Writing 101: The shortest story I have ever written.

Your letter was not

for my eyes, but still I cried –

Your intent, fulfilled.

Image from lupusinflight.com.

Image from lupusinflight.com.

 


This is Day 5 of Writing 101.  Today’s assignment was to write about this:  You stumble upon a random letter on the path. You read it. It affects you deeply, and you wish it could be returned to the person to which it’s addressed. Write a story about this encounter.  And the twist:  Approach this post in as few words as possible.

The first thing I thought of when I read today’s assignment was “haiku”.  Boom.  Also, I’m still working on yesterday’s assignment…sit tight, it will happen.

Writing 101: My Three Songs

It is so very difficult to choose the three most important songs in my life.  Surely you’ve had the experience of hearing a song on the radio or on TV and it brings you right back to a time or moment that you can almost see again, and certainly feel?  As I ran through the collection of music I have, I got flashes of various times, just little peeks, skipping across my thoughts as I skipped through the song titles.  But I’ve narrowed it down.  I can’t say that these are THE three most important songs in my life, but they stand out to me for some reason (at least today).

To be honest, I wrote about a very important song to me on the first day of the A to Z Blogging Challenge back in April.  It is Anya Marina’s “Vertigo”, which reminds me so much of the year that Chris and I were dating.  2010 was a fantastic year, and at the end of it, Chris proposed to me to this song playing in the background.  You can read my post about it and listen to the song HERE.

But HA!  I’m going to pull a fast one on you!  Since I’ve already written about the most important song in my life I get to pick three entirely new ones for today!  I make the rules here, yes I do!  So here we go, in no particular order of importance:

First, there’s “Barcarolle“, by Jacques Offenbach from ‘The Tales of Hoffmann’.  You might not have expected an operatic piece from me, but this song almost brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it.  It’s a prominent song in one of my very favorite moves, “Life is Beautiful”, about a family (mom, dad and young son) who are taken away to a Nazi concentration camp.  The father is able to hide the little boy even after they are separated from the mom.  His father makes their time at the concentration camp into a game for the boy, even as atrocious events take place around them.  At one point, the father is required to act as a servant for a fancy Nazi dinner and he finds a Victrola with a collection of records.  He is able to broadcast Barcarolle across the concentration camp, a sign to his wife that he is still alive and that his love for her will endure no matter what.  It’s such an amazing movie, and I can barely write about it without my eyes getting moist (ok, they are most.  Dammit!).  Below are two scenes from the movie (all in one youtube video); first is an earlier scene when the father first sees his future wife at the opera (when Barcarolle is being performed) and knows he is in love with her (and gets her to look at him!), and second, the scene I described above.

Next up on the jukebox in the Fuzzy Undertones Lounge, is a little something from Prince.  I love Prince, and have been a huge fan since I was fairly young.  While his musical style has changed throughout the years, there’s always something unique about his music that says Prince.  I thought about choosing “Kiss”, which I love, but then decided to take it one step further and go with “Sexy M.F.”  You figure out what the M.F. stands for.  While Prince has since sworn off swearing in his music (can you do that?) this is an earlier song and I love it because, like “Kiss”, it’s not about what you look like, it’s how you carry yourself, how your attitude makes you sexy.  Yeah.  And you know that I can be one sexy beast when I’m listening to Prince!

Lastly, I’ll go with a classic, a song that describes my daily life and could, in fact, be my theme song between the hours of 7:30 – 5.  If this were the case, however, the song would have to change its title, but I have a feeling that Dolly Parton’s “Nine to Five” wouldn’t quite be the same if you substituted seven-thirty for nine.  It just doesn’t have the same ring to it, you know?  When I enter the doors at work first thing in the morning, this music runs through my mind.  I recently watched the movie “Nine to five” and it was still quite hilarious even though a lot of it is somewhat outdated.  But still, I feel like I sell myself during those prime hours of the day…it’s all taking and no giving (well, except for the paycheck.  That, I get).

I had some runner-ups, too.  If I could add a few more songs to the list I might have included Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation” or George Clinton’s “Do Fries Go With That Shake”, or maybe even “If I Didn’t Have You” from the Monster’s Inc. soundtrack (bloopers included in that one!).  Oh, so many to choose from!  And so hard to pick only three!  But for today, there they are.  What are the three most important songs in your life?  Tell me in the comments!


This is Day 3 of Writing 101.  Today’s assignment was to answer this question: Write about the three most important songs in your life — what do they mean to you?  And the twist:  You’ll commit to a writing practice. The frequency and the amount of time you choose to spend today — and moving forward — are up to you, but we recommend a minimum of fifteen uninterrupted minutes per day.

Ha!  Well, for the twist, I’ve already decided that I will write 20 minutes a day, as I’ve been setting my timer to 20 minutes for each of these daily exercises.  Take that, Writing 101!  I’ll see your minimum and raise you 5 whole minutes!  And, as long as we’re establishing practices here, those 20 minutes are reserved for writing…going back to edit, add hyperlinks, insert pictures or videos, that’s all extra.  Not allowed in my 20 minutes!

Writing 101: A sense of place (or, as Liz Lemon says, I want to go to there)

I can feel the heat from the sun blazing down on me, and I know my surroundings feel it too.  The top of my head is burning, and my dark hair does nothing to reflect the heat, but only absorbs the constant rays, unobstructed by clouds or rain, at least in this season.  There is a breeze, which I welcome on my skin; it is cool when it rushes across the thin sheen of sweat on my face and arms.  It is a welcome cool.  The breeze brings me dust from the road I am standing on, a dirt road, cracked under the sun with layers of clay crumbling up towards the atmosphere as particles are swept into the air.  They tickle my nose and I sneeze.  I can smell the earth, but I can also smell and almost taste the grasses – it is the sweet scent of dried grasses, uncut, waving in the wind.  I can hear the grasses brushing together as they sway in waves with each breath of air that chases the next across the savannah.  With that wave I hear more sounds.

There are birds chirping in the distance.  Perhaps a loud squawk of a corvid defending its food from another large bird, or the song-like chirps of smaller birds hidden in the leaves of a grove of nearby acacia trees.  I can also hear other animals, larger animals, many animals.  Herds of them, grazing slowly under the heat that surely affects them as much as it affects me.  Their dainty hooves trample the crisp dried grasses that brush up against long legs that slowly move from one patch of grass to another.  Their hooves also make a dull thud on the dusty earth where there is no vegetation, where they are crossing the road in which I stand.  Their mouths make a slow grumble as they tear plants from the ground or leaves from the trees, masticating the tough fibrous materials between their grinding teeth, lazily, up and down, back and forth, before they swallow.  I can smell the salty-sweet excrement they leave behind, that is already drying into chips under the sun.  Insects scurry towards them, clicking their wings and legs as they go, humming as they fly towards their destination.

More intermittently, I hear other noises, those of animals I must be wary of.  Animals that I have come to meet, to encounter from a distance.  At this time of day they sleep in the shade, unless disturbed by their young who play and climb and tug on their fur demanding attention.  I hear the chirpy mews of the cubs, and every once in a while a rumbling growl from one of the adults followed by a quick scamper of paws in the grass as a cub runs from the scene.  I would like a nap too, in the shade.  I can hear tails slapping flies away from backsides covered with fur, paws scratching at something itching underneath a heavy mane.  In the distance, the far away distance, I hear a trumpet-like calling…and another one answering…a family, checking in and letting each other know where they are.

Do you know where I am? What do I see?  Can you see it too?


This is Day 2 of Writing 101.  Today’s assignment was to answer this question: If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?  And the twist:  organize your post around the description of a setting.

I really want to go to Africa to see all those fascinating creatures of the plains.  I’m especially interested in the cats, but all of the animals there call to me.  Africa is at the top of my bucket list, and I can’t wait to start planning that adventure when I am able to go!  I wanted to write a description of the place without using the sense of sight, just information that I could get from touch, sound, smell, and taste (to a lesser extent).  Did you feel it?  Could you see what I was describing?  Let me know how I did in the comments below, and tell me where you would go if you could drop everything and zoom off right now!

Savannah, from Simon at www.GoodFon.su

Savannah, from Simon at http://www.GoodFon.su

 

Writing 101: Keyboard Diarrhea turns into Discourse about Social Media Needs of Pirates

Today is June 2, 2014.  This is the first day of WordPress Blogging University’s Writing 101: Building a Blogging Habit.  The course has daily assignments every weekday in the month of June, and I have decided to take part in this course / challenge / masochistic experiment, since I haven’t had a whole lot going on since the A to Z Blogging Challenge concluded at the end of April.  Today’s assignment for Day 1:  free-write a stream of consciousness for 20 minutes.  And of course, every assignment also comes with a twist: today’s is to actually publish the results of the 20 minutes of free-writing (lucky you!!!).

So, here is today’s keyboard diarrhea.  I generally feel like blogging can be a very narcissistic activity (as I’ve said before), and I worry about turning readers off with an “all about me” attitude.  But, I guess you’re here for a reason (or not here, in which case you’re not reading this so I don’t even need to worry about it), and I’m going to assume that you’re being entertained on some level.  But is it my purpose in writing here to entertain you?  Well, I guess it is!  At least partially, I think.  Crap. 14:18 to go.

I’m writing during my lunch break today, which is something I try not to do, because I can get wrapped up in the details and minutia of writing a perfect post that is perfectly formatted with perfectly appropriate pictures.  But today, since I’m limited to 20 minutes (now 13:12), I feel like I really can take advantage of my lunch break.

This is what I look like today.

This is what I look like today.

And speaking of work, this morning someone that I encountered laughed as we were passing and asked me if I am a pirate today.  Well, of course I am!  My answer:  yep, yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.  But I was thinking about it – was the question based solely on the fact that I’m wearing a bandana on my head today?  It’s not like I’m wearing an eye patch (although that would really help to solidify the pirate look).  I am, however, constantly muttering “argh” under my breath and attempting to pillage the office supply room.  So maybe the question was based more on the general vibe I’m giving off?  I don’t know.  At one point, I took a quiz that revealed my pirate name as “Iron Mary Flint”, which I rather enjoyed and altered to “Iron Marci Flint”.  And, I do respect “Talk Like a Pirate Day“, although I really suck at talking like a pirate, aside from the aforementioned much-practiced “argh” phrase.  And, living in the Portland area suits me, I suppose, because they are very pro-pirate here, even having a Pirate Festival once a year on the muddy banks of the Willamette River (although I just saw that it’s not happening this year…whaaaa???).  I don’t have a parrot, but my mom has a severe macaw…does that count?  Shit, I really don’t think I’d make a very good pirate after all, but it is a tempting career choice should I decide to switch things up in a few years (I have to get my grad school debt paid off first, though).

How much can a girl type in 20 minutes?  That depends.  I type pretty fast, up to 80 words per minute when I’m really moving along.  I’m pretty accurate, too.  Not sure that’s a skill that would really be needed on a pirate ship, but perhaps in these modern times it could be an asset?  I’m pretty good at the social media thing, too.  Like maybe my band of pirates could have their own Facebook page and Twitter account I could manage.  The job interview would go something like this:

First Mate Pirate In Charge Of Hiring (that’s his title): “So, you call yourself Iron Marci, and you’re applying for the social media manager pirate position?”

Me: “Aye, that be correct, mate.”  (See, I really suck at the pirate talk thing, but I bet I could get better if immersed in a pirate environment.)

First Mate Pirate In Charge Of Hiring: “Ok, well, in 140 characters or less, tell me why you would be the best bilge-rat for the job, or else you’re going to take a long walk off this here short plank.”

Me: “What do you do with a #DrunkenSailor? Find out as I #SetSail on the #LadySpank with @CapnTooth’s crew and 14 #BarrelsOfRum #PegLegsAreHot

First Mate Pirate In Charge Of Hiring: “Yer hired, missy!  Now go swab the deck, and make sure you Instagram that shit!”

Time’s up – see you tomorrow! (And yes, I cheated a little bit, going back after my 20 minutes were up to add links and the picture.  Sorry.)

I survived my First Roller Derby Scrimmage!

Back in April, our beginning (red) and intermediate (yellow) skaters (collectively called “special sauce”) was given the opportunity to scrimmage for the first time.  Sure, we’d done scrimmage scenarios in the past, but never back to back to back to back (you get the idea) jams with teams and scoring and real refs and what not.  It was all very exciting!  Especially since some of the newer skaters had only been there for a couple of practices, and I would’ve been immobilized with terror if I had been them.  But everyone played very enthusiastically, and we all learned a lot!  And, no one was injured, so bonus!

Even though this scrimmage was in April, I wanted to post some pictures and video here now because I’ve been pretty hard on myself lately when it comes to derby-land, and I wanted to give myself the opportunity to revisit a derby event that was fun and rewarding for me.  I’m not a great skater.  I block my own teammates (whoops!) and I’m about as slow as a turtle, but I’ve improved a lot in the year I’ve been skating.  And I will get better if I keep working at it.  Here are some pictures of the scrimmage, so you can visualize what it was all about.

Now, are you ready to see the actual video footage???  Ah, take a deep breath (and I’m saying this to myself before I actually watch this) and hit play!  This video is long, but don’t worry – my epic jam is the first one in the video so you don’t have to watch the whole thing (unless you want to).  I’m wearing the black leggings with the silver shorts, and you’ll also notice that I’m wearing the black jammer cap with the silver star on the side.  That means I get to score points!  I immediately made it through the pack, then again on my second pass.  Trouble Axel, my jam coach, just kept telling me to keep going since the other jammer hadn’t even made it through the pack yet.  It felt like I went around the track and through the pack like five times, but on my third attempt at getting through the pack, I neglected to slow down as I skated right into them and got a back-block penalty, which sent me to the penalty box.  BOOOOOOO!!!  Ok, so maybe I deserved it.  But still, I scored some points for my team, which happens every time the jammer passes a player on the opposite team.

Scrimmaging was a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to doing it again sometime, and in the future, I will try to NOT block my own jammer or take her down.  Let’s just work on that.  But it’s like I see that jammer cap and I go completely mental…oops, sorry team.  Oh well…it happens to…everyone…???

WHEN YOU BLOCK YOUR OWN JAMMER:

I think I might be stupid

Related posts:  …And in National Roller Derby News…, Why Can’t I Quit You, Roller Derby?, Getting Beat Up by the Roller Derby Blues

Fine Art Felines Friday: Woman with Cat by Pablo Picasso

Today’s Fine Art Felines artwork is “Woman with Cat” by Pablo Picasso.  This impressionist pastel sketch was completed in 1900, which is considered Picasso’s early years (Picasso lived from 1881 – 1973).  What I really like about this work is that it is not typically what I picture when I think about Picasso, with whom I associate abstract, cubist art.  There’s a lot of subtle movement in this sketch (e.g., the woman’s hand petting the cat), with muted emotion connecting these two naptime snugglers.  My favorite thing about this sketch, however, is not really the subject, but the picture of the person in the background.  I can just hear an art instructor telling Picasso how to shape and shadow the woman, but then I can also hear Picasso whispering to himself, “screw that, I’m gonna draw this funky little cartoon person right back here just to bring a little bit of myself to this piece”.  It almost looks like a woman with a mustache drawn her…was Picasso a cartoonist or comedian at heart?  I don’t know.

This is a sketch that uses my favorite colors, and I love the layering, the softness, and of course the cat in this piece.  I hope you like it too!  Muah!

Woman with Cat by Pablo Picasso

Woman with Cat by Pablo Picasso

Sketchy at best…a true story of intrigue and mystery, and it’s just across my street!

And now for a little bit of audience participation.  I need your help, dear readers, in providing me with a key component of a story I’m trying to unfold.  A mystery, an intrigue.  A true story (up until this point), and when finished, a potentially entirely true story but likely only partially true story, depending upon the accuracy with which you are able to use the clues I’m going to give you to provide me with the missing piece of this tale.  Are you ready?

Meet my neighbors across the street (or at least take a look at their house):

The House Across the Street, aka the House of Mysteries!

The House Across the Street, aka the House of Mysteries!

Let me set the stage:  we live on a normal street, in a normal neighborhood.  Our houses are all ranch-style, built in the 1950s (when people evidently didn’t need any closets or counter space).  Our houses are fairly nice – kept up, yards managed, pleasant.  Except for the house across the street.  Note the following:

  • Blinds drawn on all windows all of the time
  • Front porch light left on all of the time
  • Front yard consists of gravel, which also serves as a driveway to a gravel parking lot in the back (where the back yard should be)
  • Crumbling paint job and general shoddy appearance
  • Yellow sign and stickers in all windows advertising the security company that protects this gem of a home from potential robberies
Who remembers Gladys Kravitz from Bewitched?

Who remembers Gladys Kravitz from Bewitched?

I’ve lived across the street from this house for over three years now, and about a year ago came to the conclusion that this house is some sort of business.  Two or three cars arrive every morning at about the time I leave for work; I usually see one normal-looking, middle-aged woman (the same woman, daily) park on the street and enter the home in the back entrance.  Occasionally, an unmarked white van (it looks like a utility type van, not a passenger van) will park in the driveway or go around back.  For the past year, I’ve been trying to figure out what type of business this could possibly be.  Are they making or packaging meth?  Is this some sort of prostitution ring?  Are they breeding small monkeys for circuses and fairs and shuttling them in and out of the house with the vans?  I don’t see a lot of strange men visiting, nor do I detect any odd fumes wafting through our neighborhood, so I think that rules out the first two possibilities.  But the third???  Hmmm…

Last week, as I was backing out of my driveway and the woman I usually see was locking up her car at the start of our day, I seized my golden opportunity to get more information.  I rolled down my window.  “Excuse me…hello?”  The woman looked up at me and smiled.  “Hi!  Just curious, but what type of business is this?”  She paused, and said, “oh, it’s a tax business.”  I wrinkled my nose, puzzled and disappointed.  “Oh, ok…thanks.”  I drove away.

Wait a minute, LIES, all LIES!!!  When I got to work, the first thing I did was search for “tax business” in the vicinity of my address.  It took a little digging around, but a business did pop up – Jackson Hewitt.  But since when does a Jackson Hewitt tax service look like THIS???  I’m thinking it’s got to be a front.  I, for one, would not be surprised at all if there were indeed small primates being bred in that house!

neighbor_catHere’s where YOU come in.  Tell me, WHAT KIND OF OPERATION IS GOING ON IN THIS HOUSE???  Leave your ideas and thoughts in a comment, and I will try to incorporate the winning idea (or ideas, or maybe even all of them) in a short story or poem or diorama or some other medium of my choosing.  What do you think is happening here?  Should I be scared?  Are they missing some key permits?  Are they underground because they can’t meet some sort of compliance or regulation?  Are they building something?  Are they harboring space aliens?  Are they under quarantine for an infectious disease and the women who visit daily are there to feed the infected???  What do you think?  LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS BELOW, PLEASE, and I’ll choose the winner(s) at the end of June!  Good luck – I can’t wait to find out what my neighbors are up to!

**UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE**  This morning, I saw the other woman (who, incidentally, always arrives in a newer model black Mustang, so I assume there’s money actually involved in this business) enter the house with a small bouquet of flowers.  Who are the flowers for?  Is it the birthday of the lady that I talked to?  Or maybe they are for one of the lepers that they must have impounded in their basement?  And YES, THEY HAVE A BASEMENT.

Getting Beat Up by the Roller Derby Blues

Photo by montanafreshe (Ebay)

Photo by montanafreshe (Ebay)

You know how when you ask someone “why do you blog” they say “to get shit off my chest” or “to work things out” or “because I am just a sad sad sad person who needs to feel sorry for myself in a public forum”?  Well, tonight I am that kind of person.  I hate writing these kinds of posts, really I do, but I’m really struggling and I’m hoping that someone out there can either 1) give me some sound advice, or 2) slap me upside the head and tell me to pull my skate laces up and be a big girl.  Or maybe both.  I don’t know.

So yeah, about roller derby.  I’ve been busy (full time job, school, volunteering), and I have told my coaches and some of the Board members that I’ve had to cut back on my attendance, volunteer hours, meetings and all that stuff.  Initially, that helped me restore a little balance in my life and relieve some of the emotional investment I’d been making in derby.  I’ve been trying to go to two on-skates practices a week, but lately, it has been harder and harder to go, and I’ve been dropping down to one practice a week, or no practices (uh, like where I should be right now).  There are many reasons why, and I’m trying to sort them out.  Among them:

  • Instead of feeling invincible, I’m feeling invisible.  I’ve been skating for over a year now and I still don’t know who my people are.  I don’t know who to hang out with at practices or at events.  I always feel awkward when I try to join in with a small group of people having a chat after practice, for example.  There are plenty of ladies I like in the league, but it feels like everyone has their set of friends and doesn’t need another one.  This awkwardness has resulted in me not going to our league’s events (skating or social), which I realize does nothing good for helping me to find my people.
  • My skating has improved A LOT in the past year.  However, I’m feeling pretty fucking defeated by my skills (or lack thereof).  It seems like I will never get my 27 in five; in fact, I’ve gotten worse over the past few months, going gradually from 24 laps to 21.5 laps.  WTF?  My cross-overs are getting stronger and I’m trying to skate the diamond more, but I’m just as slow as a turtle.  In fact, this has been bringing me down to the point where I get really nervous to do the 27 in 5 (or the 50 lap killer, for that matter).  This anxiety does nothing for making me want to go to practice.  And, like my point above, I recognize that if I keep skipping practices, my skills will never improve.
  • Related to the above, it seems like I’ll never get to the point where I’m cleared for bouting.  I’ve only scrimmaged once – it was awesome, but the beginning and intermediate skaters are not given very much opportunity to do that in our league.  So what’s the point?  It feels like I’ll never get “good enough” to play, so why do I put myself through the anxiety and stress of practices and meeting all the requirements for leveling up?
I'm in the penalty box during my first scrimmage.

I’m in the penalty box during my first scrimmage.

Whine, whine, whine.  It’s easy for me to be super hard on myself, which is always self-defeating.  I do have depression and anxiety issues, for which I’ve been getting treatment for a number of years now, and roller derby easily triggers so many of my issues.  Yet there are so many things I love about derby as well.  I want to improve, and I’m happy that I’ve gotten better over the past year.  I really do like the people in my league, but I don’t know where I fit in, which makes me feel like a big freak.  I want to be involved, but when I was more involved, it was just so stressful (for a few reasons that I’ve not listed above, like league politics and requirements, etc.).

Is it time for me to quit?  I think about this every day.  I don’t want to give up, but I feel like I’m hanging on by a thread.  I’ve invested so much of myself in roller derby, but I need some support and I just don’t know where to get it, hence this sad, whiny post.  Any advice or ass-kicking would be much appreciated.

Love,
Gritty Cat (a.k.a, Marci)

Related post:  Why Can’t I Quit You, Roller Derby?

Fine Art Felines Funday: Slim Woman with a Cat by Geza Farago

Slim Woman with a Cat by Geza FaragoI’ll admit I’ve been slacking.  I’m supposed to post Fine Art Felines on Fridays, but since I was being lazy (owning it!), I didn’t get around to writing this post until today.  However, today’s painting is one that I really love.

“Slim Woman with a Cat” was painted by Hungarian artist Geza Farago (1877 – 1928) in 1913.  Farago worked in Budapest as a theatrical costume designer, poster artist, and (my favorite) a cartoonist.  What I love about this painting is the art-deco style of the lines (especially with the cat – it reminds me of Le Chat Noir), and the combination of flat colors used on the cat, dress and sandy background in conjunction with the shaded areas of the woman’s neck, face and hands.  The combination makes a 2-dimensional painting pop, turning geometric shapes into a 3-D illusion full of depth and texture.  I also really like the colors that were used, with the blue and green details on the dress echoed in the night sky and water.  I hope you like it, too!  Happy Mother’s Day!

I just won a Liebster Award? Help me pick out a dress!

Liebster Award 2014As someone who chronically never wins ANYTHING, I was so happy to discover that Michelle Stanley from http://writer-way.blogspot.com nominated me for a Liebster Award!  I met Michelle during the A to Z Blogging Challenge, and we kept up with each others’ blogs throughout April.  I am incredibly flattered that she chose me as one of her award nominees!  Thank you so much, Michelle!

The award was given to Michelle, and she in turn selected me (see her post here). The Liebster Award is given to bloggers by other bloggers, and I am thrilled to be a part of this tradition.  I did a little digging around about the award, and there’s a great post from Lorraine at Wording Well here that you can check out if you want to learn more about it.

The Rules:

  1. Link back and thank the blogger who nominated you in your post.
  2. List 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
  4. Pick 5 – 10 new bloggers (must have less than 300 followers) to nominate.
  5. Ask them 11 new questions. Do not re-nominate the blogger who nominated you.
  6. Go to each blogger’s site and inform them of their nomination.

11 Totally Random Facts About Myself:

My strategy...

My strategy…

  1. As a small child, I accidentally almost electrocuted myself by sticking my mom’s keys in the electrical outlet.  This happened not once, but twice (I only remember the first time, quite vividly, as a matter of fact).
  2. I love cats.  Like really love cats.  I have five of them, and I volunteer at a cat rescue organization on the weekends.  I’m currently getting a specialized certificate in Feline Training and Behavior.  Also, I am allergic to cats.
  3. I can touch my tongue to the tip of my nose.
  4. I’ve been blogging since the middle of 2005, starting with “A Very Marcilicious Blog”, but then gave my blog a complete makeover at the beginning of 2014 and changed everything to “Fuzzy Undertones”.  It seemed appropriate, given all the cat hair I have in my life.
  5. Also fuzzy is my huzby, who seems to love me despite (for? because of? in spite of? due to?) all of my quirks.
  6. One of my favorite things EVER is taking a nap with my huzby on our couch.  I’ll read a zombie novel and he’ll listen to NPR or a poker podcast, then we’ll fall asleep and a cat will usually come over and sleep on one of us.  It is so snuggly!
  7. I play roller derby.  My derby name is “Gritty Cat”.  I’ve been playing for a little over a year, and I still have a way to go before I am cleared to bout, but my first scrimmage was SUPER AWESOME!!!  I will post about that soon.
  8. One of the things I hate most in this world is walking around in wet pants or shorts.  This is why I refuse to go on water rides at amusement parks, no matter how hot it is outside.
  9. I’ve lived all over the US because my dad was in the Coast Guard.  I don’t know what we were doing in Oklahoma, but I lived there for pre-school, kindergarten and first grade.
  10. I used to be a weekly cartoonist for a small free newspaper in Philadelphia.  They gave me $25 per cartoon, but that job only lasted a couple months until the paper was bought out and things changed.
  11. I have an M.S. in Ecology and a Ph.D. in Fishery and Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University, but my favorite job I’ve ever had was after my graduate work when I was a tour guide for the San Diego Wild Animal Park’s overnight camping program.  I also did a month of elephant keeping there as well.  Lions and tigers and elephants, oh my!

11 Questions Asked by my Nominator:

  1. Name three secrets you never told anyone.  1) I probably have magical powers, but they have not been revealed to me yet so until then, they are secret.  2) I’m pretty sure that DB Cooper is my dad, but he’s in the Bermuda Triangle right now so I can’t confirm that.  3) Ask that Snowden guy for some more secrets – he’ll be able to tell you.  (Crap, now I have to kill everyone who reads this…sigh…)
  2. If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you would do?  Well, that depends greatly on the amount of money I won.  Like if I won a dollar?  I probably would buy a Twix bar.  If I won a butt-load of money?  I’d quit my job and look into real estate on a tropical island somewhere, with primary criteria of: 1) must be cat-friendly, 2) must also come with pool-boy who serves fruity drinks with umbrellas in them, and 3) must have unlimited opportunities for spontaneous napping.
  3. Looking over the last ten years, what is one goal you have achieved, and a goal you have not achieved?  One goal I have achieved:  I got my Ph.D. in 2004 (although I wish I had stopped at my M.S.; …stupid debt…).  A goal I have not achieved:  I’ve not yet found my ideal job – one that combines activities that I am good at and enjoy doing, an adequate income, and people I enjoy working with (although my current job includes some aspects of these requirements).
  4. What are your plans for retirement? And will you travel? If so, where and why.  My plans for retirement are to do so, sooner rather than later.  I’m 40, and I still have some time left before I can really retire, but I’m looking forward to it already!  I certainly hope that we have enough money to travel because there are many places in the world I want to see!  I particularly want to see all the big animals in Africa, and the wildlife in the Galapagos Islands (but I’d like to see both of those places before I retire).
  5. Favorite drink on a Friday night.  White Russian, because The Dude.
  6. What do you think the secret is to a good marriage or relationship with a significant other is?  The difference between my marriage and all the other relationships I’ve been in is that my husband and I completely trust each other.  There are some other helpful ingredients too – no judgement (we’re both free to be who we are, and do what we want to do), and a sense of humor.  Oh yes – love, you should have that too!
  7. Name three words that describe your personality.  Quirky, creative, lazy (let’s be honest).
  8. Home cooked meal or take-out?  Take-out (or delivery is even better), because of the laziness (see answer above).
  9. When was the last time you blogged and what was it about?  I last blogged two days ago, and my post was about reflections on the A to Z Blogging Challenge
  10. What do you think is the key to happiness?  Several cats, ample opportunities for napping (see random fact #6, above), and a great haircut (preferably one that doesn’t get messed up during naps).
  11. Who is your favorite poet and why?  Pablo Neruda – I love his imagery.  I also love reading his poems aloud in Spanish – the words melt off the tongue in a beautiful way!

 I nominate the following for the Liebster Award:

  • Ava, from Tongue In Cheek.  Also another A to Z Challenge blog…talk about quirky!  And I am totally on board with her style of humor.
  • Squirrels Nutmeg, Hickory, Ol’ Wally and Miz Flora from The Squirrel Nutwork.  This sweet blog highlights nature in the Washington D.C. area.  Simple, pretty, cute.
  • Misty, from Dancing in the Weeds.  This is a newer blog, and I can really relate to a lot of what Misty has written about.  There’s a little bit of everything here.
  • Eva, from Eva Marasca.  I love this woman’s voice.  I connect with her “About” statement, and I admire her passion and persistence.
  • Pushing the Bruise.  I love how U stands for “uneffingbelievable” according to the author, who is an English teacher and self-proclaimed cat lady.

11 Questions for my Nominees to Answer:

  1. Why did you decide to start writing your blog?mustache you a question
  2. In one sentence, describe what your blog is about.  There’s a twist, though: don’t use any personal or possessive pronouns! (Muah ha haaaa!)
  3. What is your earliest memory?
  4. Do you dream?  If so, do you dream in color or black and white?
  5. If you could only make one journey during your lifetime, but it could be to anywhere in the world, where would you go?  Why?
  6. What is one of your guilty pleasures (and this had better be good…I want something really embarrassing!)?
  7. Pick one:  the Harry Potter series or the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  Follow-up to what you picked:  books or movies?
  8. What is your favorite holiday, and if it’s NOT Halloween, why?
  9. List three words that describe your personality.
  10. What is your favorite thing about how you earn a living?
  11. If you could live in any time period (past, present or future), when and where would you be?

Thank you so much, everyone, for taking the time to read Fuzzy Undertones.  I appreciate the nomination for the Liebster Award, and I hope that the people I nominated for the award have fun answering these questions and participating in the Liebster Award tradition!  While it is a chain that keeps going, it’s also a great opportunity to promote blogs with smaller followings that have made an impression on you, as a blogger, and to recognize the creative work that others are doing.  I hope that you will pass the torch!

With great admiration and respect,

Marci  =^-^=