Thursday, January 31, 2019

Blog All About It: First

I was thinking what would be a great idea for this theme...I've seen quite a few fellow bloggers talk about their bloggiversarys and I've never really done that. Maybe once or twice over the time I've been blogging. But I thought it would be a fun trip down memory lane to look back at my very first blog post!

My Love of Language

Source: University of Florida Linguistics department
Isn't it amazing??!! Language! It's how we communicate with the world! We are the only species on the planet that are able to manipulate language, to think for ourselves. Every day we speak and think sentences that have never been thought of before or even spoken. Look at how we learn our first language; it seems so flawless. I wish we could all learn a second language like we learned our first! There are over 6,000 languages in the world and all of them different and unique.
I earned a degree in Linguistics due my love of language and thought that I would share some thoughts on language in my life and in the world at large. I will include references to check as well when I need to!
I learned Spanish when I spent about 18 months in Spain and the Canary Islands and when I returned home I decided to keep on studying it at school. One of the classes I elected to take was Introduction to Linguistics. I loved it! It was an amazing class and taught me so much about how language influences our lives. And thus began my studies and love of language (I ended up getting my degree in both Spanish and Linguistics). Not that I actually use these degrees at the moment...I may eventually get my Master's in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) at the college level for adults. But since I still love it and am not in school anymore these blog entries will help me keep up on language and refresh what I've already learned! I hope you enjoy!

I posted this on May 5, 2009. Ta da! My official bloggiversary. I didn't even know. I had graduated from college two years earlier with my Linguistics degree still pretty fresh in my head. I definitely weaned off the language aspect and ended up with a book blog. But I'm ok with that. I still would like to share some interesting tidbits of language news. I also am still contemplating getting a Master's in TESOL but I honestly don't know yet!

It's been fun remembering my love of Linguistics and languages in general. I should really plan some more posts around that. Thanks for taking a ride through memory lane with me.

*part of the Blog All About It challenge

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Week-In-Review: Ballroom!

January has been a doozy. We just found out our water main has been broken for around 3 or so months but only got bad in the last two months...and we only found out when our neighbor discovered their water main leak. So now it's finding that leak and figuring out how to fix ourselves! But we have a pretty tight-knit community and everyone is coming together to help dig and fix this weekend.

And this weekend we all got sick with el gripe...or in my case a sinus infection. If that digs in deep I end up at the doctor's office and prescription of antibiotics.

But on a happier note G had his first ballroom competition a couple of weekends ago. He was very nervous and did a lot of crying the night before and the next morning. He was brave and he did his competition and his school won the Bronze in the beginning level category. I'm a proud mama. He can look back at this experience and say: "I CAN do hard things." It's been such an esteem booster for him. Proud, proud mama!


Books Finished: 

  • Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs

Books I'm Currently Reading:

  • Hello World: Being Human in the Age of Algorithms by Hannah Fry
  • And I Darken by Kiersten White
  • On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
  • Sense of Style: A Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century by Steven Pinker
  • The Truth As Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor (reading aloud before bed with G)

Listening to: 

  • The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South by Michael W. Twitty (on Audible)
  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. Finally got this one from the library and dived on in! I don't have very long and there's a huge waitlist...


  • Netflix's: Tidying Up With Marie Kondo (2019). Finished this one this week. Lots of great ideas but have been thinking of what will work for me and my family and what won't and am trying to get it sorted for when we tackle it all in a month or two!
  • Netflix's: Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes. I sat through all four episodes in two nights. I thought I knew a lot about Bundy but nope. I'm from Utah and had always heard about Bundy and his killings growing up. My mom was obsessed (rightfully so...) But I was too young to remember much and wow. He is scarier that I ever thought. The whole thing left me speechless. If you love true-crime this is not to be missed!
  • Fox's: The Passage. It's based on Justin Cronin's trilogy. I'm impressed. It's a lot better than I expected. I'm definitely going to pick up the series this year.
  • Fox's: The Orville. It's no Star Trek: The Next Generation, but I know it's not trying to be. It's just what I need right now: Stupid optimism and cheesy lines.
  • Netflix's: Grace & Frankie. This is also what I need right now!

  • The Endless (2017)
  • Byzantium (2012)
(Actual reviews to come...)


I finished my blanket for my great niece and nephew! I need to take pictures before I get them off later this week.

Looking Forward to:

Groundhog Day! Which corresponds to Imbolc--or Candlemas as well. I try to do something; it'll probably be small this year with me not feeling great this week. But I will throw something together. 

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Cat Thursday-- Homeless Cat Finds New Life

Cat Thursday is hosted by Michelle at True Book Addict. It's a way to celebrate all things cat!

This story comes from Bored Panda about a homeless cat found in South Florida, Cotton.  Carmen Weinberg runs the Animal Friends Project Inc. and was heart-broken when Cotton made her way to him. He was mange-ridden and mite-bitten and was on the verge of death.

After lots of love and medical care Cotton was able to open up his eyes!

What a beauty! Go read the whole article over at Bored Panda. It's a touching story. I love that she didn't give up on this guy. And now he's a healthy and happy addition to her fur baby family. 

*All pics are sourced from the article at Bored Panda.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Top 10 Tuesday-- Books I Meant to Read in 2018....

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Books I meant to get to in 2018 but didn't...

1. The Passage by Justin Cronin. I've been meaning to read this one for a lot longer that 2018 but was hoping to get to it during Halloween time. But I have more incentive this year with the new TV show on Fox.


2. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. I bought this book a month before it came out in theaters thinking it would make a great late summer read but it ended up being a bit longer than I was expecting. I did get almost halfway through before I had to abandon for horror October. But I do want to finish this year!
3. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman. I listened to most of it during the summer but I didn't quite finish it before I had to return it and then I was on the waitlist for a few more months and decided to retry a different time. But it was really good. So I may try again this summer.

4. The Woman's Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote by Elaine F. Weiss. I started it but other books popped up. I'm planning on starting it in March or April.

5. Bless Me, Ultima by Rudulpho Anaya. I found out about this through PBS' The Great American Read. It's been on my list since then!

6. The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa. I heard good things last year but never managed to pick it up.

7. Blackwater Rising by Attica Locke. I read her first book and loved it so I meant to get to her other ones.

8. Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression--and the Unexpected Solutions by Johann Yahari. I find books about sociological issues especially about communities and social connections fascinating. This one has been on my radar for awhile. Hopefully this year!

9. Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker. I'm a terrible sleeper and this has been on my radar since 2017 when it came out. Definitely this year.

10. Ask Me About My Uterus: A Quest to Make Doctors Believe in Women's Pain by Abby Norman. Something I've experienced myself in my dealings with doctors.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Blog All About It 2019

I only sign up for really small challenges officially on my blog. They're just too hard to keep track of with my blog and then I end up feeling guilty that I didn't do them... But I do print some off and try to do what I can. I love signing up for small seasonal one which I will continue to do throughout the year. But Velvet from vvb32 reads did a challenge last year called Blog All About It from Herding Cats and Burning Soup. You take a one-word prompt and do a blog post around it each month. That is doable! I need a little more imagination this year and this feels like a great way to do it. It's not a reading challenge; it's not weekly. So I feel like this is very doable.

2019 Prompts

Jan- First
Feb- Pink
Mar- Luck
April- Sweet
May- Bloom
June- Risk
July- Heat
Aug- Sky
Sept- Crunch
Oct- Shiver
Nov- Thankful
Dec- Twinkle

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Week-in-Review: January 16

Another week for the books. I've been spending the last week and this week trying to get back to a routine. The holidays always throw me off for a bit till I can get my feet wet. Also, it's tough as a family to get back into a routine. G had a really hard week his first week back. Getting up, focusing at school, back to swimming and other after-school activities were a chore.

I'm trying to get a good schedule down I can stick to. I'm going to take one class online and do a little transcription from home as well and it's been hard to find a set schedule. I try and fail then try again! It's all about finding that sweet spot. 

I'm also doing a meditation challenge with 10% Happier. It's an online meditation app that helps the fidgety skeptics like me get going on this truly beneficial practice. It's a three-week challenge for free that allows me access to a free meditation exercise each day. It's been so helpful to recharge me and get me motivated in the mornings. And I've been doing some journal prompts as well to get my mind adjusted to mind dumping and thinking in the mornings as well. So I'll see how this all plays out in the next few weeks as I work on getting everything into a schedule! Wish me luck.

This last weekend we got out of our house and into the mountains! As a family gift we each got snow shoes and decided to finally use them this weekend. We needed to get out of the inversion northern Utah gets during the winter months. It's terrible and we just don't get enough storms to clear it out frequently. So cabin fever is a thing and the only way to avoid the awful air pollution is to get above it--to the mountains!!!!


I also took my dear friend out to brunch for her birthday!

Books Finished: 

  • Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  • Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

Books I'm Currently Reading:

  • Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs
  • And I Darken by Kiersten White
  • On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
  • The Truth As Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor (reading aloud before bed with G)

Listening to: 

  • The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South by Michael W. Twitty (on Audible)
  • RadioLab



  • Netflix's: Tidying Up With Marie Kondo (2019). I definitely want rewatch with DH and get going on some of these organizing ideas and junk overhaul in our house! I can't do this alone.
  • Netflix's: You (2018). This is one twisted but binge-worthy TV show. I think it originally aired on Lifetime.
  • Amazon Prime's: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (2017). I just finished up the second season. I enjoyed it but the first season was better. This season was very uneven and hard to follow. But it was light and fun and always needed during the winter.
  • Amazon Prime's: A Very English Scandal (2018): I made it through the first episode. It's short but it's a lot darker than I was expecting...
  • Roma (2018). A beautiful and well-shot story.
  • Escape Room (2019). Not great but not terrible.
  • Hotel Artemis (2018). Interesting and fun.
  • First Reformed (2017): I liked this little Indie with Ethan Hawke
(Actual reviews to come...)


Last week I made a couple of dinners from my instant pot that were a success! This week will be some good old standbys to get us through like tacos and peanut Thai chicken.

I'm still working on finishing my crocheted blanket. Hopefully this weekend and then I can send it one and its sister to my niece and her two littles. 

Looking Forward to:

G has a little ballroom performance Saturday. It's a minor competition and he's a little nervous about it but he'll be great and it's giving him experience.

We also have friends coming down on Friday night for some drinks and games. It'll be good to relax and talk.

How do you get out of the winter blues? I always have a really hard time in January even with all the focus on cleaning up and starting new resolutions and goals and habits. I get so depressed after the holidays are over.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Book Review: We're Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union

2019-01-10 10.05.27

We're Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union
Published: 2017 by Dey Street Books
Genre: Essays, Memoir
Kindle: 264 pages

Goodreads Summary:

In the spirit of Amy Poehler’s Yes Please, Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl, and Roxane Gay's Bad Feminist, a powerful collection of essays about gender, sexuality, race, beauty, Hollywood, and what it means to be a modern woman.
One month before the release of the highly anticipated film The Birth of a Nation, actress Gabrielle Union shook the world with a vulnerable and impassioned editorial in which she urged our society to have compassion for victims of sexual violence. In the wake of rape allegations made against director and actor Nate Parker, Union—a forty-four-year-old actress who launched her career with roles in iconic ’90s movies—instantly became the insightful, outspoken actress that Hollywood has been desperately awaiting. With honesty and heartbreaking wisdom, she revealed her own trauma as a victim of sexual assault: "It is for you that I am speaking. This is real. We are real."
In this moving collection of thought provoking essays infused with her unique wisdom and deep humor, Union uses that same fearlessness to tell astonishingly personal and true stories about power, color, gender, feminism, and fame. Union tackles a range of experiences, including bullying, beauty standards, and competition between women in Hollywood, growing up in white California suburbia and then spending summers with her black relatives in Nebraska, coping with crushes, puberty, and the divorce of her parents. Genuine and perceptive, Union bravely lays herself bare, uncovering a complex and courageous life of self-doubt and self-discovery with incredible poise and brutal honesty. Throughout, she compels us to be ethical and empathetic, and reminds us of the importance of confidence, self-awareness, and the power of sharing truth, laughter, and support.

First Sentence:

"This kind of feels like a first date."

My Thoughts:

I first watched Union in the movie "10 Things I Hate About You" from the late 90s. I knew she was a working actress but I didn't see a lot of her stuff. But I'd heard good things about this collection of essays and I also love wine so I gave it a try.

I'm so glad I did. Union holds back no punches on her experiences as a black woman in American and Hollywood. She jumps around from growing up in white suburbia California to spending summers with extended family in Nebraska. She talks candidly about the microaggressions she dealt with being one of the only black kids at her high school, her sexual assault while at work, dealing with the pettiness of Hollywood and random people on the streets thinking they can co-opt her time whenever they want.

She also shares fun stories about working on various sets and the closeness she felt for everyone she's worked with.

I must admit there were many times I felt the sting of being white. There were stories that were very uncomfortable for me. I grew up in a very isolated white community and think back to my insensitive and ignorant comments. Yikes. Or how I haven't seen in her much in movies over the last 10 years or so....well, that's my own damn fault. She's been working in movies but not for mainstream white audiences like me. I'm the one that hasn't stretched myself out to see her movies.

I loved her story about reading Judy Blume. That's how she learned about her period and what it all means! "...repeat after me: I resolve to embrace my sexuality and my freedom to do with my body parts as I see fit. And I will learn about my body so I can take care of it and get the pleasure I deserve. I will share that information with anyone and everyone, and not police the usage of any vagina but my own. So help Judy Blume."

She opens up about empowering those younger and mentoring the generation to come. "Women like Regina King, Tichina Arnold...went out of their way to mentor and educate the next generation. That empowerment is why we have Taraji P. Henson, Kerry Washington, Viola Davis...starring in TV shows and producing films. That creates more work for the next woman up. That's what can happen when we mentor and empower. That's what happens when we realize that any joy we find in the next woman's pain or struggle is just a refelction of our won pain...Instead, I want to heal her and me."

"At the end, we are our stories, some shared and some lived alone."

Her shout out to her mother on how she is raising another relative's children: "I see you, Mom. I see what you are doing for these kids, and how you keep them together. I give you respect, because nobody is going to give you praise for doing what black women have done forever, raising kids who are not their own."

"There are so many more people than you realize...people who look up to the same sun and the moon and the stars. It's your birthright to explore this world. It's only as small as you make it."

I loved her stories and her bravery for sharing her very personal experiences with all of us. 

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Cat Thursday-- Happy New Year, Cat Style

Cat Thursday is hosted by Michelle at True Book Addict. It's a way to celebrate all things cat!

From an article from the Bored Panda site comes some pretty hilarious photos of cats crashing Nativity scenes! LOL. Check out the link for the full perusal of photos. I've picked just a few to share. Enjoy!

"Come all ye and worship me..."

"Our cat Loki invaded next door's nativity scene, his face is hilarious"

"The Jesus in our crib is a bit fat, furry, and pointy-eared...but undeniably cute!"

"There was a cat in the manger with baby Jesus..."

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Mini Book Reviews: The Wedding Date

I fall so far behind in my reviews. So it's time for a some quick mini reviews to finally catch up!

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

This was the perfect romantic read I needed during the holiday break! Alexa meets sexy and handsome white-boy Drew in an elevator when it loses power and they have nothing to do except eat her cheese and crackers. He needs a date for his ex-girlfriend's wedding...she agrees cuz she's got nothing to lose...

Alexa is smart and funny. She calls Drew on his BS. They're sexy times are sweet and romantic and I love all the food and wine and beer they can eat and drink without worrying about hangovers or extra pounds! It's a very smart romance with great characters. A lot of romances have the man the alpha and the female the inexperienced damsel. But Drew and Alexa are equal and have much to learn and teach each other. Loved it.

It's sweet and you know it'll all end well but it's the journey that's fun.

The Serpent's Secret by Sayantani DasGupta

Finished this cute story with G over the break. It's a story about a Kiranmala whose parents go missing one day and ends up getting help from two young Indian princes. She soon learns she's a princess from a faraway land and that rakkhoshi demons are holding her parents prisoner. It's a fun ride through various Hindu mythology, worlds and creatures. We're looking forward book two!

Infidel by Pornsak Pichetshote

I loved looking at and reading this gem of a graphic novel. Horror is a great element to talk about the awful things happening in the world and this one was spot on. What happens when a person's hate is made manifest into a living breathing and terrifying monster? Well, read this story and find out. It's creepy and a great story about letting our hate go.

A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas

I needed a fun mystery and this was fun. I liked this fun take on the Sherlock Holmes' novels. Charlotte is brilliant but socially awkward and is still human thus makes some dumb decisions. But she's resourceful and ingenious. I liked the sexual tension story line too with her best friend from childhood. Not sure where they'll take it, though.

Probably the one thing I didn't like was there really wasn't a big crime to solve. It was just an origin story mostly for Lady Charlotte so the mystery portion was neglected and ended up being pretty lackluster. I'm hoping the next one in the series is better.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Welcome 2019!

I made, my family made it, we all made it to 2019! We're alive. I'm grateful. Nothing crazy happened over the holidays but I really want to center and draw myself around the things that are truly great in my life. It can go quickly and so it's important to remember the good so we can draw on that when the bad inevitably comes knocking.

We rang in the New Year with family friends in Las Vegas. We rented an Airbnb and just relaxed and ate food and had drinks and played lots of games. It was just great to get to a warmer climate and relax with friends for a few days. Our cats missed us but they survived!

2019-01-05 09.51.13_edit

My car is finally in the shop and hopefully it gets fixed up soon!

So now it's the planning stage. I have some goals and I need to work on the smaller ones so I can get to the bigger ones. I plan on taking and finishing an HTML class. I've started one or two so many times that my goal is to finally get a class finished.

I finished up a few books while on vacation and over the winter break.

1. The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory. I plan on getting a review up soon. I loved it and it was perfect for what I needed.

2. G and I finished up The Serpent's Secret by Sayantani DasGupta. We both loved the cute story and the wonderful and fantastic world they lived in.

3. A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas. A lady Sherlock mystery series. I liked it.

4. Infidel by Pornsak Pichetshote. A horror in graphic novel form. I got this for Christmas and read it the day of. Freaky and beautifully or (terrifyingly?) drawn.

2018-12-30 15.25.04

2018-12-31 15.23.23

They made it to the top!