling our home. Hope you are having a good spring. Summer is almost here!


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Garden Photo: Bumblebee Nectar


I heard some loud buzzing in the garden and found a large bumblebee, an inch or so long, happily enjoying the nectar on a shrub one flower at a time. He objected when I took my phone and attempted a close up shot. 

He took off in flight, buzzed around the bush and me several times, then flew up over the house and back again in fair warning......all the time politely keeping a safe distance. He did this more than once as I sought the perfect shot. 

Sometimes we have to do the same. Do you agree? We define our territory, and when nobody listens, we make our voice heard. I like the bumblebee's polite and kind, yet persistent approach. I tested his patience and he appeared to give me the benefit of doubt. 

I guess I should be glad I wasn't stung. The bush was also filled with honey bees, but they didn't seem to mind, only my bumblebee friend who clearly was defining his territory. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Weekly Recap: A-Z Reflection and a Cover Reveal





On the last day of the A-Z, I really needed a break. I noticed a lot of you sighing and groaning a bit online, too. By day Z, we were all weary. So with that thought, I want to thank all of you who visited my blog and left comments, even if it was only once or twice. I know how time-consuming and exhausting that was!! THANK YOU, THANK YOU. Your visits, follows, and comments....they meant the world to me! 

I tried to reciprocate comments and follows in return, which I consider the ultimate in blog courtesy. My apologies if I missed anyone. A special THANK YOU to all who decided to follow my blog, which was a pleasant outcome of the A-Z :) I hope we can maintain some contact over the weeks and months to come. THANK YOU also for sharing your ideas, insights, talents, and experiences. I learned so much from you!! Last but not least, THANK YOU to the A-Z staff...to Arlee and all his elves who popped around the blogs encouraging us and giving sage advice in advance!

I knew I was taking on a lot this year, because unlike last year's experience, I did not write my posts in advance. 
Lesson 1: write those posts in advance! I took on a subject that required a lot of research. This meant late nights, every night, trying to get my posts out on time. My posts were detailed and probably too long, but I wanted something useful in the end. I tried to break it up with fun trivia, so the posts could be skimmed through quickly or read in parts. I learned a lot about fruits. I hope you did too! 



I only have the one lesson learned, but I do have a recommendation....or shall I call it a wish? Is it possible to have the A-Z in March or February (the dullest month of the year), so it doesn't overlap with gardening and other spring activities? I was taking a Master Gardening course all of April, complete with homework, quizzes and a trip out of town. I almost passed on the A-Z for this reason alone. 

So, here we are approaching summer. I am already gardening, as you might have suspected, so if I drop off for awhile, I'll be outdoors in the garden for the rest of spring. 

I'm still getting my novel ready to market. There are all those last minute details that continue to plague me. One of these days, you will see a cover reveal and that will be a day to celebrate, indeed! 

Meanwhile...... Congratulations to Stephanie Faris, who has just released the cover of her second and upcoming book, 25 Roses, coming out in 2015 (for ages 9-13).  


"Valentine's Day means one thing at Stanton Middle School: students will send each other chocolate roses. Each year, Mia Hartley watches while the same group of students gets roses and everyone else is left out. This year, she decides things will be different. As the student assigned to write names on the cards, Mia purchases 25 roses and writes her own cards, designating them to 25 people she's personally chosen. But she soon learns that playing matchmaker is much more complicated than she thought it would be."


Stephanie's first book, 30 Days of No Gossip is also available from Simon & Schuster's Aladdin Mix. I wish you the best of success, Stephanie!




Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Z is for Zig-zag Fruit: Yummy Fruits A-Z

Zig-zag fruits are the size of peanuts.


The zig-zag vine, also known as "acid drop vine"and "wild banana," has a curious growth pattern. In the wild, it starts at the bottom of a host tree and zig-zags up the trunk until it reaches the sunlight at the top. 






In a controlled setting, the zig-zag vine makes a nice evergreen shrub, growing from three to twenty feet high, but in the wild, the sky is the limit.

The Zig-zag vine is native to the rain forests of eastern Australia. It also grows in New Guinea, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Borneo, and Indonesia (Malesia).  

When the zig-zag vine blossoms, it is a yummy soft yellow, and the rain forest is filled with the scent of ripe bananas.
Zig-zag vine flower

But the fruit of the zig-zag vine is probably the best part of all. It tastes like orange sherbet, people say, a tangy flavor that is quite pleasant. Picked locally, it is sometimes used to flavor sauces and liqueurs. I'd like to taste this fruit. How about you?



"Orange sherbet anyone?"

Zig-zag Books

--Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal
by Ben Macintyre (2009)

--Zig Zag: The Surprising Path to Greater Creativity by Keith Sawyer (2013)


--Zigzag by Ellen Wittlinger (2012) (fiction)


--Zigzag: The Incredible Wartime 
Exploits of Double Agent Eddie Chapman  by Nicholas Booth (2007)

--The Zigzag Principle: The Goal Setting Strategy That Will Revolutionize Your Business and Your Life 
by Rich Christiansen (2011)

--Inga's Zigzags 
by Vica Miller (2014) (fiction)

--Architects Make Zigzags: Looking at Architecture  from A to Z 
by Diane Maddex (1986)

--Zigzag (2005) (picture book)
by Robert San Souci


Zig-zag Movies

--The Zigzag Kid (2012) 
(Nono wants to be like his father, the best police inspector in the world) (Adventure, family)


--Zig Zag (2002) (An autistic 15-year-old boy steals money from his boss to pay rent for his abusive father) (drama)



Zig Zag Story (1983) The lives of three parisians, a color-blind painter, a radio show host, and a perverted photographer interwine hilariously. (Comedy, Drama)



Zig-zag Song


"Zig Zag" by Miley Cyrus (video)





And so....ooo, Zig-zagging

to the END 


of a very long 
and interesting month. 

We did it everyone! Take a big BIG BOW!!!










http://fruitandnuttrees.com/acid-drop-vine-zig-zag-vine; http://www.drytropics.org.au/ArticlesSpeciesInfo.htm
http://keys.trin.org.au/key-server/data/0e0f0504-0103-430d-8004-060d07080d04/media/Html/taxon/Melodorum_leichhardtii.htm
http://www.brisrain.webcentral.com.au/01_cms/details_pop.asp?ID=88
http://toowoombaplants2008.blogspot.com/2010_02_01_archive.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melodorum_leichhardtii