The Sunshine Blogger Award

Thank you, Greta, for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award. I have resonated with Greta’s blogs because she writes about many things that are important to me. Her blogs are full of sunshine, as well as Sonshine. Take a peek for yourself!  The Beautiful Hart Project

Greta’s questions for me:

  1. What is your greatest passion?

I would rather write than sleep or eat! I say that only because I have made those choices from time to time.

  1. What are your greatest abilities?

Some of my relatives say I can get anyone involved in a conversation. It’s easy for me to relate to people. I’d like to be known for my writing. That’s what people say about me and what I’d like to say about myself. In reality, I’m probably best at sight reading classical piano music and sight reading choral music.

  1. How do you apply your greatest passions and abilities?

I talk whenever I’m within four feet of another person, and I write something almost every day. Occasionally I sit at the piano and play whatever I open a book to, and I always sing in church. I often start with the soprano line on the first verse of a hymn and switch to another part for other verses. I usually end with tenor on the last verse.

  1. How do you unwind from a hectic day?

I’m retired, so I don’t have hectic days any more.

  1. If you had to choose one: reading or writing, which would you choose? 

Writing wins, hands down. Well of course, my hands are down on the keyboard.

  1. What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned? 

I’ve learned that loving — God and people, in that order, — is the most important thing in life.

I nominate Rachel (brillteen.com) for the Sunshine Blogger Award. We share a love of baking and photography. Rachel is in a very different age category from me, and I enjoy her fresh views.

There are many blogs I enjoy following, but I nominated eleven of them for the Infinity Dreams Award. These things take a fair bit of time, especially if you are a bit tech intimidated as I am. I don’t think they would appreciate other nominations. Hopefully, Rachel won’t mind, although she has already participated as a Versatile Blogger and an Infinity Dreamer.

Questions for Rachel

  • Name the most complicated recipe you’ve used to make a dessert.
  • How did you become interested in photography?
  • Do you have hobbies other than baking and photography?
  • Where would you like to go on holiday?
  • If you like to read, what kinds of things do you like?
  • Are you a morning person or a night owl?

The Rules:

* Thank the person who nominated you.

* Answer the questions from the person who has nominated you.

* Nominate some other bloggers for this award.

* Write the same amount of questions for the bloggers you have nominated.

* Notify the bloggers you have nominated.

Our Nephew, the Author

Rumor had it that our nephew Lars Brownworth made a best seller list. When I saw him yesterday, I asked where to find it. It was on a monthly list from the New York Times under the category Expeditions, Disasters, and Adventures. His book The Sea Wolves about Vikings was number 7 for June. I presume it will still be online until July 1. I tried to copy and paste it here, but it wasn’t readable. If you want to see it yourself, go to the New York Times web site under best sellers. The monthly categories are listed on the left side of the page.

061414 Catherine LarsI’m bursting with pride in his accomplishment. I have a feeling many of our family members and friends have done noteworthy things that have not been publicized. If anyone has good news, please share so that we can shout it from the rooftop. On second thought, we’ll use a WordPress blog to reach more people.

Winner, It’s Pooh

Logan, who lives across the street, celebrated his fifth birthday with a Pooh party. The boy was totally delightful – excited, exuberant, and polite! The excitement had been building all day until dinner time, yet he didn’t have a meltdown from all the stress. I loved watching him pin the tail on Eeyore. He was tempted to peek around the blindfold, but he stuck to the rules. He and his little niece took turns, then they included Dennis who is six feet tall. Eeyore was about two feet off the floor, so Dennis spun around on his knees before aiming. After half an hour or so, Logan wanted to pin on more tails with just as much excitement as the first time. That little boy was a winner.

062415 Pin tail on Eeyore  062415 Dennis 6 feet tall kneels to pin tail

Logan’s mom took the cake with all the decorations and special food. Pooh presided over the festivities from his perch on the chandelier. On the table were cupcake liners with honeycomb cereal, pretzels that might have been Pooh sticks, tiny bear cookies, and the birthday cake. The cake represented a honey jar complete with marshmallow bees and tiger tail candles. Shawn’s artistic ability was much in evidence.

062415 Bob Shawn Pooh on light  062415 Pooh bookends

062415 Logan with honey pot cake

While Logan was playing, his dad readied the tablet, which was his big gift. Bob downloaded a disk, installed the batteries, and had it ready to play with before Logan got ready for bed. We were very pleased to have been included in this special celebration.

062415 Bob AM Logan JC
John and I with Logan

062415 Dennis with broken party favor

Day 11, Blogging101: Why I Chose my Blog Title

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “All About Me.”

Explain why you chose your blog’s title and what it means to you.

Mehrling Muse, the name of my blog, seemed to suit me. I often do things backwards, so starting with my last name seemed appropriate. I like to make people smile, so something aMUSing seemed appropriate. We had well-loved cats years ago, and we heard mew, mew, MEWS all day long. Finally, I am a MUSician. You know now that I like to pun. This was written in five minutes, because we are celebrating Father’s Day one day late with our son.

The assignment today went on about writer’s block. I’ve read about it but rarely experienced it. Of course, there is a difference in writing when you feel like it and writing something to order. Many times I’ve started writing by saying I had nothing to write about, and then I filled a page or so with ramblings. Words swirl around in my head constantly, and sometimes they just have to burst out. Blogging is the perfect medium for me.

A Moving Visit with Sneaky Ad for WordPress

061915 Steve Chris JC
Steve, Christ, and John

We had a great, short visit with John’s sister Chris and Steve. This is a tribute to their powers of concentration, rather than anything we did. They were in the middle of moving from Pennsylvania to South Carolina. Originally they planned to be here for three or four days, but the arrival of the moving van was advanced. They would be here only one night. You know their minds must have been racing ahead, mentally placing furniture in various rooms and trying to remember where they packed the coffee pot. You wouldn’t have known it from their conversation.

Chris has yet to see the house. She couldn’t be there when Steve was looking at it, so there was a flurry of phone calls and pictures before he signed the deal. We learned they were used to that. The same thing happened when they moved from Long Island to Morgantown, PA.

I’m currently taking the free on-line course Blogging101 given by WordPress. This is one of those hidden ads in plain sight, as you might see in a newspaper or magazine. Steve made a statement that Southern Living magazine has great tips on gardening, but he had not noticed answers to gritty questions like keeping a lawn looking great when the weeds come up. After they left, I leafed through the magazine on our counter. The editor wrote about the garden column in the current issue, giving the blog address as southernliving.com/grumpy. (Copy and paste that in your web browser.) Lo and behold! The blog is hosted by none other than WordPress! Hooray for the home team!

Chris and Steve left mid-morning, expecting the trip to take less than five hours to get to their new home. John and I are still marveling at the state of their cars. We peered in and exclaimed, “You can’t be moving! You can still see out of the back of your cars!”

They knew how to move the right way. All their belongings, except for a few items, were on the truck. We were the opposite. We made numerous trips in the big Jeep, back and forth, always loaded to the gunwales. The vehicle probably looked like a chicken coop – untidy, raggedy, with feathers flying out the windows. Several times John made a hasty sign that we could see through a rear window, “Do not open.” That was a warning that the window was booby-trapped and would spill out possessions if you made a mistake and opened it. I still think that some of the items we never found must have leaked out. Now, almost a year later, I’m often surprised to look in the rearview mirror and see the road behind me.

Riveting Post Yesterday: Blogging101 Day 9

Yesterday I left a message at The TechShroom Blog because I read and commented on several of her posts. If you wonder about modern technical mysteries, this is a marvelous blog to follow. I began chatting about recovering a note in Evernote.

“Thank you for writing about the trash in Evernote. I’m trying to use the app for notes and lists. The more you use it, the easier it gets, but I haven’t “arrived” yet. I’m glad to know you can recover files.”

I had to continue looking at other posts:

“After I read this post, I scrolled down and couldn’t stop reading. Your writing drew me like a magnet.”

I was totally hooked when she wrote about Skype:

“You wrote about Skype, and I use it often to talk to my daughter in Denmark. How different that is to the way I communicated with my parents! They lived in Tennessee, and I was in New York after John and I married in 1964. My mom and I wrote letters because none of us felt we could burn money calling long distance.”

After that I got carried away when I saw a post about her son’s wedding in England:

“I enjoyed reading about your son’s wedding. We lived in England from 1980 to 1982 and loved it. Our children were young, so we weren’t involved in any wedding while we lived there, but our house was just around the corner from a church. Somewhere in a box I have a bit of wedding confetti, kept because it was so different from ours in the states.”

I explained why I might not read her blog every day:

“We are going to have house guests throughout the summer, but I hope to go back and read your posts as time permits.”

My husband’s sister and her husband are due to arrive in our driveway at any moment, and I want to finish this and publish it, pronto!

Infinity Dreams Blog Award

infinitydreamsaward

Hey there, blog world. My first ever blog award! Thank you to Word Wacker for nominating me for the Infinity Dreams Award. Its purpose is to get bloggers more connected with each other. Since I’m working on the Blogging 101 course through Blogging University at WordPress, it seems like that’s a good place to begin looking for more new connections.

The rules:

  1. Thank and follow the blog that nominated you.
  2. Tell us 11 facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the questions that were set for you to answer.
  4. Nominate 11 bloggers and set questions for them.

Eleven facts about myself:

  1. I am a cheerful chocoholic.
  2. One summer the high school teacher who taught business courses loaned me a typing textbook. Using it was the best DIY project I ever did.
  3. I love to read aloud to children; being read to is agony.
  4. Sight reading music on the piano is tremendous fun for me, but I cannot play by ear.
  5. I never lost my Southern accent while living in New York for 50 years.
  6. For 20 years I sewed all the clothes I wore until I discovered I could buy them cheaper ready made.
  7. I transcribed Braille with a stylus and slate for several years. Sending materials for the blind never required postage, even between England and the US.
  8. Decorating birthday cakes was a hobby I enjoyed when my children were young.
  9. Learning to identify birds and trees has been a life-long challenge. Being self-taught, I make a lot of mistakes.
  10. I adore falling water, as long as it’s not from a dripping faucet. There are five fountains in our house, three outside and two inside.
  11. I walk two miles a day, this being a most pleasant exercise in the mountains of North Carolina.

The questions set for me:

  1. Are you a morning person or a night person?

I’m such a morning person that my initials before and after marriage were AM!

  1. What is your favorite TV show (current or past, broadcast or cable or streaming)?

British comedies are my favorites. Things like To the Manor Born.

  1. What was/is your favorite subject in school? How about your least favorite?

English was probably my favorite. I did well in math, but I didn’t have an affinity for it.

  1. What is your favorite beverage to sip on a quiet evening?

Hot chocolate, but I indulge in that luxury only about five times a year.

  1. If you could magically get the answer to one question, what would that question be?

I would ask everyone I meet, “Would you tell me your life story? There is bound to be something fascinating about you and your experiences.”

  1. What kind of music or radio station do you listen to most often? (If you don’t listen, why not?)

I listen to Baroque, Renaissance, 20th century, New Age, and Celtic music.

  1. What is something about you that most people would find surprising?

I talk to animals. This morning I spoke to four sheep and a lamb in a pasture and a stray chicken on a neighbor’s lawn.

  1. If you were going to be an animal, what animal would it be?

I would love to be a seagull, soaring over the beach.

  1. Who do you imagine as the target audience for your blog?

Anyone who wants to read what I write is my welcomed audience.

  1. What is easiest for you about blogging? What is hardest?

The easiest thing about blogging is writing. I’ve been writing letters and blogs for 55 years. The hardest part is getting things posted correctly, like remembering to add tags.

  1. What’s one pet peeve?

It’s hard to be civil when someone insists on telling you the whole plot of a movie that you know you don’t want to see.

 

Questions for the people I am nominating:

  1. Do you have a hobby or hobbies?
  2. Did you come from a small or large family?
  3. What is your favorite cuisine?
  4. Where did you grow up?
  5. If you like writing, what made you aware of it?
  6. Where would you like to travel, if a reasonable amount of money were available?
  7. What language/s do you speak?
  8. Do you have a pet peeve?
  9. Can you touch type, or do you use the hunt and peck method?
  10. What is your favorite form of entertainment?
  11. How did you find WordPress?

The bloggers I am nominating (in no particular order) are:

Doing Life Together
The Serendipitous Sabbatical
Rendezvous En New York
Musings Of A Motley Soul
The TechShroom Blog
Defender Of Man
Sze Wey’s Kitchen Sink
Kimberley Nicholson
The Beautiful Hart Project
All Things Kalen: Gathering Stories
Confusedandcrazilycurious

Blogging101: Providing Your Own Art

In reading lots of blogs from my classmates in Blogging101, I noticed that many of them provided their own photographs.  In addition, some of them took shots of their own artwork.  It didn’t take much to recognize these people as creative folks, real artists.  Of course, writing is an art in itself, but I take that one for granted.  If something comes easily to you, you tend to think anyone else can do it if they try.

I’ve added photos before, but my challenge today is to attach an audio file.   A couple of years ago I had occasion to play the piano while people were coming into the church for a service.  Wanting to hear what I sounded like to others, I recorded a snippet with a tablet.  I include it here under the guise of providing my own art.   If you decide to listen to it, please do so as my audience would have done.  They came in at the last minute, greeted the usher, looked around to see where they wanted to sit, waved to friends in the choir, greeted people across the aisle, silenced cell phones, and checked to see if they needed to go to the bank on the way home.  I might have sounded pretty good to that group.

I found out the hard way that I can’t attach a WAV file.  Thinking an MP3 file would be acceptable, I found a free application and converted my little dinky piece to that format.  Only then did I see the fine print.  The only files that can be added to a free blog site are the following: jpg, jpeg, png, gif, pdf, doc, ppt, odt, pptx, docx, pps, ppsx, xls, xlsx, key.  What a relief!  Now I won’t embarrass myself in front of you.  Thanks for reading this far, anyway.

Gun Shots in the Neighborhood

As I came down the street from my daily walk to the creek, I saw Ron on his front porch. He is always fun to talk to, full of good stories told in the great Southern tradition. He wondered if I’d seen his wife Amy picking up trash that had been strewn about their yard the day before. We have no garbage pickup here, having to take our trash to a recycling center down the highway. Where the garbage bag came from, he didn’t know, because no one leaves stuff outside to tempt the local wildlife. A raccoon was tearing at it as he watched from the porch. He reached for his .22, popped a shot at the animal, and it ran off, leaving a mess behind.

That conversation led to shooting in general, as Ron recounted a feat of marksmanship. He had a friend, lived up on the mountain, who was a retired New York City cop. They were near a sign that had fallen down on Ron’s property, and Tom teased that Ron wouldn’t be able to hit it from 5 feet away. They kept on walking, and Tom challenged him again.

“Hey!” Ron said, “You’ve changed the rules. We’re much farther away now.”

Ron turned, lifted his gun, aimed at the sign and hit it on the lower left corner.

Tom jeered, “Almost missed it! Better try again!”

Ron hit the lower right corner, followed by the upper right and upper left in quick succession.

He explained to me, “I had five shots, so I used the last to hit it square in the middle.”

Tom, who had been in tense situations in the Bronx while on duty, said, “Man! You’re a better shot than I am! If we’re ever in trouble, I want to be behind you!”

Ron had a good comeback. He said, “If we’re in trouble, you’ll have to run to stay behind me.”

The moral of this story is that if you’re from far away, don’t mess with a Southern boy who grew up with guns. He can probably out-shoot you without half trying and make fun of himself afterwards.