Sunday, 30 June 2019

Malta Highlights

Greetings! A friendly reminder that I'm gradually moving from Blogger to WordPress. I plan to blog regularly on WordPress starting July 1. In the interim, I'm redirecting readers from this blog to my new blog location.

If you've been following my blog, thank you. I hope you continue to follow me at my new site.

If you have listed my blog in your blog roll, thank you. Please kindly update it to reflect my new blog location.

I'm sharing the highlights of my trip to Malta earlier this month. I hope to see you there!

Saturday, 22 June 2019

What Have You Been Reading?

Greetings! A friendly reminder that I'm gradually moving from Blogger to WordPress. I plan to blog regularly on WordPress starting July 1. In the interim, I'm redirecting readers from this blog to my new blog location.

If you've been following my blog, thank you. I hope you continue to follow me at my new site.

If you have listed my blog in your blog roll, thank you. Please kindly update it to reflect my new blog location.

I'm sharing what I've been reading since January this year. Plenty of good books, various book genres, and many award-winning authors from different countries. I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Wellness Post #6: Mid-Year Review

Welcome to the 6th Wellness link-up of 2019! I'm in Europe at the moment and have scheduled this post before leaving home. Thank you to Leslie who set up the link-up for us. The optional prompt for June Wellness topic is Mid-Year Review. It gives me the opportunity to review how I'm doing with my goals for 2019 that I set out in January.


  • Do four fun family outings, tentatively in January, April, July, and August: Four fun outings done and more to come. We did one in January, two in April, and one in May so far. We have a few trips planned for the summer. I'm looking forward to all of them.

  • Go on a trip with my sister in March: Done! We went on a guided tour to Croatia and Slovenia and had a wonderful time.

  • Visit a cousin who lives abroad, tentatively in June: In progress. I'm visiting my cousin who lives in Munich, Germany this week.

  • Get together with my family clan, approximately every two months: In progress. We had one get-together in February. I missed one family event in April as I was out-of-town. I'm looking forward to the next family gathering at the end of June.

  • Meet up with my friends as many times as possible throughout the year: So far so good. I had about thirty meet-ups with my friends in the first five months of 2019. I'm expecting more meetings in the summer. I gave myself a bonus point for stepping outside my comfort zone and going to my first blogger date in May!

  • Meditate 15 minutes daily: Perfect score so far. This is habitual, relaxing, and short enough that I make time for it every day.

  • Find humour to smile or laugh daily: Yes, I feel happy and am grateful for all the good people and things that are present in my life.

  • Walk 45 minutes near nature 6x/ week: Perfect score so far. I've been living a car-free lifestyle for many years. I enjoy my outdoor walks and go out in all four seasons.

  • Strength workouts 3x/ week: As of June 1, I've got in sixty strength workouts. When I travel and don't have access to a gym, I use my body weight and a resistance band to do strengthening.

  • Yoga 2x/ week: As of June 1, I attended thirty seven yoga classes. I've been practicing yoga since the mid-90s so I'm familiar with the poses. When I'm at home, I attend yoga classes. When I travel, I practice the poses myself. It may not be as good as a class but it keeps my mind clear and my body flexible.

  • Swim 1x/ week: As of June 1, I completed twenty swimming sessions. When I'm at home, I swim laps every week. When I travel, most of the time, I don't have access to a nice swimming pool so I substitute the activity with a walk or yoga or simple stretches.

  • View three art exhibits/ month: So far so good. As of May 31, I've viewed seventeen visual art exhibits. Most of them were in Toronto, and some were abroad such as the Pratneker art exhibit in Ljubljana.

  • Blog weekly, except when I travel: As of May 31, I published twenty four blog posts, or about one post per week. I plan to switch from Blogger to WordPress after I return home at the end of June. I did write two short posts on my blog on WordPress to see how they look and to get used to WordPress features. Same blog name, slightly different URL.

  • Read three books/ month: Exceeded. As of May 31, I read thirty books, or six books per month. I've been using the proposed categories in the Toronto Public Library 2019 Reading Challenge as a guide to read more widely.

  • Listen to three concerts/ month: So far so good. As of May 31, I listened to nineteen concerts. Most of them are classical piano music although there were other types as well (guitar, violin, cello, drums, voice, etc). I plan to attend free outdoor concerts in the summer months.

  • Learn French and Spanish, 15 minutes/ day for each language: Yes, no day off so far. The lessons are taking me longer to complete as they get more complex. I just keep working on them. I know my vocabulary has expanded and the words have stayed in my mind as I learn every day.

  • Watch three movies/ month: So far so good. As of May 31, I watched twenty movies, most of them at home, and a few were in-flight.

  • Travel to explore five new-to-me countries this year: Yes! I visited Guatemala, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and would be in Malta when this post goes live. Each trip has been amazing.

  • Try at least one new food dish in each of the countries I visit: Yes! I enjoyed Guatemalan breakfast food which had beans, tortilla chips, fried plantain, egg and sausages, Croatian pasticada with gnocchi in Split, Croatian bureks in Zadar, Slovenian cream cake at Lake Bled, and Slovenian sheep cheese in Ljubljana. I intend to try a local dish while I'm in Malta.

I try to stay fit and make each day as enriching and fulfilling as possible. I plan to continue with the same goals in the next six months, and keep using a simple sheet to track my progress.

In case you missed my previous five Wellness posts, they are as follows:

How are you doing with your goals? I'd love to hear your comments.
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Sunday, 2 June 2019

May Wrap-Up

Hello June and goodbye May! May was a good busy month with lots of enjoyable activities. I'm relying on my calendar to keep track of what's coming or going.

For readers who are new to my blog, this is my 5th monthly wrap-up in 2019. My previous wrap-ups in 2019 are here: January, February, March, and April. I plan to write a wrap-up for each month so I can look back and see how well the year has turned out.

MAY 2019


For visual arts, I chose to see the Sputnik photo exhibit and two architectural tours that examine the architecture and history of the big banks in the Financial District, and Osgoode Hall, home of the Law Society of Upper Canada. All three events were very interesting and well organized. I may write up a separate post on the last two architectural tours at a later time.

BLOGGING - Quite a few blogging-related events in May.
  • I was pleased to finish five posts, especially the three posts about my Croatia adventures along the delightful Dalmatian Coast, the stunning Plitvice Lakes and Istria Peninsula, and Zagreb highlights. It took me a while to decide on which photos to include in the blog posts to hopefully give a sense of the places without overwhelming the readers with photos.
  • I had my first blogger meeting with Ann from The blog. Ann was in Toronto for a few days and would like to meet a local blogger. We enjoyed a Thai buffet lunch at Bangkok Garden while talking about blogging, travels, adventures at home and abroad, etc. It was quite fun.
  • I played with a free blog template in WordPress to eventually move my blog from Blogger to WordPress. I'm thinking to have a couple more posts on Blogger to wrap up June, and starting from July, I'll be writing my regular posts on WordPress. I'll announce again closer to the date and will keep my Blogger blog open for a while.
  • A friendly reminder that the next Wellness Wednesday link-up is on June 12. Optional prompt is Mid-Year Review. Please feel free to join in on the fun. I'll be travelling at that time so I plan to schedule my post in advance.


I read seven very good books written by authors from Australia, Canada, England, Japan, and the USA:
  • Boy Swallows Universe, by Trent Dalton, 452 pages.
  • What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, by Nathan Englander, 207 pages.
  • Ru, by Kim Thúy, translated from French by Sheila Fischman, 143 pages.
  • Book Love, a graphic book by Debbie Tung, 140 pages.
  • When Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi, 228 pages. 
  • The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro, 299 pages. 
  • Norwegian Wood, by Haruki Murakami, translated from Japanese by Jay Rubin, 296 pages. 

Books read in May 2019


I attended four classical concerts with a friend. The musicians are all winners at various musical competitions both in Canada and abroad. Each concert ended with standing ovation from the audience.
  • Kimberley Jeong, cello and Tristan Savella, piano
  • Brian Hsu, piano
  • Vlad Solovie, piano
  • Dr. Su Jeon Higuera and Jessie J. Lee (piano duo)
From June to September, I plan to attend outdoor concerts to take advantage of the nice weather and warmer temperatures.


We took time out for a nice family getaway on the Victoria Day long weekend. Around mid-May, we celebrated when one nephew bought his first home, and one niece graduated with a Bachelor's degree. We have a few birthdays coming up and relatives visiting us this summer so I'm looking forward to our big family gatherings.


I met up with my friends seven times for coffee or tea. On one occasion, we tried a new Japanese restaurant named Sushi Inn. The food and service were good so we'll be back.

Sushi lunch


I was at home most of May and was able to complete daily meditation, twenty-nine outdoor walks, thirteen strength workouts in the gym, nine yoga classes, and five swimming sessions.

Walking outdoors in the spring is a joy as I can see flowers everywhere. I hope to add a few bike rides in the next four months while the nice weather is here.

Pretty spring flowers


I continued with my online French and Spanish lessons every day in May. I also started learning more about WordPress (see Blogging above) and about my upcoming travel destinations (see Travel below).


I watched four movies with my neighbours. Coincidentally, Nicole Kidman starred in two of them. We agreed that Aquaman had great visual effects and Matthew McConaughey's character in Serenity was weird! The comedies were just OK.
  • Second Act, starring Jennifer Lopez and Vanessa Nudgens.
  • Serenity, starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway.
  • Aquaman, starring Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman, and Willem Dafoe.
  • The Upside, starring Kevin Hart, Bryan Cranston, and Nicole Kidman.

Movies watched in May 2019


May felt like t'is the season for trip planning. Where to? I'm going to Malta and Germany in June. I've also booked flights or train tickets, and accommodations for trips to three different Canadian cities (Regina in July, Kingston in August, and Victoria in September). New adventures await!
Overall, May was a splendid month for me. I felt I got a lot done. I look forward to enjoying new adventures in June. It will be quiet on this blog for the next three weeks until I return at the end of June.

By the way, if you'd like to take a quick preview at my blog on WordPress, it's here. Same blog name, slightly different URL. If you see something that doesn't work right, please let me know. I'd love to have you follow my blog on WordPress so I have real data to work with while I'm getting used to WordPress.

How was May for you? What good things happened? I look forward to hearing your comments.