An Olympics Quiz and Nicole Basaraba

I admit to feeling a little jealous as I sat with fellow writers at the DFW Writers’ Conference, and they shared their tales of international travel and even living abroad. Meanwhile, my out-of-country trips add up to the number 1. Some college friends and I spent a week in Mexico City more than 20 years ago on spring break. It was a terrific experience, but I have yet to check off all the other destinations I have on my must-see list.

By the beauty of the internet, however, I feel in touch with the world. For instance, I have interacted several times with the fabulous Nicole Basaraba, a Canadian living in Belgium. On her Uni-Verse-City Blog, Nicole writes about travel, books, and living in the capital city of Europe (Brussels). Recently, Nicole wrote the following:

Since I finished the first draft of my novel for the Round of Words in 80 Days writing challenge, I’ve been working on some diverse projects such as competing to be a Samsung Global Blogger for the 2012 Olympics in London!

Representing Belgium (and Canada too of course), I would be tweeting, blogging and vlogging. That’s right, vlogging during the Olympics this summer to bring you the latest scoop and the most entertaining and funny stories I can dig up in London, which is also celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee!

Go, Nicole! But first, let’s see how Olympic savvy the rest of us are. Test yourself below to see if you’re ready for the upcoming sports extravaganza of the summer.

1. Which of the following is NOT a Summer Olympics event?
a. Water skiing
b. Team handball
c. Jiu-Jitsu
d. Badminton

2. Queen Underwood recently qualified for the USA Team in which sport?
a. Boxing
b. Cycling
c. Track & Field
d. Swimming

3. The Olympic Torch Relay began on May 19 in Land’s End, London. However, each year the Olympic torch is lit at which of the following ancient locations?
a. The Temple of Hera
b. The Parthenon
c. The Colosseum
d. The Temple of Apollo

4. The Summer Olympic Games have already been awarded to a city for the year 2016. Which city will host the next Summer Olympics after London 2012?
a. Chicago
b. Madrid
c. Rio de Janeiro
d. Tokyo

5. Which of the following ladies should you cast a vote for in the Samsung Global Blogger competition?
a. Joan Rivers
b. Katie Couric
c. Me
d. Nicole Basaraba


1. c. Jiu-Jitsu is NOT an Olympic sport, although Karate, Taekwondo, and Judo all are.

2. a. Queen Underwood recently qualified as a lightweight in the inaugural women’s boxing event for Team USA in the London 2012 Olympics.

3. a. The Olympic Torch is lit at the Temple of Hera in Olympia, Greece. It is then transported to the host country where it starts the relay to its final destination to signal the beginning of the Olympic Games.

4. c. Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro, and Tokyo all bid to host the Summer Olympics in 2016, but it will be Rio 2016 for the next Summer Olympics. The next two Winter Olympics will be held in Sochi, Russian Federation (2014) and Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea (2018).

5. d. Obviously, you must vote for Nicole Basaraba.

Please take a moment to vote on Nicole’s finalist video submission. There are only a few days of voting left. Click on this link, Samsung Global Blogger Competition; then click toward the top left on Finalists. Toward the right corner, you will then see a “country of origin” search area. Enter “Belgium” and click again. Nicole’s picture is shown on the lower row, third from the left. Click her pretty face and you can see her fabulous video entry showing us around the Place de Luxembourg in Brussels. Then vote!

Whether you’ve traveled the world like Amerigo Vespucci or are lucky to take a trip to the local grocery store once a week, we can all enjoy an international feel when watching the Olympics. Best wishes to Nicole! And I hope you enjoy the Summer Olympics from wherever you are!

P.S. I was happy and humbled by two fabulous fellow bloggers chatting about moi this week. Check out these great posts:

Jenny Hansen: Nifty Keyboard Shortcuts and Why I Love the “Window” Key. I asked Jenny about Windows+ functions, and she gave us several fabulous shortcuts for her Techie Tuesday.

Natalie Hartford: Urban Word Wednesday: Hairitude. Most Wednesdays I can be seen falling off my chair with laughter as I read Natalie’s Urban Word Wednesday posts. This time, she takes my neologism “hairitude” to a new level. Awesome!

Sources:, London 2012 Olympic Games, Team USA

These Boots Were Made for Shufflin’ & #ROW80

In case you are not an American or were hiding in your basement from the threat of Zombie Apocalypse, the Super Bowl was played on Sunday. I had no idea until about a week before who was playing, and I’m not sure now who won. Obviously, I am not a football fan.

However, I did turn on my television mere minutes before halftime because, by golly, I wanted to see that halftime show! The main performer was a pop star whom I would argue is my generation’s Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, The Beatles — you know, those performers who make it big, influence others, and experience decades of success. Moreover, Madonna is known to put on a heck of a show.

Ignoring MIA’s lack of decorum and any comments others made, I personally thought the show was great. Madonna did not disappoint. (Watch however much you want.)

Always looking for take-aways, here’s what I got out of it:

Madonna is a better singer now than when she started. You get better over time if you choose to learn, practice, and hone your craft. Madonna had the benefit of a vocal coach for the Dick Tracy film and training with her Evita performance. Plus, she has hours and hours of singing and performing under her belt. She’s better now for it.

You can still wear hot over-the-knee boots after age 50. And those boots were made for shufflin’. Madonna is 53 year old. Yes, I know she stumbled one little time, but did you see that stage? I’d have been tumbling through half that performance if I’d been in those heels and attempting cartwheels. Meanwhile, I just need to walk most of the time, so I’m thinking about getting a pair of those boots. Where I can find reasonably priced knock-offs?

Motherhood changes your perspective. Madonna recently said in an interview that she argues with her teenage daughter about the length of her daughter’s skirt. Of course, Mom wants it to be longer. Despite her reputation as a sex goddess, Madonna was dressed pretty modestly and kept the moves suggestive rather than some of the more blatant choreography she has demonstrated in the past. I wonder if she was thinking of the other moms out there.

That ROW80 twitter party anthem is pretty catchy. Nicole Basaraba introduced Party Rock Anthem as the #ROW80 Party Anthem/pre-sprint warm-up song. “Every day I’m shufflin’.” Get your boots on, and let’s go!

Here are my Revised ROW80 goals for Round 1 of 2012:

  • Finish editing Grace & Fire mystery novel and send to reader. Finished January 19.
  • Write 2,500 1,500 words per week on young adult novel, Sharing Hunter. Nothing yet this week. Sadly.
  • Blog twice a week on Amaze-ing Words Wednesday and Deep-Fried Friday, and check-in with ROW80 updates twice a week. Posted Valentine’s Special: Candy Heart Sayings on Wednesday and The Kissing Disease & ROW80 update on Sunday.
  • Comment on at least 10 15 blogs per week (not counting ROW80 update comments). Failed to count. I will start keeping track again.
  • Read one writing craft book. Reading On Writing; now on page 195 of 291.
  • Read five eight fiction books. 5 down, starting The Cat, the Lady and the Liar (a cozy mystery) by Leann Sweeney.
  • Exercise three times per week.

How’s it going for y’all? Got your boots? Got your word count? Are you rockin’ the ROW?