Sunday, September 19, 2021

Where I've Been and What I Just Read

 Hey. Hi. It's me. I'm back. Maybe. We'll see.

I'm just dipping my toe back into the water here with two things.

1. I just finished Firekeeper's Daughter, and it is absolutely amazing. It's very ambitious, combining a mystery, a strong #ownvoices Native American character and setting, grief and healing, meth addiction, family fault lines, sexual assault,  and oh, a very sweet yet complicated romance. It's a lot, so the book is nearly 500 pages, and it is all really well done. All the stars, highly recommend, go read it.

2. One part of the many reasons why I've been offline since June is that my family took a trip to Lithuania and Latvia this summer. I'm glad we went before Delta really took off. Here are a few pictures.

My friend Aija and I crossing Europe's widest waterfall. I fell an embarrassing number of times, but it was still fun.

Reflection of a fortified set of low cabins in the middle of a lake--dating from the 10th century. 

Latvian flat, windmill, and stork nest.

We were reunited with friends we hadn't seen in 14 years. Aija and I met in 1994 when she hosted me at the beginning of my Peace Corps assignment.

She's grinning because she was standing on a rock and was taller than me. 

I've always loved this art nouveau dragon in Riga.

A forest megaphone in Lithuania.

My beachcombers at the Baltic Sea.

Cold beet soup and crispy garlic toast with cheese.

Wood carving is a major Lithuanian folk art.

Russian orthodox church and a small monument to the local Jewish population, which was completely decimated during WWII. 

Peak Soviet Architecture.

Sunset view of Vilnius

Seems like every city in the Baltics has a Museum of Illusions. 

Trakai Island Castle

The Vilnius bell tower and the view from its top: the statues on top of the cathedral and Gediminis Castle.

"Here in 1991-92 stood defensive barricades." Reminder of the USSR's last attempt to regain control of the Baltic states, when unarmed civilians stood against them.

We went to a cat cafe. 5/5 stars, would visit again.


  1. What an adventure you had! I love the pictures. Glad you shared them with us.

  2. Love the pics! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Welcome back! I love your photos. It looks like an awesome trip.

  4. Sounds like you had a wonderful trip to Lithuania and Latvia, that's wonderful that you managed to go before Delta hit with a wallop.

    The Firekeeper's Daughter is on my TBR shelf and I really must get around to reading it.


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