Saturday, June 24, 2017

Day 400 - Friday 5 that didn't get posted until the wee hours of Saturday morning...5 Things I Like besides Books :)




Friday 5 - 5 Things I'm Liking Right Now Besides Books 


1.  Pacifica

Not only do I love this cruelty free skincare and makeup brand, I loved finding this sassy lil sale tonight at Ulta! 



When the young man at the register checked me out, he even reacted to the price
$4.75 for this little sampler pack!
Can you say CLEARANCE?
And the same size trial individuals were sitting in bins on the bottom shelf for $5 each.
I did not have to think twice about this purchase...and I skipped all the way home to try it out. 



2.  Rhian HY from WifeLife on YouTube


and especially her "Empties" videos!! 
Rhian is one of my favorite YouTubers to watch...she and Tashina from Logical Harmony are by far two of the best in their biz.
When I watch the empties videos, I keep my Amazon account open so that I can fill up my wishlist.

I certainly don't buy everything on my wishlist.

...maybe not even one thing...but you've gotta love a Wishlist.  
Yes, I was one of those children who circled all the things in the Sears catalog every Christmas.

If, however, the same product shows up on multiple empties lists, I'll keep my eye open for it and purchase the next time I need that particular product.
and/or the next time I find it at Ulta for $4.95.



3.  Podcast of the Week


NPR Up First starts my day once I get in my car.
In 15-25 minutes, sometimes longer if they want to cover a more in depth piece, Rachel Martin, David Greene and Steve Inskeep catch me up on what I need to know.
My love for NPR goes all the way back to Hurricane Katrina.
We had no power weeks...no radio signals, no cell phones...but somehow, someway, NPR got its shows to us.  
To this day, the station music and show music make me feel better, not to mention the quality of their shows.


4.  Paleo Running Mama's Facebook Recipes

Paleo Chicken Bacon & Strawberry Salad with Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette came across my FB feed this week...probably bc I have Paleo Running Mama as one of my FIRST to see FB pages.

(I have to keep my thumb on FB or it gets out of hand quickly.)




You better believe I'm adding this salad to an upcoming weekly menu! 



 5.  And, last but not least...




Cait Flanders blog is not new to me.  I've had it bookmarked for a while and check it now and again...but one of her posts this week really touched me.  I don't remember reading it before...maybe I did and just wasn't ready to hear what she had to say. 
I'm all about mindfulness.
In everything I do.
My brain is going to be busy, no matter what I do...so I might as well give it something incredibly worthwhile to ponder. 




Thursday, June 22, 2017

Day 399 - Thankful Thursday





As a part of active recovery, a gratitude list is paramount for me.
What I want to do here weekly is not just be thankful for the easy stuff (although that does have a place)...but I want to take the negative and spin it positive.

So, no negatives here.  
Only positive.


1.  AA - Still thankful for my sobriety sisters, and last night I visited a new group after our regular meeting...a speaker group.  My sobriety sisters group is very small, cozy even...if an AA group can be cozy...but the speaker group was packed.  Packed. 
It was packed because 2 van loads of people were brought in from one of the local rehab centers.
The image in most of our minds of the alcoholic...the bum on the street with the 40 oz. Schlitz in a brown paper bag...was obliterated last night as clean cut, professional, mostly young, coffee drinking, expensive perfume wearing, smiling, congratulating people filled the room. 
There were so many people that when we formed the circle at the end of the meeting to pray the Serenity prayer, we had to layer up...the circle was too big for the room!
Now, I could look at this experience in a variety of ways...but remember, this is positivity only...so here goes:
I'm thankful AA exists.
I'm thankful that somehow, someway, no matter how, this roomful of people found AA.
I'm thankful that we somehow someway develop the nerve to stand up and tell our stories (or sit down)...so that the stereotypes will be expelled...so that other people will see that alcoholics are real people...they are your neighbors...they are your family members...they are others who work with you...they are the people you would never suspect...they have learned to hide their disease very well, and you would be stunned to find out about some of them.
Stunned.



2.  Millennials 

My husband and I are raising two millennials.  
We love every inch and ounce of them. 
I'm thankful for their differences and the new lens they bring to the world. 
I'm thankful for articles like this one from Penny Hoarder that give us some positives to build on for our millennial children. 
Has any generation ever been happy with the "new" generation that evolves.
Nope.

I'm thankful for the ability to open my eyes a little wider and maybe see our millennials as stylistically different from my generation instead of lacking some sort of value.



3.  Summer School - seriously. 
less classes overall means more time to spend with individual students...
more one on one instruction = relevancy = better grades = happy students
happy students=happy professor
happy professor gets to keep her sanity for one more semester.
happy professor remembers why she wanted to teach in the first place.
I'm thankful for summer school


4.  Our counseling center at the college where I work. 

I've been at the same college for 15 years.
When I first started teaching, a few students here and there needed help.
More help than a teacher could provide.
I've watched the numbers of students needing help multiply to an almost overwhelming number to date.
The two main counselors that our college offers are superb.
They go above and beyond and truly love what they do.
They want to help students and go out of their way to do so.
Just this semester, one of our counselors helped a young woman move out of an unhealthy home environment and into a dorm...and even took her grocery shopping.
Seriously.
This is the kind of stuff our counselors do.

This article from Small Pond Science really hit home for me.   
Who am I (the teacher) to decide whether or not a student's excuses are legit?
What if they're all legit?
We can say all we want about millennials...but these young adults live in a seriously difficult world. 
I'm extremely thankful for the hard-working caring counselors at our college.




5.  The older I get, the more thankful I am for my healthcare insurance.
I'm thankful that if I suspect a problem, I don't have to hesitate to go to the doctor.  
I'm thankful for my job that helps pay my health insurance.
I'm thankful for co-pays.
I'm thankful for prescriptions that don't break the bank. 
I'm thankful for hometown nurse practitioners who keep my entire family kicking.
I'm thankful that if I'm somewhere else and need something from my hometown clinic that I can shoot a text and get the answers.
Thankful doesn't even begin to describe it.



I am thankful for the men and women on both sides of the government brawl, who speak up and out and demand this kind of healthcare for all U.S. citizens.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Day 398 - Books I'm Waiting On Wednesday






I'm trying so hard to read what's already on my shelves, the specially priced items on Kindle and Nook websites, and my review books...

trying.
so.
hard.

And then, as I knew it would happen, the blogosphere shows me this beauty: 




The Right Side by Spencer Quinn

and

to make matters even more difficult...
the author, Spencer Quinn, is the author of the Chet and Bernie series I'm getting ready to start. 

How am I supposed to stay focused??


Here's the synopsis and first remarks from Amazon: 
(I've highlighted in red the parts that yell at me loud and clear that I must read this book!)

“Brilliant. Deeply felt, but totally under control. I loved it.” —Stephen King

“A great suspense novel, and so much more. You won’t forget the heroic LeAnne Hogan—and the same goes for her dog! Not to be missed. —Harlan Coben

In this riveting new novel by the New York Times bestselling author of the Chet and Bernie mystery series, a deeply damaged female soldier home from the war in Afghanistan becomes obsessed with finding a missing girl, gains an unlikely ally in a stray dog, and encounters new perils beyond the combat zone.

LeAnne Hogan went to Afghanistan as a rising star in the military, and came back a much lesser person, mentally and physically. Now missing an eye and with half her face badly scarred, she can barely remember the disastrous desert operation that almost killed her. She is confused, angry, and suspects the fault is hers, even though nobody will come out and say it.

Shattered by one last blow—the sudden death of her hospital roommate, Marci—LeAnne finds herself on a fateful drive across the country, reflecting on her past and seeing no future. Her native land is now unfamiliar, recast in shadow by her one good eye, her damaged psyche, and her weakened body. Arriving in the rain-soaked small town in Washington state that Marci had called home, she makes a troubling discovery: Marci’s eight-year-old daughter has vanished. When a stray dog—a powerful, dark, unreadable creature, no one’s idea of a pet—seems to adopt LeAnne, a surprising connection is formed and something shifts inside her. As she becomes obsessed with finding Marci’s daughter, LeAnne and her inscrutable canine companion are drawn into danger as dark and menacing as her last Afghan mission. This time she has a strange but loyal fellow traveler protecting her blind side.

Enthralling, suspenseful, and psychologically nuancedThe Right Side introduces one of the most unforgettable protagonists in modern fiction: isolated, broken, disillusioned—yet still seeking redemption and purpose—LeAnne takes hold of you and never lets go.


SEE!!! I TOLD YOU I NEED THIS BOOK!!!!!!!! 



Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Day 397 - Top Ten Tuesday -Top Ten Series I've Been Meaning To Start But Haven't







The ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish have done it again this week! Have I mentioned that this is and always has been my favorite weekly blogging meme?

This week's topic is:

"Top Ten Series I've Been Meaning To Start But Haven't" 


What's interesting about today's post is that I took a ton of pictures in BAM while traveling this past weekend...pics of books I didn't want to forget existed in the world...books I wanted to come back to.

I'm a series junkie...I can quickly become so wrapped up in a series that I can't think of anything else except getting my hands on the next one.
Among many others, I've enjoyed: 
The Mitford series, Anita Blake, Stephanie Plum, Cat Who, Mrs. Murphy, Kate Burkholder, Bess Crawford, Maisie Dobbs...and I could go on and on... 

I went a little overboard on this list...may or may not have put more than 10 titles on my list...may or may not have had to delete even more because the list got ridiculous...got caught up in the excitement and all that ;) 
 I feel sure I'll add more once I start browsing other people's lists...tell me where to start!!



I actually have this one on the ottoman by my reading chair so it will happen soon.
Set out west, Chet is the doggie detective who failed doggie K9 school (bc of errant distractive cats no doubt), and Bernie is his human PI...they're well on their way to making the world a better place :) 




I've looked at these so many times in the bookstores.  I'm not sure what's holding me back...the setting is Botswana, and what's better than a mystery in a far away from me place, steeped in culture,  and a female protagonist?  
Not much.





I visited Ireland in 2012.  It was a trip of a lifetime so I'm very curious about any stories that take place there.  In my younger blogging days, I was very fond of the psychological thrillers but am not sure that's where I am right now...as you can see by all the cozy mysteries on this list...
I've wanted to read Tanya French for a while though and am sure this is not the first time she's been on my list.  
We shall see.





More Ireland...and another title that has made more than one appearance on the blog.




5.  The Kopp Sisters by Amy Stewart

WHAT?!
I discovered this series in a BAM while searching the cozy mystery section. 
Based on a true character from history...one of the first woman law enforcement officers in early NY...
I loved Lyndsey Faye's Timothy Wilde novels...and this...this...squeeeeeee!
I will very definitely have to give this one a try.





I was a huge fan of Sookie Stackhouse.  This series hasn't gotten the hoopla Sookie did, but I'd still like to give it a chance.







Ya'll...cozy mystery with a writer's apprentice...and dogs...German Shepherd dogs.  
I'm in.




8.  Lila Maclean Academic Mysteries by Cynthia Kuhn

I've actually downloaded this one already since it was specially priced on Amazon for .99
academics...college campus...students...female professor who solves mysteries in her "spare" time, the ivory tower...
Oh yeah




yes, I realize that once I start reading these cozy mysteries, I will somehow have to keep them all separated...
I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.
Nothing wrong with cozy, y'all.
Am I the only one who gets easily distracted by the covers of these books?



10.  Paw Enforcement series by Diane Kelly

not even gonna try and excuse this...even though it's a little embarrassing...told you I got carried away in the bookstore 
dog...
German Shepherd...
cozy mystery...
I'm predictable, right?



11.  Leaphorn, Chee, and Manuelito series by Anne Hillerman

Another favorite lifetime trip for me was with my husband to Taos, New Mexico and surrounding areas of the Southwest.  I've been interested in this series since then.



Anna Pigeon series by Nevada Barr

Park ranger, wild animals, the beautiful outdoors...let's go!


I'm stopping...I'm stopping...
I love this list...and this meme!! 
Way to go, ladies!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Day 396 - Menu Monday



This week is a strange week...Ed and I will have 2 nights without any children in the house.   
Huh? 
Can't remember the last time that happened.


Sunday - Seared Knockwurst w New England Style Beans and Cole Slaw - Blue Apron meal


Monday - Chicken Parmesan w Summer Squash and Cheesy Garlic Breadsticks - Blue Apron meal


Tuesday - Chicken Parmesan - Blue Apron meal leftovers from Monday night

Wednesday - Salad - I've got several summer salads that I've saved on FB...now to decide exactly which one...

Thursday - veggies and cornbread - the details of this meal will depend on what's fresh at the market.  I won't buy much this week since we're leaving town early Saturday morning.

Friday - breakfast - thinking about omelets this week for the same reasons as Thursday...I don't really want leftovers sitting around. We'll see.

SATURDAY - SMITH FAMILY VACATION TO KEY LARGO, FL BEGINS!
I'm just giddy about this.
I've never been there...but most importantly, my girl is there!!! 
Yay!!!


My oldest daughter on the right...and one of her new friends on the left :)
We will be way off schedule next week, and Ed is in charge of the structure.
Whoopeee!!







Sunday, June 18, 2017

Day 395 - Slow Southern Sunday





Compassion seemed to be a theme for me this week. 

Compassion certainly seemed to be the most called for emotion in the news:

A child in my community suffering (literally...her pain this week has been unbearable) from liver cancer.


The Congressional Shooting at baseball practice, 


A President who baffles us (no matter what side you're on, you know you're baffled...you might as well admit it).


Democrats and Republicans screaming, hollering, and finger pointing, 


The young man who committed suicide and his girlfriend who encouraged him to do it, 


Bill Cosby - the family icon revealed to be damaged human after all and the lives damaged by his damage...

Alcohol on set of The Bachelor in Paradise...young women who supposedly "knew what they were getting themselves into."


I could very easily let all this bring me down.  
Way down. 
The Christmas of the Sandy Hook shooting I barely left my house.
The evil in this world is real.
How the heck are we supposed to deal with all of this??


When my therapist and I talked about compassion this week, we talked about it as a "practice" that is integral to recovery.


Compassion for self as well as others.
I witnessed compassion in my first AA meeting this week, no blame, no judgement, smiles and laughter, in the meeting itself as well as the from the people who allow the AA group to meet in their church.  
No matter the specifics of our lives, we are all in this life together.

When we met for late breakfast on Saturday, Dad and I talked about compassion for others and the battles we all fight.


We are all addicted to something...we are all suffering...or will suffer at some time.
Our preacher then discussed compassion in church this morning.

My preacher even brought up Julius Ceasar, y'all... 
He's a bold one that one...but a smart one too...he always seems to get the hard things said without ruffling too many feathers. (I'm looking at you, older ladies in our church).



Dad and I talked about education and literacy and how important those two things are to us as survivors.  

Education helps us understand that you can indeed psychologically injure someone gravely.
Education and literacy help us understand that Shakespeare's version of Julius Ceasar sends the message that violence is NOT the answer.
Education and literacy help us understand and or continue to learn about politics even when we wish it would just go away...to look at issues from all viewpoints...not just our own.
Education and literacy help us to believe that a country will survive if we can somehow all come together and make compromises where compromises can be met and not just make decisions because they are different from what the other side wants or has done in the past.
Education and literacy help us to explain to the next generation who somehow gets all the way to college believing that all Americans pay the same amount of income taxes each year.
Education and literacy help us become activists for the issues or populations all over the world who are being "taken advantage of."
Education and literacy help us stand up and demand our voices are heard...but to do so in such a way that the other side WILL ACTUALLY LISTEN.

Survival. Education. Literacy. Compassion.

Using Matthew 9: 35-38, my pastor talked about how easy compassion really is.
We care. We act.
Our attitudes create action.
Jesus's message was simple.
And still is.



We're supposed to love one another.
Period.
We're supposed to offer compassion.
Period.
We're supposed to take care of each other.
We are supposed to act.

It's not political.
It's not judgmental.
It's just not.

Jesus chose 12 regular guys to be His ambassadors.
Not a single one of them was a religious leader.
Those regular people could reach others BECAUSE they were regular people.
A simple message.
A simple method.

Let's offer compassion this week.
Let's act.
Let's do it.
With our voices.
With our actions.