Piggles Again

Yesterday I got a comment from TOM, the other Marcia, and she told me I needed a tablet and a stylus to draw.  Since she is an artist, and I definitely am not, I decided to try it.  V dropped me off at Best Buy, and they told me that I needed a Bamboo tablet.  They were only $99.00, and I decided that would be worth the amount of entertainment I would get from it.  So it came home with me.

After going through the tutorial ad nauseum, I wondered if I could draw a house for Piggles.  It looked like a square with a triangle on top.  So, NO.  There are no images in my mind for houses.  I have to see pictures, I guess.  So I went back to Piggles, and drew her again, using the same photograph, but this time using the stylus, and coloring in a background color.

Piggles was my favorite guinea pig of all times.
Piggles was my favorite guinea pig of all times.

So here is the Old Piggles, drawn with the mouse

Piggles 2

And here is the new Piggles, drawn with the stylus.  You can see that I am still not an artist. I just don’t have the eye, but it was my best try for as long as I want to sit doing it.  You can tell me what you think.

Featured Blog

Featured Blog

This seems the perfect place to feature my new friend, Marcia, or T.O.M. as she calls herself. There must be something to the name because she is married to Mark, and my first husband was named Mark.  Very coincidental.  So it only makes sense that since she taught me about this product and gave me a mini-art lesson that I should feature her blog.  Like my other friend Darla Welchel, who I plan to feature later this week – warning Darla, I’ll be over camping on your site, Marcia loves to read and review books.  I get one book read, and they probably are reading 10.  The important thing is that the books get read and reviewed.

Marcia's site

The other interest that she and I are sharing is writing.  I am so new at this sport as well, in spite of writing for a living in my job, teaching writing to children, having a few articles published in journals and magazines, and even a few pieces of poetry.  Books are a different matter.  Marcia, however, is all over art work.  She emailed me some of her work, and they are astounding.  You are just going to have to discover T.O.M. for yourself.  She’s astounding.  Too bad she’s not single, Ralph!  She’s got a great sense of humor, too.

Book Review: The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony

This book, The Elephant Whisperer, kept me on the edge of my seat the entire two days it took me to finish it.

Considering that I was reading it on my cell phone the whole time because my Kindle needs to be emptied before I can load any more books, it’s amazing that I even stuck it out.   Out of forty-two chapters, there wasn’t a single dud.  I read it because I was intrigued when someone  wrote that when Lawrence Anthony died, the elephants mourned.

We all have problems and obstacles when we follow our dreams, but this man had more than most.  He bought a 5,000 acre game reserve in Zululand, South Africa called Thula Thula.  He had the ability to get, not only wild elephants to listen to him, but also local police, local political leaders including tribal leaders from warring tribes.  He conquered poaching problems, floods, and built a thriving lodge in the midst of this reserve full of all kinds of wild animals, the largest being the elephants.

These desperate, wild elephants uprooted trees weighing several tons and crashed through electric fencing to escape the reserve and run free in towns and countryside where EVERYONE from poachers to police wanted to shoot them.  The logistics of capturing, transporting and keeping animals of this strength and determination were mind-boggling.  His story of training and taming them without domesticating them kept me transfixed and absorbed for about two days.

One of the major characteristics that comes out about Lawrence Anthony besides his ability to work hard in horrible circumstances, is his humility.  He credited everyone for the wonderful ways they contributed to his project, and in so doing inspired immense loyalty.  Possibly just as amazing was his companion, Franςoise.  She combatted snakes, and nursed a dying 280 pound baby elephant in her spare bedroom – well the run of the house, actually.  She ran the lodge, made and served gourmet French cuisine, and finally after living with the man who didn’t mind having elephant slobber all over his body for 15 years planned and executed their surprise wedding.

Elephants and the Common Core

Remembering that the Common Core is all about non-fiction, and integrating science, social studies, and technology, this book will do it all – especially if students are reading it on their iPhones as I was.  In spite of it’s length this is an engaging read for upper elementary students and above.  It is also a great one to engage male readers, who statistically respond both to animals and adventure.

Anthony’s story of survival, love, adventure, drama, and caring for both animals, the environment and culture of the people will inspire and challenge everyone to meet their own challenges with courage and innovation.

Featured Blog

Featured BlogThe perfect blog to feature today is one of another adventurer, Amy at shareandconnect.  I have heaped awards on Amy’s shoulders, and I have enjoyed her company, her uplifting comments on my blog for many months, but tonight I spent time just thumbing through her blog, reading the back pages, and the more I read, the more I liked.  This wonder woman has been everywhere.  If it has a trail, she climbed it.  If it’s beautiful, she’s photographed it.

Here’s a peek.  You are going to want to set aside some time and just go browse in her museum of photos.

You can thank me later because you’ll be richer for it!  Enjoy Share and Connect, you’ll be glad you connected.  🙂  Marsha

 

Happy Ohio Star

A few months into retirement, my goals are slowly coming to fruition.  I started quilting with Carmen, my friend who retired last year, and wanted to bring My Ohio Star Quilt to completion.  That proved to be easier said than done.

Ready to Go Ohio Star

I proudly took my ready to go quilt to Barbara Graham, my wonderful quilter.  It was to be ready in a week.  In a little over a week, she called me telling me that there was a LITTLE problem, but it was correctable.  I sadly took my quilt back home, and ripped off the edge that unsquared my quilt.

Ripped Ohio Star

Now Ohio Star is back home, complete and beautiful, and Barbara Graham will be my quilter for whatever project I ever do from now on.  She took pity on me when I returned my quilt the second time.  When she put it together, she discovered that the back of my quilt was also not square.  So instead of calling me again, she didn’t want to discourage me, so she had her daughter fix it for me.

Belavista Bears001

Now Ohio Star is at home on the bed, but just for a while.  It is a summer quilt, and I just wanted to show it off to all of you.  I couldn’t wait until summer.

Belavista Bears002

As I started showing it off, the bears got rowdy.  First the two that normally sit on the headboard, that at one time got into a terrible row with each other – a story that is worthy of its own post.

Belavista Bears004

Nurse Rabbit and her baby jumped right in.  Notice that they sat right next to boy bear.  That’s part of the story.

Manny jumps in

Then of course Manny joined the fray along with his own little bear that came to keep him company.

Kalev is not pleased!!!

Somebody else was less than pleased about this bedlam.

Belavista Bears012

It wasn’t long before Sweetie Pie and her clan climbed on board.

Belavista Bears017

Then friends of friends, that hadn’t really been part of the original clan jumped off the mantle and came over.  Another certain someone still wasn’t impressed.

Belavista Bears018

However, one of them smelled like one of her favorite girls, little Miss Chloe, better known as Mono, Choco, or the Monkey.

Missy Kitty and her baby joined in

Missy Kitty heard the excitement from the spare bedroom, and she carried her baby over to crash the party.

Manny, the gentleman

But Manny, always the gentleman, always concerned for the one who’s left out, went back to the spare bedroom and carried Mary Louise into our room so she wouldn’t feel left out.  She was my Grandma Golda’s doll.

Dr. Manny

Unfortunately she’s seen some hard times, and at one point in her life she broke her foot.  Manny, typical to his sweet nature, brought her foot to my attention, but Mary Louise quickly covered it up again.  I tried to explain to Manny that Mary Louise’s foot has been broken for many years, and she’s been stubborn about going to the doctor to get it fixed.

Belavista Bears032

At some point the bears, rabbits and kitties, and even Kalev quieted down, ashamed that they had been so rowdy when poor old Mary Louise sat so calmly in spite of any pains she might have been having.  They all rallied around her, and then went back to their rooms.

Belavista Bears035

It couldn’t have been soon enough for the Little Miss Puppy Girl.

Featured Blog

Featured Blog

Guess who started a blog?  Sir!!!  I reblogged his first post, so that you would get to know him quickly.  http://wp.me/p31FPU-M

I’ve been reading stories about Sir for about 6 months now from his wonderful blogger daughter, the briny lass, Autty Jade.  His first story looks like a hit, and I’m sure we’re in for some real treats as he gets his Blog legs under him.  Welcome to the Blogosphere, Sir  🙂

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???

Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise

I enjoy photo challenges because they always make me think.  I don’t usually think about themes.  I was surprised this morning when I was reading Russel Ray’s site that anyone could come up with enough pictures of chimneys, let alone the idea that the chimneys were Santa-unfriendly chimneys, and therefore the cause of undelivered gifts in Southern California.  I am surprised at the creative thinking of others.

Being basically self-centered my first thought was, when have I ever been surprised.  Of course I’ve had surprise parties, but that’s a little too self-centered even for me!  So I just started scouting.  And I found a mutual surprise.  He was as surprised seeing me as I was seeing him hiding in the trees.

V in HI copy

I wanted to at least get my feet wet, so V waited for me while I ran down to get in the warm water for a few minutes.

Surprise1When I got up close, we were talking for a minute when I glanced over, and poof, this guy had sprung up out of nowhere, and looked like he had been comfortably ensconced for a lifetime.  I was surprised I hadn’t noticed him before in his bright red hammock.  Who misses red stuff???

Surprise 2He seemed not to notice me, but I had to ask if I could take his picture. He was surprised, too!

Here are some more blogs to check out so you can also be surprised at the creativity of others.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/weekly-photo-challenge-surprise/

  1. Weekly Photo Challenge:  Surprise | Patricia Drury 
  2. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise « janna hill
  3. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise | Simply Charming
  4. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise! | ranDom muZings
  5. Weekly photo challenge: Surprise « Leanne’s delicious food and travel adventures
  6. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise No. 1 « KnowledgeKnut
  7. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise No. 2 « KnowledgeKnut
  8. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise No. 3 « KnowledgeKnut
  9. A Whale of a Surprise | The Wanderlust Gene
  10. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise | LooknWalk
  11. Surprise? Surprise! | Empire of Lights
  12. Peace, Love, Joy | Ron Mayhew Photography
  13. WPC: Surprise | eljaygee
  14. WordPress Photo Challenge: Surprise! « right in front of me
  15. Another post of ‘Surprise’ birthday | Bams’ Blog
  16. Weekly Photo Challenge : Surprise! « Cheryl Andrews
  17. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise « To Mother Earth, with Love
  18. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise | En snögummas tankar om livet
  19. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise « Try 2B cool ‘n smart…
  20. Surprise « Stray Thoughts
  21. Weekly photo challenge: surprise | Cloud and Mountain
  22. Weekly Photo Challenge: Christmas Surprise Triage at Grandma’s | Humbled Pie
  23. Winter Wonderland « Rainbow Bakery
  24. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise! | IsobelandCat’s Blog
  25. WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: SURPRISE « Nam Writes.
  26. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise « My Tropical Home
  27. WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: SURPRISE « Francine In Retirement
  28. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise | Eat, travel, photograph
  29. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise | belgradestreets

Featured Blog

 Featured Blog

Lantern Post http://lanternpost2012.wordpress.com/  Daniela will break your heat and inspire you at the same time.  Although she a native of Zagreb, (Croatia), she writes with a simple, honest elegance in English that few native writers ever achieve.  One of my favorite posts, entitled, Is Blogging Addictive?, haunted me long after I remembered who wrote it.  It continued to inspire me as I thought about the symptoms that I display more and more each day to my husband’s consternation.

This is one blog that doesn’t need a lot of photography and art to draw you in and hold your attention.  This was her only media, and yet, her thoughts lasted in my mind for months. Like a good book, you won’t be able to put her tab down and move to another site or get up and do something in the real world (heaven forbid!).

As soon as I publish this post, I’m going over to her site to surprise her with the news that she’s MY Featured Blog.

Dianne Gray, author, new and dear friend, and one of my Featured Blogs,   recommended my to Robin Coyle the other day.  I was so honored, and I wondered who Robin was. Now I’m following Robin, too, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we became friends in the future.  Thank you Dianne for recommending me.  I hope my friend Daniela will feel as honored and surprised as I was.  Yes, Daniela, to answer your question, Blogging IS Addictive!!!!

Do you have people you want to feature, but they are award-shy?  Or you don’t have the right award to give them at the moment.  I have my own criteria which you can read about on my new Featured Blog page.  You have your ideas of what blogs draw you into their personal spidery web.  Talk to me about it.  You might even want to feature someone yourself, or send me a recommendation with a little explanation.  Even though I designed a little seal to give people I feature, I’m still mulling this over in my mind.