Happy Blogoversary to Me

Five years.

When I started this blog, I had no idea that it’d develop into something I enjoy doing so much.

When I started this blog, I had no idea that I’d write more than 1,000 posts.

When I started this blog, I had no idea that I’d make as many friends and read as many books as I have.

Then again, five years is a long time! And as I am feeling generous, and because I want to thank y’all for reading my blatherings over the last five years, I’m doing a a drawing for a $25 gift certificate to a book store of your choice on November 30th. To enter, leave a comment with your favorite book (from the pastfive years). I’ll give you an extra entry for tweeting the post, too (if Twitter is your thing…).

And, because it’s been a project of mine this year, I’m also going to give you a full 100 things about me. It’s mostly cobbled together from the posts I’ve done over the course of the year, but with 25 new things in there. Since, after five years, you really deserve to get to know me a little bit better.

1. I like to read.
2. Check that: I love to read.
3. I read on average four books a week.
4. Which breaks down to between 2 and 4 hours a day.
5. I don’t watch much TV anymore. (30 Rock is about it. Though sometimes I watch Glee.)
6. Though there’s a lot of TV I’d love to watch. (Mad Men, House, True Blood…)
7. I do watch So You Think You Can Dance pretty regularly now, thanks to Corinne.
8. I use the excuse that I love to watch dancing.
9. I do love to dance, too, though it embarrasses my girls.
10. And I took all forms of dance in college — folk, modern, ballet.
11. My favorite was ballroom dance, though.
12. The best part of ballroom dancing is the competitions. (I was even in one, once! Got 5th place.)
13. And, yes, I love Strictly Ballroom.
14. Though it’s not my favorite movie of all time.
15. That’s probably one of the Jane Austen adaptations, though don’t make me choose which one.
16. Because I love nearly all of them.
17. My opinion of the movies reflects my opinion of the books. Mansfield Park = bleh. The rest are good.
18. My favorites, if I had to choose, are the big two — Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice — and Emma.
19. Because I love the Austen Men: Colin Firth (Mr. Darcey), Jeremy Northam (Mr. Knightley) and Ciaran Hines (Captain Wentworth). And to a lesser extent Alan Rickman (Colonel Brandon… but he doesn’t count since I’ve liked him since the horrid Kevin Costner Robin Hood.)
20. I appreciate them like I appreciate art (or dance!). I admire them. I enjoy looking at them. Watching movies they are in make me happy.
21. I am not a stalker. (Yet?)
22. I pretty much watch everything the Austen Men are in, because I’m that sort of person. Which means I’ve watched some pretty bad movies. (And have thought to myself: hey, Ciaran Hines/Jeremy Northam is in that; I should see it!)
23. Colin Firth makes the best case for himself out of period clothes.
24. In other words: no matter how bad the movie is, I still like him. The others, I seem to only like in period dress.
25. I have liked other actors — most notably Viggo Mortenson (Aragorn), Orlando Bloom (Will Turner, not Legolas) or Richard Armitage (heck, I’ll take him as both Guy Gisborne and John Thornton) — but nowhere near as much as my Austen Men.
26. All this begs the question: what is it about dark-haired British men in period clothing?
27. Actually, if you REALLY want to make my day, what you need to do is get a dark-haired British actor to dress up in period clothing, have him drive me around in a minicooper (red, of course), and feed me cake.
28. Mmm… cake.
29. Love the stuff, but can’t make it terribly well. Which is probably for the best.
30. Frosting, on the other hand, I do quite well.
31. I love decorating cakes. My girls love that I do, too. Makes birthdays fun.
32. In fact, I’m looking forward to doing their wedding cakes (if they’ll let me).
33. I’m so taken with the whole period-clothing thing, that if I could go back and re-do my wedding, I’d make everyone wear period (preferably Regency, but I’d go for Renaissance, too) clothing.
34. Thankfully, I’m married to a guy who’d go for that. And who doesn’t mind my actor-obsessions.
35. He laughs at me a lot, though.
36. I don’t mind. I laugh at me a lot, too.
37. There is one exception to the British Rule: Brendan Fraser. He is dark-haired, but he’s not British. He’s not even a terribly brilliant actor. But he is imminently watchable, even in the really stupid movies he’s been in.
38. And I think he’s cute when he’s dirty and sweaty and smiles that goofy smile of his.
39. Sometimes, I wonder if I ought to act my age.
40. I think that, too, when I tell people I love reading books for children and young adults.
41. Especially since I don’t read them because I’m pre-screening them for my girls.
42. Or because I’m a children’s librarian or a bookseller (though I have aspirations in those directions).
43. I read them because I like stories and good storytelling.
44. And I think they’re fun to read.
45. I do read adult books, just not as many.
46. Mostly because I can’t find as many that I like.
47. And I’m always surprised when I find one that I do like.
48. I find I’m impatient with the writing.
49. I have a better track record with non-fiction, though. Especially travel and food books.
50. Travel books are best in January. I hate January.
51. Food books are best all the time.
52. Especially if they’re written so that you can almost taste or smell the food.
53. Because lately, my real passion (outside of books and blogging, of course) is food.
54. I’m not a gourmet or a foodie, and I’m no good at inventing recipes, but I love to cook.
55. I’m a weird that way: making dinner is one of my favorite things to do.
56. Maybe it’s because my first job was working in the kitchen of a bar/restaurant. I started as a dishwasher and worked my way up to line chef.
57. Whatever it is, I find something calming and creative in the throwing together of ingredients to create something delicious.
58. Bad mom moment: even though I need to teach them to cook, I actually DON’T like it when my kids want to help.
59. It throws me off my groove. Don’t mess with my groove.
60. My new hero is Julia Child. She totally rocks.
61. In fact, when I was in DC for KidlitCon, I made sure I I had time to go to the American History Smithsonian and see her kitchen. In a word: awesome.
62. General cooking is great, but what I really really love is baking.
63. Bread, rolls, cake, cookies, doughnuts, sweetbreads… if it goes in the oven, I’m SO there.
64. I used to say that there was no way I could do the Atkin’s diet because I. Live. For. Bread.
65. I bake bread every week for the family to use.
66. I started doing this because there’s high-fructose corn syrup in the store-bought loaves, and I’m anti-high-fructose-corn syrup as much as possible.
67. Which came about from reading a book.
68. But now I do it because I love baking bread.
69. Someday, I’ll even own a baking stone and learn how to bake artisan bread.
70. Until then, I’ll just keep frequenting Panera when I can.
71. I have had other hobbies: sewing (briefly), decorating (briefly), gardening (on and off), playing the piano (do it quite a bit still), and photography (not as good as I’d like to be).
72. And I did, once, fancy myself a writer of novels.
73. If I did write a book, it’d probably be some sort of travel book/memoir.
74. But that means I’d have to travel. Which we don’t. Not really.
75. We do go places — I do what my parents did: throw the kids in the car and drive to see stuff.

76. Mostly educational/historical stuff: I’ve never been to Disneyworld or Disneyland.
77. But my my childhood really was too ordinary to make a good memoir.

78. The most interesting thing I did was have a tumultuous teenage romance.

79. I’ve thought, in the years since it fell apart, that that relationship would probably make a good novel.

80. As an aside, the teenage romance is why I have problems with True Love and Love At First Sight and Pining After My True Love tropes in novels.
81. And it’s also why I’ll encourage my girls to make sure they marry someone who is a friend first. (Bah on Edward.)
82. Someone else will have to write that novel, though. (Someone probably has.)
83. The drafts I wrote are pretty painful to read, and not just because it’s my past on the page.
84. I’m just not that good at fiction. Even though I took a class and everything.
85. I do think I’m creative. It’s just that my creativity doesn’t run in that direction.

86. I really am much better at writing my opinions about what other people write.

87. Which is what I went to school for in the first place: Journalism, with an emphasis in arts critique.

88. Instead of a newspaper, my outlet is my blog.

89. Actually, I started the blog because I have a bad memory and can’t remember what I’ve read a week after I’ve read it.
90. I like to blame it on four pregnancies.
91. Though I think I’ve always been a bit scatterbrained.
92. Which is something my friends have teased me about over the years.
93. Maybe it’s the blond in me coming out?
94. I was pale blond as a kid — Scandinavian (Danish, mostly, with some Swedish and Norweigan) heritage (I have blue eyes, too). Though my hair is best described as “dishwater blond”.
95. It still is that color, when I haven’t dyed it some other color out of boredom.
96. Though I have an aversion to doing anything permanent to my body.
97. Hence, no tattoos, unless they’re henna.
98. I was offended at the guy who called my hair dishwater blond.
99. But, I don’t stay offended for very long. I’m actually a very forgiving person.
100. I find endings very difficult to write. So, sometimes, I just don’t.

45 thoughts on “Happy Blogoversary to Me

  1. Happy Blogiversary Melissa! Five years is a long time and a great achievement!! Keep going. I loved your 100 things as well. There are some things we share such as not watching TV a whole lot but watching SYTYCD and liking to dance. There are also some things that are different: you love cooking and I can't stand it 😮 (I just don't have the patience) but one thing I want to try out next year is reading travel books and cook books.


  2. Wow, 5 years? I had no idea. I think I just stumbled onto your blog like 6 or 9 months ago…

    I have an aversion to needles, so any tattoos I'd ever get would be henna based, too.

    And seriously, we're supposed to pick ONE book out of all your many books?? I glanced through your YA list, as I was feeling a bit frozen, and immediately saw both The Hunger Games and The Bermudez Triangle, two of my favs from this year, and that was a brief glance! I had to leave it at that before I had heart palpations trying to decide on a single book. 😀

    Congrats again on your blogoversary. That's so awesome.


  3. Happy blogoversary! That's a big milestone! I too blog as my outlet…it's a great way to express yourself!

    My favorite book in the last 5 years…that's a hard one! I'm going to have to say Hunger Games, but I'm sure the fact that I've recently read it influences it's pick.


  4. Happy Blogoversary! That is such a great achievement!

    I have a hard time picking my favourite book of the past five year. I would have a problem pick my favourite from the last year! But if I had to pick I would probably have to say “The Giver” by Lois Lowry. It really made me think.

    Congrats again!


  5. Happy blogoversary! This is my first time visiting your blog. My fave book in the past 5 years? Wow, that's a tough one. The book that I read that affected me the most as far as writing and story was Cathy Buchanan's The Day the Falls Stood Still. After I finished, it stayed with me a long, long time.


  6. That was really fun to read! I, too, love Alan Rickman and fancy a good (any) Austen movie. The best book in the past 5 years!?!? oh my – so hard, too hard. But I'll just say I really enjoyed The Book Thief. Happy HAPPY Bloggoversary. I already tweeted.


  7. Happy Blogoversary!!

    Regarding #39…nah. That wouldn't be fun. 😉

    Favorite books are always hard for me…but one of my favorites for this year would be Mudbound, by Hillary Jordan.


  8. Happy blogiversary! Wow, 5 years, that's something!

    My favorite book in the past 5 years? That's really tough. I guess I'll say The Story of the Stone, which I read a few years ago now.


  9. Thanks, all!

    Lilly — I hope you give travel/food books at try. It's an interesting genre of nonfiction: either they work really well, or they're horrible!

    Amanda — yep, 5 years. One of the best things about book blogging is that there's always new people to discover. Which is a good thing, I think.

    Lifeafterjane — *blushes* 10 years? Wow… not sure I can fathom that. (Then again, I wasn't expecting to be around after 5, either!)

    Ronnica and Zee — thanks, thanks, thanks. Blogging is a great outlet, isn't it?

    Lavenderlines — welcome!! I haven't heard of that book; I'll have to look it up.

    Russell — love you too, dear.

    Care — 😀 Ah, dark-haired British actors and Austen movies make the world go round, don't they?

    Softdrink — thanks for the validation. (I had to look up what #39 was!) 🙂 I'm not acting it yet.

    Wordlily — thanks. I haven't heard of that book, either. I'll have to look it up.

    Tricia — love that book, my friend!


  10. Wow– that is quite the posting! Nice work!

    My favorite book of 2009 was “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins. I know it wasn't published this year, but this is when I read it. So much fun!

    Thanks for the chance to enter– I'm now following the Blog, following on Twitter, and I tweeted about it (my Twitter name is @LHartness)


    Laura Hartness


  11. Happy Blogoversary, Melissa! Here's to another fabulous five years! 😀

    (And my favorite book of the past five years is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins!)


  12. 5 years! Congratulations! I just started blogging 2 months ago so I am really inspired!

    (My favorite book of the past 5 years is 'The Historian' by Elizabeth Kostova)


  13. Don't you feel happy to know that YOU are the girl that gave me the gift of the book blog? What a powerful thing. Happy anniversary 🙂

    My favorite?? Really? I cannot. I will pick ONE of my favorites from my favorite genre 🙂

    A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth Bunce 🙂


  14. If your blog is 5 years old today, then mine will hit that mark in a couple of weeks. It's been a lot of fun.

    I don't have one favorite book, but can I just list a few of the books I've loved because of your recommendations?

    Speaker for the Dead
    Sweetness in the Belly
    The Wednesday Wars
    Princess Academy
    Garlic and Sapphires

    And that doesn't even count all the great books I read because of your challenges. It really has been a good 5 years.


  15. Wow!Way to go. I love your list. Very fun. And now do I have to say a favorite book? Let's go with The Book Thief by Markus Zusak… though there are so many others too.


  16. Jen — thanks! I had fun making it. 😀

    Suey — I'm surprised you didn't pick a John Green book… but not that surprised.

    Amira — thanks, friend. You've inspired much of my reading, too.

    Nymeth, Dawn — pioneer makes me sound so old! But, I guess in blogging terms, anytime before 2006 is “old” isn't it?

    Corinne — you are wonderful, friend. I'm glad I inspired you, because my bloggy life would be so much less without your presence.

    Abby — thanks! And Hunger Games seems to be the popular one today…

    And the rest of you — welcome, thanks, and I'm sticking the books I haven't heard of on my TBR list, which is always appreciated. 😀


  17. Five years! Whoo Hoo! Congratulations!
    It is hard for me to pick one favorite book from the past five years.
    Checking back over my read lists I did “listen to” Lightning by Dean Koontz about 5 years ago and that is one of the very few books I have read twice.
    Thanks for the contest.


  18. Happy Blogaversary! Here's to many many more 🙂

    I love how you wove all of your items in this list together some how. The sign of an excellent writer is how you transition from one item to the next and you did it great here, LOL.

    So You Think You Can Dance is an awesome show. The dancers are phenomenally talented aren't they?


  19. Happy blogiversary!! I always enjoy your posts. 🙂 Favorite book in the last five years – that's hard! I'm going to go with, maybe, Angels in America? Though I might well say something different tomorrow.


  20. Happy blogoversary, Melissa!!! I don't know that I could *ever* name my favorite book from the past five years. But I'll go with Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer.

    Love your list of 100 things 🙂


  21. Happy 5th bloggerversary! That's an age in internet time!

    I love to read too! Hard to choose a favorite. I’m also into young adult literature–just because…hahahahah! I’m rereading Harry Potter right now. I guess my current favorite book is a cookbook–Asian Dumplings by Andrea Nguyen–got it as an anniversary present and just made some gyoza with it. LOVE IT!


  22. Congrats on the 5 years, Melissa!!

    My favorite book right now (just finished it again a couple weeks agao)is “The Return of the King” by John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, and my favorite chapter isn't in the Jackson-movie at all….namely the “Scouring of the Shire”.


  23. Happy blogoversary! 5 years is an amazing time, congrats! I hope we'll have you around for at least another five 😀

    As for a favorite book in the last 5 years? That's hard, but quickly I would say the last Harry Potter. It was a great ending to a great series, one that I know I'll re-read many times.


  24. Remarkable! Congratulations. I love stopping by here. You've provided me with some great recommendations for gifts. Russell's comment made me smile.

    Favorite book? Couldn't say. Biggest surprise stopping by – your recent Stephen King review. Totally caught me off guard. Didn't expect it at all. Made me laugh. I'm such a wimp I don't think I could ever read one of his, and never expected to see a review on him here. Don't know why. I just didn't.

    Keep up the great reviews!


  25. Wow, 5 years!! That's huge. Happy blogoversary! I can't narrow down to one recent favorite, but my top three are Lottery by Patricia Wood, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and Love Begins in Winter by Simon Van Booy. I could go on all day, of course.

    I have dishwater blonde hair, too. Isn't it funny how it doesn't bother you unless someone *calls* you a dishwater blonde? I hate that. I need to highlight, come to think of it. I feel all dirty, now.


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