Saturday, April 30, 2016

Z is for Zyzzyva

On this, the last day of the 2016 A to Z Blogging Challenge, I thought it would be fitting to write on a topic that is associated with the concept of finality or "the end."  

Allow me to introduce a word that you are not probably not familiar with:

zyzzyva

A zyzzyva is a genus of tropical South American weevils (type of beetle) that are particularly fond of palm trees.  Apparently this critter is quite destructive to vegetation, too.


What does this have to do with the end or conclusion of something, you ask?

Well, zyzzyva just happens to be the last word in the American Heritage Collegiate Dictionary.

And, according to Urban Dictionary, zyzzyva can also be used to indicate an instance where someone “gets the last word in.”  Example:  After a long argument with Alex, Sam wasn’t content until he got the zyzzyva.

Two questions:  
1) Have you ever heard of the word zyzzyva?
2) What are the odds of you trying to work zyzzyva into conversation?  FYI - it is pronounced "ziz i vah," just in case you're willing! LOL!

With that, I am happy to announce that I have now successfully completed the A to Z Blogging Challenge!  It's a wrap, people!  Congrats to those of you of tackled this challenge.  As I have learned, it looks by far easier than it actually is.

As always, thank you for stopping by and taking a few minutes to read my musings.  If you have hung with me throughout this challenge, thanks for taking the scenic, unplanned ride with me.  Have a great weekend!


This is my twenty-sixth and final alphabetized blog entry I am publishing this month as a part of the 2016 Blogging A to Z Challenge.  On May 9, I will reflect on my experience in a reflection post.  My theme for this challenge has been "Whatever I Think Of."  

For more information on the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, click here.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Y is for Yosemite

Yosemite is my favorite park in the national park system.  It is one of the most stunningly beautiful places I have ever seen in my life.
  
Yosemite National Park is located in the central Sierra Nevada of California. Yosemite is approximately 195 miles (4-5 driving hours) from San Francisco.

Half Dome as viewed from Yosemite Valley

Established in 1890, Yosemite National Park encompasses nearly 1,200 square miles, 95% of which has been designated as wilderness.  Although, Yosemite is best known for its countless waterfalls, there are so many other remarkable features found within the park's boundaries.   Visitors to the park will find deep valleys, ancient giant sequoias, lush meadows, granite cliffs, as well as abundant biological diversity.

Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls

Upper Yosemite Falls

Grizzly Giant

Fallen Tunnel Tree

Mule Deer

Half Dome at sunset as viewed from Glacier Point

Yosemite by the numbers:

4,294,381 - Park visitors in 2015
13,114 - (feet) The highest elevation in the park (Mt. Lyell)
2,425 - (feet) The height of Yosemite Falls
800 - Miles of hiking trails that are available to hikers
239 - Number of search and rescue operations in 2015
214 - Miles of paved roads within the park
76 - Human vs. bear incidents in 2015
39 - Bears hit by vehicles in 2015
30 - (dollars) The cost for a seven day entrance pass for noncommercial cars, trucks, RVs, or vans with less than fifteen passengers
30 - (feet) The basal diameter of the park’s largest giant sequoia, the Grizzly Giant
20 - Deaths within the park in 2015


Me with Yosemite Valley behind me.  El Capitan (left), Half Dome (center). Bridal Veil Falls (right)
Have you ever been to Yosemite?  If so, what was your favorite feature within the park?


This is the twenty-fifth of twenty-six alphabetized blog entries I am publishing this month as a part of the 2016 Blogging A to Z Challenge.  Many bloggers who participate in this challenge, select a theme.  My theme is - "Whatever I Think Of."  

For more information on the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, click here.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

X is for Xanadu

When I was 7 or 8 years old, my mother took me to G.C. Murphy's, where I purchased my very first LP album with my own money.  That album was Olivia Newton-John's Greatest Hits Volume II.


I remember playing that record on my "blue jean pocket" record player that, if I'm not mistaken, came from Sears.


The last song on the album was a song called Xanadu.  


I had no idea that the song Xanadu was the theme song from the "romantic musical fantasy"  film of the same name that also starred Olivia Newton-John. According to several online sources, the film was pretty much a flop, but the soundtrack was a big commercial success.  I've never seen the movie, so I can't attest to how bad it is or isn't.


During the time when I was playing Olivia's album on my uber cool blue jean pocket record player, the only thing I knew about Xanadu was that it was the name of what my father called a "disco" in Myrtle Beach, SC.  He had a t-shirt that featured the nightclub's name on the back. It looked like this:

Via
It wasn't until I started composing this piece that I learned that Xanadu was also the name of the summer capital of Kublai Khan's Yuan Dynasty.

I suspect that Xanadu might be a very popular post topic for those participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge due to the challenge of finding topics to write about that start with the letter X.  But, then again, a lot of folks may choose to wax poetically about x-rays, Xena the Warrior Princess, X-Men, or xylophones.

Are you familiar with the song or the movie Xanadu?

As always, thanks for stopping by!



This is the twenty-fourth of twenty-six alphabetized blog entries I am publishing this month as a part of the 2016 Blogging A to Z Challenge.  Many bloggers who participate in this challenge, select a theme.  My theme is - "Whatever I Think Of."  

For more information on the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, click here.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

W is for Where I'm From

Where I'm From

I'm from the south face of the mountain, 
from Smith’s Rosebud Salve 
and pines.

From the house that smells faintly of wood
and chimney smoke 
and coffee.

I'm from the dogwood and the rhododendron, 
whose tangled limbs created the perfect summer canopy.

From gifts on Christmas morning 
and steadfast resilience,
from Geneva, Richard, and Keen.

I'm from “eat your vegetables” 
and “you will finish what you start, young lady.”

From Sunday School, 
muddy creek baptisms, 
and singing Pass it On around church camp bonfires.

I'm from the nectar of June honeysuckle and spring peepers, 
whose lullaby echoed through the springtime darkness.

From the New River and deep, cavernous coal mines, 
from autumn apple butter 
and blackberry jelly and wine.

I'm from Nabs and pepperoni rolls, 
from peanuts in my bottle of Coca-Cola.

From windowsills lightly dusted with coal
from oak mantles  
and antique china cabinets.

I'm from the hope and sweat 
of hardscrabble mountain lives
and dark, starry skies.

© 2016 Ericka @ A Quiet Girl's Musings...


This is the twenty-third of twenty-six alphabetized blog entries I am publishing this month as a part of the 2016 Blogging A to Z Challenge.  Many bloggers who participate in this challenge, select a theme.  My theme is - "Whatever I Think Of."  


For more information on the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, click here.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

V is for Van Halen & Van Hagar

Van Halen is a hard rock band that was formed in Pasadena, CA in 1972.  From 1974 to 1985, the band consisted of David Lee Roth on vocals, Eddie Van Halen on guitar, Michael Anthony on bass, and Alex Van Halen on drums.
Via
I was about eleven years old when David Lee Roth released his solo EP, Crazy From the Heat.  He departed Van Halen shortly thereafter due to what many have called "artistic differences" with Eddie Van Halen.

Due to my age and the timing of Diamond Dave's departure, most of my musical exposure and song memories of Van Halen are of the second generation of the band, the lineup that was fronted by Sammy Hagar.  Eventually, this lineup would be dubbed the nickname "Van Hagar" as a way of distinguishing it from the original lineup.
Via
Sammy Hagar departed Van Halen in 1996.  Since then, there have been several new versions of the band with varying lineups.  Currently, the band is comprised of Eddie Van Halen, Alex Van Halen, David Lee Roth, and Wolfgang Van Halen (Eddie's son with actress Valerie Bertinelli).
Via
Today I give you my Top Ten Favorite Van Halen and/or Van Hagar Songs.

10) I'll Wait (1984, from the album 1984)


9) Dance the Night Away (1979, Van Halen II)


8) Why Can't This Be Love (1986, from the album 5150)


7) Right Now (1991, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge)


6) Can't Stop Lovin' You (1995, Balance)


5) Dreams (1986, 5150)


4) Panama (1984,1984)


3) Jump (1984,1984)


2) Love Walks In (1986, 5150)


1) Humans Being (1996, Twister motion picture soundtrack)


Do you prefer Van Halen fronted by David Lee Roth or Sammy Hagar?  Have a favorite Van Halen song?  If so, please feel free to chime in below.  As always, thanks for stopping by!

This is the twenty-second of twenty-six alphabetized blog entries I am publishing this month as a part of the 2016 Blogging A to Z Challenge.  Many bloggers who participate in this challenge, select a theme.  My theme is - "Whatever I Think Of."  


For more information on the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, click here.

Monday, April 25, 2016

U is for Underdogs

I love underdogs.  I love when someone who is thought of as inferior breaks through that barrier and does well.  I think my love of underdogs comes from my West Virginia roots.  You see, West Virginians are really the epitome of the term underdog, having been consistently viewed as inferior, backwards, and unintelligent by the masses throughout history.  When West Virginians succeed and prove the naysayers wrong, I rejoice.  

For today's entry, I present you with my personal Top 10 Underdog Movies of All-Time: 


Honorable Mention:  Cool Runnings (1993) 
Cool Runnings is based on the true life story of a the Jamaican bobsled team who participated in the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics.

Honorable Mention:  The Hunger Games (2012)
This movie tells the story of Katniss Everdeen, a fellow Appalachian, who must fight to the death against 23 other teens in an annual event called The Hunger Games that takes place in a future dystopian society.

#10 The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
The Pursuit of Happiness is based on the true life events of Chris Gardner, a homeless man who worked tirelessly for a better life for himself and his son.

#9 The Karate Kid (1984)
This movie tells the story of Daniel Larusso, a California teen who is being bullied at school and his mentor, Mr. Miyagi.  Mr. Miyagi takes Daniel under his wing to teach him karate and in the process, Daniel learns that there is more to martial arts than fighting.

#8 Angus (1995)
Angus is the story of a brilliant but overweight teen who has a secret crush on the class beauty.

#7 Billy Elliott (2000)
Billy Elliott is the story of a poor boy from a coal mining town in northern England who dreams of becoming a professional dancer.

#6 Breaking Away (1979)
Breaking Away is a coming of age story about a young man who dreams of breaking out of the life that he and his friends seem destined to live. 


#5 Forrest Gump (1994)
Forrest Gump is the story of Forrest, a man with below average intelligence, who defies all odds and experiences success beyond everyone's imagination.

#4 Rudy (1993)
Rudy is based on the true life story of Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger, a man with limited athletic ability who dreams of playing football for Notre Dame.

#3 Rocky (1976)
This movie really needs no explanation...

#2 Shawshank Redemption (1994)
This is the story of Andy Defresne, a banker convicted of killing his wife and her lover  who is sentenced to life in prison, despite his claims of innocence.

#1 October Sky (1999)
I guess it's no surprise that my #1 is the story of fellow West Virginian, Homer Hickham. Hickham, who seemed fated to be a coal miner like his father, dreamed of something bigger, something extraordinary, something beyond the mountains of southern West Virginia. Through hard work and perseverance, he achieved his dream.



Do you have a favorite underdog movie?  If so, what is it?  Feel free to share below.  Thanks for stopping by!


This is the twenty-first of twenty-six alphabetized blog entries I am publishing this month as a part of the 2016 Blogging A to Z Challenge.  Many bloggers who participate in this challenge, select a theme.  My theme is - "Whatever I Think Of."  

For more information on the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, click here.


Sunday, April 24, 2016

T is for Thank You (A to Z Bonus Post)


Thank you

For the fire
ignited deep within 
awaking and urging me to dream bigger
to do better
to want more

For the passion
once dormant but now burning brightly
making me feel young
and beautiful 
and vibrant

For the clarity
gained from a lesson I needed to learn
reminding me of who I am
what I believe
where I belong

For the act
exposing your truest of colors
making my decision easy
washing my hands
closing the door


© 2016 Ericka @ A Quiet Girl's Musings...

Thanks for stopping by and taking a moment to read my latest poetry attempt.


This is a bonus post for the 2016 Blogging A to Z Challenge.  Many bloggers who participate in this challenge, select a theme.  My theme is - "Whatever I Think Of."  

For more information on the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, click here.


Saturday, April 23, 2016

T is for Thunder Over Louisville

Every spring, for two fun filled weeks culminating in the running of what’s been called the “greatest two minutes in sports,” the city of Louisville celebrates Derby Season with the annual Kentucky Derby Festival.  

During the festival, numerous public and private events are held throughout the city.  Popular events include:  the Pegasus Parade, annual Bed Race, the KDF Mini Marathon and Marathon, the Great Balloon Glow, the Great Balloon Race, and steamboat race to name a few.

The festival officially kicks off today with a day long event called Thunder Over Louisville.  Thunder, as it is referred to by locals, consists of a daytime airshow and a thirty minute fireworks display later tonight.  The fireworks display is the largest annual fireworks/pyrotechnics display in North America.  

Via
Thunder Over Louisville began in 1989.  At the time, it was a part of the daytime opening luncheon/ceremony for the Kentucky Derby Festival.  (I know…Fireworks in the daytime?) In 1990, the fireworks became a nighttime event and took place at Cardinal Stadium at the Kentucky Expo Center.  In 1991, the event was relocated to it’s current home at Waterfront Park on the banks of the Ohio River and the fireworks detail was handed over to world famous Zambelli Internationale.  The airshow was added in 1992. 

Via
Eight tractor trailers filled with nearly 60 tons of fireworks shells along with 250 tons of launching tubes and 700 miles of wire cable are needed to assemble a show of this magnitude.  The fireworks are launched from eight barges anchored in the Ohio River as well as from the structures of the George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge (aka Second Street Bridge) that connects Louisville and Jeffersonville, Indiana.  

Via
Last year, an estimated 650,000 were in attendance.  The largest estimated attendance was 850,000 which was set back in 2007.  


Prime viewing spots are located on both sides of the Ohio River.  Which side is best?  Well, if often depends on the weather and which direction the wind is blowing.  Sometimes the wind blows the smoke towards the Kentucky side, obscuring the view of those on the south side of the river; sometimes just the opposite happens and the view from the Indiana side is obscured.  So, my answer is much like a coin toss - it could go either way.

Via

In addition to the public spaces in and around Waterfront Park and public areas on the Indiana side, there are other special event viewing options available for a fee.  Several Louisville businesses including Louisville Slugger Field, the YUM! Center, the Kentucky Science Museum, and the Kentucky Center for the Arts offer ticketed viewing spots at their facilities.  Ticket prices vary from venue to venue.  One advantage of going this route is having the use of the venue’s restrooms in lieu of having to stand in line to use one of the hundreds of port-o-pots (dubbed Thunder Pots) that are available to the public at Waterfront Park.  

Have you ever seen Thunder Over Louisville? What's the largest fireworks/pyrotechnics display you've ever seen?

As always, thanks for stopping by!


This is the twentieth of twenty-six alphabetized blog entries I am publishing this month as a part of the 2016 Blogging A to Z Challenge.  Many bloggers who participate in this challenge, select a theme.  My theme is - "Whatever I Think Of."  

For more information on the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, click here.


Friday, April 22, 2016

S is for Satyr

A satyr is a creature often depicted in classical mythology.  A satyr is a deity of the woods and mountains and is represented as part human, part horse, and sometimes part goat.  Satyrs are noted for riotousness and lasciviousness.  One source claims that they like to spend their time drinking, dancing, and chasing nymphs.

One of my favorite Aesop Fables is The Satyr and the Traveller (or The Man and the Satyr as it is also called).  Here's how it goes:


One cold bitter night in the dead of winter, a traveller had lost his way in the woods.  As the traveller tried to make his way out, a satyr came up to him. Recognizing that the traveller was lost, the satyr offered the traveller lodging for the night and promised to help him out of the woods in the morning.

As the traveller and the satyr made their way back to the satyr's dwelling, the traveller, shivering from the cold, brought his cupped hands to his mouth and blew on them.  The satyr, curious about the action, asked the traveller why he did that.  The traveller explained, "My hands are numb from the cold.  My breath warms them."

After arriving at the satyr's home, the satyr offered the traveller a pipping hot bowl of porridge.  As the traveller raised the bowl to his mouth, he blew on the porridge.  Watching this, the satyr became confused so he asked the man, "Why did you do that?"  The traveller responded by saying, "The porridge is too hot. My breath helps cool it."

Upon hearing this, this satyr ordered the man out of his house exclaiming, "Out you go!  I will have nothing to do with a man who can blow both hot and cold with the same breath!"

The moral of the story is simple - Beware of individuals who change their nature depending on the situation.  This includes two faced individuals as well.

I recall this fable and its moral at least twice a year, usually when confronted with someone who behaves in this manner.  I have heeded the warning and have steered clear of those individuals.

Do you have a favorite Aesop fable or a fable that you are constantly reminded of by real life situations?  

As always, thanks for stopping by!

This is the nineteenth of twenty-six alphabetized blog entries I am publishing this month as a part of the 2016 Blogging A to Z Challenge.  Many bloggers who participate in this challenge, select a theme.  My theme is - "Whatever I Think Of."  

For more information on the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, click here.


Thursday, April 21, 2016

R is for Randomness

When I searched for an image to go with the word RANDOMNESS, one of the first hits was of a ROULETTE wheel.

I’m currently READING Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. I was leary of READING this book because it is overwhelming loved by the masses. Before that, I READ Silver Bastard by Joanna Wylde. I don’t read books of that genre very often, but every once in a while I get the hankering for a book that allows me to live vicariously on the wild side. The next book in the cue is My Sister’s Grave. Once I finish it, I will have completed the bonus round of Erin’s Book Challenge 4.0. 


I REGRET that I didn’t take Spanish in high school. Instead, I took RUSSIAN, yes - you read that correctly - RUSSIAN. I'm not sure what I was thinking at the time. I just chalk it up to teenage stupidity. I wish I could go back in time and tell my 16 year old self, “RUSSIAN? Are you serious? Get real! How practical is that going to be? Take Spanish, my friend. Trust me, it will come in handy one day when you work in a community with a large Spanish speaking population. Quit trying to be so much of a non-conformist.”

Yesterday was the 43rd birthday of a man whom I was very close with during my freshman year of college. I haven’t seen him in over twenty years, but I never fail to REMEMBER his birthday. Last night my mind was flooded with memories, especially of us playing RACQUETBALL and sitting slumped in a corner of the RACQUETBALL court talking after our games. Lots of fond memories there.

I don’t believe in REINCARNATION, but if I did, I would like to be a snowboarder in my next life. Snowboarders truly amaze me.
 

Lastly, for some strange reason, I’ve had the RATT song ROUND AND ROUND stuck in my brain for the past 3 or 4 days. I’m not sure where I picked it or what triggered it, but it’s been a persistent booger of an ear worm ever since.


What book are you READING right now? Have any REGRETS you can to share? Are you suffering from any earworms at the moment?  Feel free to share something RANDOM.  As always, thanks for stopping by!

This is the eighteenth of twenty-six alphabetized blog entries I am publishing this month as a part of the 2016 Blogging A to Z Challenge.  Many bloggers who participate in this challenge, select a theme.  My theme is - "Whatever I Think Of."  

For more information on the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, click here.

Linking up with Penny @ Penny's Passion and Vanessa @ X-tremely V.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...