Various Blogging Challenges and An Award

There are a number of blogging awards and challenges floating around out there, some of which I’ve been tagged in. So, rather than doing separate posts, I decided to bundle them up into one mega post. Woohoo! The first one up is…


The Love Hate Challenge

Celine Jeanjean over at Down the Rabbit Hole tagged me for this one. Thanks, Celine! The idea is to post ten things you love and ten things you hate, and then tag ten people to do the same.

The pedantic part of me feels compelled to point out that I don’t actually hate anything on this list (well, except for shopping, maybe, and ticks…). Hate is such strong, virulent word. Most of my dislikes aren’t worth that kind of energy.

Anyway, here’s my list:


I love…

1. The golden hour. That time of day right before the sun sets where the sky turns golden and trees and hills become mottled with a mixture of light and shadows. It makes me feel like I’m in a Maxfield Parrish painting.

2. The sound of wind rustling in the trees.

3. The smell of rain.

4. Pigs. Also, hedgehogs. Oh, and sheep.

5. The chittering sound my cats make when watching birds.

6. Christmas time in Sweden. I also love the fact it’s called Yule (Jul).

7. Old things—books, churches, antique furniture. Things that look like they have a story connected with them.

8. General silliness

9. Asian dumplings and carrot cake—not necessarily together, but bonus if they are.

10. Green tea. Even better if it’s jasmine green tea—the bestest of all tea blends.


I hate/dislike…

1. Telephones, and talking on them.

2. Ticks. Why do they exist? Why? I mean, I don’t like spiders, but I at least respect that they have a function in the natural chain of life. Ticks? They just suck blood and spread disease. What’s worse is that once they get attached and…feed, they get all huge and bloated like some creepy alien thing that looks prime to explode and unleash a swarm of baby ticks that will then eat your face.

3. Money, and the need for it.

4. Shopping (the two go hand-in-hand, really).

5. Blood pudding—no, I’ve never eaten it, but I’m not sure why it even exists (kind of like ticks). I mean, who was the guy that thought cooking up coagulated blood was a good idea? It gives me the heebie-jeebies every time I see it in the store.

6. Intolerance. After my above rant, I’m kind of chuckling at this. But the intolerance I dislike is more on a grander scale than food preference. Also, if blood pudding is your thing, then that’s cool. I’d still probably leave the room if you wanted to eat it, though. Because, eew.

7. Public speaking. Having a conference call (see 1) in front of a group of people sounds like a special kind of hell.

8. Speaking of hell—hot weather. Me and the cooler climes of Sweden get along nicely.

Arg, that’s enough icky stuff. I’m going to end this list with two bonus things I love, because liking things is much more fun and pleasant than disliking things:

1. Fat puppies

2. Thunder storms


The Creative Blogger Award

Lori L. MacLaughlin over at Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams nominated me for the Creative Blogger Award! Thanks, Lori! The rules for accepting the award are thus:

  • Thank and post the link of the person who nominated you.
  • Share 5 facts about yourself to your readers.
  • Nominate 15-20 blogs and notify them.
  • Pass on the rules.

I don’t think I’ll nominate 15-20 blogs, though, because that’s kind of a lot, and it freaks me out a little bit tagging people in these kinds of things, just in case they’re like, “Ugh, not again!” Anyway…

Five facts about me:

  • I’ve been a vegetarian for nearly 20 years (hence the blood pudding freak-out, I suppose).
  • I’m the only child out of six to have brown eyes (the others are freaks of nature and have blue eyes. Apparently they didn’t get the memo about dominant genes).
  • I used to get quite tan as a kid, but now I just burn.
  • Despite my love of fat puppies, I’m a cat person.
  • Coffee gives me headaches, so it’s only tea for me. Plus, tea just tastes better (yep, I went there).


Freestyle Writing Challenge

OK this is the last one. The lovely and illustrious Melanie Atherton Allen from Atherton’s Magic Vapour  tagged me for this challenge. Thank you Melanie!

Here’s how it goes:

  1. Open a new document.
  1. Set a stopwatch or your mobile phone timer to 5, 10, or 15 minutes, whichever challenge you think you can beat.
  1. Your topic is at the foot of this post BUT DO NOT SCROLL DOWN TO SEE IT UNTIL YOU ARE READY WITH YOUR TIMER!!!
  1. Fill the word doc with as many words as you want. Once you start writing do not stop.
  1. Do not cheat by going back and correcting spelling and grammar using spell check (it’s only meant for you to reflect on your own control of sensible thought flow and for you to reflect on your ability to write the right spelling and stick to grammar rules).
  1. You may or may not pay attention to punctuation or capitals. However, if you do, it would be best.
  1. At the end of your post write down ‘No. of words = ____” so that we would have an idea of how much you can write within the time frame.
  1. Do not forget to copy paste the entire passage on your blog post with a new topic for your nominees and copy paste these rules with your nomination (at least five (5) bloggers).


The time I set for myself was 15 minutes, because I’m a slow writer and need all the help I can get. And despite my tendency to edit as I write, there are still a few glaring errors that I overlooked. I want to fix them soooo bad. Of course, technically, in the rules it says not to go back and fix errors with spell check, but I don’t need spell check to see these horrible mistakes. Does that mean I can fix them? Someone tell me that means I can fix them…

Anyway, the prompt Melanie gave was: “An old Dictaphone is found in a swamp.  The tape inside this Dictaphone has a few moments of recorded material on it.  Write that recorded material.”


Here is my resulting story:

Subject proves to be more resilient than I had hoped. The swamp provides for a particularly interesting testing ground. The damp vapors, together with the unwholesome and rugged terrain, really does test the mettle of one’s constitution.

Why, just the other day, I was telling Oswald that if we built a house here, we’d have all that we needed to breed particularly robust humans—ones capable of thriving in foul-smelling muck, living off of insects and water-logged… uh… logs. Yes, humans that are able to live off of rotten wood! My, what the we could accomplish with constitutions such as that!

But what do my colleagues tell me when I proposed such a scheme? Chalatan. Madman. Only Oswald understood the importance of my work. The man is clearly ahead of his time. I see now that my time at the university was time wasted. I should have been out here all along, preparing humanity for what is clearly the next evolutionary step.

*Pause in recording*

Subject has grown listless and irritable. My attempts to wean him off of the usual fare of meat and vegetables has been met with mixed success. He is not taking to the diet of water-soaked wood as quickly as I had hoped, and derives most of his energy from the frogs and snakes I catch for him. When his strength returns, I plan to set him loose to hunt for himself. Then we will truly see what man is capable in such surroundings. Oswald seems nervous at the thought, but science simply cannot progress without such risks. He will see my way of things, in time.

So, I wrote 271 words in 15 minutes. I honestly wasn’t sure I was going to do this challenge, because writing under time constraints is stressful, as is publicly posting the unedited mess. But Melanie’s prompt was so fantastic that I couldn’t resist. Even if I didn’t do it justice. My own prompt for those interested in doing this challenge will be at the end of this post.


And now, my victims, tagees:

Sophie Duncan

Natasha Duncan Drake

Tanya Miranda

Jasmine Angell

Michael Ranson

Csenge Virag Zalka

Jeri Burns

Kern Windwraith


That’s eight people and pretty much my comfort limit on the number of people I’m tagging. If I’ve tagged you, it’s either because I think you’ll enjoy doing one (or more) of these, or I’m just nosy and am curious what you would write (or both!). There is absolutely no pressure to participate if you don’t want to.

If you are interested, don’t feel like you need to participate in all of them. I’m just an oddball and bundled up these little challenges into one post. If you only want to do one, then do only one. If you’d like to do them all, then that’s cool too. And, of course, if you don’t want to do any of them, that is also fine. Your choice!


**For those interested in doing the Freestyle Writing Challenge, here is my prompt:

On top of a lonely hill is a lonely house. What’s happening there?


Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Jeri Burns - 7 years ago

How lovely to get to know you a little more through this little challenge. I also love the sound cats make. My favorite is the chirping sound (we call it ‘brrrrrup’ in our home).

And your 271 words of glory are so in your style! So beautifully written and intriguing. Did I say engaging?

And blood pudding. Dearest Sara, I deeply share your revulsion for that. But I went and bravely tasted it once because I like to explore foods wherever I go – sometimes it goes well, like tasting Rommegrot in Norway, aka sour cream pudding – I despise sour cream in normal life so the thought of biting a pudding made of it disgusted me in advance, but then, surprises of surprises, it was heaven on a tongue. But blood pudding? I could write 271 words on it instantaneously to describe the experience, but no one would want to read that… and I say this with all due respect, I know there are people who love it. I think it is an acquired taste perhaps?

    Sara C. Snider - 7 years ago

    Thank you, Jeri! Yes, some people do like the blood pudding. My partner tells me, “It’s actually pretty good.” I’ve read it tastes kind of like sausage (is that true?). But, honestly, it could taste like ambrosia for all it matters–the idea of eating fried blood still just freaks me out. I’d be a terrible Klingon. 😛

Sue Archer - 7 years ago

That’s an amazing 271 words, Sara – I don’t know if I could do it. And hurrah for tea! Coffee is simply vile. End of story. 😉

    Sara C. Snider - 7 years ago

    Thanks, Sue. And yay, tea! 😉

Lori L. MacLaughlin - 7 years ago

Well done with all the challenges and such! I would add mosquitoes to your rant about ticks and what possible use they could serve in the universe. They’re not quite as disgusting-looking as ticks, though.
I skipped reading the freestyle writing part for now, since Melanie tagged me for it, too, and I haven’t had a chance to do it yet. As soon as I write mine, I’ll come back and read yours. 🙂

    Sara C. Snider - 7 years ago

    Thanks, Lori! And, yeah, I did consider mosquitoes, especially since we’re entering mosquito season (which is supposed to be particularly bad this year). But, like you say, they’re not quite as disgusting as ticks. *shudder*

    Good luck with Melanie’s challenge! It’s a fun prompt, I look forward to reading what you come up with. 🙂

Laura Clipson - 7 years ago

I love it when my cat makes those chittering noises – they are so cute! Maybe I should move to Sweden, because I hate warm weather – I’ve been getting really grumpy lately because of the heat here. I’m very much a winter girl. The only good thing about summer is the thunderstorms; we’ve had two in the last week.

    Sara C. Snider - 7 years ago

    Yeah, we had a bit of a heat spell last week. You should have heard my whining. Pretty epic. Thankfully, it’s cooled down again (for now). Nice about the thunderstorms. Forecast predicts we’ll have one tomorrow. I hope it’s true.

Celine Jeanjean - 7 years ago

Wow that is a lot of challenges indeed!

I loved your lists, especially the link to the Monty Python silliness 😉 hehe So pleased you like hedgehogs – they hold a special place in my heart too. I think badgers and hedgehogs would be friends 😉

I’m so with you on the public speaking front, I can’t think of anything worse!!

And I love that recording extract – very creepy. Feels like the start of something longer!

    Sara C. Snider - 7 years ago

    Thanks, Celine! I wasn’t sure anyone would click/notice the Monty Python link. 😉 I also think hedgehogs and badgers would be friends!

    The little excerpt was fun. It does feel like it leads to something bigger. Maybe I’ll expand it one day. 😀

Misha - 7 years ago

I have to say I love meat, but I don’t get the purpose of black pudding either.

You have quite a respectable word-count for 15 minutes. 🙂

    Sara C. Snider - 7 years ago

    Thanks, Misha! 🙂

Tanya Miranda - 7 years ago

I love these things! It fresh and fun and I love finding out real things about my online friends.

I’m sorry to say but farm animals are not on my list of likes. I think I have a hay allergy because I always get a sneeze attack at farms. Whenever I take the kids to the zoo, I take a bag of tissues. Maybe it’s the dander.

My dad was the only kid out of 8 that has brown eyes. All of his siblings have bluish-gray eyes – the really beautiful kind. And my cousins all came out with bluish-gray eyes. My brother and I feel so cheated. :-\

Fat puppies? Love it!

I looked at the prompt. (sorry… :-1) It’s a great prompt, so I’m definitely going to do it. I will follow all the other rules though, I promise. Since it’s going live as is, I am definitely taking it slower than normal so I can concentrate on the grammar.

Thanks for tagging me! I was thinking hard of a creative post for this week. You just gave it to me! Yay!

    Sara C. Snider - 7 years ago

    It’s kind of funny about the farm animals, because the smell of pastures or anything like that used to make me sick. Like, going-to-throw-up (and sometimes did) sick. I got over it (mostly) but I will admit that most of my admiration of pigs and sheep is from afar. Particularly sheep. I love seeing them grazing out in a field, but I have no real urge to get up close. 😉

    Yeah, I definitely had my moments of eye-envy, watching as my older siblings got voted “most beautiful eyes” in school yearbooks and received admiration from people in general. I like my eyes, though. They help me stand out in that particular crowd, especially since everyone insists we all look the same. 😉

    Ooh, cheater! Hehe, kidding. I’m glad you like the prompt and I look forward to your post! 😀

Katie Cross - 7 years ago

Oh my goodness! So many awards, how awesome. I adored your love/hate list and can agree with almost all of them. One time when we took our dog out to romp around the forest in Alabama (the weather in the South is one of my hate list things) we came back and found 25 ticks on him. 25! That is just plain ridiculous, right?

Did you mean to have fat puppies on your hate list?!

    Sara C. Snider - 7 years ago

    What? 25 ticks?! That’s just… I can’t even…

    NO! Fat puppies are on a bonus love list that’s at the end of the hate list. I cheated and have only 8 hates, and 12 loves, because that’s how I roll. 😉 (So much love for fat puppies!)

Jennifer Tyron - 7 years ago

You are hilarious. I share nearly all those hates, and the telephone one would top my list as well! I hate talking on the phone, gah, and #7 is hell! Make that a conference call ON SPEAKER PHONE in front of a crowd. Or, how about you are the one on the speaker phone? I hate that too. “Am I am on speaker? Get me off that speaker!”

Teehee, knew “general silliness” was Monty Python without checking. Fat canines are so fun. I love a fat little dog, but I know it’s wrong because they aren’t healthy.  But so cute!

I loved that freestyle story. It reminds me of a DLC for Fallout 3. Oh, is that bad? Anyway, there is a DLC called Point Lookout set on a swampy island off the DC coast 200 years post nuclear war. That story would totally fit as a side quest. Can you please create that and sell it to Bethesda so I can play it? Please?

Thanks for the fun!

    Sara C. Snider - 7 years ago

    Haha! Being on speaker phone definitely goes on the list. Why is that that they never seem to tell you? But you know because of the creepy echo-y sound…

    Cool about the story/DLC! I haven’t played any of the Fallout games. Anders keeps telling me I should, but I haven’t yet. I will say it reminded me of the Bioshock games, and all their little recorders for backstory, hehe. I would love to sell a story/quest to Bethesda! How cool would that be?

    Thanks for reading! 😀

Jennifer Tyron - 7 years ago

p.s. I remember you barfing at farms.

    Sara C. Snider - 7 years ago

    Haha! You know, it gives me a measure of joy that you’ve retained that little particular detail of my life. 😉

Samantha Mozart - 7 years ago

I enjoyed your swamp story, Sara. A highly imaginative 15 minutes, I must say. And, I can tell you wrote fast without stopping — your writing just flows — like mine does in my handwritten journal — that I’m confident nobody will see — until I die and someone has to sort through the stuff.

Anyway, I am behind on blogging because my computer has been down, so I’m using this little notebook computer meanwhile. Susan Scott has nominated me for the 3-Day-Quote challenge. So, I will make my first post today or tomorrow — AND, I have nominated you to take up that challenge. If you don’t want to, that’s fine. We all get blogged down with these things. But, I wanted to give you a shout out.


    Sara C. Snider - 7 years ago

    Thanks, Samantha. It was a fairly quick writing session for me (which doesn’t always happen). I imagine your hand-written journal is full of fascinating, imaginative things. Would be a highly entertaining read, I’m sure. 🙂

    Thanks for the shout out! It’s always great to be thought of in these kinds of things. I will check it out, thank you! 🙂

Melanie Atherton Allen - 7 years ago

Yay! I love your reply to my prompt! So mysterious and fun!

    Sara C. Snider - 7 years ago

    Thanks, Melanie! It was a fun prompt! 😀

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