Musings and Amusings

Archive for the ‘2014 A to Z Challenge’ Category

May I Introduce You to

Yesterday I counted the bloggers I met during the 2014 A to Z Challenge with whom I will continue building relationships. You number in the 50’s!

I met Linda in February, and she claims I inspired her to join the Challenge – inspiration enough that she committed to the Challenge on both her sites! Can you believe now that April is over, she’s still my friend?

Linda blogs at Crone-ing and Sow, Hoe, Grow and Know

She’s a wise woman, spinner, weaver, knitter, gardener, and blogger. Her Croneing A-Z posts included gorgeous artsy alphas and a library of word prompts. I read her gardening post and imagine years with Dad in his vegetable garden.

A few of my favorite posts are:
 
Her L from the Challenge

Her T from the Challenge

Beans, Bok Choy, Beets and Broccoli

Linda spins, weaves and knits

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A to Z April 2014 – A Fond Look Back

 

A-to-Z_Reflection_[2014]

 

“Blessed are the weird people: poets, misfits, writers, mystics, painters, troubadours; For they teach us to see the world through different eyes.”

by Jacob Nordby (shared by Happy Holly)

That is one of my blogging goals – to see the world through different eyes. April brought me that, and more.

I used March to “pre-visit” blogs on the linky list of bloggers with <100 followers and compile a list of “follows” for April. Being a new blogger myself, I wanted to give most of my attention to newbies.

In early April, I did additional bloghopping to accumulate 85 blogs I regularly visited. I spent several hours morning and evening to visit, read and comment, as well as respond to comments on my own blog.

Would I use that approach again?

Absolutely!

Of the 85 I followed, 83 completed the Challenge. Not all visited my blog; not all responded to my comments, and not all are blogs I follow now that the Challenge is over. However, more than a handful of very talented, interesting people have become my cherished blogging buddies. We  laughed, cried, learned and supported. I have every confidence our relationships will flourish, and our blogging passions will be richer because of our connections.

In addition to my treasured blogging buddies, my Challenge rewards are:

My new library. Every blogger I followed has not only 26 excellent A to Z posts which are worth re-visiting, but an accumulation of posts I’ve never read. And they will publish future valuable posts. I can travel, eat, garden, paint, think, imagine – knowing I’ll enjoy where-ever I meander in my library.

My referral system. Each blogger I follow has a treasure trove of bloggers they follow. That’s a rich reservoir of talent, and the potential for broadening my horizons is immeasurable.

Material for my future posts. My buddy bloggers have triggered so many memories, questions, emotions, curiosities, musings during my April visits that I have a notebook full of triggers and prompts. It’s impossible in this post to say how uniquely each of you has touched my heart and energized my brain, but my future posts will pay tribute to your individual talents and your cumulative impact on how I view my world. I think about each of you every day, and feel so blessed that you have come into my life.

What I liked:

I pre-wrote 95% of my posts. I couldn’t possibly “wing it”.

The support from Co-hosts and Minions!  A bucket load of Thank You’s to each of you who worked tirelessly and cheerfully to support this Challenge. I  cannot imagine participating AND performing your functions. Kudos to all for your stamina and dedication!

The pre-Challenge instructional posts by Co-hosts and Minions. Very helpful.

What was difficult:

Sticking to my theme. I’m not sure I’ll pick one next year.

The (no one’s fault) snafus between blogging platforms: My WordPress Reader only intermittently picked up non-WP bloggers I followed, so I had to refer to my list and visit them manually. Commenting on Blogspot was a time-consuming process – even with Captcha turned off. I can only assume it was the same hassle for Blogspotters to comment on a WP blog.

Suggestions for next year:

Perhaps Z to A Challenge (backwards) for a change of pace? People seemed to burn out just as the toughest letters came up.

A  few bloggers suggested we drop Q and X. I disagree. We’re a creative bunch; if we can’t take “literary license” during the Challenge, what’s the point?

During March instruction period, please clarify when “how-to” instructions pertain specifically to Blogspot platform. I finally figured out it was Blogspot bloggers hosting A to Z, and the instructions were written accordingly. But I wasted a lot of time, as a WordPress blogger, trying to figure out what those instructions meant.

Will I do this Challenge in 2015?  Sign Me Up!

Click here to return to the Reflections List for other A to Z Bloggers

Z is for Zou

 

Z Letter

Typos have a way of working themselves into our family lexicon.

When Hub and I checked into our hotel in Salzburg after our overnight flight from Denver, I dutifully found the guest computer to email my daughter-in-law that we had arrived. Jetlagged, sweaty, and hungry, I grew impatient when signing on because the computer was … so … slow. I zipped off a quick message and went to bed.

What I didn’t realize was a couple of the alpha keys were in different locations on the keyboard in Austria, and I had typed a z instead of a y throughout the email, ending with “I love zou“.

When I checked a couple days later, I had a message from her: “I love zou, too.”

 

A-B-CD-E-FG-H-IJ-K-LM-N-OP-Q-RS-T-UV-W-XY-Z

 

That’s all, folks!” she said cheerfully and promptly broke into tears of sadness and relief.

I DID IT!!

YOU DID IT!!

WE DID IT!!

I cannot thank each of you enough for your enthusiastic support and steadfast companionship during our A to Z Challenge. I will miss the energy and immediacy of your constant presence, but our friendships have been forged in sweat, laughter, learning and admiration. I am grateful for your gifts.

I love zou!

Sammy D.

 

Click here for a link to other A to Z bloggers.

Y is for Yooper

Y Letter

Yooper: the newest official Scrabble word!

Unless you live in Michigan, you’ve probably never heard of a Yooper. You will now because it is being added to the 2014 edition of the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

Michigan, for those not familiar with US geography, is the state shaped like the back of your left hand. We Michiganders have an easy time answering the “where in Michigan?” question – we simply hold up our left hand and use a finger on our right hand to point to a location.

michigan map

This “mitten”, as Michiganders call it, isn’t the whole state. Far to the north, across the Mackinac Bridge lies the Upper Peninsula – the U.P. – the relatively undeveloped, beautifully forested part of Michigan where the Yoopers (derived from U.P.) reside.

Yoopers are a crusty, hardy bunch with a strong work ethic and a fiercely independent streak. They have to be in order to survive the brutal, long-lasting winters that ravage their land. They pride themselves on their quirky reputation – speaking their own peculiar dialect, sometimes threatening to secede from Michigan, and continuing a long tradition of feasting on Cornish pasties, harkening back to the 1890s when Scandinavian immigrants flocked to the UP to work in the mines.

Yoopers call the residents of the lower peninsula Trolls because they live ‘under the bridge’ that connects the watery divide between the upper and lower peninsulas.

In 2000, Jeff Daniels directed and starred in a movie called ‘Escanaba in da Moonlight’ about a deer-hunting Yooper family. It’s well worth a watch for those interested in outliers in our society’s lore.

 

Click here for a link to other A to Z bloggers.

X is for the Fourth x

X Letter

Yup, breaking my own theme has been the most consistent theme in my A to Z postings. I announced my theme as Objects and – give me credit – I wrote about a few objects. More often I wrote about Nouns which aren’t quite the same thing as Objects, and sometimes I stretched even further.

X will be a day I remain consistent with breaking my own theme. I started to look through the dictionary, and the first four words (?) listed were: X, X, x and x.

I chose the fourth x which says “Math”, then a little further states: “power of magnification“. I decided to stretch that to “power of magnitude“.

I have tried to find a way to describe the magnitude of joy I felt the day my granddaughter, Raqi, was born; to describe the magnitude by which my heart has grown in the almost-eight years she has been in our lives. My love for her is so strong and vast; I have been rendered speechless by its impact.

If x is the power of magnitude, then I love Raqi x to the x power infinitely multiplied by x.

 

for post

 

image

 

Click here for a link to other A to Z bloggers.

Bittersweet and Applause

The A to Z Challenge is coming to a close this Wednesday. Like most endings, I find this one bittersweet. There will be plenty of time for de-briefing on the experience and shout-outs to all my cherished new blogging companions, but I’m one of those people who needs to prepare for transitions. Life after A to Z is on my mind.

I realize I should change my blog name to “That Got Me Thinking” because I have an entire notebook filled with words, phrases, quotes and scribblings for the “bemuzins” I want to write from triggers coming from your remarkable A to Z posts.

Thus fair warning, dear readers. If you are so sick of writing your A to Z’s and visiting A to Zers that you never want to hear the phrase A to Z again (at least until next March), you should stop following me 🙂 because I have a feeling many of my posts in the months to come will begin with “xxblogger from A to Z got me thinking about ….”

What a glorious journey this has been!

A standing ovation for each and every one of you.

W is for Wheelbarrow

W Letter

wheelbarrowkids

Wheel barrow races across the living room floor were a nightly activity with Dad and my siblings in my early childhood. It took strong arms and a will not to laugh or fart, which would cause the barrow and handler to collapse in a heap on the floor, inciting other competitors and spectators to pile on.

Wheelbarrow pileon

It was years before I made the connection between that two-person transport and the real wheelbarrow Dad used in the garden. I was a little slow connecting the visual.

untitled-uswheelbarrow

An odder visual I had of wheelbarrows occurred during my short visit to a small village on the coast of Turkey. Early one morning as we wandered, the market was just beginning to come alive with vendors slowly and deliberately swinging wide the doors to their stalls – just so – and hanging their richly colored goods on the makeshift walls.

We stood patiently on a side road, taking in the scene, then I approached the first stall.

100_2673

100_2674

Suddenly a small tractor with a front loader attached rounded our corner and sputtered past us. It looked like the one in this picture (click on picture to enlarge it):

100_2668

Seated in the now-upright front loader were three women – one elderly and two middle-aged – all with colorful head scarves but dull, shabby clothing, clinging tightly to the edges of the loader as the tractor rumbled over ruts and rifts in the dusty dirt-hardened road. An elderly man wearing a beige-colored robe squeezed onto the driver’s seat alongside the younger male driver who was dressed in brown pants and heavy, dark green jacket.

I flashed on our childish wheelbarrow antics from so many years ago. As odd as the scene in front of me appeared, I knew this was their normal mode of transportation, and I wondered how I would fare if “barrowing” was my only option for transport.

 

Click here for a link to other A to Z bloggers.

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