Victoria NeuroNotes

Into the Gray

In Appreciation, I Accept This Award


Hello to my blogging family. I have come to appreciate blogging awards because their intent is to not only express appreciation to the blogger receiving the award, but also to introduce us to other WordPress bloggers who deserve to be equally appreciated.  It’s a win-win. I feel honored to accept the Versatile Blogger Award from someone who not only has my utmost respect, but who’s also a brilliant writer. I am awe-struck at times while reading her posts.  I honestly don’t recall how I found her blog, but after reading just one post by Madalyn, a.k.a. Muggle in Converse, I was hooked.

She is one of the most gifted writers I’ve ever run across on WordPress and beyond.   Having a huge heart and impeccable critical thinking skills,  she stays abreast of current events, and presents her findings and thought provoking opinions in a professional, empathic, no-nonsense manner.  Madalyn tackles controversial subjects that few have the courage to do, and she does it for all the right reasons.  She’s not out to win a popularity contest, and her posts bring awareness about pertinent issues we really should be paying attention to.   Her posts have also been a source of validation and healing for me.  I’d also like to add that Madalyn is writing a novel.  Wooohooo!  Oh, she’s going places.

To my dear friend, Madalyn, thank you for this honor. 

One of the requirements for accepting the Versatile Blogger Award is to share 7 things about myself.  Whenever I’m reading the “share things about yourself’ section from other bloggers who’ve accepted this award, they tend to be brief, leaving me wanting to learn more about them.   So I’m going to step out of the box and share in more detail.  No pressure on my nominees to do the same, should they accept the VBA.

But it sure would be nice.  Just sayin’ 😛

1)  I sleep with three pillows.  Yes, that’s right — three.  I started this necessary habit after having back surgery several years ago.  I sleep on my side and putting one pillow between my knees helps to keep my back aligned.  The 2nd pillow is used for bracing and snuggling.   And of course, the 3rd pillow cradles my neck and head.

Honeymoon, Day 72)  When I was almost six, I watched a show about a little boy who ran away from home.  The boy was Timmy from the Lassie TV series.  He encountered lots of adventure and I had to experience this for myself.  I didn’t want my parents to worry when they woke up and found me gone, so I told my mom and dad my plans.  I was going to run away for an adventure.   Surprisingly, they agreed to my earnest request, and even helped me pack my little suitcase (including a brick, without my knowledge) to ensure quick fatigue so I wouldn’t wonder off to far.

I left on my adventure just before dusk.  I found an empty lot adjacent to a drive-in theater not far from the house.  I kicked back in the lush grass watching the cars drive in and park before the movie started.  It occurred to me that I hadn’t had dinner, and the smell of popcorn got my gastric juices flowing.  Suddenly I became homesick.  As I started to head back home, suitcase in tow, my parents, who had been watching my every move, greeted me with hugs and smiles.

3)  I used to sing in a rock band in Washington, DC, doing weekend gigs at ritzy hotel lounges and a few popular night clubs, while working for the government during the week.  I was the only female band member, and my fellow band members were incredible artists.  There was never any drug use   Being in the zone gave us natural highs.  Good times.

sparrow4)  After being hit by a hurricane,  which caused catastrophic damage, I went to live with my grandmother (Nana) in Maryland for the school year when I was eleven.  One day we visited a friend of Nana’s who lived on a tobacco farm, barn included.  Being curious and adventurous, I couldn’t wait to see what was inside the barn.  To my delight, I discovered a bird’s nest with sparsely feathered babies.  I climbed on to some farm equipment to have a closer look. One baby sparrow became startled, leaped out of the nest, and on to the dirt floor.  Unharmed, I picked him up, cradled him gently between my hands, and with unbridled elation ran to the house to show my Nana.  She told me the momma bird would most likely reject the little one, detecting a human scent.  I pleaded with my Nana to keep him.  Thinking he was a she, I named him Lady Bird, and took him home.  He loved sitting on my shoulder and roosting in my Nana’s hair when he could get a way with it.   He lived a long, happy and very cushy life.

I miss you Lady Bird. 

puffer fish5)  Having been an aquarium hobbyist for years, my first entrepreneurial venture was an aquarium set-up, maintenance and aqua-scaping business.  Though the business was rewarding, there were some potential hazards involved, like the risk of electrocution or encounters with predatory and/or poisonous fish and anemones.  One of my clients had a 50 gallon saltwater tank.  It was a designer tall, which meant that I had to use a ladder to siphon debris from the gravel.  This required a very long tube which I’d grip just above the water line.

During one of my maintenance visits, a rather large puffer fish latched on to my pinky finger while I was siphoning.  Pain radiated throughout my whole body.  My initial thought was that I was being electrocuted.  Not yet realizing that I had been bitten, I jerked my hand out of the tank with the puffer fish still latched on to my finger.  The weight of his body forced him to let go and he fell to the ground, puffed up mightily, and started squealing like a pig.  He survived and so did I.   After I got over the initial shock and pain, and my client was reassured that I was OK, we laughed ’til we cried.

6)  The one and only time I went to the circus, a chimp spit in my face through the cage.  😡

snorklingoncruise7)  When I was nine I almost drowned after getting caught in a current and pulled out quickly, away from the shoreline. I was wearing a white bathing cap, pulled it off and waved it like a flag because no one could hear me calling for help.  My older cousin spotted it and rescued me.  Oddly enough, that incident didn’t cause me to fear water.  Being around water, especially clear, turquoise water, gives me a sense of well being, peace and tranquility.  I love being in and around it and dream about it often.  I also love snorkeling and scuba diving, but haven’t done it in several years since my move to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The following are my nominations for the Versatile Blogger Award in no particular order:

Colleen at Vintage Book Fairy and Slow Writer Blog.  I met Colleen after she commented in one of my articles on my first blog.  At that point, I really hadn’t had much comment activity, and her feedback and support really encouraged me to keep posting the research.  Colleen is a retired college professor and is pursuing one of her passions.  Writing.   And a brilliant writer she is.  Her posts are descriptive and visual.   Right up my alley.  Colleen is gifted in her ability to connect with people with realness and warmth.  She is a true blue, and no doubt will be a lifelong friend.  Colleen, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  I’m so grateful our paths have crossed.

Michelle, at MamaMickTerry.  I met Michelle after she left a profoundly moving comment on my vulnerability post.  Later that day, I received an email from another dear blogger friend, Christina, speaking very highly of Michelle.  Wow, was she spot on.  Michelle has a knack for incorporating humor and authenticity in her posts.  It takes genius to do that.  She spends her days in the scientific/clinical field, and writes as often as she can to rejuvenate her right hemisphere and escape from the slave-like demands of  her left hemisphere.  Michelle is a beautiful person through and through, and it’s abundantly evident in her posts and comments.  Btw, Michelle, I thought you’d be able to relate to this.  😉

Professor at Professor Taboo.  Hmmm, how did I meet you Professor?  Oh yeah, it was a comment you made on another blog which blew me away, and I had to check out your blog immediately.  In that eye-opening comment you eloquently spoke about your concerns with regard to the well being of humanity, and offered possible solutions.  I knew straight away I had to get to know you better.  Talk about a compassionate heart and a desire to help make this world a better place.  The Professor is a gifted teacher working with students who have developmental challenges.   The world could use more acutely aware teachers like the Profession.  Professor — thank you for caring and for your friendship.

Joshua at Soul Embraces.  I met Josh after one of his posts was Freshly Pressed.  I was blown away by his awareness regarding the importance of emotional intimacy and connection in all that that entails.  One of Josh’s major points of focus on his blog is helping people like himself to transcend some of the obstacles that keep people in isolation from one another.  In some of his posts, there were moments when I shouted out “YES!”  Josh is a professional writer, but has put his life on hold to take care of his elderly father.  He also put his life on hold a few years back to take care of his mother before she passed away in 2011.  Josh, you are a remarkable human being, with the gift of articulation.

Vance at Anglophiletoad.  Vance, I realize you were recently nominated and accepted the VBA from Madalyn, so like you mentioned in your award post regarding my nomination,  had she not nominated you, I certainly would have.  Still, I want to share with others how much you, your friendship, and your posts have profoundly affected my life.  Several times after reading your posts, emails and comments, I wept.  They were tears of validation and healing.  You played a major role in helping me find the courage to write my vulnerability post, which as you know, was Freshly Pressed.  I feel a connection with you in ways I can’t express in words.  We’ve walked similar paths.  From the top and bottom of my heart, thank you for making such a huge impact in my life.  Vance, you my friend, are one magnificent Toad.


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Author: NeuroNotes

Victoria predominately blogs about religion, and the brain's role in religious type experiences.

35 thoughts on “In Appreciation, I Accept This Award

  1. First off, thank you for your kind words. They mean so very much to me. ❤
    Second, you continue to surprise me with your openness. So profound and inspiring.
    Third, your parents sound awesome. What a fantastic experience.
    And finally, thank you for introducing me to so many new blogs!


  2. Madalyn, I continue to surprise myself with my openness. 😀 I blame it on an amazing, surportive community. Yeah, I agree, my parents were pretty cool to go along with this. I later learned that my mom had to sweet-talk my dad into letting me do it. She knew I needed to get it out of my system, lol. I didn’t learn about the brick in my suitcase until I was a teenager.

    “And finally, thank you for introducing me to so many new blogs!”

    My pleasure. I must admit that I’ve felt bad about not following through on the other award nominations I’ve been honored with on the NRP blog, but in all honesty, that site is really dedicated to advocacy, so I wanted to keep the focus on the research. Just know that I really appreciated you nominating me for the Leibster Award several months back.
    ❤ right back at cha.


  3. Congratulations. I loved reading your stories and screeched over the puffer


  4. OMG Victoria, you continue to humble and honor me with your kind words and generosity. You have no idea what a crazy, horrible-ish bad day I had in my left-brain world…to find this waiting for me at day’s end was a true blessing (LOVE the cartoon, BTW!)
    What I loved the most was your description about your adventure. As if I could love you any more, my heart filled with warmth when I imagined that brick nestled in your suitcase as you “ran away” into the big scary world. I have to know…what were you wearing? For some reason, I imagined you with reddish blonde curls tucked into a little white hat, blue coat and black shoes. Crazy, I’m sure…but that was the immediate visual!
    I’m bookmarking this post because it’s delightful, uplifting and joyful–opposite of what waits for me in my office tomorrow.
    Thank you dear friend!


    • Michelle, believe it or not, I’m in your blog right this very moment. I’m still trying to recover from the part about you loving to sniff lemon Pledge. Oh, gawd, my tummy hurts. More comments to follow — phone. xoxoxo


    • OK, I’m back. Your comment brought a huge smile to my face, and ummm, yeah, the dopamine was a flowin’. Thank you so much. I was tickled that you loved the story of my little adventure. I had no fear. Funny how I can’t remember what I did an hour ago, but I still vividly remember that little adventure, except for what I was wearing. I also remember my thoughts, that I wanted to set up housekeeping. Haha, but all I really had was a little pillow and throw, and a brick. My suitcase became my table. Still, I was a happy camper, except for the hunger pangs. lol


      • Oh the hunger pangs!!! LOVE it!
        Reminds me of a time I ran away. I was probably six (like you), mad about something and spent hours and hours up at the farm pond. Fortunately, I had stolen white powdered donuts for the excursion and was able to stay away until almost dark (when I got scared). The funny part? My mama didn’t even know I’d been gone or that I’d “run away.” Go figure! Years later she told me that she knew, she didn’t want to encourage repeat behavior–her virtual emotional brick so to speak. Wish you lived close…I think we’d laugh for days over our stories.
        XO, Michelle


  5. Btw, I was blond when I was a youngen. A towhead. 😀 Don’t remember what I was wearing, but the weather was warm. xoxo


  6. Glorious Victoria! Congratulations on a well-deserved award!!! I loved the personal vignettes with a chance to learn more about the “adventurous” Victoria! So, darling. And, as always with you, I learned something new — puffer fish screech! Really? LMOA
    I once took my kids the the Blue Ridge Mountains – breathtaking, and now my oldest is living on the east side of VA. You have so many great stories to tell!
    Great cast of nominees! I’m going to check out these other blogs, because they’ve got to be good if they have your seal of approval.
    Finally, you know how I feel about our growing friendship, nay, sisterhood. Thank you for this award and the ever thoughtful comments. I think I should assign it to VBF because the newest blog is too new to be versatile? However…I’ll keep that one in my pocket until I earn it at Slow Writer! 🙂

    “What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth. They share it.” ~ C.S. Lewis


    • Hey Colleen, yeah I had no idea that puffer’s screeched. Total revelation to me, and the whole experience was surreal, lol. Oh, I agree about the BRM being breathtaking. It is spectacular in Autumn. For most of my life, I’ve lived in coastal towns and cities, and miss it, but living in the foothills, just 30 minutes away from the Blue Ridge Parkway has its perks. 🙂

      Yes, sisterhood, indeed. I love that quote by Lewis. Thanks so much for sharing.



  7. BTW – the blog’s new look is awesome!


  8. Wonderful stuff, Victoria. I am sure to check out those others you mentioned. I am one to tread quite carefully when it comes to creeping out of my comfort zone, and while I nerd out on recovery stuff, I do find myself attracted to blogs like yours namely because of the people behind the words…even when the words are the first things to entrance me and capture my imagination. You have certainly captured my imagination in the few visits I have had the pleasure of making (through the fabulous Christy) and I look forward to more, my friend.



    • Paul, my friend, thank you. I can totally relate to treading quite carefully when it comes to creeping out of my comfort zone, which is why starting a second blog was intended to challenge my trepidations. But I am drawn to blogs where people dare to be so bold. I’m drawn to them because I love seeing what’s inside people — the part that really counts.

      I am indebted to Christy a.k.a. Christina for introducing me to several remarkable people, you included. Just wanted to mention that after being freshly pressed, my other blog got a lot of exposure, too, and my advocacy work nearly tripled— which is saying a lot. So I’ve been spread thin and haven’t been able to spend as much time reading and/or commenting on my favorite blog sites as often as I’d like to. I say that to say this — I think of you often, Paul, and it truly is an honor to be your friend. Your essence is beautiful.


  9. Great stuff. It’s great getting to know those we interact with on the web.
    Congratulations on the award.


    • Hey there Mak. Thanks for the congrats. Couldn’t agree more — it is great getting to know those we interact with on the web. I always appreciate you taking the time to stop by and leave a comment. Means a lot. It’s been raining here going on 4 days now. Cold and rainy. It could be worse, Professor Taboo was iced in all weekend after his city was hit hard by an ice storm.

      Hope your week is going well. =)


  10. V, you’re awesome!

    Thanks for the kind words. Now, Youtube video of you singing a little Benatar, please!:0)


  11. Vance, it takes one to know one, eh? Btw, they say that what you don’t use you lose. Love Benatar.

    “Now, Youtube video of you singing a little Benatar, please!:0)”

    My suspicions have been confirmed. You are a glutton for punishment. :mrgreen:


  12. Victoria, you are so kind and a beautiful soul! Thank you for our blossoming friendship and the mention here!

    I have some questions that I’ll either email you about or phone you, if that’s alright. Thanks again, and all the congratulations to you; you deserve them all! 🙂


  13. LOL…..loved your run away episode the most… giggles….. yes I too love your openness. the quality I would like to possess. I frequent this blog often when compared to other coz I get to meet the person I long to be. congrats vi. me too gonna check out each one of your friends.


    • Sarala, I’m so happy to see you, and I’m glad you got a kick out of my little adventure. I think it lasted about an hour. LOL In the mind of a 6 year old, thinking ahead, such as packing some groceries, just never occurred to me. 😉 Nevertheless, I did get it out of my system. Mom ‘knew’ — and went along with it.

      I can’t tell you how much your comment means to me. But when you mentioned that you get to meet the person you long to be, I was taken aback, but not in a negative way. Just surprised that you don’t recognize what I see. The reason I asked you to watch that movie, Life of Pi, a while back was because I recognized what an incredibly courageous and compassionate human being you are. So let me say this — I look to you as an example of what it means to be in touch with humanity, other species and the planet.



  14. Congratulations! I’ve only recently started reading your blog and you deserve the award. I love your blog!


  15. I love the fact that you shared these beautiful little glimpses into your life. It felt like sitting down over a cup of tea and chatting with you for a short while 🙂


  16. well because this post came through my reader feed first, I actually read the replies before the psot! Most of the time I do not even have the chance to read replies to posts, but this time I did – and it was neat reading comments first because I was wondering how the puffer and hunger pangs tied in – and looked forward to hearing about the brick in the suitcase. Anyhow, today I was able to read the post – and put it all together. Nice. 🙂

    I like how you left #6 to be one sentence – cause that summed it up exactly – and wow – what a varied background…. so not only a writer, mom, advocate, brain researcher, and encourager – you are a – scuba diving, aqua-scaper – singing – bird whisperer too – ha ha
    Oh – and hope your back does not still cause you any probs – my teen son (16) had his first ever sports injury this fall when his back was hurt – nothing too major, but we learned a lot about how horrible back problems are to deal with! yuck! Great post –


    • Yvette, you rock. What an awesome post. I haven’t been able to wipe this smile from my face. 😀 That’s interesting that you read the comments first. I can just image where your mind must have gone, especially with the puffer, a brick, and hunger pangs, lol.

      Yes, I am quite varied in my background and have only scratched the surface. More to come. *grins*

      Regarding my back, thank you for your concern. I feel fortunate that I didn’t have to experience repeat surgery like so many people I’ve talked to who have. I try to be careful, and being faithful with the pillows has really helped. Your son is fortunate to have not had a major injury, and very wise to used his pain experience as a preventive measure. I have permanent nerve damage, but still feel I’m better off than most who’ve had the same or similar experiences. Not much pain unless I stand for long periods or over do it.

      Thank you for your kind words, and for taking the time to read my post. So glad you dropped by.



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