Third Liebster Award


Thanks to Liz Slay for nominating me for my third Liebster award. I always find these questions and the opportunity to share random facts really fun.


  • Acknowledge the blog that gave it to you and display the award
  • Answer 11 questions that the blogger gives you
  • Give 11 random facts about yourself
  • Nominate 11 blogs and notify them of their nomination
  • Give these blogs 11 questions to answer (I always break this one – but you’re always welcome to participate if you like. I’m interested in your answers!)

My answers to Liz’s questions:

1) Who’s your favorite blogger? Give them some love and link their blog or latest post.

I am not one to play favourites so I won’t reveal my answer to this here. However, I can tell you my favourite writing to read. I love the type of blog that does entries that are also my favourite to write: I want to hear about personal experiences – and the writer’s feelings about them. Travel blogs are preferred, but I don’t just want a list of places you went. What did you think of them? How did they make you feel? What was on your mind? Do you know some facts about the place you’re visiting? What did you think of the facts/history of the place you’re visiting. Photos are great to have as well but I want to know what they mean to you. Why are you sharing them? Why do you want to share them?

2) Now, let’s move on to YouTube… Which of your subscribed channels is your favorite channel to watch? Again, give us a link so we can check them out.

You know? I don’t really follow any subscriptions or channels. The last one I think I really religiously followed was this one, and they haven’t done anything in six years. I love what they do and how they engage the public in surprising and wonderful ways.

3) What’s your favourite season?

I want to be someone who loves winter – or even likes it. But my favourite season is absolutely summer. The weather suits me best. Even when it’s hot out I’m happy and I can feel it in my bones. The early part of the summer is the best for me because there’s not only the enjoyment of the season itself but the joy that the season is coming.

Summer means walking out the door in the morning without a coat. It means the trees are green and the air smells like leaves. A storm might come in the afternoon and it might even be a heavy thunderstorm but it doesn’t even matter. You can still enjoy it because even if you get soaked to the skin it will be warm.

Even when I was this little it was my favourite.


One of my earliest memories is being outside in that yard, digging with a spoon – right where or dog Charlie’s dish is in the photo. Above it is a tap for water and I could use that to add water to make mud. Or on one day – possibly even the one in the photo, I am determined to make a swimming pool for myself. Even then I had big dreams!

Music was playing on the radio, likely something like this which I remember being very fond of at that age:

Mostly my mom was inside doing housework but she’d peek out at me to make sure I was OK every now and again. The 70’s were a much more permissive time for American children – even 3-4 year old ones.

On one particular day I recall playing there, digging happily with a spoon when a big girl came from the house next door. Looking back I suspect she was no more than 4-5 but she was so grown up in my mind. She came right up to me, grabbed the spoon from my hand and ran back to her house. I ran part way there before giving up and walking inside and asking my mom for another spoon. Back out I went. Two more times this happened. On the third time, though, I had had enough. I needed to do something about this. I ran all the way to their house and knocked on the door after it had been closed in my face by the young girl. Her mom answered just as my own mother came running behind me. She carried me home as I cried at the injustice of having all of the spoons taken away without their being returned or even acknowledged. My mom comforted me, filled the bathtub with water and after I washed off all of the mud from my pool-building project, she read me to sleep.

Looking back now, I think that that really defined my conflict management strategy for the rest of my life. Make a few efforts before just deciding it’s easier to, figuratively speaking, have a bath and a nap and let the spoons go.

4) If you had the option to change your name, would you take it?

Don’t we all have the option to change our names? I know when we lived at the yurt many of our friends took on new names, asking to be called by something that was very different from their birth names. Sometimes they’d change it more than once. I thought about doing that myself but no name ever really felt right.

That said, the last name Sage and I go by online, Tyrtle, is a pseudonym. In reality it is a name given to Sage as a nickname before we met and it stuck. Online, and even with our personal friends, that is what we’re known by even as my business colleagues, the IRS, and Revenue Canada all know us by different names. Still, my birth name feels more like the pseudonym than the pseudonym.

When Sage and I filled out the paperwork to be married back in 1992, the forms had a column for both husband and wife’s name before and after marriage. In retrospect, that would’ve been the perfect time to make it official. On the other hand, it’s nice to have a bit of separation between professional and personal lives online.

5) Let’s end this debate once and for all… Clowns: fun entertainment or nightmare inducing?

Why not both? I’m actually very intrigued by clown performance – I have a few friends who have been to clown classes and the work goes well beyond just wearing a funny red nose and floppy shoes. There’s lots of amazing character and audience work to be done. I’ve enjoyed most of the clown performances I’ve seen even as sometimes they have made me uncomfortable – and that was intentional.

6) Who’s your favorite cartoon character?

I’m really attached to Milo from Bloom County which really dates myself as a real 70’s-80’s kid. I liked him when he came out to the point where my first online pseudonym on the early chat system Relay was “Milo”.  One night in August of 1991, someone named Milo met another person named Phantom and started a conversation. Twenty-seven years later they’re still together.


7) Do you eat cereal with milk or without?

I generally don’t eat it at all. And lately I can’t drink milk anyway – lactose and I don’t really get along much. Not only that, I don’t find it filling. I eat it and an hour later I’m hungrier than when I woke up.

When I was a kid I would eat Raisin Bran every single morning. Not only would I have milk on it back then, I would pour my milk on and let it sit for several minutes until it was completely soggy to the consistency of porridge. Then I’d eat it.

8) Cinnamon rolls and chili… Does it sound like a good combination or a weird pregnancy craving?

I could see trying it. They have complimentary flavours. However, the chili would need to be more spicy and possibly more acidic to counter the sweetness of the cinnamon rolls.

9) What’s your favorite color to wear?

I’m a huge fan of blue but I prefer patterns to solids. After years of thinking “Wow, bold patterns are really cool, I wish I could wear them!” I have started to wear them more and more. Why not?

10) What’s your favorite song right now?

I am sometimes very late to the game when it comes to some music. For example, I missed out on hip hop in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Now, though, I’ve been really enjoying it. A Tribe Called Quest has been getting a lot of play this week. These two songs together in particular.

11) What show are you currently watching and loving?

The Great British Bake-off just finished. Had you asked me this a few weeks ago I would’ve answered that. Now I’m in between shows and looking for a new one. I tried the Canadian version this morning and I didn’t like it nearly as much.  In the mornings we often watch House Hunters International – a bit of a guilty pleasure. We often find the people on it annoying but the idea of uprooting one’s self and moving to another country is really exciting!

Random Facts:

1) I haven’t owned a car since 2004. Between 1986 and 2004, though, I owned fourteen different ones.

2) Growing up we always lived with dogs. However, after we got married, Sage wanted to get a cat. One cat led to two led to four led to five, then six then eight. We now are back down to two and are likely to stay there.

3) I’ve ridden a bicycle through a shopping mall.

4) I have only been on television once – back in 1983. I was interviewed by a local TV station about working with a school group for nuclear disarmament. I was glad I got to be on TV but I don’t feel like I communicated very well. But then I was 12, I can give myself a break.

5) One time when my dad was very drunk he claimed he was part of a covert operation in Cambodia during the Vietnam war. He showed my mom and I a scar he claimed was where he’d been shot. He never spoke of it before or since.

6) In the 80’s I was so excited about getting mail from a pen pal that I had been known to walk 3 miles each way down an icy road to go to the post office to see if I had a letter.

7) I have worn glasses from an earlier age than anyone else I have met. When I was 18 months old they were concerned because I would walk in to walls sometimes. They had me checked out and I was given glasses. Good thing, too, as I started reading within the next year.

8) One of my vision problems is what is called “lazy eye”. This means that one eye (in my case my right) is mostly ignored by my brain. The result is that I am legally blind in that eye. My left eye is not great either but with glasses it can see normally.  From about age 3-5 I wore an eye patch over my good eye to try to force my right eye to work harder and eventually improve. I remember one time when I was about four, my parents and I were at the grocery store. While they were checking out I wandered over to the ‘gumball machines’ where they had candy and cheap little toys. I stood there and looked at them, curious about what was there. Soon an elderly woman came over, saw me and my eye patch and said “Oh you poor boy!” and gave me a quarter for the machine. I put it in and got a toy. When my parents came over they were mortified that someone had pitied me enough to give me money.

9) I don’t like driving in traffic or ice (or especially both) but I quite enjoy driving alone on snowy roads. It is really beautiful to see the world in a snowstorm and navigating through the snow without getting stuck or sliding off the road is a fun challenge when you don’t have to worry about others on the road.

10) I never tried a bagel until 1985. Up until that point they just never made it to the part of New England where I grew up. At the time there was only one place with “exotic” food: “China Lite Restaurant” which had really Americanized Chinese food – sweet and sour chicken, chow mein, chop suey, won ton soup. Even then, though, I was excited to try new (to me) things and tried to get my parents to go any time they would. Now that part of the country has lots of options from around the world from Nepali food in the gas stations to Cambodian sandwich shops in the buildings that classic 1950’s diners used to be when I was a kid.

11) When I was about 13 I was a big fan of using my chemistry set and I thought I would become a chemist when I grew up. At one point I learned how to make gunpowder. The recipe including ingredients and proportions was in an encyclopedia set I had from the 1950’s. Back then, all of the ingredients could be found at the drug store as well. We made a bunch of it to play with, mostly causing just simple sparks. Eventually, thanks to a tip we found in a book about stagecraft that our Drama teacher had, I learned a new trick: Making flash pots. These are the things that you often see in 80’s hair band videos that make showers of sparks shoot in to the air. Essentially you take the top off of an old electrical fuse, and fill up the space with gunpowder. Put it in to a light fixture and then when you switch the light on, the electricity lights the gunpowder and you get a cool flash of smoke and fire. After making a couple of those, my friend and I ran out of fuses, I realized I could use burned out light bulbs to do the same thing. We would break the bulb, twist the wires together and fill it with gunpowder. This worked even better as you could fit more gunpowder in. We did this several times, filling my bedroom up with smoke while my parents were completely unaware in the other part of the house. The last one we did was spectacular. There was a huge flash and then I noticed something glowing on the floor. A piece of the light bulb’s glass had broken off, melted, and then landed on the floor.  For the rest of the time I lived with my parents there would be a small, smooth bump on the hardwood floor – the glass we melted. I don’t think they ever knew that anything had happened or what mischief we’d gotten up to.

Feel inspired about any (or all?) of these questions? Feel free to answer them below or on your own site and link back here (or comment) so I know you answered them.

17 thoughts on “Third Liebster Award

    1. Thanks! I can’t believe how much that stuck with me. That little girl sure made an impression on me, I think. I wonder if she still remembers it. I like to imagine that from her perspective I was this terrible little boy who didn’t know how to properly use spoons – they’re for eating not digging!

  1. Many congratulations and very interesting responses. Enjoyed the random facts thoroughly. That video of cycling in the mall is super awesome! BTW, I am a fan of blue colour too and I love summers too 🙂

    1. Thanks! That was my first group ride like that ever and it was also the day that guy with the tall bike was riding as well. It seemed like the most crazy and interesting time ever.

  2. Todd, I always love reading your answers & random facts for these awards. You have such a great memory & are always to share them with us in such an engaging & interesting way.

    I love the old photo of you & your mom & the spoon story to go along with it. I’m the same way nowadays… I just let things go & have a bath lol. I also agree about the clowns, they are really entertaining even if a bit disturbing!

    I wonder if your dad was telling the truth about being in an operation in Cambodia. My dad once told me he swam all the way to America and… that was a lie. I can’t believe I actually believed him for so long lol dad’s & their tales… who knows what is true or not?!

    1. Thanks so much!

      I tend to believe my dad. He was never one to make things up when he drank and if anything he was more likely to say what was on his mind. I haven’t talked to him in a few decades and am unlikely to ever know. I’m OK with that, though – I like the fact that there will always be an uncertainty. Did he or didn’t he? Your dad’s story is pretty funny, though!

      1. OH, interesting! I wonder what kind of operation he was apart of… my parents used to tell me the tallest tales so I don’t believe anything anymore lol.

      2. He claims it was demolition – blowing up radar bases (he worked in radar and was stationed in Korea at the time). That would line up with history as there was covert bombing happening there at the time. So I can see them wanting to knock out radar stations to prevent detection.

        As I get older, particularly as an American, it is interesting to realize how much our histories are connected throughout the world. Given the history of the US it’s often through conflict. It’s always interesting to talk with people about this. I remember a few years back meeting a woman my age who was living in the USSR in the 1980’s and we talked about what it was like for us in our respective countries and what we thought people might be like there. And then, 20 years later there we were sharing a meal. This is why I could never go back to living in a quiet tiny town. You miss out on so many interesting opportunities to connect with people.

      3. So crazy. My dad says that you still have to be careful walking through the forests between Vietnam and Cambodia because you could step on a bomb and blow up.

        So interesting meeting new people and finding out we’re connected in some ways!

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