P – Top Ten Postcards

Blogging from A-Z

I’s been a while since I posted about my love affair with Postcrossing.  Here are the fronts and backs of some of my favorites.  So far Gage and I have received 624 postcards from around the world.

  1. from GermanyIMG_2271img_2272.jpg
  2. from Austriaimg_2276.jpgimg_2275.jpg
  3. from ChinaIMG_2283IMG_2284
  4. from Indiaimg_2289.jpgimg_2290.jpg
  5. from Israelimg_2277.jpgimg_2278.jpg
  6. from Russia img_2287.jpgimg_2288.jpg
  7. from NetherlandsIMG_2279IMG_2280

8. from FinlandIMG_2291img_2292.jpg

9.from Pakistan

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10. from the United States

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O – Top Ten One Hit Wonders

Blogging from A-Z

There are an unlimited number of one-hit wonders when you start perusing lists, but these are the ones that stood out to me.  Pick your favorite and have a listen 🙂  Have a great morning!

  1. Mickey  https://youtu.be/NW7VnHnX3LQ
  2. Come on Eileen  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVxcwe7EcaY
  3. 99 Luftballoons  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=La4Dcd1aUcE
  4. Tainted Love  https://youtu.be/WlV5AKdIGOQ
  5. Play That Funky Music  https://youtu.be/N-Xfr-gc8Pc
  6. Lady in Red   https://vimeo.com/82491561
  7. Puttin’ on the Ritz   https://youtu.be/OG3PnQ3tgzY
  8. It’s Raining Men   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5aZJBLAu1E
  9. Don’t Worry Be Happy   https://youtu.be/d-diB65scQU
  10. Somebody’s Watching Me  https://youtu.be/7YvAYIJSSZY

N – Top Ten Names (in titles)

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Have you noticed that there are lots of books with full names in titles.  I thought that this was recent trend, but when I looked through by books I realize that it’s not.  Here are 10 of the books that I’ve read.  Read through the list and then vote on which name you’d choose if you have to use it for the rest of your life.  Say, you had to go into the Witness Protection Program and only had these names to choose from  🙂

  1. Title: Jane Eyre, Author: Charlotte Bronte Jane Eyre
  2. Title: Bridget Jones's Diary, Author: Helen FieldingBridget Jones
  3. Title: Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, Author: Gail HoneymanEleanor Oliphant
  4. Title: Saving CeeCee Honeycutt: A Novel, Author: Beth HoffmanCee Cee Honeycutt
  5. Title: My Name Is Lucy Barton, Author: Elizabeth StroutLucy Barton
  6. Title: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter Series #1), Author: J. K. RowlingHarry Potter
  7. Title: Ethan Frome (Wisehouse Classics Edition - With an Introduction by Edith Wharton), Author: Edith WhartonEthan Frome
  8. Title: A Prayer for Owen Meany, Author: John IrvingOwen Meany
  9. Title: The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry: A Novel, Author: Gabrielle ZevinA.J. Fikry
  10. Title: The Homecoming of Samuel Lake, Author: Jenny WingfieldSamuel Lake

 

 

 

 

 

M- Top Ten Movie Stars

Blogging from A-Z

I love to go to the movie theater.  We go through stretches where it seems we go every week or times like now where we are lucky to get there once a month.  These are the actors and actresses that make me more likely to pay money for a ticket and popcorn.

  1. Keanu Reeves – I’ve watched 32 of Keanu’s movies. It started with Bill & Ted, Point Break and Speed and continued with The Matrix movies, Something’s Gotta Give, The Lake House and the John Wick films.
  2. Viggo Mortensen – I took notice of him first in GI Jane, but my heart didn’t flutter until his turn as Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings movies.  A Walk on the Moon is another fave, but I’ll watch him in anything.  I’ve seen him in 17 movies.
  3. Leonardo DiCaprio – I first saw Leo in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape in 1993 where he was first nominated for an Oscar and I’ve gone on to see 19 of his films.  I love his movie choices.
  4. Tom Cruise – Love him or hate him his movies are usually good. I’ve seen him in 30 films starting with Top Gun in 1986.
  5. Ben Stiller Over the years I’ve seen 28 of Ben’s movies, the first in 1994 with Reality Bites.  I’ve got 3 of his movies in my top 25 so I guess he belongs on the list 🙂
  6. Sandra Bullock – I saw her first in Speed in 1994 but It was a year later with While You Were Sleeping that made me a big fan.  25 movies and counting.
  7. Julia Roberts – It started with Pretty Woman and last year she did it again with Wonder.  I’ve seen 25 of her movies.
  8. Rachel McAdams – I’ve seen 15 of her movies and always like her, even when she’s mean 🙂
  9. Kate Winslet – I remember her from Sense and Sensibilty, pre-Titanic fame and love her choices.  Somehow I’ve only seen 10 of her movies though and not her latest.
  10. Melissa McCarthy – She’ll always be Sookie first but I’ve seen her in 11 movies.

So, who are some actors you like to see at the movies?

L- Top Ten Lyon, France pics

Blogging from A-Z

Eight years ago next month Jason and I took our last big trip before becoming parents.  In January I started planning the trip to visit friends who had moved back to France.  In February I found out I was pregnant and in April I thought I was losing the baby (I’d already had one miscarriage) but I didn’t.  My doctor was taking extra care with me because I was an old woman (38) but told me going to Europe in May and even drinking some wine would be okay but not to overdo it.  To say that the trip wasn’t overshadowed by constant worry and morning sickness is an understatement.  But, I am so thankful we were able to go!  It’s a beautiful country made better by staying with our friends and their two young girls in Lyon half the time.  Having someone from the country hosting you and showing you around really makes the trip extra special.  After Lyon we went to Paris for 5 days and our friends left the girls with the grandparents and met us there.  But that’s another story altogether 🙂

These pics are from the city and areas outside Lyon.France 029France 018

France 2 017

France 2 012

France 036

France 2 013France 055

7.France 2 041

8.France 044

France 2 050

What was your last big trip before you had kids?  If you don’t have kids what was your last big trip?

K – Top Ten Serial Killers in Film

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I remember reading Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit by John Douglas when it came out and was fascinated by not only the mind of the serial killer but the race to find him before he killed again. Nowadays I just can’t stomach the ones in real life but still love reading about the fictional one or watching them on the big screen.

  1. John Doe in Se7en
  2. Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs
  3. Patrick Bateman in American Psycho
  4. Norman Bates in Psycho
  5. Tom Ripley in The Talented Mr. Ripley
  6. Doctor in The Bone Collector
  7. Not telling in So I Married an Axe Murderer  (one of those college movies I have a soft spot for)
  8. Detective in Kiss the Girls
  9. Mickey & Mallory in Natural Born Killers
  10. Sweeney Todd in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Who are some others that come to mind?

J – Top Ten Dream Jobs

Blogging From A-Z

  1. Luxury Bed Tester – Look here.   It’s really a thing!
  2. Chocolate Taster That Would Not Cause Weight Gain – Nestle has a testing facility 5 minutes from our house so this is a possibility!
  3. Cleveland Tour Guide – maybe you could hire me to show you around?
  4. Gondolier – This would mean a move to Venice. I’m in!
  5. YouTuber – Now all I need is to find something I’m willing to do that people want to watch 🙂
  6. Travel Guide Writer – Send me anywhere!
  7. Fortune Cookie Writer. I could do this!
  8. Philanthropist – Yes, please.
  9. Board Game Designer – So fun.
  10. Bookstore/Wine Bar Owner – Two loves for the price of one!

Fess up. What your dream job?

I – Top Ten Inspiring People

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Obviously, this is going to be a very subjective and personal list.  Isn’t it interesting that flaws we see in some people are completely overlooked in the people we like?  No one is perfect. That’s not what this list is about.  This is a list focused on specific things that I admire about these famous people and how they inspire me in different ways.

  1. Temple Grandin – She didn’t speak until she was 4 and her mother was told to institutionalize her because she had autism.  Fast forward to 2010 when she is named on Time Magazine’s list of 100 most influential people in the world.  In 2017 she was inducted to the National Women’s Hall of Fame. I’ve had the pleasure of hearing her speak twice and this woman gives hope and a game plan to every parent who has a child on the autism spectrum.  Check out this quick video here and if you have the time check out one of her Ted Talks.
  2. J.K. Rowling – This magical woman became the first billionaire author EVER (until her donations to charity knocked her off the billionaire list) and at one point she was essentially homeless and living on public assistance. After finally getting her book of the boy wizard sold to a publisher she had to change the pen name so it would be masculine.  She is an inspiration to never, ever give up and she has handled her fame with grace.
  3. Serena Williams – She dominates on the court, being the best at what she does and lives her life without apology.  It will be interesting to see if she can come back completely after having a baby at 36. I’m rooting for her.  23 Grand Slam singles titles marks the record for the most Grand Slam wins by a tennis player in the Open Era,[20]  She is the only tennis player in history (man or woman) to have won singles titles at least six times in three of the four Grand Slam tournaments, and the only player ever to have won two Grand Slams seven times each (7 Wimbledon titles and 7 Australian Open titles). She is also the only tennis player to have won 10 Grand Slam singles titles in two separate decades. She has won an all-time record of 13 Grand Slam singles titles on hard court. Williams holds the Open Era record for most titles won at the Australian Open (7) and shares the Open Era record for most titles won at the US Open with Chris Evert (6). She also holds the all-time record for the most women’s singles matches won at the Grand Slams with 316 matches.  Badass.
  4. Chip & Joanna Gaines – These two seem like two genuinely nice people.  I love that they are Christian but remain out of the politically fray and I especially respect that they are stopping their hit show because of the effect on their family.  They seem to making a bold choice for the right reasons and I wish them luck in escaping the fame drain.
  5. Ruth Bader Ginsberg – RBG is the bomb!  If there’s one thing I love more than smart guys is smarter women.  Born to Jewish immigrants in 1933 and attended Cornell, Columbia and Harvard, she became only the second woman appointed to the US Supreme Court.  She’s 85 and recently showed off her workout skills. I hope this bright mind can stay on he court until she’s 100  🙂
  6. Thich Nhat Hanh – I didn’t realize until I looked at his wiki page today that we share the same birthday, only a few decades apart.  I fell in love with his books on mindfulness when I was in my 20’s and have continued to read him into my 40’s.  I am Christian and he is Buddhist, but there is so much common ground.  He has helped me slow down and process every moment, if not always, at least more often,
  7. Angela Merkel – This strong , ground breaking woman is often the voice of reason in a world seemingly gone mad.  I don’t know a whole lot about her personally or her politics, but I know she’s a leader in a man’s world and representation matters.  I’ve heard her speak and I’ve seen the way that the other world leaders respect her. A win for women I’d like to see replicated here sooner rather than later.
  8. Dolly Parton – This little dynamo never seems to stop and she’s savvy and sweet at the same time. I read her book last year and learned that she started the charity, Imagination Library that has sent free books to 78 million kids.  A woman after my bookish heart.
  9. Jimmy Carter – I love the statesman that he has become after his less than successful presidency.  The 90 year old beat cancer!  And he was building houses in hurricane ravaged areas while doing so.  A Christian who is not afraid to oppose church positions and a peacemaker who is willing to work with any party to help where he can.  He’s living every single moment with purpose and joy.
  10. LeBron James – I know that he’s arrogant.  I hated the way he left Cleveland but loved that he came back to his hometown (Akron) to make amends.  He has grown into one of the world’s biggest athletes and is married to his high school sweetheart, has three kids and his name is never attached to scandal.  He has given and meant so much to this community, his foundation even providing thousands of college scholarships to area kids.  He left Cleveland a punk (in my eyes) but came back a man who wants to take care of his hometown.  He will probably leave us soon, but I don’t fault him for that. The work he does here will continue.

A strange and eclectic group to be sure and there are many more I could have listed (Jimmy Carter’s spot belonged to two other people before I settled on him).

So tell me, who are you inspired by?

H – Top Ten Historical Fiction

I apologize for the break in the A-Z challenge.  I had the lists ready, but not prepped and scheduled on the blog, so when we came home from our short vacation to no internet and we ended up staying somewhere else for three nights because of work being done in the house, well, I just threw up my hands in defeat 🙂  So, I’m jumping back in with the current letter.

Blogging from A-Z

I am not a historical fiction buff, but I have read at least 10 that I’d recommend.

  1. The Executioner’s Song by Norman Mailer, read in my mid 20s, really did change my life. It changed the way I viewed criminals, violence, and our justice system.  It’s a chunkster at 1,056 pages, but this 1980 Pulitzer Prize winner is worth it.  A few links to convince you.  This billed itself as a nonfiction novel (based on life of Gary Gilmore), and is similar and compared to In Cold Blood.  Except I loved this one 100 times better.
  2. I Was Amelia Earhart by Jane Mendelsohn is one of those novellas that you will either love or hate.  The opposite of the first one I listed this one is a mere 145 pages and will not change your life, but you will spend a couple of hours enchanted by the prose and possibilities of Earhart’s fate.
  3. The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly. The fact that I loved this one so much makes it so much more embarrassing that I haven’t read the rest of the trilogy. Yet. Set in 1880’s East London you follow love story among the working class and you may even run into Jack the Ripper. Cannot say enough good things about this one.
  4. The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley is one of my magical favorites.  It jumps from current day to the 1700’s Scottish Jacobite uprising. For fans of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series.
  5. 11/22/63 by Stephen King.  Stephen King doesn’t do historical fiction you say?  I say read this take on the Kennedy assassination and get back to me 🙂
  6. The Corpse Reader by Garrido is one I’m adding because probably not too many people have read it and they should. From Goodreads – Inspired by Song Cí, considered to be the founding father of CSI-style forensic science, this harrowing novel set during the thirteenth-century Tsong Dynasty draws readers into a multilayered, ingenious plot as disturbing as it is fascinating.  I really thought this one was great! Click on the title to read my glowing review.
  7. Circling the Sun by Paula McLain. I probably shouldn’t even put this one on the list because quite a few people have told me they couldn’t stand Beryl so didn’t like the book.  But, I loved the 1920’s Kenya story of Beryl Markam. The real Beryl wrote an autobiography, West With the Night that I still need to pick up.
  8. The Wife, the Maid and the Mistress by Ariel Lawhon is the perfect book for the #metoo movement.  In 1930’s NYC Justice Joseph Crater disappeared and Lawhon told the story from the three women who knew him best.
  9. At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen was a book club choice and reinforces why reading and discussing books you didn’t choose on your own is a good thing.  Who knew that a WWII search for the Loch Ness monster could be so good?
  10. Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.  From 1945 England to 1743 Scotland and beyond this beloved series is rich in history and wonderful characters.  I’m only halfway through the series and am enjoying the Starz series, but it’s not as good as the books 😉

Okay, your turn.  Recommend a historical novel to me.

C – Top 10 Cool things to do in Cleveland

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Jason and I moved here almost 18 years ago and I’m proud to call it home.  There is more than the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and LeBron James, although both of those are hot tickets to be sure.  I think most people are surprised to find that it’s a very international feeling city.  Someone from Iowa told me that he heard it was the New York City of Ohio.  I don’t know about that, but having grown up around and attended college in Columbus, I’d pick CLE any day of the week.

  1. Rock & Roll Hall of Fame   Most people are familiar that this is the place to come in Cleveland and it’s worth a visit.  It sits on Lake Erie and is next door to the world class Science Center.
  2. Sporting Event – I’d stick with the Cavs or the Indians for now, but we’ll see if the Browns can finally win a game this year.  We do have two great pro sports teams with excellent homes.
  3. Playhouse Square is the largest performing arts center outside of NYC with over 1,000 yearly events.  The old theaters are gorgeous.
  4. Lake View Cemetery  This is still one of my favorite places.  I’ve written two posts about it here and here.  President Garfield and his family’s caskets lay in full view, and the likes of John D Rockefeller and Eliot Ness are buried here.  Also has a great view of the city.
  5. Cleveland Museum of Art + Botanical Garden, two of my favorite places to spend a day and they’re right next to each other.IMG_6440
  6. Great Lakes Brewery for a meal and tour.  No pics for this one but the restaurant is great and the free brewery tour is impressive with samples to be had.
  7. Spend a night at the 9 and have a drink or two at the Vault in the basement.  The hotel is very sexy and the they left the original bank vaults in the basement and made a very cool place to hang out and grab a drink.

     

  8. East 4th. If you are going to be downtown in the evening or before a game, this is the place to be!  This is where Michael Symon’s restaurant Lola is located.
  9. Cleveland does have some beach, but if that’s not your thing grab a ride on the Goodtime boat to take you on a two hour tour of the city.IMG_9060
  10. Chagrin Falls  So, if you have a car or a friend to take you a bit outside the city, I’d recommend the charming village of Chagrin Falls.  This is a photo from Glow Night, the night before the hot air balloon races.

What on your favorite list of the city you live in?