Wednesday: My Challenge: Keeping Up!

My only challenge today is trying to keep up with things!  I want to thank several people for nominating me for awards.  I am so honored, and so guilty because I haven’t followed through with them for about a month. sineonaward Actually, I have been graciously nominated for the Shine On Award by Marie  mariemom_1357015832_07 Go on over to check out her blog. In the meantime, here are the rules:

  1. Display the award logo on your blog page.
  2. Link back to the awesome person who nominated you.
  3. Tell seven things about yourself.
  4. Nominate 10 other bloggers who are deserving of this award.

Seven things about myself:

  1. I pruned my huge tomato plants and ate fresh cherry tomatoes for breakfast.
  2. I met another Marsha at a party for my husband’s boss last night.
  3. I have a new love in my life – a neighbor horse who now comes up to the fence when I walk on her road.  She rests her chin on my shoulder while I pet her ears.  I don’t even know her name.
  4. My office junk room is still clean, and I found stuff that was lost!  🙂  Yay!
  5. I love writing all my posts, and they seem like my best posts ever until about 2 months later when I reread them and find errors.
  6. I got a call from a salesperson from a timeshare yesterday. He had wrong information on me, so I told him to call me back when he had his act together.  (Who does that?)   He called me back.  We had a fun chat.  He asked what line of work I did, and what my husband did.  He guessed that maybe my husband was a minister – someone opposite me!  I laughed.  He told me he wasn’t calling me a devil or anything.  I laughed some more.  My first husband was a minister.
  7. My most frequent visitor and referrer on my blogpost blog is “vampirestat”  hmmm

My 10 choices of blogs are: 

  1. J T Weaver
  2. char
  3. ytaba36
  4. El Guapo
  5. viveka
  6. Rexlin Victor
  7. RoSy
  8. Pride in Photos Photography
  9. Alastair
  10. benzeknees
  11. Darla

Gabriel LucateroAnother award came from Gabriel Lucatero.  Thanks so much Gabriel!  Gabriel is an author of quite a few books both fiction and non-fiction.  On his blog he does a lot of advice writing about relationships.  Men, he has some very accurate advice for you about women – in my opinion.  So thanks again, Gabriel!   What a surprise!  🙂 award Another good blogging friend, JT Weaverjt has honored me with two awards:  Most Influential Blogger and the WordPress Family Award most-influential-blogger-1 One thing I like about receiving awards from men is that they don’t always have the rules, so it is really no muss, no fuss!  I love awards, and I love reading what people write to let us get to know them better, today is the perfect day for a no fuss award.  Thanks JT!  🙂 wordpress-family-award-1 Finally, The Story Reading Ape has nominated me for the Liebster Award.  This one has rules.  Don’t you love his picture? me-and-my-first-book-logo

Here are the rules

1. List eleven random facts about me.

  1. We didn’t own a TV until I was 7.
  2. I have a hair appointment in 45 minutes, so I’m not going to get this done before I go.
  3. It was fun to see my husband’s picture in the local newspaper this morning.
  4. I get a lot of training even in retirement, and I still don’t know it all!
  5. I wasn’t done with the bowl of pistachios that my husband just took away from me.
  6. We didn’t have air conditioning when I was young.  There was a large fan in the window of the garage that was supposed to remove all the hot air.  It didn’t.  My dad was a design engineer who designed air conditioners.
  7. I passed out the Kiwanis “What’s Happening in the Foothills” magazine out at shops, the hospital and doctor’s offices yesterday.  It was amazing how happy people were to get the magazine.
  8. My friend Janice who now lives in TN visited last week, and got me up at 5:30 a.m. to walk two days in a row.
  9. Manny is having fun in Spain.
  10. The ridges in my fingernails are really bugging me!  My nails need polish.  🙂
  11. I used to eat soft chocolate ice cream and french fries for lunch almost every day, and I weighed about 105 pounds at 5’5″ tall.  I still like both.

2. Nominate eleven bloggers for the Liebster Blog Award. 3. Notify the bloggers. 4. Ask eleven questions the bloggers must answer upon receiving the nomination. 5. Answer the eleven questions you were asked when you were nominated. 6. Link back to the person who nominated you.  Here are Story Reading Ape’s Questions 1. What’s the funniest movie you’ve ever seen?  I love Adam Sandler.  It doesn’t seem to matter which one he’s in.  They are all funny! 🙂 2. What’s your earliest memory?  At what age?  When I was very young, I could remember way back (like 2 years).  Now the memories are mixed up together.  Let’s see, was I two or was I 16?  hmmm  Just kidding, but those early preschool days ran together.  I remember the drawer at Grandma’s that had all MY stuff in it. – A map puzzle with South Carolina worn off and I colored the rough cardboard backing yellow like the state had been, a pop bracelet, Crayola 24 count crayons in a black box, pink freezer paper to keep me occupied for hours, and a cow thingy that mooed when I turned it upside down –  Grandma never threw anything away, and I started going there when I was 0.  She got rid of the drawer when she moved in with my mom when I was 33, so you tell me how old I was.  🙂 3. What was your favorite subject in school? I loved reading even more than writing. 4. Have you EVER had a need for algebra away from the school environment?  I’m sure I have…. Ops really, …no.  I wasn’t an engineer, but I did tutor teachers and students in algebra as a history consultant.  (Yeah, I don’t get it either!)  🙂 5. Do you understand modern art (or even know if it’s hanging the right way up)? The picture I thought was the most overpriced was a huge canvas in Paris, the size of my office painted nothing but bluest blue.  That’s it.  I could have done that and I can’t draw!  🙂 6. Most enjoyable book?  I look around my library and love so many books for such different reasons.  I think I enjoyed Anna Karenina the most because I spent time analyzing it.  I also enjoyed David Copperfield for the same reason 7. Have you ever spent money on something you’ve really wanted although you could hardly afford it at the time?  All the time!  🙂  Yikes!  🙂  Let’s don’t go there, ok? 8. Apart from when you were a child, have you ever danced in the rain?  Danced, no, got stuck in it, yes!  I lived in Portland, Oregon.  I didn’t like walking in the rain.  As I ran across the busy street to catch a bus, a man beckoned me from his car.  I thought I knew him.  He said, “Hop in, I’ll take you home.”  I really thought he was someone I knew from high school, Bill somebody.  Glad for the ride, I scooted in as his girlfriend moved to the back seat.  As soon as I got in, I realized I had made a mistake, and I didn’t know him.  It was still raining outside. 9. What country would you like to visit that you haven’t?  I would love to go to Australia and visit my new blogging friends, and also to Spain, and Sweden. 10. What makes you grumpy?  Unfortunately, lots of things have that potential.  The worst is when I am expecting something to go a certain way, and it doesn’t work out that way.  For example, I used to sew and knit a lot.  I get very grumpy when I put stitches where they shouldn’t be and I can’t get my arm in the sleeve.  Worse, I put buttonholes on the wrong side, and cut them open.  That makes me crazy!  🙂 11. What’s your GO TO switch to make you feel better on a gray day?  Exercise helps, so does housekeeping.  Anything physical.  I get restless on a gray day, and even if I have lots to do, I might not get them done if I get gray along with the day! Here are my 11 choices:

  1. Maddie Cochere
  2. http://enchantedseashells.com/
  3. Jilanne Hoffmann
  4. Andrew
  5. Mariane
  6. Marie @ MyMomThoughts
  7. viveka
  8. When in New Places
  9. Shakti Ghosal
  10. barbarafranken
  11. SimplySage

I’m going to use the same questions for you. 1. What’s the funniest movie you’ve ever seen? 2. What’s your earliest memory? 3. What was your favorite subject in school? 4. Have you EVER had a need for algebra away from the school environment? 5. Do you understand modern art (or even know if it’s hanging the right way up)? 6. Most enjoyable book? 7. Have you ever spent money on something you’ve really wanted although you could hardly afford it at the time? 8. Apart from when you were a child, have you ever danced in the rain? 9. What country would you like to visit that you haven’t? 10. What makes you grumpy? 11. What’s your GO TO switch to make you feel better on a gray day?

I’ve Been Tagged

Before I start, I want to speak my condolences to those in Boston, and my prayers are with you.

As I was digging into Ute‘s blog today I found out that I’ve been tagged.  Thanks Ute!  What fun!  The idea is to answer eleven questions set by him and then ask more questions to eleven others.

Here are her questions, followed by my questions and the folks I’ve nominated to answer them, and write their own questions and pass them on.

  1. Are you open to try new foods from different countries?  Yes, definitely!  What are you offering???  
  2. Do you see your glass half full or half empty?  It depend on what’s in it!  If it’s air, I’d have to say 100% full.
  3. Which famous person would you like to meet? Ute
  4. Have you ever met a famous person, who was it? I meet famous people every day.  It just depend on who you consider famous!  My most famous friend is Elane, a Holocaust survivor.  She worked in the entertainment industry, and at her seder she has had movie stars.  Unfortunately I didn’t know them before, and one of them was pretty rude, but we did have dinner together.  Her best friend there is married to an animation artist, Ed Marsh, that worked on the Titanic and many other movies.  http://amzn.to/117USHr.  There are others, but he is an absolute sweetie pie.
  5. Internet shopping to real highstreet, which do you prefer? It depends on the item.  For books, I actually prefer online because I can just download a book onto my Kindle or computer.  For clothes, I much prefer to try them on.
  6. What is your favourite board game? I prefer card games.  I like something that doesn’t take too much thought, for a couple of reasons.  First I like to talk to people as I play, secondly, I don’t want to embarrass myself.
  7. How would you describe yourself in 3 words? friendly, funny,  and flabby
  8. What do you do on a daily basis which makes you happy? eat
  9. What is your favourite cartoon character? Since I didn’t have my own children, I haven’t watched many cartoon except animated films.  Do they count.  I loved the Incredibles, Chicken Little, and the hair on the little princess – forgot her name.  As a child, my favorite was Popeye, and I do like slimy canned spinach to this day.  
  10. Do you have a partypiece you can show off at parties? hmmm  I’m sure I do, not sure exactly what that might be – a party bowl or something?
  11. At a dress up party what would you go as – mm good question, Ute.  I’ve been as a flapper and a woman from the 1860s.  I prefer something that makes me look cute and fun, and doesn’t make me look like I’m an old lady trying to act too young.  

My questions:

  1. What book are you reading right now?
  2. What mini-vacation (0-100 miles from your home) have you particularly enjoyed within the last year?
  3. What is your favorite form of entertainment?
  4. Of what accomplishments are you the most proud?
  5. Who has been most influential in your life in the past year?
  6. If you were raising money for a favorite charity, where would you direct our checks?
  7. If you weren’t doing the work or career you are in, what would you like to be doing?
  8. If you could have named yourself, what would your name be and why?
  9. What would you most like to tell your children, or important young person in your life but haven’t?
  10. How do you change your mood when you are grumpy?
  11. What particular skill could you teach us on your blog?

Here are the lucky people I’m tagging.

  1. http://catbirdinoman.wordpress.com/
  2. http://addgrainonearth.com/
  3. http://benzeknees.wordpress.com/
  4. http://enchantedseashells.com/
  5. http://breezybooksblog.wordpress.com/
  6. http://japankharma.wordpress.com/
  7. http://crazytraintotinkytown.com/
  8. http://eastofmalaga.net/
  9. http://japankharma.wordpress.com/
  10. http://dwelchel.wordpress.com/
  11. http://abcofspiritalk.wordpress.com/

I’ll enjoy your comments!  🙂

Staycation Time – Virtual Visiting Through All My Blog Friends

THANK YOU!  THANK YOU!!!  THANK YOU!!!

Yes, I’ve reached that point in my blogging life – 300 + posts, 20,000 + visitors, 8 + months of blogging almost every day.  I tried to do this a week or so ago, but just couldn’t stay away.  I am a bona fide bloggaholic according to  Ralph’s definition.

I’m addicted to the LOVE of all my BLOG FRIENDS!!!

So here’s my plan.  I really am going to step back a bit this time.  I’ll have more time

to visit your sites, and rethink what I want to do with blogging.  I’ll be answering comments, of course – how could I not.  I live for your comments!!!  I’ll work on organizing and refitting my blog, and I’ll be taking care of other necessary duties.

I need your input, though.  What next steps should I take with blogging?

  • Start a new focused blog or two on specific interests of mine?
  • Just keep going the way I am – random posts nearly every day?
  • Stop blogging and just write books?  Sorry I can’t do that!  I’m addicted to Y’ALL.
  • Blog less frequently and stop blasting you with a post a day?
  • Start an “Ask Marsha Lee” Blog giving silly or semi-silly advice to folks
  • Refurbish this site and turn it into a custom site that is not hosted by WP so that I have more flexibility
  • Just slow down
  • Be SERIOUS instead of always TRYING to be funny.  (OK that might be too much of a stretch!!!)  

What should I do to get to my next 20,000 visitor mark?

Thanks so much to Papi and to Alastair for crowning me with awards this week.  You both are gold stars in my book!!!  I mean blog.

The Versatile Blogger Award

My Award Grantor

Rexlin has nominated me for the esteemed award of The Versatile Blogger.  Thank you so much, Rexlin.  You are indeed my friend because you recognized the difficulties and frustrations under which I have labored in the past few weeks culminating in my frantic iPhone post this week-end.  You are a true friend.

Thanks Rexlin http://thetimelesstreasure.wordpress.com/

Versatile Blogger Rules  (If you choose to obey them)

  • Display the Award Certificate on your website
  • Announce your win with a post and link to whoever presented your award
  • Present 15 awards to deserving bloggers
  • Drop them a comment to tip them off after you’ve linked them in the post
  • Post 7 interesting things about yourself.

My 15 Award Recipients

  1. Things I Want To Tell My Mother
  2. Boomdeeadda
  3. Howard Peacock
  4. The Backdoor Artist
  5. Ute smile
  6. the eff stop
  7. The Happy Logophile
  8. stuffitellmysister
  9. Amy
  10. Pride in Photos Photography
  11. tazeinmirzasaad
  12. Papizilla
  13. Ana Ela
  14. Naomi Baltuck
  15. chris13jkt

I think you will enjoy how creatively versatile these folks are.

Seven FACTS About Me?

  1. I never THINK I am exaggerating when I tell a story.
  2. Technology problems seek me out.
  3. People go “Huh???” when I think I am being extremely funny.
  4. People think I’m funny usually when I don’t have a clue, so I am often considered funny.
  5. I’m not REALLY blond – now.
  6. Even strangers often share their uninvited opinions and advice about my clothing, make-up, hair, etc.
  7. I think six facts about me are as many facts as readers can handle in one reading.

Spot1 copy

I am truly honored when a talented blogger takes the time to notice my blog because like most of you, my blog represents who I am and what I care about.  So thanks again Rexlin for honoring me with this award.

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.  ~G.K. Chesterton

Awards Made Easy

If you’ve been blogging regularly and faithfully for more than two or three weeks, you’ve probably received your first award.  This post is primarily for NEW bloggers.  Experienced bloggers don’t always stick by the letter of the Award Laws, but they have developed their own ways to responding to awards.  This is my way.

In my opinion, Awards are fun.  Someone took the time to develop them.  They are an invitation from someone who is reaching out and saying, “I like you.  What you are saying is resonating with me.”  They may also be a newbie and be saying to themselves, “I got this award, and I have to pass it on, or the whole blogosphere is going to blow up in my face.”

Cyberspace – if you don’t pass on your award.

Panic-stricken they continue their muse, “Who can I give it to? I”ve only read three people’s blogs.  How was I supposed to know I have to read OTHER people’s blogs?  I thought I would just write, and people would come read it.  And soon an online magazine would pick up my stuff and start publishing it.  Hmmm  OK, I know, I’ll give it to another new kid on the block.”

Like this!
One of my first posts. An obvious sign of a newbie blogger who desperately NEEDED an award!!!!

Whatever reason an award comes your way, there it is and now you have to make a decision.  Are you going to respond, blow it off and pretend you didn’t get it, or hang up a “Do Not Disturb – No Blogs Allowed” sign on your blog?  I think most people respond, which perpetuates the award giving, but there is always the temptation to move on and ignore the award.  I’m going to err on the side of acceptance for lots of reasons.  First I’m going to tell you why I don’t want to hang up a “go away award givers” sign.

Very few newbies write well enough to tell people to go away and expect them to come back and visit their site.  The only one I know who gets by with that is Ralph, and Ralph is just special.  He doesn’t even have to write a post and people come and leave 80-100 comments in his box.  You need to visit Ralph just to know it’s true, but beware, you will be hooked.  Ralph just has enough “Je ne sais crois,” as one of his friend’s puts it, to pull it off.  The rest of us starter bloggers, well ….  Only you can make that decision.  Most people who don’t respond eventually have few people visiting their site even caring what they write.  If that’s really what you want – and some people do – then, by all means, hang up the sign.  And people will leave you alone by the droves.

So let’s say you get an award or two, what do you do to keep up?  I don’t want to mislead you – it does take some effort on your part to participate.  Here are my steps.

  1. Thank your award giver right away – even if you are not going to respond and pick the blogs you want to pass the award yet.  If you don’t do this and forget who gave you awards, you can search your comments to find who has given you awards.
  2. First of all you don’t HAVE to follow all the instructions exactly as written if YOU don’t want to do so.  There are no award police.  This is not a grant application that will be rejected if you don’t answer one of the questions.   It’s not a chain letter that will break and bring you bad luck to you and your descendants for hundreds of years.  So if the award doesn’t work exactly for you, be creative.  It’s the thought that counts.
  3. Open a word document to copy and paste the instructions for your blog award(s) as well as the url of the person awarding you.  I usually open a new document when I have a couple of awards, rather than just one because I’m not really THAT organized.   Answer the questions, and create a blanket invitation that you will cut and past in your awardee’s comment boxes later.   I always try to let them know that they don’t have to feel obligated by my nomination.  
  4. Open your reader.  Copy and paste some or all of the blogs you follow into the document you created.
  5. Clean it up so that all you have are the links to the websites.  This is important.  You are going to use these links several times.
  6. We tend to pay attention to the first blogs we follow, and the most recent ones as well, so some blogs always get ignored.  Highlight a group of blogs you follow from your reader tab on your stats page, copy and paste them into a new place on the page.  Pick more than you need for the award.  I included a sample of my document in pink.

My cleaned up list

  1. A year of reading the world 
  2. ruleofstupid  
  3. benzeknees  
  4. 1earthnow 
  5. a recipe sharing and bento blog 
  6. The numpty novice with a compact camera and a laptop 
  7. The Adventures of Justin Beaver 
  8. rarasaur 
  9. Roxie’s Blog 
  10. An electric journal of a castaway 
  11. Views From My World 
  12. Anna Scott Graham, Indie Novelist 
  13. Erin Daniel Photography 
  14. Coming East 
  15. MY RIGHT TO BITCH
  16. Guapola 
  17. The Bottom of a Bottle
  18. GLORIOUS METTLE 

My award choices and blanket invitation/congratulations statement to paste into their comment box

Wonderful Team Member Readership

  1. ruleofstupid
  2. An electric journal of a castaway
  3. MY RIGHT TO BITCH
  4. Guapola
  5. The Bottom of a Bottle
  6. GLORIOUS METTLE

As I meet new bloggers, I am always impressed by, not only creative blogs, but those blogs that can create readership, and participate as engaged readers in others’ blogs.  That is the reason I have nominated you for the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award. Enjoy it as a compliment.  http://wp.me/p2jC53-13f

  1. Let’s assume that you have more than enough sights that you follow to choose from.  If you don’t I’ll address that in a minute.  Start down your list (on the Word document) and click on the sites.  This is time consuming because you want to “camp out” on each site for a bit to get to know them if you are not reading them regularly.  I prefer working from the offline page rather than trying to keep track of them in my reader.  I have to watch my internet usage, and it saves time.  Don’t give awards to sites you really don’t know AT ALL!   
  2. Write your post.  You can cut and paste from your Word document including all the names.  Paste the links into the tags of your post as well, so that your awardees get better coverage on Google.  Remember award giving will help them build readership.
  3. Insert a picture of the award by copying the url from your friend who gave you the award.  Save and close it.  Insert it into the post near the top and use the url for  that also.  Publish your post, and copy the short link.  Open the your sidebar image and fill in the blanks with the title of the award, url for the picture, and paste the short link for YOUR POST in the space that says link to an url, near the bottom of the insertion.  I also write the name of the award giver in the caption line.  (see sample )
  4. Widget for awardUsing your Word document, click on each website again, go to a comment section and paste in your blanket response.  I always personalize it to respond to what Ive read on their site as well.  That should take care of it.

Follow-up

  1. As you regularly visit sites, check out the awards, write congratulation notes.  Awards are a tool for making connections with others.  
  2. Respond to people as they thank you choosing them for the award.  Be positive and always congratulate them because you had a reason for picking them.  If you can elaborate on their return comment, it never hurts to tell them a few more details about why you chose them.

What to do if you don’t have enough followers?

  1. If you haven’t been blogging for very long and don’t have enough, then you can just put the award away for a while, or you can visit your favorite pages, and look at the comment sections and see who else you might like to have as a friend.
  2. Click on the links of the comments you like and check them out, looking at the about pages and a few posts.  Don’t give awards to people you find out that you don’t really like.  This makes them meaningless!!!!

What happens after you’re nominated for an award?

 Nothing happens.  No WordPress person is going to come and say, “You were nominated, and out of the 600,000,000 bloggers world-wide, your new blog is the best we’ve ever seen.”  I say that because at first I was so shocked to receive an award.   I was so naive vain, that I wondered when someone was going to tell me that I’d actually WON!  The experience is the nomination.  The fact that another blogger likes you is the prize.

My Rant

I wish we did something like this with students so that they were not looking at the teacher to give all the praise.  Students need learn to do a good job just to do a good job, and to appreciate EACH OTHER because they evaluate each other’s work and deem it valuable in some way.  Everybody can be the BEST something.

I have many blogging awards in my sidebar, and I’m proud of all of them.  My non-blogger friends think I’m really a master blogger when they see all those award seals!!! hahaha  And to some of you lovely bloggers I AM!!!

Award giving builds community and caring between bloggers.  No one can monitor all of this.  We wouldn’t want them to!!  We monitor each other.  We visit bloggers because we want to read what they have to say.  I started blogging in April, 2012.  A few of my blogger friends and I have started emailing so we don’t blog up the blog.  I have given and received items from my friends in the snail mailbox.  We have exchanged pictures.   We have become Facebook friends or fans.  We are really becoming more than just Cyber friends.

As a word of caution to all of this personal sharing we all want to be safe.  My husband wanted me to take off my location on my Facebook page, which I did.  It is also not a great idea to include your birthday on FB.

Do you think I love blogging?  Come join the fun.  I hope this has made your award receiving and giving a little easier.  🙂

Featured Blog

Featured Blog

Featured Blogs are my alternative to awards.  You can see my criteria on my Featured Blogs page.  Patricia Drury is my pick for today.  She is  retired and relatively new to blogging, a newbie photographer with a Canon Camera with talent just bursting to be shared.  She open and full of life.  I think I’d like to BE in some of her photographs they are in such beautiful places!!  See what I mean?

Anybody want to join me???