Monday was a milestone day for me, celebrated (in my dreams) with a new pint of Ben & Jerry’s Pfish Food – oh, how wonderful some of that would be right now. It was a good day for a milestone (despite the ice cream remaining a dream) because I was sacked out on the couch most of the day on account of the army of ants that grossed me out on Saturday and made me move all those oak clapboards in the hot sun on Monday. Yes, my heat exhaustion was definitely their fault and the milestone perked me up in a way only Pfish Food would also have had the power to do.
The milestone I celebrated was that the number of views on my blog on June 24, 2019, exceeded the total number in all of 2018, setting me up for a 100% increase by the end of the year. This is more than a little bit surprising to me because I know I’m all over the map with this blog, which I expect is not the smartest way to build and/or keep a following.
But unboring means I can’t write about one thing only, like only chickens or only cooking. Instead I jump all around and have fun with things like skinks, mums, brisket, pink boots, creepy garden statues, silly dogs, puzzles, biscotti, Aquaman (and other superheros), chocolate cheesecake (n.b. chocolate cheesecake), museums, meatloaf, spiders, screwdrivers, monkey bread, quilts, beet salad, girls and aprons, prickles, spaetzle and people who are 100+ years old (“At 100” being my most popular post so far by far, btw! Who would have ever guessed that??). My blog is kind of like coming to dinner at my house – you never know what you’re going to get! A prize to anyone who can tell me which posts all the images in this post come from.
I mention the milestone only because the exceeding joy of it was today exceeded by Mona of Wayward Sparkles who nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award, which blew my mind. Thank you, Mona!! I am shocked, honored and utterly discombobulated by this news. Mona’s blog is so fun, so real, so interesting, so hilarious – I don’t hold a candle to her! She has a big heart and big talent and I know she, also a recipient of this award, will be hugely, monumentally successful in all of her writing endeavors.
Receiving this nomination comes with some rules (which look more like requirements to me, but what do I know?). No free lunch in blogger-world apparently. I need to
- Thank the blogger who nominated me. I already have and evermore will thank Mona. Thank you, Mona!!
- Figure out how “Answer the questions” (technically the second requirement) and “Nominate new blogs to receive the award and in this case, ask them to list 5 to 10 random facts about themselves” (technically the third) are two separate things and then do these two things. Writers write, right? They are generally pretty good at it. This is not totally clear writing, just saying. I know Mona didn’t come up with the list of rules, but since she sees these as essentially one rule/requirement, I guess I will too. See my random facts below.
- (which is technically 4. but you know how these word programs know better than you do and put the numbers in automatically – it would not let me make this #4) List the rules (which still look like requirements to me) and display the Sunshine Blogger Award. Can do.
- (technically 5.) Notify the nominees about it by commenting on their blog post. This I can do too, though if I were in a quabbling mood I would I would make that “… by commenting about their blog post.” Whatever. Good thing I’m not in a quabbling mood.
Nothing is said about the order in which these things must be done. Therefore allow me to say Thank you, Mona!! again and create an mildly unboring path here by ignoring the given order and jumping to 4/5, i.e. the nomination of other great blogs which I will do in the order in which I started following them. I will return to 2/3, the random tidbits part.
Lisa’s Favorite Places “My Love of…” Lisa loves to travel and has made me aware of so many places in the U.S. that I knew nothing about like naval yards and memorials and wineries and parks and small museums off the beaten track. Her photography is excellent too – how the sky and the water can be that blue or the wooded pathway through the park that serene, I don’t know! Thank you, Lisa!
Fresh Hell Sarah has a way with words that sets her apart and will very likely bring her great fame as a writer. She is not afraid of any topic, even darker ones that are harder to express. In both poems and prose, she hits the nail on the head, leaving me contemplative or assured or intrigued or hysterically laughing! She has also written a wonderful fantasy novel called The Turning (check it out on amazon). Thank you, Sarah!
London Life with Liz Liz takes you on a tour of London: museums, restaurants and tea houses, famous historical sites, etc, making me see what’s special about each one, making me want to go to each one! I have never been to London but when I go there I will follow all of her recommendations. She makes every place sound so interesting. Thank you, Liz!
Rachel Mankowitz Rachel write about her life: her adorable dogs, her clearly terrific mom, her aspirations as a writer, her struggles resulting from a difficult childhood, her career path, etc. She puts gentle and wise words to things like child abuse and drug addiction, helping many readers I’m sure understand these things better than they otherwise would. She has also written a novel called Yeshiva Girl (also amazon), a great read I in turn shared with my fellow CASA volunteers. Thank you, Rachel!
Rob Gradens Rob impresses me with his honesty. Life sucks sometimes and Rob has been dealt some sucky cards. Nonetheless he is embarking not only on a gigantic reconstruction of his house (after a fire) but is also just as determined to reconstruct the rest of his world. He is not afraid to discuss what doesn’t make sense to him, what irritates him, confuses him, helps him. Thank you, Rob!
Mona, I would nominate you too if I could! But River beat me to it…
Some random things about me:
- If there are 31 or 45 or any number of ice cream flavors to choose from, and chocolate is one of the flavors (which it better be, otherwise something is wrong with this picture), I will choose chocolate or something chocolate-based, like Pfish Food. (When I asked Samuel to name a random thing about me, his mother, he said the first thing that came to mind was how I choose chocolate ice cream above all others. Yes! Then I read him this part.)
- I find ironing both relaxing and satisfying. I know, I know, most people consider it a chore and avoid it at all costs, including setting multiple timers so they can get to the dryer at the exact right time to be able to take their clothes out in perfect shape. Give me soft and pure cotton, even linen (did you say linen? you never get all the wrinkles out of that stuff!) ANY DAY. I iron my pillowcases.
- I remember the first poem I wrote. I was in third grade and my mother read it and handed it back to me and said: You wrote this? (which was the end of any praise on the matter and led me to think it was not a good plan for me to continue along the poetry track, and now you all can agree I was wise to stop at one poem!)
On Turkey Day we eat a lot
Our tummies get so puffed
I thought it was supposed to be
The turkey who got stuffed!
- I didn’t like kids when I was a teenager. I found them annoying and un-fun. I babysat only for the money. Then I had five of my own and found more love in my heart than I ever knew was humanly possible. Go figure.
- I forget stuff sometimes. Once I forgot that I had placed the most recently dead hamster (probably the one my son Bradley tried to give a bath to), all wrapped up in a paper towel, on the mantle above the wood stove in the winter (when the stove is going constantly), and was puzzled about what that horrible smell was a few days later…
- I pronounce marry different than merry and Mary. Do you?
- I wrote a book called The Story of Keswick Hall, a hardbound, dust-jacketed, glossy-paged, full color 100-year-old history of a local private home/mansion that became a country club and then, after being practically pulled from the scrap heap, a world-class resort (currently closed for renovations). I am almost completely sold out of the second printing. I also published Vanishing History: Ruins in Virginia and My Dog is a WHAT?
- I homeschooled my kids for fifteen years. Our adventures included skinning a raccoon, traveling to national parks in the U.S. and castles and cathedrals in Europe, performing Charlotte’s Web and several Shakespeare plays, skiing and ice skating weekly (Oct-Mar) and building trenches in the backyard snow to simulate WWI battles. We had a blast! I want to write a book about this someday.
- I run an Airbnb cottage on my property called Golden Hill. In Virginia people name their properties. It’s a thing. I have 366 reviews so far.
By the way my frozen blueberry/milk/maple syrup concoction stood in nicely for the Pfish Food tonight!
And again, Thank you, Mona!!