Friday, 19 February 2010

A Blog Award!

I am – as they say in these parts – chuffed to pieces to have been nominated for a blog award by Tina at Tina’s Weight Loss Journey (Oregon USA), and with a disgusting lack of modesty I have been saying to friends “Guess what, I’ve got a blog award!”  Thank you so much Tina for this gesture of faith, and for the very nice accolade.

I’ll pass on the instructions to the next nominees first, then tell you about my choices:

• Thank the person who nominated you for this award
• Copy the award and post it in your blog
• Link to the blog of the person who nominated you
• Tell seven interesting things about yourself
• Nominate seven bloggers
• Post links to the blogs of your nominees

I’m delighted to nominate seven of my favourite blogs, and have chewed my nails to the quick in trying to decide which seven.  Not all are bandits. Among others, Tina has nominated Simone at The Bottom of the Ironing Basket, (London UK), and Bunny at Weightloss Expedition (Cambridge, UK) another two favourites of mine – so there go three people I would have nominated myself… although that gives me three spare….

All my choices are wonderful, brave, feisty women who shoot straight from the hip and make me laugh at the screen as I read their perky posts.

1.  Take Helen from Reddirt Woman (Oklahoma USA), who has had a very interesting life, and a bumpy ride in one way and another, and yet shares it with us with a quip and a self-mocking smile.  She’s the sort of person I can imagine being thrown from a horse, and despite hurting herself makes it look amusing, then picks herself up and dusts herself down and gets back on again (while cursing the horse).

2.  Cara at The Dash (Perth, Australia), a lady with a very big heart and a rueful turn of phrase – usually turned against herself – a very successful bandit with (thank goodness) a few foodie failings, and lucky to have a loving husband and family.  She’s incredibly supportive to the rest of us bandits, and probably should have the special award for making the most comments on other blogs – and they’re always warmly written and encouraging.

3.  If I told that you that Shaggs at Food Junkie to Fabulous! (Melbourne, Australia) makes me cry, just check out the most recent post she’s got on at the moment (18 Feb) and you’ll see what I mean.  She writes so well, and pulls you along with her when she’s head first into one of her witty stories, or is having a rant about something.  There’s the other side of course, when she’s in total despair because she feels every other bandit is doing better than she is, and there’s no consoling her – and yet she’s lost an enormous amount of weight in a short time.  She’s probably forgotten about her earlier despair…

4.  Nola at From Here to Anxiety (Tasmania, Australia) is another bandit for whom you need to strap your sides to the chair when you read her, so that they don’t split.  It’s not just that she knows how to tell a funny story, extraordinary things keep on happening to her which are also high drama - for goodness sake, go and find out for yourselves.  Another lady with a big heart, whose experiences with the lapband are told in glorious technicolour, and therefore are fantastically useful to newbies.
5.  Tracey, in Time to Downsize (Queensland, Australia), whose infectious joy of living is in itself inspiring, has been very successful with her lapband up until the happy appearance of her baby daughter, when it had to be (temporarily) removed.  She tells her story in a way that is not only interesting, but is very useful to other bandits, and at times also full of high drama.  Her tooth abscess while pregnant, during which she refused any medication for the sake of her baby, makes you clutch at your jaw with both hands in sympathy as you read it, not to mention the lapband problems after the baby was born.

6.  Zanna at The Tart who Travels, (Central Queensland, Australia) is a devoted world traveller (with lovely sounding husband Bloss).  She has an awesome single mindedness when it comes to controlling her weight, and is a very entertaining writer.  I love her travel photos, and much appreciate her invariable support.  When you read her you get the strong impression that she has a fun life.

7.  Sylvia at The First Day of the Rest of my Life (South Dakota, USA) sounds like a superbly loyal and gentle friend with a supportive husband who like the rest of us struggles with her lapband but has found time to be interested in a lot of things, such as quilting, and has more than one blog.  The overpowering sense you get when you read her blog is her kindness and sensitivity.

That’s the seven, but there are many more who I feel to be good friends, and many more are from the Southern hemisphere.

Tina who nominated me is a determined bandit who tells it like it is – when you read her you’re on that rollercoaster with her, clinging to the sides.  I love her honesty, and what’s not to like in a person who wears odd socks and is willing to tackle anything to get things done, including working on the roof of her house and prepared to hang from the guttering by her fingernails?  Bunny’s health problems are horrendous; I defy anyone reading it not to surreptitiously cross their legs.  She tells it bravely, and at the very least makes you stop complaining for at least five minutes about how tough weight loss is.  Simone’s blog is a happy one with stunning fashion photographs – and others too – combined with thought provoking ideas, and has a large following, partly because she is kind and thoughtful herself.

What draws me to these lovely people is not merely that their blogs are inspirational, interesting and well written, but also their generous willingness to support people like us who – to be frank – need it.  We started our blogs as part of a determination to change our lives for the better, and the partial anonymity afforded by this (very self-indulgent) means of communication has encouraged us to be as honest as possible.  Validation by bandits in the same situation as ourselves is more precious than I could ever express.


I will try to tell you seven interesting things about myself, but I think it’s more a question of telling you seven things about myself - and then try to make them interesting.

1.  I have played the guitar since I was ten
This is a picture of my cousins, and I’m the one with the guitar (aged 14 wearing a hat ‘borrowed’ from my father, which he never got back) sitting by the pool at the enchantingly wild farm (“El Chorro” – the waterfall) where I spent most of my childhood holidays in the Valle de Calamuchita, Córdoba, Argentina.  The pool had its own stream flowing in one end and out the other, so was always crystal clear, however there was no fancy blue paint round the sides, so the water looked black as pitch and I was a bit scared of its 3m dark depths.  I learned to swim here at age 4 or so because I was too spooked not to!

I first saw another child play the guitar when I was 10, was instantly besotted, and gave my parents no peace until I got it for Christmas in 1963.  At 2 a.m. on Christmas Eve (and I was still refusing to switch off the light) I heard my father say to my mother “for goodness sake let the child go downstairs to see the presents or nobody will get any sleep”.  Later I was told that they looked in on me when I had at last stopped talking, and I was fast asleep in bed with my arms around the guitar-shaped package.  I was taught solfa and Argentine folk music, teaching myself Joan Baez songs later on.  It was a great ice-breaker for a shy and self-conscious teenager with a stutter, because I didn’t stutter when I sang, and I was always asked to play, which gave me confidence. 

Playing the guitar at a party in Argentina is a skill akin to smoking a peace-pipe:  a lot of people know how to play, so the guitar is passed companionably from one to another and everybody wants to sing – there’s no hint of it being a concert as it would be in Britain, with people listening quietly and clapping politely after each song.

2.  Photography is my “belovéd hobby”

Both pix:  Kuramathi, The Maldives

Bristol Gilbert & Sullivan Society:
The Pirates of Penzance

I enjoy candid portraits and landscapes, and have tackled (a lot of) rugby and pictures taken at dress rehearsals of amateur productions here in Bristol.  I’ve recently acquired a horribly extravagant scanner for negatives and slides, so in due course I’m hoping to share with you pictures I’ve taken over the years.

3.  I – er – can write backwards.  Properly I mean.

(“Lonicera, Bandit Country, Blogland”)

I’m left-handed, and when bored in class one afternoon as a child I realised that I could write backwards with my left hand (though not with my right, funnily enough).  I also taught myself to write with my right hand, and today use them both equally.  At dinner parties some times when we’re all showing off, I write with both hands at the same time – backwards with my left and forwards with my right (it has to be the same thing, of course or my brain would scramble).  When I write backwards it’s instinctive, for example when writing the above this afternoon, I started thinking about doing the curly capital L backwards and found I couldn’t do it, and had to start again.

4.  Patagonia

Provincia de Río Negro

Estancia Huanuluán, Provincia de Río Negro

I’ve already written at length about my adventures there, born of a fascination with it after reading and then translating a book written by a young English girl who lived there in the twenties.  I fervently hope my association with that lovely part of the world will continue, as I’ve only just scratched the surface of what I want to learn about it.

5.  My cats


Banjo and Rusty are my darlings.  Honestly, I don’t mind having terrible nightmares about dragging myself through undergrowth knowing there’s someone after me, (last night actually) and waking up to realise that Rusty is nestled on my chest and I can’t breathe.  And how lazy of me to mind tidying my desk 10 minutes after the last time because Banjo has plonked himself down on it and kicked annoying papers in all directions as he hunkers down as best he can, waiting for me to finish typing for the night and vacate the chair he wants to sleep on (in the cat world this is known as “queueing”).

6.  I hate/loathe/detest....

(i)    Getting up early, going to bed early;
(ii)   Smoked haddock (kedgeree = aaargh!); tea with milk
       (can just about stand black tea); raw onion;
(iii)  Peppermint, liquorice, &
       blackcurrant flavoured anything;
(iv)  Lies, intolerance/extremism, unkindness, cruelty
      – both wanton and thoughtless - particularly to children
      and animals;
(v)   Disloyalty, dishonesty, obfuscation, injustice, bigotry;
(vi)  Show-offs, poor hygiene;
(vii) The Ariel font!

7.  I love....... 
(apart from what has been mentioned above, specific people and writing in my blog)

(i)    Typing on a PC & learning about manipulating
       photographs electronically;
(ii)   People who are straight and true;
(iii)  All the wrong foods...;
(iv)  Swimming in crystal clear water on a warm day and
       the feel of a gentle breeze on my skin and in my hair;
(v)   All shades of blue and green, particularly
       the sun seen through green leaves;
(vi)  The serenity that comes from listening to
       the right music at the right time;
(vii) The star-studded night sky of Patagonia,
       and particularly the Southern Cross.

Long winded - ME???  Who said that???



THE DASH! said...

Hi Caroline,
Wow - what a beautiful post. I love your list of loves/hates - I always feel these kinds of things help us to know you more and I've often wished you lived closer - I think we would become good friends.
Thanks so much for your sweet words on the nomination. You are a darling. Have yourself a great weekend.
Cara x

Tina said...

woohoo :) I'm glad i got to know more about you..The award worked I think. And thanks for the daisies-they are my favorite.

Zanna, travelling tart said...

Oh Caroline - thank you so much for the award and your kind words. I loved reading these interesting snippets about you - and I had figured you must be very keen on photography by the standard of your photos. I too am a left hander but I can't do clever things like you - but I do write like a right handed person - ie I turn the paper rather than my hand. Will get my act together tomorrow and do my post. Have a lovely weekend Zxx
ps met some bloggers in NZ once who thought that Bloss was his real name - it's actually Craig - and his nicknames for me vary between Possie and Mary - there a story behind that - might share it in my seven snippets.

Beth said...

A nomination??? How exciting! I didn't know such things existed! It's got to feel SO good knowing that people appreciate what you have to say. I read more than I comment on, and yours IS worth nominating. Congratulations!!

Bunny said...

ahhh! wonderful interesting post. I LOVE that you can write backwards how utterly excellent is that? I would love to have that talent.

Thanks for your kids words too hunny, I appreciate it. I am a bit of a lurker right now, but am gonna get more active, and we all have to persuade Tina and her family to stay with me in June ok? Its a mission!! Maybe we can have a big get together that would be awesome.
Anyway, hugs and kisses etc

Lonicera said...

Thanks for the lovely comments!

Simone said...

Thank you so much Caroline, your words mean more to me than you can possibly imagine, you really are kind.

Thank you too for your kind words to me yesterday, just when I needed it.


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