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graphic art courtesy of: http://www.ryderdoty.com

Continuing on my year of lists, my “99 Things That Bring Me Joy” journal brings us to the list of my most treasured childhood books. I remember when I was younger, my dad used to be a hardcore member of the Book-of-The-Month club. He really wanted me to get into the habit of reading, more than watching TV like my older siblings (& cousins), so he signed me up for the Childrens-Book-of-The-Month club. We’d get a catalog in the post, & we would select up to three books each month. I was a slow reader (reading was so boring for me back then), but my dad could read at least two books every month.

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I distinctly remember reading Harriet The Spy as one of my most treasured childhood memories. This book really shaped my life as an observer of the world, & as a writer. This book was also one of the first Young Adult genre books I ever read in full. I never really had the motivation (or attention span) to read books longer than 50 pages when I was a kid, but this was the first fairly lengthy book I remember reading when I was a kid & really getting swept away by the story.

When I was a young tweenager, I was obsessed with the title character Harriet M. Welsch from the book. (I was not a fan of the 1996 movie at all.) First off, I was so jealous that she lived in such a vibrant city, & her parents let her roam around town unsupervised. I had a couple of close friends that lived on the same street as I did growing up, & my parents wouldn’t let me even walk to their house without asking them. I could not believe this little girl named Harriet was able to galavant around the city all by herself & never got in trouble for it.

I loved Harriet’s curiosity towards everything in life & was always asking questions. My favorite part about this title character was her passion for writing. I feel like her passion for writing inspired my own passion for writing. For a short period of time (let’s just call it a phase in my life, for lack of a better word), I tried to copy &/or imitate this book character. I wore baggy sweatshirts with jeans. I tried to carry a flashlight in my school backpack (but it was a total waste of much needed space). Most importantly, I tried to follow what Harriet had been diligently doing for as long as she could remember: Write. Down. Everything. I tried writing the observations of the environment around me, but things got too frantic, & I couldn’t focus on what to write about. So, I stopped writing observations & transitioned into writing journal entries. I had a couple of Sanrio-themed childrens diaries lying around with pages begging to be filled with my pre-teenage nonsense.

There was one line however I would not cross, one trait that I would not imitate. Under no circumstances would I ever, in my life, eat a ripe tomato & mayonaise sandwich. At that age, I absolutely despised tomatoes. More recently, I have grown to accept eating tomatoes. If they’re in a salad, a hamburger, or in a sauce, I am willing to eat it, but tomoatoes are still not my favorite fruit. That’s where the character Harriet M. Welsch will always differ. There is no way I will ever eat a ripe tomato & mayonaise sandwich, ever.


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I don’t know where I got these books, if I chose them from the monthly book subscription, or if someone gifted them to me. All I can remember about reading this series of books as a child was how much of a sense of wonder & imagination these stories brought to life. I would often study the illustrations in the books in great detail, trying to examine every nook & cranny of all the animals’ houses. There was just such vibrant detail in the visual depictions of all the scenes. Oh, & the food illustrations made my mouth water!

I’m not a big fan of mice, but the mice in Jill Barklem’s books are just too adorable to resist. When I was a child reading these books, I would get so immersed in my own wild imagination. I would daydream that I was living in a treehouse just like the ones depicted in all of the books. The stories were so much fun to read, & I would become so engrossed in them that I could also imagine that I was in the story along with all of the woodland animals.

I was sad to learn that, one day, when my parents were cleaning out the storage closet, they found this set of books, but one of the seasons was missing. No matter how hard we searched, we could not find the last book to complete the set. Also, the pages had been severely yellowed & water damaged, so I was not able to salvage this set of books that I cherished so much as a child.


I grouped these two books together even though I hadn’t read them at the same time. These two books are a few of my most memorable & favorite books. They’re not pop-up books, but they are highly interactive. Even as a young child, when I read these books, I was extremely careful when turning the pages & playing with the interactive sections of the books.

I absolutely love the Jolly Postman & his heartwarming story about delivering fun mail all over town, riding his trusty red bicycle. It’s also fun to read about the classic children’s story book characters every child grew up reading at bedtime, recognizing each of the characters as you turn the pages. My most favorite part of these interactive books were the envelopes inside each page. You can open the pocket of each envelope & find a wonderful interactive surprise inside like: a Humpty Dumpty jigsaw puzzle, a letter from Goldilocks to the Three Bears, or a Red Riding Hood board game.

Even though I’ve grown considerably older since I first acquired these lovely books, I still take them out of the closet every now & again, & browse through the pages. These books will never go out of style, & they are still fun to read no matter what age you are. At one point during Christmastime, I was tempted to gift these books to my young nephew & niece, but they are quite rough & careless with their belongings (especially children’s books), so I decided to squirrel them away & keep them for myself. I am so happy that I’ve kept these books for all these years because they bring me such joy.


Well, this is the end of it, my list of favorite childhood books. It took me nearly “forever & a day” (metaphorically speaking) to finish this blog post. So much has gone on in my personal life since I first began writing this post that I had to put this entire blog on the backburner for quite some time. Now I’m back & ready to resume my writing. Until the next time, cheers!

Today’s song of the day:

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This is really stupid, & I’m sorry for making a bigger deal out of this than it actually is, but I’ve been toying with the idea of whether or not I should turn this into a full-blown blog post. Then I thought, why the hell not? I’m going to say it. I like to read romance novels. Okay, there. I’ve said it…my stupid, pathetic, mousy confession. I’m not revealing some Earth-shattering revelation, or some horrible wretched secret. However, this is something I don’t feel comfortable talking about. That’s right. I don’t like bringing up this subject. No, I don’t think it’s taboo or naughty, but I just don’t particularly like revealing this side of myself. Every time I bring up this subject amongst my peers or friends, I get heckled &/or laughed at which makes me want to hide this side of myself. I don’t think I’m especially sensitive towards petty judgement, but you can’t help but feel affected by it every now & then.

Everyone has heard of the term “bodice rippers” when it comes to lovey-dovey reading material. My friends like to poke fun at the subject & call them “bean flickers”. In case you’ve never heard of this slang term, ‘bean flicker’ refers to the act of a woman giving herself self-stimulation of a sexual nature, to her lady bits…particularly the little bean-down-there. If one should feel so adventurous, this stimulation could also involve another person’s assistance.

I’m blushing as I write this post. Yes, I am partially embarrassed to talk about this out loud. It’s not something I should be ashamed of, & I’m not ashamed of it per sè…I’m just a little shy to open up about this subject.

I don’t think I’ve read a lot of these books, but I have read my fair share of them. Let’s see…

  • I’ve read the extremely famous trilogy about the billionaire control freak & his innocent book-loving love interest. (This is my favorite series by far.)
  • Also, the 4-part book series about the rude bad-boy Brit who falls in love with the college student who gives him a dozen second chances after many extreme ups & downs.
  • Then there was the the book series about the billionaire mogul with a dark past who instantly falls in love with a head-strong & feisty woman with an equally dark past.
  • Or how about another one of my favorite book series about the college professor/specialist who falls in love with his one-time student among the apple orchards.
  • I’ve also read the short series about the underground fighting college student who falls in love at first sight with his anti-poker playing classmate.
  • Yes, I’ve even read a few supernatural books, additions to the college professor’s series, about vampires ruling Italian cities by night & re-discovering the human emotion/ability to love another, even if she is a mere human with a physical disability.
  • There have also been a few historical storylines sprinkled in here & there. You know those stories about roguish dukes, devilish rakes, Highland warriors, protecting a woman’s virtue, seeking her older brother’s approval, doing the honorable thing, etc.

I don’t have any particular category within this book genre that I like or look for. I just like whatever catches my attention. The story doesn’t have to have gratuitous sexual scenarios, but I’m not totally against it either. If done well, then I’m all for it…& I do like explicit content so long as it fits appropriately within the storyline. I’m not shy about reading those parts, even if the nature of the scenarios are aggressive, brutal, or explorative. Hey, I even thought the sex scenes in the billionaire control freak’s books were quite tame. I hope that doesn’t give away too much of what goes running through my wild imagination. Hahaha.

Well, there. I’ve said it. Please don’t laugh at me. I’m new at this, & that’s all I’m going to say about it. Cheers.

Today’s song of the day:

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No, I’m not saying that I used to look into crystal balls & cast wicked spells. I wasn’t that intense. I will say, however, that I was once into magic & Astrology.

It started after I went on a school trip to Boston, Massachusetts. A selected group of students from my class were chosen to go on this school trip to learn about Paul Revere, the Boston Tea Party, & other history that shaped our nation. One of the things we were also learning about was the Salem Witch Trials, which interested me as a young teenager.

I was really excited to visit the witch museum in Salem; there was a magic shop right around the corner from the museum. This shop claimed to be a legitimate magic shop complete with potions, authentic Wizard & Witch wardrobe, crystal balls, talismans, & all the herbal ingredients needed to cast actual spells. During our class break time, I spent all of my break browsing around the shop. I was just a kid back then, so I was a little scared to get into casting spells & using potions, but I was still into learning about witchcraft & all that shizz, so I ended up only buying a necklace with a bead on it that’s supposed to ward off negative energy.

After going on that memorable school trip, I started reading up on witchcraft & astrology. For a very short time I was interested in becoming a fortune teller & opening up a little store, but I quickly decided against it because I didn’t want customers constantly harassing me about the winning lottery numbers, or how to cast a love spell on the hot guy at work so they could have an office fling in the copy room after hours. I just wanted to tell people that they would live long, happy, fulfilling lives…not wade through their tales of woe. Look, I’m not some wand-wielding therapist. Anyway, that was my awkward introduction into witchcraft, the occult, & astrology.

Jumping into this mysterious world, I was highly reluctant in telling my friends about my newly found interest. I didn’t want them to think I was going to start wearing all-black clothes, chanting around a pit of fire & worshiping dangerous deities. I kept this side of me hidden for the entire length of time it held my interest. I only began showing my interest in this subject when my friends started asking about reading horoscopes & whether or not anybody believed in them. I chimed in & explained whatever I knew about the topic. They were quite impressed with my new-found knowledge & continued to ask me questions on the subject, which prompted me to reveal that I was self-learning how to read tarot cards & give basic tarot card readings. That quickly piqued my friends’ interest, & one-by-one they all asked me to perform a card reading on them.

I stumbled through learning how to read tarot cards. The pack of cards I bought…from the airport bookstore no less…came with a very confusing yet summarized booklet of instructions. So, I bought a paperback instruction book. I read that book from cover-to-cover & relied on it heavily. It was essentially my “Wikipedia” on the subject. I was successfully able to perform a few casual readings. I didn’t dive into heavy topics like finance, health (i.e. when are you going to die), or legal issues. However, I once was able to read that a friend of mine had 2 sides to himself, like two personalities, to which he revealed reluctantly that he was hiding his clinically diagnosed bi-polar disorder. I think that was about as far as I could go as far as depth & detail. Most of my other readings involved revealing quarrels between two lovers, & other small-time items. I don’t think I was able to part dark clouds in the sky or anything like that.

I eventually turned my attention to magic & casting spells. I went to my local public library & checked out books on the subject. I quickly decided that that subject was not for me. First of all, in order to cast a spell (or make a potion), one would have to procure quite a list of hard to find ingredients, which I found out could become very expensive. I was still only a student with limited monetary means, so that became one obstacle I couldn’t overcome. Secondly, I also researched the negative side of spell casting, & the results freaked me out. A lot. Let’s just say that I didn’t want to be on the receiving end of “an eye for an eye”, or I didn’t want a spell to go wrong & then face the consequences. Hey, I’ve seen the 90s movie “The Craft” (starring Neve Campbell & Skeet Ulrich) a few times, & that movie provided a cautionary tale into what could happen if one became too greedy with power or messed with the wrong spirits.

After all that, I started losing interest in the whole world of the occult & even Astrology. I packed up my tarot cards & books, stored them away in the back of the closet & haven’t thought of them since…well, except for now, since I am writing about it. I recently found my tarot cards after cleaning out the storage closet. I was about to throw them away but have decided to keep them for old times sake. It remains a reminder of an unusual, explorative time in my life. I can’t say that I will dive back into the subject & take up card reading again, but it would be fun to open up the box of cards & look at them again…perhaps with fond memories. We will just have to wait & see. Cheers.

Today’s song of the day:

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