Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Well, I Never!

I've Never...

Watched an episode of The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Survivor
or Dancing with the Stars

Fainted

Figured out how to tie knots in cherry stems with my tongue like many of my cousins can

Read To Kill a Mockingbird

Smoked a cigarette

Been able to "roll" my Rs (you know... "R-r-r-r-ruffles have r-r-r-ridges") despite the fact that I am a speech therapist and teaching kids how to make sounds is what I do for a living

Been pregnant

Watched any of the plethora of superhero movies that have been released in the past decade (Avengers, Iron Man, X-Men, Guardians of the Galaxy, etc.)

Taken any illegal substance

Visited the Louisville Zoo, despite having lived in Louisville for 16 years

Eaten catfish

Been to the Kentucky Derby even though Churchill Downs is less than 5 miles from my house

Inspired by Rose @ Ramblin' Rose's blog post Never Ever Before

Linking up with:


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Dear... (Humpday Confessions Vol. 9)


*I'm utilizing a somewhat different format this week for my confessions. #INeedAChange

Dear printer/copier in the teacher workroom, 

You suck. I’m in the middle of printing end of the year progress reports that are to go home on Friday and you choose now to quit "responding."  I’m on a deadline, dude. You need to get with the program. #Ain’tNobodyGotTimeForThis 



~~~~~
Dear dump-truck that littered the interstate with little granules of something hard yesterday morning on my way to work,

Thanks for peppering my car with your spillage and making my hood look like it’s been shot with buckshot. #InNeedOfAPaintJob


~~~~~
Dear generic Apple Jacks,

Man, your crunchy texture really tore the roof of my mouth up! There should be a warning label on your bag that says, “Consumer is highly advised to let Apple Ohs soak in milk for a few minutes before eating.” #IMightEatNormallyByFriday


~~~~~
Dear Daughter of Rock-n-Roll Royalty,

Your father supposedly had an affair with his hairdresser and you revenge tweet the mistress' phone number out to the masses.  The last time I checked, it takes two to tango.  Where's the tweet with your father's phone number?  #HippocriteMuch? 


~~~~~
Dear bird outside my window who started chirping loudly at 4:55 am, a full hour before my alarm was set to go off,

I appreciate the fact that you adhere to the old adage about the early bird getting the worm, but can’t you go about getting that worm in a quieter fashion?  The sun's not even up for goodness sake!  Some of us couldn’t care less about getting the worm and we non-morning people need as much beauty sleep as we can possibly get. #BirdHuntingAnyone?

~~~~~
Dear weather forecast,

Today is field day at my school. I really, really dislike field day.  I really, really need to spend the day inside working on paperwork instead of running some station in which I can’t figure out the premise and listening to kids complain all day about 1) being hot, 2) being thirsty, or 3) being bored. You’re saying there’s a 50% chance of rain. I say - bring it! Let it pour! Help a girl out, will ya? #MakeItRain #RainRainDon’tGoAway #BringOnTheMonsoon




~~~~~
Dear Mr. Man,

I really have nothing to say at this point in the school year. I’m fighting with the printer (see above), am waist deep in paperwork, and there are only 3 days left in the school year. This is a stressful week for teachers and school based therapists; we have a lot to do and a short time to do it in. Honestly, is a sit down pow-wow with us at this point really necessary? I’m all talked out, my mind and body are weary, and I honestly don’t think I have the capacity to absorb anything you might say right now. #Let'sTalkInTheFall #HonorOurTime #Ain’tNobodyGotTimeForThis Either

~~~~~
Dear Teenager,

You are not the first one to deal with the joys of teenagedom, nor will you be the last. Yes, these years can be awful, but I can promise you this - they will not last forever.  High school is just a snippet of time in your life.  There are many days ahead of you and much happiness to be had.  In the meantime, however, you need to learn some perseverance and quit surrendering so easily.    #ThereIsLifeAfterHighSchool

Sincerely, 

Ericka


Linking up with:


Monday, May 23, 2016

4 Movies I'm Looking Forward to Seeing This Summer


I like movies, but I don't like paying movie theater prices.  It's hard to justify paying $16-$20 a pop for my husband and I to see ONE movie, especially since we have a hellacious satellite bill (we apparently have every movie channel known to man).  In addition to waiting for movies to come out on one of the numerous movies channels we have access to, we also rent them for $2 at Redbox and view them for free on the Amazon Fire Stick my husband bought back in the winter.

I guess you could call me a Movie Cheapskate...

Occasionally, though, there are movies I get so excited about that I MUST see them in the theater.  I either simply can't wait for them to come out on DVD or I want to have the full cinema experience (big screen, popcorn, surround sound) while watching them.  Summer is right around the corner, so the season of big, Hollywood blockbusters is upon us.  I must admit, there are a handful of movies that I have been highly anticipating seeing in the theater.

First up is Me Before You, which will be released on June 3.  Me Before You is the movie adaptation of the book of the same name.  I suspect when I go to see it that the audience will be comprised of 90% women.




Next, is Finding Dory, which hits theaters on June 17.  I loved, loved, loved Finding Nemo, but let's be honest - Dory made the movie.  How can I not get super psyched over a sequel featuring the world's most lovable and forgetful blue tang?




The third movie I'm excited to see in a theater is Independence Day: Resurgence, which comes out on June 24.  In all honesty, I'm not a big action adventure type movie fan, but there's something about this movie that interests me.  Perhaps it's drawing on the nostalgia I have of the prequel, Independence Day, which I saw in the theater during the summer of 1996.  Perhaps it's because Independence Day is a movie that both my husband and I will stop on when channel surfing.  I don't know why, but I'm very excited to see this.




The last one on my list is The Secret Life of Pets, which will be released on July 8.  I have been talking about this animation since I first saw the trailer back in the winter.  I'm an animal lover and I love animations, so I have HIGH expectations for this movie.




What summer movies are you looking forward to seeing this summer?

As always, thanks for stopping by.  Happy movie viewing to you!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Distance - Hugh's Weekly Photo Challenge (Week 26)

In the distance, the Carnival Victory sits to the left and a sliver of Half Moon Cay (Bahamas) is to the right.

Have a great weekend!  As always, thanks for stopping by!


Interested in my previous photo submissions? Click below.


Linking up with Hugh's Views and News

Friday, May 20, 2016

Challenges, Challenges! (SCSBC16 Preliminary List)

I confess...  I'm a book challenge junkie.  I absolutely love them.  I love the weird little structure they give to my reading routine.  I also love that in order to meet many of the challenge categories, that I am forced to step outside of my "reading comfort zone."  Some of the best books I've ever read came from participating in book challenges, books I feel confident that I probably would've never read otherwise.

Being the junkie I am, it's no surprise that I am planning to participate in Megan's Semi Charmed Summer Book Challenge again.  For more about the challenge (timeframe, rules, etc.) click here.  

Here is my preliminary list, which is always subject to change.

5 points: Freebie! Read any book that is at least 150 pages long.
To be determined :)

10 points: Read a collection of short stories or essays. (They may all be written by the same author, or the book may be an anthology from different writers; your choice!)

Beneath the Bonfire by Nickolas Butler

10 points: Read an adult fiction book written by an author who normally writes books for children. Examples: J. K. Rowling, Judy Blume, Suzanne Collins, Rick Riordan, etc. Submitted by SCWBC15 finisher Kelly E.

Wifey by Judy Blume

15 points: Read a book set in Appalachia. - Submitted by SCWBC15 finisher Ericka B. ~ ME!!! :) (Try this list or this one for inspiration. And here’s a map if you have a book in mind and want to know if it fits the setting.)

Home to Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani

15 points: Don’t judge a book by its cover! Read a book with a cover you personally find unappealing.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

20 points: Read a book that you have previously only seen the film (movie) of. - Submitted by SCWBC15 finisher Bevchen.

To Be Determined :)

25 points: Read a book with a punny title. The title can be a play on another book title, movie title or a common expression. Examples of such titles include Southern Discomfort, We'll Always Have Parrots or Bonefire of the Vanities. - Submitted by SCWBC15 finisher Jamie G.

Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler

30 points: Read a microhistory. (Try this list or this one for ideas.)

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Gary Elwes

30 points: Read one book with a good word in the title, and one with a bad word. Note: This category is reeeeeeeally open-ended! Maybe you like turtles, so The Pearl that Broke Its Shell is a title with a "good" word. Similarly, the "bad" word could be a swear word or a literally negative word like “not” or “none,” or it could just be something you don’t like. Have fun with it! (Remember, you must read both books to get 30 points; this category is not worth 15 points per book.)

1) Real Happiness by Sharon Salzberg and 2) The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories by Marina Keegan

40 points: Read two books that contain the same word in the title, but once in the singular and once in the plural. For example: Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter and The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer, or Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff and The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner. (Remember, you must read both books to get 40 points; this category is not worth 20 points per book.)

1) The 9th Girl by Tami Hoag and 2) The Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

Are you participating in the SCSB16 challenge?  If so, how's your list coming along?  

As always, thanks for stopping by!  Have a good one!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Humpday Confessions (Vol. 8)

I confess:

I am soooo ready for this school year to be over. Not counting today, I have 7 more work days with students left in the school year. Given my current mental and physical state, that’s about 5 days too many. Given the amount of tasks I have to complete between now and the end of the school year, that’s about 7 days too short. #justshootmenow



Springtime in Kentucky is like a church potluck - ANYTHING is possible. Over the weekend we had to turn our heat back on and I've had to break out the jackets again. #MotherNatureYouSuck



Yesterday evening, my hot water heater decided to finally give up the ghost by ceremoniously exploding and shooting water out in a overly dramatic fashion. #reallyjustshootmenow

So, showering last night with no hot water and winter-like temps was fun! I'm sure I looked like I was doing a strange version of the hokey-pokey or something.  You put your left arm in (the shower stream), you take you left arm out. You put your left arm back in (to rinse), and then you shiver all about... #coldbutclean



Speaking of bathrooms, I'm really sick of hearing about the national bathroom crisis that we're having in the United States. #whendidpeeinggetsocomplicated


On that note, I'm off to work.  Happy Humpday!  I leave you with this:


Linking up with:


Monday, May 16, 2016

Memes That Say EXACTLY What I'm Thinking (Vol. 4)

I've amassed quite a little collection of Presidential memes and comics this year. In honor of tomorrow's Primary Election in Kentucky, I'm sharing my collection with you.  Enjoy!














(Please excuse the grammar error in the Buffett for President meme.  Remember, I didn't create it, I'm just sharing it.  LOL!)

Have a great Monday wherever you may be!  If you live in Kentucky, Washington, Oregon, or Idaho (I think) and are registered to vote, don't forget to make your voice heard tomorrow!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Music - Hugh's Weekly Photo Challenge (Week 25)

I took the month of April off from Hugh's weekly photo challenge so that I could focus all my blogging energy and efforts towards the April A to Z Challenge. Ladies and gents, I'm happy to announce that I'm back!  

This week's theme is music.  I don't play any instruments and these days all my music is digital.  I truly have very little in terms of what I can photograph.  I do, however, love to attend concerts and have been known to snap a photo or two (or 50) during them.  Today I share with you some of the concert pictures I have taken during the past 4 years.

Daughtry - Huntington, WV November 2012

Bon Jovi - Louisville, KY - March 2013

Lionel Richie - Nashville, TN - September 2013

Alice Cooper - Louisville, KY - October 2014


Motley Crue - Louisville, KY - October 2014


Interested in my previous photo submissions?  Click below.
Linking up with Hugh's Views and News

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Recently Read - Vol. 7 (April '16)



It's the second Tuesday of the month and you know what that means, don't ya? It's time to link up with Jana and Steph for their monthly Show Us Your Books linkup.  As I compose this, I'm a little shocked that I only read three books during the month of April. (Well, technically I read four, but I started one of them in March so I included it in last month's link up.) April was a busy month for me and that is definitely reflected in my reading.

WORTH THE TIME - RECOMMEND 

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Read April 14-26


Someone, although I cannot remember who, described this book as a "slow burn" and that is exactly how I would describe it, too. Although highly predictable, I'm still glad I took the journey with Will and Lou. Me Before You is an incredibly poignant story with characters that seemed real and with whom I cared about over time.

There is a sequel and as of this writing, I'm not sure if I will read it or not. Let me say that my thoughts on that have nothing to do with Me Before You. Right now, I am okay with how Me Before You ended. I'm not sure if I want to continue this journey or not.
My rating: ★★★★★


My Sister's Grave by Robert Dugoni
Read April 26-30

This is the first book I've ever read by the author and I have to say that I was very pleased.

My Sister's Grave is the story of Seattle detective Tracy Crosswhite and her quest to seek the truth in the events of her sister's disappearance twenty years earlier. The story was interesting, the main characters likable, and the plot contained enough twists to keep me guessing. Although I did figure out some things, there were a few things I didn't. I like that.
My rating: ★★★★



OK - 50/50 - ADEQUATE FOR PASSING TIME OR BASIC ENTERTAINMENT


Silver Bastard by Joanna Wylde
Read April 9-14

I’m ALWAYS hesitant to review MC romance books because they are not mainstream and are WAAAYYYY out of many readers’ comfort zones. But, I'm going to throw caution to the wind and review this one anyway. Why do I read them, you ask? Well, for pure escapism. I’m a good girl, always have been a good girl, and I’ve lead a predominately good girl life. By good girl, I mean that I tend to play by the rules most of the time and don't stray too far from the mainstream. That’s just how I roll. Reading MC romances allows me to take a walk on the wild side, so-to-speak, and live vicariously through the author’s words in a life that is very foreign from my own.

Overall, I liked this spinoff, although I didn’t like it well as I’ve liked the books from the main Reaper MC series. I liked the main characters, Puck and Becca, as well as the secondary characters. My feelings for Becca changed a bit, however, around 75% into the book. Basically, Becca is a young woman striving to overcome her past and her mother’s life choices. At one point, she lost her mind, allowing her past to define her instead of letting her present character and actions speak for themselves. She also allowed her mother’s transgressions to define her, which were not justified, and that just completely pissed me off.

I also had some issues with the author's choice of language. Some examples that completely worked my nerves were the author's overuse of having Becca say "Crappity, crap crap..." as well as "happy camper." Also, the endless rhetorical questions were annoying.

If you like MC romances, then you might want to give this one a whirl. It's not the best I've read, nor is it the worst. Be warned, however, the language used in this book is incredibly graphic and crass.
My rating: ★★★

All and all, April was a good month of reading, although I didn't read as many books as I normally do.  

What have you read recently?  Anything good?  Feel free to share below.

As aways, thanks for stopping by!

Monday, May 9, 2016

A to Z Blogging Challenge Reflection (2016)

It's been over a week since the A to Z Blogging Challenge ended.  In that time, I've had some time to rest, recoup, and reflect on the experience.  

Participating and completing the A to Z Challenge reminded me a lot of when I participated and finished a half marathon several years back.  So much energy and focus went into the preparation and the execution of both tasks.  After I submitted my Z entry, I felt something similar to what I felt the day after I crossed the finish line, something that's been called the "Post Marathon Blues." Last Sunday morning, the day after the challenge concluded, I found myself sitting in front of my laptop, staring blankly at the screen thinking, "OK...  Now what?"  I'm happy to say, that I'm slowly acclimating back to the real world.

The organizers of the challenge ask that all participants, regardless of whether they finished it or not, compose a reflection post.  Here's mine.  I've organized it in a format similar to that of an article to help in making it an easier read.  I apologize for the length.

Why I Chose to Participate in the A to Z Blogging Challenge
Because, in the most simple explanation, I love a good challenge.  Setting a goal and doing what it takes to see it through gives me much satisfaction and pleasure.  

To Theme or Not to Theme, That is the Question
I didn't choose a real theme year because it was my first attempt.  I honestly didn't know what to expect, so I just wanted to keep it simple.  Having one A to Z Blogging Challenge now under my belt, I'm not so sure I will chose a theme next year, that is - if I decide to participate again.

Benefits of Not Having a Theme
I really, really liked the freedom of posting whatever I wanted and not having to conform my writing to fit within a designated theme.  If I wasn't feeling a particular topic that I had pre-planned - it was no problem, I just made adjustments and went on.   

For example, for the letter H, I planned a post on my hometown, specifically about how  many things about my hometown are different from how I remember them in my mind.  It was about change.  Well, that post turned into a beast of an entry; it was long and I couldn't rein it in.  The night before it was to go live, I was frustrated and not happy with it.  A song came up on shuffle and I was inspired. I ditched the hometown post and composed H is for Hallelujah instead. It actually turned out way better than I would've ever imagined.  And, as of May 7, H is for Hallelujah was the second most viewed post on my blog.  

A day or two later, not wanting to waste all the time and energy I put into the initial post about my hometown, I re-channeled my efforts and focus and repurposed the hometown post as the poemM is for Mind's Eye.  This was my first attempt at poetry in YEARS.   Seriously, I think the last time I wrote anything poetic was 20 years ago when I was in college.

Another reason I liked not having a theme is that I didn't limit my posts to a certain type of audience.  There were several blogs I visited throughout the challenge in which the theme was something related to horticulture (plants), entomology (bugs), or literature featuring paranormal activity.  I don't really care for any of those topics nor do I have much to say on them.  However, to be a good blogger and to be polite, I made sure to leave a comment even though the blog topic held little or no interest to me.  Needless to say, I didn't go back to those blogs after the initial visit.  

*On the flip side, however, if I were into plants, bugs, or reading about ghosts, then I might have gone back for future visits.  I guess it could go either way.

Biggest Benefit of Participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge
As I mentioned before, setting a goal and seeing it through gives me an enormous amount of personal satisfaction.  However, I really think the biggest benefit I gained from this experience is that I stepped out of my comfort zone and posted poems, something that I've never really considered myself good at.   There's an saying that goes something like, "Growth can only happen when you step out of your comfort zone." and I honestly believe that.  Had it not been for this challenge, I might never have found myself in a position where I would even contemplated writing any poetry.  If you're interesting in reading them, I've linked them here:

Biggest Challenge of Participating in the A to Z Challenge
Time.  On the first day of the challenge, I had 8 posts already prepared and ready to publish on the designated days.  That's 31% or little less than a third. I honestly thought I had a good handle on things.  Oh, how I was mistaken!

I underestimated the amount of "free time" I had in the month of April.  At my job, April heralds in the beginning of the end (of the school year) and that's when all the craziness and chaos ensues.  My job responsibilities increased substantially last month, as they do every April, and fulfilling those responsibilities often required  additional hours after my work day had ended, which ate away at my "free time."  Factor in a trip to West Virginia, a trip Georgia, and finishing up Book Challenge by Erin 4.0 (I wasn't kidding when I told you that I love a good challenge), my free time for blogging was seriously diminished.

Things I'll Do Different Next Year (If I Participate Again)
  • Preplan and compose more entries earlier, especially for the hard letters - Q, U, V, X, and Z.  This will allow me to better balance my work and blogging time. 
  • Create and implement a better system for visiting new blogs.  I didn't do a very good job at visiting many fellow challengers'  blogs this year. I did visit some, but not as many as I would have liked.  I was really just doing the best I could to keep up with my blogging schedule, responding to comments left on my blog, and spreading some blogger love by visiting the blogs of those who had commented on my blog.

Will I Participate Again in 2017?
I honestly don't know.  I enjoyed the challenge, don't get me wrong, but right now I'm a little brain dead.  I'm not taking a hiatus from blogging or anything, but right now I'm truly enjoying not having to keep up with such an intensive blogging schedule as I did in April.  We shall see.  Time will tell.

A to Z Blogging Challenge Superlatives (As of 5.8.2016)

Blogger Love
  • Elliptical Man @ The View from the Third Floor.  E Man, as I call him, has a very unique view of the world and a gift at writing clever, unconventional poetry.
  • Robin @ Your Daily Dose.  Robin created a fun, interactive theme where she provided a word that started with that day's letter and readers were encouraged to participate by leaving a comment with a song title that contained that word.
  • Deena @ Deena's Days took her readers on a trip back in time to the wonderful Decade of Decadence - the 1980s.  It was a fun blast from the past!
  • T.  Powell Colton @ Journaling Woman blogged about Death by Oddity.  Hilarious!

Did you participate in the A to Z Blogging Challenge?  What are your thoughts on the experience?  As always, thanks for stopping by!

Friday, May 6, 2016

10 Things That Made Me Happy This Week (Vol. 22)


I took the past month off from this link-up so I could dedicate all my blogging efforts to completing the April A to Z Blogging Challenge.  I completed it last Saturday with my post Z is for Zyzzyva.  Although I don't regret participating in the challenge, for I found the experience to be very rewarding, I'm very happy that it's over because it was exhausting.  If you are curious about what a wrote about, click here.

This Google Doodle in honor of Teacher Appreciation Day/Week.  (I have a student who reminds me of the little one at the end - he has little legs and seems to run everywhere in order to catch up!  LOL!)

via Google
14 more days until this school year is in the books!

Completing the Bonus Round of Book Challenge by Erin 4.0.  Twenty books in 4 months!

Hanging out with two of my dearest and closest friends at Thurby (day racing at Churchill Downs the Thursday before the Kentucky Derby).  Although the weather was overcast and chilly and none of my horses came in, it was fun to take the day off from work and hang out with my buddies the entire day.

My newly paved driveway.  Bye bye, gravel!

For Teacher Appreciation Week, the administration at my school arranged for each team to get an hour and a half for lunch one day off campus.  Getting more than 25 minutes for lunch is awesome!  Getting to go out to eat on a work day is freakin' awesome!

Learning how to fold origami money butterflies.

Participating in the Derby horse pull at work.  I drew Mohaymen (10-1 odds).  Let's hope he comes in Win, Place, or Show!

Did I mention that I only have 14 more days until this school year is over?  Four.  Teen.  Fourteen!

Have a wonderful Derby weekend wherever you may be!





Thursday, May 5, 2016

Currently (Vol. 4)



Skipping...work.  LOL!  Yes, I have taken the day off.  Why am I taking a day off so close to the end of the school year?  Later today, I will be heading off to historic Churchill Downs to enjoy some people watching, some lilies (drinks), oh, and some horse racing with some of my speech path buddies.  Churchill Downs has branded today's event as THURBY and attending has become our annual girls' day out tradition.


Looking...for the fountain of youth, aka - I'm coloring my hair, seriously, right now as I type this.  Ya know, overall, I don't mind getting older.  The little laugh lines that are appearing around my mouth don't bother me, because I view them as earned souvenirs from lots of smiling and millions of laughs.  Going gray, however, is completely unacceptable.

Enjoying...my newly paved driveway!  R and I have dealt with gravel and the associated dust or mud (depending on the weather) and ever developing potholes for 13 years!  This is a dream come true!

Scaling...back a bit on my blogging this month.  Last Saturday, I completed the A to Z Blogging Challenge - 26 blog entries over the course of 30 days.  Although I found the experience very rewarding, it was also very exhausting.  I'm honestly a little brain dead right now in terms of writing.

Counting...down the days until the end of the school year - 15!  C'mon, May 27!

Disgusted...with the current state of politics and the presidential election.  I honestly feel that we, the people of the United States as a collective whole, have lost our ever lovin' minds.  We are the laughing stock of the entire world right now.

Reading...Wild by Cheryl Strayed.  

Wishing...the weather for today would be a little nicer.  Overcast skies and a high of 63F is forecasted for Louisville today.  Ah, well...  At least it isn't supposed to rain

With that, I'm off to rinse!  It's time to get this day started! 

What have you been up to lately?  Anything fun?  Feel free to share - even the mundane stuff!  Thanks for stopping by!


Linking up with Kristen @ See You in a Porridge 
and Gretchen @ GretchRuns

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