Category Archives: Blog Hops

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: The Last Place I Traveled to and Why

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

Last summer I went on an Alaskan cruise with my spouse, parents, brothers, sister-in-law, and nephews.

Orange Alaskan flowers
I was fascinated by the flora and fauna of Alaska. It’s nothing like Ontario.

 

My parents had been curious about taking a cruise for years thanks to the stories they’d heard about other cruises my spouse and I had been on. Mom had also been wanting to see Alaska for herself for quite some time, too. We were thrilled to find a cruise that fit everyone’s schedule by picking it out about eighteen months before we actually sailed.

Woman hugging her adult daughter.
My mom hugging me. I believe this was a day we were in Glacier Bay.

 

It was a week that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. We saw whales swimming in Glacier Bay and seals resting on small pieces of ice that floated by our cruise ship. Visiting various towns in Alaska on port days was fascinating, too. We skipped over the touristy stuff to explore the history of that state and look at the gigantic crows and beautiful flowers that don’t exist or are quite different where we all live.

Lydia and her extended family sitting around a large, fancy dinner table.
The whole family.

It was so much fun to watch our nephews, then age five and twelve, react to all of the new experiences they had during that trip, from the formal dinners in the fancy dining room to Alaskan wildlife and more.

Our older nephew was old enough to be pretty independent as far as setting his own social schedule goes while we were on board but still young enough to think it was cool to spend time with family. Twelve is such a great age.

A dairy free fruit sorbet and cracker in a fancy glass dish.
They even had fancy, dairy-free desserts for me in the main dining room!

The younger nephew loved the magic show we saw one night of the cruise. He also loved telling us all sorts of interesting facts about the Titanic and how we were not going to sink like it did because we have computers to navigate a ship and plenty of lifeboats to save everyone now in case of emergency.

A small sailboat sailing next to a large glacier.
Photo credit: Jim Schoch

 

Alaska is such a picturesque part of the world. I highly recommend visiting it if or when you’re able to. These pictures are such a small slice of something that everyone should experience for themselves.

 

Two men and one preteen boy on the deck of a cruise ship smiling and talking.
My brothers and oldest nephew. Other relatives are more camera shy, and I respect that.

 

It’s so much fun to look back at the photos everyone took of this trip and think about the good times we had. May there be another extended family adventure in our futures at some point in the years to come.

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases for the Second Half of 2020

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

a stack of books with a pair of spectacles and some dried flowers on top of them. There is a cup of tea sitting next to this stack)If only you all knew how hard it was to narrow this down to only ten books!

Did anyone else have that same trouble?

There are so many amazing titles coming in the second half of 2020.

 

 

 

 

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini book cover. Image on cover is of someone diving into what could be an ocean or outer space.

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

Release Date: September 15

Why I’m Excited for It: One word – xenobiologist. I dream of the day humans discover life on other planets.

Vampires Never Get Old: Tales with Fresh Bite by Zoraida Córdova book cover. Image on cover is of a vampire skull complete with fangs.

Vampires Never Get Old: Tales with Fresh Bite by Zoraida Córdova, Natalie C. Parker, Samira Ahmed, Dhonielle Clayton, Tessa Gratton, Heidi Heilig, Julie Murphy, Mark Oshiro, and more. (september 22)

Release Date: September 22

Why I’m Excited for It: Vampires are wonderfully frightening.

Vampires of Portlandia by Jason Tanamor book cover. Image on cover is of vampire fangs superimposed over man listening to music on headphones.

Vampires of Portlandia by Jason Tanamor  

Release Date: September 29

Why I’m Excited for It: The only thing scarier than living with vampires is doing so in an area that often doesn’t have much sunlight with which to chase them away!

Gathering Blossoms Under Fire- The Journals of Alice Walker by Alice Walker book cover. Image on cover is of the author looking straight ahead with neutral expression on her face.

Gathering Blossoms Under Fire: The Journals of Alice Walker by Alice Walker

Release Date: October 1

Why I’m Excited for It: I’ve been a fan of Ms. Walker’s writing for years and am quite curious to learn more about her personal life.

Cinders and Sparrows by Stefan Bachmann book cover. Image on cover is of a castle on a hill superimposed on image of girl walking away from viewer.

Cinders and Sparrows by Stefan Bachmann

Release Date: October 13

Why I’m Excited for It: What’s not to love about inheriting a castle and all of the magical things inside of it?

Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer book cover. Image on cover is of two Indian teens riding the same bicycle in opposite directions.

Instant Karma by Marissa Meyer

Release Date: November 3

Why I’m Excited for It: I, too, have daydreamed of what it would be like to have the ability to give people their karma right away. (Lest I frighten anyone, it’s mostly in the sense of rewarding strangers for their acts of kindness both big and small).

Dearly- New Poems by Margaret Atwood  book cover. Image on cover is of a bouquet of wild flowers.

Dearly: New Poems by Margaret Atwood  

Release Date: November 10

Why I’m Excited for It: It’s always cool to see what Ms. Atwood comes up with next.

Nimiety by A.A. Spears book cover. Image on cover is of a town and ferris wheel in ruins.

Nimiety by A.A. Spears

Release Date: November 20 (tentatively)

Why I’m Excited for It: I don’t know if I’m excited for it yet since the blurb hasn’t even been released, but I am quite intrigued by the broken ferris wheel on the cover as well as the dictionary definition of nimiety (“the state of being too much,” if you’re curious).

Link by Link- A Spirited Holiday Anthology by M. Dalto and others book cover. Image on cover is of abstract designs that look like they're from the nineteenth century.

Link by Link: A Spirited Holiday Anthology by M. Dalto, Pam Dunn, Myra Fiacco, Marlena Frank, Kristin Jacques, C. Vonzale Lewis, Jess Moore, and Candace Robinson.

Release Date: December 1

Why I’m Excited for It: Three words – Christmas ghost stories.

True Names- Four Generations of My Afro Appalachian Family by Malaika Adero book cover. image on cover is of a black family riding in canoes on a lake.

True Names: Four Generations of My Afro Appalachian Family by Malaika Adero

Release Date: December 1

Why I’m Excited for It: I had no idea there were African-American families who lived in Appalachia. I look forward to learning more about what that experience was like for this family.

 

 

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: My “Go To” Movie for a Pick-Me-Up

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

Something tells me I may not be the only Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge participant to pick this answer, but I have to go with The Princess Bride as my “go to” movie for a pick-me-up.

Prince from The Princess Bride saying "as you wish."

It’s a whimsical fairy tale  that has aged pretty well over the past thirty-three years and doesn’t require the audience to do any heavy thinking.

Antagonist from The Princess Bride saying "inconceivable!"

There are so many quotable pieces of dialogue from it. I will admit to occasionally using them in conversations that are in no way related to fairy tales, magic, finding your one true love, or fighting off Rodents of Unusual Size.

Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride saying "you seem a decent fellow. I hate to kill you."

I mean, where else would a character like Inigo Montoya apologize for trying to kill someone in the middle of a sword fight but still go back to their murderous ways immediately?

This isn’t something I’ve seen repeated quite the same in any other fantasy film. There’s something truly magical about these characters and their quests, noble and otherwise.

Giant from The Princess Bride saying "that's wonderful."

And, yes, the book version is just as much fun if any of you haven’t read it yet and were curious.

Two senior citizens from The Princess Bride saying, "have fun storming the castle!"

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Linked to Specific Memories in My Life

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Happy 10th anniversary to Top Ten Tuesday! I decided to do the July 23, 2018 topic entitled Books That Are Linked to Specific Memories/Moments In Your Life.

I haven’t reread any of these books in years, so my memories of all of their plot twists is fuzzy. If any of you read them, I hope you like them!

Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Marguerite Henry, Wesley Dennis book cover. Image on cover is of a burrow standing next to the grand canyon

1. Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Marguerite Henry and Wesley Dennis

The Memory Attached to It: Sitting in the backseat of my parents’ car late one night while we were driving home from a long road trip. Mom read this book to me while my younger siblings slept next to me. I couldn’t wait to find out if Brighty would survive all of his dangerous adventures and kept begging her to read just one more chapter.

Book cover for The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. Image on cover is of african-american girl sitting by a window in the 1940s era.

2. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

The Memory Attached to It: Sitting on the hammock on my parents’ back porch on a muggy summer day. (I think my dad might have been travelling that week and hadn’t been able to install our window air conditioner yet?) It was too hot for even mild physical activity like a walk, so I slowly drank unsweetened mint tea while reading this book.

Book cover for C.S. Lewis' Till We Have Faces. Image on cover is of an angel touching a child.

3. Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis

The Memory Attached to It: Sitting in my grandparent’s basement while eating crisp saltine crackers, drinking a deliciously cold can of cola, and trying to stay as cool as possible on that hot summer day. My grandparents use something called a swamp cooler, so while there is some relief from the heat you still don’t want to run around too much in their house when the temperatures and humidity soar. Quiet activities are best. I really don’t enjoy heat waves, so maybe that’s why they’re playing such a prominent role in today’s post.

Book cover for Julia Watts' The Kind of Girl I Am. Image on cover is of a painting of a vanity and chair.

4. The Kind of Girl I Am by Julia Watts

The Memory Attached to It: Sitting down to a hot, filling lunch after running around for five straight hours at work. I was famished and exhausted. It was such a relief to eat again, feel the aching in my feet temporarily reduce, lose myself in a book, and enjoy some peace and quiet before jumping back into the fray for the rest of my shift.

Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters

5. Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters

The Memory Attached to It: A coworker asked what I was reading and was a little surprised by the fact it was a romance novel. I had the reputation of being the resident science fiction and horror expert, but everyone needs to expand their horizons sometimes!

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: My Life in Photos and Gifs

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year.

If not for Covid-19, this list would be more adventurous, but I’d bet you’re all thinking the same thing. I hope that Long and Short Reviews does a similar topic again next year so I can share my love of things that don’t require physical distancing and other safety measures.

My life revolves around the gifs and pictures shared below:

Michelle Tanner from Fuller House lifting weights and saying "one....two"

Weightlifting (and other fitness stuff like yoga and brisk walking that doesn’t have cute gifs attached to them).

Burton Guster from Psych typing on a laptop

Writing blog posts, short stories, book reviews, and attempted novels. (Still trying to finish those novels).

Dr. Who reading an advanced quantum mechanics book

 

Reading everything I can get my hands on…

Including all food/medication labels and the fine print on menus so I don’t accidentally eat or drink something that will trigger my allergies. I’m very grateful to have this information, but sometimes I do wish I could be carefree about food like some folks are.

Woman sitting on a park bench underneath a large, shady tree.

My life these days also includes a lot of time spent in nature. I love people and animal watching. You can learn so much about them by quietly observing what they do.

Image of the backside of a woman who is stretching out her arms and lifting her face towards the sun in a forest.

I also love walking through forests and other calm ways of passing the time. (Higher risk outdoor activities will need to wait until this pandemic is under control. I don’t want to get into an accident and need medical care when the hospital are still so full).

There’s something so relaxing about hearing the leaves whistle together or see small animals like squirrels running on the grass.

I’m also sharing this picture with all of you because it’s giving off Rapunzel vibes as I’m sure some of you are experiencing with your own untrimmed hair. How many other WWBC participants have hair that grows quickly, too?

 

 

 

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Favourite Poems and Short Stories from Black Writers

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews. Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question and here to see the full list of topics for the year. In light of the protests happening in the U.S. and across the world, everyone I recommend today is a black or African-American writer. I stand with… Read More