Blushes of Embarrassment

Uh-oh.

8. Share a silly or embarrassing story.

Hmmm. So many to choose from…

In my last post, I admitted that I deal with pointless and probably totally unnecessary guilt a lot. The same goes for embarrassment. I live in a permanent state of awkwardness, a torment of extreme sensitivity, a limbo of social clumsiness. I can’t be silly without being embarrassed. An innocent question or thoughtless remark might fill me with dread at What The Other Person Must Think. I can dissolve with embarrassment at the drop of a pin (or a crochet hook onto a linoleum floor during an Art History lecture). The cumulative result is rather debilitating; the festering remains of embarrassment might easily cross into the realms of guilt.

So there are way too many silly and embarrassing stories to choose from. I’ll go with the time I walked into my high school Sunday school class late one morning. Lateness is another of my struggles.

It was winter, and though it wasn’t really all that cold and there wasn’t a spot of precipitation, I was bundled in my warmest separating-layer purple skiing jacket. And a couple of scarves. And thick mittens. (It’s possible I’m exaggerating.)

There was a guy there who I was almost friends with – nice, outgoing, bespectacled, and cute. He smiled and said, “Wow! You look nice”

I took this as a compliment and was all blushes. “Thanks!”

“-And warm,” he finished, probably also embarrassed, and added politely. “You do look nice, though.”

I can’t remember what happened next. I probably melted in mortification, tried to hide behind my collar, never spoke to the Cute Guy again. Something like that.

And that was it. I could probably choose a dozen other mortifying stories if I thought about it.

But the thing is, I am trying to get past my propensity to constant embarrassment. I’ve learned, first, that it’s ok to be silly sometimes; and, second, that the Other Person probably isn’t paying that much attention anyway.

This is tremendously freeing.

Now, if I can only learn to talk to Cute Guys again…

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The Interests of a Blogger who doesn’t Look at Many Blogs

And it’s my turn on our list of blog post ideas! I’m starting to wish it would never end, actually, because it’s a much easier way for me to keep track of what I can talk about. I shall have to make a list for myself of blog ideas, and then do every one of them.

This time I am going to list a few blogs that I check out every day. It’s an interesting challenge, because, as you may have guessed by the title of this post, I don’t actually look at a lot of blogs. Unfortunately, I tend to look less at something when it has more to do with something I do. Don’t ask me why.

But I do check out a few blogs fairly frequently- probably not every day.

The blog I look at most is called Chris Martin Writes. The blogger is, obviously, Chris Martin (not the singer).

He has some great things to say and, though they don’t always apply to me, it makes me think. Here is a link to one of his recent posts that I’ve really enjoyed.

Another blog I follow is Daniella Joe’s Blog, which, sadly, I don’t look at as much as I would like.

I love the humor and mood, and I feel as though our blogs, or blog mission, is much the same. She crochets, we sew, crochet, paint and create.

Another blog I follow, again not as much as I should, is Shannon A Thompson, who seems very much to be along the same lines as I am, as a writer, except that she’s much more serious about what she does.

While I’m on writing, I’d better mention Lynette Noni, who seems to be so much exactly what I’m doing that it’s amazing- again, as a writer. She’s encouraging and a little frustrating. She is basically what I need to aim for, as a writer and online presence.

And that’s pretty much it. There are a few other blogs that I’m aware of, but mostly as a sister. There is, for instance, someone called Bray-Bray 44 (Brai Brai? Brai-Brai? Bray-Brai? Brai Bray? Brai-Bray? Bray Brai? No, I’m not crazy) and Abby and Hannah really enjoy her, and I look forward to checking out her blog. (speaking of which, I think we got the 25 Blogging ideas from her, so thanks very much!)

There was also a blog by the name of Denim and Dumplings, which I really enjoyed, but I forgot to actually follow it when I had the chance.

Well, there you go. I really don’t look at any of these blogs as much as they deserve(please check them out) and, as I said, I don’t follow blogs much. But I am actually very interested in checking out more, and I feel like there’s always another interesting one around the corner. So, if you have a few corners for me to go around, I’d love to check out any blogs you might recommend. Especially those to do with food, sewing, creating, photography, writing and publishing. And dogs. Or all of them!

Have a great weekend!

Guilty Pleasures

6. Share a guilty pleasure.

Ah! Guilty pleasures – those little things we do, even though we know we shouldn’t! Those indulgences we know won’t do us much good. Those secret joys so wonderful they must be sinful…!

Ok, we’ll stop right there so that I can explain why I actually kind of have a problem with this, the next in our fun list of new-blogger ideas.

First, guilt. If I let myself, I can feel guilty about almost anything: I sewed a dress for myself for half an hour – how terrible! I’m not helping with the vichyssoise – I must be lazy! Is 7 hours oversleeping?… And on it goes. Our friend Lexi calls this false guilt; so I try to be careful not to feel guilty about every little thing, especially about things I enjoy.

Which brings me to pleasures. I believe that we ought to take pleasure in good things, and that life is fuller and richer when we do. What is a sunset there for if not to take our breath away? Why not bite into a well-crafted dark chocolate and let its heady complexity melt our senses? Something as small as the way light reflects off of water, something as incomprehensibly huge as a starry sky, something as piquant as a pun, something as complex as a show like “Doctor Who,” can all challenge, transport, lift us. From somewhere we got the idea that enjoying something must be wrong; but it’s only wrong if you enjoy it the wrong way.

Innocent Pleasure
Innocent Pleasure

But I suppose there are pleasure that don’t have much benefit to them (unlike dark chocolate). The treats with no nutritional value, so to speak. I thought of three:

1 – Games

Taptiles on our new Surface is my new addiction. It has eaten up hours on weekends when I’d set aside time to read a book. Lately, I’ve gotten better at avoiding it; yet I doubt I’ll ever be free of its simple but heart-pounding tappy-ness.

I also like Sudoku.

2 – “Grimm”

This picture is a couple of seasons old – but I love how the composition plays with light, shadow, symmetry and asymmetry

I still love this show (even if they *spoiler* killed Juliette which also killed any Fairy Tale they had left). It’s funny, scary, crazy, melodramatic, gross, and has monsters. The main characters have done nothing but React since episode one. It has layers and layers of mythology. The hero is super hot. And Monroe has got to be the best bludbad (to the uninitiated, that’s a sort of werewolf) ever!

Actually, a lot of my TV could go here too, though for different reasons.

3 – Frappuccinos

Coffee and sugar and cream and chocolate and ice. And sometimes pumpkin spice.

Yum…

So, there you go; my guilty pleasures. But the thing is, I can find good and even beneficial things about them all. Games improve mental and sometimes physical processes. “Grimm” is actually nuanced and moral – and for me as a writer, occasionally inspiring. Frappuccinos are – well, um, basically without any benefit whatsoever. But they are refreshing, and I only have a small one every once in a while.

I wish I could invite you to literally share in these guilty pleasures! A “Grimm” binge with a frap and some taptiles sounds fun.

This Time Next Year

The next on the Blog Challenge is number five Where Do You See Yourself (and Your Blog) This Time Next Year?

To be honest, when I saw I had this question, I wasn’t exactly excited. But I’ll make my best shot, anyway!

Ok, so where do I want myself to be next year? Actually, I’m going to be really literal right here and say where physically I would like to be. I would really like to travel, mainly through all my favorite parts of Europe! Italy

Italy, England (not leaving out Scotland and Ireland, of course!), as much of the Alps as I can get, and France – and whatever else may hit my fancy. I would love to incorporate travels into my art and into my works, so in a way, that is also where I would like to be in my life too, pulling in some of my experiences into the work of my hands.

And as for the blog, I want there to be a daily post, from one or other of us; I want to have plenty of followers; and I would especially love to get to know you all our followers, since I would like to see this blog as a place for everyone to come and feel welcome here. I want for people to understand how good and pretty awesome it can be to start up your own home business, and how it can be possible for all of you who might be tentatively thinking of doing a home business or small business.

(Actually, for the daily post thing, we’re going to make an effort to do this a lot sooner than within the vague parameters of a whole year. So look for more and more posts!)

Well, I guess that just about covers it! Next up for Abigail is Share Some Guilty Pleasures, so come back tomorrow for that.

A Bit of Our Life in Pictures

Well, it’s my turn in the 25 steps for blogging we’re doing. This time it’s a round-up of daily life in photos

It’s an interesting challenge, because I automatically thought it meant I should get pictures of just about anything in our house. But I think it’s meant more along the lines of having photos that are used or done very often in our house. So, going along those lines, and probably getting carried away, I will begin.

Annie from AboveClearly Annie, our black lab, is a big part of our lives. She keeps us active. She makes us happy. When we need to love something furry, she’s there for us.

Okay, I’m a dog lover. I could easily go on talking about her for a while.

Z Leaf, Part 1 of 3In the Summer the garden is a big part of our lives. So much so that sometimes I want to give up everything else, grow a ton of veggies, fruit and herbs and live off of that! Of course, living in New Mexico, where sunlight is abundant and rain is- well, not as rare as it used to be. This picture is of our Zucchini plants from last year, which produced some fantastic zucchinis- and we did a lot of different things with them! Grilled veggies is one of my favorite, but we tried an amazing stuffed zucchini!

Chocolate Chip Muffins 1 Which, of course, brings me to food- one of the most important daily things in our lives!

I love food- from pastries to puddings, salads to sushi, hamburgers to horseradish! (I don’t like horseradish, actually, but I had to finish the alliteration)

Here are some chocolate chip muffins, which is a surprisingly rare occurrence in our household (and no, it’s not because all the chocolate chips are eaten before they can be cooked with)

DSCN7841At some point in the day I get onto a computer. It may be to get in contact with someone, do Etsy work, write or play games (but you’re not supposed to know that)

It’s also an important part of our day, considering we blog via computer!

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And then of course there’s the sewing machine, which is, of course, a big part of what I do. I especially enjoy sewing clothes for myself, but I am coming to really enjoy sewing bags.

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There are many plans and ideas I have for my sewing projects in the future. Lots of ideas. I’m sure some of them won’t happen just because they don’t make sense.

Among the more wild ideas I have is for sewn wall art, with a wire-like substance to stiffen my creations. And, to the left, is what I think will suffice! It’s flexible, strong and inspiring. I’m not sure what it’s usually used for but- I’m coming up with ideas for what I want! We found it- where else- at Hobby Lobby.

DSCN7855In the afternoon we have tea. We also have coffee in the morning and either drink may occur during the day, but we always have tea in the afternoon. As you can imagine, we have lots of mugs.

There’s Earl Grey, English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast, Chai and London Fog. I like Darjeeling tea and Scottish breakfast tea, but sadly they are not as easily available.

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On the day I was taking these pictures I finished reading my Bible at the same time I had my afternoon tea and was taking these pictures. It doesn’t always happen that way, but I generally try to break up my reading into 3 parts so I’m not trying to rush (unfortunately that still happens)

DSCN7881And this is a bit of the chain of green and peach color that I’ve set up in our kitchen, as well as flowers on the lamp (which I’m still not sure of)

Strangely enough we don’t have much decoration except possibly at holidays, certainly autumn and Christmas. I want to do more decorations. I’m a decorative person- when I think about it- and I enjoy the chains here.

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I think I’ve made it clear that we like food. We could easily start up a food blog (ooh- ideas!)

But, as most people, we are trying to lose weight and trying to figure out how to cook well. Well, we got a cook book from the Library and among the recipes I found one that not only sounded healthy but fun. Quinoa fruit salad! The dressing was lemony and honey-y, the fruit grapes and peaches. It was supposed to be various berries but we didn’t have them on hand. The result was surprisingly yummy!

And sadly that is where I must leave you, because- what else- I am off to cook! This time we’ll have peppers rolled up with tuna, and I am looking forward to seeing how it turns out!

I hope you enjoyed this tour. I could have put in lots more (I haven’t even gotten to our garage!) But then the post would be way too long, but now you get the idea of what our life is like.

come back soon and I’d love to hear from you!

10 Things (Almost) No One Knows About Me (Abigail Version)

I’m having trouble with the title – it seems imprecise. Should I fiddle with it? “10 Things Very Few Know About Me.” “10 Things Readers of This Blog Don’t Know About Me.” “10 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Abigail.” Or – ooh! This would be most interesting: “10 Things I Don’t Know About Myself.”

Anyway, here’s my version, I finally thought of 10 interesting and amusing facts! Although, of course, once started it’s hard to know when to stop – I could make it 20 facts, except that such a list would quickly become tedious.

-1- I’m not a blog person. I mentioned this in passing in my last post, but I can add something: Although I’ve been aware of different blogs for a long time (Pioneer Woman comes to mind), I’ve never taken the trouble to seek them out, let alone read and follow them! In fact, the only blog I’ve ever read consistently is the one on Plugged In. They talk culture and entertainment in depth and are, surprisingly perhaps, quite fair in their approach.

-2- I’ve never ridden a roller coaster. I had the opportunity once, but stayed on the ground so that I could read “The Man in the Brown Suit,” by Agatha Christie. This is a fair trade: “The Man in the Brown Suit” is exciting enough! And roller coasters are undignified.-3- I have a very large black dog, who insists that I hunt – I mean walk – with her every day.

Annie, the easily overheated black lab
Annie, the easily overheated black lab

These hunts (after lizards, rabbits, squirrels, cats, and the occasional Chihuahua if my dog isn’t looking too carefully) resemble hikes, since we choose rough places to hunt in and are generally at it for an hour or so. (Perhaps that’s why I can’t get much done in a day…) Despite this strenuous exercise, I am rounder than I’d like to be. This may be because:

-4- I like interesting food. And I don’t mean just that I like to cook and bake, or that I’m a foodie or gourmand (which might be true too! and that might be why I don’t lose weight. Sigh). More than that, I like experimenting with foods of different cultures: Indian, Italian, Provencal, British (yes, they do have a cuisine), Japanese (which is sometimes so different it might be from another planet!), Thai, Chinese…

-5- In fact, I like my food exciting! There are so many varieties in taste, texture, intensity. From the most delicate Devonshire clotted creams to the complexity of a hot and spicy curry, I love to experience them all. But at this time of year, there is nothing better than freshly roasted green chile!

-6- I’m a night owl, more awake and creative after sunset than in the afternoon.

-7- I’m a tactless, tell-it-like-it-is people-pleaser. This is a distressing dichotomy.

-8- Both Hannah and Sarah already mentioned “Doctor Who,” so you might have some idea of how important the show is in our family. It’s been a part of my life for longer than I can remember, entering into my earliest memories of play and imagination; though I didn’t start watching it regularly until I was about 11 and superior. For, my basic science fiction principles were laid down by “Star Trek.”

Doctor Who is now my all-time favorite show.

-9- I’m a superhero fan. Now, this doesn’t mean I’m into comics – I wouldn’t even know how to start reading them! And I don’t even mean that I’m a fan of superhero movies – although actually I really enjoy them. What I mean is that I am interested in the concept, development, history, and reasons for and behind superheroes. I have detailed and very interesting ideas on the subject, and I think it’s awesome whenever a movie or TV show or book or whatever explores similar areas. Someday I’ll write more about this: My ideas about superheroes are serious, and encompass some unexpected sources.

But not Larry Boy. He’s just for the fun of it!

-10- With the last $25 gift card I had for Amazon (which is money that you must spend on yourself for whatever you like!), I got a white parasol and the album “of Beauty and Rage” by RED, which you can explore here. I have really needed a parasol for a long time. And I love the album! It’s dark and harsh and heavy and bright and stirring – heavy metal combined with Bach! I most especially enjoy listening to it while reading “Mansfield Park;” perhaps I’ll take book, parasol, and IPod along to the park sometime soon!

The parasol - put to good use!
The parasol – put to good use!

So there you are! I’m crazy, busy, and complicated. And now we can move on!

Why I Started Blogging

This is number 3 on our ongoing list of 25 new blogger post ideas, which Hannah talked about here. Perhaps I’ll put in the whole list at the bottom! Technically, I’m not even sure if this qualifies as a really new blog anymore, since we’ve been going 4 months now. 4 whole months! I can’t believe it’s been that long – or that I’ve actually managed to post as often as I have; probably collaborating has kept me accountable!

Hannah and Sarah have been having so much fun with their “10 Things No One Knows About Me” posts that I think I will have to do one too. However, it’s not as easy as you’d think to come up with 10 interesting facts about yourself. And if it’s to things that no one knows – well, let’s just say I’m not sure I want to go there! So – I’m trying to come up with 10 things about me not likely to be involved in this blog, just to round out my persona. Maybe I’ll put something like that up later this week.

A streambed in the mountains

Meanwhile – why did I start blogging?

We already covered (more or less) why we started this blog in our first post – it’s a chronicle of how we are launching our Etsy shops – and our lives. We want to share what we’re up to, connect to people, and build (we hope) an audience for what we’re doing.

Personally, however, I got into blogging a little more than a year ago with my individual blog Abything and Everything (which is sadly neglected – I really need to take the time to give it some TLC!). It was, and is, uncomfortable for me. I hardly ever read other people’s blogs, and I tend to get befuddled with my own.

So why do it?

Well, let’s be terribly honest: I know that every good author platform starts with a blog nowadays – and I want to be a published author. It’s a great way to connect with readers, hone writing skills, and network with others in the same craft. You can’t get anywhere without a blogging platform to talk about your writing and get people excited! I’m sure Charles Dickens had an active, popular blog filled with colorful caricatures and too-vivid scene setting! Agatha Christie must’ve hosted daily, wild chats on the subjects of poisons and bridge-playing! William Shakespeare probably churned out puns in iambic pentameter faster than his “Globe-Blog” fans could cap them with a witty response! Emily Dickinson… Well, she probably cut off all Wi-Fi signals, and only occasionally Tweeted: there are limits.

Anyway, a funny thing has happened now that I’m blogging more consistently: I’m actually starting to enjoy it. Just so long as I keep it short (unlike now) and try to get in at least one post a week, it can be fun. I’ve found a couple of bloggers I like to follow, and apparently I like photography blogs – so it’s not all bad! And now some random people are liking my posts – thanks! – and it’s fun sharing my own photography, like these pictures of a recent mountain adventure.

I have lots of ideas for the future.

This should keep us occupied for a while, though: The List, as promised! –

25 Blog Post Ideas For New Bloggers

  1. An introductory/”About Me” post
  2. 10 things no one knows about you
  3. Why did you start a blog?
  4. A roundup of “daily life”-type photos
  5. Where do you see yourself (and your blog) this time next year?
  6. Share some guilty pleasures
  7. What are your favorite blogs to check out every day?
  8. Share an embarrassing or silly story
  9. Let us see what’s in your bag
  10. Share some of your favorites – movies, music, tv, books, etc.
  11. What’s been inspiring you lately?
  12. Talk about a hobby or something you’re passionate about
  13. What are some goals you’d like to achieve this season?
  14. Share your bucket list
  15. What’s a day in your life like?
  16. Create a weekly feature or series
  17. Interview another blogger or friend
  18. Create a “Top 10” or “5 Tips” post
  19. Feature someone who inspires you every day
  20. Review something specific to your niche
  21. Share your to-do list for the day/week/weekend
  22. Swap guest posts with another blogger
  23. Share the pros and cons of something you have experience with
  24. Create a list of blogs you think are worth following
  25. Write a letter to your future self that you can come back and read on your blog’s 1 year anniversary