The Kindness of Strangers

This blows my mind, but I have received three – that’s right, three – blogging awards from fellow bloggers, and I am rather paralyzed by the whole thing.

First there was this one, the E for Excellent award, sent to me by Tommi of Brown Interior.


I’m definitely flattered – but more than that, I’m delighted to see that she, too, has caught the cheese-making bug – check out this Ricotta Bread she baked recently!  I’m wanting to make up a batch of ricotta JUST to make this bread.

Thank you, Tommi!

Next came the Arte y pico award from Susan of She’s Becoming DoughMessTic.  She’s got a great blog (and an unbearably adorable son) – and she’s also the one who nudged me into finding a recipe for a softer bread than the one I’d recently posted.  I love this kind of interaction – this community of strangers becoming friends…all of us nudging each other to do better.  (Huh?  I ramble.)


Thank you, Susan!

And most recently, from Deb of Kahakai Kitchen – the Yum Yum Blog Award.  “Yum Yum” is very definitely an accurate description for Deb’s lovely blog – and the fact that she’s in Hawaii reminds me that my husband and I need to go back for an anniversary or second honeymoon or something. 


Aloha and Mahalo, Deb in Hawaii!

I am really, really overwhelmed.  Really.  This sort of thing brings out all the shyness in me, because the NEXT job is to pass these awards along to the bloggers I think deserve them.  And I always feel…like an autograph hound chasing down the best and brightest stars out there, and then standing there, pen and paper in hand, gushing and babbling like a rain-swollen brook.  “Um…Hi!  Hi, you’re (insert Big Name here)!  You’re GREAT!  I mean, your work is really GREAT!  Hi!  (long, awkward silence in which I hold out the pen and paper but not quite far enough, because I’m being pulled apart by my own dorkiness and star-stricken-ness.) 

Anyway, there, I’m done with the cathartic, here’s-how-awkward-I-am part.  I really am a dork.

Now for the passing it along part.

Technically, I’m supposed to choose something like five recipients for EACH of these awards, and if I’d done that immediately upon receipt, things would have been easier.  But since I’ve let them get backed up, I’m going to break the rule (as rainbowbrown said – “rules schmules”) and pick a couple of blogs for each award.

So here goes…

For the E is for Excellent award…

The Sheila Variations.  Sheila is the reason I started my own blog.  She had started one, and I thought – hey, I want to do that, too!  She and I have been friends for a long time – so long you’d fall right over if you tried to lean back that far.  Sheila is a whirlwind of a writer, on topics like books, writers, movies, theatre, actors, American history, World history, any country that’s name ends in -stan or -vokia or pretty much any other group of letters you can lump together, music, her beloved Red Sox, and oh, just about anything else.  Go read her – she is one of the very best.

Gone With the Toe.  Yeah, you can say “nepotism” all you want, but I really don’t care.  Yes, I’m giving an E is for Excellent award to my sister.  And no, she hasn’t posted in a while, so you might ask why she should get recognition.  Well, because SHE is excellent.  Can I tell you about her for a minute?  She’s my sister, a wife, a mother of two teenagers, and works outside the home.  She’s an awesome gardener, and she taught herself to crochet.  She is unimpressed by BS, and tries not to waste her time listening to it.  She pickles peppers, and makes some yummy loaves of bread, not to mention a smooth cup of coffee.  She has been known to wrestle combative lizards apart and grab doomed birds out of the jaws of one of her cats.  She is not to be messed with.  She earned her black belt in Karate a while back, and when I say “earned” – I mean in an “ABC’s Wide World of Sports” intro kind of way.  She had been on track to get her black belt originally when a horrible accident with a toppling old-fashioned cast-iron (or something heavy) radiator fell on her FEET and thus kept her OFF of them for months.  She lost half a toe and her, black belt acquisition was set back as well.  But as soon as she could safely do so, she was back at it, sparring and running along with everyone else.  And on the final physical testing day – a long, exhausting day of kata and sparring and torture – some wild teenage kid with a lack of self-control BROKE MY SISTER’S ARM.  So, like I said, she damn well earned that black belt.  She never, ever quit.  And she never wasted time feeling sorry for herself.  And that’s how she is.  She doesn’t sit down and stop.  She may get sidelined by other things for a bit, but she keeps coming back, moving forward, with little fanfare, no self pity, and a dark and wry sense of humor.  The tattoo on her ankle is a symbol that means “Warrior,” and that’s a pretty apt description.  Anyway, the whole toe story is where her blog name came from, and I hope she gets back to it soon.  (But first she’ll smack me for giving her this award.)

And for the Pico y Arte award…

Dooce.  Here is a perfect example of me feeling absolutely dorky, standing (figuratively) here holding out my pen and paper for an autograph, stammering and stuttering about why I think Heather Armstrong totally rocks.  Not that the world needs me to tell them – she is one of the best writers out there.  Her blog is gorgeous, her daily photos are fabulous, and her house is tidier than mine will ever be.  She has a fabulous husband and a daughter who is about 3 months older than mine, and I love reading her posts about the lovely Leta, because Heather writes them with a mix of love and exasperation, joy and headaches that I can relate to.  Best of all, Heather has written openly and honestly about her battles with depression and anxiety, and as someone who has fought on that battlefield a bit herself, I appreciate knowing that I’m not as alone as I’ve thought with these demons.  If she wasn’t so annoyingly slender, I wouldn’t mind having her as a neighbor, and I wouldn’t even mind if her dogs came in my yard sometimes. 

And for the Yum Yum Award…

I could just start with the entire blogroll from the Tuesdays with Dorie group – every one of these bakers is devoted to broadening her (or his) culinary horizons and bettering techniques.  They are all passionate about food, otherwise they would not have joined the group (and other groups, many of them.)  So many food photos to drool over and stories to laugh (or cry) with.  It’s a struggle to narrow them down and only pick a few, but I’ll do it.  Here are a few of my favorites, in no particular order.

Engineer Baker 

Di’s Kitchen Notebook

mix, mix…stir, stir

Like Sprinkles on a Cupcake

Ezra Pound Cake 


And that concludes my passing on of the awards.  I hope you’ll go check out these sites, if you aren’t reading them already.  It will be time well spent.

10 thoughts on “The Kindness of Strangers

  1. Wow, your sister does sounds awesome. Sort of like the karate kid when he went to fight in the tournament but then his foot got messed up and he had to throw up or go to the bathroom or something like that because the bad teenagers roughed him up outside first, but he still fought the head bad teenager in the tournament on ONE FOOT, hopping around all awesome-like. I think that’s how it went anyway.
    Congratulations on some well deserved awards!

  2. Thank you, Jayne!! I love that we all are blogging now … now we just need to get Beth a blog and the circle will be complete. Ha!!

    And I have just one thing to say, as a thank you speech:

    “The Christmas should be celebrated allllll yearrrrrr.”

    Thank you!!!

  3. Congrats on your awards Jayne! Congrats also to those you’ve passed them along to! I can’t wait to check them out!

  4. I don’t have anything cool to blog about. And I don’t know how to set up all the cool things you guys do. Alls I can do is comment. My heart starts to palpitate at the thought of having to know how to set up a web page- yikes!!!

  5. Beth! “I don’t have anything cool to blog about” – ???? Like I do? Hahahaha! And setting up a web page – I don’t know how to do that on my own – that’s what templates are for! But no matter – I’m always glad to see your comments, so if that’s going to be the extent of it, so be it. 🙂

  6. OH MY GOD- You totally do!!!!!!!!!!! I showed my mother in law your blog when I was in Virginia, and now SHE wants to make cheese!! She showed me how to make grilled pizza (although, she has a food processor,so that is how she makes her dough…) We just took a moment of silence, and looked at your pictures… and I kinda whispered, “yeah…. i know…” and we both had to swallow hard and look away. THAT is the effect you have on people!!!!!

  7. Thank you for the award, Jayne! Sorry it’s taken me a few days to say that. Long week at work and even now I’m having to type with a cranky teething toddler on my lap… You definitely deserve all the awards–your blog is fantastic. =)

  8. I made the yum yum blog award just a few months ago to see where it would end up (and wow the places I have saw it). I am amazed on all the traveling she has done to all these yummy blogs. You deserve it, keep up the good work.

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