Liebster Award!


Liebster Award

Sorry, folks, there’s no chapter today. I was honored – and astounded – to be nominated for a Liebster Award for my blog. In this week’s post, I’ll answer some personal questions (required for the award), and I’ll nominate 11 other blogs to receive the award; you may want to check them out.

I was nominated by LaMari of , a young woman who writes about her travels AND (the reason I initially got interested in her blog) about her pug Abner. She posts fabulous photos and information about the places she visits. If you like to travel, stop by her blog. And thank you, LaMari!

I hadn’t gotten around to fulfilling LaMari’s requirements for accepting the Liebster Award when, on June 6, 2014, Debra of also nominated me for a Liebster. Deb writes about her 2 dogs (mostly about her cute little terrier, C-Dog) and her 3 cats, and about animal welfare issues. Check it out!

When Deb learned that I already had a set of Liebster requirements from LaMari, she graciously allowed me to use what LaMari had asked of me, so I don’t have to do double duty. Many thanks, Debra!

Liebster means “dearest” in German. This award is passed from blogger to blogger, focusing on relatively new blogs. Acceptance of the award requires fulfilling the requirements below, copied from

The Official Rules Of The Liebster Award

If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award AND YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, write a blog post about the Liebster award in which you:

1. thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.
2. display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)
3. answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.
4. provide 11 random facts about yourself.
5. nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1000 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)

NOTE FROM MAIJA: Your nominator may ask you to nominate the full 11.

6. create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.
7. list these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here.) Once you have written and published it, you then have to:
8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!)

So, here are my responses to the requirements for the Liebster:
(If you get bored with my answers, just skip to the end of this post to look at the blogs I’m nominating.)

11 random facts about myself:

 1. I was born in Finland, to Finnish parents.

 2. My father Olavi Alakulppi was an internationally famous cross-country skier (World’s Champion 1939).

 3. His career was sidelined when the Soviet Union invaded Finland in late 1939. Like nearly all able-bodied Finnish men, he joined the Finnish military to, first, fight the Russians, and later, the Nazis. He was awarded the Finnish equivalent of the Medal of Honor. After World War II, Dad immigrated to the US and joined the US Army.

4. My mother, big brother, and I joined my dad in the US when I was 3 years old. I grew up as a US Army brat, living in many US states and in Germany.

5. I never knew how highly regarded my father was until long after he died. The family of a Finnish man who’d been Dad’s radio operator in the War tracked me down. My husband, pugs, and I visited them, and they told me about how beloved Dad was by his soldiers and the civilians he protected during the War years in Finland.

6. I have Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), a painful illness that damaged my autonomic nervous system so badly that I was expected to die of it many years ago. The disease also ended my career.

7. In the years before I got CRPS, I was a pediatric nurse, pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP), and nursing professor. I authored many articles for health-related publications.

8. I love horses. I learned to ride as a child, and had several horses of my own over the years. I don’t ride any more, and I miss it.

9. This won’t be news to anyone who’s read my blog: I really love dogs, especially pugs.

10. I have two lovely daughters who are now in their 40s.

11. My husband Bill, whom I met when we were in our 40s, has been a wonderful support to me throughout my illness and with my writing efforts.

Now, here are the questions asked of me, along with my answers:

 1. Why did you start your blog?

 My blog is a “test-read” of chapters from my book-in-progress. Before I started blogging, 18 friends or acquaintances read my manuscript, and – after numerous iterations – they said it was great, ready for publication. However, literary agents and publishers did not break down my door to sign me up for mega-bucks! My academic background and numerous publications in the health care field from back in the 1980s and 1990s don’t mean much about my ability to write funny dog stories now. So I decided to try to build a “following” of people I don’t know who will help me make the book better AND demonstrate that they like my book by coming back to read more chapters. I hope to use my blog presence to show agents and publishers that Funny Tails and I are worth investing in. In return for the readers’ help, I’m providing them with free access to chapters from my not-yet-published book. Maybe someday these readers can say, “I knew her before she was famous.”

2. What is your favorite destination and why?

I love being at home with my husband and pugs. I traveled a lot in my earlier life, but now I’m content to learn about other places FROM HOME! Here, I’m comfortable, I have control over how I spend the day (important in coping with a painful neurological illness), and I’m happy!

3. Who is your favorite author and why?

That’s really hard to say; there are so many. It depends on what I’m looking for at the time. Several dog books and authors are among my recent favorites because the books are so clearly written and backed up by research: Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know by Alexandra Horowitz; The Genius of Dogs: How Dogs are Smarter than You Think by Brian Hare & Vanessa Woods; and all of Temple Grandin’s and Patricia McConnell’s books. For sheer fun and sweetness, I love Sy Montgomery’s true story, The Good Good Pig: The Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood (and, yes, that is PIG, not PUG). Also, I always look forward to new mystery books by Margaret Maron, Laurie R. King, and Donna Leon. For historical fiction, I love everything by Philippa Gregory and Sharon Kay Penman..

4. What is your most prized possession?

I don’t call them “possessions,” but what I’d least like to lose, of everything I have besides my husband and children, are our dogs. They are definitely “most prized.” (I’m just not big on “stuff.”)

5. What is your favorite quote and by whom?

“The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Mahatma Gandhi

6. What is your favorite post? (Please provide link.)

Egads, that’s difficult. But, OK, one that makes me laugh just about every time I get notice of a new post is . Ernest is a real-life pug who allows himself to be dressed in the finest or wackiest of clothing and disguises. There’s a short caption for each photo. I usually start laughing the moment I see one of his photos, so it’s a great way to start the morning.

7. Who is your inspiration and why?

My parents. They lost everything in World War II before they were 30 years old. My mom walked about 15 miles with my brother, age 6, and me, age 2, from Finland to Sweden, in order to (eventually) join my dad, who was on his way to the US (How all that happened is a book in itself). They moved us to a country (US) where the language and customs were new, and where my dad, who’d been a captain in the Finnish army, had to start over as a private, supporting a family of 4. He worked his way up to lieutenant colonel before he retired. My parents re-made themselves in the US and raised us kids to treasure love, honesty,and animals.

8 Classical music or Rock n’ Roll?

1950s-1970s rock n’ roll, pre-1990s country & western, and 1950’s-1960’s “standards.”

9. What do you choose to do as “play”?

Writing often feels like “play.” Being with and observing our dogs nearly always feels like play – except when it involves going out in rotten weather.

10. What is your biggest challenge in blogging?

So far, besides just learning the very basics of WordPress and understanding WordPress jargon, my biggest challenge is figuring out how to stop the formatting hijackers that come in after I’ve finished a perfectly formatted post. They sneak in after I’ve logged off, and they take out all the paragraph markings so that a chapter becomes one long, LONG paragraph. I’ve spent hours going in and fixing – and re-fixing – problems with paragraphs.

11. What would you do today if you knew you could not fail?

Totally prevent cruelty to animals (including people), create world peace, and save our planet from the damage we humans keep causing!

Okay, now here are the 11 blogs I’d like to nominate for a Liebster Award, in no specific order:

(If you nominees already have over 1,000 followers, I think you’re still eligible for the award if you haven’t yet accepted a Liebster.)

1. – Follows Pickles, a large yellowish mixed breed dog, who provides narration for photos about his daily adventures.

2. – Follows Jillie Bean, a pug, on her daily adventures, with photos, and narration. (And, yes, apparently WordPress has it down as Jillebeansblog, not Jilliebeans. When I tried the correct spelling, the website didn’t come up.)

3. – Great photos of a pack of dachshunds in Germany, with short captions (and short legs).

4. – Pug photos/ stories, including reader-submitted “Pug of the Month.”

5. – Cartoon stories of pugs, including “pugling rivalry.”

6. – A young mom’s sketches of life in her family, which includes a dog.

7. – Photos , videos, and short stories of Eko, an adult Rhodesian Ridgeback, and Penny, a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy, told by their human, Will.

8. – Lucky, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, talks about his humans and gives advice to humans about dogs.

9. – Photos/stories about greyhound rescue, plus health and behavior issues.

10. – Photos/stories of life in Dublin, Ireland with 3 dogs, 2 cats, and various dog friends.

11. – Photos/stories about a rescued whippet in England, and her interactions with other dogs and cats.

OK, you bloggers above, please provide 11 random facts about yourself on your blog!

Then, please answer the 11 questions below, also on your blog.

1. Why did you start blogging?
2. What is your main reason for continuing to blog?
3. Do you enjoy blogging?
4. How long does it take you to prepare a typical blog – that includes the time taking (or finding) photos.
5. About how much time do you spend on all the various social media each day?
6. How old are you (approximately)?
7. Where did you grow up, and where do you live now? (no addresses)
8. Who, other than your parents, had the most positive influence on your life – either overall, or in a certain area of life. It’s not necessary to include names; just explain what it was that they did for you.
9. What do you “do” besides blogging (or is blogging your job)?
10. Do you have plans or aspirations beyond blogging, and if so, what are they? (e.g., do you want to publish a book, climb Mt. Everest, become a certified dog trainer, etc.?)
11. What are a few of your favorite authors or books?

 And don’t forget to nominate 5 – 11 other blogs!

Best wishes to all of you!

Maija (pronounced My-uh)


9 thoughts on “Liebster Award!

  1. Maija, your Liebster posting is so interesting — and I feel as though I know you better already! How interesting about your father! Do you cross-country ski as well (we love to!)? Seems like you have a great story (book?) there. Anyway, loved reading your answers, and look forward to our blog posts!

    • I forgot to say — I used to ski (poorly, but enthusiastically), both cross-country and downhill, but haven’t done so since the 1970s, when we moved to the South. I did enjoy it at the time, but, surprisingly, I don’t miss it at all.

  2. Thanks for following my blog. Great to see C-dog and Company’s comment on your blog, too.

    I happen to quote your favorite quote in my Bus Riding Dog post a few days ago, we both love Mahatma Gandhi’s wisdom.

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