Friday, May 2, 2014

Liebster Award Part I

I have had the honor of the Liebster Award bestowed upon me by Tess of The Lighthouse! Thank you, Tess, for nominating me for this award! I had never heard of it before, but nevertheless I will proudly display the badge of the Liebster. It is awarded to those who other bloggers feel have added something of value to the blogosphere. There are (who knew?) official rules for the Liebster award (see bottom of page) and I will attempt to fulfill the requirements. This is Part I of that journey.

One of the things you have to do to accept this award is to answer eleven questions about yourself that have been created by the person who has nominated you. These are the eleven Tess came up with for me:

Here are my questions for them (and you, if you like) to answer:

1. What is the clearest memory of your childhood?
All the time I spent exploring the woodlands, streams, and shores. There are so many mysteries in the natural world. What a dull life it would be if I understood them all.
2. If you could be teleported anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Paris. I've always wanted to travel to the City of Lights, but I'm not entirely sure why other than the delayed effect of the Madeline books I read as a child. I'd also like to be teleported back home at some point; otherwise, it might be difficult to explain my presence there.
3. What is your favourite Christmas tradition?
(Warning: If you do not wish to hear a rant, please skip to the next question.) It's not so much of a tradition in the usual sense, but how I experienced the holiday period in the past. The last month of the year had a different feeling for me than it does today. It was a peaceful, magical time, full of colors, the scent of spice and pine, Christmas gardens, and reflective walks in the snow. That seems to have disappeared, replaced by a frantic, over-crowded, traffic-filled quest for the latest fad or gadget by a population that mostly consists of whiny, self-absorbed, spoiled brats of all ages. I'm certain that's overstated, but it's often difficult for me to feel otherwise. I hope to find what it used to be again someday.
4. At the end of a long day, what is your go-to meal for supper? (Share the recipe!)
This is the hardest question of all. I can't just say:

Cereal, 1 bowl full
Milk, as required

Mix and eat with spoon
No matter how truthful that is, I feel I owe you more. So here's another dish I do quite often:
Penne Pasta with Sausage and Vegetables

1 lb. Italian sausage (or sausage of your choice)
1 bell pepper (green or red), chopped
1 medium onion, chopped in about 8 pieces
1 medium (no big, hard seeds inside) zucchini or yellow squash, sliced
1/2 lb. penne pasta (about half of a box)
tomato paste
olive oil
grated cheese (optional)
basil, parsley, oregano

Oddly enough, I usually have most of these on hand...

Note: if you use pre-cooked sausage, the amount of time you spend cooking will be greatly reduced. You can use Italian sausage, turkey sausage, probably even a soy-based sausage if you really have to—it will all work fine.

If you don't have pre-cooked sausage (it will say 'fully cooked' on the label), cook that in a frying pan with a drizzle of oil then set it aside. Once it's cool enough to touch (or it's pre-cooked), slice it on a diagonal and set it aside again.

Get your pasta boiling and cook it per the instructions on the box.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet or wok, put in a little oil, and when it gets fairly hot toss in the bell pepper and onion. Stir them around a little while. Once they've started to soften, add the zucchini and garlic (clove or dried to your taste).

Mix a little (a few teaspoons?) tomato paste with water and add it to the vegetables in the pan and keep it cooking. If you don't have paste, tomato sauce (or even a touch of ketchup if you're desperate) will work. I like the color the paste gives. Add a bit of water or water/paste mixture if it gets too dry.

The pasta should be about done now. Drain and set it aside.

Dump the sausage back in and let it simmer just a bit. Salt to taste—this will depend on the paste and the sausage. Add any of the Italian-type spices (basil, parsley, oregano) to your own taste. I tend to over-do them all...

When everything looks good, you now have two choices:

1. put the pasta on a plate and top it with the sausage/vegetable mix, or
2. dump the pasta in the sausage/vegetable mix and stir it all around, then put it on a plate

Either way works for me.

Sprinkle with grated cheese, if desired. If nobody desires you, you can still have some cheese. (Wow, that was cheesy...)

With pre-cooked sausage, it only takes about thirty minutes.

I have no idea if this is in any way authentic or healthy, but it's pretty good and it doesn't take too long to do.
5. You’ve won the lottery! After gifts to family, friends, and charities, what would you do for yourself?
Have my friends and family change their wills so I'm the beneficiary. I probably shouldn't say more than that...

Well, perhaps have a house built somewhere nice. Not a fancy house, but a functional one, preferably with at least some view of the water.
6. Why do you write? And, if you care to share (and have the time) why do you blog?
There are a number of reason why I write. It's mainly for fun at the moment. I have lots of stories inside my brain, and I want to get them down where others can experience them to see their reaction. From that, I can tell if they understand the world them same way as I do or if I really am crazy. I can even accept being crazy as long as the stories are entertaining. To me, writing is like a jigsaw puzzle with a few blank pieces. For the most part, I know what the final product should look like as soon as the idea comes into my head, but getting all the pieces to fit is a challenge. I like that challenge. And those blank pieces? I get to make up what goes there, and that's where the little twists and turns come in.

Why do I blog? I'm beginning to second-guess that one...
7. Do you have a favourite word? Is there a word you overuse?
My favourite word would have to be petrichor. I don't know what it means, and I don't have time to look it up right now—it's starting to rain and I have to close the windows to keep that weird smell out of the house. As a plus, the Blogger spell checker doesn't seem to have any idea that the word exists. I like the word because many people know what petrichor is, but few know the word for it. Someday I hope to use it to great advantage in a story.

The runner-up in this category would be eldritch. Yes, I read a lot of Lovecraft.
I overuse many words, but the one that actually annoys me is actually. I actually use it far more often than I actually need to.
8. Whose writing do you most admire?
Almost everyone is better than me, so there are too many to pick just one.
Charlotte Bronte - She wrote stories about situations I wouldn't think I'd have the slightest interest in, and yet I do.

Charles Dickens - To teach me how to create colorful characters.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson - For poetry. By poetry, I mean real poetry, not some of the stuff folks pass off these days as poetry. Yes, I am biased...

Edgar Allen Poe - He's a local boy, so I had to give him a mention.
9. What skill or superpower would you most like to have - that you do not already possess.
The ability to heal people—you know, cancer, ghastly wounds, hemorrhoids, what have you.
10. Someone else is doing the cooking and cleanup. Invite one living and one dead (This is imaginary, so both will accept, and neither will be dead when they arrive at your door) person to dinner.
You say one living and one dead? Not that I'm particularly religious in the traditional sense, but I was going to invite Jesus. I'm not certain, however, concerning the point about living and dead as to whether he qualifies as neither or both. I suppose I could let him decide. I anyone knows, he should. Why Jesus? Let's just say I have questions.  
If Jesus is alive, then I'll invite my father. I miss him.
If not, I'll invite my mother. She'll get mad if I don't.
11. Is there a book you reread over and over again and it's always as good as the first time?
The dictionary. Yes, the plot's a little thin and the characters are poorly developed, but every time I read it I learn something new.

Here are eleven random facts about myself:
1. I was once shot between the eyes with an arrow. Fortunately, it d-d-d-did no p-permanent d-d-d-d-damage. (Ah, the benefits of being hard-headed!)

2. I spent time in several "mental health" facilities. This is in no way related to "random fact #1." I worked there. Honest!

3. I once ran over a friend with a motorcycle. It was an accident and that's the story I'm sticking to. He lived and now owns that motorcycle.

4. I am a Libra. This may be the most normal "random fact" on this list.

5. I have been to Attapulgus, Georgia (USA) which is famous for attapulgite, a clay often used in cat litter.

6. I have a cat. Just a coincidence...

7. I have single-handedly caused a quarter mile backup (each direction) in Wolfville, Nova Scotia by simply trying to cross the street. I'd rather not go into detail, but I am forever grateful that the people of that fine city are both polite and peaceful.

8. I once caught a foul ball at a baseball game.

9. After vacationing in Canada, I was nearly denied entry back into my own country (USA) because I was in the possession of a certain prohibited organic material. It was a potato. Don't laugh. The customs guy had his hand on his gun the whole time. He really had no sense of humor. The potato in question was confiscated and, I presume, eaten by someone other than myself—perhaps by a US Customs employee later that day.

10. The home my mother grew up in is so remote it is now part of a nature preserve.

11. I received my physical education credits in college by going on a week-long bicycling/camping trip, essentially a vacation. I have used that as a model for the rest of my life.

If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award AND YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, write a blog post about the Liebster award in which you:

1. thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog. (Done)

2. display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.) (Done)

3. answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you. (Done)

4. provide 11 random facts about yourself. (Done)

5. nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1000 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!) (To do)

6. create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer. (To do)

7. list these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here.) (Done) Once you have written and published it, you then have to:

8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!) (To do)
I still have a few things to do to complete the acceptance, and I will finish these tasks as time allows! Look for Part II!

© 2012-2014 K. R. Smith All rights reserved


  1. Oh my goodness, you did it, and indeed you did!
    I am thoroughly impressed with the thoroughness with which you tackled this (rather questionable as it involves so much work) award and enjoyed your answers. Particularly the recipe for cereal. That might be just within my culinary skill set.
    I suspect random facts one, two, and three might all be related. I also suspect you might be a pluviophile?
    Thanks for Liebstering.

    1. Now I had to find that dictionary and look up pluviophile. I wasn't sure if that was good or bad when I first saw the word! Yes, I do like a bit of rain, especially a foggy mist.


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