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Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

With these words, Captain James T. Kirk opened every episode of the Star Trek television series — a show that survived for only three seasons but spawned numerous spin-offs and endeared itself to many fans. I have not committed to a “five-year mission” in either of my blogs (sappy as a tree and What oft was thought), but Kirk’s words encapsulate a few of my goals. Like most bloggers, I hope to write about uncharted territory. Since I began blogging, I have explored strange new worlds through reading the posts of fellow bloggers. I hereby accept the Liebster Award and invite you to discover new lives and civilizations through the blogs of my nominees and nominator.

Photo taken with PROMPT telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (Emily Fleming)

Photo taken with PROMPT telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (Emily Fleming)


Anna Nolan of Flaming English presented me with my nomination for the Liebster Award. Anna, in turn, had been nominated by Sean of Creative Writing. Thank you, Anna! Not only do I appreciate Anna’s nomination, but I also enjoy reading her clever posts about the use — or should I say, abuse? — of the English language.

If you’re wondering what this “award” means, The Daily Post recently published a helpful article about blogger-generated awards. The newbies may be dismayed to realize that accepting this award involves work, as they will discover when they read the rules. I will point out that my acceptance post for the Liebster Award on my other blog currently is #2 for most views (not counting the “About” and “Home” pages). True, I have published only 34 posts on that site, but award posts can increase your blog’s exposure.

Nominees, please do not feel any obligation to accept this award. I do encourage you to click on the blogs of those nominated: if there is one thing we all crave at WordPress, it is readers. Should you wish to accept, I have copied the rules from Anna’s post. Intriguingly, the rules are a bit different from the rules that accompanied the Liebster Award that I accepted for sappy as a tree.

What the nominees have to do if they accept the Liebster Award

1: Acknowledge and accept the Liebster Award by leaving a comment on the blog where you were nominated;

2: Copy the Liebster logo and paste it onto your own blog;

3: Inform your nominees by leaving a comment on their respective blogs;

4: In your blog post about the Liebster Award:

  • Link back to the blogger who nominated you

  • Answer the 11 questions put to you by the person who nominated you

  • List 11 random facts about yourself

  • Nominate, and link to, three–11 other blogs which you enjoy and which have fewer than 3,000 followers

  • List 11 questions for your nominees.

Here are my answers to Anna’s 11 questions:

1. What would you like to get out of blogging? I would like to hone my writing skills. Blogging on this site provides a forum for regular writing and a way to communicate with people whose lives tend to be different from my own.

2. What is your claim to fame? When I graduated from high school, I was one of two students in my state to win a Presidential Scholarship. Aside from the $1000 scholarship, my expenses were paid for a trip to Washington, D.C., to spend a few days at Georgetown University with other Presidential Scholars and to accept the award. At the last minute, President Reagan was unable to attend the ceremony on the White House Lawn, so Mrs. Reagan graciously stepped in for him.

Imagine my dismay when, during my first week as a freshman at a small liberal arts college, a story about my Presidential Scholarship appeared on a bulletin board in a high-traffic area. I wanted to crawl under a rock. Like most 15 minutes of fame, mine quickly faded, I am happy to say. (But I still have the telegram from President Reagan, the medal, and the photo of myself with Mrs. Reagan.)

3. What matters to you most? My husband and children matter most to me.

4. What is your guilty pleasure? Need I say it? The time that I spend each day reading other people’s posts on WordPress is my current guilty pleasure. (It used to be watching Dancing with the Stars and Dance Moms, but I am less enthusiastic about those shows than I used to be.)

5. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Although my siblings and I began life in Arkansas, two sisters and a brother now live in the Boston area with their families. I don’t envy them their seasonal struggle with the snow, but it would be fun to live near them and to enjoy the cultural, historical, and recreational opportunities that Boston offers.

6. How do you like spending your free time? I enjoy making photo books of various places that I’ve visited and of special events in my children’s lives. So many photos, so little time . . .

7. What is your most abiding memory? One of my earliest memories is of a thunderstorm when I was younger than 5. My older brother had told me that the lightning could come in through the windows, and I was rushing frantically around my bedroom, trying to move my beloved dolls far away from the windows. What I learned: older brothers are not always right. (He was right about Star Trek, which I am ashamed to say that I disliked at one time.)

8. Who is your favourite writer? Jane Austen. Other favorites — sorry, I have to use the American spelling of this word, Anna — include J. R. R. Tolkien, Anthony Trollope, Barbara Pym, Dorothy Sayers, George Eliot, William Shakespeare, and C. S. Lewis. Somewhat disturbingly, I just realized that I listed no American writers here. Let me quickly add Laura Ingalls Wilder, Louisa May Alcott, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

9. What type of music do you like? Classical. Favorite composers include — but are not limited to — J. S. Bach, Brahms, Beethoven, Chopin, Handel, and Vivaldi.

10. What tends to annoy you? Phone calls from telemarketers.

11. What quality do you most admire in people? Kindness. Kindness is an overlooked virtue in an age when it is far too easy to criticize and condemn. Kindness is one of the qualities that value in my nominator, Anna.

My responses to Anna’s questions are not particularly eloquent, but my college kids got home last night, and they are looking askance at my form, hunched over my laptop. I will press on towards the end.

Eleven Random Facts about Sandi:

  1. I like to drink Diet Coke with Lime.
  2. I own three different “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” VHS tapes.
  3. My first plane flight was to Dallas, Texas, when I was 18 years old.
  4. The first country that I visited outside the United States was Pakistan.
  5. My other “15 minutes of fame” occurred during my elementary school years, when I won a game on the locally televised “Bozo the Clown” show.
  6. Another brief period of fame resulted from my fainting during a school assembly in the cafeteria of my elementary school. It was my one and only visit to the principal’s office.
  7. A missed opportunity for achieving fame occurred when I was in the fifth grade and failed to get the role of Maisie in a class production of “Horton Hatches an Egg.” The Maisie role went to Jennifer S.
  8. I once went on a date to the Cleveland Motor Speedway.
  9. Although I am an inveterate keeper of rules, I have received five tickets for exceeding the speed limit.
  10. The Purple Rose of Cairo is my favorite Woody Allen film.
  11. I saw all three of the original Star Wars movies and all three of the prequel Star Wars movies in the theater. Despite my mixed feelings about the upcoming Star Wars movie directed by J. J. Abrams, I feel that I must view that movie in the theater as well.

Here are the questions that I came up with for my nominees. If you would prefer to reply to one of Anna’s questions instead of mine, feel free to do so.

1. What is your ideal vacation?

2. What was your first job?

3. What motivates you to post on your blog?

4. Name a book that you recently finished reading.

5. What is your opinion of reality T.V. shows?

6. How do you feel when a snowstorm hits your area and everything is cancelled for the day?

7. Last night, my daughter was telling me about a friend who was applying for dual citizenship in another country. If you could obtain dual citizen in another country, which country would you choose, and why?

8. What is your pet peeve with WordPress?

9. Recently, I saw a study claiming that people who read fiction tend to be more empathetic. This study has generated controversy in my household. What is your opinion about this “finding”?

10. Did you believe in Santa Claus when you were a child?

11. How do you prefer to learn about world news — through the internet? through the television? through a newspaper or magazine?

At last, I come to my list of nominees. While some of my nominees have fewer than 100 followers and others have more than 500, I tried to choose bloggers who, as far as my limited research could determine, had not previously been nominated for the Liebster Award. Some of these blogs I have discovered recently, but I have found myself returning to each of them to enjoy photographs, recipes, reflections, or music.

Nominees, let me reiterate that there is no obligation to accept this award. If you feel inclined, then please spread a little love around by passing on the Liebster Award (see rules above).

Bespoke Traveler : travels, photos, and food

Doug Warren | Sharing life experiences and interests


Rachel Stolzman

Retirement Lifestyle / Nomadic Adventurer

Some Kernels of Truth

Tea Time Musing

The Sound of One Hand Typing

Top of JC’s Mind

Wandering Dawgs


I wish I could say that I had made this Father Christmas wall hanging, but credit goes to my talented mother.

Photo taken with PROMPT telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (Emily Fleming)

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Many thanks to my daughter Emily for supplying the photographs of the night sky.