Versatile Blogger Award

Versatile Blogger Award

Back in April, Holly at Cat Care Solutions nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award. I usually don’t do the awards but I saw how she handled it and I really liked the way she did it.  She used it as an opportunity to not just share a bit about herself but also to thank the blogs that give her a bit of joy each day.  That idea of gratitude and appreciation for the blogging world we participate in reverberated with me as I am hitting my two year anniversary of blogging.

First Holly’s blog Cat Care Solutions is one I’ve started following recently. She shares her life with her cats but also regularly presents informational article for catlovers.  One of my favorites is her article on how cat’s see and her fun one on cats in costume had me rolling in the aisles.  She’s on a little break right now but it’s a great opportunity to catch up on some of her past articles if you haven’t visited yet.

The next step of the award is to tell people 7 facts about yourself and then nominate people.  I’m going to put the facts and nominations together because they are related. The important thing about being “nominated” is you can choose to participate or not.  You don’t have to. It is more a way to show appreciation than anything else.  If I don’t talk about your blog/nominate you, it doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate you.  It’s just that for whatever reason these are the blogs that popped into my head in this moment today. I write stream-of-consciousness and believe me if I did more planning, the list of nominees would be a lot longer — I’d probably compete with Tolstoy in length (but probably not breadth).  I read a lot of blogs and enjoy them. These are just a few of them.

I’m going to move the rules and nominees to the top because my 7 facts was a lot longer in telling than I expected.

What blogging has done for me besides helping me to be creative through my poetry (Cactus Haiku) and my photography, is I’ve gotten to enjoy reading a lot of people’s blogs and feel like I’ve gotten to know them.  People have been amazingly supportive as I lost 50 pounds and that helped me tremendously. Honestly blogging hasn’t made me rich (darn it!) but it has enriched my life tremendously.   So here is a shout out to all the bloggers I have met/read. And here’s a nod to a few in particular (and the nominees are….).

Now before I go into describing the bloggers, I should say a few things about the duties of the award.  Just because you’re nominated, doesn’t obligate you to participate.  Writing why I chose you is my way to say thank you.  But whether you participate or not won’t make me happy or unhappy. I’m fine with whatever you decide.  However if you are willing to participate here are the rules:  (I copied and pasted from Holly’s site)

Award Rules

In order to receive the award, each nominee will have to:

  • Thank the person who nominated him/her.
  • Link to the blog of the person who nominated him/her.
  • State 7 facts about himself/herself.
  • Nominate other bloggers who bring joy into their daily life

Save this badge to your award post / site:


Bloggers and their blogs was one of my first followers when I had my first blog (it split into 3 blogs: CactusCatz, CactusHaiku and and lately GeocachingCactus). She had a different blog back then, filled with delightful poetry. Since then, she has started a new blog (and I think she is finishing a book). She still writes poetry, mixing it up with a few paragraphs like a haibun. She has a rare gift for words and I love the way she pops in unexpected combinations of nouns and verbs.

CuriousSteph‘s reminds me of SketchingWords in some ways as they are both runners and poets. CuriousSteph writes haiku which I’m into but she also recently got a camper van that the previous couple who owned it lived in fulltime for a year so I’m expecting to see some road adventures with the weather warming up.

CagedDunn blogs about writing her books. I admire her courage as she writes more than one book each year. She is an independent publisher and you can get her books on Smashwords, Amazon and other sites. Her passion for writing echoes throughout her posts. She’s a good writer but it’s a tough road she walks.

Balleworld — this lady can cook.  I have to use the google translator as it’s written in German but I love how everything looks.  I also love her posts on how to make tisanes from herbs and plants.  I’ve always wanted to know how they did that when they were mentioned in romance novels and now I know.

Sandee at ComedyPlus posts a lot of blog hops from cats to gratitude each week.  Her warmth and kindness shines through not just in the posts themselves but the care she takes in answering the numerous comments.

Irene at My Slice of Mexico has Asian heritage like me but was born and raised in Mexico before moving to Canada. She grew up understanding how food reveals history and heritage and she brings that into her recipes.  As she shares her recipes for Mexican food, she also shares the history or culture behind a particular dish or a region.  The food looks awesome and it’s a fun read.

Tammy at VintageNeonSigns. We’ve met in real life through a blogging meetup group I lead locally. She has gotten me into geocaching. Geocaching is where you find logbooks that other people hide in little caches. The fun part is that they try to hide it near something interesting a lot of times.  Tammy has a whole series of geocaches near vintage neon signs.

And then there are the catlovers. Here I’m afraid of leaving someone off as I follow quite a few so I’ll just name a couple of quirky ones. The Oceanside Animals has changed it’s name a couple times since Dennis passed and it used to be Dennis’s Diary of Destruction. No matter the name it continues with zany comicstrip type adventures with little balloons floating above everyone’s head as they all speak at once and lately he’s been adding videos. A new one for me lately is Memories of Eric & Flynn which shares a past day with Eric & Flynn and finishes up with cat art which is also an online puzzle.  Another one who does zany adventures with his cat gang once in a while is Feline Cafe who also shares cat calendar art made by Spike the Scottish Black Cat. Speaking of art, there’s a Caturday art blog but I am blitzing on the name.  Another semi-cat one that is arty is Curious as a Cathy who is doing a series of art sketches.

Speaking of quirky, I love Book ’em Jan O mob haiku with their puns. Cracks me up.  She does ghost stories too which adds to the quirkiness.

Oh and Winter’s blog where he shares music with Kayla. I enjoy his eclectic sense of music and throw a few songs in myself once in a while. Kayla being my SL alterego.

My 7 facts or why I started blogging (and you started snoring, lol)

I am coming up on my two-year anniversary of blogging this July (fact 1). The journey started about ten years ago. My dad passed away from esophagus cancer (fact 2). My mom is from Okinawa and her third language is English. She also speaks both Okinawan and Japanese.  Years before my dad passed, the doctor had found a small lump in her breast and wanted to do a biopsy.  My mom’s reaction was to refuse and do nothing about it.  At that point she wanted to pass before my dad did. She was ten years older and they had been together for close to 50 years and she really couldn’t imagine life without him.

Well, life is what it is.  Dad passed first. None of us expected it.  I don’t know if everyone has this but even as an adult a part of me felt my father was invincible. I really thought he’d beat the cancer.  He did once but it came back and took him out fast the second time around.  I am thinking about them both since mom’s deathday and birthday was in March and dad’s birthday is coming up on the first. I may have written about them recently. They’re on my mind today.

Back then, I was living in California where I was happy and I had just gotten a job in the library which I loved.  I was a library assistant but I’d only been in that position for a few months, not long enough to have confidence I could get that job again in a different city. The thing with love, duty and sacrifice is it’s easy when you give up what you hate but not when you have to give up something you love.  I loved my new job.  For the first time in my life I loved getting up to go to work.  Plus the pay was good. I was working part-time but making more than I did at my previous fulltime job. I enjoyed my friends, my community. I had a great apartment at a great price.  I soooo did not want to leave Oakland.  But my sister was married in Idaho and all her kids live there.  Both my brothers had high-paying jobs. Besides one brother had an anger-management issue with his exwives so there was no way I’d allow him to move in with my mom anyways even if he quit his job.  And I was the oldest. My mom’s english was good but not good enough for medical english and people don’t always know how to break things down for someone who speaks English as a second language.  Plus someone needed to push her into getting that lump diagnosed.

So I quit my job and moved home (fact 3), not happily. I am not a saint.  It was an unwilling sacrifice with feet dragging done for both love and necessity as I saw it.  And the first few months mom and I fought like cats and dogs (surprised me) because she kept trying to treat me like I was 12 and it pissed me off. On top of that I was unhappy about not having any friends here or community. I convinced her to get the lump biopsied (yep, breast cancer) and to go into dialysis (a major fear of hers but we dealt with it).  And we stopped fighting (mostly) because I realized she was almost 80 and she wasn’t going to change. She was always going to see the baby she cradled in me no matter if I lived to 80 myself. I learned to let go.(fact 4)

And a wonderful thing happened.  I started asking mom about her past and she actually answered.  In the old days, she would just say something like “what do you want to know about that for?” and change the subject.  I got to know her better, to know some of her history.  It was an unexpected gift. (fact 5) I am not saying I was a happy camper — I still missed my old job and my friends — but my coming here was no longer a sacrifice.  I felt lucky to have had the opportunity to know my mom better. Ironic because previously I had always felt much closer to my dad.

Since I stayed at home with mom, making friends by going out to meet people wasn’t possible. I started making friends in a virtual world Second Life (fact 6). A mother in Australia, a retiree in England, a nurse in LA and one of my best friends a postal worker in Connecticut. When mom retired to her bedroom, I could go visit another world and chat with people. If she needed anything, I could just type “brb” (be  right back) and walk off.  In SL, it’s understood RL (real life) always comes first. It also gave me a way to start “photographing” again as I started taking snapshots inworld.  I didn’t realize it at the time but it was preparing me for blogging as relationships with people you’ve never met are based on conversations typed

Two years ago, mom passed.  I couldn’t wish her alive because the pain was increasing and alzheimer was starting to kick in. I totally believe in the hereafter so it’s like they moved to a foreign country — I can’t contact them but I take comfort that wherever they are, they don’t have cancer any more. For myself, I felt lost, adrift. After eight years here, it was too late to go back to California. So I started blogging to try to figure things out.  I hoped blogging would become an income but that hasn’t quite panned out although it is improving. I did start off as a budget bargain lifestyle blog but as you can see that intent fell by the roadside ages ago. So between my haiku and my cats, in 2018, I made $7.82 through my Amazon affiliate for the whole year.  This year I made $0 for January and February.  However, something happened in March and I earned $16.34 for the month. It paid one bill. (fact 7) Now someone else would probably roll their eyes but I’m pretty ecstatic.  In one month I made double what I made for the whole of last year.  Plus in February, with a different affiliate income, not Amazon, I earned $120 which was pretty incredible. Those two developments is a huge improvement.  However, it’s definitely not enough and I’m out of savings so I am going to have to create income another way.  I’ve been freelancing a little bit lately helping people with their websites and that is helping.

Now it’s 9:00 in the morning and I need to go to sleep.  I had insomnia but I’m finally ready to crash.  If I didn’t mention you, it’s probably because I’m so tired my brain has died a couple of hours ago — thank goodness for spell check.  I keep seeing these tiny red squiggly lines under words telling me it’s time to go to bed.  Anyways just wanted to say thank you to everybody. You made the last couple of years a joy and you didn’t know it but you’ve encouraged me when I’ve faltered. I really really appreciate it.  I feel like a wound I didn’t know I had had healed. I don’t feel like I’m lost or adrift any more.  I just don’t know where I’m going.  Oh well, I’ll get there when I get there. Nite-nite.

You can use the Amazon search bar to do any search at Amazon like I did for “versatile blogger”. Strange hodgepodge of results though: a vanity mirror, a lens you can add to you phone (will that work? hmmm), and a maxi dress. Kind of a weird set of results. I was expecting books on blogging, not a makeup mirror.

Amazon disclosure: “We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.” This has no effect on your price. You pay the same price you would normally.

photograph by M. LaFreniere, all rights reserved.

7 Replies to “Versatile Blogger Award”

  1. Of all the cat blogs in all the towns in all the world, you walk into mine! Thanks for your nomination! Among cat blogs I am a lowly one but we have our uniqueness!. I don’t do awards. I am a bit lazy so I “publicized” my old TMI page from last year with 70 useless facts about myself in honour of this nomination! Probably a real snoozer– for anyone who needs to waste some time today! Like Brigadoon the page will vanish again soon! You really are versatile as you cover so many things in your multiple blogs, so the award is well deserved, Mary. Congratulations again!

  2. A meowsy big ConCats on the award and adjustin’ to life as it happens. We can’t always control everythin’, but there’s Blessings where ever we are. Big hugs

    Luv ya’

    Dezi and Raena

  3. Congrats on your well deserved blog. Nice to learn more about you. I am sorry you have lost both of your parents. I am in awe of your sacrifices though. Happy Mother’s Day to an amazing cat mom! XO

  4. Congrats on your well-deserved award! I think you did wonderfully in nominating some great bloggers and in sharing some of your story with blogging. I’m glad blogging was there as a way to try to help you figure things out, you’d been through so much and then the heartache of losing your mom two years ago.. I’m so sorry. I would be ecstatic for $16.34 from Amazon affiliates, I’ve never made anything! And well done on the $120 from other affiliates, that’s really good! Freelancing to help others with their sites is a really good idea as a side-project too. It all adds up, and I think you should be really proud of everything you’re achieving because it’s not easy 🙂
    I hope you managed to get some sleep!
    Caz xx

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