Answering The Liebster [Not The Lobster] Award Questions

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Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest.

I feel like a bit of a fraud accepting this award by answering these questions.  The point of this award is to showcase new up-and-coming bloggers to your readers.

And if there is one thing I am not, it is a new blogger. [Read more here.]

However, be that as it may, I like to do blogging memes like this one because they challenge me to think differently about my life.  And because I’m alway honored to be included.

So when charming delightful DearLilyJune nominated me for the Liebster Award [which my spellcheck insists on changing to Lobster], I thought to myself:

Sure. Why not? It’ll be fun. 

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The Rules, Or As I Choose To Think Of Them, The Guidelines

Here are the rules for the Liebster Award.  If you’re nominated and choose to accept it – you:

  • answer 11 questions given to you by your nominator;
  • leave a link back to the person who nominated you;
  • nominate up to 11 blogs that are relatively new (usually less than 200 followers);
  • notify your nominees; and
  • create 11 questions for the nominees.

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Here are DearLilyJune’s questions with my answers

1) Here’s the Lorelai question, posed to her daughter Rory every year on her birthday: What do you think of your life so far?

I like my life so far.  Living in suburbia this far out of the city is not where I thought I’d end up, but I’ve come to accept it and enjoy it.  Life is quieter here than in the city, and allows me to center myself in nature, write when I want to without distractions, and pursue my love of design.  I’m comfortable being a low-key suburban person who watches the parade go by and cheers on those who need to march in it.

2) What’s the cruelest thing you could do to another human being?

Cause them pain, physical &/or emotional.

3) How do you avoid doing #2?

Pay attention to your behavior, know why you do the things that you do, make a conscious decision to play nice– and remember the golden rule.

4) What’s the kindest thing you could do for other human beings?

Support other people in their dreams, listening and guiding them to make good choices, helping them understand that you can only control the process.  The results will be what they will be.

5) How do you get motivated, or motivate others, to do more of #4?

I used to think that modeling the behavior you wanted to see in other people was the answer to that question.  But now, older & wiser, I’m not so sure that kindness happens that way.  Meaning, I don’t have an answer to this question.  Do you?

6) What do you dream about at night?

I rarely remember my dreams at night.  The little tidbits that I do remember revolve around houses or dorms or hotels– being safe, seeing friends, getting rooms.

7) What do you daydream about during the day?

My daydreams are pretty benign.  Walking on a beach.  Being in a city park, enjoying nature.  Traveling to other countries with friends.

8) If you could go back and choose it, what would your first word be?


9) If there were anything you could remember about your life as a baby, what would be your chosen memory?

My grandmother died before I was 1 y.o.  I have a photo of her holding me, but I’d like to have met her when I was more aware.  They tell me that she was kindness personified.

10) Why are we so quick to pose questions, and so slow to listen for the answers?

In a word, screens.  Our society brainwashes people into thinking that distractions via screens, such as social media, TV, movies and video games, are more important than real interpersonal relationships.  So waiting to hear a real person answer a question becomes irritating, irrelevant– and not worth wasting your time away from the precious screen.

11) If you had to ask yourself one question each day to take stock of your life, what would that question be?

What have I done today to help my spirit grow?

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Care to play along? Here Are my 11 questions, or writing prompts, for you

1.  Which day is your favorite day of the week?  And why?

2.  What color do you find the most annoying?

3.  You’re going on a short drive to run errands around town.  What will it be: radio OR personal tunes OR silence?

4.  What novel has had the most influence on how you express yourself?

5.  Do you like the traditional Thanksgiving feast?  If so, what in particular do you like?  If not, what do you think is a better meal?

6.  When asked to do something that you do not want to do, what do you do?

7.  You have a favorite TV show, right?  Tell me about it.  

8.  Is the TSA the most over-rated, self-important, inept government agency around?  If not, what is?  

9.  Guacamole is ________ .  

10.  To what are you allergic?

11.  How much do you love my questions for you? 

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Once again Linus, of Peanuts fame, sums it up perfectly.

If you’ve made it this far down on the post, I applaud you.  You are a true bloggy friend.  Meaning that if you want to do this meme, please feel free to do it.

  • Do it like the “rules” say you should.
  • Do it like I did, in the spirit of the thing, using the rules as guidelines.
  • Do pieces of it as writing prompts for your blog.
  • Do it but never publish it.

All I ask of you is that when you choose to do this, please make sure you’re saying to yourself:

Sure. Why not? It’ll be fun. 

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I Ask You: Where Are My Toad Lilies? Hmmm?

• I allowed myself to hope.

When it comes to gardening, I’m usually more cerebral than heartfelt.

I don’t assume that just because I plant something, it’ll thrive.  Instead, I focus on those plants that get with the program and grow.

Like this cute little tree in the concrete urn that I can see out the window from our study.


• But there’s something missing from this photo.

Around the base of this cute little tree there are supposed to be 5 toad lilies, which I bought last spring for an outrageous amount of money from an allegedly honest garden nursery catalogue [which I’m not linking to here because I don’t want to advertise for the company].

• I know that toad lilies can grow here.

Years ago, before the front planting beds were re-landscaped, there was a thriving toad lily in this exact location.

That’s why I planted them, right there, uniformly around the base of the concrete urn, anticipating autumnal beauty whilst gazing out my window.


• But do you, gentle readers, see any thriving toad lilies?

Or do you, like me, see one scraggly looking wisp of a plant, barely hanging onto life?

That, my friends, is what $60.00 will get you when you dare to believe the copy in a catalogue.  A catalogue that should be named: A Sucker Is Born Every Minute Garden & Nursery Store Catalogue For The Easily Gullible.

Because, really, that’s what the catalogue is all about.

Or so it would seem to me, Ms. Gullible.

We Didn’t Fit In, But We Had A Good Time: Go Bucks!

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If you go to OSU, the only red that counts is SCARLET.

On Saturday afternoon we joined our closest 105,000 “friends” and went to a Ohio State football game.  The game was in Ohio Stadium, aka The Shoe, which is on the National Registry of Historic Places.  It is located on The Ohio State University main campus, which is in Columbus, OH.

The Shoe was packed.

After exiting from the highway, getting to our parking place, which was beside The Shoe, was an adventure in dodging drunk psyched fans, driving hither & yon on surface streets– and highlighted by a bomb squad checkpoint.

We passed.

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Gray, however, is GRAY regardless of your OSU allegiance.

Then getting to our seats on a box level, accessible via huge dual-door elevators, turned into a lark.  Fortunately the arena’s staff kept us laughing all along the way, as we two confused outsiders tried to find our box.

Very pleasant people.

The OSU marching band, aka The Best Damn Band in the Land, did script Ohio, which I maintain is the real reason anyone goes to these football games.  And the home team won.  So all was good.

Yay football.

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Here’s my takeaway:

Every person who attended this event, except us, was wearing team colors, scarlet & gray.  I MEAN EVERYONE.  And though no one dissed us for not having any team merchandise on our bodies, I felt odd about it.

I’m not one to wear showy clothes, nor have I ever felt comfortable in team apparel, so despite wanting to be part of the group, I couldn’t bring myself to spend monies on any of the over-priced shirts, hats, shorts, sweatshirts, scarves, et cetera, that were available for purchase.

This wasn’t a problem, but it’s an observation that marketing has taken over the game.  Meaning that looking the part of a fan is now as important as, if not more important than, being a fan.

This reality made for a visually weird overly enthusiastic-looking crowd of people wearing, what they hoped was scarlet but in actuality was multiple shades of red, emblazoned with the iconic Block O.

Fans? Perhaps.  Followers? Definitely.

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When Good Grapefruit Has Bad Marketing

DSCN5865 To your left you will see a photo of half a grapefruit, on a pretty white bread & butter plate, plus the label off the sturdy red mesh bag it came in.

This grapefruit, purchased at the local K. Roger, is not as humongous as many of the grapefruits available, nor is it as intensely pink in color as most of the individually sold grapefruits.

It was tasty.  Easy to section. Juicy, but not overly so. With just the right amount of sweetness.

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But here’s the weird thing about this grapefruit.  Just like Proust’s madeleines, this grapefruit stimulated long-lost memories from my childhood.

It reminded me of being an elementary school-age girl.  Sitting at home in my parents’ warm kitchen while eating breakfast at the old, slightly wobbly, wooden drop-leaf table.  Listening to the local AM radio “Quickie Quiz” show.  Wondering what I’d be doing at recess later in the morning.

So considering the effect that this grapefruit had on me, I’m left wondering what marketing genius came up with the idea to name this product:

NOT your MOTHER’S Grapefruit.

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Putting aside the stupid inconsistent capitalization of the letters of the product’s name, if there was ever a fruit whose essence reminded me positively of my past, it would be these grapefruits.

And considering that grapefruits are pretty much the same old fruit now that they were 40 years ago, I’m irritated with the somewhat passive aggressive marketing message that I’ll be an old fuddy duddy if I don’t buy these particular grapefruits.

I understand that times change, but I gotta wonder how it could be that bad-mouthing grapefruit is the key to more sales.  Does that even make sense?

As Autumn Arrives A Legend Returns: Hello Fuzzy The Squirrel!

•  The squirrels have been scarce around our yard all summer, allowing me to grow pots of petunias, and now pansies, unbothered on our deck.


•  So imagine my surprise yesterday afternoon when I saw Fuzzy the Squirrel on our deck for the first time in months.  I’d begun to wonder if he was still around.

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•  Naturally he was causing trouble, indulging his appetite for destruction in the right-hand pot, while prudently avoiding my new cute jack-o-lantern decorative spike thingie.


•  To his credit, once he realized that I spied him, he tried to hide from me behind one of the pots, while pretending that nothing untoward had happened to my petunia.


•  Then taking a different approach to destruction, our friend, Fuzzy the Squirrel, began digging into the left-hand pot while I watched.


•  However, I’m happy to say that he quickly became bored with the whole idea of ruining my pretty Halloween tableau.


•  He jumped up onto the deck railing where he purveyed our forested backyard… where he should be, imho.


•  Then turning my way for one last photo, he posed so that I might snap him next to my new cute jack-o-lantern decorative spike thingie… which he better not damage. Or else.


Of Presidential Candidates & Contenders: What’s The Use In Jiving?

{ Subtitled: Your Story’s So Touching, But It Sounds Like A Lie }

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Please note, I didn’t watch last night’s presidential wannabes debate tedious issues + character failings among themselves.  I get nothing from such events.  They are a waste of my time.

Next September after each political party decides who’ll be the candidate, then I’ll pay attention to her or him.

But in the meantime, I don’t want to be accused of encouraging any of these babbling, narcissistic, argumentative individuals with delusions of presidential grandeur by watching them.

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• • •

In fact, my suggestion would be that instead of televising these dog and pony shows debates, the TV stations would do better to play endless versions of the 1940s hit song, Straighten Up and Fly Right, written by Nat Cole and Irving Mills.

The lyrics of this tune summarize all that there is to be learned from the real presidential wannabe debates.  Or at least it seems that way to me, an Independent voter with limited patience for political shenanigans.

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Confessions Of A Bad Pansy Momma


With plenty of water, a spot in the sunshine + a prayer to the gardening gods above, I’m thinking that these poor pansies might make it. Right?

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ON WEDNESDAY AFTER PLANTING BUNCHES of pansies underneath the monkey grass beside the stone path in the backyard, I was tired of gardening.

I put the rest of the pansies, destined to be interspersed between rose bushes along the front walk, in the garage.

Then while fiddle-farting the rest of the week away, I forgot all about the pansies, until yesterday morning when I stumbled over them.

Clearly, I’m not going to win the Most Beautiful Autumn Yard Award, Amateur Suburban Gardener Division, am I?

[Well, there really never was a possibility that I’d win an award because: a) there is no such thing in this subdivision;  & b) I’m the poster child for B+ students everywhere who get close to the prize, but never get the prize.]

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Monarch butterfly feasting on this little yellow milkweed plant that is almost thriving. Sort of. Fingers crossed.

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WHILE MY PANSY MOMMA SKILLS might once again be in question, I’m happy to report that 3 of the 4 potted milkweed plants, purchased at a garden nursery last spring, have lived through the summer.

One plant, encouraged to stand using a bamboo pole stuck in the dirt + cotton twine, has even flowered a few times throughout the summer.  I think he’s an amicable little plant, even though he isn’t the strongest one out there, he keeps hanging on.

Literally and figuratively.

Now the question is: are these milkweed plants perennials? Or do I have to do something like save the seeds for next year?

I’m hoping that they take care of themselves, because as my pansy momma experiences have shown, I might not be the most reliable gardener.

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