Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Bridge Day 2016


In late September, I showcased five fun things to do in West Virginia in the fall.  One of the activities I included was the Bridge Day celebration that commemorates the anniversary of the completion of the New River Gorge Bridge.  If you are unfamiliar with New River Gorge Bridge, it is the iconic landmark that is featured on the back of the state quarter.


Held annually on the third Saturday in October, Bridge Day is the only day of the year in which pedestrians are allowed on the bridge and when BASE jumping is legal.  An estimated 80,000 people attended this year's event; my aunt and I were two of the attendees.  Here are some of the pictures I captured of the event:

The New River Gorge

The third Saturday in October is the only day of the year in which BASE jumping is legal.

Tandem BASE jumpers

Tandem BASE jumpers preparing to take the leap
The New River Gorge Bridge as viewed from one of the National Park's observation decks.

Bridge Day is also the only day of the year in which pedestrians are allowed on the New River Gorge Bridge

For lunch, I indulged in a West Virginian invention and delicacy, the pepperoni roll

I dedicated an entire blog post to this food back in April.  Check it out here.

My aunt and I on the bridge.  It was a tad bit windy, as evidenced by my hair.

Rafts lining up to go through the rapids that are almost directly under the bridge

A raft navigating the rapids

You can see the parachute of the BASE jumper (black with blue stripe) mixed in with the blue white water rafts

At the end of the day, my aunt and I shared a funnel cake.


My aunt and I both had a wonderfully good time and on our way home, we both wondered why we waited so long to do it.

If you are ever in southern West Virginia on the third Saturday in October and want to check out the Bridge Day festivities, I highly recommend it.  There are a few things to keep in mind, though:
  1. The festivities happen rain or shine.  Be prepared for various types of weather.  Also, keep in mind that its windy on the bridge and therefore cooler.
  2. Be prepared for crowds and the crowds get larger as the day goes on.  If you want a spot right up against the edge of the bridge to view the BASE jumping, go early.  Sometimes people get a prime spot and never leave it.  My aunt and I lucked up and got a spot after waiting 45 minutes and that was by pure accident.
  3. Utilize the shuttle buses that are available for a minimal fee ($2 roundtrip this year).  This will keep you out of the traffic trying to park close to the bridge.
  4. If you would like a different perspective of the BASE jumping, you can also view it from below the bridge.  To get down into the gorge, one can take an appropriately named "Into the Gorge" shuttle.  Keep in mind, however, that reservations are required, a fee is charged, and that tickets usually sell out in advance.  My aunt and I plan to do this the next time we go.  For more information, click here.


Have you ever been to Bridge Day?  If so, what did you think about the experience?

Have a wonderful Wednesday and thanks for stopping by!

Linking up with:

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Currently... (Vol. 11)


Looking forward...  to seeing Joe Bonamassa in Indianapolis on Saturday.

Excited...  about my trip to Chicago later this month.  I can't wait to see the musical Hamilton, eat some Giordano's stuffed pizza, and see the Terra Cotta Warriors on display at the Field Museum.

Laughing...  at this Temptations Cat Treats commercial.



Celebrating... a total weight loss of 25 pounds to date!

Admiring...  my  new Christmas tree.  No, it's not decorated yet, but I love the flocking.



Loving...  my new Fitbit Zip that I got for free through the health rewards program offered through my health insurance.



Commemorating...  my husband's birthday by taking him to see The Book of Mormon (his favorite musical) on Sunday.

Feeling...  as Kristen @ See You in a Porridge would say, "all the feels" over this incredibly poignant Macy's commercial.



Cleaning out...  and getting rid of clothes that are now too big.  

Shopping...  online for Christmas presents and for a few clothing items for myself.

Reading (listening)...  to the audiobook Under Locke by Mariana Zapata.  Last month it was a man in a kilt; this month it's a man on a Harley...

Eating...  these Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Mint squares.  They're only 70 calories and I allow myself one square per day.



Finding...  it hard to believe that it's December first!   Where in the world did November go?

Walking...  at least 3 miles per day, 3 to 4 days per week.

Struggling...  with the blogging slump I've fallen into as of late.  Again, I apologize if I don't reply to your comment in a timely manner.  I will eventually.

So, what have  you been up to lately?  Have a very happy Thursday!


Linking up with:
 &
What's New With You

Friday, November 25, 2016

Ten Things I'm Thankful For


I.  Freedom of speech.  (Kudos to the members of Hamilton, SNL, and Green Day for executing their First Amendment right.)

II.  That my 84 year old grandpa and 83 year old grandmother are still alive and doing relatively well.  They both were in the hospital last week.  I'm very thankful to have had another Thanksgiving with them.

III.  That I was awake to see this amazing sunrise Tuesday morning.


IV.  For my health.  I know several people my age and younger who have some serious health issues.  I am extremely fortunate that I do not.

V. For the opportunity to return to my childhood home not only during the holidays, but throughout the year.

VI.  For friends I've known since I was a kid and who, over the decades, have become "family."

VII.  Diverse friends who add a very special spice to my life.

VIII.  My tiny West Virginia family.  There were only eight of us around the table yesterday for Thanksgiving dinner, but it was wonderful being in each other's company.

IX.  For the relative ease in which I've been able to lose the amount of weight I have so far.  I know many people who struggle to lose more than a couple pounds.  I've been able to lose 10% of my original starting weight simply by making very doable changes to my diet and incorporating exercise.  

X. Unexpected miracles.  I know I've mentioned this phrase several times previously and I've never fully explained it.  I believe that some things in life are simply so wonderful that they shouldn't be explained.  I received a wondrous gift from someone who, sadly, was just passing through my life.  I will never forget that person or that gift.

-|-

I hope this finds you having a wonderful Friday, wherever you are in this great, big vast  world.  If you are here in the U.S., or are an ex-pat living abroad, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  If you are one of the many out there braving the Black Friday madness, I wish you fabulous deals and a safe shopping experience.

Have a wonderful weekend and, as always, thanks for stopping by!

PS - Happy Birthday to my fabulous mother!




Linking up with:


Friday, November 18, 2016

Friday Five (Vol. 9)


I.  Despite being a little "old news," this poignant article about the Cubs in the Chicago Sun Times.

II.  My Cubbies World Series Championship t-shirt arrived this week.  I love it!



III. This poignant video about a very solemn day in my alma mater's history.

IV.  This CBS Sunday Morning segment.  Despite it being somewhat political, my inclusion of it on this list has nothing to do with my feelings for Trump.  This segment tells the story of some people in McDowell County, WV.  McDowell County is where my paternal grandparents were raised and it neighbors my home county.  It's not a happy video, but is worth sharing.



V.  There is a principal in Lexington, KY who makes hilarious videos regarding teacher and education issues.  If you are an educator, I'd recommend checking out his Facebook page.  Just a little warning, however, he is as country as corn and he might be hard to understand if you're not familiar with southern accents!



VI.  BONUS - Although this song is 21 years old, I think its message is still as relative and timely as it was in 1995.


I hope this finds you having a wonderful Friday.  May you have a blessed weekend.  Have anything fun planned?


Linking up with:



Thursday, November 17, 2016

Dear Mr. Trump

Dear Mr. Trump,

It’s probably best to just go ahead and get perceptions out of the way so you know exactly where you stand with me. I don’t like you. I’ve never liked you and I probably will never like you. Most importantly, right now, I don’t respect you. 

What little respect I may have had for you in the beginning was basic, human respect that I would extend to anyone. You lost that with the distasteful, hateful things you spewed during the past 12 months while on the campaign trail. I, sir, am quite displeased with your behavior.

Mr. Trump, you are now the president-elect. I was raised to believe that the president of my country should be respected regardless of my personal feelings towards that individual. I’ll be honest with you, I’m not there yet and I’m not sure I’ll be ready come January 20, 2017 either. I will, however, give you a chance to earn my respect back. It’s fair to say, though, that you have your work cut out for you.

As a therapist and an educator, I believe it is of the utmost importance that the students with whom I work know exactly what their therapy targets are. If they don’t know what’s expected of them, then how can I expect them perform at the level I wish them to? The same is to be said of the duties of an employee. Holding the highest office of public service, you are now my representative to the world. You work for me and the other 350 million citizens of this country. As one of your “employers,” I feel that you should be made aware of what I expect of you.  If I don't inform you of my expectations, then how can I expect you rise to them?

So, without further ado, here's what I expect from you, Mr. Trump:

I expect you to view and treat all of us as your equals and when I say all I mean ALL. We live in a nation where all are believed to be created equal. That includes women, those with disabilities, members of the LGBT community, minorities, those with different skin tones, and those with differing religious views.

I expect you to stop making fun of the disabled. My life’s work revolves around helping children overcome communication delays and disorders. Making fun of ANYONE absolutely infuriates me, but making fun of someone for something that they cannot help… Man, that’s low. You should thank your lucky stars that you were born of able body and mind and that your children were as well. The disabled are not beneath you, Mr. Trump.

I expect you to stop being a womanizing, misogynist schmuck. We woman are more than just sexual playthings for members of the good ol’ boy club. We are more than pretty faces for you to gaze at, pieces of ass for you to try to bed, and we are more than genitals for you to try and fondle. And by the way, your self admitted behavior of grabbing women’s genitals without their consent - that makes you a sexual assailant and sex offender in my book. You claim to respect women, but there are numerous sound bytes and YouTube videos available to contradict you. Get your act together. 

I expect you to stop marginalizing and stereotyping people of other races, cultures, and sexual orientation. Just as all Mexicans are not rapists and robbers, nor are all Muslims terrorists. That’s like saying that all white men are members of the KKK, which simply isn’t the case.

I expect you to act better than you have on the campaign trail.  Act like you have some manners.  

I expect you to act with basic human kindness.

I expect you to act in a mature manner.

I expect you to rise to the gravity of this office and to the situations you are going to face.

Mr. Trump, your rhetoric has exposed a dark side of America that has long been living in the shadows. Now that it’s out in the open, I expect you to be a leader and do what’s necessary to eradicate it. In order to make America great again, we need to be united and right now we are not. I expect you to do what’s necessary to unite us. We the People are divided, exhausted, and weary about the future.  As our leader, I expect  you to lead.

I know this is a tall order and that you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed right now. I will not blow the proverbial smoke up your butt and say that this will be an easy task, for it will not. Honestly, I’m not sure if you are up for it. 

I expect you to prove me wrong.

Sincerely,

Ericka 

Linking up with:


Monday, November 14, 2016

75

In the middle of Huntington, West Virginia, there is a river. Next to this river, there is a steel mill. And next to the steel mill, there is a school. In the middle of this school, there is a fountain. 


Each year, on the exact same day, at the exact same hour, the water to this fountain is turned off. 


And in this moment, once every year, throughout the town, throughout the school, time stands still.


Remembering the seventy-five Marshall University football players, coaches, boosters, and flight crew of Southern Airways flight 932 who perished on November 14, 1970.



WE ARE...  MARSHALL!




Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Recently Read - Vol. 13 (Oct. '16)



Busyness.  General distractedness.  Too much crap bouncing around in my head.  Disinterest.  Report cards.  The need for silence. Life.  Pick your reason for why I only read TWO books in October, for any of the reasons I mentioned will be valid.  

Ladies and gentlemen, the reading slump continues...  LOL!

On the plus side, however, at least I enjoyed the two books that I read last month!  Without further ado, there are the books I read in October:

Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben
Read October 1 - 13 | Format: Audiobook | My Rating:  4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads: Former special ops pilot Maya, home from the war, sees an unthinkable image captured by her nanny cam while she is at work: her two-year-old daughter playing with Maya’s husband, Joe—who had been brutally murdered two weeks earlier. The provocative question at the heart of the mystery: Can you believe everything you see with your own eyes, even when you desperately want to? To find the answer, Maya must finally come to terms with deep secrets and deceit in her own past before she can face the unbelievable truth about her husband—and herself.

I read one of Coben's books before (Six Years) and I really didn't care for it. I've avoided his books ever since. When I read the synopsis for Fool Me Once, however, I admit that I was immediately intrigued, but still a bit leery. After a few other trusted bloggers read it and gave it positive reviews, I decided to jump and I'm glad I did. Although Fool Me Once wasn't earth shatteringly brilliant or the best thriller/mystery I've ever read, it was intriguing enough to keep me interested (and given how distracted I've been as of late - that says a lot!) and to keep me wondering.

The Watchman by Robert Crais
Read October 14 - 31 | Format: Audiobook | My Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:  To pay back an old debt, Pike is coerced into protecting Larkin Barkley, a hard-partying young heiress whose life is in danger after a "wrong place wrong time" encounter that quickly escalates and spins out of control. The enemy is shadowy, violent and relentless—but the fierce, focused Pike, one of the strongest characters in modern crime fiction, is equal to the challenge. The breathless pace and rich styling are sure to appeal to readers of hard-boiled fiction in general, but since up to now Pike has mostly remained in the background, some fans of the Elvis Cole series (The Forgotten Man, etc.) may find the explicit picture that emerges of Pike at odds with the image they've constructed for themselves.

This is the eleventh book in the Elvis Cole/Joe Pike series and is the first to feature Joe Pike as the main character.  As a long time fan of the series, this installment did not disappoint and I enjoyed Joe Pike taking the lead, so-to-speak.  The plot was thought provoking and provided enough twists and turns to keep me guessing.

-|-

So, there you have it... my October reads.  Like I said, although I didn't read much last month, I did enjoy what I read, so I guess that must count for something. 

What have you read lately?  Any recommendations?

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

Linking up with Steph and Jana 

P.S. Food for thought:



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...