Real Neat!

I would like to thank http://inspirationpie.com/?author=1 for presenting me with the Real Neat tag!  If you do not follow her blog, please check it out.  She is an amazing book reviewer, and writer in general!

I am WAY behind on tags!  Pesky vacation gets in the way again- but if you’ve nominated me- no fear- they will be appearing soon!

Okay, the rules for sharing the Real Neat Blog Award:
• Display the award logo on your blog.
• Thank the folks who nominated you and provide links to their blogs.
• Answer the seven questions asked by your nominator(s).
• Nominate any number of other bloggers to share the award and give them some linky love.
• Notify the nominated folk.
• Ask your nominees seven questions of your own

And here’s my questions for you:
1. What is your favorite genre?  My taste is all over the place, but I gravitate towards what would be considered Women’s Fiction.  I like when books have characters similar to me, ie fabulous.  Oh wait- I mean middle aged, or technically, of a certain age, as when I looked under the tag middle aged the other day, someone who is 24 had written a post….

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2. What is the last book you read that you gave 5 Stars and what did you love about it?

On principle, I rarely give out 5 starts to anything.  I have yet to find anything utterly perfect.  But a close to 5 review would be “The Children Act” by Ian Mc Ewan.  I thought this book was fantastic because it made me think.  The highest compliment I can give anything is “thought provoking”.  If something makes me think in a different way, or in a new way, I am hooked.  The protagonist was an intelligent woman, of a certain age- but it was so much more than that.  It brought up social issues, religious issues, family issues.  It was also beautifully written- gorgeous prose.  I wish I could write as well.

3. Who is your favorite author?

All time- Jane Austen.  She was a genius at deciphering personality types.  And her characters were witty and intelligent.  Contemporary- I used to LOVE Susan Isaacs, and presently I love Liane Moriarty.  They are Austen like to me – they feature strong, intelligent female characters.  The writing is witty and clever.  Again- I wish I could write characters as well as they do.
4. What keeps you from attaining your goals?

I am fairly goal oriented, but I am also blazingly realistic.  I’m presently working on a novel.  I will say my self doubt abut my writing ability is stopping me.  I write things and I am never satisfied- I am constantly reworking sentences and paragraphs looking for the perfect words.  I want to be clever 100% of the time, and realistically, I don’t think that is possible.
5. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Accepting an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.  Seriously- working on another novel.  Still living in New York.  A content empty nester figuring out how to help my daughter pay for law school.
6. What do you enjoy most about blogging?

Meeting and communicating with other bloggers.  I have had the opportunity to chat with amazing people.  The gift of the internet is a bunch of people from all over the world, chatting about a topic.  Learning about cultures and people that might be impossible under any other circumstance.
7. How do you start off your morning?

My days have different patterns during the year, due to all sorts of things, but for the most part, I check the weather, check texts, check personal email and read for 10 minutes.  Then it’s either gym, walk dog, shower, or help my daughter with breakfast/lunch preparation.

My questions are as follows:

  1. What song motivates you ?
  2. Coffee or tea?  And when do you enjoy it most?
  3. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
  4. Favorite movie adaptation of a book and why?
  5. What would you want to tell your teenage self?
  6. What is your favorite vacation memory?
  7. Do you have a nighttime ritual and if so, what is it?

I nominate the following awesome bloggers!

http://ayearoflivingkindly.wordpress.com

http://www.teaandtales1.wordpress.com/

http://theycallmetater.wordpress.com/

http://anorexiarevealed.wordpress.com/

http://justdrivewillyoudotcom.wordpress.com/

http://amyinthegreyarea.wordpress.com/

http://kerrymckim.wordpress.com/

http://thefeatheredrose.com/

http://russelrayphotos2.com/

http://valeriesmusings76.wordpress.com/

I have chosen blogs that I would love to get to know better, but as always, participation is optional.  This is supposed to be fun, not torture.  If you don’t want to do it, no harm, no foul.

Liebster Award

I would like to thank  http://inspirationpie.com/?author=1for nominating me for the Liebster award.  Vacation, and life, got in the way of me answering sooner!

The Rules:
1. Thank the person who nominated you.
2. Answer the 11 questions they gave you.
3. Nominate 11 blogs.
4. Give them 11 questions to answerSo here are my 11 questions for my nominees!

Here are the questions given to me:
1. What’s your favorite genre to read?

Hmmm- fiction.  To narrow it into a specific sub genre?  Women’s fiction- specifically books dealing with women over the age of 30.  I also like cozy mysteries and historical fiction.
2. What other hobbies do you like to do besides reading and blogging?

I like cooking and baking- though I’m a better cook, because baking is very precise, and I like to experiment a bit.  I find it very relaxing to look at recipes and choose something to make.  I tend to try out new recipes almost every time I cook, so I feel like I’m always learning about a new technique or flavor combination.  I also love photography.  I rarely go anywhere without my camera, and I love playing with perspective.  I love taking photos of flowers, and nature in general- but I honestly don’t know the names of anything I take a pic of.
3. What is your ideal vacation?

My ideal vacation is one that has a little of each of the following:  sightseeing, history, kitsch. local food, nature, culture, a spa trip, and just a little time to lay on a chaise and read.  This was my trip that I just returned from, except I never got in a spa treatment.
4. Do you have any pets?

Yes, a 9 year old yorkie, Sally, and a 3 year old grey cat, Penny.  I love them more than blogging.
5. What is the last movie you saw? Did you like it?

“Dunkirk”.  Loved it, even though it is not a dialogue move- and is mostly a story told through images.
6. How long have you been blogging?

Almost 3 months.
7. What is the best book you’ve read in 2017? What is the worst?

Best book:  “The Children Hour” by Ian McEwan.  It was amazing.

Worst book: “The Sound of Gravel” I don’t love memoirs, especially when the parents are totally dysfunctional.  I just want to shake the parents when I read books like this.
8. What book character is your twin?

I would love to say it’s Elizabeth Bennett, because she’s witty and independent- so I’m going with her.
9. Do you prefer to swim in a pool or the ocean?

Pool.  I like a controlled environment.
10. What is your favorite genre of music? Favorite musician/band?

I really love all music genres except for death metal and misogynistic rap, but I’m a rock and roll girl at heart.  Presently, I never turn off U2, The Goo Goo Dolls and Adele
11. Do you prefer the country or the city?

Hmmm.  Let me think about this.  I LOVE the city.  It is the air that I breath.  But I enjoy being out in the country when I get the chance.

My questions for bloggers are:

1. What’s your favorite food?

2. Describe your perfect date.

3. What do you do to relax?

4. Are you a morning person or a night person?

5. What is your least favorite thing about blogging?

6. Are there any apps that you love or are you “anti-app”?

7. Do you have a favorite fictional mystery detective? If you don’t like mysteries, who is your favorite fictional character?

8. What is your biggest pet peeve?

9. Describe your favorite memory from childhood.

10. Choose three adjectives that best describe you. 

11.  What was worst date you ever went on?

I nominate the following bloggers:

http://stuffmydogtaughtme.com/

http://roseelaineblog.wordpress.com/

http://declutteringmylifeweb.wordpress.com/

#Iforgive

http://ayearoflivingkindly.wordpress.com/

http://www.jamesonvinyl.com/

http://caterpillars2butterfliesblog.wordpress.com/

 

I chose blogs that I would like to get to know a little more about!

As always- if you don’t want to participate- no worries!  This is supposed to be fun, not an assignment!

 

The Write Place

I think I figured out what my problem is.

Stop right there.  Don’t ask- “which problem?  Don’t’ exclaim- “wow- she finally gets it”.  Just listen (read) for a second before you make any snide comments Jay readers….

The specific problem to which I refer is:

My inability to “edit” my “novel” properly.

I spent the last year working on a “novel”.  I love my idea, love my characters.  Love them so much, that I’ve made the conflict in the novel ridiculously light, because I don’t want to see them hurt or have pain.

Yeah.  I know.  Tough problem to face.  War, homelessness, inability to have characters feel bad.  It’s my cross to bare.

But I finally figured out why I can’t fix my “novel”.

I don’t have a “Writer’s Shack”.

When I was at the beach, I would pass a little house every day.  To the side of this house was a littler house- and the plaque outside of it simply said “Writer’s Shack”.

As you may know- my three person, two pet family lives in a luxurious 800 square foot apartment.  We barely have room to breath.  I have a tiny desk, which is where I tend to work on my “novel”, yet I blog at my dining room table.  Which venue is more successful is yet to be seen.

So I began to think about if a writer needs a dedicated space in which to work.  Would having four walls, a desk, a chair and a window that were only used for writing be answer that I was looking for?

I quickly realized that I would be unable to build a shack off the side of my apartment.  So I started to think about other options.

  1. Renting office space.  Sure- because with college looming on the horizon we have the extra money to do that.
  2. Taking a space in a building that has studios for artists and writers.  While these are slightly more affordable, I once had a friend who used one of these.  Though she found it incredibly helpful, I thought it was dark and dreary.
  3. Writing in my favorite coffee shop.  There are myriad thoughts about doing this.  During the school year my daughter does her homework at her desk in her room.  Since returning from vacation, she has been spending about 7 hours a day at one of the 97 Starbucks that are located within 3 blocks of my house, working on summer homework and PSAT prep.  She feels that working in her room highlights the fact that it is summer, and that her mind keeps wanting to do other things- like literally anything other than AP work, such as laying on her bed and staring at the ceiling.  In order for her to actually accomplish anything- she needs to be in another setting.  This is a plus for writing in a coffee shop.  The other thing about writing in a coffee shop is being surrounded by “writers”.  I was once shushed by someone in a coffee shop because she was “working” while I was just “having coffee”.  (Yes- I tend to be a bit loud and animated- but I really thought it was OK to talk and have a beverage in a coffee shop- my bad….)  When I walk by a coffee shop- all I see are laptops- and people banging away at laptop keys- Apparently, “Starbucks”=”Writer’s Shack”

So- should I set up shop at my favorite coffee hole?  Should the hours I dedicate to working on my novel be done in a setting of not so comfortable chairs and harsh lighting?  Will they let my bring in my own chair and desk light?  Will working outside my home be productive?

To be continued……………..

A Note to the Blogs I Follow

Dear Blogs I Follow,

I will be on vacation for the better part of two weeks (or worse, depending on my family).

I love reading and/or looking at your photos.  I look forward to this every day.  Sometimes I read your posts when I clearly should be doing other things.  Goodreads sent me a warning email that I am falling behind in my reading challenge- yes- I was scolded by Goodreads. My ever growing to do list is not happy that you all are so amazing at everything you do!  Neither are my cat and dog who are constantly nudging my hands as I try to read on my iPad. (sometimes my cat will keep touching the like button, and it looks as if I can’t make up my mind as to whether or not I like a post.  My cat is also responsible for following the S&M bloggers- really- the cat)

Though I am supposed to have Wi-Fi at all the locations I am going (because really- doesn’t every one decide on hotels based on free wifi?) one never knows if the wifi gods are going to be in your favor.  While my goal is to read your blogs on a consistent basis, I can’t guarantee the timeliness in which I will read them.

Also, My pesky wonderful family may actually want to yell at me spend time with me.  They really are a hindrance wonderful group to spend time with.

But……

I will read and comment on all your blogs (though it might take me till real Christmas) Keep writing.  Your posts inspire me every day- to be a better person (but I am still middling at best, so step up your game), to be thankful for what I have and not worry about what I don’t, and to remember that we are all alike yet unique at the same time.

Versatile Blogger Award

I would like to thank http://caterpillars2butterfliesblog.wordpress.com/ for nominating me for this award!  I recently found her blog, and it is truly a great read.  She is honest, heart felt and most of all human!  Please check out her blog!

 

RULES OF THE VERSATILE BLOGGER AWARD:
1.) Thank the bloggers who nominated you and share their links.
2.) Nominate at least 10 bloggers for the award and provide links to their blogs.
3.) Also inform them about their nomination.
4.) Reveal 7 facts about yourself that your readers may not know

Here are my 7 possibly unknown facts:

  1. I swam with sharks off of Bora Bora.  The sharks were not in cages and I was scared to death until I got into the water and saw them.
  2. I worked on the fixed income trading floor of a large brokerage house way longer than I should have
  3. I love all things flavored with apricot, but I do not like apricots as a fruit
  4. I often walk around with sunglasses, umbrella and large, thin blanket like scarf- I have a thing against cold, wet and too sunny
  5. I wear progressive contact lenses, so my vision is pretty shaky on both ends
  6. I have a sister who is 7 years younger than me and lives across the country
  7. I love tea and belong to a tea society

 

I nominate the following 10 people:

https://www.thisismytruthnow.com/

http://desertmissus.wordpress.com/

http://thefeatheredrose.com/

http://authentically50.wordpress.com/

Home

http://momentumofjoy.wordpress.com/

http://thatsoulshit.wordpress.com/

http://thenicelifeblog.wordpress.com/

http://makingpeacewiththewrongsideof40.wordpress.com/

http://bleuwater.wordpress.com/

 

AS ALWAYS- NO WORRIES IF YOU DON’T WANT TO PARTICIPATE; THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE FUN NOT AN OBLIGATION!

 

 

 

 

Friends for Days

Thanks to Jay  https://www.thisismytruthnow.com/ for nominating me for this tag.  Please join Jay on his honest, touching and often funny journey by following his blog.

The rules:
• Say who created the tag and provide a link to their blog.
• Do a blog post showing your Tag.
• Add the logo to the post.
• Always thank the person who nominated you, provide a link to their blog and, if you like, say something positive and supportive about their blog.
• Choose 5 bloggers that you don’t know very well or that are just starting their blog.
• Go over to their blogs and read a few posts, like and comment.
• Say 3 things you love about their blogs; (3 things for each blogger)
• Those 5 bloggers are automatically nominated to do the same.
• Nominate two bloggers who have been doing this for a longer time! Don’t forget to let them know you’re nominated them!

I nominate the following:  These are bloggers that I am just getting to know, and am interested in learning more:

http://viewsfromaroundthecorner.wordpress.com/  poetry, honesty, elegant writing

https://kipwalkin.wordpress.com/ poetry, inspriration, positive outlook

http://annielikeswords.com/ she loves words and writing, and it shows in everything she posts

http://marriagesuperhighway.wordpress.com/  honesty, clarity, wisdom

http://itslifebysh.wordpress.com/ great reviews.  Looking to expand knowledge of film, art, theater, dance and travel

No worries if you don’t want to participate!!

Blog Type: Decoded

After spending a few months writing, and reading, blogs, I have ascertained that there are 6 general types of  writing based blogs: (though I do realize that sometimes a blog can be more than one type)

  1. Opinion– I appreciate and respect all opinions, whether I agree with them or not.  My only caveat is that the opinion be logical, well thought out, and based on valid reasoning.  I do not like opinions such as “I hate opera” when the person speaking has never actually seen or heard an opera.  A person with this type of opinion is stupid, based on the fact that, you know, they’re stupid and the reason is stupid.
  2. Personal– These are my personal favorites.  These blogs share a piece of someone’s life.  I think the writers of these are brave for sharing their stories and struggles.  I also appreciate the honesty and humor of these posts.  I like when the writers personality shines through.  Thanks  Mojo for the inspiration on wording, also one of best personal blogs I have read. http://momentumofjoy.wordpress.com/
  3. Reviews– You know- someone tells you their impressions of a book, movie, whatever.  Reviews are a tricky thing for me- I prefer recommendations.  When I read a book review, I look for genre, one line plot summary, and a rating.  I don’t like spoilers.  However, after I have read a book I love to go back and look at the reviews. Same with all other things that are reviewed, except food, because I will go to a specific restaurant for a specific dish.
  4. Instructional-How to’s- recipes, DIY, tips on organizing (this is my favorite type of instructional- I could get lost in a sea of organizing blogs)- Basically anything that gives you a roadmap on how to do something.
  5. Fiction- Flash, short story, poetry- anything that tells a story in a fictional way.
  6. Fact Based- These are blogs that explain things based on research.  There is evidence to support the claims in these blogs.  And they are factual.  Or at least they are supposed to be…..

Now here is where I begin to rant….be forewarned…….

I grew up on Long Island,  in a SUBURB of New York City.  For the better part of 30 years, I have resided in Manhattan, a BOUROUGH of New York City, mailing address, New York, NY.  Of these facts I am certain.

I read a blog the other day about New York City.  The writer stated that Manhattan was a suburb of New York City.  This made me irrationally angry.  If you are going to write a factual piece about a place, get the details straight.  I commented, telling the writer that things written were factually incorrect, (and for the record I did not say- hey- check the definition of suburb and explain to me how Manhattan, with a population of about a gazillion people can be a suburb, and then what would the urban area be) and gave the correct information.  Of course, the writer neither approved my comment, nor corrected the post.

So here’s my opinion: if you are writing a fact based piece, it is your responsibility as a writer to make sure your facts are correct.  When you have an error, and this error is pointed out to you, it is your responsibility to correct it.  By not doing these things, everything you write, that is fact based, comes into question.  How can a reader trust you?  Where is the integrity?

Let the commenting commence:

Blocked

I planned on writing about how people have large dreams, but are unable to accomplish things because they don’t know how to break down the steps into manageable parts.  Unfortunately, I am suffering the same fate- I know what I want to write, but I just can’t get there.  It makes sense in my head, but not on paper.  Here are my ramblings:

  1. Anecdote- I love using an anecdote from my real life- it’s usually how I got an idea in the first place.  In this case, the anecdote was a dinner with friends.  As I talked about my descent into hell  blogdom, one friend expressed his desire to start an online magazine.  And my first thought was gee- you’ve never written anything other than a strongly worded email to the commissioner of your fantasy football league, and you have absolutely no website design cred, but sure, start with the largest possible strategy.  Unfortunately, I just couldn’t come up with a way to write that.
  2. Humor.  My throwback is to make something funny.  I am known to be mildly amusing- I am known to laugh.  But I just couldn’t make this topic funny.  How do you make writing a detailed outline funny?  Cause essentially, every big idea has to be broken down into small, manageable bits.  You don’t start with a magazine.  You start with an article.  Actually, you start with a grain of an idea and then you add words, some punctuation, maybe a picture if you run out of ideas…..But how do you make an grueling process funny?  I tried. And I tried. I failed.
  3. List.  No one loves a list like I do.  I literally have lists for everything- including a list of my spices that I tape to the inside cabinet in my kitchen (side note- even though my spices are sort of alphabetical, a spice list is great because when looking at a recipe, it is so easy to look on the list and say oh yeah- I do have fennel seeds, rather that look for the actual bottle) But back to topic- how do you list the steps of how to accomplish a goal?  See, I couldn’t come up with a universal list.  Every large goal is unique, therefore, the steps involved are unique.  Some goals require lots of cash, others external brain power, or physical equipment.  And then it becomes a chicken/egg scenario- what comes first?
  4. Talk it out.  I never tried this method, so I asked the husband.  This was a bad idea, because his first thought was, “Maybe it’s a bad topic.”- OK- not helpful.  then he said, as he sat on the couch in his boxers (boxers no briefs household) and said “Hey we really need to get moving – and you haven’t walked the dog yet”- and yes- so wrong on so many levels as I’m showered, dressed and beach bag is packed- and walk the ^&%$ dog yourself…..
  5. Letter.  I love the use of a letter type scenario.  It’s a great way to go all omniscient narrator or third person,  But this just doesn’t work in this scenario…”Dear Self- I want to do something really big, but it’s too hard to break it down into smaller pieces so I’m just going to do nothing…”  See- that’s not helpful.  It might be true, but it’s not helpful.

So, in the end- you don’t get a quotable treatise on how to set goals and tackle a big project.  You get an upfront peak into my thought process.  I hope you aren’t too scared….

 

 

What’s a Widget

Officially, this past weekend was my one month blogiversary.  Technically, it’s been slightly less.  I always had a longing to write, and as my 53rd birthday approached, I thought- “Why not start a blog?  How hard could it be?”

To begin:  really hard.  It took me three days to figure out how to get “Site Map” off my one post.  Three days.

Then there was the title.  What am I trying to say?  Getting old sucks but it’s better than the alternative?  That’s a little depressing, and I’m a somewhat upbeat person.  I was thinking about the title while I was still in bed.  As it took me 10 minutes to stretch out the kinks and actually get out of bed- the title came to mind.  And the mission statement?  50 is half of 100- so I’m in the second half.  And isn’t the second half of a game always the best part?

I always thought I was a somewhat intelligent person.  I know how to read.  I know basic arithmetic.  I signed up with WordPress.  That was easy.  I entered my title.  And then I actually tried to form the blog.  Theme?  What’s is a theme? Is this like a party?  Choose A for Roaring Twenties B for Under the Sea?  I just wanted to write a little, maybe throw in a picture or two.  Why does there have to be a theme?  Is one theme better than another?  I knew I could sit stymied by this for days, so I chose what seemed to be the simplest.  And I wrote.

I noticed the Community Pool page, how it was a good place to share your blog and get feedback.  So after twenty minutes and a lot of swearing, I figured out how to put my URL (is that what it’s called) in the comment box.   My one and only response?  Personalize the widgets.

What?

What’s a widget? (That’s not exactly what I exclaimed, but you get the gist)

And I still don’t know if widgets are important or why they’re important.  I don’t think I’ve ever looked at someone’s widgets.  Honestly, I don’t know if I want to look at someone’s widgets.  I want to read their stories, and look at their pictures.  There’s nothing wrong with an attractive face, but I like to see the heart.  To me, in the heart lies the beauty.

Next, I read the “how to” page.  The takeaway was tag your blogs.  I sort of , kind of, know what tagging is.  I live with a #15yearold.  I’ve tagged and been tagged on Facebook.  But how do I tag my work?  What best sums up what I’m writing about?  Wrinkles, age spots and arthritis?  No- that’s not who I am.  Who am I?  A mature woman who has had life experiences, some good and some bad, and I’ve lived to tell the tale.  Someone who is not ready to pack it in just because she can’t walk fast or see with 20/20 accuracy.  Too long for a tag.  And I struggle with the tag every day.  So now I just write in the first 15 words that come to mind, because 15 is the magic tag number.

Then I started reading blogs.  All sorts of blogs because I am interested in all sorts of things.  I love learning new things, and I love finding someone who enjoys the same things I do.  I have read things by people all over the world, and seen photos that I know were taken on my street (though it is a little weird seeing a picture of your local diner on someone else’s blog- I wanted to comment, “did you ever try the French Toast?  It’s delicious”, but feared a restraining order in my future)  And I learned that while everyone is unique, we are still all the same-a bunch of people trying to live the best life they can.

The writing- though.  What about the writing?  That’s why I wanted to blog- because I wanted to write.  And the writing is easy and hard at the same time.  I have opinions on literally every subject there is.  I could write 500 words on how I need to reorganize my desk for maximum efficiency (I’m looking at my not so tidy desk BTW).  So I’m rarely short of ideas.  But what’s the best way to convey meaning?  How should I explain my thoughts?

So my process (as of today, because this whole thing is a work in progress) is to jot down an idea when it comes to me.  I think about it.  And I think some more.  What is the point I’m trying to make?  How do I best convey my point?  What form should I use to write?  And I make a cup of tea, and I write.

So thanks to all of you who are accompanying me on my journey.  Hopefully my writing will improve.  Maybe I’ll make you laugh, or cry, or just feel.  Perhaps I’ll actually learn how to set up my blog properly.  I might even learn what the appropriate tags should be. But most of all, I’m just going to enjoy this new adventure.