The Blogging from A to Z Challenge – Are You With Me?

For the 10th year in a row, I’ll be participating in the April “Blogging from A to Z Challenge.” And I would love for you to join me! If you’re a blogger, or even a wannabe blogger, the challenge is a great way to stay with your goals or perhaps test the waters. Details usually come out in March, but you can start planning now.

Typically I begin my plotting and planning in early January, although themes and topics float around in my head all year. You don’t have to have a theme to participate, but I find it helps – and my readers seem to enjoy it. So I think about possible themes. Generally my themes follow what I enjoy – travel, food, music, literature. You blog each day in April (except Sunday), and use each letter of the alphabet as you blog.

When I first decided to take part, in 2012, it was purely by chance. I was following a blog (I can’t even remember whose blog it was), and I learned about the challenge, which actually began in 2009, before I was blogging. I hurriedly came up with a theme (authors, poets, lyricists) and put together a list (A is for W.H. Auden, B is for Bertoldt Brecht…). I used Wikipedia and my own books for research. I felt rushed, but I managed to post every day in April (except Sundays, that’s the rule). By the time I got to Warren Zevon, I was exhausted! Whew! One thing I knew for sure – I’d be better prepared for 2013.

And I was. In 2013, I blogged the alphabet on places I’d been, 2014 was about cheese (yes, it was), 2015 featured musical instruments, 2016 had a beautiful theme about Paris between the wars (1919-1939), when the city experienced a cultural boom of artists, writers, composers, and designers. In 2017, I showcased Broadway (and off-Broadway) musicals, the following year, 2018, featured a look back at the year 1968, accompanied by hit songs from the era. In 2019, my theme was Dylan, and I featured covers of Dylan songs A to Z.

Last year, my theme was “Yes, But Would You Eat It?” – a look at foods of the world.

I’ll be revealing my theme for 2021 soon, in a separate post. But I hope you’ll think about joining me in this challenge – it’s fun! And I’ve met some wonderful people through the A to Z. So stay tuned!

Yes, But Would You Eat It? “A” is for Airag

Welcome to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge! Each day in April (except Sundays) I’ll be posting about unusual and exotic foods. 

photo courtesy

How about some AIRAG? Sometimes spelled ‘ayrag,’ this is the Mongolian word for fermented horse milk. The Russian word for it is ‘kumys,’ but this is letter A, so airag it is!

The milk is filtered through a cloth, then it’s poured into a leather sack. These days, a plastic vat may be used. Lactic acid bacteria plus yeast produces the fermentation, and the airag is stirred often, to make sure all of the milk is fermented equally. When the fermentation process is completed, it has about 2% alcohol. The beverage is a good source of vitamins and minerals.

If you visit Mongolia and are offered a bowl of airag, you should at least take a sip before passing the bowl back to your host. To refuse it outright would be very impolite.

Here’s a guy trying airag:



A to Z Musicals ~ ♬ “A” is for AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’


‘A Musical Bow to Fats Waller’

After three months in a Manhattan cabaret, Ain’t Misbehavin’ opened on Broadway in May 1978 and ran for nearly four years and 1,604 performances. The musical revue, a tribute to the black musicians of the 20s and 30s, was named after the Fats Waller song of the same name (1929). In a 1941 interview, Waller claimed the song was written while “lodging” in alimony prison, and that is why he was not “misbehavin’.”

The show won a Best Musical Tony Award in 1978 and Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical went to the fabulous Nell Carter (1948-2003), who sings the title song here: