Category Archives: Personal Life

Autumn Worlds I’d Like to Visit

I’ve written about the winterspring, and summer worlds I’d like to visit, so today I’ll wrap up this series by talking about the autumn worlds I’d spend some time exploring if I could.

Some of these settings weren’t necessarily the safest places to visit, but I’m going to use my authority as the author of this post to decide I’d somehow be protected while I was there.  Let’s say I had a protection spell on me to ward off anyone or anything that had bad intentions.

Hill House

Anyone who has read The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson or seen the Netflix series based on it knows why I needed that protection spell. This property was filled with malevolent spirits!

The architecture of the house would be what I’d like to see, though. I’ve loved old, stately homes for as long as I can remember, especially the ones that were built during or close to the nineteenth century.

Unlike the clean, sleek styles of most modern architecture, large homes from this era are filled with small details that are easy to miss. There might be carvings around a door frame or a gothic-like spire reaching for the heavens.

Yes, meeting the friendly ghosts would be cool, too, but discovering all of the hidden details of this mansion would be even more interesting.

St. Cloud’s Orphanage

This orphanage was where the main character of The Cider House Rules by John Irving was born and raised in the first half of the twentieth century. Life was hard for many folks then, but it was especially rough for children who didn’t have parents.

There was never enough money, time, or attention to go around…and yet the doctor who ran this orphanage did an excellent job of looking after the children in his care given the standards of his time.

He was passionate about finding homes for his charges as soon as he possibly could. When a home couldn’t be found for a child, he made their lives as comfortable as he could. I’d love to take a tour of this orphanage and see how things were run in that fictional universe a century ago.

Hundreds Hall

If you haven’t already noticed the pattern in this post, that is about to change. Hundreds Hall was the crumbling mansion that the main character in The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters visited in order to provide medical care for the people who lived there. Click here to read my review of the film based on it.

The cool thing about Hundreds Hall was that people were still living there. Yes, it was in need of a lot of repair work, but anyone who visited there would have heat, water, and even some basic food if they went into the kitchen and asked nicely for a snack.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have access to those things while on a ghost hunt than go somewhere that doesn’t have them. My goal while visiting this estate would not only involve admiring the architecture but hopefully catching a glimpse of the ghost that may have lived there, too.

Somehow seeing one ghost who may or may not even exist is a million more times exciting than seeing dozens of them hanging around everywhere like one would at Hill House.

Plumfield

There’s something about this boys school in Little Men by Louisa May Alcott that appeals to me quite a bit. Despite being set in a time and place when women and LGBT+ people had far fewer rights than we tend to have today, it would also probably be the safest place on this list for me to visit.

My fingers would be crossed that Jo would be an accepting host. I’d like to think we could bond over our shared love of writing and literature.

It would be amazing to see what life was really like in her home. Her school was not always the most structured learning environment, but her students did have a great deal of fun between – and sometimes right dab in the middle of – their chores and lessons.

So many of my favourite memories of this book happened during the autumn, so I can’t help but to think of it as an autumn story.

If there were a way to tell her about the future without disrupting the natural unfolding of historical events, I’d also love to give Jo a glimpse of what life was like nearly 200 years after her time.

What autumn worlds would you like to visit?

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: What Is My Superpower?

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

What a fun prompt this one was!

I have several different superpowers. Almost all of the humorous things I was going to include on this list fit better into the Strange or Useless Talent prompt that’s coming up in November, so keep an eye out for that one. It’s going to be delightful.

1. Analyzing stuff. That is, I’m really good at picking a story apart, figuring out what did (or didn’t) work in it, and then writing a solid review about that book, TV show, or movie.

2. Working quietly behind the scenes. I’m a little too bashful to want the spotlight pointed at me, but I excel at keeping things going behind the scenes while someone else gives a speech or otherwise acts as the public face of whatever it is we’re working on.

3. Using up leftovers. I grew up in a family culture that deeply disliked waste, especially when it came to food. If there was only half a serving of rice or potatoes left, it went back into the fridge and someone would eat it before it went bad. Sometimes this means my meals are a little nontraditional, but I love the feeling of making sure that everything that is cooked is eaten. For example, I recently ate three ears of corn, two hardboiled eggs, and a slightly soft pear for dinner because that was what needed to be used up in the fridge. I like those kinds of mish-mash meals, though!

4. Seeing the best in people. If someone does something I find perplexing, I do everything I can to find a rational explanation for it. We all have off days, and I have a lot of grace for people who accidentally say or do the wrong thing.

5. Making and updating spreadsheets. This is something I’ve done for years for fun. It’s so satisfying to see neat, little rows of numbers in a document.

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question. The image below is the list of upcoming prompts for this blog hop.

Should I Bring Back the Reader Questions Series?

Years ago, I occasionally answered reader questions about all sorts of topics. This is something I originally began doing because a friend of mine started doing it first.

The post that began this series on his site as well as some of the entries in it are no longer online so far as I can tell, but reading his answers to all of the questions people have sent in over the years has been fascinating.

My friend blogs about all sorts of topics: his chronic health issues, raising a (now-adult) child who has Down syndrome, photography, memories of his youth, U.S. politics, and the many theological and other changes his family has been through over the decades. The questions his followers send to him generally fit into one of these buckets, although sometimes people throw wild cards into the mix that probe parts of his mind he generally doesn’t share with the world.

Reason #1

One of the things I really like about my friend is how open he is to discussing just about anything with his readers. While I completely respect the wishes of some bloggers to stick to specific topics or to keep a firm line drawn between their online and offline selves, I think it’s interesting when they’re willing to open up to their audiences and talk about random things occasionally.  This is the first reason why I’m considering answering questions again.

Reason #2

This site has grown and changed so much since the last question in my series was published in 2015.

I know that most of my current readers weren’t following this site four years ago. With all of the new followers who have shown up over the last six months to a year, answering questions you come up with instead of what I think my readers are most interested in checking out might be a fun way for you to get to know me a little better.

What could we talk about?

  • Meditation (and how not to fall asleep during it)
  • Reading habits
  • Genres I love like science fiction
  • Genres I generally avoid and why
  • Stories from my life as a preacher’s kid
  • Life as an immigrant and dual-citizen
  • The writing process
  • Self-publishing
  • Demisexuality
  • Bisexuality
  • Polyamory
  • Fitness for people who aren’t athletic or good at team sports

Or anything else you’ve wondered about while reading my posts.

I’m a little nervous about sharing the link to some of my old reader question posts because of how much my writing style and choice of topics have evolved over the years, but click here or do a search for the term mailbag if you want to look through what people have asked in the past.

Reason #3

Change can be a good thing. As much as I want to go back and revamp some of my old posts, I’m proud of how willing I’ve always been to try new things and see what works. There have been times when certain types of posts flopped when I expected them to succeed. At other times, a post I didn’t think would do well still continues to draw in readers years later.

The Internet can be an unpredictable place at times. I’m ready to roll the dice again and see who is interested in reviving this series with me.

Respond

If you have questions, I’ll have answers. Leave them as a response to this post, fill out the contact form, or email them to interviews AT lydiaschoch DOT com.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Harry Potter Characters and Socks

Happy Labour Day to everyone in Canada and the United States. Most schools here in Canada reopen after Labour Day weekend, so thoughts of making lists and cracking open books are bouncing around in my head.

This is the time of year when I’d try to squeeze the last bit of fun out of the summer before school started up again, so I thought it would be amusing to stick to lighthearted material.

Today’s topic is something I jokingly mentioned in I’ll Tell You About My Draft Folder If You’ll Tell Me About Yours:

I’ve gotten multiple hits on my blog about Harry Potter characters wearing socks, Harry Potter characters who won’t wear socks, socks that feature Harry Potter characters, fuzzy socks, hand-knit socks, and just about any other sock-related query you can think of that so much as glances in the direction of the Potterverse. I am so tempted to write a full-length post on this topic. Would you write it?

According to my readers, the answer to that question was a resounding yes! I have accepted the fact that writing this post may result in even more people finding this blog in their quest to find answers to all things related to the Potterverse and socks, so let’s give them plenty of things to think about.

If you haven’t read J.K. Rowling’s famous series yet or need a refresher about the identities of the characters I’m about to mention, click on their names to read about them. Be warned that those links will contain spoilers!

Most – but certainly not all – of the questions I’m about to answer have showed up in my search logs at various points. The ones I added were somehow related to the queries I’ve already received.

For example, I remember seeing a question about the sock-wearing habits of Potterverse characters. It was a little vague, but it did get me thinking about this topic. I flipped that original query around a bit to make sure that every angle was covered.

My hope is that this post covers so many of people’s questions about this slice of the Potterverse and the Harry Potter fandom in general that everyone who finds it walks away feeling satisfied.

Where Do I find Novelty Potterverse Socks?

Amazon has dozens of entries on this topic, and I’ve received just as many queries about where to purchase such items.  I can’t vouch for the durability or comfort of any of these styles, but they are most certainly out there. Someday when I run low on socks again, I may order a set or two and test them out for myself.

Am I Too Old to Wear Harry Potter Socks?

No one is ever too old for Potterverse socks or novelty socks in general. Why not do things that bring joy to your life, especially when it’s something as harmless and fun as this?

Which Harry Potter Characters Would Wear Socks?

Hermione Granger would wear them because she was a stickler for following rules. (Well, except when she wasn’t).

Dobby would wear them because being given a sock was how this house elf earned his freedom.

Which Harry Potter Characters Would Not Wear Socks?

Moaning Myrtle doesn’t strike me as the sort of person who worries about what’s on her feet. (Can ghosts be said to wear clothing in general, though? Or do they appear to wear clothing because that’s what they did in life?)

Luna Lovegood broke so many social conventions that I could also see her purposefully choosing not to wear socks.

Which Harry Potter Characters Would Lose Socks While Wearing Them?

Rubeus Hagrid. The poor guy had a knack for finding the hardest way to do just about anything.

Fred and George Weasley are the sort of characters who would come up with a spell to transport the dirty socks on their feet to the closest laundry basket, accidentally mis-pronounce one syllable in it, and end up blinking their socks out of existence entirely.

Potterverse Characters Who Should Have Been Socks

I’m tempted to say that all of the antagonists should have been socks instead of people, but that would have removed too much conflict from the plot. You need something or someone for the protagonists to struggle against, after all!

With that being said, someone as violent and cruel as Dolores Umbridge should have definitely been turned into a sock long before she became a professor at Hogwarts.

Socks That Should be Potterverse Characters

I think that any sock with a sassy message or a zany pattern would probably make for an interesting wizard. (My site doesn’t share affiliate links. That is simply a collection of socks that are attention-grabbing enough for me to imagine them as living, breathing people).

What Sorts of Socks do People Wear at Hogwarts?

Based on the references to Molly Weasley knitting sweaters and socks for the children in her life, my fan theory is that many wizards and witches wear hand-knitted socks. Perhaps some of them figure out a knitting spell to create “handmade” socks a little faster than usual if they have a long list of loved ones who need them.

This has no basis in anything I can remember from the Harry Potter books, but I’d also like to think that some socks may have been enchanted before they were gifted. It’s amusing to think there are wizards and witches in that universe whose feet never get wet or cold because of a thoughtful spell that was put onto their socks.

Happy 12th Anniversary, Long and Short Reviews!

There are four balloons in this graphic. The text reads: "Long and Short Reviews 12th Anniversary Party. August 26-30, 2019. Win $100 Amazon GCs and more! Dozens of winners."

Long and Short Reviews is a well-respected book review site that I’ve been a fan of for many years. They review titles from many different genres: erotica, romance, sci-fi/fantasy, mysteries, horror, young adult books, and more. Many of the authors they work with are self-published or from small publishers.

I love the fact that they amplify the voices of writers who aren’t already well known. Over the years, their reviewers have earned the reputation of being honest but fair. I’ve discovered so many new authors and stories there since I was first introduced to this site.

This week, Long and Short Reviews is celebrating their twelfth anniversary! They’re having a blogging bash from today until August 30 and are giving away dozens of prizes, including some $100 Amazon gift cards. All you have to do to enter is click on the link above and follow the instructions in the guest posts you read there.

Generally, the guest bloggers ask you to do something like leave a comment or answer a question about their post for one chance to win. There are multiple ways to enter per post, and you can do more than one of them if you’d like.

I will be back to my regular blogging routine tomorrow with a Top Ten Tuesday post. In the meantime, I hope you’ll join me over in the various comment sections of Long and Short Reviews over the next several days. Winning a prize definitely sounds like a nice way to end the week, don’t you think?

Let Me Answer Your Questions About Canada for Canada Day

Happy Canada Day! Most of my readers do not live in Canada, so I thought it might be fun to answer any and all questions you have about my country today. Do you want Canadian reading suggestions? What parts of Canadian history were taught in your country, if any? Is there anything about it that… Read More

Update on Autumn Goals

Last autumn I blogged about four goals I wanted to accomplish. Originally, I was planning to revisit it in the winter, but it turned out I needed more time than I originally thought for a wide variety of reasons. So much has happened in my life since last year. I’ve finally had the chance to… Read More

The Evolution of My Reading Habits

My reading habits have evolved a lot over the years. In today’s post, I’m going to start with my earliest memories and share some stories about how my interests and habits have changed over time. Most of these genres are still things I like to read at least occasionally. With that being said, I do… Read More

My Interview at Downright Dystopian

I was recently interviewed about books, blogging, and other bookish things by Krystianna at her blog, Downright Dystopian. Click here to read it. If any of my followers would like to be one of her future interviewees, this post of hers will give you all of the information you need to sign up for that… Read More

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Comfort Foods and Recipes and Whys, Oh My!

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews. This week’s topic is “Favourite Comfort Foods & Why (& Recipes),” so of course I just had to play around with the wording of it a little in the title of this post in order to sneak in a reference to The Wizard of Oz. I will now proceed… Read More