What happened to me while I was in the throes of tea brewing and broth sipping is an award! Not just me but lots of us bloggers won an award...it's called The Liebster! Which is only one vowel away from another really cool thing I imagine happens in Maine involving toasted rolls and too much mayo. Mmmm, I bet Maine has snow.
SO The Liebster is an award given to you to by your fellow blogging soul mates because they like you. And because they want to recognize their fellow writers for posting anything at all between hurling and helping with homework. Bloggers are compassionate lovies that way.
I am honored. Mostly because my blog friend Andrea, a gifted writer at About 100%, gave it to me. This woman has me giggling in one post about Labor Day and aching in my heart about her grandfather in another. I actually went to text her about something funny the other day because I get confused and think we are friends in real life. Maybe one day we will be but then I'd have to let her know I sound like a thirteen year old over the phone. It's true. In person I never get carded. Over the phone everyone asks to speak to my mom. I hope she won't break up with me over that. I still love her and her half thumb. Go click on her site, she'll explain.
The Liebster requires me to list some things, answer some things, and ask some things. Then, I will pay it forward to my own favorites.
Let us begin the madness:
11 Facts About Me
1.) I don't use hair conditioner anymore. This might not be a big deal for normal people but it is HUGE for me. I've used conditioner for 35 years and have been on a quest (a QUEST people) for healthy hair for most of those 35. Finally I find Lousiana's answer to Jose Eber and he tells me I need to stop using conditioner, by God I stop using hair conditioner. So now I use this leave-in detangling mousse product made of milk called "Milkshake" which smells like McDonald's vanilla single scoop and I'm pretty sure that's what gave me ecoli for the last 2.5 weeks. I'm a slow learner.
2.) I love dogs more than people. I can empathize with animals more than I can empathize with people. I am probably a descendent of stringy-haired Airedales and beat canine blood through quasi-human veins. I am totally fine with all of this although it probably won't get me into heaven. I'm sad about that but can't immediately vibe with love for fellow humans the way I can with fellow dogs. They're just easier to be around. Overall pure hearted. Amazing snuggle bunnies. Nobody talks much. Forever warm. Everyone of them likes to play. (Andrea, keep reading, don't give up me just yet.)
3.) Every day I wake up and am shocked not to be 18 anymore. For some reason I always think I'm 18 when I wake up. Imagine my surprise when my children come running in with their complicated breakfast requests and am forced to heave my very much not 18 year old bodice out of bed for other people. Shocking, every time.
4.) I can never see how I truly feel about something until I'm alone. A friend I run into at the carpool line asks, "Hey, grab a coffee?" and I just don't know while she's standing there. I have to make up a reason to go back to my car, sit there a minute, and find out if I really DO want to have coffee or if I'm just afraid to say no. Chances are, I want to have coffee.
5.) I volunteer a few hours a week at a local dog adoption center and have not taken one dog home with me yet. Maybe e-coli hitched a ride on my jeans but I'm kind of still going with milk mousse. So. Dumb.
6.) The longer my marriage goes on, the more I feel like it's a "We vs.Them" happening here. We being me and my husband. Them being the children folk. This is new for me. I once was a big loner in our marriage. It was years before people even knew I wasn't an only parent. It was all, "When I put them to bed at night. When I take them out to breakfast." Now, it's both of us - I bring him into the equation out loud. Probably just nature's way of making sure I don't disintegrate into crazy dog lady as the kids move on without me.
7.) I held my grandma's hand as she passed away. And sang to her. I couldn't leave her. My step-dad was with us. He couldn't leave me.
8.) I don't have one best friend. They're all so uniquely precious to me, I can't pick only one. I also don't keep very many close friends. Small talk makes me nauseous.
9.) I find it difficult trusting people who keep themselves busy every single second. What are they running from? What happens when they stay still? Is it that awful to be you?
10.) I never wanted to be a mom. One time in 10th grade History, a clairvoyant friend went around telling everyone her prediction of what the rest of us would be when they grew up. My friend Karen, she said would be a lawyer. (She is.) My friend Doug would be a mechanic. (He is.) My friend Matt would work with kids. (He's a teacher now.) She kept skipping over me and finally, sensing my worry, she looked right in my eyes and says, "I'm so sorry, Erin. I can only envision you as a mom." I was crushed. Look at me now. Wonder where this girl is these days. And if she's using her powers for good.
11.) I once dated my college professor. After graduation. It was a fairy tale romance until I realized we were 30 years apart and lookit there, I wanted kids!
Ok, now for Andrea's questions. She asks some toughies (and perhaps even one I needed to Google the meaning of, oy vei.)
1.) What embarrasses you?
Singing in front of people. Which was a problem when I tried to do that for a living for a while.
2.) How much do you swear around your kids, if you have kids? If you don't have kids, how much do you swear in general?
Let's just have Abby's often and regular use of swearing speak to this question. Things got really bad when Andy was deployed. I was four word slinging with the best of 'em. When Andy returned and I found Abby in his football hold at REI, I knew I let things go too far. She had cursed him out asking for her "effing mommy." Or the time Grayson told Pop to watch out for "those damnbees" on our deck. I am really trying hard to clean up my act in general. If I slip up, Abby tells me it hurts God's feelings to talk like that and I shrink down to the shrew size that I am to ask forgiveness. It's effing hard.
3.) Do you speak a foreign language? Why or why not?
Je parles Francais. Un peu. Mais...not really at all anymore even though I was almost fluent in college after six ans. J'oublie tout le Francais parce que Je ne practice pas!
4.) If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be? It's okay if you say "right where I am now." I won't judge you for being boring.
If I could live anywhere else in the world it would be somewhere mountainous. Maybe Switzerland. Maybe the Rockies. Maybe Nepal. Mountains thrill me and let me know there was so much going on before we humans arrived and will always be happening long after I am lilies on a gravestone. With mountains you get gorgeous wildflowers and crazy unpredictable weather. I love the excitement that comes from that environment and the feeling that you're on holiday because exciting things abound.
5.) Outside of your family and yourself, what is your biggest love?
Dogs. Sorry, Andrea, I just really love them critters. If not dogs then my biggest love is artistry whether that means writing, woodworking, painting, listening to music, making music, watching dancing (I do no dance well anymore myself), or hanging out on a rickity wooden pier during sunset, J'adore L'Art!
6.) What is one thing you are terrible at?
Only one? Ok. I am terrible at cooking. I don't enjoy food related things. Growing up, food was always just that happened while we did other things. We ate a bowl of Cheerios while playing a board game. We grabbed apples and peanut butter before a hike. It was never the focal point of anything. Other than Thanksgiving. And that's my favorite holiday, weird. Well, regardless, I am terrible at cooking and putting together meals that entice my family to enjoy them. I make healthy things, just not very delicious things.
7.) Your dream job.
Oh, this is one I think about all the time. I think my dream job would be writing from home while welding jewelry or other art out of copper and other metals while also making my own frames for my own pictures to be sold on my own blog. You know, nothing narcissistically grandiose or anything.
8.) What is your biggest sociopolitical concern?
I'm really quite underwhelming in this department. As a military wife, I should have so many sociopolitical concerns that keep me up at night. Truth is, I am mostly concerned our children and our children's children won't know how to feed themselves non toxic food or won't know how to keep themselves competitive with a capitalistic market that is always so near collapse in America. I do worry about disease and war and GMO famine but an issue that is near to my heart these days is the holocaust quietly sweeping the nation.
The euthanization of our homeless pets who have been dumped at "Animal Care & Control Centers." Over 30,000 healthy adoptable pets are put to sleep (which is the nicest misnomer as many places still use the grotesquely painful and inhumane heartstick or gas chamber method to killing animals - I've seen the videos and pictures and THOSE keep me up at night. If you haven't looked, don't. It is by far THE most disturbing image to witness. It gives you dark sick feeling in your gut that people like you and me do this EVERY day and think it's ok.) The state keeps quiet about how many die daily (most have numbers well over 44 animals PTS per day) along with the fact that untrained "Technicians" choose which ones and how they die. That's right, we should all be horrified to learn some dude off the streets selects a few dogs or cats based on either their mood or the pet's (often criminally embellished) assessment/rating.
These babies don't stand a chance once crossing into the concentration camps that call themselves shelters. Your every day passerby has NO idea such heinous crimes take place, much less that they take place EVERY day because nobody is firing them. It's a hard job to fill. It's an even harder job to get fired from once you're on payroll. I agonize over all the dogs and cats (rabbits, guinea pigs, etc.) that find themselves "saved" by Animal Control just to be housed in crowded, smelly, jail cells to be marched to their death less than a week later. These places don't network or hold adoption events. Some don't have the means to. Some honestly do not have the room because people illegally breed their pets in their backyard or refuse to spend money on spaying/neutering. These people don't pay, the animals do. With their lives. These domestic animals rely on humans for care. When they are abandoned, they are stripped of the right to live a cared for life.
So there are volunteers that create websites like Urgent Part 2 - Urgent Death Row Dogs to get the word out about these adoptable souls in hopes to save their lives. Many of these scared to death pets are saved at the 11th hour but due to red tape or just time, so many are needlessly and recklessly killed. To think, after all this, some people still shop or pay breeders for their pets. Please direct those family members and friends to their local kill shelter first. They will find the greatest love of their life starting back at them from behind bars. Rescue dogs never forget who saved them from hell. And they rescue you right back.
Whew, that was a long one. Thanks for letting me rant. I obviously feel strongly about this one. Please spread the word to anyone you suspect might not understand. Shelter animals are in imminent danger of losing their lives daily. To make room for the next onslaught of animals dumped because people think they don't have a choice. There are choices. A silent hidden holocaust shouldn't be one of them.
9.) Where and when would you go if you could travel through time?
Easy. I'd go back to the early 1900s when my grandfather and grandmother were babies. Clip clopping of horse drawn buggies, long skirted women, and men with pipes dangling from their mouths. Love to be a fly on the wall during those years. I'd sit back and watch my grandparents grow up, move away, and fall in love. It will be the party of a century.
10.) Are you adventuresome?
Yes. I'm adventuresome but cautious if there's such a combination. I love impromptu hikes but wouldn't bungee jump. Take me on a plane to South Africa but stop off at the clinic to get our vaccines first. Grab a bottle of water and drive somewhere we've never been for the day? YES! But pack some granola bars for low blood-sugar, please. Let's go. What are we waiting for?
11.) Creatively, what are you best at? What are you worst at?
Ooh, hard one. Best at. Best at picking my way through writing. Best at having a title before writing the book. Best at considering all sides to an argument but still having the fight. Best at envisioning how the song could sound better before it's even finished. Best at the making better part. Worst at the making to the finish part. Not the best follow-through-er. When there's a project and I have time to devote myself to the task, it's on. When I'm my own boss and there are zero repercussions to not finishing the project? Maybe it'll be done by Christmas. But probably not because there are far too many cups of tea to be had.
Ok, I'm exhausted and most likely all alone by now since you all clicked out after my tirade about homeless dogs. I don't even know what my deal is. We'll move on.
Thank you for reading. I need to come up with my own questions for my own Liebster people but I'm spent. Let's reconvene in the morning. When the kids are at school and I'm skipping the gym for the fifth week in a row, shall we?
I've missed you so.