Friday, July 7, 2017

Day 414 - Book Blogger Hop - New friends, new friends!

In one sentence, describe your passion for reading.

My passion for reading is my lifeline, my wholeness, my go-to, my saving grace, my sanity, and my escape.

JoinJoin the 
Join the Book Blogger Hop over at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer!
The Hops are a GREAT way to meet new friends in the blogging world :):)

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Day 413 - Thankful Thursday - Positivity

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 - I have a feeling AA may hold the #1 spot for a while on Thursdays.  I was running late last night and almost didn't go to the meeting.  I sortof pushed myself to walk through the motions and arrived as the much larger group was reading the first parts of the AA program.
I could see the others through the window but I kept going.  I only paused for a second.
I wanted to go in.
I was anxious to be with my tribe.
my tribe.
new friends and old.
There was one person there who received her 24 hour chip.
I remember being her...413 days ago.
I remember knowing once and for all, that I had two choices:
Stop drinking.
Or die.
I chose to stop drinking and live.
 I'm thankful for 413 days of choosing life.

2.  I'm thankful that my family is ok financially.
I'm thankful that we can take a week each year and go somewhere together.
I'm thankful for our jobs that give us the security to do so and to know that another paycheck is coming.
I'm thankful that we have a budget and try our very best to stick to it. 
Even I was able to save $500 for vacation! 
I'm thankful for that $500.

3.  I'm thankful for summer reading.
My youngest was assigned to read The Hobbit this summer, but we took a break in June.
It's July now, so it's time for reading.
I'm so thankful that I was able to read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone aloud with my older girls when it was released.
I'm so thankful now that I can read The Hobbit with my 13 year old.
I'm thankful for J.R.R. Tolkein, Bilbo Baggins, and Gandalf.
Heck, I'm even thankful for the trolls :)  

4.  I'm thankful for the library.
I'm thankful that they forgive me every time I return a book late.
Which is every time I check out a book.
I'm thankful for the overdue fine.
I'm thankful to be able to donate $ to the library in the form of an overdue fine.
And, then I'm thankful that they let me check out more books and don't judge me for always bringing books back late.

I love this pensive photo of Sylvia Plath...and her bare feet.

5.  I'm thankful for spaghetti. 
I'm thankful for the saucy easy goodness of it that says, "Cook me!" when I can't think of anything else to cook and/or I'm too tired to cook what I had planned.
I'm thankful also that spaghetti is pretty dang cheap to make. 
I'm thankful spaghetti fits into our budget.

What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Day 412 - Can't Wait Wednesday - The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson

I've picked up Joshilyn Jackson's books many times...but have always put them back down for one reason or another...I keep seeing this one though...early readers are saying it's the one to read...

The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson

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!)

With empathy, grace, humor, and piercing insight, the author of gods in Alabama pens a powerful, emotionally resonant novel of the South that confronts the truth about privilege, family, and the distinctions between perception and reality---the stories we tell ourselves about our origins and who we really are.
Superheroes have always been Leia Birch Briggs’ weakness. One tequila-soaked night at a comics convention, the usually level-headed graphic novelist is swept off her barstool by a handsome and anonymous Batman.
It turns out the caped crusader has left her with more than just a nice, fuzzy memory. She’s having a baby boy—an unexpected but not unhappy development in the thirty-eight year-old’s life. But before Leia can break the news of her impending single-motherhood (including the fact that her baby is biracial) to her conventional, Southern family, her step-sister Rachel’s marriage implodes. Worse, she learns her beloved ninety-year-old grandmother, Birchie, is losing her mind, and she’s been hiding her dementia with the help of Wattie, her best friend since girlhood.
Leia returns to Alabama to put her grandmother’s affairs in order, clean out the big Victorian that has been in the Birch family for generations, and tell her family that she’s pregnant. Yet just when Leia thinks she’s got it all under control, she learns that illness is not the only thing Birchie’s been hiding. Tucked in the attic is a dangerous secret with roots that reach all the way back to the Civil War. Its exposure threatens the family’s freedom and future, and it will change everything about how Leia sees herself and her sister, her son and his missing father, and the world she thinks she knows.

The Almost Sisters will be published on July 11...I'm not so excited about it that I will pay full price for it, but if I'm every going to give Joshilyn Jackson a try, I think this is most definitely the book!

What have you heard about The Almost Sisters?
Have you read any other Joshilyn Jackson?

"Can't Wait Wednesday" is hosted by Tressa @ Wishful Endings :)

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Day 411 - Top Ten Tuesday - from the Archives

The ladies at The Broke and the Bookish are on a hiatus until August.
Having babies and such :)  
Congrats, ladies :):)

The Top Ten Blogging Meme is one of my favorites and has been since I discovered it.  I've missed a few over the years so I decided while the ladies are on their maternity break, I'll go back through the archives and choose some topics from the past.

On Sept. 27, 2011, the writing topic was "The Top Ten Books I Want to Re-Read."
According to my archives, I missed this we go.

First, I'm not a re-reader.
I just don't

As I've been cleaning off my shelves in the den and out of a secretary that I sold, I have run across a few that would be worth re-reading for the quality, the vocabulary, the emotions, etc.

1.  A Christmas Carol - I reviewed it in 2010 here.
I like to read this one every Christmas when I'm off work...sitting in the den by myself with the Christmas lights sparkling.
Is it weird that I'd like to read this one alone, and aloud?
Dickens y'all.

2.  Short Leash by Janice Gary
I reviewed it in 2014 here
Dogs. Rescuing and being rescued right back.
Oh yeah.

3.  Walking in Circles before Lying Down by Merrill Markoe

I reviewed it in 2015 here

Oh Chuck, you made me smile...and the midst of my mom's chemo treatments.  Thank you, Chuck :)  I listened to this would be cool to actually read it as well.

4.  Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

I reviewed this one in 2010 here

My copy of this book is so dang ragged.  I was just blown away by some of the info here...literally, Kingsolver changed my family's life in many ways by her year long journey.

5.  Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

I reviewed this one in 2010 here

Magical...a grown woman finding herself, travel, coming out ok on the other end.
I still haven't seen the movie.

6.  The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

I reviewed this one here

This book is a cherished one for me.  I could just hold it.  That's why I need the 10th Anniversary special edition.
Still haven't seen this movie either...don't really want to.

7.  Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

I reviewed this one in 2011 here

I have a couple of others by Charles Frazier on my TBR shelves that I just can't bring myself to let go of.
What if they're as good as this one.
I did see this movie with my students...and loved it.
I'd love to read this one aloud...the descriptions are just about the richest I've seen.

8.  Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

I reviewed this one in 2013 here

Fiction that touches you and changes you...there's so much here...a narrative wound up in climate change...change in general...butterflies.

9.  Following Atticus by Tom Ryan

I reviewed this one in 2012 here

The heart of a dog.  A dog who once again saves a human.  I'm pretty predictable y'all.
Atticus is gone now, but I still follow Tom on his journeys.  I feel like he's a friend.

10.  Love at First Bark by Julie Klam

I reviewed this one in 2012 here

Rescue. Rescued right back.
I see a trend here.

Wow...that was more emotional than I thought it would be.
Now that I've gone back through all those books and the reviews, I've decided I need beautiful hardcovers of all these books.
This Top Ten Tuesday may be the most expensive one yet!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Day 410 - Meal Plan Monday

Sunday - Chicken Casserole - an oldie but a goodie...I'm thinking about bringing back casseroles on Sundays.   Ed is not a big casserole fan, but I think I can get him on board if I go back to the basics.

Boiled chicken breasts, 1 can cream of mushroom, 1 container of sour cream, smooshed ritz crackers and butter on top...easy peasy!

Monday  - Ree Drummond's Dr. Pepper pulled pork

I added baked beans and fries!

Tuesday  - Hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill, Flag Cake, fruit, potato salad

My aunt's potato salad - potatoes, mayo, pickles, boiled eggs, and onion salt

Pound Cake, Cool Whip, strawberries, and blueberries.

Wednesday -  Taco Salad - gotta scale it a back a bit after two nights of fries ;)
I may try this Paleo Taco Salad

I was in a hurry tonight and didn't end up with "Paleo" Taco Salad...but that's how we roll at our house.
I bought taco bowls and ended up with ground chuck instead of turkey.

They still gobbled it up.  I think they like dinner best when I stick to basics :)
No fries tonight!

Thursday -  One Pan meal - not sure what this one will be yet...I'll see how things look by the end of the week with leftovers.

**One pan meal ended up being spaghetti!

Friday - B-ham Highland's Bar and Grill - We've been trying to get reservations to these two restaurants for months.  Since a lot of Birmingham folks head to the lake houses for 4th of July week, we managed to score for the upcoming weekend!

We'll also see Gypsy and/or Newsies this weekend with Mom.

Saturday - B-ham - Hot and Hot

Sunday - Home from B-ham - Casserole or Blue Apron (Blue Apron arrives on Saturday so everything I need will be at home already when we return.)

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Sunday, July 2, 2017

Day 409 - Slow Southern Sunday - The Week in Review

This painting is of my little church in our little southern town.  The lady who painted it is a retired art teacher who also lives in my neighborhood.  That's a southern town for ya :) 

On the Blog Last Week

Menu Monday

Top Ten Tuesday

What I was doing when I wasn't here...

Snorkeling, Swimming w Dolphins, Eating (see Menu Monday), Riding in the Car, Visiting Ernest Hemingway's home and cats, Sweating in Key West, Walking, Did I Mention Eating?

Reading Progress - Books in the Sidebar

Hillbilly Elegy - finished it today - a great and thoughtful read...I'm really behind on reviews but have a couple almost ready for posting :)

Self-Esteem - pretty sure I'm supposed to have two more chapters read before my next appt. but I haven't picked it up at all since the last one. I've been enjoying my other books too much :):)

Handmaid's Tale - I read the first 3 chapters on my phone and decided I wanted to listen to it...especially after I realized I already had it downloaded and Claire Danes is the narrator.  I'm off this next week so I'm hoping I'll be able to listen some while walking.

Thereby Hangs a Tail - I finished Dog on It and loved it just as much as I thought I would.  I'm digging into this 2nd installment tonight.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry - haven't started this one yet.  I took my Kindle with me on vacation but honestly did not have time to read anything.

UPDATE: I felt guilty for not even giving AJ Fikry a try yet, so I committed to one chapter at 10 p.m. --and finished the book by 2 a.m.
It's that good.
Such a good booklover's book.  I'll review it soon :)

Social Media Favorites


The Mississippi Secretary of State reported that if he is asked to turn over private information with voter rolls, he will tell them to "Go jump in the Gulf of Mexico"


Mosquitos are out in full force this time of year in Mississippi.
They'll pick you up and carry you off :/


I didn't repost much on IG this week bc I was so busy posting our Key West photos.  Y'all, definitely a bucket list activity!  If you ever get the chance to swim with dolphins, DO IT!!!


Absolutely none...I've stretched a time or two but not enough to call it yoga.  July is "put up or shut up" month for marathon prep, so I've got lots of decisions to make.  I'm finally on some meds for a kidney infection I had no idea I had.  The kidney infection may have something to do with my back pain. We shall see.

None.  The husband was driving and in charge of the radio (we call that driver privilege).  Even with my earphones, I could still hear the radio since I ride shotgun.

I did keep up with my girls Beth and Sarah from Pantsuit Politics on Twitter though!