Monday, February 7, 2011

The Stylish Blogger

The world of blogging is an interesting one - a place to express oneself, to be creative, to form virtual friendships....and to give and receive awards. These awards are something like chain mail - you receive one, and then you are asked to award it to others. It is a pass-it-forward, tip-of-the-hat sort of thing, which serves to broaden blog readership through the links each blogger provides.

Yesterday, I received my first blogger award - The Stylish Blogger Award:

Now that made me laugh, because I'm anything but stylish - but then, the person who nominated me (also a recipient of the award) confesses she, too, is not 'stylish'. At least, not in the fashion sense. So perhaps the person who first named this award was referring more to writing style than fashion sense. I certainly hope so.

Anyway, the rules of this award are as follows:

1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award
2. Share 7 things about yourself
3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award!

So thank you, EvenSong, from Mountain Music, whose blog has taught me a lot about the multifaceted work of raising horses and the art of trailriding, and whose photos and words give me glimpses of a person and several animals whose company I think I would very much enjoy if we were ever to meet.

I was very tempted to steal her list of ‘seven things about myself’, since at least three or four of them fit me to a tee. Instead, I have stolen only one of her ideas – the first one – as it is apropos given the name of the award.

Seven things about me:

1. I am not stylish. Okay, I could argue that I have my OWN style – it is “Comfort Rules”. If I don’t like the texture, the fit, the fabric, I won’t wear it. There hasn't been a dress or a skirt in my closet for over ten years, and I haven’t worn one since February 1997 when I wore a long skirt to my wedding to appease my (now former) mother-in-law who would have died on the spot had I shown up in pants. I like cotton pants and cotton knit shirts. For dressy occasions, I’ll add a blazer. My dogs are more stylish than I am.

You betcha! We gotz style!

Whazzat? Speak fer yerself!

2. I hate clutter. Can’t abide it. Can’t function in it. If my house/office/kitchen/workspace gets cluttered, it has to be de-cluttered before I can get anything productive done (which is probably why I sometimes go for days without being productive!). If I’m facing a deadline, I sometimes resort to putting all the clutter into a laundry basket and stashing it in the closet for a day or two. I never have more than one full laundry basket stashed in there, and even my linen cupboards and clothes closets are nearly always tidy. Clutter immobilizes me.

3. I am an RP – a Recovering Perfectionist. After years and years of having to do something perfectly or not do it at all, I now subscribe to the philosophy of “Good Enough”. This blog entry is “good enough”, that flower bed is ‘good enough’. I used to obsess over getting something perfect. I started on the road to recovery when I was in university struggling to get perfect marks while single-handedly raising a young child, and having trouble with both activities. A counselor I was seeing said to me, “Jean, you don’t have to be perfect. You just have to be Good Enough”. They were life-changing words. There has been lots of backsliding, but I do constantly tell myself ‘that’s Good Enough”. I’m a good enough friend and family member, a good enough animal caregiver, a good enough fixer-and-builder, a good enough housekeeper. Well, except for the “no clutter” thing – for that, I have to be perfect.

4. I love my daughter but I hated being a parent. Perhaps my one regret in life is that I did not enjoy motherhood, and therefore did not give my daughter the sort of love-and-laughter-filled, secure, magical childhood every kid deserves. And I’m sure she sensed my ambivalence, even dislike, of parenting. That said, I was a Good Enough mom (see #3), and she has become an amazing woman. And, I might add, she has LOTS of style. She’s one of the classiest women I know. So much for the idea that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Or if it did, it rolled far, far away, took root, and grew into a beautiful Indian Bean Tree or maybe a mimosa.

Me. The Mom. The Apple Tree.

My daughter. The beautiful Indian Bean Tree

....or maybe the light and graceful mimosa.

5. I was fortunate to grow up in a great little oceanside community, with supportive parents. They were active in our school and church lives and took on major roles in Guiding and Scouting, to which we all belonged. My friends and I went from grade 1 to grade 12 together - the same group of kids. I had roots and stability, and they served me well.

6. I love living alone with just my animals. I love being accountable to no one. I love choosing when to be social and when not to be. I have been married twice – once when I was too young to know better (I am now a firm believer that no one should get married before age 30 – they aren’t even close to figuring out who they are and what they want to become!), and once when I was old enough to know better and did anyway. Suffice it to say, both were baaaad decisions. My first marriage ended just after the birth of my daughter, and the second began twenty-six years later, after she left home. That one ended five years ago, and I've never been happier than I am today.

If I should ever meet someone with whom I want to spend the rest of my life (a highly unlikely scenario, as I have no interest in doing so!), we would have to live in seperate sides of a duplex. I might agree to an adjoining door between the two units as long as there was a lock on it. I like my privacy and I like my solitude. I am me, not someone’s ‘other half’. And I am a servant only to my critters.

7. Although I was born in England (we immigrated to Canada when I was five), I am Canadian through and through. I have no desire to live in or even travel to any other country. Everything I could ever want to see or experience is right here in this beautiful country – ocean and mountains and prairies, history and modernity, cultural diversity and celebration and natural wonders. My favourite memories are those of camping and hiking and fishing my way around this province, as a child and as an adult. My favourite birthday, my 50th, was spent sitting in a small boat all by myself in the middle of a clear greenish blue mountain lake at sunrise on a crisp September morning. As the sun slowly stretched its golden arms and peeked over the hills, I caught a rainbow trout which I would later cook over an open fire at my campsite along the water’s edge while I listened to the loons and watched white fluffy clouds pass overhead across the wide blue sky. I am Canadian. This is my home.


Now for the difficult part - to which blogs should I pass on the award?

Most that I follow regularly concern animals. I've often provided links to the Hearts on Noses Potbellied Pig website, but not so often to their seperately-hosted Hearts on Noses blog. I'm a regular reader of the Turtle Gardens blog, about animal rescue in the northern part of our province.

I also love reading Bikesbirdsnbeasts, Crooks and Crazies, Haiku Farm, and BlackDogBlog. And I can't leave out Erin Vey's blog. Erin is a dog photographer who has been on maternity leave, but still posts from time to time - amazing photos of her dog Gracie, of clients' dogs, and most recently of Gracie and Maggie, her baby. And of course there is Wootube, whose humour and photography keep me coming back over and over.

I've recently revisited a couple of blogs I'd almost forgotten about - Vet on the Edge, and Indefatigable. I plan to go back more often.

Some I have only just discovered and I'm now hooked on, like Littledogsonlongleashes. Sometimes written by the dog, sometimes by the human, always fun and interesting.

Some blogs have little to do with animals, though I found them via a link from an animal blog - check out The Trials of Matt, for example. Matt adopted a Turtle Gardens dog who goes with him on his many hiking and skiing adventures in my beautiful province. Amazing mountain scenery.

Other bloggers that I followed faithfully seem to have stopped blogging. I miss them. I know some are now posting on Facebook, instead, but I don't do Facebook so I want them BAAACK. In particular, I miss Patience Please. Go leave her a comment and tell her to start blogging again! Another is The Inman Road Chronicles - I miss reading about my favourite little donkey, Rupert.

And then there is the one that was featured on the morning news this week. I spent an hour looking at it and I'm going back - it is funny, it is honest, it is a blog I wish had been around when I was the mom of a young child. Every parent out there, and every one who is thinking about parenting or has ever thought about parenting, needs to check out Her Bad Mother.

I think that's fifteen. I know I probably won't get around to notifying every one of those bloggers about the award. But that's okay - it's Good Enough. Hopefully, they will see the increased traffic on their sites and follow the link back to mine. If you are mentioned here, consider yourself awarded. And even if you aren't mentioned here, know that if I read your blog regularly I consider it worthwhile - so help yourself to the award. And then pass it forward.


EvenSong said...

An enlightening post, Jean. Thanks for answering the "chain letter." I'm glad I'm not the only one who considers it that--I'm almost didn't take on the challenge--that's why I gave folks the option of playing along or not.
But now you've got me curious...which other 2 or 3 of *my* items could also apply to you?
And I'm sure I would enjoy your company as well (tho we'd have to get together someplace besides my very cluttered house--the barn is better, we'll have to meet there).

Jean said...

LOL - Evensong, I could have just cut and paste your numbers 3 (a writer who is terrible at keeping in touch with family and friends) and 7 (a Jill of all trades, master of none) to my blog! Number 6, on your varied jobs, could also have been modified for mine - I've worked in a bakery, been director for a summer camp, worked in a bank and in a textile company, was secretary for the president of an engineering company - and then spent 25 years teaching sociology and gender studies at a university.

Black Jack's Carol said...

I've fallen behind in my comments.. again! This is an exceptional post, Jean. Fascinating in its honesty, and just the right response to your well-deserved award! I also meant to reply to the Lucy update. My heart ached for her, and for you, when she left. I am so happy she is enjoying life in her new home. And the "more morning candy" one was spectacular as well. It is great that you are finding time to photograph the sunrises and sunsets again. I'm always interested to see how our worlds compare and you are definitely way more than "good enough" in my book. Thanks for mentioning my blog. Now, I MUST thank EvenSong as well. Time is ever the challenge in my life, but I don't have to tell either of you that:)

georgia little pea said...

dear jean,

i see the comment i posted last night didn't come through after all. i suspected as much when i got 2 error replies, but didn't want to press "submit" 3 times. that would have been Very Annoying for you if they had all succeeded in being published! i love technology so much.

here's what the comment said, more or less...

i saw on my blogroll update that you've won a Stylish Award and thought i'd quickly come to say CONGRATULATIONS! i'm so happy for you. i love your stories! [though until a few moments ago, i didn't know if you were actually a stylish person].

i see from your 7 revelations that we have a few things in common too, especially the preference for pants, even on wedding days. [though i was similarly thwarted.] maybe some study needs to be made about whether bloggers share certain genetic traits.

i also came to say thank you for commenting on my last post. it's been a rough few days, and somewhat unexpected. i thought i'd let go a little better than that. the comments i got on that post were very comforting.

THEN, of course, i read more of your post and saw my littleblog named! i was gobsmacked to see it there. THANK YOU SO MUCH! being gobsmacked and suddenly feeling shy, i don't actually know what else to say [which is unusual], so THANK YOU AGAIN!

i'm not quite sure what to do now. do i even HAVE 7 revelations to share? more like deep dark secrets that should stay that way. so it is entirely possible i might pretend i didn't see your post. hmmm. that would be rude and churlish. some advice pleeease! :p

HAVE A GREAT DAY JEAN! thanks for making mine. xox

Jean said...

Georgia LP (or in this case Georgia's human), I was having problems with blogger last night too - every now and then I think it just takes a little holiday and says "That's Good Enough!".
As for the award, please don't feel pressured to follow through with it - do as much or as little as you are comfortable with - from ignoring it, to sticking the award on your blog with no comment (you can always say you received the award and then send your readers over here if they want to know what it is about! LOL ), to answering it the way the originator designed it - whatever you want. I chose not to individually notify each of the blogs I nominated, but I had fun writing the entry in acceptance of the award. For me, that was Good Enough.
Perhaps Georgia would like to tell us seven things about herself - after all, it is HER blog. She just lets you express your opinions on it sometimes!

georgia little pea said...

haha! that's true. she's one pushy dog. i'll ask her when she gets up from her morning snooze. i'm sure she'll make me work on something soon :) whatever it is, i hope it'll be Good Enough. thanks again! xox

p.s. i'm thinking i might create a new award - "most long-winded comments". what do you think? i'd probably win every single time.

Anonymous said...

I just LOVE the photo of Charley in her very "stylish" hat - what a beautiful old gal.


Jen said...

Thank you for the award Jean! That's lovely of you, and likely tomorrow I'll write my response to it!! I am so behind on my blog reading the last couple of weeks that I am hoping/planning to spend some time getting caught up tomorow morning- I hadn't even seen this post until last night!!

I love your blog, by the way. Congratulations on the award- your blog does deserve it! It's always lovely writing which I appreciate so much!

Jen and the Black Dog Crew

hornblower said...

Jean - thanks for the award!

Funder said...

I really enjoyed your story about yourself! Wanted to take a look at your links before I came and commented.

If you don't have anything to do, you can come declutter my house. There are no dresses for you to sort through, just a bunch of junk I'm really good at ignoring.

I think it's wonderful that you love your country so much. :) America is weird and really awful about some things, but I sure do love it.

I have had some seriously weird jobs too. Pizza delivery, tech support, TDD relay operator, plus all the physical jobs I've done.

Thank you for the interesting new links!