Happy National Dog Day: Uggie–My Story

Happy National Dog day to all the canine-lovers out there! Though I am not a dog owner, myself, I have been blessed to meet and love many dogs during my life.

One dog in particular who left a paw print on my heart was Uggie, the celebrity dog from The Artist, among other movies. I have yet to see him on film, but I was fortunate to meet him in person with my sister at my favorite bookstore, Anderson’s Bookshop, a few years ago. He was on a book tour with his trainer, and Jennifer and I both bought Uggie’s memoir, which he kindly “pawtographed” for us.

I loved hearing about his unlikely rise to stardom after von Muller, his trainer, rescued him from the pound. Von Muller immediately recognized Uggie had something special–that his spark could lead to amazing things. I’m still partway through the book, and I need to pick it back up again–it’s absolutely adorable, just like Uggie.

Sadly, at 13 years old, Uggie passed away earlier this month. I’m sure few other dogs lived as glamorous a life as he–and more importantly, he was loved so much by so many. I’m grateful I was able to meet him a couple of years ago.

Thanks for sharing your talents, zest for life, and love with us, Uggie. 

Have you read or seen Uggie’s work? Are there special dogs in your life? I’d love to hear your stories, dear readers. ❤️🐶

Happy 115th Anniversary to L. Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”

Today is the 115th anniversary of the publication of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Is this a special book or movie to you? What about the many spin-offs it’s inspired?

For a fascinating look into the inspiration behind the classic work, check out the Smithsonian’s online gallery and videos here.

I really need to read the original book–it’s been on my list for years. I’ve seen the movie many times, of course, especially as a child, when my sister couldn’t get enough of Dorothy’s ruby slippers. (Did you know they were silver in the original book–changed to ruby to show off the movie’s technicolor?) P.S. My sister is still on the hunt for a pair of ruby slippers of her own–the marketing team just didn’t cater to tall young girls like us at Dorothy’s age. 😉

Wicked, by Gregory Maguire, is a very important book and musical to me. I read and watched it at a very important time of my life–a little over a month after my traumatic brain injury. It was very inspiring to me to see a young woman change the world for the better, even if she looked and thought differently than everyone else. I couldn’t believe my luck when the author, Gregory Maguire, visited my college campus and I got to thank him in person for the impact he’d had on my life. (Thanks to fellow blogger, Chris, for discovering the opportunity!)

Fangirling and getting many books signed by my author hero and inspiration, Gregory Maguire

Though the book and the musical are very different, I love them both. “Defying Gravity” is still the song I try to live my life by. 😉

So, happy anniversary to a book that has inspired the imagination–and heart, brains, and courage–of people around the world for 115 years.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to all mother figures out there–biological and adoptive moms; teachers/counselors; fur-baby-moms (me!); and anyone who’s ever loved someone in a nurturing way.

I’d like to wish a special Mother’s Day to my own mom. I’m blessed to have such a strong, loving, kind role model in my life, let alone to call her my mother. She’s always taught my sister and me that we should reach for our dreams and determine our own lives, never letting someone or something else hold us back. More than anyone else, she’s taught me how to treat others with kindness, even if it’s difficult. (Please read this poem for one of my defining memories with my mother from childhood.) Over the years, my mom has never stopped being my mother, but now I’m lucky to call her my friend, too.

Here are a couple of pictures from about a month ago, when my mom and I went to the Chicago Flower and Garden Show together. Gardening is something we’ve dabbled with (her, much more than me!) together since I was little. We had so much fun learning about pollination and edible gardens, but what was most fun was the time we spent together. 🙂 ❤

I am also blessed to be a mom to this precious baby:

Cuddle time with Oreo ❤

and this one in Heaven:

Smooches with Chad ❤

Our Mother’s Day this year was pretty laid-back. My mom is an AMAZING cook, but today, she got a break from the kitchen, as the rest of us pitched in for meals. 🙂 We enjoyed spending time together; giving cards and gifts; and watching some Game of Thrones. Jennifer and I have a pedicure booked for our mom next week, when salons will be a bit less crazy, hopefully. 😉

Also, something I’ve been aware of this year especially is that this can be a hard holiday for some people. A radio station posted this on Facebook, and I think it expresses sympathy and comfort perfectly:

And finally, to end this on an upbeat note…Buzzfeed posted this excellent list of “19 Badass Literary Mothers Who Need to be Celebrated.” Well, the title pretty much sums it up–and I must say, I agree with as much of the list as I’m familiar with–and like yesterday’s list, it’s added more to my ever-growing “To Be Read” list. 🙂 Molly Weasley of Harry Potter and Catelyn Stark of Game of Thrones top the list–check it out!

Happy Birthday J. M. Barrie! Peter Pan’s Importance to Adults + Adaptations

Happy birthday to J. M. Barrie, author of many wonderful works, and most famously, Peter Pan. In honor of his birthday, Book Riot posted this list of books inspired by Peter Pan, some of which are a retelling of the story, and some of which act as prequels/sequels to the original content.

This book holds a special place in my heart and imagination. My exposure to it as a child was mostly through the Disney Peter Pan movie, followed by Hook. Then, as a teenager, the little-known, fantastical, romantic live-action version came out, and it became my favorite of all. I also loved the recent Johnny Depp movie about the author’s life.

However, it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I finally read the original book–which I absolutely LOVED. At the end, I cried–truly feeling the loss of innocence that must come with “growing up,” even as we try to remain optimistic and imaginative. It describes a truth that’s well-known, but in such a lovely way that it feels you’ve never heard it before. It may be labeled as a children’s book, but, as with many with the label, you can’t understand all its layers until you look at childhood in retrospect.

That’s why I’m excited to see this list. Tiger Lily is already on my “To Be Read” list, but I think I need to add many of these others, too!

How about you, readers? Is this a special story for you? What versions are you familiar with?

P.S. I am planning to post a Mother’s Day tribute tomorrow, but in case I get too busy with festivities–I’m wishing all mother figures out there a happy day! ❤

Happy Pi Day–Pi and Prejudice

Happy Pi Day! According to piday.org:

Pi Day is celebrated on March 14th (3/14) around the world. Pi (Greek letter “π”) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159.

Celebrations for this holiday have really picked up over the last few years. When I stumbled across this one on Buzzfeed, I found my new favorite:

If You Aren’t Having A “Pie And Prejudice” Party On Pi Day You Are A Dummy

It’s like a drinking game, but with pie and Pride and Prejudice. How else are you supposed to celebrate 3/14?!

What is Pie and Prejudice, you ask? Well, it's like a drinking game, except with pie!

Make sure to check out the whole list of hilarious instructions on how to celebrate. As a lover of both Pride and Prejudice and pie (and even, at times, pi), I am excited at the idea! However, I’ll have to enjoy it vicariously through you all, since I gave up sweets for Lent. 😥 Or maybe I can just substitute fruit for pie…which just sounds so much less satisfying, but I’m sure the film would be sweetness enough…right? 😐

Are you planning to celebrate Pi Day, dear readers? If so, how? Please share your plans in the comments below! 🙂

Death of a Literary Legend: RIP to Sir Terry Pratchett

Very sad news arrived in the fantasy/sci-fi community yesterday: Sir Terry Pratchett, prolific fantasy/sci-fi writer, has passed away after an eight-year battle with Alzheimer’s. He wrote over 70 novels, many of which are considered modern classics. His unique wit and imagination have inspired millions of readers all over the world. Fans are certainly grieving today, not least of whom is his friend and co-author, Neil Gaiman. Gaiman wrote a touching tribute to the man here, citing his own earlier article last fall when confronted with the thought of losing Pratchett:

I rage at the imminent loss of my friend. And I think, “What would Terry do with this anger?” Then I pick up my pen, and I start to write. –Neil Gaiman

Another tribute came in the form of a comic from webcomic xkcd, illustrating the feelings of so many:

RIP Sir Terry Pratchett

“Thank you for teaching us how big the world is by sharing so many of your own.” –xkcd.com’s tribute to Sir Terry Pratchett

Thanks to Sir Terry Pratchett for his insight on humanity and life. I can’t believe I haven’t read his famous Discworld books yet, but they’ve been bumped up to the top of my to-be-read list now. Do you have a favorite Pratchett book, readers?

Witty Literary Valentines

Hello, dear readers! In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I would like to share with you some witty literary valentines that made me guffaw. Warning: the spicy PG-13 implications are not for the faint of heart. 😉 I hope you enjoy these as much as I did.

16 Hilarious Literary Valentine’s Day Cards

The sun’s not the only thing that rises, if you know what I mean.

Jarry Lee / BuzzFeed

Jarry Lee / BuzzFeed

Jarry Lee / BuzzFeed

Jarry Lee / BuzzFeed
4. Click here for one that’s a little more rated R than PG-13.

Jarry Lee / BuzzFeed

Jarry Lee / BuzzFeed

Jarry Lee / BuzzFeed

Jarry Lee / BuzzFeed

Jarry Lee / BuzzFeed

Jarry Lee / BuzzFeed

Jarry Lee / BuzzFeed

Jarry Lee / BuzzFeed

Jarry Lee / BuzzFeed

Jarry Lee / BuzzFeed

Jarry Lee / BuzzFeed

And more…(I removed a few repeats from the list):

10 Literary Valentines For The Special Bookworm In Your Life

Happy Valentine’s Day!


 I hope these gave you a laugh, and I hope you have a great Valentine’s Day! 🙂