Archive for Friends & Stuff

Meaningful Blog Awards


Well well! Mariana Blaser at the Randomities blog has given me the Happy 101 Award! According to Mariana’s description, it means that we are supposed to list ten things that make us happy, and then pass the Award to five people.

Mariana has become one of my special pals, both on Twitter and then on Facebook, and I visit her blog as often as I can. Which was how I noticed this little matter of the award. 🙂

Some of you may have noticed that when I get one of these, I’m usually so frantically busy that I say “I’ll come back to it,” and then usually forget. And I’m also a bit reluctant about them, anyway; I don’t pass on chain emails either. But I really appreciate Mariana’s friendship, and her concern during February and early March, when I’d been sick (and I returned the concern for her, for similar reasons). And I’m really honoured to be so highly regarded. So here are the ten things that make me happy, and then I’ll list five other people (only five?? eeek!) who I also admire.

  1. Cats. Sorry, but this one always comes first for me. There is nothing on earth that makes me happier than looking into a little cat face, stroking soft cat fur, and holding a sleeping cat along my side at night in bed. I look at a cat and my soul sings. So this one’s first.
  2. Great friends. This one did, at least, come in at #2! I grew up being bullied by virtually all the kids in my schools right through high school, and only ever had one friend at a time until I was about 19. So when I say I love and appreciate the astonishingly large number of friends I have now, both online and in person, I really mean it.
  3. Writing. My passion and my joy. I feel like I was born with a pen in my hand. I love my stories and my characters, and love my non-fiction writing too.
  4. Mythology. There’s a reason I always list this as one of my main interests on any online community I register on. I love mythology! Greek, of course, which I grew up on, but that’s been overtaken and surpassed by other greater loves: Celtic, Hindu, Norse, Egyptian, Mesopotamian, with smatterings of Teutonic. I’d study myth all day long if I could. Well…half the day, since I’d be writing during the other half.
  5. Anime. I can hear some of you: “What? It came as low as fifth??” But I do madly love certain anime series, and the genre in general. I’ve just been watching Rah-Xephon again, and marvelling anew at the richness of the coloring and drawing, the fascinating, dramatic characters, and the utter incomprehensible nature of the story. (Heehee!) The artistry of anime is a wonder to me, but some series have such great stories that I feel happy every time I see them. My favourite? Of course, anything relating to Fullmetal Alchemist. But beyond that, all the Gundam series I’ve seen, Noir, Maria Watches Over Us, and the delightful Princess Tutu. With Steam Detectives as a guilty pleasure. (Ah, LeBled, we hardly knew ye!)
  6. Ancient history and languages. Another thing I could read all day. If, you know, I wasn’t writing, and reading mythology, and watching anime. Hm. This is getting complicated. My favourite areas of the world for ancient history are Egypt, India, Greece, Mesopotamia, and Turkey. Languages that fascinate me most: Sanskrit, Latin, the gleanings we have of original Indo-European, and languages that used cuneiform. (I joke that when it comes to history, languages, and even myth, my personal motto should be “The Deader the Better.”)
  7. Libraries. Honestly, give me a university library and I could live in it.
  8. Toronto. I am happy every day to be living in this most multi-cultural city in the world. I love that I can walk a few blocks and have Indian food or hop three stops down the subway and get Greek or Thai. I love that Toronto will regularly shut its streets down for Caribana or the Pride Parade, or the Word on the Street celebration of books. I love Doors Open Toronto, where we get to explore our heritage buildings for a weekend. I love the diversity and the fact that in the apartment complex across the street from mine, there are at least ninety-seven different languages spoken from almost every culture in the world.
  9. Indian food. I lived for much of my life without ever having discovered this. NOM.
  10. Books. This may be cheating, since I already mentioned libraries, but no, I don’t think so. I have books of my own too, you know. (2000 or more by now.) There have been times when I’ve been very depressed, and walked into the room with most of my bookcases, and just stood looking at all the shelves, and felt better. I love my books. I love my books. I love my books.

So there are the ten things! And now five people who I really admire and appreciate. They may not be the sort of people who pass awards around from blog to blog, but I want to at least mention them.

  1. Kiirstin, from the A Book a Week blog. I love reading her blog, and just generally chatting with her, there and on Twitter. She’s a Canadian librarian.
  2. Another Canadian librarian! Am I collecting them?? Melanie, from the Indextrious Reader blog. Another person I really enjoy chatting with on Twitter, and whose blog I love.
  3. Stephanie, from the Rocket Scientist blog (she really is!) and the Ask Me Anything blog (go ahead — ask her; she gives great, thoughtful answers). (In fact, the most recent question she answered was one that I had asked, about the idea of having an “elevator” to space.)
  4. Nicola at the Alpha Heroes blog. I’ve learned so much from her, about a genre I haven’t paid much heed to until now.
  5. Daisy (and Harley) at Daisy the Curly Cat. If you’re a cat lover and haven’t yet discovered this utterly delightful cat, run to this blog — now. Daisy is, among other things, a very fashionable cat.

And there ya go. One of my more…wordy…missives. Have a good weekend!

Browsing and Books


You may have noticed that I haven’t been able to do my Sunday morning browse through my blogroll in recent months. Life has just been too packed with STUFF, unfortunately. I may see if I can do a couple peeks at a time every day or two, rather than end up spending the 2 or more hours on Sunday doing it. It was meant as something I could do quickly, and yet promote the blogs I’m linked to,  but alas, turned into something more time-consuming. I’ll see how I can tweak the practice.

But in the meantime! Doing a genuine, more leisurely browse today just by entering “book blogs” into Google and seeing what comes up. And there are some interesting tidbits.

For example, Bill Clinton’s reading list from this past August. I found it on Quill & Quire, Canada’s big publishing and literary magazine, but it was originally posted on the LA Times’ Jacket Copy blog, after Mr. Clinton wrote to them. Always fascinating to see what a really intelligent person is reading.

Then there’s Cake Wrecks. You must have seen this brilliant blog by now, surely? And enjoyed – with delicious horror – some of the cake decorating debacles pictured there? Well now you’re in for an even greater treat: Cake Wrecks. First the blog, now the book.  That’s right – Jen Yates, the proprietor of the Cake Wrecks blog has produced a book featuring some of the…well, can you really say “best”?…cake wrecks out there. Can’t wait to see it! All that gooey horror in one place!

So, those are a couple of quick tidbits from the book world this week. I’ll try to do more over the next few days, and get this thing running properly again. We’ll see if Life will allow it.

Meanwhile — happy reading! And if you’re a writer, remember, NaNoWriMo is in 13 days! Eeeek!

Feeding a baby racoon!

A lovely treat for you today! This is one of my online acquaintances, Maryellen, feeding a baby raccoon. She works with her local wildlife services to help baby animals who have lost their mother survive, and then she trains them to go back into the wild. She just finished raising two baby squirrels, and now here’s a raccoon who needs taking care of. (There will be three raccoon babies to raise, by the time she’s done.)

You can just tell, watching her, that this is what she was born to do. And all these dear little animals benefit from having this human “mother.”

She writes about wildlife too, at the Nature, Read in Tooth and Claw blog. It’s well worth checking out, and spending time reading. And you can subscribe to her videos at maryellenks’s Channel on YouTube.

Browsing with the Special Pals


Today I’m going to divert from my usual tour through the Bookish blogs in my blogroll, and concentrate on those in the Special Pals section. Because they’re very important to me too, even if they’re not explicitly book-related blogs. And some are fellow exiles, which makes them even more important to me, because we’ve shared some tribulations in the past month! And therefore…

Kelly at 30 Something and Searching has a lovely tribute to moms for this Mother’s day, and then if you scroll down a bit, you’ll see a hilarious tourism promo she wrote for Chicago. It’s…perhaps not quite what the city would want in a Tourism Ambassador.

Over at Ask Me Anything, we find one of the two people in the “Special Pals” blogroll who appears there twice. Stephanie also writes the Rocket Scientist blog, which was my first introduction to her, and which drew me in immediately. Rocket Scientist is part science blog, part writing, part whatever. It’s “science” because Stephanie works at NASA (had her 20th anniversary this past week, in fact), and “writing” because she also writes novels. This past week, she’s been discussing how to write characters in particular. At Ask Me Anything, she takes questions from the comments section and writes her proposed answers, or at least her thoughts on the matter, in a post in the next day or two. This past week, she’s dealt with some rather heavy topics, mostly about parenting, but also about keeping a relationship healthy and helping it survive some of life’s big health issues.

In another vein altogether, we find one of my favourite blogs in the whole world: Daisy the Curly Cat. This features Daisy, a dilute calico Devon Rex cat, who entertains her readers by modelling some very stylish clothes, giving her observations on important matters, and trying to mentor her little brother, Harley. Daisy’s blog is one of the most delightful experiences on the Web. In the past week, Daisy grew her own pet flamingo in a bowl of water, and paid tribute to her big sister, Pixie, who crossed the Rainbow Bridge last September. And! Daisy is one of the finalists in the Hallmark Greeting Card competition! You can vote for her at this stage by buying one of the cards, using the very handy photo link in the top right-hand location on the blog! This makes me very unhappy that I’m totally broke right now.

Switching gears again, we visit Jen at Dark Passenger. She still has her blog by the same name, but has set up a sister blog as well. People who have read and loved the Dexter books (as I have) will know immediately where she got the name. She talks about certain paranormal things, but also does a lot about vampires. This past week she had the excitement of being interviewed about her research on modern-day vamirism, the interview being featured on City Talk FM in Liverpool.

Kitchen Retro brings us to the second person to appear in “Special Pals” twice. Lidian also writes the Virtual Dime Museum blog. The former is more humourous, featuring mostly products that used to be marketed and sold. These things are…indescribable. Well, not entirely; Lidian does a masterful (and hilarious!) job of telling us all about a great zit cream from 1951, trouser fasteners from the 1930s (that one was my favourite for the week; may be my all-time favourite, in fact), or the 1961 “Aeromobile,” which supposedly was a vehicle that ran only on a fan. You want to laugh hysterically, not just at these old ads but at Lidian’s commentary and that of her commenters — go there. Now. As to the Virtual Dime Museum, it’s more of a historical blog. It’s very much ad-based as well, but Lidian often researches the lives of entertainers and others, like some very slipper snake oil salesmen. Both of these blogs are well worth a visit, as often as you can manage.

Nontraditional Students R Us is another blog by Flit (who is on my book blogroll as well, for Flitting Through Canadian Fiction). In this blog, she discusses what it’s like to be an adult going back to university for a degree. Right now she’s enjoying the fact that the term is over. Doing some gardening. Waiting to get started on a great summer job. Having a well-earned rest.

And then we have Mike, at Science Fun. Back to science, with a vengeance! Mike likes to talk about various things you can do to, as the blog name suggests, have fun with science. But one great feature of the blog in recent weeks has been his weekly discussions of the components of the Apollo moon-landing missions. This past week, he got to what I am most interested in: the Lunar Module itself. And on Tuesday he reminded us that it was the 48th anniversary of the day that Alan B. Shephard became the first American to be launched into space.

And that’s what all of my not-exactly-book-related but still very special pals have been up to this past week. So many fun and interesting things they do! When we need a break from book-immersion, these are always great places to visit.

Have a very good week!

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