Category Archives: Me

Infinity Dreams Award

Wendy notified me of a blog post that was so inspiring, I couldn’t resist the urge to update you on what I’ve been up to. Thank you Wendy!

Rules for the Infinity Dreams Award:

Please note: nominees are not obligated to accept this award. You may simply accept the nomination with a note of appreciation. However, if you want to accept the award, please follow the rules.

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and make sure you link back.
  • Post the award badge and rules.
  • Tell 11 facts about yourself.
  • Answer the questions that were set for you to answer.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and set questions for them.

The Requisite 11 Facts About Myself

  1. Like Wendy, I love to dance. When I was little, my favorite stage was the silver screen of the portable black-and-white TV reflecting my moves. My body always moves when I hear music, and in my head I see exciting choreography.
  2. Like Wendy, when I was a kid, my shower was my favorite stage for singing. I held variety shows with (myself as) many guests. Then, I hosted fashion shows in my medicine cabinet mirror, using my big bath towel. I went on to sing, act, and dance in school and community theater performances.
  3. My dinnertime routine is to watch a movie with my husband. The only live TV show that we watch is the presidential debates. Our library includes old horror flicks, BBC historical dramas, documentaries, West Wing, Newsroom, Neil Simon, Gilbert & Sullivan, opera, concerts, ballet… No blood or crime. We are always looking for more good ones, especially that are inspiring. Please share titles of your favorites in the Comments box at the end of this post.
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  4. My resume could be as long as the title of this award implies: infinite dreams. It includes (roughly in chronological order) managing weaving studios, sales in a variety of businesses, costume design, resort management, waitressing, beekeeping, assisting rehabilitation therapists, career counseling, high-level customer service for a huge international corporation, website and database development, income tax preparation, licensed financial advising, and laboring at an organic farm. I enjoyed every job, and only moved on when I couldn’t see any way to stay.
  5. A year or so ago, we took shirts to a tailor for altering. Even after I returned them three times, they were still poorly stitched. I had stopped sewing before CDs, PCs, cell phones, and camcorders existed. My husband took me to look at sewing machines, and I fell in love with one. During this past year, I have been getting up to date on new sewing technology, e.g., my new electronic machine, rotary cutters, .pdf patterns, and a custom-padded dress form. I am delighted by the generous sewists sharing online. I am anticipating discovering serging and software. Now you know where I’ve been since you last saw me here.
  6. I think that I have resolved my lifelong love/hate relationship with art. I always saw it as taking away resources from feeding the world. This summer, I realized that art has a huge impact on people’s environments, which affects health and productivity. I’m wondering what your relationship is with art.
  7. I used to feel equally at home in New York City as I was in the wilderness of National Parks, but now that I’ve been living in a rural area for over 15 years, this is home. Its woods brings back fond memories of my first camping experiences as a Girl Scout.
  8. My latest greatest discovery is Andrew Johnson’s mp3s, Android apps, and videos. I also found his work on Spotify, Amazon, and iTunes. I hope that you will share in the Comments (below) any meditation practices that you recommend.
  9. Because I’m so focused when working on a project, I don’t hear when someone is talking to me.
  10. My husband says that one of the first things that he discovered about me was that everything that I do is deliberate.
  11. (I deliberately avoided this item.)

My Responses to Wendy’s Questions:

  1. Do you love your career or work?
    Yes. See Fact #4.
  2. Name your favourite author or book?
    My favorite one is usually the one that I’m reading, and I’m always reading several. I most recently began reading Sandra Betzina’s Fabric Savvy.
  3. What’s your guilty pleasure?
    Binging on snack food when I’m tired. Usually, I eat healthier than almost anyone whom you have heard of.
  4. Who inspires you and why?
    Wendy inspired me to return to WordPress to accept this award.
  5. Favourite food?
    Freshly-picked organic vegetables from our garden.
    Fresh-picked from our organic gardens
  6. Relate your good or disastrous travel experience.
    When I took my first college English class, I tried to tell my disastrous story about the first time that I went to Girl Scout camp. I got a bad grade because it was “anticlimactic”. I’d love to figure out a way to tell the tale in a more engaging way.
    One of my best travel experiences was being the youngest kid in a YMCA tour bus full of young teenagers going across the country, staying at college dorms and campgrounds.
  7. Sunset or sunrise?
    Sunrise. I don’t like staying up late enough to enjoy a sunset.
  8. Your favourite pastime.
    Right now, sewing, but I hope that writing will regain its place in my life.
  9. Who would you like to accompany you on any adventure?
    My husband. He is the best friend I have ever had.
  10. Something you did that your parents don’t know about.
    Lots. I can tell you now that I wished that I had accepted my father’s offer to use his influence to put me in a position at Lincoln Center’s theater, but if I did that then I probably wouldn’t be where I am in life, and I love where I am.
  11. If you were the President/Prime Minister/King or Queen what particular policy would you change in your country?
    I am loving what I’m hearing Bernie Sanders saying (during the U.S. Presidential debates) about everyone receiving health care, education, fair wages, fair trials with appropriate consequences, citizenship… the American Dream.

My Nominations for the Infinity Dreams Award

Wendy’s nomination brought me out of the woodwork. Therefor, for this award I selected some of my favorite bloggers who haven’t been posting lately. (listed in the reverse order of their disappearance)

Let’s see if we can bring these bloggers back with our visits, Likes, Shares, and Comments.

The Zombies Ate My Brains Maggie last posted on September 27, 2015. I miss the adventurous stories of this darling person.

Spirit In Action Ohnwentsya last posted on August 11, 2015. I miss the weekly digest of important stories from across the web.

The Truth Shall Set You Free Sydney last posted on June 23, 2015. I miss the insights into Social Justice in post-Apartheid South Africa.

Passing and Failing in Paradise Last post: June 3, 2015. I miss the insight into gender issues.

Unload and Unwind Jennifer last posted on May 10, 2015. I miss the stories, and perspective on social justice in Australia.

TG or Not TG? That Is The Question Rachael last posted on April 6, 2015. I miss the perspective on gender issues.

Yesterday Unhinged Aaron last posted on March 22, 2014. I miss the perspective on history.

Graphomania William last posted on February 11, 2015. I miss the poetic perspective on issues that we all face.

‘Ritings, Ramblings… Ronda last posted on November 12, 2014. I miss her serial novel titled, “Amigarumi”.

Three Dancing Flowers Last post: July 22, 2014. I miss reading about the experiences with Bipolar Disorder.

Greyling Falah last posted on May 16, 2014. I miss the inspiration.

JMGajda I think that I last heard from Jessica over a year ago. I miss the friendship, and stories of dystopia and social justice.

My Questions for My Nominees

What is one goal that you want to work on in 2016? What is your plan for accomplishing it? Why is it so important? How can we readers help?

I hope that you, readers, will also consider answering this question in the Comments section.

Wrap-up

My most recent post to my blog was half a year ago, when I shared my latest excerpt from my River Novel. My characters continue with their lives, and I look forward to continuing to share them with you.

In the meantime, people still stop by my blog almost every day, and I continue getting new (legitimate) followers!

Thank you to all of you who helped me get my blog up and rolling, and who have been keeping it alive with visits, likes, comments, and shares. Remember to share that attention with my nominees.

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Unique Comments and My Policy

Your comment might not have shown up in one of my posts, even though I continued my commitment to you:

I am extremely conservative about deleting comments. I only delete those that are not contributing to the conversation, AND that conspicuously lure people to unrelated sites, OR that I am certain are unintelligible gibberish. I never delete a comment merely because I disagree with it, or find it disturbing.

Until this month, cleaning up the WordPress Akismet spam filter was easy. The “real” commenters were conspicuous amongst the ads for clothes, medications, and travel. Usually the “real” ones merely included links, or wrote  lengthy paragraphs that Akismet incorrectly interpreted as spam. They were usually from familiar friends.

Spam Cairn, by Laurel F, used under Creative Commons License by-sa 2.0

Today, I gave the filter the benefit of the doubt for a few seconds, and deleted several comments before examining them carefully. Akismet had identified hundreds of comments as being spam this month, mostly from people who gave Facebook URLs. I was reading through the comments and found that many were beautifully written and insightful. I didn’t want to delete any sincere comments, so here is what I did:

  1. Sorted spam by name of commenter
  2. Deleted irrelevant comments that were obviously advertising, OR unintelligible gibberish
  3. Deleted ones that were written to someone who was not mentioned in the post or comments (e.g., “Joanne, thanks for that incredibly helpful summary…”).
  4. Sorted comments by name of post

Here, I got stuck for a while. The first comment was from someone who gave their URL, which linked to a Facebook account (with the same name as the commenter) that was opened in 2012, and only had a portrait. No friends, no posts.  The next commenter gave the URL to a Facebook account that hasn’t been used since 2012.

Next issue, each of the comments had one scrambled word (e.g., “cnoeidsr” is probably “consider”). The misspelled word was always in the first line of the comment, and the rest of the entry was usually spelled correctly.

Next, I noticed that ALL of these suspect comments gave different Facebook URLs, and none of them had Gravatars.

Have you seen this? Before I approve/delete the dozens that passed my previous tests, what do you recommend? Why?

  • Trust Akismet and delete them all?
  • Approve and edit the ones that are intelligent, insightful, or offer some value to the discussion, according to my policy?
  • Approve just the ones that I consider valuable – for a limited time only – and then revise my policy?
  • Approve each comment, and delete the commenter’s URL if the Facebook profile looks dead?
  • Approve them all?

I continued analyzing:

5. Several comments began with datelines and time signatures from years ago.

6. Several of the posts that were attributed to several different commenters ended with, “Was this answer helpful”?

So, I copied and pasted parts of some comments, and quickly found a few that were duplicated from other sites (no typos in the originals), submitted by people with different identities! I’m sweeping out the lot of them (even though many of them were LOVELY!). I don’t want plagiarism in my blog. BUT, I might want to let those other websites know that I exist, so some of those commenters might stop by Smile

So, now you know: Akismet is a damn good spam filter! Mystery solved?

Reminder: if you submit a comment on my blog, and the message comes up stating that your comment is “awaiting moderation”, please let me know by using my Contact Form so I can retrieve it. I value all comments that come from my readers!

Image Credit:
Spam Cairn, by Laurel F, used under Creative Commons License by-sa 2.0

Reaching Out: Social Justice Award

Bloggers Who Reach Out

Reaching out to others means at least calling out from a hole. I prefer when it means looking out to see what others are up to. I am even happier when it means interacting with others. The best is when we connect to grow.

Many bloggers reach out by interacting with readers on a regular basis. They produce posts from careful wording and editing and research. They give credit to their sources. Most of all, they shine light on issues that matter. I admire them, and want to express my appreciation by way of the Reaching Out: Social Justice Award.

Jenni of Unload And Unwind created the Social Justice Award to “acknowledge those whose work seeks to inform, aid and connect with others. It is a large world we live in and often there is such strife but the internet has made it smaller. Social media has given us the tools to make us closer and to find and disseminate new information and ideas, reach out to those who need it and speak out when there is injustice.”

I am one of her first nominees! I feel very honored to be recognized by a blogger who reaches out to many people while sharing her own challenges, in an inspiring way.

The conditions are:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you, and create a link back to their blog.
  2. Insert a Link back to the original award page to create a pingback so that Jenni can chart the progress of the award.
  3. Nominate no more than three people for this award, and write a short paragraph [or longer] saying why you chose each one, and what each one does.
  4. Display the badge somewhere on your blog, either in the sidebar or an awards page.

Honorable Mention

I am limited to three nominations. I would give the award to the following bloggers, but you have met them in other posts on my blog. Therefore, I am simply reminding you of them before I announce the award winners.

Jeff was the first person whom I thought of for this award. His blog Deconstructing Myths has been reaching out on WordPress since August 2012. He shines his light strongly and consistently on troubling issues, shares many links for further investigation, and stirs his readers to discuss the issues in his comments sections. His readers leave intriguing comments. His guest bloggers are some of the most outspoken people in favor of justice. On top of all of that, you can rely on his judgment when he guides you to some of the best of WordPress via his Jeffster Awards.

Jeff introduced me to Dandelion Salad, which has been a WordPress fixture since June 2007. It is a blog that acts much like a forum. DS has been one of the most useful places to find reports on events submitted by more than a dozen regular contributors (and many more less frequent ones), and articles and videos by the greatest Social Justice activists. This blog is quiet recently, only posting a few times each week instead of several articles every day, and its energy might resume if enough of us offer enough substantial support or persuasion.

Ohnwentsya posts numerous times every day on Spirit In Action. She began her blog in September 2011. Her posts are enlightening, empowering, and insightful. She collects articles from The Oracle Report, Truthout, Yes! magazine, and some of the other greatest sources. Her blog has the potential to provide nourishment for the roots of social justice movements, and a shift in planetary energy.

Award Winners

Many of the bloggers whom I read are equally qualified for this honor. I decided to come up with fair criteria to narrow the list of candidates, and select my three winners:

  • not previously featured on my blog
  • focuses on a social justice issue in a creative and effective way
  • promotes social justice by reaching out and connecting to share ideas that make us closer

I am awarding the Reaching Out: Social Justice Award to the following bloggers:

Carol of Voices From the Margins encourages conversations about how to raise awareness of diversity and its value. She describes using fascinating exercises in the cultural awareness workshops that she leads.

Danielle of Broken Light Collective presents a guest blogger each day who knows mental illness (personally, professionally, or socially), and who also photographs. Each image is inspiring, especially after reading the artist’s explanation of the significance of the photograph that they share. This blog is giving hope and support to people who are connected with mental illness. Photography is working as therapy for the photographers and viewers.

StoriesBellyHeader Diahann of Stories From the Belly appeals to sexual empowerment. She urges men and women to overcome shame by discussing — in healing ways — feminine and sexual experiences. She brings sex issues out of the closet, and repurposes the sex act as something for the participant(s) to completely enjoy.


I welcome comments about other social justice blogs that are important to share. (note: if you include “too many” links in your comment, the WordPress spam filter will hold it, and I will need to manually approve the comment. Please feel confident that I approve over 99% of the comments submitted to my blog — except unrelated advertising spam.)

Dragon’s Loyalty Award

Jo of Jo Robinson and I began enjoying conversations at her blog. We discussed some of our interests, the process of writing, and where ideas come from. I was honored to find that these discussions led to my being nominated for a Dragon’s Loyalty Award.

Dragon's Loyalty Award

I quote from her site:

“The Dragon’s Loyalty Award is an award for the loyal fan/commenter, whether the recipient is a fellow blogger or just someone who follows and comments regularly.

“The rules to fully accept the award are:
1. Display the award on your site – either on your award page or in your sidebar.
2. Link back to the person who gave you the award in your acceptance post.
3. Nominate 15 well-deserving bloggers for the award, and let them know by sending a message to their site.
4. List 7 interesting facts about yourself.”

In addition to Jo (who nominated me for this award), I would like to recognize the following bloggers as the ones who contributed some of the most essential threads to the fabric of my blog by being the most conspicuous visitors.
(in reverse alphabetical order, for non-preferential treatment…and to turn you upside down)

Nominees

 Syd of The Truth Shall Set You Free
 Ohnwentsya of Spirit In Action
 Mama D of RitesReader
IllicitByNatureThumbnailLouise of Illicit By Nature
 Little Miss Menopause of Once Upon Your Prime
 Leni of All Things Moocable
 Jode of Jode Gray
 Jess of jmgajda
 Jeff of Deconstructing Myths
 Heidi of heidi ruckriegel
 H3nry of high-grade discourse
 DandelionSalad of Dandelion Salad
 Claire of Electrica In The Desert
 Chris of Uncivil Liberties
 Bob of MightyTurk

Seven interesting facts about myself

GraceWeaving1. I, Weaver Grace truly am a weaver who uses a loom

a tulip in my front lawn garden in May2. I photograph my gardens to compare the yearly changes

one of the gardens in our front yard3. I have always loved to grow plants (not much mowed lawn here)

we pureed tomatoes using an old hand-crank "squeezer"4. I enjoy growing, preparing, and eating foods that are nutrient-dense

completing a puzzle named Checkerboard Cat5. My husband and I are having a blast working on one of the most difficult jigsaw puzzles that Springbok makes

6. to 7. My book shelves and piles contain the following topics:

  • Natural history, gardening, homesteading
  • House maintenance, repairs and improvements
  • Spirituality
  • Fiction, poetry
  • Weaving, painting, drawing
  • Health care, food preparation, running, physiology
  • Logic puzzles, algebra
  • Sustainability, privilege, corporations
  • Business management, psychology, sociology, philosophy
  • Dictionaries and thesauruses
  • Computer software and programming
  • Investing, income tax preparation

Thanks, Jo

for this opportunity to share the WordPress Dragon’s Loyalty Award tradition.

Now my dear readers

please describe how you chose the blogs that you follow, and why you leave comments there. When have you refrained from commenting?