Liebster Love

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Just when I think I can’t appreciate my readers and fellow bloggers any more than I already do, I get a comment that tells me I’ve been given the Liebster Award by Leila Gaskin of Write Am I and Krishnaveni Balasubramanian of My Absolute Dreams.  Thanks to both for being so kind to think of my blog as one to deserve such a lovely award.

In the spirit of passing along the joy of  being a “favorite” and “loved” here are five blogs I feel are quite deserving of the Liebster:

That’s Not My Table – The writer of this blog is a friend of mine and every time I read her words I can hear her speaking.  Her voice is incredibly strong and bursting with humor.

Unbound with Bonnie James – Get ready for beautiful craft projects, photographs, and an inspiring point of view. Bonnie’s blog is truly delightful!

TBN Ranch – Did you ever wonder how to build a chicken coup or what its like to have a donkey?  TBN Ranch offers amazing insights into ranch life and cool western folk poetry.

KVENNA RÁÐ – A fearless blogger who does amazing free-writes of fragments, puns, and poetry. Her writing is insightful, whimsical, and downright intriguing.

A Trail of Breadcrumbs – I love following this blogger’s adventures in Central America and I can’t get enough of her inspiring craft projects.

I literally get excited every time I see there’s a new post from these bloggers.  They are an endless source of inspiration, smiles, knowledge, and creativity.

To accept the Liebster Blog Award:

1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
2. Reveal your top five picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
4. Hope that the people you’ve sent the award to forward it to their five favorite bloggers and keep it going!

c.b. 2011

You Listen To What?

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My taste in music is nothing short of eclectic as I’ll listen to just about anything as long as its good. Like everyone else I have my favorite artists, but there are some names that evoke a few raised eyebrows.  The inevitable question, “You listen to what?” usually follows those contorted brows.  It’s as if I’m not “allowed” to listen to certain types of music because I don’t fit the profile.  To this I say, there is no such thing as boundaries when it comes to enjoying music.  Nerds can love Top 40 bands and happy-go-lucky writers can dig reggae rap.

More than once I’ve written of my love for British artists, indie rock, and NuFolk, but my music collection reaches far beyond those categories.  Here’s a  list of 10 artists I love, despite the glaring disparities in personality.  It just goes to show that music truly does speak across all realms of humanity.

Note: I’ve linked each artist to a site where its possible to listen to samples of their music.  With exception to #9, all links will connect to my favorite album.  Enjoy!

1. Michael Franti & Spearhead

Equal parts rap, reggae, pop, R&B, and rock, Franti is a remarkable songwriter and performer.  His lyrics cry for social justice, peace, and political change with the stomp of a fierce beat.  He’s lightened up a little over the last few years, but he’s never given up his vision for a world without war and corruption.

Favorite Songs: “Everybody Ona Move” and “Life in the City”

Favorite Albums: All Rebel Rockers, Yell Fire, and Everyone Deserves Music.

2. Moby

Okay, so he’s a little weird and very bald,  but he makes some the of the best atmospheric electronica.  He thumbs his nose at convention and does his own thing, which is what I like best about his music.  Tones range from dance floor beats to ethereal synthesizers paired with piano and voice.

Favorite Song: “We Are All Made of Stars”

Favorite Albums: Go – The Very Best of Moby and 18

3. Linkin Park

I love this band because they exude raw emotion and hold nothing back.  No two albums sound alike and I like being surprised every time they come out with something new.  The last album in particular was a stark departure, but in my opinion its their best to date.

Favorite Song: “Waiting For The End”

Favorite Album: A Thousand Suns

4. Muse

It took me a while to catch onto this band, but once I did I never looked back.  Their sound is a cool fusion of hard rock and symphonic melody.  The lead singer has a unique voice that breathes incredible life into clever, bold, and brutally honest lyrics.

Favorite Song: “Starlight”

Favorite Album: Black Holes & Revelations

5. Thievery Corporation

This band found its way into my collection by way of a gift from a good friend.  Their vibe is a combination of soft jazz and electronica with a touch of middle eastern beats.  I’ve never heard anything like it, which makes every song an adventure.

Favorite Song:  “Holographic Universe”

Favorite Album: It Takes A Thief 

6. Mika

My love of Mika defies all logic, but I am hopelessly addicted to his dance beat and fun lyrics.  They guy just sounds like he’s having a blast and his energy is infectious.  Whenever I’m dragging in the middle of a run, Mika gives me a great jolt.

Favorite Song: “Love Today”

Favorite Album: Life in Cartoon Motion

7. Phil Coulter

My grandparents are at fault for my love of new age piano music.  Every night they would play a Phil Coulter album to help me sleep.  It never worked because I was always mesmerized by intricate piano notes and the beautiful flow of music.  Twenty years later, I still listen to him for the same reasons and actively seek out similar artists.

Favorite Song: “Oft’ In The  Stilly Night”

Favorite Album: Sea of Tranquility

8. Twelve Girls Band

Blame public television and my trip to China for bringing this powerhouse orchestra into my collection.  These ladies use traditional Chinese instruments to fuse Western standards with Eastern folk, thus creating something entirely new.  Their music is full of energy, life, and sheer emotion.

Favorite Songs: “Freedom” and “Jasmin”

Favorite Albums:  Shining Energy and Eastern Energy

9. Herb Albert & The Tijuana Brass

Try hard not to laugh.  When I was growing up, Herb Albert was played almost daily at my grandparents house during the summer.  Those brass horns and peppy tunes always made me smile and they still do today.

Favorite Album: Greatest Hits 

10. Vladimir Horowitz

No one can play Chopin (or anything else for that matter) with the same passion and skill as Horowitz.  I literally get lost in the music when I listen to any one of his performances.  It’s no wonder he’s often referred to as the best concert pianist of the 20th century.

Favorite Song or Album: There are no favorites when it comes to Horowitz.  Every note is pure genius.  However, one album in particular sticks out in my mind, Horowitz: The Last Recording.

I’ve always seen music as a soundtrack for my life, so it makes sense to choose music from all different genres to make things more interesting and meaningful.

c.b. 2011

A Little Victory

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A couple of weeks ago I sent a small piece into my local newspaper in response to a call for stories about random acts of kindness.  This summer in London, I experienced a monumental act of kindness which I documented in  A Brilliant Stroke of Luck and I thought this story might fit what the editors wanted.  I did some editing to meet the the 200 word requirement and sent it in, never once thinking it might actually get printed.  I held onto that belief until I checked my blog comments on Thanksgiving evening and found out that I was in fact published!  For the first time ever, my work and my pen name are in print!!

The editorial page may be small apples, but to me its a small step where I found a bit of success as a writer.  After all, little victories sometimes lead to bigger victories, right?  As I put the finishing touches on my query letter and continue the arduous task of writing a synopsis, this is certainly a nice little boost right when I need one.

  

It appeared in both the print edition and online!  When I got the news, my husband and step-dad were out doing some early Black Friday shopping and they were nice enough to stop at a store and pick up a newspaper.   A couple of friends saved some copies as well, which means I can do some fun things with my first publication (i.e. keep a whole copy, frame one, paste one into one of my spirals for inspiration, etc).

Special thanks to my writer’s group for giving me the heads up on two fronts.  I am so grateful to Cindi of Loving Arizona Living for bringing it to my attention that the newspaper was looking for stories and to Susanne of That’s Not My Table  for letting me know it was published.  Thank you!

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Note: My tiny break is officially over.  New posts will start appearing as they did before with three or four a week.  Thanks for your patience!

c.b. 2011

22 Moments of Gratitude

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One of my favorite bloggers, Cindy Archer, recently posted a list of 22 Things about herself.  I found it so inspiring I decided to play with the idea.  With Thanksgiving approaching, I can’t help but list 22 things for which I am grateful.

  1. My family is filled with wonderful people who are always there when you need them.
  2. My husband is an amazing man and I’m truly lucky to be with him.
  3. Tuesday nights with my mother.
  4. Friday nights with my sister.
  5. My friends are few, but treasured.
  6. I have a job I love.
  7. I have time to write.
  8. My house is filled with the love of two dogs and two cats.  I don’t have children, so these are my babies.
  9. I don’t worry nearly as much as I did when I was younger.
  10. Every summer is an adventure in travel.
  11. There are always plenty of books to read.
  12. Music still moves my soul.
  13. Movies still stir my imagination.
  14. My muse sings on regular basis.
  15. There’s always chocolate in the pantry.
  16. I know the feeling of a rainy day in London.
  17. I can’t sleep, but I still know how to dream.
  18. My writer’s group is full of friends, inspiration, and encouragement.
  19. My blog connects me to readers and writers in a way I never expected.  Never have I been more motivated to write.
  20. Those moments of silence where I can breathe slowly and relish the feeling of being alive.
  21. Twinkling stars that never fade and trees that always sway.
  22. I’m happy.

For these things, I am truly thankful each and every day.

c.b. 2011

A Tiny Break

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I’m usually a very dedicated blogger averaging around three to four posts a week.  Sometimes, however, life catches up to me and tears me away from the computer.  Over the next few days, I’ll be taking a little breather from blogging in order to catch up on the following:

1) Delivering hundreds and hundreds of canned food to my school’s food bank headquarters.  My classes really pulled together and collected a giant pile of food items for this year’s food drive.  At the moment, we have 521 cans.  There’s still four hours until the deadline, too!  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: my students rock!

2)  Baking 80 cupcakes.  Part of the reason my students contributed so much to the food drive was because they wanted homemade cupcakes and a movie day.  I haven’t done the math yet to figure out just how many boxes of cake mix and icing I will need!  Yikes!  All weekend, I’ll be slaving over the oven, (its worth it!).

3) Visiting family.  My aunt flew into to town this week and I haven’t had a chance to see her.  She’s one of my favorite people in this world and I can’t wait to give her a hug.

4) Twilighting with all the other geeks.  I’ve made no secret that I’m a Twilight fan and today it’s all about Breaking Dawn: Part I.  A bunch of friends and my sister will be joining me for a late night showing of the latest Twilight film.  To get good seats, we’re going to the theater two hours early to wait in line.  It sounds awful, but to a Twilight fan there’s nothing better than hanging out with other fans.  I vow to give in to my inner geek and have a great time!

5) Everything else.  Aside from the first four, there’s cleaning the house, laundry, my mother-in-law’s birthday, grocery shopping, and getting the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly (Breaking Dawn is on the cover!).  Ahhhh!

Of course, sometimes I tell myself I’m going to take a break and then I can’t help myself.  We’ll see how long I last!  Today, I’m going to try and catch up on answering comments – I’m sorry for not answering right away. Thank you readers!  You are the best!

c.b. 2011