Thursday, July 28, 2016

Do-Overs (From the Archives)

A friend of mine from high school shared an interesting article on Facebook titled, Those Top 37 Things You'll Regret When You're Old. As I skimmed the list, I found myself saying "Amen!" to several of the items, some because I completely believed in the wisdom being shared and to others because they hit close to home.

Regrets... As far as regrets go, I try not to expend much energy thinking about them because, more often than not, the things we consider to be regrets are things that we cannot change. Like Zac Brown sang...

"Save your strength for things that you can change, forgive the ones you can't.  You gotta let it go."
But, there are some moments from my life that, if given the opportunity, I would definitely do differently the second time around. I'm not necessarily labeling these things as regrets, but things I definitely "do-overs."

1) I would've attended the Kentucky Derby when I was in my 20s, when I had a greater tolerance for crowds and craziness, and could endure the infield. If I ever make it to the Derby, I want a real seat, and by real I mean a chair in the grandstands that is under cover and out of the elements. I simply don't have the tolerance for the atmosphere of the infield anymore.

Photos via Pinterest

2) In lieu of taking that crazy, impractical Russian language satellite course in high school I would've opted for practical Spanish instead. But, hey, it's good to know that if I ever find myself in Moscow, that I can, with confidence, ask someone for the location of the subway! (Understanding their response, well, that's a completely different story.)

Гдеметро ?

3) I would've paid more attention to how my Granny B. made several of her "signature" dishes because she didn't follow or leave a written recipe.  She passed ten years ago and there are still times in which I'd give anything to taste her mac 'n cheese one more time.

4) My Grandpa B. and I didn't talk much because we had a difficult time finding common ground.  Being from different generations and having very strong and opposing views on the roles of women only complicated our relationship.  I do wish, however, that I would've asked him more about his involvement in WWII. He fought in the European Theater under Patton in the final days of the Battle of the Bulge.  That's honestly all that I know and I'm ashamed that I didn't make it a point to learn more while he was alive.

5) I would've abandoned the novel Cold Mountain within the first 50 pages instead of laboriously torturing myself for a month in order to finish it.  No one deserves to be subjected to that kind of torture!  This is what I felt like reading it...

6) I would've seen Aviatar in the theater so I could've enjoyed all the colors of the movie on the BIG screen.

7) I would've tried learning to ski or snowboard earlier in my life. By the time I attempted to learn, I was already in my mid 30s and it was tough. Who knows? Had I started at a younger age, I could've been the female version of Danny Davis...


8) I wouldn't have wasted my time or my money seeing Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones or Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) in the theater. That's 4 hours and 21 minutes of my life I can never get back!

9) I grew up within 75 miles of some of the finest white water in West Virginia, but never rafted until I was in my mid 30s. Knowing how much I enjoy being on the river and how happy rafting makes me, I wish I would've started a long time ago.

If given the chance to tweak or do-over some things from your past, would you? If so, what are those things? 

As always, thanks for stopping by!

*Periodically, I unearth old blog entries from my first year of blogging that didn't receive many views in order to give them new life.  Any blog entry that is being given a second shot will feature "From the Archives" after the title. This entry was originally published on August 5, 2015.  It has been edited for grammatical errors and updated in terms of dates, accuracy, and personal preferences.

Linking up with:

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

My Guiltiest Guilty Pleasure (From the Archives)

guilt·y pleas·ure
  1. something, such as a movie, television program, or piece of music, that one enjoys despite feeling that it is not generally held in high regard.
    "everybody has a guilty pleasure—for me, it has to be mid 70s disco"

One day about two years, in a rare moment of workday down time, J, my officemate at the time and I were talking.  We were new officemates and like so many strangers who share a space, we were still feeling each out and getting to know one another.  Being from different generations, J is a millennial and I am a Gen Xer, and sharing a few acquaintances, she and I had very little in common outside of work.  Up until that day, most of our conversations had fallen into the work category.  Neither of us were willing to let our guards down and venture into more personal areas of conversation.

Anyway, on this particular day, and I honestly don't remember how our conversation started. I do remember, however, in vivid detail I might add, the exact moment when J said something about "Jax."  Separated by a cubicle wall, I straightened by back and squared my shoulders, as if that would enable me to hear her better.  Then, with the slightest bit of trepidation and with crossed fingers I asked, "J, do you by chance watch Sons of Anarchy?"  And, much to my relief, she did. That was the moment J and I first bonded, over our mutual admiration and appreciation of Jax Teller and over our mutual secrecy of watching SOA.

I was a latecomer to Sons of Anarchy, having discovered it through the Facebook postings of some friends from back home as the series began its seventh and final season in September 2014 (about a month and a half before my "SOA fan coming out" conversation with J).  Through the technological wizardry of Netflix, I watched the pilot and that was, as they say, all she wrote.  I was hooked.  That is when I learned first hand what it meant to be a binge watcher.  I gobbled up seasons 1 through 5 over the next three weeks and told no one.  No one.  Not a single living soul.  (Granted, my husband and stepkids knew because they saw it on the TV screen, but that was it.)  Despite how much I obviously enjoyed the show, I mean honestly - for a while I was a bonafide binge-watching SOA addict, I was extremely hesitant about anyone knowing. You can imagine my relief and joy when I found someone in the same boat as I!

Sons of Anarchy is now off the air; its series finale aired in December 2014. Despite my being late to the game, I watched every single episode - I've even rewatched seasons 1 and 2.  But still, a year and a half after the finale, I'm still hesitant to admit to some people I know, that I watched and <gasp> enjoyed this testosterone driven, bloodbath of a soap opera!  I'm forty-something years old for Pete's sake!  Why do I even care?

In all honesty, I have no idea.  It's something I have yet to figure out.  But, I'm stepping outside of my comfort zone and publicizing it here for all the world to see.  That MUST count for progress!

So, enough about me and my guiltiest of guilty pleasures. What's yours?

As always, thanks for stopping by!

P.S. Happy Monumental Birthday to the girl on the right (even though she doesn't read my blog)!  Yep, H turns the big 4-0 today and K (in the middle) and I are out in Vegas with her helping her celebrate.  It's a tough job, but hey - that's what friends are for, right?  After I return, I might have a NEW guiltiest guilty pleasure!  What's that old saying about what happens in Vegas?  LOL!

*Periodically, I unearth old blog entries from my first year of blogging that didn't receive many views in order to give them new life.  Any blog entry that is being given a second shot will feature "From the Archives" after the title. This entry was originally published on July 9, 2015.  It has been edited for grammatical errors and updated in terms of dates, accuracy, and relevancy.

Friday, July 22, 2016

If We Were Having Coffee... (Vol. 5 - Tomboys & Dresses)

If we were visiting this morning over beverages, I say beverages 'cause you know I don't drink coffee, I'd suggest that we sit outside on my deck and enjoy the relative coolness while we can.  R is not here this morning, so I can't offer you any coffee, but I can offer you something cold to drink.  How about some lemonade?

"It's supposed to be a scorcher today," I'd say while plopping down in my adirondack chair. "They're saying we could hit a high of almost 100 degrees.  If it's anything like yesterday or worse, we probably won't be able to sit out here past 10:00.  It'll be so icky, we won't be able to stand it."  Rascal would be happily roaming around the yard, nose to the ground, sniffing and concentrating, assessing any changes to her kingdom that may have happened overnight. We'd hear her sneeze periodically and I'd chuckle.  "Yeah, she does that."  Sniff, sniff, sneeze.  Sniff, sniff, sneeze.  Apparently the sniffing-est dog in the land probably has allergies. 

After turning on the ceiling fan to create a breeze and settling in, I'd ask what you've been up to lately.  It's been a while since we chatted.  You'd catch me up on what's been happening in your life and then you'd ask, "Don't you have a trip coming up?"

"Yes, Las Vegas." I'd say.  You'd ask if I'm ready and I'd reply, "As ready as I'm gonna get."  I'd then explain that after months of on again off again preparation, that everything's booked, all the show tickets are printed, all  the reservations are made, and that I finally, finally got some dressier outfits for our evening adventures.  "And by dressier," I'd clarify, "I mean no athletic wear, no khaki shorts, no sneakers, and no t-shirts with writing on them."  I'd laugh and tell you that I've been shopping for dressier outfits since April or May, knowing that I would need something more than what I currently own for evenings out.  "It hasn't been easy," I'd say.  You'd ask why and I'd reply, "Well, considering that I don't like skirts or dresses, my options for dressier summer attire have been quite limited."

I'd let out a long sigh and say, "This is just another chapter in my never ending adventures as a tomboy.  I swear, sometimes I think life would be so much easier if I'd just conform and be a typical girl..."

You'd turn and look at me, sprawled out in my adirondack chair, sitting completely unladylike, wearing a pair of Nike basketball shorts and an old, faded Marshall University t-shirt, with not a trace of makeup and my hair a tousled mess.

You'd study me for a moment, not knowing if you should comment on the obvious or not.  I'd look over at you and give you my Cheshire grin.  "I know..." I'd say, before bursting out into hearty laughter.  "I definitely missed out on the girly gene, didn't I?"

After a few minutes of laughter and perhaps a snort or two on my part, something I do when I get tickled, I'd ask, "You know how I know that God has a sense of humor?" You'd give me a quizzical look and I'd continue, "Because I," pausing to point at myself, "the quintessential tomboy, am the only child of my mother, a woman who is the epitome of the word feminine."

Taking a sip of my soda, I'd continue.  "Yeah, when my mom was pregnant, God looked down upon her and saw a pretty young, petite  blonde with porcelain skin, who never went out in public without flawless makeup and hair, who loved fashion, and truly embraced and enjoyed being feminine.  God then said, Just to make things interesting, I'm going to give  you  a daughter, but she's gonna be a tomboy."

We'd laugh and I'd continue, "The earliest girly vs. tomboy clashes I can remember were over..." pausing for dramatical effect, "You guessed it! Dresses!" As a young girl in the 1970s, my mother and grandmother dressed me in frilly dresses, dresses that I couldn't stand.  I mean I absolutely loathed them.  And by frilly, we're talking the uber girly, fru-fru  variety with bows and lace and stuff, the kind where you had to wear the underwear with ruffles on the butt and tights. "Those ruffles made my butt itch," I'd say.  Once I was old enough to voice my displeasure, the struggle began.

Fortunately, my mom is and always has been a wise woman and she knew it was best to pick her battles.  "The grand compromise," I'd elaborate, "was that I never had to wear a dress to school, but I had to wear them on Sundays to church."  And, I did so until I turned 18.  Once I turned 18, I took my own money and went shopping for non-dress and non-skirt church attire.  

I'd grab my phone and show you a picture that I have buried in a Facebook album from my senior prom.

"I know my mother has always been proud of me for the accomplishments I've achieved in life and for living my life on my terms.  But,  that moment," I'd say while pointing to the picture on the screen, "I truly think is in my mother's top three proudest moments.  On that night, I was the feminine daughter she always wanted."

I'd rest my head back against the chair and smile.  "Ya know, since that night, I've probably worn a dress no more than half a dozen times and one of those times was to get married!  I've worn a skirt no more than ten times - and that's over the course of nearly twenty five years."

"Twenty five years!?!" you'd exclaim. 

"Yep," I'd say.  "Twenty years.  A quarter of a century.  I wasn't exaggerating when I told you I didn't like dresses or skirts..."


Thank you for stopping by!  Have a wonderful weekend wherever you are!  If you're in the part of the U.S. that's experiencing a heat wave, do your best to stay cool and don't forget to hydrate!

Linking up with Diana @ Part Time Monster 

Mackenzie @ Reflections From Me

Monday, July 18, 2016

Memes That Say EXACTLY What I'm Thinking (Vol. 5)

Having been on a self-imposed Facebook diet for most of the summer, it has taken me a little longer to collect enough memes for a proper post.  Without further ado...






Amen, again!

The above two memes hit especially close to home these days as R and I are dealing with a dependent who is exhibiting "Failure to Launch."



Not necessarily a meme that says what I'm thinking, but one that I found rather funny.



Again, not necessarily something that I'm thinking, but a meme that I found somewhat humorous.  On a serious note, however, I do wonder and have some concerns about the  outcome/consequences/fallout of Brexit.  Time will tell.


Maybe I'm really showing my age here...  Okay, okay...  YES!  I am absolutely showing my age here.  I remember Pokemon the first time around, for I had many students who were OBSESSED with it.  I didn't care about it then, I don't care about it now.  

But, if Pokemon Go is your thing, have at it - have a ball!  LOL!  But, please have some common sense about it.

Happy Monday to you!  Hope you have a great week!  Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Friday 5 - aka My Happy List

I hadn't planned to post anything today and I'm terribly late in doing so. However, after the horrific events that took place in France yesterday, I decided that a post in positivity was in order.  

Yes, folks, we are living in troubled and difficult times, but it's imperative to remember that there is still good in this world and there are still things to be happy about.  In the past, when participating in the 10 Things That Made Me Happy This Week linkup, I've listed 10 things.  For the sake of time and to reduce redundancy, I'm going with 5 today.

1.  Jennifer Garner, a fellow native West Virginian, launched a t-shirt campaign earlier this week to help raise funds for recovery efforts after historic flash flooding devastated many parts of the state.  I am always impressed with celebrities who do not forget their roots.

2.  Celebrating my grandmother's 83rd birthday yesterday with DQ Blizzards and milkshakes.

3.  Jennifer Aniston's letter regarding the never ending pregnancy rumors and the practice of body shaming.  As a woman who is childless by choice, much of what she said deeply resonated with me.

4.  Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.  I'm not a fan of sci-fi books (or movies or TV shows for that matter), but I am a child of the 80s!  With all the 80s references (Oingo Boingo, DeLorean, ECTO-88, War Games, Union of the Snake...) , this book has been so much fun!  I'm already getting excited over the film adaptation that is to be directed by Spielberg and released in 2018!

5. This YouTube video of this future Rocky Balboa.  Hilarious!

Have a wonderful weekend wherever you are!  As always, thanks for stopping by!

Linking up with:


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Challenges, Challenges! (Read My Books Finale)

Erin from TexErin-in-Sydneyland and Dani from Faster than Forever hosted a non-competitive book challenge last month in which participants had to complete one simple task:  

Only read books that you already owned in June.

This turned out to be an interesting challenge for me, given that I also started Megan's Semi Charmed Summer Book Challenge on June 1.  Fortunately, I had enough books and audiobooks already in my possession to choose from in order to satisfy several SCSBC16 categories and to fare well in this challenge, too.

If this task was a simple Pass/Fail endeavor, then I admit - I failed.  Of the 7 audiobooks that I listed to in June, I only owned 6 before the month started.  My achilles heel was that I found myself in the mood for a book by a certain author and I didn't have any of his books that I hadn't already listened to.  So, I caved... 

But, if percentage and letter grades are being awarded, I would receive an 86%, which would have been solid B on the grading scale back in my high school days.  A "B" is passing, so I'm pleased!  I consider my attempt a noble one.  

Here's are the audiobooks I listened to in June that I already owned:

  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum | Acquired (free from Audible): November 26, 2013
  • The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan | Bought: November 14, 2015
  • The 9th Girl by Tami Hoag | Bought: December 3, 2015
  • The Unidentified Redhead by Alice Compton | Bought: February 26, 2016
  • Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter | Bought: March 6, 2016
  • As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Gary Elwes | Bought: March 30, 2016

*These books were reviewed on Tuesday in my Recently Read post.

The one book that I bought and subsequently listened to in June was Sick Puppy by Carl Hiaasen.  What can I say?  I was in the mood for some of Hiaasen's noir humor and I didn't have any Hiaasen books that I hadn't already read and I wasn't in the mood for a re-read.

Read My Books Q & A

How many unread books do I have in my Audible library?  52.  Yep.  Fifty-two.  I have enough audiobooks to listen to one a week for an entire year.

Why do I have so many?  Well...  I'd say it's because many of them were impulse buys.  I always take advantage of any sales that Audible has, like their 3 books for 2 credits or their Daily Deal where you can buy the featured audiobook for anywhere between $1.95 - $4.95.  

Why don't I utilize my public library?  My preferred mode of reading is via audiobook, primarily because I listen to them during my 90 mile roundtrip daily commute during the school year.  When I'm off from work, I like the versatility that audiobooks give me.  I can do housework and still continue listening to a book.  Audiobooks allow me to multitask.  Anyway, my public library isn't the greatest at the audio format just yet and I've honestly had no luck in getting the titles I want when I want them.  When it comes to books/audiobooks, I'm sorry to say that I'm very much like Veruca Salt...

What are the five audiobooks that have been in my library the longest that I have yet to listen to and why haven't I listened to them?

  • Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl - Purchased January 2013 - I guess I just lost interest.  
  • 11-23-63 by Stephen King - Purchased November 2013 - I'll be completely honest here.  This book is 30 hours long!  That's a HUGE time commitment for me.  Every  time I download it to my phone, I have the best of intentions of listening to it, but I still haven't.  
  • Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl - Purchased November 2013 - I was inspired to read/listen to more of Pessl's work after I listened to her audiobook, Night Film, which I really liked. For whatever reason, my interest wained and I chose to listen to other audiobooks at the time until this one eventually got buried in my Audible library.
  • My Bluegrass Baby by Molly Harper - Purchased February 2014 - I haven't a clue as to why I haven't read it.  It has a cute premise, it's set in the state in which I live, and it's not long...
  • The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly - Purchased June 2014 - This book is the followup to another of Connelly's books, The Poet.  I thoroughly enjoyed The Poet, but for whatever reason, I just haven't been interested enough to see what happens in the next book.

What are the five most recent audiobooks I have acquired that I have not read yet?  When do I plan to listen to them?

  • ICE by Ice-T and Douglas Century - Perhaps for the second round of Book Challenge by Erin 5.0
  • Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter - Probably during the second round of BC by Erin 5.0.
  • Gulp by Mary Roach - Not sure...  
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - I might use this book during the second round of BC by Erin 5.0, but if I don't, I'll probably listen to it in late September during Banned Books Week (something I started doing last year...)
  • The Edge of Lost by Kristina McMorris - Soon.  I am using it for one of the categories in BC by Erin 5.0

Alrighty...  How about you?  Are you guilty of acquiring a lot of books (print, digital, and/or audio) that sit on your shelves unread as you go about reading/listening to others?  Why do you think that is?  Please share your insights, for I am genuinely curious to know.

Thank you for stopping by and happy reading!

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