Sunday, May 15, 2011

An Embarrassment of Riches

Yay!  Holy crap, I am now the proud recipient of THREE new blog awards!  Sophie Li just bestowed me with an adorable strawberry shortcake, recognizing my "Irresistibly Sweet Blog."  (What can I say?  It's obviously those cuties in my right margin...  They're the real crowd pleasers here, not me! :))

If you haven't visited Sophie Li's blog, The Wordsmith Apprentice, you really ought to.  Not only is Sophie the most adorable Army vet and ex-parachuter you've ever seen, but she's also in the process of finishing her first manuscript, raising two kids and generally being fantastic.

My second blog award is from Pam Asberry, and it's so chic and svelte that I don't know what to do with myself!  My brand new "Stylish Blogger Award" proves once and for all that hiking boots and dirty clothes CAN be trend-setting!

As a disclaimer, take a stop by Pam's blog, Sometimes It's Cloudy, Sometimes It's Clear, to see what REAL style looks like!  Not only is Pam a writer, piano teacher, jewelry designer and single parent, but she's also an incredibly classy lady, and I'm honored someone so chic chose to give me this badge.

Last but certainly not least, Alison Beightol just bestowed me with my third honor, the "Versatile Blogger Award."  Wow, I looove this award; we are all juggling multiple paths as aspiring writers, so it's amazing to be recognized for my little corner of the world.

Alison's blog, Adventures of the Cautionary Tale, is a wonderful place to visit.  Not only does she jazz it up with hilarious pictures, but she provides tons of fun content, and she never fails to make me laugh.  If you don't know Alison yet, you really, really, really need to swing by and say hello!

Thank you SO much, ladies!  You have truly made my day!

After doing some soul searching, I am ready to pay my gifts forward.  Here are a few rules before I announce the recipients of MY blog awards:

1. Thank and link the person who nominated you.
2. Share seven random facts about myself.

3. Pass the Sweet Blog Award to 15 blogging buddies. 
4. Pass the Stylish Blogger Award to five new-found blogging buddies.
5. Pass the Versatile Blogger Award to five fellow bloggers.
6. Contact the winners to congratulate them.

Without further ado, here are my winners (in no particular order).  Some of you I've known for awhile, and some of you I've just met, but I've been touched by your kindness, style and humor, and I'm so pleased to be able to show my appreciation for you with these awards.

1. Anita Howard
2. Amy Armstrong, MS, NCC
3. Lydia K
4. EEV
5. brenda
6. Marewolf
7. Charlee
8. K. Syrah
9. Girl Parker
10. Dawn Brazil
11. Deirdra Eden-Coppel
13. K.C. Blake
14. Bethany C.
15. Jennifer Snyder

1. Rebecca Dupree
2. Moonlight Gleam
3. Talia Jager
4. Kimberly Spencer
5. Eliza Faith

1. Kalen O'Donnell
2. Katherine Jenkins
3. Coral
4. Beckah-Rah
5. Anna L. Walls

Now, on to my seven random facts.  Compiling these was great fun; I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them!

1. My original career goal was to be a garbage man. People think I’m kidding when I say this, but I absolutely wanted to be a garbage man when I was five or six years old. This was back in the days when garbage men actually stood on the back of the garbage trucks, and I used to stare longingly at those dudes, wishing there was some way I too could someday get paid to hang on the back of a moving vehicle. (The whole disclaimer that you actually had to stop and pick up trashcans every few feet obviously didn’t make a dent in my childhood brain.)

Photo Courtesy of California Cthulhu (Will Hart)
2. I am too tall to be Cinderella. While I attended college in Orlando, one of my dreams was to become a Disney princess at Walt Disney World. Utilizing the behind-the-scenes knowledge of some acquaintances who worked at the park, I actually managed to maneuver my way into a casting session. Upon my arrival, I was floored to learn how specific Disney’s princess requirements are. Princesses, apparently, should be between 5’4” and 5’7”, and their feet should be no larger than a size 9. (Sad news for my 5’8” and size 9.5 self!) Although I tried unsuccessfully to slouch and scrunch in my toes, I was quickly dismissed, and that was the end of my Disney princess dream. As a parting gift, however, I was cast as a dancer in Epcot’s Tapestry of Dreams parade, and I spent the next year and a half dancing, sweating, and smiling my gold-painted face off!

Photo Courtesy of

Summer 2003: That's me!!
3. I’m a crappy surfer, and I apparently don’t have the sense to stay out of shark-infested waters. I lack upper arm strength, but that didn’t stop me from really, really, really trying to pick up surfing during the six months I lived and worked as an apprentice chef in Australia. (I know, random, right? I’m almost as bad at cooking as I am at surfing.) The crowning jewel of this failed attempt at greatness took place off the coast of Adelaide when my friend Simon and I spent an afternoon surfing on a fantastic, hidden and remarkably empty stretch of beach just south of wine country. Upon our return to town, a few locals stopped us. Seeing our boards, they asked us where we’d been, and their jaws dropped when we told them the name of the beach and remarked how unusual we’d found it to be so empty on such a beautiful day. Yep, you guessed it. The beach was renowned great white territory, and none of the locals were stupid enough to step foot in the surf. (I still get the willies when I tell this story!)

Photo Courtesy of Terry Goss, Wikimedia Commons
4. I once lived in a tent for four and a half months. I spent the summer of 2004 living and working in Yosemite National Park, and my assigned employee housing was a 10’ x 10’ tent with canvas walls, a wooden floor and a pair of creaking, rusted army cots. (Did I mention I SHARED this 10’ x 10’ tent with a roommate??) Despite this rustic housing, I truly view those 4.5 months as an amazing turning point in my life, and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. By living simply, I realized how much crap I actually didn’t need in my life. My summer in Yosemite also cemented my love of the outdoors, and I don’t think I would be where I am today if not for the lessons I learned while hiking, biking, stargazing and floating down the Merced River. (I will actually be returning to Yosemite next week to be a bridesmaid in my Yosemite roommate’s wedding. Mary Schwab, you are an angel, and I can’t wait to be part of your big day!!)

Photo Courtesy of Rainer Marks, Wikimedia Commons
5. The tattoo my left foot depicts the footprints of my six favorite animals at the Alaska Zoo. When my husband and I made the difficult decision to leave Alaska after nearly four fantastic years (see Thoughts on Leaving the Last Frontier), I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving my job at the Alaska Zoo without taking along mementos of my six favorite animals. The result was this tattoo, which symbolizes (from bottom to top) Knobby the Bactrian camel, Elf the moose, Tracy the mountain goat, Mac the red fox, Max the raccoon and Peabody the great horned owl. (I have many more zoo loves, but these six animals in particular touched my life in so many ways that I’m ecstatic I get to carry them around with me every day.)

My bony feets!
6. I survived a horrific car crash last October, and nothing has been quite the same since. During my husband’s and my exodus from Alaska last October, we ran into a patch of black ice on a remote stretch of the Alaska Highway just south of the town of Fort Nelson in northern British Columbia. (See The Product of Post-Crash Insomnia) Our truck flipped six times and one of our two dogs was tossed out the back window, but we all miraculously survived. (My husband, our boy dog and I suffered only minor scrapes and bruises, and our girl dog suffered a hairline fracture on her pelvis, which healed after six weeks or so.) Although we walked away mostly unharmed, I couldn’t sleep for weeks, and I was haunted by the idea that the sum of our lives—our memories, our relationships, our goals and our dreams—could have been extinguished so easily in that split-second. The accident taught me many things, and the strongest of these is that we should ALWAYS tell people how we feel about them. If they are important to us, they should know that, because we might never get a second chance to express that. (On that note, thank you—ALL of you—for stopping by to visit me here. I know I’ve never met most of you in real-life, and I know I don’t know most of you very well yet, but our commonality and purpose as aspiring writers {most of us, anyway} is so powerful, and I’m incredibly thankful that I’ve found all of you to share in this journey with me.)

July 4, 2009: Milk Glacier, Girdwood, Alaska
7. A snake took a ride on my backpack this Tuesday. Now that I’ve gotten all “Debbie Downer” on you, I’ll end on a funny note. I’m currently working as the Director of Education at a nature center in Denver, and I had a huge field trip group out at the site this Tuesday. As I was wrapping up their field trip program, I set down my backpack to say goodbye to the teachers and pass out evaluations and whatnot. After leaving the backpack unattended for no more than five minutes, I picked it up, slung it over my shoulder and headed back to our educational shed to put my gear down. As I turned a corner, I caught a flash of movement at the corner of my eye, and THIS SNAKE fell off my backpack and hit the ground at my feet. WTF? WTF? WTF? WTF? I’m not really allowed to be afraid of snakes in my line of work, and I’ve worked with enough of them that I’ve kind of gotten over my girlish fear of them, but OH MY GOD. How are you supposed to NOT freak out when a 16-inch bull snake falls off your backpack and lands on the ground at your feet??? The best part, of course, was the fact that I had to grab a stick, pick this guy up, and run him to a safe place before the kids found him. Yikes!!!

Photo Courtesy of Antonio Muniz
That's all from me...  I can't wait to hear YOUR seven facts!! :)


Amy Armstrong, MS, NCC said...

Wow! Seven random facts. You've set the bar high, but I'll see what I can do.
1. We seem to be brain sharing because my own post tonight is also called an embarrassment of riches. Clearly, we need to check-in with each other before we post ;-)
2. My first "real" job was working in purchasing for a shoe company. It was so mind-numbingly boring, it drove me back to school.
3. I grew up in Los Angeles and moved to New Jersey.
4. My husband and I have had bad luck with fire and apartments. We had an arsonist in the neighborhood when we first moved-in together and the carport below our apartment caught fire---twice! When we moved to Ventura from Santa Barbara, a car exploded across the street.
5. Even though I'm a career counselor by training, I can't stand authoritarian people and I hate arranging my day around another person's schedule. I also hate wearing suits.
6. My blog is called 1600 words a day, but in fact, I write more like 300words a day.
7. I started out as a French major because I was in love with Arthur Rimbaud's poetry, but later switched to psychology after a very traumatic experience with my French literature class.

Kalen O'Donnell said...

Aww, thanks LisaAnn! You're a rockstar!

And going by the 'write what you know' adage and just your seven facts here, I predict a long and prosperous writing career ahead of you! Damn, girl! Any one of those would make an awesome story! The shark near miss though would give me the willies too!

Lydia K said...

Thank you so much for the award, and congrats on all of yours!
I love your tattoos. In my grad school yearbook, I put a thank you to all the pets I'd had (and family pets) that had helped keep me company (fish, snake, cat, dog, and crayfish, LOL).

p.s. You may have been too short to be a Disney princess but you were perfect for runway modeling!

Anita said...

EEK! I'm still cringing over the snake story. I'm so w/Kalen on his comment there, and on his point that you've lived enough in your life already to fill a shelf's worth of books on your own!

Thank you so much for the sweet (heehee) award. I will cherish it and love it always, and will post about it on Wednesday.

I'm so so so glad you and your husband and pets survived that horrible car accident, and that it's helped you cherish the important things in life. ;)

Anna L. Walls said...

Thanks so much for the award. I used to play with bull snakes when I was a kid. I was careful though Rattle snakes was a different story, but all in all I like snakes.

I'm sure I've said it before but I truly love the pictures here. You are doing all the things my mom kept saying I would end up doing, only more so. My mom always said I'd end up having a zoo.

Kimberly said...

Thanks so much for the award LisaAnn. That was so sweet!

And I'm glad you weren't hurt by that snake. I'm terrified of them. On a weird/scary note, my cat, Sparky the Black, killed a little one and proudly displayed it in front of my porch. My sister said it was a warning, as if to say, "this could be you."

Deana said...

First off, congrats on your awards!

NOW...can I please tell you how cool you are?!? Those random facts were, like, oh, I don't know...FABULOUS!!
As I was reading them I was thinking, wow, me and this gal have some things in common. For instance, I lived in a tent for a year...but, it was a three man tent, I was nine and lived with my brother and dad. Not so fun:) Also, I always wanted to be a princess in Disney World...but that was because my aunt was one and I never got the courage up to do it myself. You did this things in a fun adventurous way and I love it. Oh, and you just happened to try being a chef out in a different country? So cool. How could you not be a writer with the experiences you've had! I'm in awe:)

Sophie Li said...

ROFL LMAO!! OMG I was laughing out loud through you fantastic 7 things!!

You are so welcome btw & thanks so very much for the kind words!

Just a few thoughts ... I believe the term is "sanitation engineers." *smirk* I think a tat on the foot would hurt like crazy. And lastly I believe your near brush with death has given you a precious gift of insight.

Thanks for sharing your 7 things. I hope you will decide to write a memoir one day. It would never be a dull moment! <3

Deirdra Eden-Coppel said...

Great post! You are so amazing, and thank you for the award.

Girl Parker said...

Thank you!!!! I'm so excited, and believe me, Nothing excites me on a Monday. =) I'm gunna post my seven over at my blog, where I proudly show off my shiny new badge. You are too kind, LisaAnn. Also, you managed to mention my two greatest animal fears in one post. Nice one! hhhaaa.

Beckah-Rah said...

Thank you for the blog award! I've never won one before! :D You rock, officially.

K. C. Blake said...

Thanks, but I don't think it will show on my blog because I have a layout from Pyzam and it keeps me from changing and adding some stuff. I'll make my list on my blog cause I've tried three times here and keep getting kicked.

Bethany C. said... old are you? You look pretty young to me and that's a LOT of living you've done--so cool! And your tat--geesh! THAT IS AWESOME!!

Thanks for honoring me with this award. I wish I had some crazy animal encounter story to share with you here. All I can tell you is that my slow-brained chocolate lab ended up the neighbor's backyard this weekend. We have no idea how.

Marewolf said...

LisaAnn, thank you so much!

And I have some things to share with you.

1) My son (who is five) told me just *last week* that he wants to be a garbage man. No joke.

2)I'm not hot enough to be Cinderella. However, I was a dance minor in college, and I still love dancing (mostly modern and jazz).

3)Sharks really freak me out (watched Jaws too much as a young child) and I would NEVER surf, even in non-shark infested waters. So kudos to you!

4) I've camped in Yosemite more times than I can count. Love it. Also love Strawberry Music Festival :)

5)Maybe it's the wine talking, but your tattoos made me get all misty eyed! I can't imagine what you left behind :(

6) Mind blowing. What an experience, not all of us have the opportunity to learn what truly matters.

7) LMAO at the snake story! Good for you for holding it together! :)

Dawn Brazil said...

Thanks LisaAnn for the award. It's great to be appreciated!!!!

You are very adventurous. I can't say that I've done anything remotely like what you've done. Eeek, snakes, sharks and sleeping in tents - oh my!!!

Coral said...

Thank you so much for the shout out. :)

Your random seven things gave such an interesting cross-section of your life. I love your tattoo.

I don't really have a crazy wild animal story to relate. My close encounter with an animal lately involves my dog treeing a raccoon a month or so ago. She's never had occasion to interact with anything but cats and other dogs, so I was kind of shocked that she went after it as if she was a real hunter. There was a brief scuffle, and then the raccoon just about flew up the side of the tree and sat up there breathing hard. I felt bad for the poor thing so I called my dog back and a few minutes later it climbed down and walked away.

LTM said...

Too much fun stuff! Congrats on all your awards, and have I mentioned how I love the wild-animal shots down the side?

Take it easy in those shark-infested waters and with all the snake handling. Sounds like fun times~ :o)

Eliza Faith said...

You are one interesting chic! And thanks for giving me my first blog award!

S. said...

Your tattoo is very cute :)

/S / http://

Jennifer Shirk said...

Congrats on your awards!
And holy smokes you make my life seem very dull. :-)

LisaAnn said...

Have I told you guys lately how AMAZING you are?? Now that you've pumped my head up with so many fantastic compliments, I think I'll strut around the house and see if my puppies are equally impressed! ;)

In all seriousness, THANK YOU for such sweet and thoughtful posts. You have truly made my week. :)

Katherine Jenkins said...

Thanks for the award LisaAnn...and for your recent comment on my blog! I haven't done much with awards recently, but I am very appreciative of them. It sounds like you have an adventurous life and are living it to the fullest! I anticipate you will have many more adventures and it's great that you have this blog to share it all with us! Much peace to you, Katherine

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