Tag Archives: Mark Petruska

Blog Awards and Life List News

Get ready for a fly-by week on The Happiness Project!  Today I want to say thank you to the writers who bestowed me with some great blogging awards and tell you about this Friday’s upcoming Milestone Party!

First, a big BIG thank you to Amanda Rudd and Gene Lempp who both nominated me for a Versatile Blog Award.  Amanda and Gene are such awesome writers, readers, and friends that I am very honored to share this award with them.  Amanda is, like me, an example of persistence, and a very encouraging and charming woman.  Gene is irritatingly smart about how to set goals and I credit him for getting my nose to the grindstone.

Thank you immensely to all my readers, I wouldn’t be doing this without you!  Well, I might, but it wouldn’t be nearly as fun or filled with potential learning opportunities.  I’m so humbled to share my day with you and get to know so many of you through your writing, your projects, and of course YOUR COMMENTS-my fave!

     Another BIG thank you to Marcia Richards for naming me a recipient of the Liebster Blog Award.  Liebster is a german word for Friend, and coming from my Life List Club co-founder, I can definitely say Marcia is a great friend.  She’s got the creativity and energy of a toddler chewing espresso beans and at the same time comes off as the wise fairy godmother of all things chocolate and life lessons.  Marcia, thank you for being my sound board.  I love bouncing ideas around with you!

Part of receiving such honorary awards is presenting them to others you feel deserve them.  The Versatile Blogger Award is for bloggers that are able to write about a broad range of topics with talent and enthusiasm.  I must recognize the writing works of Catie Rhodes, who is a woman after my own heart with her posts that range from the paranormal to films from the 80’s-90’s.  For starting her own blog not too long ago, Catie has it figured out!

I also award the Versatile Blogger Award to Ellie Ann Soderstrom, another new blogger who regales her readers with fascinating tales of mythological creatures and fairtytales as well as stories about why her husband is so annoying.  And if you comment, she may make up a story for you with the character name of your choice.  Ellie Ann is pure fun!

The Liebster Award is for bloggers I consider a true friend.  There are two people that stick out in my mind who have come to my writer’s rescue and shared their own stories with the world which I always think is a brave and self-aware act.  I present this award to Mark Petruska and Renee Schuls-Jacobson.

Mark is my guy, he keeps me in the know on what’s happening in Portland, Oregon, a city I visited 2 years ago and fell in love with.  Lately, Mark’s been on some trips of his own and really grown in the past year.  He recently fell in love!  *communal Awwww*  And with this year of change, Mark’s been sharing more about his life with us, and I couldn’t be happier for all he’s accomplished, including his decision to self-publish!

Renee wrote a post called When Writers Meltdown where she was so honest about how we all judge ourselves and think we’re never doing enough.  I was SO in that moment then, and Renee not only reached out to me via comments, but did so with e-mail and twitter too.  She wanted me to know I was not alone, and that she knew exactly how I felt.  What better definition of friend is there than that?

There’s more fun to be had this Friday with the Life List Club‘s Milestone Party!  Be sure to come back and comment this weekend while each of us shares an update of our goals and YOU can win a shot at several LLC giveaways!  Share your own successes and learning moments with us.  We’ll all be offering goodies to win and cyber treats and playing our kind of party music.  I’m thinking…CeCe Peniston.  You?

10 Random Facts About Me

My too smart for her own good, amazingly lovely co-founder of the Life List Club, and friend, Marcia Richards, just tagged me in the hot blog game of the season: Tell us 10 random things about yourself!  The rules are really complicated:  I have to tell you 10 random things about myself.  And then I select four people to tag and they have to do it too.  I like this so much better than chain letters, so in the spirit of a favorite film, Twister, “Tell us, why you are the way are.”

10.  I like to spend New Years alone.  It’s a tradition long developed now where I gather up a stack of my favorite guilty pleasure films and stay up late watching the movies I want to watch.  Last year, it was Anne of Green Gables, you can read an old post about it here.  I also journal and look back at the past year and use the time to reflect on what things I want to accomplish in the next year.  I love having this night to myself.

9.  When I was little, I played by myself a lot, not out of choice, really, I’m just a lot younger than my siblings.  So I got really good at speaking in different voices and having elaborate musicals, puppet shows, and plays with my stuffed animals.  I practiced this talent by quoting movies, and reading aloud switching accents every page-which helps grow your vocabulary!  In high school, our librarian noticed this talent and got me involved with Forensics, and not the CSI kind.  It was speech really, but a whole lot more.  My category was quickly decided as storytelling.  I had to know 5 stories that dealt with specific topics and be able to tell them on cue by a judge.  I did Irish legends of kings, kid’s pirate stories, lisping time machine inventors, gargly three-headed Greek sisters, and a whole rainforest of animals.  Because I could do all the voices and was very animated, I brought home several first place trophies over the three years I was involved.

8.  To coincide with my stories, I also learned by heart any number of musicals and performed these in dress on my neighbor’s porch to an audience of squirrels and sparrows.  (I liked to pretend I was Sleeping Beauty and Snow White a lot.)  I did entire song and dance numbers from Yankee Doodle Dandy, Guys and Dolls, South Pacific, Singing in the Rain, State Fair, Sound of Music, Kiss Me Kate, The King and I, and My Fair Lady.  I loved it.  And for those of you with kids who like to play dress up, my bag included: old nightgowns and slips (evening wear), poodle skirts (for twirling at parties), button up shirts with crazy prints on them (for playing school/work), and lots of costume jewelry and shoes.

7.  When I learn how to make something, I go a little overboard.  In third grade, we learned how to cross-stitch.  My entire family and penpal received Christmas gifts that were cross-stitched bookmarks, magnets, and wall hangings.  Then they all got friendship bracelets.  A few years later the bead babies became popular, and my whole family got keychains.  I had so many I started using them as diving toys in the pool for the kids I babysat years later.  Next was knitting.  I made so many scarves so quickly, I gave myself carpal tunnel, and had to wear a brace for several weeks.  Let’s hope the next binge I go on is just my writing one.

6.  The name of my first cabbage patch doll was Adele Patti, but I couldn’t pronounce or remember Adele, so I called her Patti.  She was a premie and I loved the way she smelled like baby powder.  Subsequently, the following Cabbage Patch Dolls that joined my family were Heather, Tay, Humphrey, Barney, Sara, Suzette, Keri Ann, and Sloane.

5.  My place of zen has always been by the water.  In high school I often walked down to the Rock River and read Wuthering Heights or wrote poetry.  My Anais Nin/Sylvia Plath obsession created a boho-confessional style of writing that, though extreme and indulgent, was full of passion, and for that, I love the girl I once was.  Now, I make my peace by the mighty Mississippi or far inside Myrick Marsh.

Photo courtesy arras-france.com

4.  One of the most mesmerizing things I’ve ever done is hike the rainforests of Guadaloupe and swim under the Chutes du Carbet waterfall on this Caribbean French Island.  I was 16 and had never left the country before.  I was invited on a rare opportunity to go on a cruise with my best friend’s family and we stopped at several caribbean ports.  Guadeloupe made the biggest impact on me with its thick rainforests, rich temples, and caribbean-french people.

3.  You know the scene in Eat, Pray, Love where Elizabeth Gilbert (Julia Roberts in the film version) eats pasta to Der Hölle Rache Kocht In Meinem Herzen by Amadeus Mozart?  That was me on my trip to Italy, with every dish of pasta I ate.  Orchestras played as I savored my mostaccoli.

2.  A year later I went to Ireland, and I wanted to make sure I remembered more than just the food I ate, like in Italy.  I remember sitting on the cliffs of the Aran Islands and journaling.  I told myself to remember this moment.  I stared at the water rolling below me and snapped a mental photograph.  It’s been seven years, and I still vividly remember that day and how the water looked below me.

1.  I have been every form of Jessi(e) imaginable.  I started as the most common Jessie.  Then I was convinced by my sister to spell it Jessy, and a year later changed it myself to Jessi, which I stayed with since second grade.  Cousins and siblings would try out grander adjustments like Jessiki.  But over the years, it’s become more and more evident that I am a Jess.  I never fit the full on Jessica, too high maintenance for me, but Jess is just right.  Jess is friendly, Jess swaps food with you at dinner, Jess loves coffee dates, Jess likes to blog.  🙂  Hence, it’s just Jess.  And it’s nice to meet you all.

Thanks for coming to my Happiness Project social hour!  I hereby tag these people to keep the game going:

Little Miss Vix     Tiffany White     Mark Petruska     The Good Greatsby

Everyone can play along!  What are some random facts about yourself that I might not know?  I’d love to learn more about all of you!

Bon Voyage Blog Mash-Up

Hey Writers and Readers,

Yours truly is taking a blogging week hiatus to go on vacation!  It’s a much needed break from work, and yes, even writing, to spend a week with my honey.  We need to put in the quality time with each other, and finally, our schedules have matched up enough to take a trip.  I’ll be back in two week’s time to tell you all about sunny Toronto.

In the meantime, I hope you’ll post in the comments any links from blogs you’ve read or written and want to share with me.  I promise to read them all and leave a comment.  Plus, you’ll make sure I don’t miss anything fabulous while I’m away.

I’m sharing with you a quick mash-up of awesomeness to peruse through while I’m off.

You can read about my meltdown and why this vacation is perfect timing in Writer Meltdowns: A Case of the Mean Reds, my Life List Club guest post over at the amazing Gene Lempp’s Blog.

Pam Hawley, my secret east coast twin, shares her writing tips in a fun-flippered way in her guest post at my place Sit, Waddle, Scoot and Swim.

Kristen Lamb served up a slice of self-discipline that was just my size in Self-Discipline-The Key to Success.

Amanda Rudd discovered one of her favorite science fiction writers was actually a woman!  She sleuths out the truth in Is He a She? Using Pseudonyms to Hide Gender.

Tiffany A. White’s got the Ooo Factor on Long Lost Childhood Reads.  Share your favorites too.

Selena Wolff shares with us her tarot spread and the karmic balance of relationships in Tarot Tuesday-Love and Relationships.  Very interesting read for writers and readers alike.

Sonia Medeiros is hosting a blog prize giveaway in her post 100 Posts…What? Already!  Go stroll down memory lane with her and maybe you’ll win a prize too!

And announcing the publication of my awesome friend, Mark Petruska’s book, No Time for Kings, here him discuss the self-publishing route and what it feels like to see his name on the book spine, and he also complains about the price of eggs! Congrats Mark!

Guilty Pleasures: Top 5 Cinematic Men

It’s Guilty Pleasure Friday and today it’s raining men!  Men in your favorite movies.

It all started with date night.  With my girlfriends.  There was wine involved, tomatoes and mozzarella, and lots of good conversation, and we started talking about our top 5 cinematic men.  Who would you love to date if age, time, and character roles weren’t an issue?  Leave your top 5 list in the comments!

Here’s my list of all-time cinematic hunks:

     Gabriel Byrne – I love his accent.  His voice makes me instantly calm and fluttery all at once.  Ever since I watched Little Women where he plays Dr. Bhaer, I loved him and wanted him to take me to the opera and make me a better writer just like he did for Jo March.  But he is equally as dreamy in roles like Jindabyne, Emotional Arithmetic, and even Stigmata.  I pretty much will listen to his voice no matter what role he’s in.  And, bonus, he studied archaeology and linguistics in college in Dublin.  He was an archaeologist, a cook, a bull-fighter, and a teacher before he became an actor.  Don’t you want to curl up on the couch and have him tell you stories about his adventures with that accent of his?

     Jonathan Crombie – I think I have a year’s worth of diary entries where I pretended Gilbert Blythe (Jonathan Crombie) was my actual boyfriend.  Jonathan’s portrayal of Gilbert in Anne of Green Gables, was just the sort of thing you hoped would happen to you in high school.  He was the smart, but cocky boy, too charming for his own good, and you were the new girl in town, giving him a run for his money in the brain’s department.  He would push and annoy, but despite it all, he’d be there for you when you needed him and he’d make you a better writer.  Hmm, I’m seeing a theme here, but don’t worry, not all my hunky men are characters who’ve played opposite a writer.  But look at that smile of his, wouldn’t he light up your day if you were playing the Lady of Shalott and became stranded in the river as your dory slowly sank?  *sigh*  My hero!

     Harrison FordHello, handsome!  My mother once gave me an article from her Lady’s Home Journal that let you take a quiz to find your ideal cinematic man.  Mine was Harrison Ford, defined as the smart woman’s perfect man.  He’s strong, resourceful, slightly flawed in a charming way, and knows how to use a whip.  (Did I say that out loud?)  His character roles as Indiana Jones and Han Solo embody both my longing for adventure and protection.  And with that damn crooked smile of his, he’ll chide you just enough to make you hate him, and then he’ll go in and kiss you like you haven’t yet lived!  Plus, let’s face it, ladies, he has a theme song.  Dun dun dun duh, dun du duh, dun dun dun duh, dun du du du du…

 

 

     Richard Chamberlain – Every lady’s gotta have herself at least one forbidden man, andmine would be Richard Chamberlain.  His role as Father Ralph di Bricassart in The Thorn Birds soared him to the top of the leading man charts.  I watched this TV miniseries every year with my mother and clearly suffered delusional daydreams about a man who battled between his love for God and his love for one woman.  The ladies at my family’s church used to call our local priest “Father What-A-Waste,” so can you really blame me?  I read this book the summer before high school and it’s still the only novel I’ve thrown across the room in anger, but that was at Luke O’Neil, not blessed Father Ralph.  He’s the unattainable man, the man who knows he loves you, and yet won’t stay with you, but will spend the rest of both your lives doubting he made the right choice.

And my ultimate Cinematic Man pick of all time goes to:

    Cary Grant – Every film I’ve ever seen starring Cary Grant has been a favorite.  The first movie I ever cried watching was An Affair to Remember.  My favorite Hitchcock film is North by Northwest.  And of course, my leading man has played a writer who tries to out-story his love-interest/fellow writer in His Girl Friday.  Grant is my ideal man.  He’s captured the hearts of Audrey Hepburn, Katherine Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Doris Day, Joan Fontaine, Ingrid Bergman, Eva Marie Saint, Rosalind Russell, and even Shirley Temple!  How was I to resist his allure, his quick-witted one-liners, and his inability to tell a woman no?  He has at least 50 different tones of voice using the word “Darling,” and I only hope I fall asleep tonight hearing every single one of them.

The guilty pleasures don’t stop here.  Join the fun over at Mark Petruska’s blog for his Top 5 Cinematic Women.  We love hearing from you; tell us what Hollywood stars and starlets would be on your guilty pleasure list?  

Monday Mash Up: Best of the Ghoulie Awards

Hey All, it’s been awhile since I’ve done a mash-up, but lately I’ve been satisfied by such awesome ghost and mystery blogs, that I had to do a mash up for those of you interested in the strange just like me.

First one comes from the amazing Catie Rhodes, over at Full-Tilt Backwoods Boogie.  If you haven’t checked out Catie’s blog yet, you’re missing out!  She posts on 80’s cult classics, historical southern serial killers and big time murders, all things Bonnie and Clyde!, and forces invites her husband along on many cave/creepy jaunts.  Her post, The Ghosts of Longhorn Cavern, was full of interviews and film footage, and the duo’s own personal ghost catch on camera.  What are you waiting for?

Full of Fabooolousness, Tiffany White writes about things that make you go Oooo.  Her post on The Kiss and Kill Murder was a fascinating murder story, but it also comes to her from her mom’s hometown school days.  Take a walk through High School, if you dare, and learn the story of Mack Herring and Betty Williams.

One of my favorite new bloggers is Ellie Ann who started up Spirit Saturday.  Every saturday she writes about a new possible spirit or legend.  I had fun reading her post on The Weretiger, a story told by a missionary about a shaman in Thailand.  Go get your say in on whether it really happened like he said!

Mindi Anders is a religious cult survivor.  Intrigued?  If you’re unfamiliar with her work in progress, Playing God, you can hop over to her sight by clicking the link to check out the synopsis.  She recently did an interview with writer, Matt Shields at his blog explaining why writing about her experience leaving a cult is more therapeutic than therapy.  Check out Buffy the Cult Slayer.

In some sort of world where you get the opportunity of a lifetime and you’re invited to go on a ghost hunt with a paranormal investigative team, you’d be my friend, Mark Petruska.  Mark just got that opportunity and wrote about the ghosties he encountered, some of which weren’t nice, in Just Another Night in the Ghost Hunting Business.  If you believe in ghosts you’ll be freaked out, if not, maybe Mark will change your mind.

That’s the Best of the Ghoulie Awards this week.  Any others I missed?  Leave a link to them below, I love ghost stories and mystery!

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