Sunday, April 10, 2011



LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, welcome to the Grefri Awards ceremony!

I'll be your host tonight as we give out these coveted awards, and are entertained by the best in their fields.
Huun Huur Tu, Billy Joe Shaver will be joined by Willy Nelson and Emmylou Harris to keep you on the edge of your seats!

My blogging efforts have generally been about our travels, in an effort to chronicle the experiences of a lifetime of travelling. To broaden my talents and improve my skills I have joined a few diverse blogging groups, so I guess people begin to read and appreciate my site and my articles- I know I am reading and loving sites ranging through specialist photography, conservation, life experience, brilliant literary sites, along with my main interest of great and inspiring travel sites. The online blogging field is an amazing library, a university open for all to further their learning.

Occasionally someone recognises your own merit, your own talents, your own offerings to the world. So when Jim Brandano, of a top photographer bestowed this award to this site, in recognition of my puny pictures and little stories I was quite chuffed. 
It is an honour to get this from Jim, as he publishes some beautiful photos. I'm amazed how crisp and clear he gets them, the sharp contrasts, and the vitality of life captured in his wildlife images. OK, he may have top of the line equipment, but it still takes a good eye, and good skill to know what is a great pic-when to take it, how to take it, how the light is, etc.
And how to process the picture. My skills in that field are severely handicapped. Something I need to learn....

Now Ladies and Gentlemen before we carry on we have entertainment for you.
Just as a photographer attempts to capture or portray the joy of nature, Huun Huur Tu also use their skills to illustrate through their performances the closeness of how some cultures are with nature.

That's a hauntingly evocative performance of how people have lived a harsh life on the open steppes as close to nature as it may be possible.

Awards given, also carry with them responsibilities- I have to tell you all tonight 7 things about me. Oh dear, where do we start....

1. I've seen my 60th birthday. Incredible, it just sort of came along so quickly while I was having fun  one day.

2. We married way back in the 70's, then took off to see the UK and Europe. That travel interest has stayed with us, and truth be told, probably helped us stay together. Often when times got tough, the travel goals we had set together, brought us back and lifted our heads from the troubles we currently faced and forced us to look at the brighter horizon.

3. If you didn't know, I'm a custom shoemaker, self employed for the past 28 years. We had a small factory at one time with 10 staff, but as cheap imports flooded in, when staff left we did not replace them. Now it's just me and the dog knocking out those shoes, with part time help from Chrissie my machinist. And Kay cracks the whip and does the accounts. I have to actually work when she's around.

4. I come from a family of 6 sisters and 4 brothers...competing for the food was a great diet plan.

5. We're comfy but not rich. The skill of living from one wage allows us to save all Kay's and that is our travel fund.

6. Growing vegetables helps us save. This season's crop of 41 pumpkin and squash has to be eaten before we leave for holidays. I have recipes for pumpkin everything and if I haven't, I invent one.

7. Kay goes to church.

8. I'm going to retire when Lilly, my dog dies. I have told her that. She's a bit fawning and very obedient around me these days.

Ooops that's 8 things.

9. I can't count, and love breaking the rules.

Emmylou and Willie are here to sing a fantastic Rodney Crowell song duet for all you lovers out there tonight! Let's hear it for them! Yahoooo!

Not too bad for old rockers hey! I've followed Emmylou from way back in her Gram Parsons days, and got stuck on her with "Boulder to Birmingham." Hardly a day goes by when my workshop isn't filled with her beauty from 1 of my 35 CD's of hers.

OK now, I also have to pass this award on to 7 other deserving bloggers. There's so many though that the job of deciding where to place these is difficult, but luckily this canny wee blogger has an ace up his sleeve, a sly plan- as I have two awards to give out. Yes two! Not just the Versatile Blogger Award, but also the Stylish Blogger Award that my good online friend Mary Hudak-Collins of bestowed on me! I have been doubly honoured recently so tonight is the big night when we announce not just 7 recipients, but 14 all up! That saves me a heap of problems because the tough part of giving out awards, is those equally good bloggers out there that you have to miss out on.

It also means I don't have to tell you 14 things about myself....Ha.

When deciding how to make these awards, it was so difficult so I spent a long time trying to decide how to make such a call. Finally I thought about how I actually feel when going to their sites- the impression of anticipation, of positivity, or joy I feel when clicking in and seeing their site come up on screen.
So in the Versatile Blogger category I have tonight selected the following-

1. I enjoy this her site. We started blogging around the same time, found each other and still read and comment regularly on each other's site. Her site is crisp, clear and delightfully insightful on the Australia so many of us would miss. She takes us to quirky interesting places, with even a few dunnies along the track. If you don't know what a dunny is, pop over and find out.

2. Jorie- irrepressible, exhilarating, articulate, impish, romantic, roamantic,- the sort of traveller you'd love to be sharing a tour with. I get a kick out of seeing her site- orchids, more orchids, birds, tigers- whatever. Oh, she's some photographer also!

3. Mary exudes care, love, concern. You can see that in the stories she writes about family and life, and it's a blog bringing knowledge and awareness to many with allergies.

4. Jessica's blog envelops you with warmth, bringing a message of comfort and inspiration.

5. Debra and I clicked on an ethereal wavelength. Perhaps we both understand and accept there is more to this life, this level of awareness than we are able to measure or quantify.

6. And what would this blogging world be without the peace and grace- oh and a very fancy parasol- of the one and only Dawn Sievers.

7. Now you have to admit Roy can entertain you. I get a kick out of getting across to Roy's site where he's taking a wild ride on an unbroken mustang, a kickin' and buckin' his way around poetry and gunslinging cowhand yarns...with a few elephants I threw in. Go share a whisky at the bar with him...afore he drills you.

Alright everyone! Intermission and powder room break before the Stylish Blogger Awards are announced.  Let's hear it for Billy Joe Shaver meantime! See you back here for the next round of awards.
Thanks for that Billy Joe. Give him a big hand, one of the greatest in Country music singing just for you tonight.

On to the next round- the Stylish Blogger Awards.

 1. First up is my good friend Jim Brandano. You'll love the variety of pics on his site, the range of subjects- wildlife, architecture and wedding shots. Crisp, clear shining photoghaphy at its best.

2. Debbie has a wonderful site, interesting and going places. I'm liking the nature of her posts for the A- Z Challenge. Strikes me as she thinks she's a wee bit scattered or should I better phrase that by saying all embracing, but in fact she's got it all together and just having fun blogging without it being too serious. And that's the way it should be, after all.

3. Jessica's got one of the most stylish blogs around, not just in its design and look, but in how she's taking on some difficult issues in life. She needs support from us all to spread her message to make our families lives all the safer and richer.

4. Kriti just shines, sings, buzzes with life. Heartfelt, and with great warmth about life and her father's diary entries.

5. Deirdra with her enthralling fantasy site, dragons, heroes, princesses...stories published, all there to be explored.

6. Pedro Carlos is blogging on a wide range of topics- music, books, history, life issues. Very creatively presented.

7. Hard working, sensitive, thoughtful, and jazzing that Blogplicity group along.

Hope you all enjoyed yourselves tonight. The entertainment has been awesome, the crowd has been massive, the food and wine excellent, and I've just hit my head on the shelf and got a whacking headache!

Goodnight, God bless, and enjoy your awards, and pass them on!


alejandro guzman said...

Great choices you made and congrats to you mate.


Roy Durham said...

Jim thank you i,am honored i have a friend here that it you give him a big hand he will sing for you. give a big welcome to hank snow
thank you and God bless great awards post.

Jorie Pacli said...

OMG! Are you kidding me? Wow! I'm really surprised! I'm lost for exact words to say but really I thank you wholeheartedly....:) Congratulations to you too for the two awards... You deserved them..;)I heart you Jim as always and may you continue to do the things you do best... Cheers to us! Leaving tomorrow but hopefully still can catch up with you and the rest... See yah when I see yah....

JIM said...

Thank You Jim for all the kind words... I have to pick 7 new Versatile Bloggers and tomorrow is the day. I was glad to see we only have one blogger on your list and mine lol
Thank You for the award. If you ever visit the states please include Florida
We would love to show you both around.


Jessica said...

Jim I'm really honored that you'd think of my blog in this post...thank you! I enjoy reading yours and want to congratulate you on being recognized for your exceptional certainly deserve it! Thanks again :)

Healing Morning said...

I'm beyond flattered that you chose Healing Morning for one of your spots on your list! And the twinkle and nod towards my handy parasol made me laugh out loud. The comment that Healing Morning delivers what I strive for - a sense of peace and Grace - that hit my heart in exactly the right way. I joke about traditional Southern manners and etiquette, but the truth is that that is ingrained in my Spirit. Grace, particularly, is important for me to communicate and I'm happy you see it in my words.

I will keep the rules for this handy and pay it forward sometime later this month - it's in the pipeline!

Namaste', my friend. Today's parasol is a lacy confection of yellow & white to celebrate spring. ;-)

~ Dawn

Damiao said...

I'm proud for being friends, Jim and honored for your indication, God bless you and of course, congratulations for my partners as I see posted here.

Finding One's Way said...

Holy smokes bat man I am honored you thought of me and what a cool plug for FOW. I love you Jim and thank you for you support. You make all the difference in the world.

Jim said...

Great to see you all turn up and accept your awards. And yes Jessica, we all are making a wee difference in this world. That's the great thing about the blogging community, you're all open and honest and each contributing in your own way.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Jim, for your well-deserved awards. Thanks for sharing your 9 facts (but who's counting). It's nice to know just a little bit about the bloggers in our sphere. Great choices for your award pics!

Mary Hudak-Collins said...

WOW Jim! I'm speechless...wait a minute...sip of coffee...okay, now I know what I want to say:)
You are so deserving of these awards! It is a pleasure to visit and travel your journey with you through pictures and stories, seeing and hearing about places that I would have not otherwise ever seen or heard about in my lifetime! Thank you for bringing it to my screen:)
As I'm just leisurely reading down your page...welp...someone smacks me from behind! 'Wake-up, lo and behold, my blog is being recognized for an award! Holy smokers!' Thank you so very much Jim! What a total shocker! Can't say thank you enough. Bless you!

Papercut Doll said...

You deserve it for all you do, I'm really pleased for you and wow we even get the bonus of a sneak into 'JIM' the person and I love that.

Great choices for your awards, there's a few I haven't had the pleasure of reading so I'm going to take your advice, grab a coffee and get stuck in and to top it off you put me in there :D thank you I'm really touched.

Unknown said...

Wow - now I am a stylish blogger! Thank you so much for this Jim - and what a fun way of announcing it all. Strong advice - thought of being an event planner ever???? Again thanks a ton for thinking I deserve this - means a lot. BTW - I love the things about you - Kay goes to church - LOL....

Red Nomad OZ said...

Oh, I see I'm fashionably late, as usual!! What a wonderful surprise upon returning to the OZ mainland after a week of total media blackout on Lord Howe Island!! Thank you so much for thinking of my little blog in this way - I'm so honoured, I'm speechless!!

Well, almost ...

Unknown said...

Jim, I think I've been in "pretty land" to long... I am just now checking up on "past posts" and "just" noticed that you gave me an award... Thank you!! Loved your words describing "Scattered Musings" :)) You are the bestest Jim! Thank you again and Congrats to everyone that received the awards tonight !!