Tag Archives: blogging

Seven Snippets of a Running Introverted Chaos Muppet Wannabe

— 1 —

Ran 5 miles in 43:54!  For the record, I was a solid 10-minute-miler for the first 7-8 years of my running life.  This run was an average 8:47 minute/mile pace, and it felt like I was floating along the path.  It was a great way to start the day.

— 2 —

Learned more about the introvert living inside me. I am reading “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain.  My friend Teresa recommended it, and it is a great read. Ms. Cain’s writing style is a great mix of research, journalistic prose (giving you the who, where, when, etc, but leaving one key piece of bait), and personal stories; it is relatable and informative at once.

— 3 —

Gained more introverted insights (do you see what I did there?) while relaxing on our new patio furniture. That’s Dave and Panther in the photo, I relaxed later.

— 4 —

Read the delightful account of a fiction writer’s initial devastation following a negative review in the New York Times, his hilarious tale of how his reaction morphed, and a witty banter with a New York Times editor regarding a follow-up correction.  Whatever the review said matters little to me as the Salon article was enough introduction to Patrick Somerville‘s writing to put his books on my ‘must read’ list. (the first link in this paragraph is the ‘must read’ – it is short and funny, a feel good story)

— 5 —

Followed Dahlia Lithwick‘s link to her friend Heather’s Seven Snippets post, which led me to Andi’s blog and the Seven Snippets idea became this blogpost.  I am embracing my inner extrovert by posting here.  My sensitive/cautious brain is trying to talk me out of it (“you don’t know these people! you don’t even have a child, so you don’t fit into their group! your blog isn’t a real blog!”), but here is the post! It felt like a good fit with the original format of The Cinquecento Project (five highlights and 100 words).

— 6 —

Had fun mulling over Muppet Theory, Dahlia Lithwick’s fun-filled article that tied it all together for me today.

…Muppet Theory, a little-known, poorly understood philosophy that holds that every living human can be classified according to one simple metric: Every one of us is either a Chaos Muppet or an Order Muppet.

Read the article for more details.  I am coming to the conclusion that I am an Order Muppet who has not yet given up my vision of being a Chaos Muppet.  It’s not as tough a life as it sounds!

The article tied together the insights I am gaining from reading Quiet.  Playfully exploring the idea through the Sesame Street characters helped me see that taking any theory too seriously can lead to exaggeration, but that engaging in the exploration is valuable. During the typical late teenage/early twenties identity crisis I experienced, I often tried to cut short the deeper thoughts I had warmly embraced as an early teen. Quiet is not only helping me see that I did so, it is also helping me open my arms to deeper discussions with like-minded thinkers and talkers.  I don’t see myself on either end of the introvert/extrovert spectrum, so I am able to embrace traits I have from each personality type.

I greatly admired Dahlia Lithwick’s writing for years before I worked up the nerve to “friend” her on Facebook.  It was a bit risky as she is such an intelligent celebrity; I gained courage to friend her when I noticed we shared a mutual friend on Facebook – a law school professor.  The law school professor was also a sort of intelligent celebrity, and she had accepted my friend request; what was there to lose?  Turns out, nothing to lose and lots to be gained!

Dahlia Lithwick (I’m not yet comfortable enough to go to a first-name basis) consistently posts the best news articles available online, and also regularly brings me to laugh out loud. Anytime I need to give my brain the equivalent of an early morning 5-mile run, I can check Dahlia Lithwick’s Facebook feed and get my fix.

— 7 —

Lastly, I am now enjoying the prospect of mulling over the big life questions during my long run tomorrow morning, and over a limone granite sometime this weekend, too.  Hoping you all have a wonderful Friday, that you visit some of the inspiring links in this post, and that more and more positive energy and compassion are shared between well-meaning folks.  Buona serata!

For more Seven Snippets, visit Bringing the Sunshine!


Filed under 5-100

Giving thanks for Thanksgiving!


Being a favorite holiday, here are my five top o’my mind Sicilian thanks:

(Uno) 1. Arriving safely to our new home for three years, with cats in tact, family togetherness still a solid concept, and the giddiness of the adventure burbling in my soul.

(Due) 2. Getting a great job with wonderful colleagues. Let’s face it – this could be expanded to be an entire post of gratefulness, but I’ll encompass it all in this one.

(Tre) 3. Weathering the immediate-travel stress with relative ease (I’m referring to the 30+ hour adventure, from Auntie Em dropping us at the airport (and Aunt Karrie taking our leftover stuff for eventual mail drop), to the layovers, etc); to weathering the settling in stress with no memorable rough patches (I remember having them, but they were contemporaneous); to enjoying the adjustments we are still facing.

(Quattro) 4. Getting to stay in touch with SO many people who opt to check into the blog and keep in touch via email or through comments. Yay! I had hoped for such connections and they are even more precious than I could have imagined.

(Cinque) 5. It is easy to see that the NEW friends I have made through blogging are my thankful numero cinque. You all make blogging more fun than journaling, I feel community in you, and I learn from you every day. Thank you!!!

Cento – A general thankfulness

I am still feeling a bit of shock when I encounter smokers. Even at my most recent restaurant gig in Seattle, few people smoked. And I was working in a restaurant, folks – c’mon, let’s acknowledge the stereotype. I still feel surprised when I plow through clouds of smoke here, and even moreso when it is U.S. citizens smoking. I’m glad my college-years social smoking quickly faded as I became more engaged in running and yoga. The occasional cigarette and Scotch took longer to fade, but I happily enjoy a nip of Scotch all on its own, now. Thanks, self & society!

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Filed under 5-100, Awesomeness

Versatile Blogger Acceptance & Nominations

All right people, I mean, hello gracious readers, and welcome back to my upbeat, positive blog! (extra big smile, 90% fake). Ha ha. I am actually a pretty happy camper right now, but it is 9pm here in Sicily and I just finished eating dinner after a productive and fun and LONG day out and about. I got to re-visit the Motta Residence Hotel, my first home in Sicilia – which was like getting a great big hug and it was the perfect penultimate end to my day. Penultimate end, you ask? Huh? I am referring to the next-to-last thing I had to do before I got to go home and see my kitties and sit on the couch. The last thing I had to do was drive home, in 7pm traffic, which is sorta like 5pm traffic in the U.S. I feel like U.S. traffic tends to run from 3-3:30pm until about 7/7:30pm, depending on where you live. Here, that block is just shifted a bit, so traffic doesn’t really start up until 4:30/5pm and it goes pretty strong until 8/8:30pm.

The service provider who charges the small fee to operate the Telepass raised the fee this month. Dave and I re-visited the possibility of going without. I mean, it is pure luxury and at non-busy hours of the day we don’t save more than 10-15 seconds. However, the at least five minutes I saved tonight – at LEAST Five! – made the Telepass completely worth it. Heck – if I pay $2 for a redeye at Chock Full o’Nuts on base, I’m sure-as-shit gonna pay less than fifty cents a day for the honor of zooming past a blinking mass of cars inching toward three or four toll booths. Yes!

For those readers still scratching your head about what a “redeye” is – let me quench your thirst for knowledge. The redeye I refer to above is a coffee drink. Pull a fresh espresso and dump it into a big cup, then fill that cup with regular drip coffee. I have found that I prefer this taste to the “Americano.” An Americano is simply the shot of espresso in a big cup, and then diluted with steaming hot water. Americans (presumably referring to North Americans from the United States) are known to prefer sipping on big cups of drip coffee, which really isn’t the way things are done over here. Ordering “uno caffe” here will get you a shot of espresso. Most Italian bars (cafes, remember, not a liquor bar) do not have drip coffee, but on base, Chock Full o’Nuts does. It even has four additional drip coffees that are flavored. I prefer non-flavored coffee, so I go with the house blend. I have been drinking green tea primarily for the past two years, but I still enjoy a good coffee buzz. Yea, going to law school and living in Seattle will do that to a person.

I digress.

You may be hoping I will get to the point of this blog, finally. The point is to acknowledge my deep appreciation to Logy Express who awarded me the Versatile Blogger Award.

I came across Logy Express early in the beginnings of The Cinquecento Project. I was hungry for inspiration and community in the blogosphere and I was looking at five new blogs a day. If you don’t explore blogs that often, you may not realize what a time commitment that was. I would spend 15-45 minutes exploring a blog. The better the writer, the more intriguing the content, the longer I stayed. Plus, if I had accidentally picked a bomb, I would try to find another blog to fill the gap.

Logy Express writes with a fresh, crisp voice that is obviously weighted down with…something. I haven’t figured out what is keeping her in molasses, but you can almost feel the pull of a force upon her. This is not reflected in her prose or form; it comes through in her content choices. I mean, she straight up tells you which personal struggles she is going through now, but then she writes this stunning piece that makes you realize she has really got her shit together. (two curse words already – I am tired). She is a beautiful writer who weaves vivid images into rich narratives of everyday living. Yet, she somehow makes YOU feel special as you are reading her stories about other people. She has a gift!

Receiving the award is an honor that comes with some responsibility…(anybody else hearing Grandma saying “to she who is given great talent…” or however it goes – you know, the biblical adage about balancing your privileges with a sense of social responsibility). The responsibilities of the Versatile Blogger are to spread the wealth by nominating more bloggers for the award, and to share seven random facts about yourself.

Here we go!

Seven Random Facts About Me

1. I really like to pick my nose. I choose to do it in comfortable places, like home. It began as something I would do when I was studying, to kind of keep me awake by keeping a part of my physically active while I was reading. It has developed into something I do a few times a week. It’s relaxing, for real. (And no, I won’t do it at your house, and yes, I wash my hands a lot).

2. Washing my hands a lot comes from working in restaurants for many, many years of my life, from 16-32, with a few years off here and there for school. It all started with the Frost Top in Rice Lake, Wisconsin. Rice Lake is my hometown and I was a teenager when I worked at the Frost Top. It was a drive-in that made its own root beer and served it in a frosted mug. I have rarely tasted root beer that is as good as it was at Frost Top. The Frost Top is now a used car lot in Rice Lake (last time I passed through, anyway).

3. I grew up in Northwestern Wisconsin and pretty much think there are few other places as beautiful. What we lack in mountains, we more than make up for in lakes and trees. I was a major lake snob growing up! I wouldn’t swim in certain lakes because they didn’t meet my standards, and I was able to be so picky because there were swimming spots every few miles no matter which direction I drove from my house.

4. One of the restaurants I worked in was on an island in Red Cedar Lake, about a 10-15 minute drive from my parent’s house. I parked at the boat landing and took a pontoon boat ride to get to work. The restaurant was part of a resort that had been a private residence of the Stout lumber baron family. The resort is haunted and is still open for business. Stella McCartney stayed there while I worked there, and Cindy Crawford spent time there in the early 90s. A small claim to fame.

5. While I was working at Stout’s Lodge The Island Of Happy Days (full official name), my car’s trunk was crushed when a septic tank fell on it. Yep. How many people get to tell this story? It is actually pretty boring, but it was much more dramatic as a teenager working to pay for college and hearing that your mode of transportation to make money had just been crushed by some careless a**holes who let an empty septic tank roll off of their truck and bounce onto your car. These guys were delivering the empty tank to the boat landing in order to haul it over to the island by boat. I think they filled it with gas/air and floated it over there.

6. After a close friend committed suicide, I believed that his soul inhabited the lives of flies and that it could jump from fly to fly as necessary. Whenever a housefly would buzz around me, I would look at it and say “Hi Craig.” I was 17 years old. You could say his death contributed to shaping my adult life.

7. If I could choose any profession, I would sing for a living.

Blogs I Love

When I read Versatile Blogger Awards on other blogs, I find myself zipping through this portion of the post, so I will keep it brief and limit myself to five (cinque!) descriptors about each blog I list. I do not follow each blog faithfully, and they are all blogs I love:

Real Fun Food: clever, charming, visually brilliant, England-based/Ohio(ish)-raised, smart

D-Listed: trashy, intelligent, hilarious, less-catty-than-Perez-Hilton, visually stimulating

IBKC (Itty Bitty Kitty Committee): dependable, heart-warming, do-gooder, visually stimulating, a GOOD woman writes here

Logy Express: intriguing, mystical (the long-term-same-job mystifies me), ethereal writing, laugh-out-loud funny, profound

The Big Hard Sun: my brother’s blog, aiming for a Nobel Peace Prize, seeking truth, connecting with other humans, kicking ass at life

KERF (Kath Eats Real Food): upbeat, visually beautiful, a bit commercial but not overblown, too many posts to stay current, spunky

Type A in Taipei: my cousin’s blog, visually stunning, funny, I like feeling connected to her, learn cool things about Taipei

Merikay’s blog: artsy, honest, funny, informative about an area (RVs) I knew little about, mostly happy long-term marriage

Amanda Rudd’s Blog: versatile content, English PhD candidate, insightful, enjoyable read, good writing

PostSecret: brilliant, modern online community, sometimes opportunistic postcards (annoying), hearts bleeding on paper, supports suicide hotlines/prevention

Go Power Yoga: still new to me, excellent posts with enough time in between for you to soak up the great information, inspiring, positive yoga messages, beautifully formatted

From Me To You: inspired photography, model-like author/featured model, New York City, fashion, great title

Four12: friend Erin’s blog, intermittent posts, visually stimulating, pretty and eye-soothing, thoughtful content

The Whole Sweet Scoop: sweet perspective, great recipes, love reading about her family, warm, funny

Insatiable Book Sluts: title rocks, reviews are hilarious, co-authors feed off each other well, good info on books/publishing, love the community feeling I get whenever I read a post

Classy Gallie: hilarious, funny, clever, tender, youthful

Damsel and Family: thought-provoking, heartfelt, funny, insightful, military spouse friend


…that’s it for now! I am sure I am going to slap my forehead later and say, I can’t believe I forgot X blog – and if that is you, I apologize now. Forgive me. It is now 10:30pm and this mamacita is calling it a night!


Filed under Awesomeness

Friendly Friday


Another Theme Day – yay!
The top Five ways I feel part of a community this morning.

Uno (1). Real Fun Food – this wonderful blogger writes about food from London, England. I am still learning about her, but so far I know she is from the U.S. Midwest (represent!) and she has great recipes and wit. And, she cares about GMO food – and so do I! I am pro-labeling.

Due (2). The Occupy Movement (a new twist)
I am pretty sure I fall in the 99%, but I have had a pretty charmed life, truth be told. I don’t mind working hard for my living, and I believe that most people would be happy to have the opportunity to do the same.

Tre (3). Big-time food blogger
This blogger is very famous and has gained a significant and loyal following as well as published articles and achieved her Registered Dietitian certification. Beautiful blog, yummy food, and an overall feel-good attitude.

Quattro (4). Yoga – dare I say it again this week? From the KathEats blog, I got a reference for a new yoga master, Dave Farmar, who produces podcast yoga workouts free to you and me! Check him out and feel the yoga love.

Cinque (5). Another great blogger who I am loving, at Logy Express. This post is pretty emotional and struck a nerve in my gut. Even though I haven’t had this exact experience, she describes the feelings so well, I immediately thought of other moments of ostracism and humiliation I have felt when among who I thought were my friends (maybe they really are, how much is in our own insecurities?).


The Cinquecento Project exists as my deliberate practice of focusing on the positive in life. By remembering five daily highlights, I find myself focused on highlights all day long; very empowering! Yet, I still stumble in life; I feel sorrow, fear, and pain. Here, I can report to you on positively dealing with that pain, instead of wallowing in misery alone. Although we experience life uniquely, sharing our experiences empowers us to continue moving forward. I treasure your feedback and support, so keep the comments and emails coming and feel free to share your struggles and successes. Ciao from Sicilia!


Filed under 5-100, Adjusting