Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Beautiful Blogger Award

Al over at Publish or Perish and Old Kitty at Ten lives and second chances bestowed me with this wonderful award.
Thank you so much Al. Thank you Old Kitty.

The rules to the award are: link to the person/persons who graciously nominated me for this award; share seven interesting things about oneself; and nominate seven beautiful bloggers.

After reading all the wonderful and interesting things some of you have shared I find myself wanting and rather boring. I trawled the depths of memory to find seven things that could be considered interesting.


1. A professional photographer decided I was a photogenic child. He took a beautiful photo of me and tried to convince the parents to allow me model for an advertisement/model agency he was with. My parents though thrilled would not agree. This photographer, called once a year while we lived in NY and continued to snap his camera in my direction. The parents never changed their minds though. I have two or three of those photos but I think the majority are in a lost/misplaced family album. Just think,I might have been the next Shirley Temple. Well a girl can dream can't she! :)

2. While attending grade school in Chicago there was a charity drive. The object was to collect soap for Africa. So off I went, knocking from door to door. It turns out, I collected the most soap in the whole Chicago area. This accomplishment rendered me an interview on the radio. The parents allowed this foray into the public eye. My fifteen minutes of fame!

3. I crossed the Atlantic six times by the time I was sixteen. My first journey was by sea. The rest by air.

4. After seeing someone on television running on a barrel down a river or on a lake, I decided to give it a try. Taking a barrel out on the lake I tried to stay upright as I turned it under my feet. I was quite good at it too, until I fell into the lake that is. This meant I had to go to my best friend's house to dry my clothes before I could go home. Parents don't need to know everything.
Harold Llyod or Charlie Chaplin had nothing on me!!

5. When I worked in Dublin, I was an elected union representative. My first AGM was held in the Shelbourne Hotel where I gave a five minute speech.
I was a nervous wreck. The audience included a number of government ministers, one of which was the Minister of Finance. No I am not going to tell you which one! I have no intention of putting years on myself!

6. I was involved in fund raising to bring children from Northern Ireland on holidays to the south. I also chaperoned the groups of children.

7. Now here is something that will surprise any of you who have been reading my blog for any length of time. I got my driving license on my very first attempt! I know, I am still in shock!and no there was no brown envelope involved.

Time to pass the baton onto seven Beautiful Bloggers.
Looking forward to reading the interesting doings in your lives.

1. From My Kitchen Table
2. Sort of writing
3. Crystal Jigsaw
4. Jane obsessed with Jane
5. The Streaming Now
6. Tales of Extraordinary Ordinariness
7. Substitute Teacher’s Saga

Friday, March 26, 2010

All Smiles Today!

It is a Glorious Friday indeed. Today the postman arrived with my competition winnings from Kathryn at Crystal Jigsaw!

It is a beautiful book written by Kathryn who was kind enough to inscribe it for me! Thank you Kathyrn and big hugs and thanks to Amy, who pulled my name from the hat.

I received a second package in the post today. I swear it feels like all my birthdays have come together. I am positively giddy. My wonderful and thoughtful oldest child, Rian (Irish pronunciation) heard Fintan O'Toole being interviewed on NPR recently about his book "Ship of Fools." He ordered a copy of the book and had it sent to me. I ask you, isn't he a sweetheart. So on this Glorious Friday, the postman delivered two wonderful packages.

I just can't stop smiling. Thank you Kathryn! Thank you Amy! Thank you Rian!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Brain Blank

I am suffering from a malady I can only describe as Brain Blank. It started Sunday and like a nasty cold, I just can’t shake it.

I had a very short writing Friday this week. I unwittingly offered to help with the Materials Science information table at an orientation on Friday afternoon. It only ran for two hours, but I forgot to add set-up and pull-down time to the equation. I started my half Glorious Friday working on poems due for my writing class. I watched the time, setting and resetting the alarm, trying to squeeze every last second of writing time I could into my morning. Finally I had to succumb and spent the next three quarters of an hour rushing about like a bat out of hell. Once showered and dressed, I remembered I also offered to bring sweets for orientation hand-outs. Cursing myself under my breath for my accommodating suggestions, I grabbed the car keys and ran out the door, with barely a goodbye to a very confused Louie. Now I am not the best driver in the world and when you add rush to the mix something is bound to happen. As I attempted to back out of the driveway I accidentally veered into the grass, or rather mud. This maneuver left two massive ruts where level ground should be. OOPPPS!

After much huffing and puffing I eventually got out of the driveway, arrived at the shop in one piece and picked up the sweets. Returning to the driveway, I had ten minutes to walk to work. Keeping my eyes averted from the disturbing state of my front garden, I half galloped to campus, arriving breathless, disheveled but on time! Yeah me!

I smiled at people and when not answering questions about what our major was, what jobs a student could hope for and the one most parents asked, “How much would you earn?” I was making lists in my head. Grocery shopping, make up the beds, vacuum, dust, scour bathrooms, make dinner, oh back pedal, they can go out for dinner tonight! Where was Brain Blank then I ask you!! Once the orientation was over, I galloped home.(note all the galloping!) There was much to do; my children were coming home for the weekend. I raced around duster in one hand, vacuum in the other. It was a sight to behold.

The weekend was full and busy. I cooked, washed up, hung up coats left strun on the back of whatever chair was nearest the door, replaced wet towels on an hourly basis and tripped over discarded shoes. We sat around the table together for the first time since St. Stephens Day for breakfasts and dinners and took walks on the local trail. The house was full of life and laughter again. Sunday came and one by one they left. The house was quiet and Louie panned out from all the company, attention and frolicking about.

Now I had the time to write. I turned on Hattie, my computer, put my hands on the keys and nothing. I wasn’t too worried. After all it had been a hectic weekend, I was tired and a little lonely. Monday came, again nothing. By Tuesday I began to panic. I could not conjure up one single word or thought to write about. Frantically I searched the tiny crevices of my brain and nothing, nothing but blank wordlessness. Brain Blank had taken hold. Gripped by fear I wondered, am I washed up, used up? Could I be at the end of writing career, before it even started?

Will the words ever come back???

Help! I’m desperate! Does anyone have an antidote for Brain Blank?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

It's A Competition!

Karen Jones Gowen author of "Uncut Diamonds" and "Farm Girl" over at Coming Down the Mountain: From Reclusive Writer to Published Author is running a competition. Check out her blog and be in for a chance to win one of her wonderful books. Good Luck! Happy Tuesday.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I Won! I Won!

When I turned Iris the Ipod on this morning to check my email I found this message:

Hi Ann, you've won a copy of my children's book - please can you email your address to me crystal.jigsaw
I'll send it off asap.
Thanks, CJ xx

I am still in shock. I won!!!
OK time to get a grip.

Kathryn over at Crystal Jigsaw ran a competition. All you had to do was leave a comment on her blog. Commenter's names were placed in a hat, and Amy her beautiful daughter and my new good luck charm drew the five winning names. The prize...a children's book written by Kathryn. How great is that!

Check out Kathryn's vlog of the proceedings. Didn't Amy do a super job!! Well of course she did. She pulled my name out of the hat.

Friday, March 12, 2010

We're Back

Late yesterday I finally got my home computer back! By seven o'clock the old girl was hooked up and ready to run. Once again I am able to read blogs and write comments in comfort. Bliss! I have been without "Hattie".....stop laughing, I know there are a lot of you out there who have named your computers! I digress, as I was saying poor Hattie became very ill and had to go to the doctor for a cure.

After two and a half weeks Hattie has returned home, feeling like an almost new computer. During her absence I was reduced to using the IPod and my work computer during break times, to read and comment on all your fabulous blogs. My Ipod, (no I am not going to tell you her name!) has sighed in relief as it will no longer be expected to regularly check my email, facebook and on occasion log into Twitter at the breakfast table! These past weeks have been trying and difficult for all three of us!

I did a post a few weeks ago about my Glorious Fridays' missing two in a row due to work commitments. When I wrote that post little did I know another two Fridays were going to go by the wayside.

My Fridays' were not a total loss, I did take pen to paper. My writing class assignments had to completed and let me tell you that was one H E hockey sticks of a challenge. Hattie is home and very relieved no new shiny upstart took her cosy corner on my desk.

Just wanted to let you know even though my comments have been sporadic I have been reading your blogs.
Yes fellow bloggers and readers Hattie and I are back!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I'm Just Chuffed!

I received this award from Old Kitty at
Ten lives and second chances Thank you so much Old Kitty!

This award requires I tell six untruths about myself and one half truth. You get to guess which is the half truth. Then I nominate and pass the award onto seven blogs. I do hope I can come up with six untruths....
Yeah like that would be hard for me!!!Trailershut.com

So here we go

1. I have beautiful long shapely natural nails, long glossy hair and blemish free skin. Those movie beauties have nothing on me.

2. I hate cakes immersed in any type of liqueur or any other form of alcohol. Especially Black Forest Gateau.

3. I wear the same dress size I did twenty years ago.

4. I just love, love, love garden peas.

5. I am just oozing with driving confidence . So much so I really should be an Indy Race Car Driver. I would win all around me.

6. I am not afraid of sharks, snakes, rodents and bears. After all I am not a scaredy cat.....

7. I hate cherries in any form. Cherries in Liquers, chocolate covered cherries, fresh off the tree, in jam, in pies etc etc.

Well that makes seven. Yes I know it's Lent...but it was an award and I had to do it!!! Can you guess the red herring.

My seven nominees are:

From My Kitchen Table
sort of witty
Jane Obsessed with Jane
Coming Down the Mountain: From Reclusive Writer to Published
Blissfully Unaware Lounge Singer
Crazy Jane
Have fun!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Mother Nature Won't Fool Me Again!

The thaw has started, snow banks are receding and temperatures are rising slightly. The sun is shining in a blue cloudless sky, heralding the arrival of March. I spotted two blue jays in flight today and a hawk perched on a still bare tree bough. The air is filled with the wonderful sweet sounds of birdsong welcoming the brighter longer days. The birds no longer needing to conserve all their energy to survive the bitterness of winter. The sun feels warmer as it shines brightly in the sky and the days noticeably longer. Now the sun rather than street lights illuminate my walk to and from work. All signs of an eagerly awaited Spring. Past years have taught me not to get overly excited by these signs. Why? Because there is the March blizzard yet to come. The blizzard that has visited faithfully every March I have been here. The blizzard that interrupts my joy in the arrival of spring. The little practical joke Mother Nature plays every March making a body wonder if winter will ever release its grip.

The morning temperatures are now averaging about 14F/-10C with highs of 34F/1C. It has warmed up. Still I was unprepared to see the attire of a number of students as they made their way to class. My first encounter, a young woman walking across campus on her way to an 8AM class in flip-flops. No socks, No jacket, bare little piggies in flip flops! Making my way towards the Science building lo and behold two young men hurrying into the building, no socks, legs bare and exposed to the elements in shorts no less. I was flabbergasted. We were only in the grip of winter bitterness yesterday! I am still donning the quilted, down filled, ankle length coat, furry hat, extra large red wool scarf that is double wrapped around my neck and face, fur lined boots and tinsulate gloves. I have reduced my outer wear with this warming. I am no longer wearing the fur lined mittens over my gloves, the second scarf and bulky wool cardigan under my coat. I have also cast aside the woolly socks. This is as much as I am willing to shed for the moment. I have no intention of being caught off guard again. After all the Blizzard is coming.