Banned Books Week: September 22-28


In honor of Banned Books Week this year, I’m reading a book that’s often been challenged — The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.


Actually, I’m reading the graphic novel version illustrated by Renee Nault (I’ve read the original novel twice already), in preparation for reading Atwood’s recently released sequel, The Testaments. (Did anyone else flip out with excitement when its pending publication announced?)


And I have to say, reading a book set in a dystopian society where women are prohibited from reading is:

a) Chilling as all heck

b) An ideal way to celebrate our freedom to read


To join me in celebrating our reading freedoms — and recognizing the perils that freedom faces — here are some Banned Books Week resources:


Which banned or challenged books are you reading this year? 

19 for 2019: 3rd quarter update on life goals

We’re barreling into the 3rd quarter of the year, my friends, and some of us have some serious work yet to do on our goals. At least, that’s the case here. But! There’s also been some decent progress. Here’s what’s happened since the previous 19 for 2019 update.

Accomplished since the previous update

Learn Instagram Stories

I watched some online instructional videos and then tested a few different Instagram Stories techniques. I’m still figuring it out, but so far I’ve posted some polls, a before & after sequence, and a quiz.

Spend some serious quality time with our sisters

My sister's pup
Newfoundland with our family

We spent a wonderful weekend hanging out with my sister and her family (and laughed so much), and we traveled with the Dear Man’s sister and her husband to Newfoundland. Quality time with quality humans, all of it.

Style our kitchen island seasonally

We upped our autumn game this year, so I can say with confidence: we’ve got all four seasons well in hand.

Write a series of blog posts

While I have a couple of other series in mind, I’ve already got one series well underway: Favorites (favorite books, favorite pizzas, favorite bookish shirts…)

Go on at least 3 history geek trips with the Dear Man

We’ve visited St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Mackinac Island — and dug into the history of each place.

Have dinner twice monthly with a good friend

Except for September (which was so weird, schedule-wise, for both of us), my friend and I have met for dinner twice monthly like clockwork. It’s one of my deepest sources of happiness.

Do at least 3 of the activities in This Is Where You Belong

OK, I gotta say: I’m rockin’ this one. Here are a mere 3 of the many activities I’ve done:

  • Walked to work & walked to a local restaurant
  • Walked to the farmers market and bought local produce (corn!)
  • Attended a lecture at a local venue

Maximize the use of our Instant Pot

We’re heading back into Instant Pot season, because soon it’ll be all about soup at our house. We’re both a couple of soup fiends, and throughout the chilly months, we’ll resume our soup-making ways.

The items that remain to be completed

  • Learn & use 12 new techniques on the blog
      • I’ve done 8 new things so far, so I’m on track… 
  • Find out if my vintage typewriter actually works… and if so, use it 
      • I’m weirdly blocked on this one, even though a friend helped me identify some sources of information. Gotta get a move on.
  • Actually go through all those boxes in the basement
      • There are maybe 8 of them; I’ve gone through 2. I’m promising myself this’ll be a cold weather project. I could crank through it in a weekend… but will I? 
  • Fix formatting on all blog posts
      • I’ve done this only piecemeal — when I’m linking to a previous post, I reformat it on the fly. I’m thinking this would require more time than I’m willing to give it. Stay tuned. 
  • Go on a field trip with a good friend 
      • We’ve put a date on the calendar, and we’ll be discussing what we’ll do that day.

So, anyone else as far behind as I am? Do you have goals for 2019 that you’ve met — or still wish to accomplish?

Newfoundland itinerary: 10 days in Newfoundland


Newfoundland completely blew us away with its natural beauty and the friendliness of the people.

We spent 10 days in Newfoundland in August, which was:

a) The longest vacation of my life

b) A short enough time that we had to make some tough choices


But our crackerjack team (the Dear Man, his Dear Sister, and her Dear Husband, and I)… we were  up to the challenge.



We prioritized:

  • Natural beauty, especially coastline

  • Whales

  • Puffins

  • Lighthouses

  • Hiking

  • History

Special shout-out to my Dear SIL for her expert scouting of B&Bs and restaurants. Stellar work there!

Here’s our 10-day Newfoundland itinerary… where every place listed is a place we’d highly recommend.

Day 1: Arrival in St. John’s

Signal Hill

Day 2: Day trip from St. John’s

Day 3: Day trip from St. John's

Day 4: Drive from St. John's to Bonavista

Day 5: Drive from Bonavista to Twillingate

Day 6: Drive from Twillingate to Rocky Harbour / Gros Morne National Park

Day 7: Gros Morne National Park

Day 8: Gros Morne National Park

Day 9: Drive from Rocky Harbour to L’anse Aux Meadows

Day 10: Drive from L’anse Aux Meadows to Gander

Day 11: Flight home

  • Returned rental car to Gander airport 
  • Flew home from Gander, with a layover in Toronto

Newfoundland is a stunningly beautiful, consistently friendly place — and we feel fortunate to have visited before it becomes the next It Destination (which seems inevitable, given its charms). 

Highly recommend.

If you’re considering a trip to Newfoundland and have any questions about our itinerary, I’d be glad to answer! Please just post your questions in the Comments.

Happy travels, all!

National Read a Book Day

Today is National Read a Book Day, and I’ll be spending it:

  • At the library 
  • At my annual eye appointment (vital maintenance for the reading life)
  • At home this evening, reading a book 

I’ll be picking up one (or a couple) of these beauties, which are all in progress at the moment…

What are your plans for today’s splendid holiday?