Monday, March 18, 2013

My New Blog Is Launched

So I've done it: I've started a new blog called, Victorian Scribbles, a historical blog about the Victorian Era in England, as well as the Victorian Era/Gilded Age in the United States and La Belle Époque in Europe (they overlapped). Please click here or go to the top and click "My Other Blog" to read the first post.

I hope you will read both blogs whenever you have time.

Whichever blog you return to the most, I hope you will comment and leave information about yourself, so that I can read your blog. I love meeting new bloggers and keeping in touch with old blogging friends.

Ciao for now,

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Liebster Award

Out of the blue, I was recently (and kindly, I might add) awarded The Liebster Award, by Murees Dupé at  Daily Drama of an Aspiring Writer.

Here's how it works:

Liebster Award Rules:

1. Thank the blogger who gave you the award and link back to his or her blog.
2. Answer 11 questions from the presenter; list 11 random facts about you and create 11 questions for your nominees. (Whew, this part is a lot of work, which is why it's taking me awhile to complete.)
3. Present the Liebster Award to 11 bloggers whose blogs have 200 followers or less and whom you feel deserve to be noticed. Leave a comment on their blog notifying them of your nomination.
4. Upload the Liebster Award to your own blog.

Murees's Questions for Me:
1. What is the worst job you ever had?  A laundry I worked in, once. The biggest problem was boredom.
2. What is your favorite snack? Cookies. Any kind. I love them.
3. What is your favorite TV series? Downton Abbey. I confess, I'm hooked.
4. Who would you like to meet? (Person could be dead or alive.) Hmm. Perhaps Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Then I could ask him why he felt his Holmes stories weren't literary.
5. If you could be any animal, what would it be? A dog. They are such noble creatures.
6. What are you most grateful for? My marriage, my extended family, and my friends.
7. What do you hate? I don't hate.
8. Do you include exercise into your daily routine? I should, shouldn't I . . . Does gardening count?
9. Do you like animals? Dogs, cats, horses, for sure. Maybe not octopi.
10.What is your favorite season? Fall, but Spring runs a close second.
11.What is your favorite food? South Indian cuisine. So many delicious dishes. So much variety.

Eleven Random Facts About Me:
1.  I love to read a good mystery, whether for adults or for children.
2.  I love poetry, both reading it and writing it.
3.  So, it follows that I hang out at book stores and libraries, right?
4.  I love the French Impressionist painters.
5.  I'm hooked on the Victorian Era. So much so, that I'm starting a second blog, called, Victorian Scribbles. It's still in construction, but it should be ready for visits by next week. Take a peek.
6.  I love opera. Especially Puccini's operas. Especially La Boheme, Madame Butterfly, and Tosca.
7.  I once nibbled a dog biscuit just to see what the appeal was for my dog. I don't recommend it; not my kind of cookie. Probably not yours, either.
8.  One of my ambitions in life is to walk a part of the pilgrimage road in Galicia that leads to Santiago. To get a certificate, you have to walk 100 kilometers on it. (Hmm, maybe I should start exercising. See Murees's question #8.)
9.  I drink a cup of hot chocolate every morning. It's a great way to start the day.
10.That said, I'm not particularly keen on chocolate per se. I mean, I enjoy a piece now and then, but I can have a gift box of chocolates on the shelf for a good six months before its contents are finally gone.
11.Some day I would like to go to Ireland. It's a land that seems (to me) both haunting and haunted.

Here's My List of Questions for My Award Recipients:
1.  Who is your favorite artist?
2.  Favorite author?
3.  Have you ever interviewed someone? If so, who? and about what?
4.  What is your favorite genre in literature?
5.  Do you speak any languages other than English?
6.  If you were 19, what career would you choose—the one you did choose, or another?
7.  Which deceased author would you most like to meet, and why?
8.  Which living author would you most like to meet, and why?
9.  What is number one on your bucket list?
10. Do you believe in Hobbits?
11. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

And Here Are My Picks for the Liebster Award:
(Go check out their sites; they write good stuff!)
1.  Rosi Hollinbeck - The Write Stuff
2.  JaNay Brown - JaNay With Words
3.  Richard Hughes - Writing and Living by Richard P. Hughes
4.  Victoria Lindstrom - Writ of Whimsy
5.  Julia Hones - My Writing Life
6.  Catherine Winn - The Writing Room
7.  Julie Luek - A Thought Grows
8.  Joanna Marple - Miss Marple's Musings
9.  Linda Jackson - Writers Do Laundry Too
10.Shannon Lawrence - Writing from the Peak
11.Kenda Turner - Words and Such

Ciao for now . . .

Friday, March 1, 2013

Return to Portugal

A city of cathedrals
Porto from the river.
An amazing wine shop/bar.

It's time for Portugal again. Our dog has improved. My godfather's health is improving. And now I'm ready to return to O Porto, albeit only in memory and in pictures.

For those of you who lost the thread of that journey, on our fall trip to Galicia my husband and I went with friends Terri and David to the old city of Porto, for three days and two nights. Porto is like an aging beauty queen: Despite the make-up and glittery clothing of main streets and the wharf side cafes and shops, you can see the "wrinkles" on back streets. But Porto has an air of grandeur, of lost days of glory still sparkling on tiled walls and statues, on the gleaming waters of the Rio Douro where boats bob on rippling water and reflections of colorful buildings on the far bank shimmer below on the wet surface. Just writing about it brings it all back. You can see why:

A city of statues.

The wharf-side

A back street.
The far bank.

You can scroll back to read the earlier post about our first day there and where we stayed. And also the fabulous restaurant where we ate: O Forno (which means "the oven"). Also, in the earlier post you can see the lovely tile work of our hotel and the wonderful garden grounds.

The second morning, when we headed out to sightsee, we noticed a school across the street, and several young girls were crowded at the window, waving at us. Then the teacher must have told them to sit down, because a moment after the picture below, they all vanished.

On our way to the wharf, we passed the wine shop you see above, at the beginning of this post, and again below. The owner is from Brazil. The shop was absolutely tiny, with a small bar that would seat four at most, and the shelves were lined with every kind of bottle of wine you could imagine. We stopped by on the way back and enjoyed a glass of port. I am not really a port drinker, but it was good to try. After all, Portugal is the inventor of port.

Rajan photographing the wineshop.

School of curious girls.

On our way up the river.
Once we got to the wharf, we could not resist the call of the river. So we boarded a boat for an hour-long river cruise.

And what wonderful sights we did see! Below are just a few samples.

Leaving the wharf.

I love the woods behind buildings.

A hidden castle in those woods.
So much color!
Awesome bridge for sure.

 For every one of these, we have oodles more. It was a splendid sight up and down the river.
A truly grand view.

Two rather interesting boats, we thought.

With the wind rippling against our faces and the smell of freshness surrounding us, once we returned to land, we were hungry. So we ate at a charming little restaurant with great atmosphere at the wharf—its name eludes me, alas.

The restaurant.
Our server.

The atmosphere.
 And then we walked around the city some more, before going home. Later, of course, we ventured out to eat a late supper. And then the next morning we left so that we would have time to stop in the city of Tui on the Spanish side of the Rio Minho (Portuguese) or Rio Miño (Spanish). Tui, in Spain, is an old castle town with a huge cathedral, and is across the river from Valença, an old fortress town in Portugal. But that will have to be for another day.

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoyed this little (and limited) trip to Portugal.