Tag Archives: Blogging 101

My First Liebster Award


I am honored  to be nominated for the Liebster Award and want to thank Lucile de Godoy, on life for nominating me. It is heartening to have other writers give me recognition for my posts.

The Liebster Award has German origins. The word “liebster” has several definitions: dearest, sweetest, kindest, nicest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, welcome, sweetheart and boyfriend.

It aims to discover new bloggers and welcome them to the blogosphere. Bloggers award other bloggers. Here are the rules for accepting the Liebster award:

  • Post the award on your blog.
  • Thank the blogger who presented this award and link back to their blog.
  • Write 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 11 bloggers who you feel deserve this award and who have less than 200 followers.
  • Answer 11 questions posted by the presenter and ask your nominees 11 questions.

11 Random Facts About Me:

  1. I love good strong coffee and usually have some every morning
  2. I enjoy good food and wine including San Francisco sour dough bread with the hard, dark crust
  3. I love to read books, the paper and cloth cover ones more than electronic
  4. I love films old and new
  5. I love nature and all the beautiful scenery in California
  6. I love opera and especially anything Puccini
  7. I love Rock n Roll like the song says
  8. I like things that are quirky and funny, good jokes and comedy
  9. I like some of the old comedians like Laurel and Hardy and WC Fields
  10. I like road trip up the coast of California with my husband
  11. I like dancing and may take up tap one of these days

My 11 Nominations ( I did not want to duplicate Lucile’s list but I still love you all and you know who you are 🙂  )

  1. Behind the White Coat
  2. Angiezingcupid
  3. From Egg Hill
  4. Far Out in Africa
  5. Inspiring Max
  6. Rachel Being Chatty
  7. The Crafty Lady in Combat Boots
  8. Sonadora
  9. Out of My Mind
  10.  El Amarillo Camino
  11. Wtf Am I On About Now?

My 11 Answers:

  1. Are you afraid of the dark? Sometimes if I have just finished watching a scary movie especially about hauntings or ghosts and such things and if I hear strange noises at night
  2. Do you care about recycling garbage? Yes but I am not always good about doing it. We do recycle plastic bottles.
  3. Are you happy? Depends on what mood I am in. 🙂 Generally yes, resilient.
  4. If you had to say the truth or protect a friend, which one would you choose? Lean toward protecting the friend unless they were guilty of a heinous crime.
  5. Are you addicted to social media? Right now almost addicted to WordPress blogging but trying to resist. Probably losing the battle. Don’t have time for other social media due to first part of answer.
  6. Do you have a dream? More than one. Travel. Write a book. Get published.
  7. Have you ever been in love with a friend and never told her/him? No
  8. Tell us the funniest thing that has happened to you.  I think I need to have more fun because I can’t think of anything right now 😦
  9. If you could choose another place, where would you live? Sonoma, Carmel or Santa Ynez Valley
  10. Don’t you like gossiping? Not too much.
  11. Would you let me know if you rather not be awarded and why? I can see how the awards can be more of a popularity contest and can be seductive. On the other hand I do appreciate getting the feedback as a new blogger. So Thank You!

My 11 questions for you:

  1. If you wrote a book what genre would it be?
  2. Is WordPress you whole life right now?
  3. What current issue in the news are you passionate about?
  4. Do you like to get together with a small group of friends or do you like big parties?
  5. Do you prefer cities, small towns or being in a more remote area?
  6. When you travel do you like to rough it or do you prefer a hotel with all the amenities?
  7. Do you feel you really need to be in constant communication with friends on Facebook, text, twitter or other social media?
  8. Do you enjoy time to yourself, solitude?
  9. Do you need to have a special place in your home or elsewhere where it is quiet to write?
  10. Are you a romantic?
  11. What type of music do you enjoy?







Samhain for Which Witch Blog Hop

8817621285_064c2c9038_z  The High Priestess


Samhain, saying your name creates a deep vibration in me.

Are you evoking a memory from a past time?

A racial memory from my Celtic roots

Maybe I was a Druid many seasons ago

Celebrating the coming of the New Year.

Hallowe’en has its roots in Ireland. The Irish brought the holiday to America. It was derived from a most important Celtic one called Samhain, (sow-en).

At Samhain it was believed the barrier between the worlds of the living and dead was very thin and that spirits walked the earth. Some of those spirits were not friendly. People would dress up as spirits in order to confuse them and protect themselves. The spirits of dead family members came to visit. People left their windows and door open to let them in and prepared special foods for them and left it on the doorstep. The elders would talk of what happened over the past year to inform the spirits. This evolved into children wearing costumes and going door to door to ask for special treats.

Another tradition on Samhain was to light a bonfire. The ashes from the fire would be spread on the fields in hope of increased fertility.


When Christianity came to Ireland the old ways were discouraged. Christian holidays took the place of the Celtic ones. All hallows eve became the holiday Hallowe’en and the old traditions of wearing costumes and going house to house became part of the new holiday.

The Witch Hunt

As I stared into the camp fire I heard someone whisper, ” Samhain, beidh tine chnamh againn anocht. Oiche na sprideanna.”

“What did you say?”

I turned toward my husband. ” I didn’t say anything.”

“I thought I heard you murmuring something but it did not sound like any language I have ever heard.”

“I was just thinking about how nice the fire looks. Maybe I spoke out loud without being aware of it.”

“Maybe.” He looked skeptical.

That night I dreamed that I was in a field standing before the bonfire with all of the people from the village. I was chanting a special blessing and telling the people to gather their embers for lighting their home fires. A few villagers would stand guard over the bonfire over night. In the morning the ashes would be gathered to spread on the fields in hopes of greater fertility.

I warned the people to take care as they moved about this night and journeyed back to their homes. There could be bobodha and taibhse roaming the land this night, oiche na sprideanna.

I am Aine, a Druid priestess. I continue to practice my religion and customs but I am being hounded by the proselytes of the new religion. They have no tolerance for the old ways. They say I am a witch.

I have places of refuge in the village and hidden places they know nothing about. I know it will not be long before they find me. I will be driven further and further into the wilderness. I am writing a chronicle of my life in a journal. I will bury it at the foot of the sacred oak tree. Someday it will be found and others will know of me and my time on the earth.

829099164_c4ffc0c073_z  Oak Tree

The old ones taught me about shape-shifting. I will take the form of a beautiful falcon. Those who hunt me will never see me again. I will be flying over my beloved land.

3670739521_471029e1fb_z  Peregrine Falcon     Which Witch Badge

The One Lovely Blog Award

I want to thank Inspiring Max for nominating my blog for this award. I am excited to be recognized as a new writer and that other bloggers can appreciate my efforts.


The One Lovely Blog Award nominations are chosen by fellow bloggers for those newer and up-and-coming bloggers. The goal is to help give recognition and also to help the new blogger to reach more viewers. It also recognizes blogs that are considered to be “lovely” by the fellow bloggers who choose them. This award recognizes bloggers who share their story or thoughts in a beautiful manner to connect with viewers and followers. In order to “accept” the award the nominated blogger must follow several guidelines:

  • Thank the person who nominated you for the award.
  • Add the One Lovely Blog logo to your post.
  • Share 7 facts/or things about yourself
  • Nominate 15 bloggers you admire and inform the nominees by commenting on their blog:

Seven facts about me:

1. I love to be creative and express that creativity in writing

2. I love books of many genres; fiction and non-fiction

3. I love film old and new

4. I love spending time with family

5. I love learning new things and about new places

6. I love road trips with beautiful scenery and nature

7. I love quiet times for quiet pursuits and reverie

My 15 nominees are:

1. Betzcee Rambles

2. Behind the White Coat

3. Capsule Creations

4. Egg Hill

5. Eva Inspired

6. Far Out in Africa

7. Learning to Thrive in 1455

8.  Lifestyles with Lia

9.  Lucile de godoy, on life

10. Natso’s Not So Personal Blog

11. River of Life Flows

12. Sappy as a tree: celebrating beauty in creation

13. Sonadora

14. Write Out of the Darkness

15. Wtf Am I On About Now?

Hard Times

A young man was standing on the divider on my way out of the Target parking lot. He was holding a sign begging for money. He reminded me of my son, when he was in his twenties. It always gets to me to see kids like this.

I turned back and came around again to give him money. He walked up to me with difficulty. He had braces on his legs and when he reached out with his hand he had some kind of disability where his fingers did not quite bend. I thought later it could be cerebral palsy. I was haunted after that.

I called up a local social service agency and talked to a social worker and told him what I saw and asked what could be done. The social worker said often times the kids we see on the street are abusing drugs and it is hard to get them to come in but that his agency still tried to help. He told me there had been a local government meeting on how to deal with the problem of homeless youth.

The social worker told me he thought he knew the boy I was describing and that the young man and his mother had come into his agency at one time. He told me if I saw the boy again I could give him information about the agency and encourage him to come in and to say Hi from the social worker. I asked him if I could volunteer for his agency and he said they did not need volunteers at that time.

I drove back to Target during the week a few times to look for that young man. One day I spotted him walking back to a van from the divider. I was scared to approach because I did not know how he would react and I did not know who else was in the van. Maybe it was a whole group of people who went out begging together.

What makes us fear getting involved and be suspicious?

But I had information ready to give him about the social service agency. I parked my car and walked across the parking lot to his van as he was getting into it. As I approached him he looked a bit wary. I told him I had seen him the other day and wanted to help. He said, “Hard times.” He reached out to shake my hand and introduce himself. I stared at his fingers and tried to suppress my look of distress. I think he noticed.

An older woman was in the van, his mom? She looked a bit threatened. I then realized the guy was older than I first thought. They were probably not the same people the social worker had met. I went on talking, nervously,  about the agency and the social worker who said he thought he knew them and that they should come in. The woman looked confused when I said this and then I realized that they did not know the social worker.

I went on about how the agency could help with housing. I handed him the index card with information about the agency and their hours.

The man and his mom thanked me. I never saw him begging there after that. I hope they found help or maybe I scared them off.

I was inspired to write this post by two other great blogs about homelessness and the fear of getting involved.



3093763311_2a83db98ba_z  Homeless Boy and his dog


I know this is true but I had forgotten. When you are wrestling with an issue information will start popping up about it all around you.

Today I opened my email from Idealist Careers and here was a post about something I had been thinking and writing about myself. The post was called Embrace JOMO: The Joy of Missing Out by Allison Jones. In it she linked to another blogger Anil Dash who had written on this topic as well. JOMO is a response to FOMO or Fear of Missing Out.

I get a little crazy with all the acronyms. Believe me, it is not that I have never seen an acronym before because in my work life in Nursing and Teaching there are plenty of them. It just seems like, with all the frenzied communication, we are all talking in acronyms. When I first saw FLOTUS it reminded me of flatus and I thought of gas. POTUS, a potted plant. Well maybe these acronyms are a lot of hot air after all. But I digress.

The gist of the blogs about JOMO and mine is that we can be selective about all the social activities and interactions that are asking for our participation these days. We need to be in touch with ourselves and what our needs and priorities are. There is great JOY in taking time for our private lives and quiet pastimes alone or with our friends and families.

This post relates to our assignment to make connections with other bloggers. As I was making more connections, I connected with kspoints  Adventure Pengembara and she commented on my post Blogger Burnout saying that she had to schedule an hour once a week for connecting with bloggers so she has time for the rest of her life.

Other bloggers commented on my post with similar sentiments. The need to find a balance and find  the JOMO.

14598406762_4376511853_z  Peaceful

The Great Divide

When reading for fun, do you usually chose fiction or non-fiction? Do you have an idea why you prefer one over the other?


4421317209_d3b87b9490_z    Adam reading a book

When reading for enjoyment I usually chose fiction. It is not that I greatly dislike non-fiction because I do read it for pleasure as well but not as often.

I like fiction because it can ignite the fires of my imagination and emotions. I can become involved in the story and invested in the characters and what happens to them.

Fiction can give me insight into people’s feelings and behavior. It gives me a glimpse into all different walks of life, places, cultures and history.

Fiction can give me a first person view of a time, place and situation. It can help me see another point of view better than non-fiction because it helps me see through the characters eyes.

One of the genres I am a big fan of is Mysteries. I love trying to analyze all the clues and discover the answers before the end of the book and it is great fun when I find I was correct in my deductions.

Character development is very important to my liking a book. I want to know about how the character got to be who they are and what is motivating them. I want to understand their struggles. Even with mysteries my favorite authors are those who develop their characters.

In non-fiction it can be a similar experience if the author can bring the topic alive for me. It helps if it written in a style that flows smoothly along and does not get hung up on too much technical jargon.

I have really enjoyed some of David McCullough’s books such as 1776 and John Adams. McCullough is able to write in a way that it reads more like a novel than non-fiction. He is able to bring the people and time period alive and make it very relatable.

To get engaged with any genre it must pull me into the story and not let me go until the end.



Rosh Hashana Dinner

I had a small family dinner party for Rosh Hashana. My menu for the dinner included fresh chicken soup and brisket. I added the home-made kreplach we had in our freezer to the soup along with matzo balls.

Homemade Chicken Soup with kreplach

Homemade Chicken Soup with kreplach and matzo balls

20140927_123504   Chicken Soup with Matzo Ball and Kreplach

I don’t have many of my own pictures because I was cooking all this the day of the dinner and it is a lot of work. Next time, I hope to cook some of the food ahead of time.

I really enjoy cooking holiday meals with my family.  We all work together to make all the dishes.

My daughter was here and she helped a lot with shopping and some of the cooking. She made a delicious noodle kugel and a spinach salad with pomegranate seeds and pear. She bought the flowers, sage honey and some scented candles.

20140925_125959  Rosh Hashana 2014

My husband helped with some shopping as well and picked up a pretty round chocolate chip challah.

4969120397_68a6dc0563_z   Round Challah

It was hard getting everyone together. My daughter Kate had special plans for this weekend so I decided to make the dinner on Thursday night. My son Scott was working late but managed to come over with his lovely wife Jennie. They had helped make the kreplach with me a few weeks ago.

Two of my husband’s brothers and one of their wives made up the rest of our dinner party. I feel it is important for the family to be together and make happy memories.

I have a recipe I follow from my mother-in-law for the chicken soup. I have made it so many times over the years and it changes slightly each time I make it. This time I added a larger rutabaga and I think it gave the broth a sweeter taste. My daughter suggested I add some kale.

My mother-in-law Mary Lynn used to tell me that many Jewish women in the old days did not have their recipes written down with the exact ingredient measurements. Or they might leave out an ingredient when passing on a recipe. She told me a Yiddish expression ” shitararyn” which she said meant put in it or pour it in when adding an ingredient.

I used Judy Zeidler’s The Gourmet Jewish Cook book recipe for the brisket which is made with prunes and apricots  and with brown sugar in the recipe. This gives it a slightly sweet taste.

2731918560_f9f4c3173e_z  Brisket

It is a tradition to include sweet foods like honey for New Year because this means you will have a sweet year.

One of my brother-in-law’s made a Honey Cake from his mother’s recipe.

My daughter had a lovely idea about doing a Tshuvah activity where we would all set our intentions for the New Year and ask ourselves what do we want to cast off and what do we want to keep in our lives.

I regret we did not get to this activity at the dinner but I would like to incorporate it into future Rosh Hashana dinners. I want to think about my own intentions during this week for the coming year.

Blogger Burnout

I developed blogger burnout and did not know it.

Angry Kid

Angry Kid

It has been difficult to balance writing my blog with the time it takes to make connections with other bloggers, looking at the blogs of those who have liked mine, reading their blogs and commenting and having time for the rest of my life.

I get drawn to checking for messages on my archive and who responded or liked me lately as well.

It’s not that I want to stop getting feedback. I would love more comments besides the likes so that I can have a discussion going and get other writer’s perspectives.

I have discussed this balance thing with other bloggers like  Natso and  aOpinionated Man .

We came to a consensus that one needs to find their balance.

Balance by Brent Moore

Balance by Brent Moore

Whoever thought of this “like” idea in social media must have studied psychology. It is human nature to want to check out who likes you, don’t you think?

I appreciate another blogger who recently gave me a ping back on his blog Too Full to Write.

Spending so much time related to my blogging is taking up not only time but energy.
Us introverted types get easily worn out when there is a high demand to process a lot of input and have a lot of social interaction.

I'm so tired by Gwen Quinlan

I’m so tired by Gwen Quinlan

We need down time to recharge and regroup. We need our space.

And I do have other things I need to do in my life or should be doing.
I am not good with the shoulds either. I have never been very good with the shoulds. Like I should be exercising, shopping for healthy meals, or cleaning the house.
I think I need to work out a schedule for myself and  how much time I will spend reading other blogs, checking the archive and responding each day.
I wonder how other have managed to keep a balance with their blogging, connecting with other writers and the rest of their lives.

I would love to hear how you have dealt with this issue and if it is an issue for you or not.

Elmine in Enschede work/life balance

Elmine in Enschede work/life balance

After starting this blog I saw a post by Michelle from WordPress Blogging 101 about the importance of avoiding blogging burnout by taking breaks from your blog.

Rest Area? by Peter Dutton

Rest Area? by Peter Dutton

That’s how I found the title for this blog and a description of what I had been feeling.

Women and the Trolls

As one who lived during  the beginning of the women’s liberation movement and civil rights movement, I have been complacent in thinking,  ” well that’s done.” Thinking that these changes were made permanent and all is right in the world.

Like with our American Bill of Rights, I now realize we must be ready to fight these battles over and over.

I have thought younger women who minimize the contributions of the feminist movement have been naïve and ignorant in their comprehension of what actually happened back then. That much of the freedom and opportunities that women enjoy today can be attributed to that time. As women’s right to vote can be credited to the efforts of the suffragettes.

We need to be aware of and appreciate our own history.

In recent years, I have become more and more aware that the enemies of women’s freedom were not truly vanquished but retreated for a time to their dens or in some places never retreated at all.

Smoke has been seen rising from Mount Doom. The forces of evil are awake in the world.

When I read their poisonous rantings and comments degrading women for daring to speak out and have an opinion or hear about the horrid oppression of women and girls in other places in the world I am sickened.

I realize that I can not be complacent. The creature is still out there lurking and leaving a slimy trail.

"Trolls" Photo by Tristan Schmurr

“Trolls” Photo by Tristan Schmurr

I was inspired to write this post in response to an article in the New Yorker about Mary Beard, entitled “The Troll Slayer.” And because I have become aware more and more of all the misogyny and ageism in the world.

Fire Season

“Mom, are you ok? I saw a report about the fires on the news. You can come stay with me at my apartment,” my son called to ask.

“Don’t worry, we’re fine,” I told him. I had checked the news and the fires were over the hill north of us in Simi Valley. Another fire had broken out in Bell Canyon but that was east of us. Fires usually burned from North to South down the canyons to Malibu.

Later that night after we had gone to bed I heard the helicopters flying over. It did seem like they were pretty close to our house.

It was  2 a.m. and I lay awake while my husband slept. That’s when I heard the sheriff’s loud-speaker outside announcing, ” Voluntary evacuation.” I went our to my front porch. Neighbors stood outside up and down the street. All of us in our PJs and robes. I went back into the house to wake up my husband.

We were standing outside talking with our neighbors. There was a discussion about what we should do. As we all pondered our options, a sheriff’s car made its way down our street toward us with his loud-speaker warning, ” Mandatory evacuation, mandatory evacuation!”

My next door neighbor remarked he had not seen our neighbors from across the street outside. I told him he better go over and make sure they knew what was happening. He went across the street to alert them. We all ran back into our houses.

I called my son to tell him we were being evacuated and we would be coming to his apartment in the valley. My husband and I ran around the house trying to decide what was important to take with us.

We searched for important papers, wedding and baby albums, a family portrait, special mementos, and enough clothing for a few days. We ran in and out of the house filling both cars with our belongings.

We decided to leave our cat in the house. She was a bit of a wild cat and fought anyone who would try to put her in a carrier. I knew she would be terrified of any strangers outside. We hoped and told ourselves the fire would not come to our house. We did live in a residential area. Not up against any open country or grassy area.

We caravanned to our son’s apartment in the middle of the night. I felt like a homeless person with everything packed in our cars.

It is very disorienting and frightening to be evacuated in the middle of the night. We could not see the fire from our house so it was hard to tell how close it actually was.

I learned later that the disaster plan had been set in place to evacuate neighborhoods as the fire reached predetermined locations. This was to prevent a scene of panicked residents trying to evacuate while firefighters were trying to get to the fire.

We were evacuated for 2 days. I did sneak back to my house during the day to check on my cat. My mother in law wanted me to get my china that had been a wedding present from her.

The main route to my neighborhood  had been blocked off by the Fire Department. It gave me an eerie feeling to see my street so empty and abandoned of cars and people.

The largest north-south artery next to my development was a staging area for the firefighters. Fire trucks from several different cities’ departments were lined up along its entire length.

We were lucky and the fire never made its way to our street.

The Fire Season in California usually occurs every year in the Fall when the weather is hot and dry and the wind picks up. It has been coming earlier in recent years because of the drought.

My husband saw a sign on the Las Virgenes Canyon Road the other day warning of Extremely High Fire Danger.