Liebster Award Rounds 2 and 3…and 4

liebster-award1

As the saying goes, when it rains, it pours. This is true for both beautiful happenings and those rather unpleasant ones. Thankfully, today it is wonderfulness that is pouring (as well as actual rain) in the form of three very kind nominations for the Liebster Award. Thank you so much Romeo, Charity and Angelique for your nominations. I am super psyched to be nominated again and answer your awesome questions.

Here are the basic steps for the award:

  1. Thank the nominating blogger(s)
  2. Give 11 facts about yourself
  3. Answer the 11 questions he or she asks
  4. Nominate 11 other bloggers for the award, preferably bloggers with fewer than 500 followers
  5. Ask these bloggers 11 questions
  6. Let these bloggers know that you’ve nominated them

Because this is a three-time nomination post, I am going to try to put some things together for the sake of time so as to pass along the nomination baton more quickly. Thus, we shall commence!

1.  Giving Thanks

Thank you again to Romeo, Charity and Angelique. I am so glad that we have connected and I love reading your blogs. You all have such great perspectives on life, wonderful writing voices and so many interesting posts. Thank you, thank you. It is an honor to be nominated by such great bloggers.

2. Eleven facts about me

  • The longest I have ever lived away from my hometown is 7 months, as of yesterday
  • Growing up, my little brother had pet hissing Madagascan cockroaches (dozens of them)
  • I am terrified of cows and I do not get along with farm animals  in the least
  • I have been a vegetarian since I was 16 years old
  • My first solo trip across the world was to Karanga, Tanzania three weeks before my 19th birthday
  • I met my significant other on that trip and we spent the following 4 years dating long distance across the United States
  • Oceans freak me out because they seem to never end (where is the mountainous horizon?!)
  • I did not really learn how to read until I was 12 years old
  • My parents are divorced and my dad has remarried
  • Despite the divorce, my parents (all three) get along wonderfully and we usually spend holidays together
  • Folk is my favorite genre of music

3. Questions from my nominators

From Romeo

Beach-side or river-side?

River-side, for sure! Rivers are far more peaceful I think because beaches tend to be a bit to crowded for my taste.

You’re  stuck on an island with a box – what’s inside the box?

Hopefully tons of sunscreen and a collection of good books! I’m rather fair skinned and burn at the slightest hint of sunshine, it seems. But, if I have to pick one or the other, I would pick books as boredom is something I just can’t handle.

Do you regret your first kiss?

No, not at all. It was awkward, to be sure, but worth it. It was right before the state cross country meet and filled me with such a high that I had an amazing race.

Have you ever been in love?

Yes! I fell in love in less than two weeks and that love is still there almost five years later, binding us together as we wander through life’s adventures.

 

From  Charity

If you were a pizza delivery man, how would you benefit from scissors?

I would use scissors to cut a length of ribbon from a spool to tie around the pizza box before delivering it in its gift-like glory  (this is something that happens in Korea all the time and I like the gesture).

Do you believe in Bigfoot?

Yes! The world is full of strange, wonderful things, so why not Bigfoot?

If you had to choose one candy to describe your personality, what would it be, and why? (note: I am not asking for your favorite kind of candy. I am asking for a type of candy that represents your personality.)

I would probably be Pop Rocks, as I find Pop Rocks to be a really weird candy and more than one person has said the same of me (the weird part, not the candy part). And, like Pop Rocks I am prone to making random noise just because I can.

Of my blog posts that you’ve read, which one is your favorite?

I really like all of your posts. One of your recent ones made me laugh and that was In Which My Socks Need Marriage Counseling.

 

From Angelique

What would you do if you only have 24 hours left to live?

With only 24 hours left to live I would do yoga, take a super long run, come home and take a bath, then eat as much chocolate, ice cream, pizza and smoothies as I possibly could.

What is your most prized piece of knowledge?

My most prized piece of knowledge is that no matter how hard a situation is, it is always possible to overcome it- you just can’t give up or give in.

What will you be doing the day pigs fly?

I’ll be doing math problems for the rest of my life.

What were you in your previous life?

Without a doubt, I was a squirrel in my previous life.

 

4. My nominees

5. My eleven questions

  • What is your favorite subject to photograph/write about?
  • What is the best book you’ve read in the last year?
  • Cats or dogs or…?- which one is the better companion for you?
  • What is your favorite vacation spot?
  • What is the most spontaneous thing you have ever done?
  • Toes socks-good or bad?
  • How many languages do you speak?
  • What is your favorite part of humanity?
  • Oreos- original or double stuffed?
  • What is your favorite season?
  • Best part of doing the Liebster award?

To my nominators, thank you again. And, to my nominees, have fun!

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Day 12: Be Inspired By the Community

Lately, my blog has been rather writing heavy. As I love to write, this is not really a problem. However, part of my desire to start this blog was to bring photography and words together, to have a space that they could share equally. So, for today’s challenge, I am passing by the stories waiting to be told through words (though they shall be told eventually) and instead I am moving into the photography realm.

Several of the blogs I admired in Day 11 had to do with a certain challenge posted by Sunday Stills in which bloggers alter the same image (what a cool idea and great image!). The variety of adaptions and their differing emotions, feelings and overall look was really interesting to see. So, for this post I’m throwing my hat in the ring and joining the fun. Without further ado, the Modify My Pic challenge.

Day 11: Be a Good Neighbor

Day 11 of the Blogging 101 challenge asked us to visit several blogs and leave comments. Over the past few weeks I have begun following many blogs, but haven’t had enough time to really explore them. Thanks to this challenge, I made some time and wandered into the amazing wonderland of thoughts, creativity and inspiration from so many amazing people. Here are a few of the blogs and posts that I especially liked and commented on. Commenting is still something I am becoming comfortable with, but minutes after leaving a message on some posts I received a reply which led to a few short conversations. That was super encouraging and fun. I feel lucky to have met such a kind, open and inspirational group of bloggers.

Remind Your Mind – a blog about self-awareness and seeing life as it is.

Euphonic Charity – I especially like this post because the author had to deal with a tough situation regarding a comment on her blog and the positive manner in which she handled it was really inspiring. Rude comments happen in real-life and virtual life, and it is nice to see how positively and eloquently such situations can be handled.

A Day in the Life – I liked this post because it was a creative sharing and an example of the cool ways photography can be played with to achieve different effects.

This, That and The Other Thing – I stumbled across this post after seeing the post on A Day in the Life. I liked seeing all the different ways that photographers played with the same image and the different emotions each version created.

Sunday Stills– And, because I loved the previous two posts, I found my way to the blog which started the chain of posts I spent so much time admiring. I really like this photo challenge because of the communal yet individual aspect.

Spirit Grind – a beautiful blog about spirituality, among other topics. I like the uplifting and encouraging message of this post.

Thank you to all these great bloggers and their beautiful work. I am so happy to have stumbled across your blogs and posts.

Day 9: Inspire Yourself (Snapthoughts of Home)

Today is a day of catch up. Over the last week I’ve been in the blurry mental fog of a sinus infection, but the meds have started working at last and now I can string more than two sentences together. Yipee! So, without further ado, Day 9: Inspire Yourself.

♣♣♣

The road before you seems endless, weaving through hills and past fields vacant except for the random cow here and there. It feels as if you are as far from civilization as you can possibly be and the end of the world must surely be near. Slowly, you begin to climb, approaching the summit. A reststop clings to a ledge overlooking the highway. You whiz by and start your descent into the canyon. As you round a corner you catch your first glimpse of The Gem City of the Plains and the mountains beyond. Not the end of the world, it seems. In the summer, the city is a green oasis in a sea of golden plains. In the winter, it is all but invisible, the lives of 30,000 people moving quietly through routine. Welcome to Laramie.

Sandwiched between two mountain ranges, Laramie is a mini mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking, biking, running, alpine skiing, nordic

Medicine Bow Peak, Snowy Range Mountains, 45 minutes from Laramie

Medicine Bow Peak, Snowy Range Mountains, 45 minutes from Laramie

skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing: Laramie has it all within reach.

You enter the city limits and pass by the typical outskirts: fast food restaurants, hotels, chain restaurants. In summer, wind rushes to greet you through your open window. In winter, wind batters the window, whistling through any cracks. Not far in the distance, two buildings catch your eye. They tower above the rest of the town. These are the tallest buildings in Wyoming at twelve stories. Nine months of the year, students inhabit these dorms and others as they attend the University of Wyoming. You continue down the street, which you’ve just noticed is named Grand Avenue. Groups of students cross, walking to campus. During summer, sunlight flits through the trees lining the streets, warming the bare legs and arms of pedestrians. In winter, ice covers the road and wind blows snow drifts into sculpted dunes. Everyone you see looks bundled from head to toe.

You continue on and realized that the road abruptly ends at railroad tracks. Old brick buildings sit in neat rows along the street. Some have seen better days, some have been remodeled. A freight train carrying coal roars past, honking at people paused on the pedestrian bridge. Despite knowing that Wyoming is the cowboy state, you notice a variety of restaurants as you meander past: vegetarian cafe, Mexican, bistro, Thai. A co-op sits on one corner, a chocolate store down the street. In between is a small shop that catches your eye. Upon further investigation you discover a perfect combination of loves: used books and coffee. This is Night Heron, a favorite hang-out for long-timers and the fluid student population alike. On weekends, the tables are full of students cramming away and plowing through homework. On weekdays, it’s quieter.

Another train screams by, rattling the glass in the windows. You sip your latte and breathe in the smell of coffee, ink, old paper and the steaming cup of homemade soup in front of you. Alone on the second floor, you take in your surroundings. The two floors of the shop are wide, open rooms with nooks created by bookshelves, but you know this wasn’t always the layout. According to the Old West Tour sign you read outside, this store, along with its neighbors, was previously a brothel, frequented by the railroad men who founded the town.

You can almost feel the history in the walls as you peruse the shelves then settle in for a good read. Despite the grueling, wind-blown drive with no cell reception and choppy radio playing country music, you can see why people stay, why so many people call Laramie home no matter where they are in the world. There is something about the wind, the clear blue skies and mountainous horizon that calls people back. You watch the sun begin to sink behind the Snowies and know that you will be one of them.

Kettle

Moving to the rain drenched city with its endless sea of grey skies and perpetual dripping had not been her idea. Far from it. This was not how she imagined their first year of wedlock.
At first, she had hope that the rain would stop, the clouds would clear up and she would be dry again. The morning of the third month she realized that those hopes were all for naught. That was the day she began wandering from room to room in their small apartment. All day she walked, one foot in front of the other from bedroom to kitchen to living room and back. In seven months she made 2,968, 0013 steps around those three rooms. She knew because the fitness band he bought her as encouragement to do something besides stay in the apartment informed her of that fact. He often joked that she had worn ruts in the old wooden floorboards and one day she would fall through the thin planks into the apartment below. Though he joked, his concern was genuine. Not about the ruts, but about her refusal to do anything else. It had been 63 days since she last set foot outside, according to the tally he kept on the calendar. That was the day she decided she would no longer go grocery shopping. Shortly after that she stopped cooking. He tried prompting, encouraging, begging, bribing, insisting and even yelling, but she flat-out refused to go out in the rain. She got out of bed every morning, she told him, what else did he want?
One day in April, when dampness hung heavy throughout the house, she decided to make tea to ease the chill from her body. Most days she loathed tea or anything wet, for that matter. The frequency of her showers had diminished significantly to the point that he often had to ask her to take them. Even then it might be a few days before she acquiesced and went through the three-minute ordeal.
kettle rain She set the kettle on the stove and turned on the gas. The flames crackled to life, setting the pot to gurgling as it warmed. For a moment, she stood at the porch door to stare out at the clouds shifting over the city. Though her eyes saw, her brain hardly registered the movement. After a brief pause, she turned away, making several more circuits around the apartment. She was in the bedroom when the kettle began to whistle. The shrillness grated against her ears, by now completely accustomed to the subtle nuances of near silence. Her pace quickened, hastening her to the door between the bedroom and the kitchen.
kettle sunshinecroppedIn the doorway she stopped, unable to move as her eyes took in the faded wallpaper and the porch doors at the end. Sunlight, golden, warm sunlight spilled in through the doors, blanching the almost brown wallpaper white. It glimmered off the kettle, turning the tarnished silver gold.
When he returned home a while later, she was still mid-step in the doorway, the kettle still whistling and now spitting boiling water into the flames below.
What is going on?
Look, she whispered. Look.
What? He moved toward the stove.
No. Stop. Look.
I don’t see anything, he said.
Have you ever seen anything so beautiful? She nodded slightly at the stove.
It’s a teapot, he said gently.
It made the sun shine, she said. Sun. Shine. Sunshine. sun kettle

Share Your World-Week 15

Cee has some of the greatest challenges on her blog. I have loved doing them. This is my post for her Share Your World- Week 15.

coffeejarFor your blog do you basically use Windows or Mac, laptop, desktop, pad, or phone?

For me, blogging happens in three places: my notebook, my laptop and my ipad. Often, if I am working on writing pieces, I will start out with a pen and paper, playing with the words and ideas before solidifying and focusing them on the computer, either in Word or a post. If I am working with photos, I will sometimes edit them briefly on my computer before sending them to my ipad to play with them a bit more, then send them back to my computer for posting. I love these processes and how each medium channels a different vein of thought and offers me different avenues for creating.

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

As a kid I was dead set on being a teacher. I thought that spending all day with kids, teaching them to read, write and be creative would be the most amazing job on the planet. But, as time passed my interests shifted and I fell in love with writing. By the time I graduated from high school the teacher dream had changed and at university I studied journalism and international studies. My path, however, has led me to teaching, at least for the time being. I do love working with kids and I adore their energy. I do have to say though that as much as I love my students, I am glad that in the future my career will lead me away from school systems. The expectations from parents are impossible sometimes and the students can be…challenging.

Did you grow up in a small or big town? Did you like it?

I grew up in a small town of 30,000, including the 12,000 university students living there nine months of the year. While most of my age-mates hated living in such a small town with no mall, no giant movie theaters and limited indoor activities that didn’t involve drinking, I loved it. There is comfort in knowing exactly where everything is located, in being recognized by the grocery store clerks and called by first name, in running into a familiar face in any public place. I loved the sense of community among the long-term inhabitant and the web of connections between people.

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are? 

Hmmm…this is a hard question. I think I’d either be 17 or late 20s. Age 17 is when I first felt confident in myself and rejoiced in the freedom and comfort that brought me. I have that same feeling now, as I enter my first years of full-blown (aka non-student) adulthood. I say late 20s because I’ve outgrown my (short-lived) love of partying like many of my age-mates and I no longer have to live on a shoe-string. In many respects I am fairly settled and looking forward at next steps: a career, marriage, a family.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Last week I was grateful for a rough, tense day. Such days are rarely fun and really not all the enjoyable, but they allow me to truly appreciate the fantastic days and moments of pure joy. Following that grey, blah day was one of perfection, which I enjoyed all the more.

This coming week I am looking forward to a great weekend with my significant other. We are hoping to visit a nearby temple, provided we survive the vomit-inducing bus ride.

Blogging 101: A Penny for Your Thoughts

flowerpotsorangeflower copyI am slightly behind on the Blogging 101 assignments. This is Day Three’s topic, two days late (ooops!)

One of the things I like most in life is when things are mixed together, working side by side, complied in one place. This applies to food (a dish with grains, veggies and protein all in one bowl is the ideal meal for me!), people (family gatherings are one of my most favorite things in the world) as well as art forms. In the past I have been into art journaling and scrapbooking, but lately I’ve been really into combining photography and words. For my senior thesis in college I put together photography and fiction to tell a variety of stories about life. Since then, I have been looking for ways and mediums to combine the two. Thus, my blog came to life. My first post was a combination of haiku poems and photographs about a recent trip to Seoul. In general, poetry isn’t really my thing, but I love the haiku form and how it works with images. From that post I have moved on to photography specific posts, writing posts and a combination of the two. In the future I am aiming to return to the roots of this blog and work on more combination posts (time permitting!).