The (R)Evolution of a Blog

{ Image source: Tony Foster on Flickr }
Adjective. Capable of or adapted for turning easily from one to another of various tasks, fields of endeavor, etc.: a versatile writer (from Dictionary.com)

When I started blogging in 2004, my posts were one-dimensional, sad snippets of a life that I didn't particularly want to live. I was in my early twenties, single, and working 14-hour days at an ill-fitting job in a foreign country. To say that I was Not Happy would be an understatement. (Don't get me wrong, I have some amazing memories of that period of my life, but if I had to do it over again, I would decline.)

I stopped blogging for about eight months for personal reasons, but after that break, the keyboard lured me back with her siren song. I started with a clean slate and once again began blogging about the events in my life. These were happier--I was dating my now-husband, I had a job I enjoyed, I lived in a fun, large, clean, American place, and I was close to the beach. Not that this aspect of life didn't have its challenges, but they seemed to be easier to handle.

That was five years ago, and I've consistently blogged since then. My topics have changed--I spent about two years blogging about blending a family and adopting a child, I spent another two years blogging about family, travel, homemaking, and crafts, and now, we have Rhymes With Tao, a savory blend of the personal and the professional with pinches of Other Stuff.

It's these pinches of Other Stuff that I believe garnered the Versatile Blogger award from Muddy Kinzer. She is the proprietress of the always-entertaining Muddying the Waters and a fellow writer that I met through Robert Lee Brewer's April Platform Challenge. A self-described "Mom Plus," Muddy is a beautiful writer of women's literature and personal essays. Her flair for evoking the senses is unparalleled, and I would be jealous if I didn't appreciate the lessons that she constantly teaches me.

The rules of the Versatile Blogger award are such:
  1. Thank the person that gave you the award and leave a link to their blog. (Thank you, Muddy!)
  2. Select 15 blogs or bloggers that you either have recently discovered or follow regularly as Versatile Blogger recipients.
  3. Tell the person that nominated you 7 things about yourself.
  4. Don't forget to put the Versatile Blogger image on your site!

My nominees for the Versatile Blogger award:
  1. As always, Angela Noelle at Tomorrow is Another Day. She is my oldest blog friend (and now a real-life friend, thanks to a flight itinerary that put her through BWI two weeks ago!) and has made the evolution of similiarly young, miserable career girl to world-traveling mommy-to-be with grace and humor.
  2. Karen Bee at Quirks and Smirks. Karen and I have been real-life friends since ... 2005 or 2006. We met because her sister was my boss, and we ended up living in the same metro area from 2007-2009. She is now in the process of reinventing herself, partly through her 101 thing in 1001 days.
  3. Ivy at Unscripted Life. Ivy was part of the April Platform Challenge as well, and she amazes me with her abilities as an attentive mother, a shrewd business woman, and a gifted writer. 
  4. Lara Britt at Writing Space. She spearheaded the #MNINB April Platform Challengers website and is doing a beautiful job of organizing people and evolving the site as both a place to gather and as a showcase for the group's talents and professional services. She is also a mother and an avid volunteer, making her contributions all the more impressive!
  5. Monique Liddle at Bends in the Road. Monique is one of the two moderators of our book discussion group. Despite struggles with multiple sclerosis, trigeminal neuralgia, and diabetes, she maintains an active blogging and writing life. She refuses to let her health keep her from living fully.
  6. Magpie Days. Magpie Days' author is a poet, academic, wife, mother, ex-pat, adventurer, and all manner of things that make her versatile. I particularly enjoy her essays on being an American in Switzerland.
  7. CERN Wife. CERN Wife is just what she sounds like: the wife to a physicist working at CERN. She is also an anthropologist, world traveler, writer, and mother. She doesn't post very often, but when she does, her work is concise, informative, and beautifully written.
  8. Krysta at Domestic for Dummies. Krysta started blogging in order to chronicle her attempts to make her home more, well, domestic. Then she up moved to Charleston and switched jobs. The courage that it takes to shed an old life in favor of a better one is awe-inspiring.
  9. De Jackson at WhimsyGizmo. At first glance, all you see on De's blog is poetry. I urge you to look a little deeper and see the variety of topics, forms, and prompts she tackles on a several-times-daily basis. The utter definition of versatility, no?
  10. Lauri Meyers at Your Imagination is the Limit. Lauri often makes me chuckle with her observations on child-rearing and attempting to get published. I like that she was in corporate finance and decided to pull a big "errrk!" to become a children's author.
  11. Mona AlvaradoFrazier at Latina Pen. Every time I read her blog, I find out something new about Mona. She was a corrections officer, is a breast cancer survivor, writer, traveler, mother, and many, many things that I'm sure to learn about in the months and years to come. This is a woman to keep your eye on.
  12. Aly at Breathe Gently. I first stumbled upon Aly through Angela's blog about two years ago. In that time, she's moved from London back to her native Australia, gotten married, continued to work with (or against, depending on the day) her PCOS, and started fertility treatments. Her writing is poignant and draws you into her world.
  13. Linda G. Hatton at the whatnot shop. Linda is another example of a truly versatile blogger: she is the editor at Mouse Tales Press, a former actress, a mother, a former private investigator, a playwright, a novelist ... the list goes on.
  14. Bolton Carley at Bolton Carley's Writing for Adults Who Can Take It. Bolton writes her blog under the premise of giving tough-love lectures to people who need to sack up. And I love it. Her writing is concise and humorous, and I often walk (click?) away giggling at something she said.
  15. Emily McGee at One Trailing Spouse. One Trailing Spouse is the newest addition to my list of blogs to read, and I'm so glad that I caught on when I did! She and her husband are frequent, extreme travelers, hardly a surprise when they met in Vanuatu. They're off to Kenya soon, and I can't wait to follow the adventure!
Instead of telling only Muddy seven things about me, I believe that I'll just share them with all of you here:
  1. Last year in Vegas, I discovered that I really, really like playing Black Jack. Thus, I have to leave the table when I've roughly quadrupled my money or I'll sit there kicking back watery cocktails until I lose the rest of my playing budget.
  2. On a related note, I put myself on a budget while gambling and consider it an entertainment expense. This method is not recommended for people with gambling addictions.
  3. My wine of choice is pinot noir.
  4. I now have a list of forty things I would like to do before I turn 40. This is not to be confused with the twelve things I wanted to do in the last year of my twenties.
  5. While living in St. Petersburg, I spent rainy days in the Hermitage Museum. This was due in part to not wanting to get wet.
  6. I keep my dish soap in an absinthe bottle, mostly for the effect it has on visitors.
  7. I recently bought press-on nails specifically for a trip to the Jersey Shore.
Congratulations to these Versatile Bloggers!

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  1. Wow, Lynn! Thank you so much! I am honored. :)

    1. You're welcome! How could I not pass it on when your poetry stretches the limits of imagination and creativity?

    2. What a generous comment, Lynn. Thank you.
      Thought I'd leave you my "7 things," in case it's weeks until I get to the "paying forward" part (I can't seem to keep up with all of my bloggy world. Whew.)

      1. I am a TERRIBLE housekeeper.
      2. I'm a mean Scrabble player.
      3. I hate teeth the way some people hate feet. My hubbie does ALL of the kids' dental appointments, and then texts me the news.
      4. I love lists. Sometimes I write things I've already done on them, so I can cross those off, too.
      5. I ADORE - and tend to collect - pens, and paper, and writing utensils of any kind. But when it comes down to it, most of my poems happen on my laptop.
      6. I spend a lot of time being uselessly overwhelmed.
      7. JOY is my favorite word, my daughter's middle name, and my highest aspiration in life.

    3. 1. I've refused to focus on housekeeping any more; it makes me mad, so unless it's sticky and/or attracting ants, I've decided to let it go.
      4. I also love lists, but haven't made one for a week and haven't forgotten anything important (yet). I occasionally feel adrift, but then find something to do and go do it.
      5. Me too! I had to stop going into craft and stationary stores so that I would stop buying them. I also like greeting cards, beads, and bread. (Yes, you can collect bread.)
      6. I used to, but again, I stopped making lists and the feeling went away. Are they related? I don't know, but I'm willing to keep trying that experiment.

      Thank you for sharing!

  2. What a gorgeous list of bloggers you have tagged. Thank you for the shout-out. Such a nice thing to hear today! xx

    1. You're welcome! I can't wait to see more pictures of your adorable puppy!

  3. Aw thanks!
    My 7 things (which, trust me, were difficult to come up with since you know some of my ... more interesting stories):
    1. It took me three tries to get my driver's license. Not because I was a bad driver, but because the test was unnecessarily strict. THAT'S MY STORY AND I'M STICKING TO IT.
    2. I constantly have nightmares that I skipped too many classes and I'm going to fail. It's always a science class. But, weirdly enough, it's high school, and I never skipped classes in high school. (Now, college? Whole other story.)
    3. In the same note, I convinced my high school physics teacher that I had turned in my final paper and he had lost it, so he gave me a B-. I did not turn in the paper. (I know, I'm going to hell.)
    4. Flying over bodies of water makes me so nervous that I'll keep the window shade down. If I can't see it, it isn't there.
    5. I want to WANT TO be a regular church-goer It's been awhile since I've found a church/diocese I like, so I'm afraid it's a lost cause.
    6. I took my college Spanish final exam while still buzzed from lunch. And I got a B.
    7. When I first met my brother-in-law, I took him and my sister out to lunch, where I convinced my sister that my margarita was a lemonade . She never figured it out on her own and he didn't tell her until after I was done. Then we both made fun of her. THAT'S how I knew we would get along just fine.

    1. HOW DID I NOT KNOW SOME OF THESE STORIES????? Hilarious, especially #7.

  4. Now I know 108 things about you since I read your "101 things about me" post too! When shall we play gin rummy? (and where in Ohio did you live?)

    1. Whenever we can!

      I lived outside of Dayton in the early 90s for about 18 months. It was ... cold. Very cold.

  5. Thanks! I've cut way back on internet time - still trying to figure out all this time management stuff - but I'll work my way through this eventually!

    1. Oh, I know! I just checked out for about two weeks and am trying to check back in. It's not working :-)

  6. Lynn, I am soooo behind on this. But working on it now. Thank you for the kind words, by the way!!!

    Hmm.. blackjack. My husband likes to play and I've sometimes played a few hands next to him. I've found I'm much more comfortable with poker though! :-)


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