Tag Archives: Childhood Stories

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: The Weirdest Thing I Loved as a Child

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

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

A photograph of a very old graveyard. The gravestones are covered in moss and have most of their etchings either hidden by moss or worn away. The largest and nearest one has begun to bend over and looks like it might soon fall over entirely. Please note that this post includes references to child mortality and epidemics because little Lydia read tons of stories about (typically Victorian-era) children who caught all sorts of unpleasant illnesses. This will be a general overview, and I will not be going into detail about specific characters, individuals, or causes of death.

The weirdest thing I loved as a child was visiting the pre-1950 (ish?) sections of graveyards, figuring out how old the people there were when they died, and trying to guess what might have killed them and if they would have survived if they had access to modern medicine. I was most interested in the gravestones of those who died young because almost everyone I knew who died had done so at a ripe old age.

Why was I interested in this? Well, there were a few reasons for it:

1)  I’ve always thought cemeteries are beautiful and peaceful places to remember the dead. I liked seeing the pretty tombstones, reading names on them that maybe weren’t so commonly used these days, and pondering their creative epitaphs.

2) Getting sick made me anxious in small part because of how many classic novels I’d read about kids being disabled or killed by all sorts of diseases that can now be cured with medications like antibiotics or prevented entirely with vaccines. (See also: Beth March from Little Women, Helen Burns from Jane Eyre, and Mary Ingalls from the Little House books). It was always nice to go to the library later on, or maybe ask my mother who was training to become a nurse back then, and learn about how modern medicine has radically changed the world in this regard.

3) It made getting vaccinated slightly less horrible. I still hated needles, but at least I knew why vaccines were so important.

4)  I liked being scared, and it was frightening to read lists of names on a gravestone who died one right after the other and realize they were probably related and suffered from the same illness.

In conclusion, I have a bit of a gothic side. Don’t tell anyone. 😉


Filed under Blog Hops, Personal Life

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Three Fun Facts About Myself

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

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

The numbers 1, 2, and 3 are beige coloured and lying on a red surface. Beneath each letter is a small lego: a white one underneath the number 1, a black one underneath the number 2, and a red one underneath the number 3. Once again, I’d like to have a crystal ball so I can see how you all answer this question! Will you be telling us a secret? Posting pictures? Sharing funny childhood stories? Or maybe something else entirely?

Here are three fun facts about me that I don’t think I’ve shared on my blog before:

1. I once stopped driving and pulled over to the side of a quiet, flat, country road to save a turtle that had been flipped over on its back. There were no other vehicles anywhere to be seen in either direction, so I was not putting myself in harm’s way by doing this. The turtle was a greenish-brown little creature that was about the size of a small dinner plate. It wasn’t at all heavy to pick up and probably weighed no more than 5 pounds. It didn’t look anything like a snapping turtle, but I’m not sure which type of turtle it was. I picked it up, brought it to the edge of the road, and made sure it was walking into the grass safely where it would live happily ever after before I drove off again.

2. I was born with an innocent heart murmur that wasn’t diagnosed until I was an adult. It’s called an innocent murmur because it doesn’t cause any health problems and doesn’t need to be treated. Some of you may have one, too! About 10% of adults and 30% of kids have them, so it’s a pretty common variation of normal. I only ever think of it when I meet a new doctor who pauses and listens again to my heart while examining me.

3. I  have always loved educational stuff. When I was a teenager, my family visited some family friends in a big city. There was a gorgeous, huge museum there I desperately wanted to see. Our hosts said museums were boring and wanted to show us a local mall instead. Mom took me aside and told me to be polite, so I smiled and said nothing more about it.

My only memory of that excursion is of patiently sitting in a food court with a neutral expression on my face as I silently felt the sting of disappointment and the grating texture of boredom that somehow seems worse when you’re a kid or teen.

On a positive note, I have visited that museum multiple times since then and always have a marvellous time examining their fossils, paintings, and artifacts in detail.

But I still don’t like going to the mall. Ha!

(This is in no way a judgement of people who love shopping or malls, by the way. May you enjoy those hobbies to your heart’s content. Our hosts and I simply had wildly different ideas about what is fun in life, and I doubt they realized what a rare treat visiting a museum was for rural people who didn’t have a lot of disposable income.

We had a mall in the town we lived in, but it was about a one-hour drive to the nearest small museum and  several hours to a full day of driving for the large ones. Due to the cost of gas, multiple meals, parking fees, highway tolls, and possibly renting a motel room or two for the night in addition to buying general admission tickets to a museum, we were only able to afford to do this about once every five to ten years when I was growing up. It was a huge deal whenever it happened, and it was one of the many reasons why I moved to an urban area as an adult).


Filed under Blog Hops, Personal Life

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: A Story About My First Crush

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

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

Two shiny metal reflective hearts sitting on a brown grainy surface. One is larger than the other, and you can see where the smaller heart was cut out of the larger one. I have only occasionally developed crushes throughout my life, so I had to dig deeply for this post.

My first crush was a boy named Jonathan, and I think I was somewhere between the ages of three and five when it happened.

He was probably someone I went to church with as I had a stay-at-home mom who was just beginning to (or maybe would soon begin to?) homeschool me. Therefore, there was no daycare or public school for me to meet new people at during this stage in life.

The only memory I have about Jonathan or my crush on him involves my parents scolding me for calling him my boyfriend and telling me I was too young for such things as I stared up at the bare tree branches and chilly, grey sky overhead, inwardly sighed in exasperation at my parents who I thought were being really silly about the whole thing, and outwardly obeyed them. (Or at least I think I obeyed them?)

If only I remembered more about it. I assure you that the rest of my childhood was far less dramatic than that brief moment of parent-child conflict, so maybe that’s why it stuck around in my memory so firmly?

As far as crushes I fully remember goes, that honour goes to two characters from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

I thought that Deanna Troi:

Photo of Marina Sirtis playing Deanna Troi on Star Trek:Deep Space Nine. She is wearing a teal Star Trek uniform and looking ahead of her seriously.

Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12543302



Photo of LeVar Burton playing Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: The Next Generation. He is wearing a yellow Star Trek uniform and his visor and looking ahead of himself with a serious expression on his face.

Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12048284


Geordi La Forge


were both good-looking, kind, and interesting people, and I wanted to follow them around all day and ask them dozens of questions about themselves and life in the twenty-fourth century as they performed their duties on such a fancy spaceship.

I’ve been attracted to all sorts of different types of people, and I don’t really have a type. Having a good character and a pleasant personality are such important factors in attraction, too.


Filed under Blog Hops, Personal Life

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Sports I’ve Tried and What I Thought of Them

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

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

A few of my comments on Blogspot blogs went through last week. This week, none of them are going through even if I switch browsers. I will keep trying, but that is why I’m not commenting on some sites.

A photograph of a basketball net against a dark night sky. The photo is positioned so that it looks like the full moon in the sky is about to swish through the basketball net.

Physical education class was where I was first seriously introduced to playing sports as is probably also true for many other folks. Every year we played football, basketball, volleyball, and baseball as the seasons turned. Sometimes the teacher would mix things up a little by having us play hockey or kickball indoors or play tennis or run around the track outside when the weather was nice.

While there are people out there who learned to love those sports and exercise in general through their experiences in gym class, I was not one of them. I wasn’t a naturally athletic kid or teen, and competition squelches my interest in exercise instead of encouraging it.

I’m sorry to say that I loathed every single one of these sports. Other than tossing a baseball around with my oldest nephew a few times, I have steadfastly and purposefully avoided even the slightest whiff of all of them as an adult.

The sports I like generally have a few things in common:

1) It’s easy to participate in them non-competitively,

2) They can be done alone or with a small group of people,

3) They do not involve pain, balls, or running. (I sustained numerous injuries in gym class over the years. Even though they were minor things like sprains or bruises, having so many of them happen year after year gave me what seems to be a lifelong aversion to sports that involve these things).

4) You can do them at your own pace and with modifications if certain moves hurt or if I can’t yet do them.

So, for example, I love swimming, nature walks, yoga, bicycling, light hiking*, dancing, and weightlifting. I used to love canoeing, too, although I haven’t done it since I was a kid.  Rollerskating is also fun if I’m on a smooth surface, am wearing appropriate safety gear, and can move at my own pace.

*e.g. I’ll explore a trail for an hour or two (or much longer than that if the weather is mild and the terrain is fairly flat), but then I want to go home, rest my feet, drink lots of water, and maybe eat a banana.

Basically, I don’t mind pushing myself in reasonable ways to see how my body reacts, but I never want to wake up the next day too sore or bruised to function.

If any gym teachers end up reading this, I hope contemporary gym classes are much more useful, practical, and encouraging than the ones I had. The idea of teaching kids to get into the habit of exercising early in life is a great one, but that class was useless for me at best.


Filed under Blog Hops

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Something Funny That Happened To Me

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

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

About a half dozen pairs of dress shoes neatly polished and sitting in tidy rows on a wooden surface. They have shoe horns inside of them, too, to help them keep their shape. This is a story that happened when I was about two years old. I don’t personally remember it, and there aren’t any photos from this day so far as I know. Luckily, my parents made sure to tell me all about it once I was old enough to form longterm memories.

When I was a toddler, mom and dad took me on a trip to visit my mom’s younger brother at college. Uncle Joe had a roommate named John and trilingual friend named Sebastian who were both with him that day. From what I’ve been told, they were happy to meet my parents and have a little one around for a few hours.

I was a quiet, calm, and generally well-behaved child. The combination of those personality traits means that you can sometimes get away with things that noisier kids who unwittingly attract adult attention with their shenanigans might not.

So there was baby Lydia quietly looking around in an unfamiliar place when she noticed that Sebastian wasn’t speaking English! I stared at him in amazement as he had a conversation in French. (He speaks Spanish, too, although I don’t think he spoke it that day).

Then little Lydia saw an untidy pile of shoes near the door. She didn’t approve of such nonsense and decided to fix the problem by matching up all of the shoes with their mates and then placing every pair of shoes neatly by the door.

I imagine the grownups noticed what I was doing as they spoke to each other. Since no one intervened, I was able to straighten up every single shoe and be satisfied with a job well done.

Whatever toddler behaviour my uncle might have been expecting from me, this was not it. Everyone was amused by how I’d decided to keep myself busy and useful while the grownups talked. I’d like to think Uncle Joe and his friends placed their shoes neatly by the door a few times after we left just for the fun of remembering the little one who cleaned up after them.

Here’s another funny twist to the tale.  My untidy childhood bedroom sometimes annoyed my poor mother who is naturally good at organizing stuff and keeping everything in its proper place, but I have slowly become better at that skill as an adult. To this day, I still love fiddling around with things and organizing them into various ways even if I’m never quite as tidy as mom is.


Filed under Blog Hops

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: My Favourite Subject in School and Why

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

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

A black female teacher wearing black pants and a floral pink, purple, blue, and red blouse standing in front of a whiteboard. She has written the word English on the board and is looking at her students as they give her other words to put below it. Names like “Ringa,” “EBJ,” “Klas” have already been placed there using plastic alphabet letters that are in bright primary colours like red, blue, and green. I don’t think anyone will be surprised by this answer, but English was my favourite subject in school.

My family spoke Standard English at home, and my parents would lovingly correct us if we use the wrong verb form, misused punctuation, or made some other mistake. (Rarely, they still do!) This meant that the grammar, spelling, and punctuation portions of this class were intuitive to me 99% of the time because they’d been reinforced and taught at home for my entire life.

I loved reading in general, so the literature portion of this class was easy and enjoyable for me as well. I was the sort of student who tried to read every story in my textbook each year and was always slightly disappointed by how many I liked that we were never formally assigned.

History was a class I liked almost as much as English most years, although I preferred reading about it on my own on school breaks so I could focus on topics I really enjoyed such as the lives of ordinary people in various eras. It was interesting to see the patterns in history as well as to learn how so many different people have fought to make our world a kinder and better place.


Filed under Blog Hops

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: The First Website I Remember Visiting

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

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

A black magnifying glass magnifying a page that has the word facts printed on it over and over again for ten lines. The words are written in white ink and have been placed on a blue surface. The first website I remember visiting is Snopes.com.

When I was a kid, there were some people in my life who liked to forward chain emails about all sorts of conspiracy theories and urban legends. Their critical thinking skills were rather weak at times, so I eventually began looking up everything they sent me on Snopes and replying to them with links to that site that disproved rumours like the one about strangers giving out poisoned Halloween candy or the one about people being drugged by strangers and having their kidneys stolen.

Sometimes that link was all I replied with if the conspiracy theory or urban legend was a bigoted and/or ridiculous one. I’m a patient person in general, but I draw a firm line at stuff that is used to harm people or that is so obviously untrue even a child should be immediately suspicious of it.

Eventually, they stopped forwarding any of those sorts of emails to me at all.

Adult Lydia would have been a bit more tactful when sharing links to disprove yet another wacky email, but I still think that people should research the information they share online before insisting that Scary Internet Story #567 is 100% true and that everyone should panic about things that a) are so vague no one has found proof of them really happening, b) are medically or scientifically impossible, and/or c) have been recklessly misinterpreted in the worst possible light while leaving out information that is critical to understanding the truth. Mixing what is at best a teaspoon of fractured facts into a frothy gallon of pure nonsense helps no one except scam artists.

Now I’m wondering if I should start reading Snopes again. I only have a couple of people still left in my life who believe in conspiracy theories and urban legends, so I don’t know too much about the current crop of them.

If you have a favourite lighthearted urban legend or conspiracy theory, tell me about it. I’m personally intrigued by the Area 51 lore and what the U.S. government might really be doing there.


Filed under Blog Hops

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Scariest Real Life Ghost Story

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.

Blurry black-and-white photo of a ghostly-white woman wearing a long-sleeved dress and wearing her black hair half over her face. Unless you count the loud footsteps that sometimes rumble up and down my in-laws stairs (but that are probably just coming from a noisy neighbour in the other home in their duplex), I have never seen or interacted with a ghost.

With that being said, my father had a frightening and bizarre experience one night while sleeping at my grandfather’s home about thirty years ago.

This home was built by my grandfather on land that has been in our family for generations. There have been no sudden deaths, acts of violence, or any other tragedies in that house or on that land for as long as anyone in the family can recall. It’s a peaceful place, and yet the story of the black-eyed woman still happened.

Dad was sleeping in bed next to mom when he felt the bed gently shake as someone sat on it in the middle of the night. He awoke to see his wife sitting on the end of the bed staring at him.

It took him a minute to remember that mom did not have black eyes. That is to say, the eyes of the woman looking him did not have pupils, irises, or sclera. They were coal black from beginning to end. She otherwise looked exactly like his wife.

He looked over to the side and saw his actual wife sleeping quietly beside him, so he reached forward to swat the black-eyed stranger away. His hand couldn’t touch anything solid where she sat, and yet she was still there looking at him.

”Get out in the name of Jesus!” He said to the black-eyed woman. She disappeared like a mist.

He was not able to fall back asleep again that night.

Let’s add a few more pieces of information to the mystery:

1) During that time, my parents were trying to decide whether to make some life-changing career decisions that would make it much easier for them to pay the bills and even save a little bit of money for the future. Saying yes to those opportunities would also increase their stress and decrease the amount of time they had for anything other than work and finishing college (for my mom) and mean our family would need to move a few thousand miles away from where we lived at the time.

2) My father has seasonal allergies that required him to take allergy medicine before bed in order to be decongested enough to sleep. He is also known to be someone who occasionally has trouble transitioning from sleeping to being fully alert, especially if he’s interrupted during deep sleep.

3) They belonged to a denomination that worried about evil spirits and demons more than many other faiths and denominations do. Avoiding and casting out these spirits were common topics of conversation in our social circles.

So this could have been a hypnogogic hallucination. That is to say, a hallucination that took place while his brain was still in the process of waking up. These types of hallucinations can include seeing, feeling, and hearing things that are not actually there because your mind is still dreaming at that time. They are not dangerous, just a quirk of the human mind.

On the other hand, my mother has a sibling who had night terrors and incidents of sleep walking when he slept in that room as a kid. Maybe it’s a coincidence, or maybe not.

No one else has seen the black-eyed woman at my grandparents’ home to the best of my knowledge, but this is the scariest real-life (possible?) ghost story I know. I will leave it up to all of you decide if you’d rather believe it was a spirit, a mental process that can be explained by our current understanding of psychology and neurology, or something else entirely.

Happy (almost) Halloween!


Filed under Blog Hops

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Have You Met Anyone Famous? Who?

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.

A black squiggly autograph

The Internet says this is supposed to be an autograph.

I’ve never met anyone who is universally famous like Beyoncé or President Obama, so my answer to this question depends on your definition of the term fame and which social circles we may or may not have in common. Here are a few people who are famous in some subcultures that I’ve been in the same room with.

Curtis Hinds

Those of you who have followed my site for a while might remember that I was a preacher’s kid growing up. Curtis was (and still is) well known as a travelling pastor and speaker in certain Protestant circles. I knew him as a family friend who would occasionally come to visit us in the Midwestern portion of the United States or take us out to dinner when we travelled up to Ontario.

He was (and I’m sure still is) a friendly man who always had amusing new stories to share about his travels.


Robert J. Sawyer

Robert is one of Canada’s most famous science fiction authors. I’ve blogged about several of his books here like “Calculating God” and the Neanderthal Parallax Trilogy in previous posts.

He sometimes pops up at various literary events and festivals in Toronto. I’ve met him once so far. He was a kind and welcoming man to everyone around him that day, so do say hello if you also enjoy his work and see him around at a bookish event someday.


Devon Soltendieck

This one might take a little bit of explaining. Much Music is a tv channel that is like Canada’s version of MTV. Devon was a Much Music host in the 2000s. In the mid-2000s, I was riding the subway when I saw someone who looked really familiar to me. I couldn’t stop staring at him as I tried to figure out why he was so familiar.

“Okay, so how are we related?” I silently asked myself. I had occasionally run into distant cousins and other relatives whom I recognized but whose names did not immediately come to mind when I lived in the United States. Due to this, I assumed it was another case of me seeing a third cousin or something and needing some time to realize we shared recent ancestors.

It was only after I’d arrived back home and turned on the TV that I realized I’d probably seen a famous person instead.

He was facing away from me on the subway, so I hope he didn’t notice me staring at him. I would have politely ignored him if I realized we didn’t actually need to play the “how are we related” game after all. Ha!


Person photographing her white dog. That is the sum total of my celebrity experiences. I tend to avoid celebrity culture and take an alternate route if I see paparazzi clogging up a sidewalk here in Toronto, but I hope everyone who is into that sort of stuff has plenty of opportunities to rub elbows with celebrities if they so desire to.

I’m ending this post with a stock photo of someone photographing her dog because the thought of domesticated animals being famous makes me giggle. (Although there are some famous furry friends out there, too).



Filed under Blog Hops

Top Ten Tuesday: Books With an Adjective In the Title

Hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

The following words are written on a green background: adjectives, verbs, prepositions, nouns, tenses, activate, study, adverbs, learning grammar. Here’s a quick and humorous story about adjectives before I dive into this week’s prompt.

When I was in elementary school, our teacher had us write poems that needed to have a specific number of adjectives, adverbs, nouns, and other parts of speech in certain portions of the poem.

I was a little unsure about what made an adjective different from the other parts of speech, so I opened a nearby dictionary and selected words based in large part on what the dictionary said about which part of speech each one belonged to.

This is probably not exactly what my teacher was hoping we’d do, but I finished the project and technically followed all of the rules for it.

1. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

2. The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne

3. The Ballad of the Sad Cafe by Edward Albee

4. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz

5. The Case of the Perfect Maid – a Miss Marple Short Story by Agatha Christie

6. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

7. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald

8. The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo by Zen Cho

9. The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

10. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi


Filed under Blog Hops