a quote from my favorite author

“The most solid advice, though, for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell, and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”

-William Saroyan, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


The Liebster Award is given by nomination from a fellow blogger.  It’s an award for small bloggers made to encourage one another.  Liebster is a German word for “sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing & welcome.”

This week, I was surprised and flattered with a little Liebster encouragement from my Estonian friend, Terje (who blogs at Just for a Month).  I am always charmed (enchanted, even) by Terje’s words.  She has such an endearing way with language and never fails to come up with a clever approach to her blog posts.  I also follow her on Pinterest and find her taste in artwork just as inviting as her writing.  It is amazing to be connecting with someone so far away.  To have her recognition like this means a great deal to me; the honor alone is special, but to be honored by someone whose writing I so admire is truly meaningful.  Plus, I suspect she knows me better than many of the people I interact with daily know me.  That makes me smile.

My duties as a Liebster recipient are to answer some questions to introduce myself and to pass the honor on to a blogger I know and love.  Here goes:

Why did you start blogging? 
After silently lurking around the Two Writing Teachers blog for months, I decided to try the Slice of Life challenge.  My first attempt was not what I would consider successful, but I stuck with it and eventually got the hang of this blogging thing. 

What is your favorite book?  
Ahh!  Authors always say this question is like being asked which child is your favorite.  I think the same goes for readers.  How can I choose just one?  Answer: I can’t.  So, my answers right now are...

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli is a book I can read again and again and like more and more each time.  I admire the poetic quality of the prose.

The Human Comedy by William Saroyan is a classic that I fell in love with in high school.  It is about a young boy who has a job as a messenger during WWII.  It is a coming of age story with Saroyan’s trademark philosophical ponderings threaded throughout.  I collect first editions and old copies of Saroyan’s work. 

What Came from the Stars by Gary D. Schmidt is a future classic.  The more closely I study this text, the more deeply I love it.  In fact, all of Gary D. Schmidt’s work is worth this kind of study.

Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo is my favorite of her books.  The Magician’s Elephant is a close second, though.  Reading Kate DiCamillo is the book equivalent of wrapping yourself in the comfort of a thick, fluffy old quilt.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer.  This book made me fall in love with books written for grown-ups again.  I had given up on them for so long. 

What makes you laugh out loud? 
My husband (even his fart jokes).  And the latest episodes of Modern Family.  Often my 8th graders—for instance this conversation today:
S1: My friend’s cat had kittens.  I named one Cookie Monster.  When it was 6 days old, her dog ate it.  Then he threw it back up.
S2 (obviously misunderstanding the gravity of the previous story…and the fact that kittens can’t survive inside a dog’s stomach):  Do you still have it?

What is your favorite social media?  
I don’t know what I would do without Twitter, Blogger, and Pinterest.  I am pretty addicted to Pinterest.  It is like a hobby.  Or an illness. 

Who would play you in a movie? 
Alyson Hannigan.  She is one of those stars who looks like a regular old Joe. And I am a regular old Joe. 

How long have you been blogging?
Since March 2010.

What is the most annoying song in the universe? 
At the risk of offending, I cannot stand the Christmas song “Carol of the Bells.”  Something about the frantic pace of it makes me tense.  If it is playing while I am out shopping, I will all of a sudden start rushing without even processing it is my physical reaction to that song.

What time of day do you write? 
Nighttime.  Always.  I am a night owl.  Plus, writing is one of those things that I do for myself.  Because it just feels good.  So, it often gets pushed to the end of my list of things to do for the day.

What part of your home is your favorite? 

I am especially fond of my little work area tucked into a corner of our main living space.  It contains a chicken wire bulletin board my husband made, an antique jelly cabinet my husband bought me, and an antique typewriter.  It makes me happy; however, the best part of my home is wherever my dogs are cuddling.  They are the therapy in fuzzy form.

What is your favorite recipe?  
I make the yummiest vanilla fudge, and it is so easy!

2 bags of Nestle Premier White Morsels (12 oz)
2/3 cup of sweetened condensed milk
1 jar of marshmallow fluff (7.5 oz)
1/4 cup of butter or margarine (one-half stick)

Place White Morsels in microwavable bowl.
Microwave on DEFROST setting until completely melted, stirring occasionally. (approx. 10 minutes, stir every 2-3 minutes)
Stir in melted butter.
Heat marshmallow fluff and stir it in.
Add 2/3 cup of sweetened condensed milk.
Keep stirring until the fudge mix is one consistent shade of off-white.
Pour fudge into a foil lined 9x9 brownie pan.
Smooth the top so that it is even.
Refrigerate for a few hours until firm.
Cut into squares and serve.
Keep refrigerated and store in an airtight container

What is your favorite season?
I’ve always liked fall best.  Sweaters, jeans, and scarves are an indication of perfect weather to me.  I like the sound of leaves crunching under foot.  However, I am also a fan of summer sunshine and sparkling white snow.  Really, spring is the only season with which I don’t really get along.  Rain, humidity, and allergies make for a long three months.

How fun it is to pretend I am giving you information you wanted to know!  Now, for the best part…I get to share the goodness.  So, my Liebster award goes to Deb Day.  You can find her blogging at Coffee with Chloe.  I was lucky enough to be allowed into her classroom last spring to see the amazing work she does with her high school students.  In fact, she doesn’t even know this yet, but I started a middle school speech team at our school because she makes it sound like so much fun in high school.  Plus, she has an incredibly cute (and talented) writing dog. 


  1. It was fun reading your answers.

    1. ....even when I didn't come up with the questions.

  2. Now that you've posted the recipe for the vanilla fudge...

    No. It will ALWAYS taste better from you.

  3. Congrats, my friend. You so deserve this award. I love getting a glimpse into your life, and yes, enjoyed learning every part of it. I love that your favorite place is wherever the dogs are. I agree: they are therapy in fuzzy form.