A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher

A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking

A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a great book! As the author states in the notes at the end of the book, it’s a little dark for a children’s book, but it is so good, I don’t think anyone minds. The humor in it offsets the darkness.

My main complaint with the book is that the gingerbread man has such an important part in the story, but he never has a name. Even the golems have names, even though they are just the names of the colors on them. This little guy needs a name. Thankfully, though, he doesn’t get eaten by Bob, or anyone else for that matter.

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Volcano, Ca

Volcano, Ca

When I was taking a California history class, I ran into the information that there is a Volcano, California. I had no idea!

In the above liked Wikipedia page, it states that the city’s name came from the settlers who originally thought that it was once a volcano. It was actually a valley and the fog came rolling in each morning.

I am always amazed at what there is to learn. There’s something new every day. I just need to be pointed in the right direction.

Frida

I finally got around to seeing this movie. I was very impressed. It told the story of Frida Kahlo and helped the viewer understand more about the artist.

I really wanted to see the exhibit when it was in San Francisco, but I missed it because of sheltering in place. I hope there will be another chance to see it at some point.

Scheduling a Cruise

I somehow ended up on the Carnival page on Facebook. I started looking at prices. Yes, there are a lot more rules than before, but the prices cannot be matched. Some 14 day cruises were going for as little as $100 a person. Wow!

I started looking for cruises that would work for me, and I found two that were less than I was expecting to pay. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a cruising partner in mind.

I mentioned the prices to a friend. She almost immediately volunteered to go with me! She chose to go on the more expensive of the two cruises.

I later mentioned it to my mom who volunteered to go with me on the other cruise.

I still have a little bit to pay on one of the cruises, but I should be all set to go when it’s time. I am so excited!

I’m supposed to be writing

It’s amazing what I can find to do when I am supposed to be doing something else. I can look around and find things that need to be done. Garbage cans that need to be emptied. Laundry that needs to be done. Correspondence that needs to be sent.

Work needs to be driven to. Dogs need to be played with. Meals need to be cooked, planned or ordered.

The gym needs to be visited. Electronics need to be charged. Messes need to be wiped up.

I can also find lists to make. Websites to peek into. Rabbit holes to go down.

I have many books to read. Movies to watch. DVR to clean up.

Homework needs to be done. Paintings need to be painted. Dishes need to be washed.

Bills need to be paid. Papers need to be shredded. Stuff needs to be brought to the car.

Audiobooks need to be heard. Schedules need to be organized. Finally, reviews and blog posts need to be written.

I eventually get there, but there is always something to do. Writing needs to be a little higher on the list than it is these day.

Facts About California

More facts about California

Here are some facts about California that I had to look up when I was taking a California history class. They are interesting, especially since I have lived here all my life and I didn’t know many of these facts. I waited to post these until the anniversary of its statehood on September 9, 1850.

1. California joined the United States with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican-American War, in 1848. The U.S. paid Mexico $15 million for war damages. In turn, Mexico ceded nearly half of its territory, including California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and parts of Colorado, Nevada, and Utah. California officially became a state (the 31st) in 1850.

2. California was originally known as the Grizzly Bear State. As California boomed—and the bear population was wiped out—it became the Golden State.

3. The grizzly bear on California’s current state flag is a tribute to Monarch, a 1,200-lb. wild California grizzly bear captured by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst (or, rather, the reporter he hired, Allen Kelley) in 1899. Monarch was sent to San Francisco, where he was a star attraction at Woodward’s Garden and then Golden Gate Park until his death in 1911. The last reported sighting of a wild California grizzly bear was in 1924.

4. While Monarch is front and center on California’s official state flag, which was adopted in 1911, the bear flag image dates back to 1846, two years before the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. A group of Americans who’d settled in California, which was then part of Mexico, feared they’d be expelled. They invaded the Mexican outpost at Sonoma and captured the retired general Mariano Vallejo. A few days later, they raised a flag that featured a red star and crudely drawn grizzly and declared the land the California Republic.

5. And who designed the original flag? William Todd, nephew of Mary Todd Lincoln. It’s a small historical world.

6. The one-word state motto, an exclamation-point-less “Eureka,” hearkens back to the exciting days of the Gold Rush. But the exclamation of “Eureka!” is attributed to the Greek scholar Archimedes. According to legend, he had an epiphany as he stepped into a bathtub and watched the water level rise—he realized that the volume of the displaced water was equal to the volume of the foot he’d submerged. And then he ran out of the room to tell others about his discovery… while he was completely naked. (More on whether that ever actually happened here.)

7. California is the only state that’s hosted both the Summer and Winter Olympics.

8. California is the most populous state (and the third largest by area). To put California’s population, approximately 38 million people, in perspective, one out of every eight Americans is from California.

9. The fortune cookie was inspired by the Japanese fortune tradition o-mikuji and invented in California.

10. I can haz state recognition? In 1973, the sabre-tooth cat, Smilodon californicus, became California’s state fossil. A year earlier, Assemblyman W. Craig Biddle had nominated the cockroach-like trilobite for the honor. Nearly 2,000 museum curators and fossil experts backed him, but the bill never made it to a vote. A year later, the sabre-tooth cat made it to the floor and passed. The one no-vote? Senator W. Craig Biddle.

11. Despite living in Los Angeles—a city known for its traffic—for 78 years, writer Ray Bradbury never learned to drive.

12. California’s most famous for its Gold Rush which began in 1848, but it also had a Silver Rush in the Calico Mountains from 1881 to 1896. By 1904, Calico was a ghost town.

13. The mineral benitoite can be found in California, Japan, and Arkansas, but only San Benito County, California, has it in gemstone-quality deposits. The California State Gem Mine in Coalinga allows the public to dig and take home a quart-sized bag of treasure.

14. Thousands of U.S. banks failed after the 1929 stock market crash—by 1933, only 11,000 were left. All of San Francisco’s banks, however, survived.

15. The highest point in the contiguous U.S., 14,494-foot Mt. Whitney, is only 76 miles from the lowest point in the contiguous U.S., Death Valley. They’re both in Calif— well, you know.