My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


My friend Rose was given this lovely Versatile Blogger award, and she was sweet to include me in her list of bloggers she passed it on to...

I love the award as well as the assignment that went along with it: list seven obscure facts about yourself, then pass the award on. (Check out Rose's obscure facts list!)

Here's my list, although some of these facts aren't at all obscure to some of you!...

1. This is a good one for a post near Halloween: I came back from the dead! Mmmwwwahahaha. :-) When I was several months old I suddenly went into convulsions while my mother was feeding me (shows what I thought about being fed a cow's milk!) At the hospital my temperature reached 106º and I lost all vital signs. My mother, who can be prone to exaggeration for dramatic effect, says I was officially pronounced dead. But obviously I was revived as my being here to blog about it would suggest! ;-) I never had another seizure and there was no explanation found for that one, but Mom's always suspected it had something to do with the smallpox vaccination that I'd gotten two weeks earlier. Ironically, we'd just gotten home from the doctor's office to have my vaccination site checked when the convulsions hit. (And going to doctors still gives me fits!)

2. I once danced a brief, impromptu tango with Jeff Goldblum in the alley of an L.A. studio.

Yarite, that's us and that's the alley. LOL

3. The farthest north I've been is Goose Bay, Labrador (at 53º North), the farthest south is Nosara, Costa Rica (9º North). I'm no dummy, I spent 3 weeks in Costa Rica, only a few hours in Labrador!

4. Those of you who have read my Needle-Toothed Beast post from January already know this, but I took Industrial Arts instead of Home Economics in the 7th grade, the first girl in Virginia to do something so outrageous. :-) Among my shop class projects were these mahogany and pine salt & pepper shakers, a Christmas gift to my grandparents that year. My mom has them now, and I photographed them during a visit in August (a visit I'll blog about soon)...

5. I didn't get my driver's license till I was 21, barely in time to put an AARP sticker on my car! ;-) But at least I passed my driver's test on the first try!

6. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1994. After two bad experiences, I just say no to drugs. Though it was what started me on the road to becoming vegan (which definitely makes it a blessing in disguise), MS isn't the reason I'm vegan. It is, however, the main reason I'm a McDougalling vegan.

7. On a lighter note, at least I'm immune to poison ivy (a handy trait I inherited from my paternal grandmother!)

Though the blogs that make me happy are produced by bloggers who are very versatile with their topics, art, photos and writing, I agree with Rose that passing along these awards is a perfect way to highlight and share fun blogging finds with others. So the Versatile Blogger award goes to... three fresh faces!

1. Notes from the Vegan Feast Kitchen/21st Century Table - as its name suggests, it's all about the food, but a vegan chef like Bryanna Clark-Grogan is nothing if not versatile! Creative and talented, too! (Her website is full of resources from tips on how - and why - to become vegan, to food and cooking pointers, recipes, book reviews, nutritional info, recommendations and lots more!)

2. What do I Know? - Kathy is an ex-pat American living with her family in England, and her posts cover all kinds of topics. I particularly enjoy her photos, especially of her jaunts around the UK and Europe. She also takes wonderful photos of critters.

3. Folkways Notebook - a very recent find with a variety of interesting, informative posts and some wonderful photos.


  1. I think if anyone deserves the Versatile award it's you! I was checking out the other blogs you listed, and while I already know about Vegan Feast Kitchen (and it is awesome) I really liked the other two too. I'm having fun finding new and different types of blogs of late...there are soo soo many out there!

    Well, I have to say I'm glad that you recovered from your experience as an infant. I daresay it was the's usually have excellent intuitions about those things.

    Of course, I already knew about Jeff Goldblum and Goose bro went to Costa Rica once and he said the people were super kind and super nice.

    I'm going to have to check out the Needle Toothed post forthwith, but I have to say; you made those salt and pepper shakers? Go Away! That is awesome. They look so professional and they are still in use so must be well made. I'm impressed. I'm crap at anything handy like that.

  2. Thank you, Rose! I definitely prefer "versatile" over "scattered and unfocused!" LOL

    I'm not surprised you were already familiar with Vegan Feast Kitchen. I started following her blog just a year or so ago, but I've been a fan of her web site (and cookbooks) for years. She's amazing! (Do you have her "Nonna's" cookbook?) I'm glad you like the other two blogs as well. And I too have been finding some fun new and different ones lately!

    I'm also glad I recovered from my infantile near-death experience, I would have missed out on quite a bit! It doesn't seem to have done any long-term damage, unless it zapped the part of my brain responsible for math and sense of direction. That would explain a lot! ;-)

    I'd forgotten you knew about my visit to Goose Bay! Your brother and I had the same experience with the "Ticos" of Costa Rica being very friendly and generous. Their pura vida attitude toward life is a good one to emulate.

    Thank for saying such nice things about my salt and pepper shakers! I think those and the mini skis I made were my proudest accomplishments in that class. I wish I'd kept the pattern for those s&p shakers, I remember them being fun to make! Everyone else in the class made tall ones, but for some reason I just had to be different and make them short. (They're about 4" tall at most). I doubt Mom actually uses them, she had them sitting on her kitchen counter with a sticky note on them saying "Laurie made, 7th grade." LOL I hinted that I wouldn't mind having them back, but she either didn't catch the hints or ignored them. ;-)

    I doubt anyone who can garden, cook, dress up a table and take photos as splendidly as you do is "crap" at anything, especially anything creative!

  3. Hi Laurie,

    I don't have Nonna's cookbook, but I've seen some recipes other bloggers have made from it here and there and it sounds like a good one. I think I would also like the one she did on Chinese cuisine...I have so many cookbooks already though, and I rarely use them. I really have to start making a point of it.

    So you are math challenged too? Maths have always been a mystery to me (except for geometry and logic, which made sense) all that "x+y" stuff was completely "other" to me.

    In the words of Billy Connolly: "They must be taking the piss, everyone knows you don't count count numbers. " LOL

    I do like the shakers, and the skis sound cool too.

  4. I agree with Rose- you certainly do deserve the versatility award! The salt & pepper shakers look a lot like a pencil holder I made (and still have, which is sitting on the desk by me now) when I was in industrial arts. I had a lot of fun in that class!

    A tango with Jeff Goldblum, you say? That's pretty cool! I'm also very glad you recovered from your experience as an infant. Scary stuff!

  5. Rose ~ Nonna's is a good one (I have her "The (Almost) No-Fat Cookbook" too), but you sound like me: we have a lot of cookbooks, but typically have only made 1-2 recipes from each! Now that there's the internet and a bazillion new recipes to try every minute, it seems, my binders of recipes printed off the web are what we chiefly use, while our cookbooks have been neglected. Need to rectify that this winter! (I lost all the recipes I had saved on my old iMac when I lost all my bookmarks in the crash. I have not given up hope of retrieving them, but meanwhile... whaaaaa!)

    Yes, to say I am math challenged is one way of putting it. You could also say, as I do, "I suck at math!" :-) I didn't have near the struggle with geometry either, those shapes were something tangible I could wrap my brain around. But that other stuff? Susan was in my algebra class, you could ask her about it! :-) I avoided calculus and trig like the plagues they are, and don't even get me started on word problems...

    Billy's right! Someone is having us on, sticking x's and y's in there.

    There's a little story that goes with those skis, one full of blood and intrigue. I actually have them in my possession, though they were a Christmas gift to my mother that year. One day I'll get a photo of them and tell the tale.

    Molly Why thank you, m'dear! That's very kind of you to say! :-)

    I wanna see a photo of your pencil holder! Us shop-taking women must band together and ooh and ahh over our woodworking excellence. :-) Shop class was fun, wasn't it?

    Yes, a tango with Jeff G. indeed. Got to spend an entire day in his company (along with about 300 other people, lol) while he was filming Apple TV ads. I actually got to talk to him quite a bit, and he's very funny and down to earth (but a wicked flirt!) :-)

    And thanks for also being glad I'm not dead! LOL

  6. I'll send you a picture of the pencil holder as soon as I get a chance! :)

  7. That'll be great, Molly, thanks! :-)

  8. I'm glad I wasn't the only one taking shop instead of home ec or cooking. I took wood shop happily for 7 yrs, 6th grade through 12th, and I started out with a pencil box and foot stool, worked through a lot of other projects, none of which do I still have, and finally in my senior year, built a clavichord, which I do still have in storage in my attic as I prefer now playing my "grand piano" electronic keyboard. Still, I spent many happy hours in the wood shop!

  9. What a great day to discover your blog. Your list of facts is extraordinary, to say the least — back from the dead, tango with Jeff Goldblum, gorgeous wood craft. I expressed great displeasure at not being able to take industrial arts, but you actually got to do it. I'm impressed with both the action and the result!

  10. Daphne ~ I'm so glad you stopped by to leave your comment, thanks so much! As you already know, I am really impressed with your shop class resumé. :-) You were a real trailblazer! And I, for one, would love to see a photo of your clavichord on your blog one of these days.

    Andrea ~ Thank you for visiting and commenting also! (And happy belated birthday once more! I say make it last at least a week, if not the rest of the month. LOL)

    Wow, women who either wished they could have taken shop class or actually got to have really come out of the woodwork. (Yes, pun intended!) I wish you could have taken shop - I wish I'd taken an automotive repair class in high school, though it hadn't occurred to me at the time ~ driver's license at 21 and all that, kind of lacked the motivation and a reason to learn how to fix a car. :-) Anyway, thank you for your kind words about my little rebellion against the status quo and my resulting salt and pepper shakers! :-)

  11. It's fun to know that there are still so many things I don't know about you! Of course you know my memory is crap so some things I've known about you I've forgotten so being your friend will be fresh forever.
    I do think though that I never knew about your immunity to poison ivy, I'm pretty sure I never knew you were in Labrador and shame on me if you told me about Jeff Goldblum and I forgot!!
    I took a side trip to Daphne's site since you had told me you enjoyed her blog. Sounds like a neat lady. How can a quilter who has someone cook for her be anything else!
    My dinner is ready and since your earlier blog gave me such an apetite, I'm off.

  12. Jo ~ LOL about your bad memory making being my friend be fresh forever! :-) Well, this was supposed to be a list of obscure facts about myself, and I was going to feel successful if I came up with one thing you didn't know already! :-)

    It's quite possible you didn't know about the poison ivy, there are few conversations into which that can be gracefully inserted. :-) You must have known about my Labrador adventure and just forgotten, since it was the summer before our senior year at UNH, when I went to ATC at Pope AFB, NC for two weeks. I dated a pilot stationed there who invited me to come along on a mission to deliver a C-130 to a crew whose plane had conked out on their way to England, stranding them at Goose Bay. We brought some mechanics and parts, but still flew a very broken airplane back to NC that night. There's more to the story, but when my dad found out about it he said, "That's the most dangerous thing you've ever done!" Yeah well, when you're 21 you're immortal. It was 48º there that June day, 98º back in Fayetteville. It wasn't the risk of flying so far in a broken airplane that made me wonder if I'd made a good decision, it was those temps! :-) When I finally figure out how to use the new scanner, I'll dig out a photo of me in my flight suit standing beside the Goose Bay sign and email it to you! Re: Jeff Goldblum, I can't believe you don't know that story OR that you forgot it! That was in 2000... do you remember the "vegan_lady at" Apple email ad that aired that November, and my spending the day watching them film a bunch of Jeff Goldblum/iMac TV ads? Surely some bells are faintly ringing by now? What kind of friend am I, if I didn't tell you this story!

    I'm glad you visited Daphne's site! Her photos are such fun, and I enjoy reading her blog essays.

  13. Thanks for the updates and memory joggers? The description of the Jeff Goldblum story did hit a few faint bells but the broken plane flight to Labrador did not. Now keep in mind that it's only because my mom has photographic proof of it that I know that I met my aunt from Brazil when I was 18 because I had totally forgotten that happened. (She stayed at our house for three days for goodness sake!!!) Oh, and I don't remember a trip to Florida when I was 7 either. I grew up in NH so you'd think that would have made an impression!!!
    So if I can't remember your life, you must not take it personnaly when I can't even remember mine!!
    I worry when I'm old how they'll tell when I have dimentia or when it's just me being me!!

  14. Jo ~ LOL! I knew you often forgot seeing movies, but the trip to Florida and your aunt's 3-day visit from Brazil? Oh, my. I guess my Labrador and Jeff Goldblum adventures didn't stand a chance! ;-) Well, at least whenever I don't have a current story to tell you, or we run out of things to talk about (yarite, as if!), I can just dig out those old tales again! At least you're unlikely to say, "You already told me that one!" like everyone else does! :-D

    As for someday not knowing if it's dementia or just you being you, that's too funny! And it's like me when I was first diagnosed with MS. "Have you ever bumped into anything? Stumbled or tripped a lot? Fallen down?" Yeah, like every day since I started walking! "Welcome to my world, doc, it's called Klutzville, Bandaid capitol of the world!" Was it MS, or was it just me being me?! LOL


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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