Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Awaken the Travel Bug in Me



The Year We Seized the Day by Elizabeth Best and Colin Bowles

What it made me want to do:  Walk a portion of the Camino de Santiago in Spain
Have I been there/done that?  Not yet, but it's still on my Bucket List.

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

What it made me want to do:  Visit Bali and start meditating
Have I been there/done that?  No to Bali, yes to meditating (for a while at least).

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

What it made me want to do:  Walks portions of the Pacific Crest Trail (I had absolutely no desire to walk the entire thing)
Have I been there/done that?  No, and I admit that since reading the book I've lost all desire to do it anymore.

A Good Girl's Guide to Getting Lost:  A Memoir of Three Continents, Two Friends, and One Unexpected Adventure by Rachel Friedman

Where it made me want to go:  Iguazu Falls in South America
Have I been here/done that?  Not yet.

The Lost Girls:  Three Friends. Four Continents. One Unconventional Detour Around the World by Jennifer Baggett, Holly Corbett, and Amanda Pressner

What it made me what to do:  Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru
Have I been there/done that?  No.  Although I still want to see Machu Picchu, I have no desire to hike the Inca Trail to get there anymore.  I think I'll take the train instead.

Skinny Dip by Carl Hiaasen

What it made me want to do:  Take a cruise and see the Florida Everglades
Have I been there/done that?  Yes and yes.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Where it made me want to go:  The highlands of Scotland
Have I been there?  I had visited Scotland prior to reading Outlander, but I didn't see the highlands as described in the book.

Eat Pray Love Made Me Do It by Elizabeth Gilbert

What it made me want to do:  Re-read Eat Pray Love.
Have I been there/done that?  Not yet...


Have any books awakened the travel bug in you?  If so, what were they? 

Linking up with:

    Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. 

    Monday, June 11, 2018

    The Blended Blog Asks - Summer Lovin'


    Walk vs. Bike Ride
    Nothing against bike riding, for I like to do that, too, but I love walking. I love the rhythmic pounding of my feet against the earth and I love where my feet take me.

    Favorite Picnic Food - Hot Dogs
    I'm not sure I've ever been on a "picnic," but I've been to a lot of cookouts and "weenie roasts."  Hot dogs are my favorite.

    Pool vs. Lake
    Nothing against lakes, for I kayak in lakes all the time, but if I had to choose one for swimming purposes, it would be a pool.

    Favorite Flavor of Ice Cream - Hokey Pokey
    Unfortunately Hokey Pokey is only typically found in New Zealand and Australia.  I had it 11 years ago and, as you can tell, it made quite an impression on me.  Here in the states, however, I would have to say that Haagen Dazs' Dulce de Leche is my favorite.




    Ice Cream Cone vs IC in a Dish - Coin toss
    It really depends on my mood.  I like both equally.

    Flip Flops vs. Slides - Coin toss
    I have and wear both equally.

    Jorts vs. Jean Capris
    If I have to choose between the two, I'll go with the jorts.  During summer, unless I'm working, I go for all things above the knees.

    Favorite Summer Fruit - Watermelon

    Corn on the Cob vs. Off the Cob
    Back when I ate corn (I gave it up about 3 years ago) I preferred it on the cob.  Gnawing it off the cob is half of the fun!

    Favorite Summertime Song - "Summertime" by Kenny Chesney


    Favorite Summertime Activity - Not working :)

    Favorite Berry - Blackberry

    Bikini vs. Tankini vs. One Piece

    Dresses vs. Skirts - Coin toss
    Neither are regular items in my wardrobe and, for me, they are six of one half a dozen of the other.

    One Word to Describe Summer - Freedom



    Linking Up With:  The Blended Blog



    Just for fun, here are some of my honorable mentions for Favorite Summertime Song:


    "Summertime Girls" by Y&T (1985)



    "Endless Summer Nights" by Richard Marx (1987)



    "School's Out for Summer" by Alice Cooper (1972)



    "Into the Night by Benny Mardones" (1980 and re-relased in 1989)
    (Yes, I realize there is no mention of summer in the title, but I always associate this song with summer because it brings back a lot of memories from the summer of 1989.)

    Thursday, June 7, 2018

    Currently... (Vol. 28)


    Enjoying... my first full week of summer break and the cooler, more spring-like temperatures we've been blessed with after experiencing a Florida-ish May. (Sorry, Kristen, I know you like Louisville hot and all, but it's too soon for this heat and humidity crap.  LOL!)

    Thankful...  that I didn't have to move rooms this year!  It was one of the easiest ends to a school year I've ever had.

    Decluttering...  everything.  I'm at a point in my life where I'm simply over stuff.

    Sad...  to see several of my public school comrades decide not to return to teaching in the fall.  They've simply had enough.  This is a great blog post that sums up why many are leaving the profession.

    Listening to... the audiobook All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda.



    Selecting... books for Erin's latest book challenge. See below.  (If you're interested in participating, click the link below.)

    Researching...  cruises that make port of call in Havana, Cuba.  My mom, who has never expressed any desire whatsoever to cruise before, has recently expressed an interest in seeing Cuba as part of a cruise.

    Loving...  Weezer's cover of Toto's iconic 80s song, "Africa."  I'm not typically a fan of remakes, but this one is an exception.  The backstory behind the remake is pretty interesting, too.



    Excited...  to see Arches NP and to cross two more states (Colorado and New Mexico) off my to-visit list later this month.

    Contemplating...  some creative ways to visit the remaining 15 states that are still on my list (Alaska, Arkansas, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin).  Any ideas?

    Wishing...  my friend S bon voyage!  Enjoy your cruise!


    May in a snapshot:

    1) My SLP buddies and me at Thurby, a Prince mural, savoring the smell of honeysuckle.
    2) Sidewalk finds outside of Jerry's Junk, a snail that crossed my path (and that was almost stepped on), how 5th graders celebrate on the last day at my new school.
    3) I voted, after the rain, cruising on the Ohio River underneath the Lincoln Bridge.


    So, tell me, what have you been up to lately?




    Linking up with:



    • 5 points: Freebie (A book that is at least 200 pages) - TBD
    • 10 points: Read a book that starts with the letter “N” - Native Tongue by Carl Hiaasen
    • 10 points: Read a book that has a (mostly) orange cover - The Sentry by Robert Crais
    • 15 points: Read a book with an unlikeable character - Tampa by Alissa Nutting
    • 20 points: Read a book from the list of 100 books that PBS calls “The Great American Read” - TBD
    • 20 points: Read a book with something related to water in the title; i.e. ocean, sea, lake, river, waves, etc. - The Flood Girls by Richard Fitfield
    • 25 points: Read a book you’ve owned the longest but haven’t read yet - The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly
    • 30 points: Read a book with an emotion word in the title; i.e. joy, sadness, grief, love, anger, etc. - Every Anxious Wave by Mo Daviau
    • 30 points: Read a book (must be at least 2 words in the title) where each word in the title of the book begins with the same letter - Finding Frasier by KC Dyer
    • 35 points: Read a book featuring a character who shares your profession or similar one (Speech Pathologist) - The King’s Speech by Mark Logue and Peter Conradi 

    Monday, June 4, 2018

    9 Life Lessons Finding Nemo Taught Us


    Last week, one of my favorite movies of all time, Finding Nemo, celebrated its 15th anniversary.  I've loved Finding Nemo since I first saw it on the big screen back in 2003 in the weeks leading up to my wedding.  One reason it continues to be a perennial favorite of mine is because it features a full cast of underdogs and, if you know me in the very least, you know how much I love underdogs.

    I'm not alone in my love for Finding Nemo.  I currently have students who speak about watching Finding Nemo all the time.  None of them were even born when the movie was released.  In addition to being visually stunning, entertaining, and hilariously funny, the movie touches on many life lessons that I think resonate with people the world over.  Finding Nemo is a timeless classic that will always be relevant.

    Having said that, here are 9 life lessons Finding Nemo taught us:

    Bad Stuff Happens

    Right off the bat, within the first few minutes of the movie, Nemo's mother, Coral, is killed.  The first time I saw the movie, I had Bambi flashbacks and thought in disgust, "Way to go, Disney, way to set the tone of a movie!"  But, I later realized that, despite the sadness of the situation,  it's a good life lesson for everyone because bad things can and often do happen.  No one is immune - not me, not you, not even preciously cute Disney animations.  

    Sheltering Kids Can Backfire

    Marlin, for good reason, is an overprotective, helicopter parent.  His intentions are good, for they are driven out of genuine love for his son and his desire to keep him safe.  But, his overzealous overprotective nature is a driving force that contributes to Nemo being in the situation that separates them.

    Peer Pressure Can Get You in Trouble



    Oh, the butt...  The young sea creatures just have to see who is brave enough to touch that butt.  If all your friends swam out beyond the drop-off to touch a butt, would you swim out there, too?  This is the other contributing force that gets Nemo in trouble.  It's hard to resist pressure from friends, but it's important to remember that your friends may be wrong and may not have your best interests at heart.

    You're Never Too Old to Be Young at Heart



    One of my favorite characters in the movie is Crush, the 150-year old sea turtle with a laid back, surfer-dude attitude.  Crush shows us that age is just a number and that our spirit and personality do not have to be defined by that number.  We can live and act as young as we feel and want.


    Life Happens Beyond Our Comfort Zone 

    At the beginning of the movie, Marlin is a scared, overprotective guy fish.  He's scared, overly cautious, and is living a safe life that is, let's admit it, boring. Some of the most rewarding, fulfilling, and beautiful experiences in life are the ones that require letting go, leaps of faith, the testing of wings, etc. - all the things that lie outside of one's comfort zone.  

    Teamwork is Key

    Without Dory's help, Marlin wouldn't get very far in his quest to get his son back. Without the collaboration of his tank-mates, Nemo wouldn't escape the dentist's office and would become Darla's latest victim.  Teamwork is often more effective than going it alone.

    Karma is a Bitch



    The negative energy you emit out into the universe will find it's way back to you, just as it did to Darla.


    Focus on the ABILITY Not the Disability

    Dory may not be able to retain much due to her short term memory problem, but there are so many other things that she can do - she can read for goodness sake!  Nemo may have a gimpy fin, but he can still swim.  (He may need some encouragement from Gil to believe that he can do more than he thinks he can, but that's ok - we all need some cheering on from time to time.)  All too often, it's easier to focus on what people can't do than rather what they can do, which is a disservice to everyone.

    Just Keep Swimming

    I'm sure that this is probably the most obvious lesson learned in Finding Nemo, but I do feel it is the most important and that's why I saved it for last. 


    Dory's simple three word mantra reminds everyone to hang in there, to keep pushing, to keep trying, to not give up, to fight.  As I've gotten older, I've witnessed how important perseverance is in all aspects of life - be it with work, school, relationships, or personal quests.

    It reminds me of two other quotes that I hold near and dear to my heart that stress the importance of not quitting:
    "It doesn't matter how slow you go as long as you do not stop." - Confucius 
    "Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place, and I don't care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard you hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done!" - Rocky Balboa
    Bottom line - life can be tough, life can be challenging, but if you want to make it through the tough spots and the trials, you cannot quit.


    What are your thoughts?  Any that I missed?  Feel free to share.


    Linking up with Random-osity


    Thursday, May 31, 2018

    Jerry's Junk


    On an unassuming corner in the eclectic Clifton neighborhood of Louisville, KY is a two-story brick house.   If  driving by on Frankfort Avenue, one might not even notice the house and would have no idea of what's hidden within the house and in plain sight behind the owner's gates.  But, if you're the least bit observant, there's a good chance that the vintage Ford Coca-Cola delivery truck, the rusty railroad caboose, or the groups of people that always seem to be gazing through the owner's gates might grab your attention. 



    The latter is what initially caught my attention.  I mean, it's kind of rude when people stand on the sidewalk and peer into someone else's backyard, so that definitely made me wonder what was going on.  Then I noticed the life size caboose, then the aerial bomb, then a replica of the Statue of Liberty.  As I approached the house, I asked an onlooker if that was a private residence.  She said, "Yes, it's Jerry's Lotz's house, the owner of Jerry's Junk."  Before that moment, I had no idea this place existed.  It was by accident that I was even on that street to begin with (I was  searching for a mural).

    The owner, Jerry Lotz, said that he started collecting when he was around 8 years old. Now an octogenarian, Lotz has been collecting for decades and his enormous collection is very...  overwhelming. Looking through the gates, for me, was much like looking at a larger-than-life I Spy book!  I would easily say that one could make multiple return trips and see things that hadn't been seen before. 
















    During my first visit, I completely missed these jewels that were parked in plain sight in what would essentially be his front and side yards.  The vintage cars are actually parked on a yellow brick road, too.






    Although he has enthusiastically shown his collection to people in the past, it's been said that he's now suffering from dementia and no longer does so.  Still, the collection is worth a trip to the Clifton neighborhood to see.  Just remember to be respectful if you make a visit; this is a private residence in a residential neighborhood.  If you go, you may get lucky and see Jerry himself, as he often sits outside on this upstairs deck overlooking his treasures.



    Linking Up With:




    Budget Travelers Sandbox



    Previous posts about Louisville:
    A Guide to Louisville's Street Murals Part 1 & Part 2
    T is for Thunder Over Louisville

    Wednesday, May 30, 2018

    Summer Is...



    Kayaking
    Boston Ferns
    Lightning bugs
    No alarm clocks
    No rush hour traffic
    Purple chicory blossoms
    Morning walks in the park
    Quiet time sitting on the deck 
    Waking after the sun has risen
    Extended quality time with my dog
    Simply being Ericka instead of Mrs. B.



    Today is my first official day of summer break.  So, even though spring still has 3 weeks left in it, it's summer in my mind.


    What is summer to you?  Thanks for stopping by!


    Inspired by Steph's post
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