Answer to title: When the intended recipient decides to decline the award. This past week I was pleasantly surprised to be one of Brendan Birth’s nominees for the Outstanding Blogger Award. Pleasantly surprised, but I’m still going to say thank you so much for thinking of me but I think not. There are a number of requirements for accepting blogging awards, and I think I’ve been blogging for too long to rise to the occasion for some of them.
However, I’ve decided to fulfill two of the requirements anyway, the first one because I’m pleased to do it and the second because it’s kind of fun.
The first one is to thank your nominator and link back to his (in this case) blog. Thank you, Brendan. I am more than happy to point readers to Brendan’s blog, Blind Injustice. Brendan uses his blog to advocate for human rights and civil rights. He’s also done a great job as a New Yorker of letting his readers know what it’s been like “on the ground” in NYC during the pandemic. I really enjoy your thoughtful approach to your topics, Brendan.
The fun requirement is to answer Brendan’s 7 questions. Don’t ask me why it’s 7; these blogging award requirements can be pretty quirky! Here I go with my answers.
- What have you learned about yourself during COVID?
I’ve learned that the introverted side of my personality can thrive when my ability to attend to multiple outside commitments is curtailed. It turns out that I am fine spending countless hours reading, writing, thinking … and blogging.
But aside from having a handy-dandy introvert side to draw on, I’m in a more fortunate situation than most for riding out COVID: I’m retired; I live where there are very few cases and our borders are closed to minimize new infections; I have good company in my husband; we have enough space; our kids (who we undoubtedly won’t be able to see in person until next summer because of COVID) have been able to work from home rather than being furloughed or having to go to work in scary circumstances; and we can keep in touch with family and friends using technology. We count our blessings during this turbulent, angst-filled time.
- What is an interest of yours you don’t think your readers are aware of?
Lol. When you see the answer to the next question you will realize that there are few interests – or idle thoughts, for that matter – that my readers wouldn’t know about. However, the answer to question 5 below might show some interests that would surprise a few readers.
- Has the focus of your blog changed over time? If so, how?
Oh, boy, has it ever. I started my blog over 8 years ago. Yikes! I had recently retired, was starting to write children’s stories for my grandchildren (actually one grandchild at the time, who’s now 14), and was starting to train for long distance runs. So my blog started out to be about writing and running. Eventually I branched out to other aspects of my life and interests: farming, travel, quilting, leadership in business, world affairs, human rights and social justice, climate change, maps, you name it. It has become more of whatever is on my mind at the time.
One thing I would like to add that is that one of the great values of blogging is “meeting” fellow bloggers in the blogosphere who share common interests. As a result of exploring each one of those categories above, I have gained blogging friends right around the world who have made a difference in my life.
- Why did you decide to blog on the topics you blog on?
I more or less answered this question in the previous answer. But I’ll embellish it in case there are any new bloggers or potential bloggers reading this. I started blogging because I learned in a writers’ workshop that blogging is a good way to practice writing. Find something to write about and go for it. Bum in seat, write. So I went for it. At the time I was starting my little children’s series about Robby Robin, with grand ideas about how many Robby Robin stories I might eventually write. Hence the name of my blog: Robby Robin’s Journey. I wish I knew then what I know now, that it would be better to keep your blog name as neutral of topic as possible while being identifiable, but hindsight is 20/20.
When I started blogging, I was learning lots about writing and illustrating, and lots about training an old(er) body for half marathons and marathons. Those topics were my obsession then, and there was plenty of material for a while. But I also learned that I loved the process around blogging, which I couldn’t have known when I started. I love thinking about ideas, thinking them through, and writing through my thoughts. And those ideas and thoughts naturally evolve with time. Just think of the monumental changes in our world in the past few years! How could your topics not change?!
- Are there any sports you are into? If so, which sports are you into and which people or teams do you root for?
In actual fact, we follow lots of sports in our house. Lots. When professional sports all came to a grinding halt in March, our evenings had to be completely reinvented! The first one to come back was golf, and we were ready. Then basketball and baseball. Then tennis. It was like a dream come true. (And, importantly, the return of sports to TV allowed the athletes to have a powerful voice in fighting racism despite being isolated in prescribed bubbles.) Definitely curling. Hopefully, the curlers will be able to play this winter. I love watching the elite curlers from all the northern countries. NHL hockey when Canadian teams are playing. Nothing against Dallas and Tampa Bay, but those two southern cities playing for the Stanley Cup (donated by Canada’s Governor General Lord Stanley in 1892 and first awarded to Canada’s amateur ice hockey clubs)??? Sorry, it just doesn’t seem right. And, no, it is not a mistake that football is not on my list!
Who do I root for? Toronto Raptors!!!!!! Toronto Blue Jays!!!!! In tennis, Naomi Osaka, Dennis Shapovalov, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Milos Raonic, and Bianca Andreescu. Others, too, there are so many young tennis players that are exciting to watch. UNB hockey. Ottawa Senators. Many favourite Canadian curling rinks (teams). My current favourite non-Canadian rink is the Swiss rink of Peter de Cruz, especially teammate Benoit Schwarz.
I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but basketball, ice hockey, and lacrosse were all invented in Canada!
- What is a place you haven’t visited yet that you would like to visit?
Madagascar and Borneo are at the top of my list, but I think we may have run out of time. Right now, it will be nice when we can even travel to Ontario from New Brunswick without stress!
- What is the best place you have been to? Why?
I’ve written many blog posts on this topic. The post called ‘Our 15 favourite trips, time for an update’ provides the full answer, but the very short version is Botswana. Take a quick peek and you can find out why.
Thanks for the questions, Brendan, and thanks for reading, everyone. Just for fun, think about what your answers would be!