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LiebsterIda Chiavaro over at Reflex Reactions nominated me for a Liebster award. At first, I thought, “That’s so nice!” But now I see what’s involved. Whew! But it’s like having guests over: you dread that you have to clean up the house before they come but you realize that … you cleaned up the house. I’m midway through as I write this intro and it’s already been a blast. I challenge anyone reading this to go nominate 11 others, answer the questions, make up new questions, do the whole thing. It’s a fantastic exercise to get you thinking–and doing, sharing and promoting those you’d like to help promote. Here’s the basics I’m copying from Ida’s Liebster post:

If you are nominated to receive the award you nominate 11 other bloggers (with fewer than 200 followers) and ask them 11 questions, as well as post 11 random facts about yourself and finally, answer the 11 questions asked by the person that nominated you.

I better get rolling as this is going to take a little thought.

Answer 15 questions from the person who nominated you.

1) What is the nicest thing anyone ever said to you?

“Please don’t stop writing.” Linda Watanabe McFerrin said it to me many years ago … when I pretty much stopped writing. I’m looking forward to letting her know I’m writing again.

2) Something your parents taught you?

The easy answer would be, “Everything.” But the most powerful advice I got from my mother who told me that I could do anything I wanted–if I really wanted it and was willing to work for it.

3) Have you ever dreamed of celebrities or famous people?

I’m not sure I’ve dreamt of them while sleeping, but I’ve certainly daydreamed of celebrities. I’m not-so-secretly a huge fan of Morgan Freeman. Especially in the Shawshank Redemption. Anything he says sounds like a proverb.

4) Do you have any quirks, rituals or superstitions?

Oh man, now you’re getting into secrets. I have tons. I used to be worse, but I’m getting better. When I was younger (teens), I used to not want to look at a digital clock when it was 12:10. I can’t remember where it came from, but I convinced myself that it would be a terrible thing. I would even turn my head for a full two minutes if it was 12:09 just to make sure I wouldn’t see 12:10. To this day, I don’t look …

Wow, I’m on question #4 and I think I’m going to get turned into the authorities already … 😉

5) What’s the most amazing thing you have seen in the sky?

Sunrise in Namibia. Woke up in the middle of the night, hiked sand dunes in the dark, waited at the top of a huge dune to see the sun come over the sand.

6) What’s the craziest thing you have done with your hair?

Ooh, easy one. Bleached it to a Andy-Warhol-white in high school. Denied that I had done anything to it.

7) Have you ever seen a baby being born?

Yes, both of my sons. Highly recommended woman-respecting experience.

8) Have you ever been with someone when they died?

Yes. The writers group I was in several years ago bound together and took care of a fellow writer who was dying of cancer. We had a whole schedule of who did what when. We spent the night at the woman’s house, even changed the IV drip. It sure put our lives’ little problems into perspective when you’re so close to someone else’s reality.

9) Have you ever had a strange experience that you just can’t explain?

I have, I just can’t explain it. 😉

10) Are you an excellent speller, bad speller, or thought you were good but use spell check a lot?

Could also put this under “Something your parents taught you.” as I’m a very good speller. In fact, I think it’s a disrespect for the language if you take it so lightly. People who misspell (and I mean at a first grader level) should either just use spell check or get a proofer or improve their spelling.

11) Do you have/have had any pet(‘s), pick a favourite.

Just got a dog! Pepper. He’s a starlet.

13) What was the last thing you said out loud?

“Slaap lekker, lieve jongetjes.” [Sleep well, sweet boys.]

14) Where are you sitting while writing this?

In my favorite red chair. I’m on my Mac, which is my “writing laptop.” I didn’t think it would really work, but I have a different laptop for writing than for my regular work. I have a desktop with a huge screen at my desk. But this laptop I’m on now is supposed to be only for writing or basically, anything other than work. Surprisingly, it’s working. I feel that I write better when writing here. Also, the red chair is my favorite chair and I have my cup of tea close at hand. Always.

15) What does your name/names mean?

My last name, Charbonneau, is French and comes from coal workers/miners. It means coal (charbon) and water (eau).

15 Things You Didn’t Know About Me

Jealous. And not.

Jealous. And not. [Alcatraz]

Ooh, this can get dangerous … I feel an ambiguity about whether to go negative or positive here .

  1. I can’t seem to type the word “experiment” correctly on the first try. Ever. I just typed it wrong there. See note above about the spell checker …
  2. I believe shoes tell a disproportionate story about someone’s character–whether they like it or not.
  3. I love lentils and eat them like candy.
  4. I didn’t make the cut for the high school basketball team (when I switched to a Catholic, all-boys, private school) and it put me in my place about my level of achievement in sports. No, really, I’m over it.
  5. I speak English, Dutch, German, French and basic Spanish.
  6. I get the chills when my kids speak using complicated grammar–and succeed. (I know, I’m a language geek.)
  7. I bicycled from the state of Washington to San Francisco in 10 days with a friend.
  8. I went to a small town in the north of Poland called Hel only so that I could say that I went to Hel and back.
  9. I was a mathematics major in university until I “accidentally” had more French credits than math credits and figured, “How is math going to get me to Europe anyway?” Moved to Europe the day after college. Haven’t missed the math degree. Still good at math.
  10. I think going to a (low-security!) prison wouldn’t be so bad because then I could just read all day (and not feel guilty about it). Although I guess I’d be feeling guilty about whatever it was that got me in there … hmm.
  11. I’m musically, uh, challenged, but every time I hear someone play guitar at a party I not-so-secretly plan to take lessons. And never do. I’m waiting for the genie and a bottle.
  12. One of my favorite things to do is cement events into memory by writing about them.
  13. I have always hated mushrooms and plan to keep that up.
  14. I missed my grandfather’s wedding. I can’t remember if I had a real reason, but it wasn’t a good enough one–no matter what. I was maybe 19 and at 19, I think someone has to still make hard decisions for you sometimes. In other words, I wish someone forced me to go.
  15. I don’t forget what I regret–for better or worse. So I’m trying to keep that list short–and make it shorter.

Wow, having done that I realize that some of the “negative” things are regrets. I guess I don’t forget them easily. Hmm, something to remember–and work on.

11 Questions for the People I Have Nominated

Is this wide open? Any questions? This could get serious …

  1. What’s the most annoying thing on your To Do List? Why haven’t you done it? 
  2. Who’s your best friend? (Submitted by my 7-year old who asks me this weekly–bonus: Who’s your best friend who’s not family?)
  3. Where do you find inspiration for creativity? (A place, a person, an activity, etc.)
  4. What single project or task would you consider the most significant accomplishment in your career so far? (From The Most Important Interview Question of All Time)
  5. What was the last thing you said out loud? (Thanks, Ida, I love this one.)
  6. Who has been the biggest influence on your life? What lessons did that person teach you? (From Great Questions at Story Corps)
  7. Your car just went off the cliff (sorry). You’re mid-air but you were visiting the Grand Canyon so you have a few extra seconds before it’s all over. Who did you wish you last kissed? What might you have said to them had you known about your unfortunate Cliff Diving While Driving experience? (tip: go say that to them today)
  8. What did you invent that you thought would be a great invention until you found out it was already done?
  9. What’s your favorite sound? (For example, mine might be the sound of bicycle wheels on the pavement when there is no other sound.)
  10. How would you like to be remembered?
  11. What question above was your favorite?

11 People I Nominate

Wow, this is hard. I’m not going to abide by the “under 200 followers” as I think the number should be more like 1,000. 200 could be your friends and friends of friends. Beyond 200 (or 500 really) is when you’ve gone beyond your friends and friends of friends and second cousins. But OK, OK, I’ll try to abide by the rules for the most part.

  1. DeeCoded. She has a great write up on Peer Pressure that has some examples that hit home. ” … can you believe people actually go around saying these sorts of things without you asking them?”
  2. Lori over at The Next Step. Really enjoyed her post on Respect.
  3. Cindy Dwyer at A Reason to Write. I know she has lots of followers, but it’s not often I laugh out loud at a post, but she had me with, ” … the washing machine does not require a secret code to activate.” (Why she does all of the laundry.)
  4. M.P. MacDougall. He’s on a mission and I want to help him get there … maybe because we’re on a similar mission (writing, health, etc.).
  5. Another Clean Slate. I really enjoyed her use of dialogue in her piece called, “Impressions Last.” It’s a good job of writing about an awkward situation. But “she did good.”
  6. Joseph Richardson. He had a new fan with his Snow Globes photo post.
  7. Andy W. Taylor over at A Guy Name Soo. I liked how honest he gets in R is for Relationships. “Not to sound melancholy, but as I get older my only regret is that its hard to make new friends.”
  8. Emilie Hardie at Writing for Life. Her titles are engaging, such as, 3 Things To Know About Resolution. She has some helpful tips, too, such as, “The main conflict is the whole frigging point of the story, so you better resolve the conflict in some way or the other.”
  9. Jodie blogs over at So this is 40. Really. She writes that we have a choice (and I can’t agree more). “Most people look at me strangely when I tell them we have a choice. We sometimes choose to soothe the obstacles through avoidance and denial. Such choices lead us away from our desired lifestyle.”
  10. Murees Dupé of Daily Drama of An Aspiring Writer writes about R= Regret. It’s a difficult one to write about. “I will probably never be able to do anything about most of them, which is why I believe that regrets should simply be left in the past.”
  11. Misha Gericke at Taking Charge of My Life writes Returning to Dreams and says, “Even if you’re not exactly sure about what you want from your future, there’s a definite, sure-fire way to at least get going.” I like that she’s helping people move forward, at least get started.


  1. dee

    Thank you so much for the award! I am so flattered. And what a coincidence, I nominated you for another award last night but haven’t gotten round to telling the nominees about.

    I’ve nominated your blog for Very Inspiring Blogger award. If you are at all interested in accepting it, you can see the details here

    • Bradley

      Hi Dee,

      Coincidence indeed! Thank you so much, I’m also flattered. 🙂 It’s late here so I’ll go check it out in the morning!

  2. Ida Chiavaro Reflex Reactions

    First of all you only had to do 11 of everything… so don’t blame me for the extra hard work… but your house does look amazing 🙂 I think 12.10 is a great quirk to have – my reaction was it could have been something to do with a resistance/fear of ‘one to one’ conversations….. hahaha for number 9 – I knew I worded that question badly – I love your shoe comment – I used to be one of the obsessed, not other peoples, just my own – I had hundreds of pairs. I would love to design a shoe that is perfectly fitted to my foot and has different attachments for different outfits, or at least write a book about shoes – This great Bradley.. I can’t wait to check out your list of nominees

    • Ida Chiavaro Reflex Reactions

      One more thing Bradley I forgot to mention was copying the Leibster graphic – some people like to put it on their pages

    • Bradley Charbonneau

      I’ve also thought about writing a book about shoes. Or at least a photo montage of people’s shoes and something about the character of the person wearing them.

      I wouldn’t blame you for anything … but good things. 😉

  3. Misha Gericke (@MishaMFB)

    Thanks so much for the nomination! I’ll answer the questions early next month. 🙂

    And yes, sunrise in Namibia is a wondrous sight to behold.

    • Bradley

      Have you also been to Namibia!? I’ll look forward to your answers in May. Thanks, Misha!

  4. The Next Step

    Thank you Bradley – it is always flattering when another blogger feels I’m worthy enough to post a link in their blog. I really appreciate it! I wrote my Liebster post back in February, and probably won’t go through it all again. But I hereby award you “The 18-Hour Award” for being so supportive over this A to Z Challenge! 🙂

    • Bradley

      Love your all-award-encompasing answer to the bloggie awards at your 18-Hour Award! Very well said and diplomatically answered.

  5. ATaylor

    Thanks for the shout out and nomination.

    • Bradley

      My pleasure, Andy!

  6. Susan Taylor

    Well, Ida is bringing a lot of us together, eh?! I loved reading your answers to all the questions, Bradley. I found you through being nominated by Ida as well. Have subscribed to your blog and look forward to a long and mutually satisfying e-lationship!

    Just in case: SiouxsiesMusings

    • Bradley

      Hi Susan,

      Liked your Persevere post–it’s so important, but hard. But the hard things are often important, aren’t they? Thanks for subscribing!

  7. cindydwyer

    Hi Bradley! I’m so flattered by the award and by your comments about my blog. I’d love to answer them in May – it will give me a chance to think of some good answers!

    • Bradley

      May would be great. April has been so busy!

  8. Murees Dupé

    I should never let you see my shoes, because of what information you might attain from them.

    Thank you so much for nominating me. I feel very grateful. I have already received this award and already nominated 11 people, sorry. Though I do appreciate the nomination. Also, thank you so much for visiting my blog. It was very nice meeting you.

    • Bradley

      Thanks for stopping by, Murees. Maybe I should start a shoe blog … 😉

  9. sherileec

    I was nominated by Ida as well, and had to come over and see how you answered her questions, and what questions you posed, as well. I enjoy learning about bloggers through the Q&A, and will work on my Liebster here as soon as I have a moment post-A-Z!

    • Bradley

      I didn’t realize how much time it took, but I just did it that same day and BANG, got it done! Kind of like pulling a big splinter out of your finger, just rip it out before you have time to think how much it might hurt. 🙂

  10. MP

    Thanks for the nomination! My writing has fallen off recently, and it’s a surprise to have anybody consider me award-worthy – since my own opinion of my production is at a pretty low ebb!
    I’ve been struggling to write (again) and balance the rest of life as well – the only thing I’ve stuck to in the past month has been my fitness tracking – and now my weight loss has plateaued for a week with no progress at all; and four pounds short of my original goal!
    Looks like it may be time to shake things up again, and this challenge may be the perfect venue for that. Let me settle things on my schedule this week, and I’ll let you know if I can do this.
    Thanks again, my friend – as always, you’re pushing me to keep going!

    • Bradley

      I’m also pushing you because I know first hand how much it helps. This past 30 days has been a breeze because I did this A to Z challenge. In fact, I’m a little bummed it’s over as now I’ll have to think up my own post headlines! Hidden message: let’s take challenges and whatever else works to keep us motivated and producing! If we’re pushing out the product, we’ll have a bunch of mediocre work, but that’s OK, we’ll also have some good stuff. If I do say so myself, I liked what happened when I was forced to post something for “X” and I got X is for Xanadu.

      I’ll look forward to your response! Take care, MP.

  11. Dee

    Hi Bradley, I finally got around to accepting the award and answering your questions. Check out Liebster.

    • Bradley

      Love it, Dee! Great job and congratulations on making it happen! It’s actually quite a bit of work … !



  1. Whatever’s clever | Another Clean Slate - [...] also passionate about all my Liebsters. Thanks to Bradley at Pass the Sour Cream for my latest.  Make sure…
  2. Whatever's clever - Another Clean Slate - […] also passionate about all my Liebsters. Thanks to Bradley at Pass the Sour Cream for my latest.  Make sure…

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