Monday, May 6, 2013

HOMELESS CHRONICLES IN TAMPA - THE LIEBSTER AWARD 2013



The Liebster Award is a legitimate award, and until last year, had never heard of it. I was first nominated in 2012 by Aaron Brinker who runs @dadblunders and as I read of the history of the award, I realized this is a serious thing and an honor. It’s an award given by bloggers to other up and coming bloggers as a way to recognize and promote their blog. Liebster is a German word meaning dearest, sweetest and beloved. How wonderful to be nominated, once again! Thank you so very much to Maggie at expat.brazil. I am honored.



The Rules: seem slightly different on various blogs but in general are
1. List 11 facts about yourself.
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you.
3. Ask 11 new questions for the bloggers you nominate for the award.
4. Choose up to 11 up-and-coming blogs to nominate.
5. Go to each blogger’s page and let them know about the award.
6. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.


So step 1. 11 facts about me

  1. I was a professional violist for close to 30 years. I switched from violin at the age of 16-ish. I occasionally played the violin on gigs for money. Only when all the other violinists within the tri-state area had left or died was I called upon to do so. I hate the violin, but then, I hate Mozart. I love Beethoven. I love all good music, in any genre.
  1. I was a computer software support engineer at IBM for 3 years and Verizon for 7. I also worked for the Gastonia, NC police department in the same capacity and continued to play at the same time. It's called multi-tasking, or “insanity.” I got into this line of work, when my 2nd husband a violist, discovered that I didn't magically become a _______ player and got jealous when I got hired to play for the Moody Blues and he didn't.
  1. I am legally blind and have been for about 10 years now. I also have Parkinson's Disease, or non-Parkinson's Disease, THAT is the question. It's hard to diagnose.
  1. I own a viola that was made 10 years after Beethoven died, in 1837. The viola was made in Bologne, Italy and is of the Bolognese school of fiddle-making. Like all fine instruments, “his” appraiser named him. His name is “Wolf.” He has a hell of a sound and is by my bed.
  1. I was homeless for about 11 months and spent that time living in a homeless shelter and was very annoying to my fellow homeless shelter mates. That is how this blog came to be. After I received my Disability, I moved across the street. I still see some of the people I lived with and new homeless people.
  1. I've been committed for mental illness. I am bipolar and have Asperger (we used to say, “doesn't play well with others.”) I also cry over stupid stuff and laugh at stuff I probably shouldn't. I have a mordant sense of humor. They have a label and pill for that. I call it questionable taste. Sheesh. There's a pill for everything now.
  1. I love cats. Cats and computers just seem natural. We've a wonderful little cat who adopted us. We had her fixed, and I came up with the name of “Butterscotch,” which is not very original. JC fed her so much she got fat, so I started calling her “Butterball” and “Butterfat,” and JC said I hurt her feelings. So, she's Mama.
  1. I played in Opera Tampa here for 12 seasons with Maestro Anton Coppola, Nic Cage's, Great Grand-uncle and Francis Ford's Great Uncle. It's a small world, because in Detroit, Carmine Coppola, played flute in the orchestra I played in. Maestro Anton wrote operas and conducted Italian opera with no score. He recently retired at 98. His most memorable quote to us? “Anyone can play German opera, it's just 1, 2, 3, 4, but Italian opera? Rubato, rubato, rubato, it's all goddamned rubato!” He was great to work for. I left the Opera in 2009, due to the fact I couldn't fake it anymore. He retired last year. Apparently, he couldn't fake it anymore, either.
  1. I'm an only child and never had kids. But I taught generations of them on the violin (even while not enjoying playing it, I am very enthusiastic about music; a teacher's role is to inspire. We're all self-taught, according to one of my viola professors.)
  1. I was married 3 times and lived with a man who was one of the most irresponsible people I have ever met. Shame on me. I met the man I know I will be with for the rest of my life in the homeless shelter. Think on this if you will. I was homeless, had had a drinking problem, but stopped. The man I met in the shelter had been in prison. What are the odds of something durable working out?
  1. JC, the love of my life, has seen me through my committal for mental illness, several hospitalizations for my PD and congestive heart failure and has steadfastly been there for me. He's patient and loving. My 3rd husband was out looking for a new girlfriend the minute I was hospitalized with congestive heart failure. I had actually sworn off men, but the time I was in the homeless shelter. God had other plans.

So, the 11 random questions I would like to know.
  1. Favourite Writer and why? This is like asking me who my favourite composer is. I love so many different writers and genres. Let me compare it as to music; Beethoven is so monumentally joyous and full of life, even as his life was tragic. Mahler was the opposite. Even his so-called happy music had tragic undertones. James Thurber, whom I read at the age of 11 is just flat-out funny. Harlan Ellison is funny, but there is a seething rage beneath his humor that is black indeed. I am currently back on Stephen King, after having read excerpts from his book 11/22/63, I purchased “Under the Dome.” He is still one of the finest technically perfect writers I've ever read and his imagination is without peer. But gee whiz, it is hard to choose. Harlan Ellison is probably the finest short story writer ever, and that has got to be the hardest form to master. Great question, Maggie!
  1. Who is your best friend and why? Without a doubt, JC, the best, most honorable and most decent man I've ever known. Ex-con, or not. Which is laughable. The United States justice system has much to answer for. JC lost everything. Had a horrible childhood, loveless marriages and tried and worked so hard to care for his family. He had to quit school to help a shiftless, no-good step-daddy run a pig farm. Shades of John Steinbeck and Tennessee Williams. JC says he's dumb and practically illiterate next to me. So what? Book-learning was an advantage and a gift. I was a prodigy, but I couldn't see into people's hearts. He can and he's taught me much. He's beyond price and I love him unreasonably. He's never known true happiness, until now. I told him my mission in life was to make him happy, or make him miserable trying.
  1. The genie has granted you three wishes, what are they? Genie grants everyone the ability to reason, empathize and show compassion.
  1. Which historical figures would you love to have dinner with ? Ludwig van Beethoven
  1. What couldn’t you live without? My viola, Wolf
  1. What do you do for fun? Play Runescape and annoy people in chat rooms.
  1. Favourite Quote? “Animals grace us with their presence.”
  1. If money was no object where would you live and why? I would roam. I found out recently, that we may not be where we thought we were from. “Wallace” of Sir William Braveheart blah blah fame we can claim, but “Wallace” means “foreign” or “alien” in old Welsh. There is some argument (I don't believe there is much evidence) for our origins prior to Glasgow being from around the Caucausus or the Black Sea. Maybe we were Scythians or Cossacks; maybe even Neptunians. Scythians were known for red hair, fair skin and blue eyes. At any rate, before I lost my site, I rambled all over the place, and it wasn't always work related. Our whole family was like that. You said “car,” and family members were known to get up off of their death beds for a road trip. I miss it.
  1. What’s your secret pleasure? *looks around* I have been known to have apoplexy and hysteria over TSG (The Smoking Gun's) “The World's Dumbest ________ “ When the recipe includes grade Z celebs like Tonya Harding, Todd Bridges, Leif Garrett, Danny Bonaduce, Chuck Nice (which really is an appropriate last name for him) et al., and show the bottom of the gene pool video clips doing the stupidest things they can think of, and then comment and re-enact with cheesy cut-outs and even cheesier comments and the cheesiest CGI ever, I'm down with that. You see, I have the Siren-song-of-crap gene! And damned proud of it, too! And if they're not on, I'll laugh at my own stupidness. Like the time I followed myself on my own blog!
  1. Who do you admire and why? I thought about this for a long time and I keep coming back to someone who has been on the public stage for most of the time I've spent on this planet. Muhammad Ali. The courage he showed when he stood up to the establishment and stated that he would not fight a war that he had no stake in really shook people up. I believe that for the first time, people really started to question what our government's goals were in Viet Nam. At this point, I was already hearing my father every morning bitch about what an asshole Robert MacNamara was; I was about 9 years old at the time. When the news came out that Ali had his license stripped, my very prescient father, who was a naturalized citizen, out of Glasgow and had fought in WWII and flown B-29s in Korea watching, said, “people are going to start rebelling against this war; it's a bad war.” He was right. As Ali has aged, and he is now dealing with PD himself, his foundations and charities have taken up causes he espoused. Brotherhood for all mankind.
  1. What superpower would you like to have? Not invisibility; it didn't work so well for that guy in the X-files episode. I'll settle for that one where you wrinkle your nose and the house cleans itself and your food cooks itself. I know that was a witch power, but all I can come up with are those lame Saturn Lad powers, like the bouncing thing, or stop time, like Clock Boy. Lame

My 11 Random Questions

  1. Describe which musical instrument your personality most closely resembles and why.
  1. The last time you did anything idiotic in public (assuming you did; not everyone is me) were you embarrassed, or did you just shrug it off? Feel free to provide details. Or not.
  1. Name one thing about yourself that would surprise people.
  1. Favorite genre of music?
  1. Cinnamon or peppermint?
  1. What are you reading right now?
  1. What was your favorite stuffed toy as a kid? What was his/her name?
  1. Who is your favorite author?
  1. Who is your muse?
  1. If you were to come back to life as an animal, which animal would you be?
   11.  Who is your best friend and why?

Just for fun, I listed my fellow Liebster Nominees; please feel free to visit their blogs and see their responses to the questions I answered. They are probably MUCH more entertaining than I am; remember, I am the Straight Man to the World.

Michael at nouveauscarecrow
DL Shackleford at dlshackleford.com 
Kelly Hartog at kelliforniadreaming
Jen at jeneralinsanity  
Tracy Kuhn at volvodiaries
Liz Blackmore at littleboxofbooks 
Sonia Rao at soniaraowrites 
Carolyn at carolynpaulbranch
Lucy at lucysreality


And now, for my 11 choices. These are all based on blogs that have changed me in some way, given me new insight into ways we relate with one another, ideals to strive for, inspiration for when I was just so damned low and just plain funny blogs. These are also in no particular order, either. Again, Maggie, thank you so much. You rock!

3. Gina Valley @ http://ginavalley.com/
5. Aaron Brinker @ http://www.dadblunders.com/
6. Amberr Meadows @ http://www.amberrisme.com/
9. Lottie Nevin @ http://lottienevin.com/
11. Alberta Ross @ http://www.albertaross.co.uk/



12. YumaBev @ http://parkinsonshumor.blogspot.com/ * Yes, I picked a 12th. I know it's a rule-breaker, but Bev is special to us all. She's a winner at life and after having DBS (deep brain stimulation) for her PD this year, she is TODAY having surgery for breast cancer. Please pray to Zeus or Allah or God or whomever you pray to for her!



I probably chose some people who have more established blogs, and more followers and I didn't get to list as many blogs as I would so much love to be able to do. I don't want to make this post any longer than I already have, but a funny thing happened on my way to disaster and my subsequent U-turn. I learned how to live again, with meaning this time. You all helped and I thank you.

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