Party Time!

Celebrating 1500 Followers

I’ve been watching my “people counter” quite intently for the past few weeks as the number of blog followers has crept up. Now it’s time to celebrate the fact that my blog now has 1500 followers.
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I want to welcome my newest followers and say “Thank you so much, everyone!” I appreciate every one of you who has been reading and following my posts! I know numbers don’t say it all — but such a nice even number is surely cause for a little party, right?
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With great food…
Dessert minisCones ice cream

I want to say a special thanks to those of you who have left comments. As you know, the readers’ reactions and feedback, even when it’s the corrective kind, is important to the success of any writer.
Your Likes, encouraging words and critiques are the reason I keep on posting in this sphere where so many folks want to share their thoughts.

“A kind word will keep you warm for three winters.”
Old Chinese proverb

I think all bloggers feel the same: if any reader has an upbeat comment or helpful critique to offer to any writer, please take a moment and do that. Share the warmth; take a moment to say “Well done.”
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And now an important announcement to all the followers of christinecomposes.com:

This blog, Christine’s Collection, is my attempt to combine my three former sites:
Christine’s Collection, Swallow in the Wind, and Christine Composes

Swallow in the Wind was deleted and the subscriptions to the other two blogs were beamed over here by the kind folks at WordPress. But the domain name christinecomposes.com will expire in August and I’m not going to renew it. Bit by bit I’ll transfer all the content to this site.

In other words, if you are currently only a follower of Christine Composes, you should rather follow this blog by clicking on the button in the sidebar to continue receiving my blog posts after August 1st. The old site, christinecomposes.com, will become a private blog at that time. So please take a moment to check that you’re following the newest site. Thanks very much

 

Versatile Blogger Award

Back at the beginning of May fellow blogger Hussein Allam nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award. As you can see I’ve been procrastinating — but now it’s time to get with it. Thanks very much for this honour, Hussein.
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I copied this symbol from another blogger who had posted it, and because I’m that sort of a person, I googled “Versatile Blogger Award.” One site showed all the images drawn up for this award. I counted seventy before I quit, but there must be 100 variations.

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This is a rather nice one. Matches my header. 🙂

According to the write-up, if you are nominated, you’ve been awarded the Versatile Blogger award and you should now:Versatile Bl 2

  •  Thank the person who gave you this award.
  •  Include a link to their blog.
  •  Next, select at least ten blogs that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly.
  •  Nominate those bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award.
  •  Finally, share with your readers seven things about yourself.

Oh, how can I pick ten or even fifteen bloggers when I know of so many who would qualify! Check out my Blogroll in the right side bar and you’ll see quite a few worthwhile blogs. I realize some bloggers I follow don’t want awards, and some a few of the ones who do accept them have just gotten an award of some kind. I usually decline awards myself, but thought “Maybe this time.”

So I’ll nominate the following dozen bloggers and let them decide if they want to pass it on:

— Dale in Quebec who blogs at A Dalectable Life. We do fiction together and exchange silly, encouraging, and delightful comments.
— Eric Wicklund from TX blogs at Momus News. With a sense of humor a lot like mine, Eric writes twisty fiction tales and sci-fi stories.
Jellico’s Stationhouse. Another creative flash fiction writer whose writing I enjoy.
— Stacey at In the Corner. A wife, mom, teacher, cancer survivor, soon-to-be published author, shares her battles with the big bad C 🙂
Tiny Lessons Blog takes her readers for enjoyable walks through the salt marsh in the FL keys.
— Cindy, a relatively new blogger has wandered the world, now lives in NJ and blogs at Bird Flight
Chrissy Adventures Another interesting Mom and blogger who says every day is an adventure.
Bedtime Book Blog An English mom with five year old twins, she reviews their bedtime story books on her blog. Great suggestions for new parents.
— Jennifer Ann Fifield, the poet behind The Writing life
That Travel Lady in Her Shoes is another blogger and book reviewer you might enjoy.
Kathleen Duncan I reblogged one of her articles here recently, excellent advice about what to say to a bereaved parent.
Jo, the Inquisitive Writer. I thought her newbie blogging tips were really helpful.

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For those who want a more jazzy image

Seven things about me:
— I was married to Bob at age 17; a mom at 18; and became a Christian at age 21. Now I’m a grandma, too. 🙂

— As a couple we’ve lived in five provinces from AB to QC, plus my folks and I lived for a year in BC when I was  five. I’ve retained a few dim memories of travelling through the Rockies by train, looking down into deep mountain gorges. Eeek!

—We’ve “got a friend in Pennsylvania.” In fact lots of them, as we visited there quite a few times when we lived in Ontario. We’ve travelled as far south as Mississippi and as far SW as eastern Kansas. Didn’t see any sign of Dorothy, Toto, or a twister though.

— I started penpalling back in 1984 and have carried on with some of my penpals all these years since.

—I was editor/publisher of a penpal newsletter for four years when we lived in Ontario. Canaquest Friendship magazine was started by Pauline Campbell; I took over from her.  I’m also a published author with one children’s book to my credit: The Rescuing Day.

— I’m a cancer survivor. Treated for breast cancer when I was 27 and thankfully never had a recurrence. Almost 37 blessed years! (However, I developed chronic lymphocytic leukemia four years ago and was treated last year. I’m doing okay now.)

— I might be a fairly good artist today if I’d ever had lessons. It’s on my bucket list to someday paint a picture.

Becoming a Mom

On Saturday I like to highlight another blogger who has written something informative or inspiring. Today I came across Chrissy’s article on becoming a mom. When did the realization first hit home and how did it feel?

I thought you others might enjoy reading this, too.

ChrissyAdventures

That moment you realize you are a Mom!

How to describe that moment? That moment when it hits you, when it all comes down like a ton of bricks and reality steps right in your face – You’re a Mom, a Mother, the one trusted source of information about vomit, diarrhea, diaper rash & common illnesses.

Not during pregnancy, although many women experience revelation then, but when that young one is in your arms. That’s when it’s real.  That moment when the mental connection is made. I’ve heard some say it was in the hospital it hit them, but not for me. Oh no, it was after I got home. Suddenly, I realized how helpful the hospital staff had been during the first couple of days. They didn’t come home with me. There was no help really!

Nothing prepares you for it – not books, movies, seminars, or pregnancy classes. Nope, no stories…

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The Poet in the Park

I posted this story when the Daily Post writing challenge was to write about any topic, but your post must include a cat, a bowl of soup, and a beach towel. And today’s prompt word is pursue, so here’s the tale of a poet pursuing the perfect verse.

I wander through the park on this beautiful morning, making my way to one of my favorite places in the whole world. Oh, good! My favorite bench is free. I like this one where I’m sheltered by the maples overhead. After all, the sun’s rays aren’t good for a person, so we’re told, and at my age I have to be careful.

I set my sunhat on the bench beside me and rummage through my handbag for my pen and notebook. I’m a poet, so I always carry a notebook. I relax and breathe in the inspiration around me. This agreeable spot, surrounded by the plush lawn, is so conducive to the task at hand. I need to write a poem for my blog — so why not do one about this beautiful day.

At the top of the first blank page I write, Ode to a Summer’s Day.

Scratch that. Sounds too cliché. Maybe I should rather start with something like, “I wandered lonely through the park…” I’m not really lonely, though. In fact I’m quite happy to be alone, pursuing my muse.

I hear a rustle, glance down and see a mouse poke its nose out from under a bush. “Wee tim’rous beastie,” I quote. “Your best-laid plans will go sadly awry if you don’t beat it.” The mouse trembles a bit and retreats back into the shrubbery. I return to pursuing a line of thought suitable for this perfect day.

“What is so rare as a day in July?” Hmm… Rings a bell. Has it already been done — or something like it? Anyway, what rhymes with “July”? (I insist my poems rhyme; I find free verse so undisciplined.) Birds fly; awry; my eye. “A day in July gone awry…a bird just dropped in my eye….”  Nope. Scratch that.

I gaze at the treetops above me. Oh, to be a tree top, caressing the sky, I write, then ponder the phrase. Now that has potential! And I may be able to work July in here after all.

I look down and see a cat nosing around by the bush. See there, mouse. Aren’t you glad I saved your bacon? If I hadn’t scared you, you’d have ventured out and been toast.

“SCAT!” I say to the cat, stamping my foot. It appears well enough fed already and besides, I detest the sights and sounds of slaughter. Unaesthetic—not conducive to producing pleasant poems.

I hear a “throb, throb, throb” coming down the path toward me and look up. Ah, some ‘band in a box’ escorted by two teenage girls. I frown, hoping they are only passing by and will do so promptly.

No such luck! They leave the path and stroll out on the lawn not far from me. One of them shouts at the other, “Here’s a neat spot. Let’s stretch out here.”

Oh, brother! It would be neat if you’d shut off that radio. I feel my bench vibrate from the deep bass throbs and I write in my book, “Thunder rolls across the sky; the earth trembles. The powers that be are shaken.”

They unroll two beach towels and, baring as much as legally can be, they stretch out. Exposing their bodies to the harmful effects of the sun’s rays, not to mention the leers and comments of males passing by. And loving every minute of it.

Well, since I can no longer meditate on the stillness of this beautiful day, perhaps I could go get some lunch while they and their boom-box occupy this spot. There’s a neat little Bistro on LaMontagne Avenue that serves an excellent bowl of Vichyssoise, my favorite soup, together with herbed croutons. Perfect for a hot day, together with thé glacé. Which is iced tea, but I prefer the French ambience.

Perhaps I’ll stop by the Library after to brush up on Emily Dickinson. She might have something inspiring to say about a summer day. Hopefully when I get back the girls will have fried and gone.

As I walk away a picture flashes in my mind. I smile as I think back to the sunny summer days of my teens, when my friends and I spent hours browning ourselves in the warm sun. Neither we nor our mothers had ever heard of dangerous ultraviolet rays back then.

Forget the ode to a summer day. Over lunch I’m going to compose a poem about the joys of youth.

My thoughts go back to those two teenage girls and I wonder what their names are and where they live? Do they have a concerned mother like I had? Has anyone told them about ultraviolet rays and skin cancer? Has someone explained to them that there are sharks in the pool of Life, that you need to protect yourself in more ways than one? Do they know where they’re going in life and how to get there?

Really, I’m sure they didn’t mean to disturb my musings. Will they just think me a nosy old busy-body if I try visiting with them?

I turn around and make my way back to my favorite bench, pausing to nod and say “Hello” to them as I pass. Lunch can wait; the Vichyssoise won’t get any colder

Christine G — Reposted from July 2014

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Book Review Blogs

Welcome to the weekend, everyone! After days of cloudy skies and two disconcerting white blankets of snow this week, today we have sunshine again. Our birds are almost all back and we hope that spring has come at last.

On Saturdays it’s my goal to write a book review, or an article on some other blogger. Today I’ll cover both. Over the past few months I’ve met some interesting bloggers who do book reviews so, for those of you who are avid readers, I’ll post these links today.

Alyssa at “To Read Next” does a review on the book All the Light We Cannot See and gives it a “five-thumbs-up rating” (says Mrs Malaprop.) Click here to read.

The Redheaded Book Lover does a review the intriguingly titled, The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman by Denis Thériault. Read it here.
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And Sam has just started Bedtime Book Blog where she reviews the bedtime story books she’s reading to her five-year-old twins. I think it’s a great idea for concerned moms to share info on children’s books. Here she reviews the works of children’s author Roald Dahl

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Please note:
I haven’t read every post on each of these blogs, so can’t say I endorse everything these writers have posted, or will post.

A Few Posts You Might Like

In-Sites from the Rambling Blogger:

HURRAY for common courtesy! This quote is well worth universal publication.

Read it here: Territorial Quote

And while you’re walking a mile with this new blogger, her earlier posts about her grandfather coming to America and raising his family are really interesting.

I tried reblogging her post, but it didn’t work the way I hoped. But I prefer to do Pingbacks anyway. Then it’s your choice if you want to hop over for a visit.

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In her latest post freelance writer Wendy McCance shares with us just why she writes, starting with:
“I write to tell a story. I write to let my soul loose. I write because I have to.”

I think most of us can identify with her feelings in this post. To read it, click here: The Writer

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And another up and coming young writer tells us how she decides what to write. You can read Minnie’s Musings here: Be Original?

What Next, Grandpa?

Photo  credit : Jellico’s Stationhouse

With thanks to the cheerful and patient Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, for hosting our supposed-to-be-Friday Fictioneers group and inspiring us with a prompt every week. And to Jelli for the © photo.

Archie huffed. “Nursing is no profession for women, especially a youngster like yerself. It’s hard, dirty work, and too…revealing!”

Mary ignored the “Never contradict your elders” protocol. “Well, Grandpa, I’ve talked this over with my parents and they approve. In fact, Dad’s bought me a bicycle so I can attend classes to get the credits I need.”

“A bicycle! What next?”

The pop-up memory tickled Mary as she watched a jet land. Oh, yes, Grandpa. What next? Maybe it’s a good thing you didn’t live to see this, she thought as a young female pilot strolled past wheeling a suitcase.

Written in memory of my dear friend, Mary Strathdee, who braved her grandfather’s displeasure and became a nurse back in the 1930s. (I doubt she got the bike, though. 😉 )