2018, 500, 1

In years past, WordPress has provided a neat little summary of the past year’s writing accomplishments on my blog.  I didn’t receive one this year.  Whether that’s because it’s no longer their practice or because my level of writing activity dipped below their radar remains to be seen.  I did, however, receive this neat little notification the other day.

Screen Shot 2018-01-26 at 9.03.49 AM

500 posts.  That’s a lot of writing.  In my six years (wo)manning this blog, I have written many posts.  My aunt recently asked me which post or posts were my favorite(s).  A few came to mind instantaneously, of course, but once I started digging through, I realized just how many there are –

which helps provide balance to the writer’s remorse that I haven’t done more lately.

Once upon a time, Tuesday and Thursday were sacred posting days, with Fridays as an occasional musing on craft (my weekend write-off).  I’m still unpacking the irony that my writing on mental health paused or ceased when things got really crazy last spring and by the end of the summer/fall when I’d ceased my medication.  It didn’t help that I had another small human pulling at my pant leg.  I’ve also tried to reignite a dedicated writing regimen for my young adult fiction and personal memoir.  Something’s gotta give, I suppose, in my anxiety-ridden, mom-of-four, only-24-hours-in-a-day world.

Still, when I didn’t receive the adorable fireworks animation comparing my readership to the size of small countries, the writer’s remorse kicked in big time.  What were my dedicated readers doing whilst I whiled time away with laundry and survival?  How were my fellow bloggers doing since I’d checked in last?  While the schedule of blogging can be daunting, especially in the midst of daily overwhelm, the process of crafting and posting and interacting is therapeutic for my writing and mental muscles.  I miss the community – and the potential that the blog has.

I have chopped lots of potatoes over the years.  I’m going to keep chopping.  Some days may produce uniform little cubes; others hackneyed hunks.  But it’s good to be back – even in a smashed capacity.

2014 in review

Thanks to Wordpress for this informative and humbling report on the chopping of potatoes this year.  There is work to be done – but only on my part.  You, dear readers, have always been the bomb!

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,400 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

I Pledge Awareness . . . to the Cause

“I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2014 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.” 

art by Piper Macenzie

It’s not everyday that I can proudly wear the badge of my illness, but the badge above — this badge I’d slap on my forehead and parade around town.

A Canvas of the Minds is an amazing website dedicated to an amazing cause: spreading awareness of and eradicating the stigma of mental illness.  A team of talented authors share knowledge, personal struggle and triumph, and, perhaps most importantly, a reflective surface to show us we’re not alone.  It is a team to which I am extremely proud to say I will soon be contributing!

When my water broke at the end of my third pregnancy, it released the flood waters of postpartum depression.  What I didn’t know was what else was dammed up behind that.  ‘Regular old’ depression, I suppose, and most definitely, anxiety.  In some ways, my life has never been better since this deluge; in others, it’s sucked eggs – big, nasty, rotten ones.

But awareness makes a huge difference in all lives – those struggling to achieve mental health and those alongside them.

So bravo, A Canvas of the Minds!  And bravo to all of you out there fighting the good fight.

To everyone: please consider taking the ‘Blog for Mental Health’ pledge yourself.  Do it for yourself or in support of those you love . . .

 

2013 in review

Stoked with what the annual report for Chopping Potatoes reveals, especially when I see how much it’s grown since 2012.  Thank you so much for your support!

 

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

It’s Gonna Be a Bright, Sunshiny Day

A View from My Summerhouse.

Doesn’t get any more peaceful and relaxing than that.  Just the words themselves evoke images of light, bright spaces.  It stands to reason, then, that it is the woman behind this blog, Sherri Matthews, who nominated me for a Sunshine Award (which she writes is “awarded for writing positive and inspiring articles and so bringing some ‘sunshine’ into the lives of others”.)

Sherri, my doppelganger (a fellow Virgo, mother of three, and plodding through the writers’ life) across an ocean and continent, writes beautiful reflections on life – as we wish it to be and how it actually is and how the two intersect.  And she said my blog was ‘exquisitely written’!  Well!  Thank you so much, Sherri, for the honor and for sharing your sunshine with the world.

Here’s how the award works:

Rule 1.  Post the Sunshine Award logo on your blog.  The Sunshine Award

Rule 2.  Nominate 10 fellow bloggers

Rule 3.  Announce their nomination in their blog’s comment section

Rule 4.  Mention links back to their blog, including a link to the person who nominated you.

Rule 5.  Answer the questions.  This is designed to help people get to know you better.

Ten other bloggers spreading sunshine into the dark corners of our world are:
  1. Jardin Luxembourg – It was through Tieshka’s Liebster Award that I ‘met’ Sherri Matthews.  So glad to have the ‘introduction’!  And to read her refreshing, carpe diem take on life.
  2. A Canvas of the Minds – Spreading awareness, acceptance, and knowledge about mental illness.
  3. Free Little Words – Spreading love and positive energy with her positive world view and words.
  4. DENY – because they showcase beautiful design and give me way too many ideas for the new home I’m supposed to be decorating.
  5. Mamacravings – Such a positive, inclusive atmosphere to support mothers in finding the joy in it.
  6. 2 Guys Photo – Gorgeous photos, unique in their perspective, accompanied by thoughtful written commentary – plus practical help if needed.
  7. Vox Nova – Thoughtful dialogue on spiritual matters.
  8. Motherhood is an Art – A great mix of the personal and professional aspects of motherhood (in other words what it means to us and what we need to be to our kids).
  9. Reluctant Mom – There is beauty in her honesty and in others’ seeing they are not the only non-PollyAnna momma.
  10. Blue Bicicletta – An inspiring intersection of graphic art and reflections on life.
And now for the interview portion of the show:

1. Favourite Colour:

Purple has always been my go-to answer, but lately I’ve been leaning toward persimmon reds and orange – trying to be bold in this phase of life, I guess.

2. Favourite Animal

Birds?  I’ve had many dreams where I fly; I love watching robins put their heads down and run; they also have metaphorical meaning for my husband and me.

3. Favourite Number

Three (also the # of this question – should I play it in the lotto?)

4. Favourite Non-Alcoholic Drink:

Lemonade and iced tea combination at the Vietnamese restaurant at which my writing group meets.

5. Favourite Alcoholic Drink

Bellini (champagne and peach nectar – of the gods!) – and perhaps another reason you and I are doppelgangers, Sherri?

6. Facebook or Twitter?

As I am one of the three remaining people on earth who does not have a Smartphone (and feel Twitter is pointless without one) – Facebook

7. My Passions

Uh, no pressure.  Loving my husband.  Loving my children.  Writing.  Burning a hole in my corner of the universe.

8. Giving or Receiving Gifts?

Giving, definitely.

9. Favourite City

Roma or New York City

10. Favourite TV Show

In a disturbingly, Kramer-it’s-hideously-scary-yet-I-cannot-look-away sort of way, Hunted, which I am so sad to say will not continue in a collaboration between the BBC and Cinemax.  Still waiting anxiously for its next incarnation, though.

Now it’s your turn to go blow sunshine up someone else’s @$#, 😉

Long Live the Lieb!

So I’ve been slacking this Lent and on week second-to-last made a half-hearted attempt at giving up something.  Actually,  my schedule made it for me.  I’d noticed that the last few Sundays I hadn’t been logging on / checking in on my blog, Facebook, e-mail – all that fun stuff that sucks up inordinate amounts of time.  I’d been filling my time with family, house stuff, etc.  And since this occurred on the day of rest, I saw it as a sign that perhaps I should leave that time untouched by multi-media’s dirty little mitts.  Yes, it is a bit rationalization.  No, I didn’t put it to particularly good use in praying or praising the Lord.  (Though my husband and I did take up watching Mark Burnett’s interpretation of the Bible – ha!)  I did, however, want to check my stats and inane Facebook updates more than ever. Has my soul grown by fighting that temptation?

Perhaps.

Perhaps the Lord has rewarded me!  This past Sunday afternoon, I was speaking on the phone with my mother.  She mentioned reading my latest posts and excitedly announced that I’d gotten an award.  What?  You have to go on and check, she exclaimed.  But it’s Sunday . . .

Waiting until Monday morning to read the exciting news made my nomination for The Liebster Award that much sweeter.  Who deemed me worthy enough?  Which of my readers enjoyed my writing enough to choose me amongst all those out there?

Tieshka, that’s who!

Many, many thanks to Tieshka for awarding me with The Liebster Award.  I found her blog, Jardin Luxembourg, by way of her post about a micro-brewery tour with friends.  A weekend getaway tasting small batch, hand-crafted beer?  Sign me up.  And she even hiked the next day and managed to think about cleaning her house.  She may be my hero.

She shared the rules of The Liebster Award with me:2818120_orig

  1. Proudly display The Liebster badge!
  2. Thank the person who nominated you.
  3. Share eleven random things about yourself.
  4. Nominate eleven blogs/bloggers worthy of the award (who also happen to have less than 200 followers).
  5. Answer the eleven questions asked of you.
  6. Pose eleven questions to your nominees.

So, on to the sharing of eleven random things about myself . . .

1. I’m thinking right now that random is easier said than done.

2.  I wear orthotics (which is a fun word to say).

3.  I really don’t like Justin Bieber but thought those with Bieber fever might appreciate my play on words in the title.

4.  Plus, I love alliteration!

5.  I am a word geek, in case you couldn’t tell.

6.  I apparently intimidated a waitress last night when she tried to take away my half-eaten dessert thinking I was done.  I was not.

7.  I just bought a bird cage, but do not, nor plan to, own any birds.

8.  I have been in a writers’ group for nearly two years now.

9.  My new favorite driving music is The Lion’s Roar by First Aid Kit (Thanks, D!)

10.  I want a chain saw.

11.  I am not a psycho-killer, Qu’est-ce que c’est

And in the event that they still want to associate with me after that, I’d like to nominate the following blogs for The Liebster Award:

The eleven questions Tieshka offered for me to answer:

1. How many siblings do you have, or are you an only child?  I am an only child.

2. What is your favorite vacation spot?  Alone with my husband, preferably with a bottle of wine.

3. Are you afraid of heights?  The edges of them!

4. Can you swim for at least half a mile?  Um, no.

5. Which blog have you enjoyed writing most (topic)?  Chopping Potatoes.

6. What two foods do you detest?  Vegamite (sorry to my Australian friends) and anything so spicy it makes my nose run.

7. What is your favorite sport?  To play?  Basketball.

8. Would you rather wash dishes or take out the trash?  Surprisingly, wash dishes, though you wouldn’t be able to tell looking at my kitchen sink!

9. Have you ever traveled outside of the country you live in?  Yes.

10. What is your favorite cartoon (or used to be when you were a child)?  Garfield.

11. Do you prefer to use a PC or Mac computer?  I am a Mac convert.

Hmmm . . . now what do I wish to know about you?  I feel like I have to channel my former self circa grade eleven/sixteen years old.  It is fun, though!

1.  Why did you start your blog?

2.  What’s your grandest dream?

3.  What’s your favorite color?

4.  Name the favorite room in your home and why.

5.  What’s your favorite word?  Okay, two – I know it’s hard to choose.

6.  What do you put off in order to write?

7.  What do you do instead of writing?

8.  Where’s your favorite spot to write?

9.  Have you ever been to Spain?

10.  What’s the last meal you cooked?

11.  What’s the last song that got stuck in your head?

Thank you to all the bloggers whose writing inspires and thoughts provoke.  I hope you accept and share the blog love.  For, I love reading.

Long Live the Lieb!

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