Lovely Blogger Award (Plus Seven Things About... Me!!!)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Hi everyone! Hope you are enjoying the weekend! I have several posts nearly ready to go, but I wanted to start with this one - because I, of all people, was given an award!

Yup, it's true, and it came courtesy of my Canadian friend Ashley, from beautiful Edmonton AB, who included me in her list of bloggers to receive this honor:

Thank you so much, hon - that was so sweet of you!

Nothing in life is free, however, including this award. :D Happily, though, the strings attached to this honor are a pleasure:

  1. Thank and link back to the person who nominated you. (Done!)
  2. List the rules and display the award.
  3. Include seven facts about yourself.

  4. Nominate 15 other bloggers and let them know about the award.
 (OK, I punted on this one, but I did my best!)
  5. Display the award and follow the blogger who nominated you (if not already!). (I am no Cass-come-lately lol, since I was smart enough to begin following Ashley months ago!)

Coming next: seven facts about... me!!!

So, in no particular order, seven facts about your blogstress. Enjoy!

1. I lovelovelove stuffed animals - especially cows.

A small sample of my menagerie:

From left to right: Sparky the Penguin (from Tom Tomorrow’s This Modern World comic strip); Opus (from Bloom County), Cody the Cow (the large guy leaning comfortably against the backrest); Cocoa the Cow (a gift from my nephew; he’s in front of Cody); and, of course, the Mariner Moose, of the Seattle mooses. :c) I am sure they will have new friends at some point fairly soon too!

I particularly love stuffed cows (OK, cow-related toys in general), as you might have gathered from reading my blog. Here is just a sampling of the cow-related paraphernalia I have scattered throughout my apartment and my work cubicle:


My bovine fascination is far from idle, as you can see. (And we aren't even mentioning my cow footie PJs!)

2. I am a hopeless klutz.

A far-from-complete list of my (mostly self-induced) injury hall of fame: broken ribs (three); fractured right ankle (once); broken right foot (twice);  fractured elbow (one); broken fingers and toes (too numerous to count); dislocated wrist (one); fractured wrist (three).

In the interest of brevity, we won’t get into stitches, sprains, strains, or other medical maladies, such as having water on the knee drained (you really don’t want to know) or repairing ingrown toenails (you *really, really* don’t want to know).

On the bright side, I have made it through this year injury-free. So far. Fingers crossed. (Carefully, of course.)

3. I lovelovelove my bed. :D

Several years ago I finally bought my very first bed, after using the same one I’d grown up with, for all intents and purposes.

We had bunk beds before that one, which my brother and I shared. The “Cass-sleeps-near-the-stars” era came to an end, though, when I fell out of the top bunk. On my head. Twice. (See #2, above.)  The next bed was one just like my father’s. He had, and has, back issues, so he always chose a rock-hard mattress with no give. Naturally enough, he got them for the rest of the family as well.

I left that bed behind in Seattle when I made my ill-advised move back to Boston. And while I plan to move back to Seattle eventually, I’ll be taking my *new* bed with me when I do. This bed is wonderfully soft, so much so that when I finally moved into my current apartment after months of sleeping on the couch at my parents’ house, the first thing I did was flop on the bed. It was, and is, heaven. :D

4. I lived in North Dakota for a summer.

When I was ten, I spent the summer living with my Aunt M, Uncle A, and my cousins M and M. (I wrote about them in this post about my most memorable Christmas. It’s easily my favorite post out of the more than two hundred I’ve written.)

We lived in Langdon, a tiny town in the northeast corner of the state, which is about 16 miles from the Canadian border and a two and a half hour drive to Winnipeg. We visited Winnipeg for a week, in fact, which commenced my lifelong love of our neighbor north of the Maple Curtain. I would move to Canada in a heartbeat if the opportunity ever presented itself.

I need to devote a full post to that summer, as I have many happy memories of my time there. One of the characters in my comic strip hails from Langdon, as it happens, proof of my fondness for it, I suspect.

Oddly enough, one of my all-time favorite books, Blue Highways, includes a passage about Langdon. The author, William Least-Heat Moon, drove around the country on the blue highways several years after my visit. In fact, he visited a playground literally around the corner from the house my aunt and uncle were renting (they moved quite a bit because of my uncle’s job).

I know this because of the park’s most memorable feature: a miniature replica of a Spartan missile. In fact, Langdon was given an actual Spartan missile to display, which it dedicated in August 1975:

Mr. Least-Heat Moon impressions of Langdon, alas, were less fond than mine, alas, albeit for personal reasons. I am happy to report that he was, nonetheless, quite gracious and amiable when we chatted after he did a book reading years later and I mentioned my time there. I told him that when I dream of Langdon - and I still do - they are invariably happy dreams. He smiled and said that was a sure sign that it had captured my heart. Indeed. :c)

A lovely song from Lyle Lovett about the Roughrider State:

5. I draw my own comic strip.
I just realized I’ve rarely, if ever, mentioned that I draw a comic strip before in this blog. That surprises me, because drawing it was a major passion of mine for many years.

In fact, it was what pulled me out of what my first therapist later informed me was (in her words) “severe, severe depression,” although I had no idea it was depression at the time. I spent six months telling the story of five characters, turning what had been a diversion for most of my life into a passion.

I didn’t “create” these characters, of course; they already existed. For whatever reason, they simply chose, and choose, to visit me periodically and share their stories with me.

I realized quickly it was best not to get in the way when drawing the strips. There are times when I would try to make a character do something… and they simply would not. It’s hard to explain, but it’s true.

I learned to trust them; they chose to share their stories with me; it was, and is, my responsibility to be true to them. The trick is to be quiet and listen for their voices regularly. If I show up consistently, I have discovered, they will notice, and begin to visit again.

It was funny; when I would show a completed series of strips to my friends, they would often point out to me how they related to something happening in my life -  generally without me having a clue this was the case until they did so. When I showed them to one of my previous therapists, I mentioned that two of the characters were quite similar, so much so that I couldn’t really separate them. We discussed this for several sessions, to no avail.

It wasn’t until years later that M, my current therapist, helped me understand.

“What do you think the connection is?” she asked.

“Well, they’re almost the same character,” I replied. “I just could never figure out how to combine them into one character. They were so alike it was as if one was redundant somehow. But I could never work out how to separate the two.”

“Anything in particular jump out about the two of them that differentiates them from one another?” she said.

“No, they’re so close. Except one is a boy - ”

I stopped.

“And?” M prompted, smiling.

“…And the other is a girl. Damn… how did I possibly miss that all this time?”

“Because you weren’t ready to see it yet. And now… you are.”

Yes, I am. I need to start setting aside time for them once more, in fact. I have a feeling they have new stories to share.

Stay tuned. :D

6. One of my legs is shorter than the other.

I only discovered this a few years ago. A chiropractor was offering free screenings at my gym. I told her I’ve never had any back problems (knock on wood), but she was happy to give me a screening anwyay.

As soon as I stepped onto the platform, I heard her softly exclaim, “Oh, wow.”

She began asking a series of questions, uncannily pin-pointing several ongoing chronic issues/annoyances I’ve had to deal with most of my life: problems with my right foot and ankle, corresponding weakness and instability in my left foot/ankle, and an on/off ache in my left shoulder.

When she finished, she asked me to turn around and look at the results.

“Why do that make me look like I’m standing on an slope?” I asked, puzzled.

“Because you are,” she replied matter-of-factly. “Your left leg is nearly 3/4 of an inch shorter than your right. And your left hip is a half-inch below your right. The same for your left shoulder. Basically, you’re lopsided, and have been your entire life.”

She told me the only reason I didn’t have fairly serious back problems was because I was slender and exercised regularly, which gives me strong core muscles that compensate for the imbalance.

Luckily, I *still* don’t have any back problems, but it’s another incentive to continue my renewed exercise regimen. (More on that soon.)

7. I adore trains.

I have been fascinated with trains since I was a child. I think it was partly wanderlust (perhaps the restless, questing Irish in me?) and partly an unconscious recognition at an early age that I needed to put some distance between where I was so I could start to understand where I needed to be. And that turned out to be the case.

Boston has one of the oldest transit systems in North America, which likely fueled my fascination. For all of its myriad issues, it does a wonderful job of connecting the Greater Boston area.

While I lived in Seattle, I regularly took the Amtrak Cascades to Vancouver. The ride along Washington coast was breathtaking; it was commonplace to have multiple sightings of bald eagles, soaring above the rugged, beautiful shoreline.

It’s no wonder there have been so many wonderful train songs written. It’s nice to have a soundtrack provided by fellow hopeless romantic when I ride the rails. :c)

7. I adore the band Rush.
Yup… I’m a Rush geek. :D I was too young for the early prog years (2112, A Farewell To Kings, etc.), but came along in time for their commercial breathrough (Permanent Waves, Moving Pictures, Signals, Grace Under Pressure).

In fact, my second-ever concert, just a few weeks after my beloved faves Cheap Trick (who are still going strong, I am happy to say!) was Rush, who played Boston shortly before Christmas on the Signals tour. Seeing them live sealed the deal; I was a fan for life.

I’ve seen them several times since, and am never disappointed. Their onstage camaraderie is infectious and endearing - and genuine, as their charming (and well-lubricated) conversation in the closing few minutes of the "Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage" documentary proves. Here's the entire dinner, in all its tipsy, shambolic glory:

Of course, they’re all Canadian; they can’t *help* but be nice, right? :D It makes this gal from the less-than-nice Northeast yearn for such civility. Someday, perhaps… :c)

A few clips of the boys in action:


Last but not least... my nominations, whom I hope can find the time to pen their own “Seven Things” post. I know you're busy though, ladies, so no pressure. :c)



That will do it - thank you for reading, folks! Love you all!!!


Jenna on September 21, 2014 at 2:14 PM said...

So you've been hiding your talents then. Comic strips. That was a new one on me.

I've just read out your post to my motley crew and I've been told to ask you how you managed to fall out of a bunk bed, twice.

Thanks for the nomination.

Cassidy on September 21, 2014 at 2:31 PM said...

I am a girl with many secrets, Jenna. ;D

As far as the bunk beds, I was talking to my brother in the bottom bunk. I leaned over a bit too far, lost my balance, and took a header. Well, two of them. lol

Humor aside, I was fortunate; I landed head-first on a hardwood floor, with nothing to cushion the fall. I could have been seriously hurt. But here I am, so all's well, etc. etc.

Looking forward to your seven things, Jenna!


LL Cool Joe on September 22, 2014 at 9:37 AM said...

Hey I'm no lady, not sure I ever was even when I was meant to be!

Thanks for the shout out and the award, I haven't had one for years! I'll have to think up something new to say about me.

I had no idea you were a train spotter, but somehow I could see you being into soft animals. My partner has one leg shorter than the other too. I just have 2 short legs.

Stace on September 22, 2014 at 3:18 PM said...

Hey you!

Thanks for the call out - I guess I need to start thinking!

I have a love hate relationship with trains. I love them, but when I use them I am invariably late for work and when I was young I loved steam trains and badgered my parents to take me on them and then screamed incontrollably when the driver blew the whistle.

And still wanted to go back!


BTW I am right in thinking there are two 7s? (Or did I miss the bit of text where you explain it :p )

Cassidy on September 22, 2014 at 10:25 PM said...

Joey: Mea culpa - guess I was thinking in terms of having a lovely spirit. :D

I'm not sure I qualify as a trainspotter, as fun as that is. I think it's the romantic aspect that appeals to me (shocking, I know). lol One of my lifelong dreams is to ride across Canada via train; someday I will.

@ Stace: I used to take the train to work as well, and finally, reluctantly stopped when it simply became too much of a hassle because of the constant delays, breakdowns, etc.

My fascination also began as a child. I remember visiting Edaville Railroad, one of the oldest heritage railroads in the United States, and being mesmerized. It nearly shut down several years ago, but happily it is still going strong. Kindred spirits, I guess we are!

And yes, there *are* two # 7s. Perhaps now you understand why I became a writer and not a developer. :#)

Actually, I wrote this post late at night when I was a bit under the weather, so my editing skills were at low tide. I guess the second #7 was for good luck!!!


Ashley W. on September 23, 2014 at 10:24 PM said...

Wait— you like cows? Omg, I would never have guessed!!

Okay, that's enough sarcasm. :P

Seriously though, have you ever thought about uploading your comic strip to the ol' internet? I'm sure I would love to read it. I've dabbled a bit in drawing comics myslef, but only the one-off gag style (à la Far Side, etc.), never anything with an actual story or characters.

I love Rush too! Actually, 2112 is one of my all time favourite albums. Sadly I have yet to see them live. Some day, though.

And I see you're just so interesting you need two #7s, eh? :)

Cassidy on September 24, 2014 at 10:27 PM said...

@ Ashley: Hey, girl, mock cows at your peril on this here corner of the blogosphere!!!! ;D

Sarcasm is always welcome here, as is snark (hey I'm a Greater Boston native, after all). So fire away!

I have thought of posting some, but I would likely want to redo them first. Blogging has taken up much of the time I used to devote to cartooning, particularly in light of my far-from-ideal schedule/commute the past few years. A few people have asked, so perhaps I should bite the bullet and get going on it! You should too, btw; now I'm intrigued!

I think as a Canadian you are *required* to like Rush, are you not? lol (I was teasing April today that "Limelight" must be your national anthem, but since she hasn't replied I wonder if she would vote for "Free Will" or "The Trees" or something else...)

I love 2112 as well, but - and I know this makes me seem like a fair weather fan - Moving Pictures is my favorite. In my defense, it's the first album of theirs I heard, and it stands up remarkably well over 30 years after its release. (As does 2112, for that matter, as well as much of their catalogue.)

Also, by all means, go see them live. You will not regret it. If anything, they have gotten better with age. And they are quite funny live, somber image to the contrary. :c)



P.S. Regarding my two #7s, all that demonstrates is how awful my math skills are. lol You can see why I had no choice but to become a writer. :-p

LL Cool Joe on September 27, 2014 at 11:59 AM said...

Oh sorry, it was only coz you said above the list "I know you're busy though, ladies, so no pressure. :c)" :D

Cassidy on September 28, 2014 at 12:44 AM said...

D'oh! My bad, Joey. Should've said "ladies (and one dude, so the guys don't feel left out)." :D

Seriously, that was thoughtless of me. We of all people should be careful about this sort of thing! Mea culpa.

In any event, I look forward to reading your seven things sometime. I'm willing bet to they will be worth the wait!

== Cass

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