Thursday, October 29, 2015

Thursday 13: 2015 Etsy Halloween Finds

I'm sure this week's topic comes as no surprise with Halloween on Saturday!  (All photos from the Etsy shops.  Click on description to visit the shop.)

1.  Cozy-looking sweatshirt.

2.  Ridiculously fun Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein pillows.

3.  Cute burlap pumpkins.

4.  Fabulous table lantern.  It even looks great when it's not lit up!

5.  Wonderful black cat figurine.  I'm so in love!

6.  Spooky wreath.

7.  Gorgeous lace table runner.

8.  Awesome painting.

9.  Super cool tin cans.    

10.  Adorable bat.  He is way too cute!

11.  Vintage-looking garland.

12.  Fun framed witch silhouette.  Love her shape!

13.  Creepy skull sconces.  So unique!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Alaskan Vacation, Day 3

On the third day of our vacation, Mitch and I boarded the ship and began our cruise to Alaska.

All aboard!!!

The shower actually wasn't as bad as I was expecting it to be when I first saw it.

The toilet, however, was a little jarring the first couple of flushes.  Such a loud, violent sound!

Our view of the Space Needle from the pier.

View of Seattle from our balcony.

While waiting to leave shore Mitch and I explored the ship.  I felt like I was in a multi-level maze and never did figure out how to navigate the ship by myself!

Leaving port!

See you in a week, Seattle!

Sailing off into the sunset.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Alaskan Vacation, Days 1 & 2

Time for some catching up on this ol' blog!

At the end of May, Mitch and I took our first cruise.  I certainly never thought my first cruise would be to Alaska but it was a very fun, incredibly beautiful way to see the state and I'd highly recommend it.

The first stop on our trip was Seattle.  We spent two days in the "Emerald City," the first day wandering around downtown and buying supplies to take with us on the cruise and the second day doing a couple of the touristy activities the city is known for.  Our hotel was within walking distance of both Pike's Place Market and the Space Needle which I thought was great because it gave us a chance to see parts of the city, cool buildings and quaint shops, that we might not have seen otherwise.

A few photos from Pike's Place Market.

Being a piano player myself, this man caught my attention.  Not only was he playing beautiful music but knowing he had to transport his piano up and down the hills of the city to and from this corner was very impressive.  Anyone can carry a guitar; not everyone will haul a piano!

Where were Carmen Sandiego and Waldo on May 25th, 2015?  At Pike's Place Market in Seattle, Washington!

Great bluegrass music!

Mitch and I decided to have lunch at the market and we found the perfect place: Beecher's Handmade Cheese.  You can't go wrong with a cafe dedicated to cheese products!  Mitch and I both had a grilled cheese sandwich (I thought it was absolutely delicious!) and their "world famous" macaroni and cheese (I didn't care for it at all!).

While eating we got to watch the company's cheese-making process in action.  Very neat!

A few photos from the Space Needle.

Great views!  After conquering (ha!) the Stratosphere in Las Vegas, the Space Needle's height was a piece of cake for me!

The cool (and skin-crawling) roof of the Seattle Center Armory.  Interesting article about the artist here.

Tomorrow we board the ship!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sunday Smile

Happy Halloween week!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

101 in 1001, Round 2 - Update 5

In August I crossed off one of the many books tasks I have on my 101 in 1001 list:

Read a memoir

Josh Hanagarne couldn't be invisible if he tried.  Although he wouldn't officially be diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome until his freshman year of high school, Josh was six years old when he first began exhibiting symptoms.  When he was twenty and had reached his towering height of 6'7", his tics escalated to nightmarish levels.  Determined to conquer his affliction, Josh tried countless remedies, with dismal results.  At last, an eccentric, autistic strongman taught Josh how to "throttle" his tics into submission using increasingly elaborate feats of strength.  What started as a hobby became an entire way of life - and an effective way of managing his disorder.  Today, Josh is a librarian at Salt Lake City's public library and a founder of a popular blog about books and weight lifting - and the proud father of five-year-old Max.  Funny and offbeat, The World's Strongest Librarian traces this unlikely hero as he attempts to overcome his disability, find love, and create a life worth living.
~ Summary from Barnes & Noble website ~

This memoir caught my attention because not only was it about a librarian, it was about a librarian with Tourette Syndrome who got into weight-lifting.  I mean, come on, what an interesting combination!

The book started out strong and held my interest as Josh discussed his childhood, the beginnings of his tics, and the treatments he tried after his Tourette's diagnosis.  I learned more about the disorder in general and the specific descriptions Josh gave about his tics were exceptional; I could actually imagine the feelings he described.

I'm sure it comes as no surprise that my favorite portions of the book were those in which Josh talked about his love of reading and his experiences as a librarian.  I love hearing about the books that people not only enjoy, but those that have shaped them as people.  Josh's encounters at the library were very interesting and often laugh-out-loud funny; I never would have thought a librarian could come across such unbelievable people and situations.

I did struggle a bit with the portions of the book regarding Josh's experience growing up in the Mormon church and later his questioning of truly believing and staying in the church.  I felt like his church and faith (or lack thereof) didn't really advance the story in any way and could have been left out of the book almost entirely.  I felt these things interrupted the flow of the book and just added too much "busy work."

Josh really started to lose me during the last quarter or so of the book.  The weight-lifting topic took center stage and I felt the book got really bogged down at that point.  He went into too much detail which I didn't think was necessary.  We understood the basic concept that weight-lifting helped his tics and made his Tourette's manageable; I felt all the rest was just more "filler."  I'm not sure that the details would be interesting to many others unless they were into weight-lifting themselves.

Unfortunately, this book wasn't as good as I was hoping it would be.  I think it would have been much better if Josh had focused on fewer topics.  Hanagarne is a very good writer and I would have liked to see more about books, reading, and his career as a librarian and less (if any) about his church and faith and less of his weight-lifting.  While I didn't personally like every part equally, I thought the book was worth reading and I would recommend it.

As a side note:  I cannot believe that Mitch and I didn't visit the Salt Lake City Main Library (where Hanagarne worked in the book) when we were there a few summers ago.  Look at this incredible building!