liebster21This weekend I had the pleasure of receiving a Liebster Award nomination from a fellow WordPress blogger, Sandi, at What Oft Was Thought and Sappy as a Tree. A blogger award is akin to a positive peer review. I’ve enjoyed visiting Sandi’s blog, Sappy as a Tree and I’m very appreciative that she thought of me and my blog when she made her nominations.

The Liebster Blog award is a nod to blogs that enter new territory. I don’t think of my blog as entering new territory as in outer space, the deep sea or Minnesota. But it certainly is a place where I enter new personal territory as a writer and as a person. It’s more personal than my fiction. It’s immediate, short, conversational…a way to share the written word, the thoughts behind the words with family, friends, and strangers freely.

Accepting the award requires some panty-flashing. Just kidding. But, there are some personal questions that one must answer, and random facts about yourself that need to be revealed. It’s like blogger truth or dare. I’m going to combine answering Sandi’s thoughtful questions, and disclosing random facts into single responses. I welcome this activity for several reasons, one being that I opted to make my About page not particularly autobiographical. And I’ve maintained this blog to be about all things writing and reading, and not more general personal issues. So here’s a very nice opportunity to share things more historical and intimate from my life.

Thanks so much, Sandi, for the opportunity and the nomination.

  1. What is your ideal vacation?

Beach. Swimming in ocean and snorkeling. Speaking Spanish. For many years I’ve wanted to go on a working vacation, to do volunteer work in a place that frankly it feels a little uncomfortable to visit as a tourist on vacation, when the standard of living for the average citizen is low and largely dependent on tourism, insert: the Caribbean, the Philippines, Mexico, Central America- some of the places that my favorite vacations have been. So this January I am going on a Service Learning Public Health trip to Costa Rica with my job (the DOH). You better believe this will be an ideal vacation (except that my husband and son aren’t coming), in part because I’ll be working in Costa Rica! See question 7.

  1. What was your first job?

Big 5 Sporting Goods Store on Ventura Blvd. in the valley, in Los Angeles when I was 14. I mention this job to friends every few years to share the fact that I rang up purchases for Michael Jackson when he and a young friend came in and bought about 15 assorted balls. My manager, who had just trained me on the cash register that morning, was very mad and jealous. When I quit, three months later, I didn’t know you were allowed to quit jobs and I was totally scared. So I told this same manager that I had leukemia. He said, No you don’t.

  1. What motivates you to post on your blog?

Unchecked ego. The universal human desire to publish. The fun of getting responses. To show agents I have a platform.

  1. Name a book that you recently finished reading.

This fall, while going through a hard time in my life, my friend loaned me her copy of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers. It transported me out of my life and into the mid-west small town American, 1930’s working class world of the novel. I’ve wanted to blog about this novel here but have been too intimidated to try to encapsulate my thoughts on it. McCullers was also twenty-three when she wrote it. Es impossible.

  1. What is your opinion of reality TV shows?

I’ve seen about 5 hours, ever, of them. BUT, my co-worker’s brother is a contestant on Top Chef right now, this season, and I just ate in his restaurant in Portland, Oregon this past August. I intend to watch the whole season. The 3 episodes I’ve seen so far were totally engaging and made me want to eat, and maybe even cook. (And her brother is awesome and looks just like her with a Mohawk.)

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

This doesn’t really happen in New York City. It did once, and Brooklyn streets weren’t plowed and the Mayor (Bloomberg) took a lot of shit and it was really dangerous. When it snows a ton in NYC, Manhattan gets cleaned up immediately and the rest of the borroughs have snow piles until they melt. Tale of Two Cities, told via snowflakes.

  1. If you could obtain dual citizenship in another country, which county would you chose, and why?

I’ve always thought of dual citizenship as obtaining the ability to work in another country, and live continuously without concern for expired visas. So, based on places I’d like to live and work, I’ll say Mexico, Spain, France or Italy. Based on needing to escape quickly if the GOP takes over, I’ll say Canada or Mexico. Based on the fact that my husband can actually get us dual citizenship in the following countries because his grandparents were born there, I’ll say Italy and Ireland. We really should get on that paperwork.

  1. What is your pet peeve with WordPress?

Not much to complain about. But, if you insist, sometimes I try to make slight aesthetic improvements and it tells me to upgrade. And I can’t figure out some basic things, like sharing settings, but that’s my fault, and just today a fellow WordPresser sent me a note on how to improve my settings. Now, that’s a credit to WordPress.

  1. 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?”

It’s true. But you know how to make your kids empathetic? Stop telling them they’re fine when they get hurt and show them some friggin empathy. Give them nurturing love, nobody else is tasked with that. This is not directed at Sandi. 🙂

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

No. We didn’t celebrate Christmas because we’re Jewish. I’m still Jewish, but now I celebrate Santa, I mean Christmas. I just published an essay, featured on Dear Wendy about all this confusion.

  1. How do you prefer to learn about world news – through the internet? Through the television? Through a newspaper or magazine.

I love how Sandi said, the television. NPR (WNYC), the New York Times and The New Yorker. But, sadly, I usually feel too uninformed.

And now to play it forward, I’m nominating some WordPress bloggers and blogs that I’ve frequently enjoyed. Check them out.

Aileen Hunt Writer


Sing Better English

Writing Through The Fog

Kelsey Horton

Special note to nominees: I’m very pleased to acknowledge your blog and I’ve enjoyed your writing. There is no obligation to accept the nomination. I’ll be sending you a private note with the Liebster nomination rules. Carry on.



  1. Combining the 11 questions with your 11 facts was brilliant, Rachel: my acceptance post got so unwieldy. I’m impressed not only that you met Michael Jackson but also that you had a job at age 14!

    I loved the conversational tone of your post — and you’re right: one of blogging’s unique features is the way it generates conversations between writer and reader. How cool that you potentially could have dual citizenship in Italy and Ireland (and then you could visit Aileen — so glad you nominated her; I love the beautiful way she combines writing and photos)!

    So many intriguing facts here — I had read the “Dear Wendy” post, so I knew you were Jewish. Your love of your son is beautiful, Rachel.


      1. I loved your answer of “egoism” (or something to that effect) as to why you posted: so true for me 🙂

        “Television” was a bit naive, wasn’t it? I hate hearing news on the television,and that includes cable news shows as well. Newspaper is my preferred choice, but I’d forgotten about the radio (which Some Kernels of Truth also prefers). Internet isn’t bad, but I’m more skeptical of internet news. I don’t mind radio news.


      2. No- not naive! I was being a goof, thinking the word “the” sounded dated there 🙂 forgive me. We were wondering lately if we should watch a little TV news together, to be more informed and to share all the bad news. And yes, i know theres some ego in the blogging for me.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Rachel,

    Congratulations on your nomination for the Liebster Award! Your answers to the questions were so interesting.

    I finished reading your book: The Sign for Drowning. I wanted the book to go on and on. I loved Anna, Pablo and Adrea. The copyright date was 2008 which amazes me because I’m assuming you were not a mother then. The mother’s voice and relationship with Adrea was beautiful! How could you write like that without experiencing being a mom? It was so believable and touching. 🙂
    I loved the settings and how you were a teacher of deaf children. It made me want to learn how to sign. My favorite was book #4. I did not see your ending coming even though I knew Anna’s mom was depressed. My favorite quote: “Before Megan died, my mother often drew our attention to these minor miracles, wanting us to see that the beauty of life is in the natural world: in every animal and plant, mountain and stone, the sky, the sea, and in us humans too. All of it is susceptible to the changing tides, fleeting and lasting both. As a child I believed there was magic in my hands. ”

    Thank-you for being a writer!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ellen, i am so blown away by your kind, kind, kind words about my novel. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and for reading the book. Im really touched. I wasnt yet a mom and simetimes Im self-conscious that i wrote about losing a child without the personal knowledge of that experience. I was a preschool teacher for years and i was always ready to be a mama- just took a long time to get there 🙂 thanks for making my day.


      1. Its actually the same questions i answered in my blog post. As well as giving 11 random facts about yourself- i combined those two. And you mention that i nominated you and put a link to my blog and you nominate 3-6 other blogs. I did notice a bump in viewers from doing it and it was fun to get personal 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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