Jimmy Fallon’s books are cute enough and lots of people seem to enjoy them. I am just waiting on the day when they’ll put Miguel Ordóñez’s (the illustrator) name on the cover as well on this picture book. Maybe in the eventual board book version?
***= Liked It
The end of the cruise brought us back to Boston. I was on my own since my BFF had a plane to catch. I didn’t really know what I was going to do since most places didn’t open until later in the day and I couldn’t walk as quickly and as much as I wanted to since I had my luggage with me.
I fell in love with the Rose Kennedy Greenway. I loved all the art and the green space.
I was debating whether or not to walk the Freedom Trail but I decided to take public transportation to Boston’s neighboring town, Brookline, instead.
Before I knew it, it was time to go back home.
* * *
Life at sea- especially on a cruise ship- is a very odd experience. It was basically like staying at a floating Las Vegas hotel and casino. There was the central lobby where most of the performances took place and people on the higher floors could look down and watch. There was a casino and a pricey shopping area. There were a couple theaters, a few restaurants, the main dining room, a cafe, a snack bar, and a buffet. There were a couple pools, a spa, a club, a fitness center, arcade, kids area, rock climbing, and mini golf.
I enjoyed finding a spot on the ship and hanging out with my BFF just talking or playing Qwixx.
It was weird to have practically unlimited access to all the food you can eat at any time you want at no additional cost but drinks like soda and alcohol weren’t free. My favorite dish was dessert- their creme brulee.
Eating at the main dining room was a whole sort of fancy experience. The first night had a crazy long line to get in. Luckily it wasn’t that way every night. The last evening was fun because we all did the chicken dance.
I enjoyed walking on the top deck for my daily exercise. We had mostly smooth sailing the whole time. We were also lucky weather-wise.
I participated in a few trivia/game show type events. There was even a “puzzle mystery” that was like an escape room and no one- ABSOLUTELY NO ONE- solved it. But it was fun since it was a team of some of the Celebrity Volunteers and we worked together as a team solving the different puzzles.
I also decided to do something I normally wouldn’t have done: line dancing! It was 70’s Disco Night and it was nice to let loose a little. I can laugh at how horrible I was at it!
There were some events we had to attend as part of the Cabot Cheese crew. (I actually wished there were more and volunteering together would have been amazing.) The first event was team-building. With the time zone changes, my phone was acting wacky and my alarm didn’t go off so I was a few minutes late. We did a fun scavenger hunt throughout the ship.
Another event was the group photo. We also took individual ones but I didn’t like how mine turned out so those will remain unseen.
We also sat through a presentation about Cabot Cheese, its farmers co-op , and why they do the things they do. I am so impressed by them. I’ll ask everyone reading this to seek out their products to enjoy some tasty cheese. Check out their Reward Volunteers program as well!
I’m not going to pretend I wasn’t shy or anything. (We also wore sashes during our time on the ship and other guests on the ship would ask what it was for. It was nice to be able to talk about Cabot Cheese and the opportunity they gave me.)
But once I got to spend more time with the other volunteers, it was a bit easier to talk to them. Of course, by then, it was almost time to leave. So I was proud of myself for suggesting a gathering on our last night on the ship to say goodbye and such.
Thank you for reading this- and all the related posts. It’s been great looking back at the pictures and reminiscing about this special time.
Thank you again to Cabot Cheese for this once-in-a-lifetime moment. I will always remember my cruise vacation with a smile and a sense of gratitude.
It was great to visit Canada. But before we knew it, it was time to head back to the States!
Our first stop was Bar Harbor, Maine.
This was the day I forgot my phone on the ship so I’ll update this when my BFF send me more of the pics she was kind enough to take.
After that, we sailed on to Portland, Maine. I was quite tickled that I went from one Portland to another.
I was able to visit so many bookstores and even managed to go to a park where there was a Farmer’s Market going on.
It seemed I managed to see a lot the first half of the day in Portland but we were also scheduled for a lighthouse tour in the afternoon.
Tour Stop #1: Portland Head Lighthouse
Museum & Gift Shop and Battery Blair
Tour Stop #2: Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse- I did something silly. Despite knowing it wasn’t encouraged (yet it wasn’t not discouraged), I walked the unsteady rocky breakwater leading to the lighthouse. With my vertigo, I knew I shouldn’t have done it but I figured I could do it. It turns out I couldn’t. I started getting dizzy a quarter of the way out but I managed to go halfway before turning back, scuttling like a crab all the way back to the safety of land.
Tour Stop #3: South Portland Breakwater Light a.k.a. Bug Light
Portland, Maine was our final port before heading back to Boston. I’ll share some of the things I did on the cruise ship on the next post!
Our first stop after sailing off from Boston was Saint John, New Brunswick.
We went to the Saint John Free Public Library which was like Disneyland for me. I was definitely in my happy place. Its Central Library, located inside Market Square, is apparently Canada’s oldest public library founded in 1883. The exterior was beautiful. (Read my bookish recap of Saint John here.)
During one of our days at sea, there was supposedly a whale sighting or two. I didn’t see an actual whale but I saw water spouts.
Our next stop in Canada was Halifax, Nova Scotia.
We went on an excursion. First to Lunenburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site…
…where we found a cozy little coffee shop where I got a maple latte…
…but my favorite was that in this tiny town in this one street were three bookstores! (Unfortunately, one didn’t open until later in the afternoon.)
After a brief stop to learn about how maple syrup is made…,
…we headed to Peggy’s Cove. We couldn’t have asked for a better day to be there!
It was great to visit Canada. But before we knew it, it was time to head back to the States!
I was fortunate enough to be rewarded to go on a cruise with other volunteers by Cabot Creamery.
Last November when they announced it!
This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity still feels like a dream. Not only did I get to go on a seven-night all-expenses paid cruise to New England and Canada but I got to go with my best friend!
We were flown to Boston, Massachusetts, where our ship would depart. I’d been debating whether or not I should go to the Boston Public Library not because I didn’t want to because, of course, I wanted to but because of time restraints. Fortunately, my plane landed early and my BFF was willing to go along with my crazy, obsessive, high-maintenance self.
Boston’s Central Library in Copley Square was as exciting to go to as the New York Public Library, which I also went to with another one of my best friends.
One of the things I wanted to do in Boston was see the Make Way for Ducklings statues based on Robert McCloskey’s classic picture book of the name. Nancy Schön’s bronze sculptures in the Boston Public Garden were definitely a popular attraction. Fortunately, I was able to have my own moment.
There was a reception for the volunteers in the evening. We only stayed awhile since it had been a long day! I did manage to go swimming in the hotel pool before going to sleep.
The next day, I was able to explore Boston a bit during my morning walk.
And, then we went to board Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas!
It was my first time on a cruise ship and I probably just walked around trying to take in everything! There were lots to look at, for sure. And there was the elusive book nook that almost drove me crazy.
We had a nice room with a deck. There was a dead bird situation that made for good conversations throughout the trip.
Most of September seemed to just be counting down the days until my cruise later that month. I’ll write about my cruise in different posts but I just wanted to recap how September went.
First up was one of my favorite events in Portland- the Volunteer Expo. It’s held every first Thursday afternoon in September at Pioneer Courthouse Square. Over a hundred non-profits set up booths and the public can connect with the ones that interest them. There’s also ice cream involved but I loved seeing so many familiar friendly faces.
Some book related events I went to were Happier Hour with Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Craft. I’ve been a fan of Gretchen since The Happiness Project and I love everything about happiness and habits! And listening to their Happier Podcast is part of my weekly routine. I don’t know why I expected Liz to sound different in person but she sounded the same!
I knew it was going to be a wonderful time when the first thing was a two-minute Try This Now where people cleared their bags of trash. I’d been wondering why our seats had those pooper scooper bags. I think any self-help and productivity event should have this interactive and productive component! I also loved the 19 for 2019 segment because goals.
I was definitely surrounded by my people. It did feel like a cult or a super bad pick up line when I would ask, “What’s your tendency?” Overall, it was a great evening.
The other event I went to was Pinyx All Stars Literaoke. It featured poetry readings (centering around Michelle Penaloza’s latest collection, Former Possessions of the Spanish Empire) followed by them singing karaoke like David Bowie’s Modern Love, Sharon Cuneta’s Mr. DJ, Lizzo’s Coconut Oil, and Bjork’s It’s So Quiet. I thought it was such a unique event and I loved it was a showcase of Filipino talents.
And, Multnomah County Library held a Drag Queen Banned Books Bingo.I loved how they incorporated teaching about challenged books in such a uniquely entertaining way.
I was thrilled to find out I’m part of the CYBILS team again this year as a Round 1 panelist for the Elementary/Middle Grade Nonfiction category. You can nominate your favorite books in this and other categories through October 15th!
I’m at 246 volunteer hours for the year. I was stressing out thinking I should go for 250 hours before the cruise but fortunately I talked myself out of trying to prove my self a day or two before I left. I’m at 1777 soul boxes with the stretch goal of 2000.
I’m up to 492 books read for 2019.
Reading Challenges Update:
-Nonfiction Picture Books- 97 out of 104
-Middle Grade & Early Chapter- 50 out of 104 (I may have overshot my expectations with this one. Plus I had other reading challenges that kind of took away from it.)
One of my 19 for 2019 goals was to form a writer’s group.
I decided to set up times this past month to potentially meet up with interested people. I hope I can get it up and running by the end of the year!
I can’t believe we’re in the last quarter of 2019 already. As the days grow shorter and it’s darker out, I hope we can find ways to be points of light for one another!
I’ve been away on a week-long cruise that sailed from Boston, Massachusetts to Halifax, Nova Scotia and back. I’ll work on those blog posts in the next few days as well as a September Update. I highly recommend checking out Cabot Creamery Co-operative and their Reward Volunteers program since they all made this happen.
Nancy Churnin shines a light on two amazing people who used their words to help light up the world in times of darkness. And while we may know of their deeds, I really didn’t connect they were born the same year. Readers will see how this duo led similar lives even though they were in different countries.
Of course, I can’t remember which bookstore in Canada I read the following book at. And the picture above is from the Boston Public Library.
I’m excited to announce I’m part of the CYBILS team again this year as a Round 1 panelist for the Elementary/Middle Grade Nonfiction category. You can nominate your favorite books in this and other categories through October 15th!
I loved visiting bookstores- and libraries!- while I was traveling. I can’t wait to share which ones I went to. It’s that time to nominate a bookseller who you think deserves a holiday bonus! The deadline is just a few days away! James Patterson is once again awarding independent booksellers bonuses totaling $250,000. I encourage you to visit your favorite independent bookstore and get to know the staff. And nominate the one that has gone above and beyond your expectation! Deadline is October 12th. For complete rules and the nomination form, click here or the image below. And, why not give them a shout-out in the comments!