Posted by: christinelaennec | November 18, 2010

Beautiful Blog Award

On my birthday, which is now more than two months ago, I was stunned to discover that the lovely Roobeedoo had nominated my blog for an award!  This was quite amazing to me, as I’d only started up the blog a few months earlier.

It’s taken me a while to step up to the podium and collect my prize, because in accepting it I need to do two things:  tell my readers some things they don’t know about me (and, presumably, that might interest them!), and also I need to pass the award on to five other blogs.  This is the hardest part of all!  However, I’ve forced myself to make some decisions, so here we go:

Things about me:

1.  When I came to Scotland in 1992, I knew I would almost certainly never go back to live in the States.  I wasn’t hugely homesick, partly because I’d left Portland years before (to do my graduate work on the East Coast and then teach in the Midwest), so I’d already felt exiled.  I found it quite funny that the English people we met in Aberdeen complained about how far from everything it was!  We had just spent four years in the middle of the cornfields of Illlinois, in a town called Normal, and to us Aberdeen was a bustling metropolis that was close to other cities.

2.  At one time I was a fairly good violinist.  Some of my happiest moments were experienced at the back of the second violin section of the Portland Junior Symphony.  The best was the time we sightread the Eroica Symphony just for fun!

3.  I wrote my Ph.D dissertation on a medieval woman writer, Christine de Pizan.  As part of my dissertation I edited a manuscript of her war manual, the Livre des Faits d’Armes (1410).  She had some very succinct (and unfeminine) advice about the best way to pour boiling oil on one’s enemies.

4.  I was baptised at the age of 16, at First Methodist Church in Portland, Oregon.  My parents hadn’t baptised me or my sister because my father didn’t feel he could promise to bring us up in the church (fair enough).  When I told him I was going to be baptised he said, “What are we going to call you?”  That still makes me laugh!

5.  I didn’t wear trousers for years.  This came about after a conversation I remember very well, with Elizabeth Le Guin.  I was at the Le Guin house for a visit, ca. 1975.  (We knew their mother had won some prizes for her science fiction stories, but I also found their father very interesting, as he was an expert on the French Revolution and he made patchwork quilts.)  I told Elizabeth, who was a few years older than I, what a misery it was to find trousers and jeans that fit and were acceptable to the fashion police at school.  She said, “Oh I never wear trousers.” (Actually, she said pants, but I’ll write this in British English to avoid misunderstandings.)  This was a revelation to me:  you could just choose never to wear trousers!  I didn’t wear them for about the next 15 years, and once overheard someone refer to me as “the girl who only wears skirts”.  In my late 20s I started wearing jeans again for things like gardening, but to this day if I want to relax I choose a skirt.  I’m aware of the irony that women fought for the right to wear trousers, but surely the fundamental issue is one of choice.  Thank you Elizabeth!  (And also for the beautiful cello music.)

Now to the best part:  passing the award to other blogs!  There are so many great blogs out there, and quite a few that have a wide readership.  (Ysolda and dovegreyreader scribbles for example.)  Other blogs I really like (Where the Nodding Violets Grow) have already received the award.  So here are my choices:

One that I always look forward to is Gerandisgleđir:  Dorit from the Faroe islands writes about many different things, from family life to spirituality, and includes beautiful photographs. “Gerandisgleđir” means the joys of everyday life.

Returned Scot is a very interesting blog that looks at aspects of Scottishness, with regular posts on “Unspeakably Scots Thing”s.  It began life when its writer was living in Norway and blogged regularly about “Unspeakably Norsk Thing”s.

The Age of Uncertainty has been on a top blog list recently, but I want to recognise this blog here because it’s so unusual and worthwhile.  “Steerforth” has recently been posting about things that people have left in books, which he comes across in his work.  These have included some amazing rescues of Victorian photograph albums – and if you saw my post about the Needlework Specimen book, you’ll know I have a soft spot for homeless relics myself.  “Steerforth” posts about a lot of other things as well: his visits to interesting places and other reflections.  I hope he won’t mind being nominated as a Beautiful Blogger!

I like Arctic Mum‘s blog because she writes so eloquently about life in the Arctic Circle.  There are lovely photos and she covers a variety of topics.  She’s about to move house (whether within or outwith the Arctic Circle, I don’t know!) so good luck with that, Arctic Mum!

Knitsisters is the blog of knitting designer Heike Gittens, who lives in North Wales.  As you would expect there is quite a bit about knitting there, but Heike also posts on lots of other things:  her travels, interesting projects around the world that people are involved in, ruminations on things like the state of the wool industry in Britain and so forth.

I know that makes five, but, because no-one is going to arrest me (did I mention I was once arrested for committing civil disobedience during the Yale Strike?  I was one of hundreds so not such a big deal), I would also like to pass on this award to Carin and Sigrid.

Carin’s blog Stitches by Carin interests me not only because of the needlework, but because she’s a pagan and I’ve always been fascinated by pre- (and non-) Christian beliefs.  I look forward to learning more about Yule from her in the weeks to come!

Last but not least, Sigrid’s blog analog me is always interesting and entertaining.  She writes about lots of different things – family life and creativity – and always with a good dose of humour.  And I like the idea of remaining analog in a digital age!

When I started this blogging caper I had no idea how much I would love it, and how much cool stuff is out there in the blogosphere.  I particularly enjoy blogs that are synthetic in their approach, as so many are.  Even Dovegreyreader, who gets invited to literary awards and book festivals, also blogs about her washing machine problems.  I believe that everyday life is important, even worth celebrating, and it’s been very affirming that so many others think so too.

So here’s a toast to y’all!

here's to blogging! (taken on my birthday)

As you can see my kitchen would not qualify for the Uncluttered Interiors Award.  But that’s real life, isn’t it?



  1. Congratulations – well deserved! I think you should now get some jeans and go for rear of the year – there will be no stopping you. Well done.

    • Ha ha! More like the nickname I once heard given to an incessantly busy woman with about the same derriere profile as me: “The Buttless Wonder”!

  2. Lots of interesting links and facts – just as well it’s my lunch break, eh?!
    I hope that’s not a glass full of cough syrup!

  3. Oh no – silly me, it’s Calpol!

  4. Thank you for nominating me and I will do something about it when I return from Germany (off in 5 min). You so deserve your award as your blog is one of my daily places to go and read a bit, thank you for your beautiful writings.
    Lovely cardigan, beautiful flowers and all for a beautiful lady. I am proud to call you my friend.
    Hugs from Heike x

  5. Thanks you so much for the nomination. I did this some time ago, so I won’t do it again, but I do appreciate the award!

  6. Congratulations and I look forward to perusing your nominated blogs. Do you know of this fellow American now living in Scotland?

  7. Thank you so much for the award !! I put it on my blog today and have pass it on to 5 other people 🙂

  8. Thank you for the award, I’m really honoured! 🙂 And I love your list. Maybe I’ll read your disseratation one day, and your father sounds wonderful.
    And a very interesting list of blogs. I only knew the ever lovely Arctic Mum.

  9. I am so excited to be given an award. I NEVER get awards, and I think this is the first one ever, altho I did win a raffle prize at last week’s school ceilidh…it must be my lucky week. So, I am particularly excited. Does it mean I get to wear a posh dress and walk along a red carpet? I’m not awfully good at moving in high heels, but, coz of you, I’m off to try some on now.
    Tusen takk xxx

  10. Hello Christine, just found your blog, and I think it’s wonderful.You deserved this award.
    Hugs from Amsterdam

  11. Dear All,
    Thank you so much for your warm wishes and kind words. I feel like I’ve had a wee party on my blog!

    Roobeedoo – thanks for kicking it all off. Well spotted on the Calpol. It was wine – but only for medicinal purposes, I swear.

    Heike – have a great trip. I look forward to finding out all about it on your blog.

    Sigrid – obviously I didn’t trawl sufficiently through your archives, but I’m glad you’re pleased to be nominated not once but twice! Certainly well deserved.

    Lucille – no I didn’t know about Slugs On the Refrigerator (blog, not domestic problem) but it looks really interesting! Thanks for the tip.

    Carin – you’re very welcome. I’ll “be right over” to read your five facts after this.

    Dorit – I’m glad you like my list, but I wouldn’t bother with the dissertation. Really very dull and there aren’t any photos.

    Returning Scot – Wow a raffle prize AND a blog award in the same week! Don’t the Scots say something about “not getting above yourself”? But I say, go for it, and please post a photo of yourself in your posh frock and high heels (you needn’t actually move in them).

    Erna – thanks very much, and I will check out your blog in a moment. It seems to be Scottish but located in Amsterdam. More cross-cultural mix! What an interesting world we live in.

  12. Cheers to you! Doing the cheers is my favourite activity, I always push everyone to say “skal”, which is cheers in Norwegian. Thank you so much for the award, I received one a while ago, and I may have to wait a little bit to repeat it otherwise I feel a bit too narcissistic…

  13. Dear Arctic Mum,

    I’m happy to see you survived your move, and also happy to see that you received the award once before. It’s well-deserved. Skal!

  14. I finally accepted your award, Christine 🙂 Thank you for nominating me and thank you for your online friendship.

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