The Envelope, Please…

You’re going to have to bear with me for the duration of this post, O Loyal Readers – I’m all about the shiraz-fueled hyperbole today.

Anyhoo, if you look over at my sidebar on the left (Right?  Yes, left in this design) you’ll see I’ve been given several awards over the last 15 months.  It still amazes me that anyone would want to award this mess of a blog of mine anything, but they do.

Recently (but not recently enough – I’m so easily sidetracked, I’m ashamed to admit) I received this “Fabulous” award from Pseudonymous High School Teacher:

Your Blog is Fabulous!

If the fabulous Pseudo thinks my blog is fabulous, I’m all agog.  Flattered, and agog.

Then I got this award from Smart Mouth Broad:

Lemonade Stand Award

Because she says I make lemons out of lemonade.

Oh, wait…switch that around (I have yet to be awarded Dyslexic Blogger of the Year).  If you don’t know why SMB was awarded this, then you need to go right over to her blog and do some serious research.

Then the lovely and generous Smart Mouth Broad gave me yet another award, and before I knew it, lurker Jersey Girl awarded it to me as well:

Zombie Chicken Award

While a Zombie Chicken Award may seem a bit dubious, according to its creator, “The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken – excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words.” I don’t know about that, but I can tell you I’m tickled beyond words to be awarded anything named “Zombie Chicken”.  Smart Mouth Broad said I’d love it, and I do.  It’s certainly the most unusual award I’ve received (the marvelously phallic “This Blog Measures Up” award notwithstanding).

Now, each of these awards come with rules about how to pass them on, and I know that I’ve followed at least one rule for each award by acknowledging and linking back to the incredibly nutty generous blogger that passed it on to me.  However, by the time awards get to me, everyone I’d give them to already has one.  BUT, being me, I am nothing if not devious resourceful, so my solution to the bloggy award dilemma is to, well…

Make one of my own.

So, I give to you The Sushi Grade Blog Award!

A Sushi Grade Blog

A Sushi Grade Blog is a cut above other blogs that are canned and turned into salad or casseroles.  A Sushi Grade Blog is fresh, lively and of superior quality.  It is rare, has character and is of good taste.

Oh, and it’s packed full of heart healthy Omega 3 oils.

And since it seems there must be rules for awards, here they are:

1.  Grab this nifty little graphic and display it proudly on your site

2.  Choose 5 blogs of superior quality and list them, along with why the are A Sushi Grade Blog

3.  Link to them, announcing their award

4.  Leave them a comment letting them know they’ve been given an award

5.  Link back to the blog that awarded you

Oh, and somewhere in all of this, list these rules (which, if I must say, are pretty standard).

Seems simple enough, doesn’t it?  But since it’s my blog, and my award, I’m going to give it to as many blogs as I please, because I read a LOT of superior, quality blogs every day.

1.  It’s a Dog’s Life – I’ve just begun reading Michele’s blog, but as a fellow foodie I love it already.   Want to learn something truly relevant and helpful about cooking?  Visit her for Friday Foodie. Then visit her any other day of the week, because boy – does she know how to tell a story.

2.  Midlife Slices – Janie was one of the very first blogs I ever read, and I’ve been hooked from the word “go”.  Never afraid to tell it like it is, she is beautiful, funny, talented and just a wonderful person.  You never know what you’re going to find on her blog – literally.  In fact, it’s very likely she’ll make you guess.

3.  My Life Interrupted – if you look up “compassionate” in the dictionary, you’ll probably find Lori’s picture there.  She is the kindest, biggest-hearted blogger I’ve ever met, and that is no joke.  She never ceases to amaze me.  In fact, go over there and give her kudos and encouragement – she’s quit smoking and it’s been very, very hard for her, but she’s sticking with it.  Because sticking with it is what Lori does.

4.  Nanny Goats in Panties – Margaret was another “first” when I entered the world of blogging, not only in terms of blogs I read, but she also gave me my very first blog award.  She is absolutely hysterical and her readership has just boomed, so while I read each and every post, I don’t always comment.  But that’s okay, because she doesn’t always comment on my blog either, but I know she reads it, so we’re even.

5.  Nothing Fancy – don’t let the name fool you, she IS something fancy, even if she is a Redskins fan and won’t tell us what her real name is.  Did I mention she’s gorgeous?  Well, she’s gorgeous.  And if you ever want to read something that will just choke you ALL up, visit her blog and find her posts about the adoption of H.  Bring a box of Kleenex with you.

6.  Pseudonymous High School Teacher – despite the fact that I’m envious of her Oahu address, Pseudo has overcome my jealousy and earned my respect…something that is easier said than done.  She teaches high school and loves it, and anyone who willingly spends 6 – 8 hours a day surrounded by teenagers, teaching, helping and guiding them, has definitely earned that respect.  She is also a very courageous breast cancer survivor – I don’t know that I could hold myself together the way she has, after what she’s been through.

7.  Smart Mouth Broad – I know SMB’s real name, so I am really very honored.  I don’t think she’s actually published it on her blog, so I won’t here.  But I have to tell you – this woman is FUNNY.  And SMART.  And BEAUTIFUL.  And SWEET.  And WITH IT.  And she can COOK.  I could stand around all day singing SMB’s praises, but why don’t you just go over to her blog and see what all the fuss is about?  You will NOT be disappointed – there’s a money-back guarantee with this one.

8.  Of Thistles and Maple Leaves – Ahhhh, Thistle.  I know her real name, too, but again, since she hasn’t published it on her blog, I won’t either.  One of our neighbors to the Great White North, Thistle is another sweet, compassionate blogger.  A tender yet tough woman with a wonderfully wry, dry wit, Thistle has made a career out of helping people while caring for animals in her spare time.

9.  Twenty Four At Heart – I’m not sure what to say about Suzanne.  If I told you she tells the funniest stories about the rich and depraved in Orange County California, it would be true.  If I told you she tells the funniest stories about her  faults and foibles as human being, it would be true.  If I told you she tells the funniest stories about being a middle aged woman with a husband who travels for business while she raises three wonderful kids, it would be true.  If I told you she tells the most heart-wrenching stories about what it’s like to survive a horrific automobile accident while learning to live gracefully with a permanent disability, it would be true.  I triple-pink-puffy-glitter heart Suzanne.

10.  What I Should Have Said – Beth is the principal of an elementary school.  In most cases, I’d say “‘Nuff said” but you can never say enough about Beth.  I could never ever in a million years have the patience and fortitude of this woman.  If she weren’t Jewish, I’d nominate her for canonization.

11.  Irish Gumbo – Irish Gumbo is, without a doubt, one of the most talented writers I’ve ever encountered, and I’m honored to call him “friend”.   He is probably frustrated to call me “friend” because I owe him an email; I just hope he realizes that I’m working on it – I’m just busy. Go to his blog – NOW – and start reading.  Everything.  You’ll be amazed, I can guarantee it.

12.  Lipstick Daily – this is a collaboration blog by two very successful career women who happen to be best friends.  They are smart, savvy and intelligent and I’ve learned more in two weeks reading their blog than I have in nearly two years reading other blogs.  Here’s to you, Elaine and Kate.

13.  Mo “Mad Dog” Stoneskin – being something of an Anglophile, the fact Mad Dog is British was my excuse for reading him at first.  The fact he is an amazingly talented writer is the reason I keep going back.  The man can make a commuter train ride funny, endearing and suspenseful.  All in one post.

14.  Shout – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  if you want a smart, sophisticated, witty and compassionate Mommy Blogger…well, they broke the mold when they made Tricia.  She sets the standard.  I love her, I love her blog, I love her husband, son and parents.  Do yourself a favor and visit her blog.  You won’t be sorry.

15.  Sprite’s Keeper – if Tricia from Shout is my the standard for Mommy Bloggers, Jen of Sprite’s Keeper is the heir apparent.  The creator of Blogland’s weekly Spin Cycle, Jen is funny, intelligent, entertaining and profound – often all in the same post.  And she’s a damn fine wife and mother, to boot.

Congratulations, Charter Members of the Sushi Grade Blog Award.  I know there are many other worthy blogs I visit on a regular, if not daily, basis and trust me, I know who you are.  But you know, anyone I left out is going to get awarded this by someone on this list, and I want to make sure those of you I didn’t mention are given ample opportunity by our mutual bloggy friends to receive this silly prestigious blogging award.

And on that note…have a lovely weekend, ya’ll.

Dave’s Not Here, Man

And neither am I.  I’m hanging out over at Twenty Four At Heart‘s place, keeping things in line while she’s on vacation.

Hop on over there and have a look-see.  Leave comments.  Click links.  Laugh.

You’ll be glad you did.

Oh, and 20 Sushi Points to anyone who can tell me what the title of this post references.

And oh, again – while you’re surfing the blogosphere today, hop over to Pseudonymous High School Teacher‘s blog – I tend to just call her Pseudo because it’s easier for this menopausal Texan to say (to say nothing of remember) – and enter her contest for a box of Hawaiian goodies if you haven’t already.  You have till Sunday.

Have a lovely weekend, ya’ll.

A New Look and New Links

I’ve been slowly getting around to this since Memorial Day weekend, and it’s finally done – my new Summer Theme.

Beloved is going to HATE it. The sidebar is way too busy for his tastes – I just got carried away with the daisy thing. I like it, though; besides, in a couple of months it’ll be replaced by whatever “Back to School” theme I manage to throw together in a fit of boredom (or celebration, depending on badly I want The Young One back in school).

I also expanded and updated my blogrolls, something that has been long overdue. And because I know you’re all just dying to hear all about these momentous changes, I’ll oblige.

I separated my blogroll into three separate lists: Midlife Schtuff, Not My Schtuff, and Random Schtuff. Midlife Schtuff is comprised of blogs who are all part of the Midlife Bloggers network set up by the wonderful owner of ByJane. Not everyone who is on her blogroll is on mine, but I’m working on it. Not My Schtuff are other blogs I read on a regular, if not daily, basis, and the Random Schtuff aren’t blogs, just links to useful or interesting sites that I frequent.

Midlife Schtuff has the most changes, since there were only three midlife bloggers listed in my old blogroll – ByJane, Merlot Mom and Nanny Goats in Panties, all of which are on my daily rounds. New to this list are:

A Different Nest – the blog of a “midlife mother of an 8 year-old son with autism and his 14 year-old brother.” I have sent the URL of this blog to my friend and guest-blogger, Trina, who’s Autistic 16-year-old son caused all the chaos with the cable bill, if you recall.

After the Dust Settles – I like Lynn’s blog. She is a nice, normal (and talented) wife and mother, with a nice, normal life. And her piggy banks are just too cute. And she’s a fellow fan of diet grape Faygo.

The owner of Between Us Girls “provide(s) information and inspiration to women who long to live healthier, happier and more fulfilling lives.” Yes, she does.

It’s a Mad, Madge World – Madge is funny. Madge needs to post more often. Madge must have a life.

Librarian Lee‘s blog always seems so serene and tranquil…even when she’s writing about her car blowing up.

Karen at Midlife’s A Trip introduced an entirely new (for me) profession – Professional Life Coach. I never knew such a thing existed. She must be darn good at it too, because she has her own line of clothing and accessories.

Ms. Meta is a soul sister who also seems to have a thing for shopping and shoes. She is presently living in London. I am overcome with envy. I’d hate her if I didn’t like her blog so much.

Twenty Four At Heart – anyone who can openly admit she put her child on the wrong train (quite accidentally, but still) and post about this has me as a reader for life.

Three of the bloggers on the Not My Schtuff blogroll sort of get lumped together. They are the owners of the Big Mama, BooMama and Rocks in My Dryer sites, what I refer to as the “Hysterical Southern Mommy Bloggers.” There is a humor that is unique to southern women – something I miss a great deal – and these three women are just brimming with it. Make sure to check out Rocks in My Dryer‘s Works for Me Wednesday and Big Mama‘s Fashion Friday. Also, BooMama‘s post about her recent trip to Africa is a must-read. Be prepared to laugh until you’re ready to wet yourself. These women are just great – I may not agree with their views on religion and politics (but then again, I probably don’t agree with your views on religion and politics) but I love their blogs.

Other noteworthy additions to Not My Schtuff :

Shout – I’m not sure how she found me, but the owner of this blog left a comment on my blog, proving herself to be a woman of superior taste and intellect. I immediately bookmarked her site.

I think I found Sue Doe-Nim‘s blog via another blog, but I don’t remember whose. All I can say is this woman has cajones the size of mason jars. I am in awe of her ability to go for the jugular. Another immediate bookmark.

The owner of Thursday Drive is, judging by her picture, absolutely drop-dead gorgeous. She is also apparently a darn fine poker player to boot. Chalk up another “I’d hate her if I didn’t like her blog so much.”

Vintage Thirty – her header banner says it all.

What Works for Us – this woman is a serious photographer. I mean, really. And she gives really good Haiku.

Okay, I’m done. I’ve spent just about enough time on this today. I really ought to get some work done.