End of Summer Hodgepodge

Wednesday already??? It'll be Fall Break before you know it! :) Joyce has come up with more questions for us to answer, then link up and see if you answered the same as someone else. 

1.  I recently read here about four secrets to happiness from around the world. They were-

Overcome your fears by facing them head on, allow yourself to relax and reset, work to live versus living to work, and find the good in life. Not sure if these are the actual secret to happiness, but which of the four do you struggle with most? Which one comes most easily to you?
I struggle with overcoming fears by facing them head on.  Sometimes. Sometimes I have trouble finding the good in life. Then again, sometimes I have trouble with allowing myself to relax and reset AND working to live! Same goes for the easiest.

2. How would you spend a found $20 bill today?
I'd just tuck it in my billfold and use as needed. $20 doesn't go very far these days.

3. Ego trip, power trip, guilt trip, round trip, trip the light fantastic, or trip over your own two feet...which 'trip' have you experienced or dealt with most recently? Explain.
Guilt trip. Guilt that I don't have much to show for summer break.

4. If you could master any physical skill in the world what would it be, and how would you use that skill?
No clue. And I'm tired, so I don't feel like trying to come up with something!

5. As July draws to a close, let's take inventory of our summer fun. Since the official first day of (North American) summer (June 20th) have you...been swimming? enjoyed an ice cream cone? seen a summer blockbuster? camped? eaten corn on the cob? gardened? deliberately unplugged? watched a ballgame? picked fruit off the vine? taken a road trip? read a book?  Are any of these activities on your must-do-before-summer-ends list?
I did all of them except watch a ballgame. And gardened, unless you could looking over Daddy's garden and pulling a few weeds. Summer is over for me!

6. The Republican Presidential candidates will debate on August 6th. What's your question?
Why in the world is Donald Trump still in the picture, and how can he be that high in the poll? And, why isn't the media talking about Ben Carson? (okay, that was 3 questions, but so what?)

7. What's your most listened to song so far this summer?
I don't have one. I just turn on Sirius & listen to what's on.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Did you see this adorable video? It makes me laugh every time I watch it!

Completed Summer Book List 2015

I've done a lot of reading this summer. If I didn't do anything else, I read some books that have been on my shelf for a while. I really like the Young Adult Genre. When I mentioned it to the school librarian, she said that it was because they're well written;  the YA writers have to meet certain guidelines, unlike Adult Novels. Here's a run-down of the books I read:
(Click on the book to be taken to the Goodreads Page)

Books that had been on my shelf forever for a long time:

Prisoner B-3087 Prisoner B-3087 (Alan Gratz) Based on a true story, this book follows Yanek as he survives 10 different concentration camps. A real page-turner, I zoomed through this book in no time. It was a tear-jerker as well. 

Caught (The Missing, #5) Caught (Margaret Peterson Haddix) I remember MS being so enthralled with The Magic Treehouse series. I sat down one day with one of his books and didn't move until I finished it. Caught is like a YA Magic Treehouse. It is part of the Missing series, but you don't have to read all of the books to know what is going on at the beginning of this book. This book dealt with Albert Einstein and his missing daughter. Definitely historical fiction, I found it to be fascinating.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (Mark Haddon) Mr. Haddon does an excellent job of getting into the mind of a young man with autism. The reasoning, the sensory deficits, and the coping were very well written. It also brought to light misunderstandings of people with autism. On top of that, it had an excellent story line! 

Books recommended by Speech Groups that I follow on Facebook & Goodreads:
 Ghost Boy Ghost Boy (Martin Pistorius) Oh. My.  This is a book that every Speech/Language Pathologist student should read before they start working with people requiring an augmentative communication device. Martin began life as a very normal boy...until he suddenly became sick and unresponsive. He was basically written off as destined to live life in a shell until an employee of the facility saw something. Martin writes about his journey to communicate, and how communication turned his life around. All because of 1 person who believed in him. His journey is heart-wrenching, especially when he talks about how he was treated because of ignorant employees who thought he didn't have feelings & couldn't understand what was going on around him. Amazing story.

The Rosie Project (Don Tillman #1) The Rosie Project ( ) A few people in the FB group talked about how this book was so incredibly funny. While there were some parts of the book that were humorous, overall I just didn't think it was as funny as they did.  Don Tillman is a professor of genetics. He also has Asperger's, but he doesn't know it. On his quest to find the perfect mate, he has made a list of requirements that he gives out so he doesn't waste his time (The Wife Project).  Then Rosie walks into his office. She doesn't meet any of the requirements on Don's list, but he is intrigued by her. Then, Rosie tells him that she wants to find her real father; this turns into The Dad Project. Interesting & good book...I just didn't think it was as funny as some others did. There is a sequel called The Rosie Effect. I'm sure I'll get around to reading that one as well.

Books that I found through other's recommendations:

Take Me with You Take me With You (Catherine Ryan Hyde) This book was a very pleasant surprise. A great book to read at the beginning of the summer, the story follows August who is a recovering alcoholic teacher. (He doesn't teach people to be recovering alcoholics; he's a teacher who is a recovering alcoholic!) As he is headed to Yellowstone, his RV breaks down. The mechanic asks him to take his sons with him because he has to do jail-time and has no one to look after them. A special bond is formed, and August teaches the boys life-long lessons. Halfway through the book, the summer is over. The rest of the book has the boys growing up and rekindling the friendship with August. Truly a heartfelt book!

A Memory of Violets: A Novel of London's Flower Sellers A Memory of Violets: A Novel of London's Flower Sellers (Hazel Gaynor) Another book of Historical Fiction, Ms. Gaynor writes of the flower sellers in the late 1800's. She tells the story of Rosie & Florrie who, as young girls, were expected to bring money home after selling flowers. Following their mother's death, it was Florrie's responsibility to take care of Rosie, but one day they become separated. Rosie is legally blind, so she is unable to make her way back to Florrie. Florrie lives the rest of her days in Mr. Shaw's Home for Watercress and Flower Girls, but never loses hope that she will find Rosie one day. About 20 years later, Tilly begins working at the Home, and discovers the history of Florrie & Rosie. After some research and a bit of luck, she finds out what happened to Rosie. I found this book to be very interesting, especially since it is based on history. 

The Plum Tree The Plum Tree (Ellen Marie Wiseman)  ** spoiler alert ** This is a love story...a different kind of love story. This is the story of a love that survives as the main characters survived during one of the earth's most shameful periods in history. Once I started this book, I had a very hard time putting it down. I felt the pain of Christine (a Christian) and Isaac (a Jew) as the war came to their little village and changed the course of their lives. I could see the Nazi soldier in the attic, looking for the escapee. This book is a definite tear-jerker as their lives unfold. Ellen Marie Wiseman does an extraordinarily amazing job of weaving the tale so that the reader feels like he is right there in person, seeing the events as they take place. 

And, my latest fascination/obsession:

TheNetworkSeriesBanner The Network (Katie Cross) When I started reading Miss Mabel's School for Girls, I thought it was like a cross between Harry Potter & The Hunger Games.  By the time I finished, I had a different frame of mind.  In this book, we meet Bianca who is a 16 year old witch. She reminded me of Katniss in that she is a very strong young woman who faces a life or death situation. The series continues with Antebellum Awakening, then we get a look into each of the characters' interview with the "Watcher" , who decides what school the witches will attend, if they are accepted to any school, during The Isadora Interviews. I just finished reading Mildred's Resistance, which is a prequel to the series but just came out. The newest installment, The High Priest's Daughter comes out mid-September, and picks up where Antebellum Awakening left off. 
I love Katie's writing. I can visualize everything she writes, and could see this being made into a movie/movies. 

Have you read any of these books? If so, which ones? Did you like them as much as I did?

Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments with Star
I'm linking up today with A Star in My Own Universe  for Friday Fragments.

☀Today is the last day of my summer break.  Boo! Doesn't it seem ironic that our summer break ends in the middle of summer?

☀I have no idea how this happened:

Photo by Wendy Tittsworth
☀My cousin posted this on FB. Interesting read. I saw several companies on the list that we do business with on a daily basis. Meet the 39 Companies that Donate Directly to Planned Parenthood.

☀ Is anybody using Periscope? I had heard of a it a few months ago while listening to The Busted Halo Show, but didn't really look into it. Now it's all the rage among Speech Pathologists that I follow on FB, blogs, and IG. I've mostly been stalking. It just seems that it's taking up quite a bit of time. I guess I need to be more selective about the ones I'm watching. If you're on there, I'm @tnslp29. I was really nervous, but I did a first "scope" yesterday morning:

☀I was really surprised to see this guy on the Today Show yesterday. He doesn't look anything like I expected him to!
Love that song!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday
I'm joining Rebecca at Knit by God's Hand  for Thankful Thursday

This week, I’m thankful for…
…sisters. Yesterday, one of my sisters & I drove a couple of hours up the road to spend the day with another sister. 
...traditions. One of the best memories of one of my great aunts is kolache. My Aunt Frances used to make the best kolache in the world. Me? I'm afraid of yeast. My sister got together with one of our cousins & they spent the day making kolache. So yesterday I got schooled and totally feel like I could make them now.
...texts. Yep, texts. While we were at my sisters, we were texting with another sister (I have 5, remember?) who couldn't be with us because of a little thing called "work". 

What are you thankful for this week?

An Airy Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Is your home air conditioned? If it's not air conditioned, is that by choice? Did you grow up with air conditioning? If not how did you cope with the heat? Share about a time or place you remember as being too hot-the temperature kind of hot, lest anyone be confused.
Most definitely our house is air-conditioned! My parents didn't get air conditioning until I was in high school, so after we were married, I told CH that as long as there was a penny in the bank, I wouldn't be cold in the winter or hot in the summer!
We had fans all over the place in our house growing up. Since Daddy worked in air conditioning, when it was hot on the weekends he had to get someplace cool...like the mountains. We would pack up and head for the Smoky Mountains (which is just up the road) for an afternoon of playing the cold mountain stream.
A time/place it was too hot? That would be on our recent trip to the Outer Banks. Although it was almost cool in the evenings with the wind blowing, the days were scorchers...a lot of riding around with the air on, and visiting places with air conditioning.

2. What's something in your life right now that falls under the heading 'up in the air'?
I can't think of anything that is up in the air at the moment. 

3. Your favorite light and airy dessert?
"Cool 'n Easy Pie" And, it's really easy to make sugar-free!

4. When did you last feel like you were 'floating on air'?
Last year, right about this time. I found out that a co-worker & I had been accepted to present a poster at our National Organization's Convention, and that OS was moving back from Utah.

5. Airport, airmail, airtight, airhead...which have you most recently encountered? Explain.
This is for you, UPS employee who somehow couldn't find my house to deliver a couple of books from Amazon: Airhead. I got a notification that my address was wrong & the package couldn't be delivered. I double-checked the address...it was correct. I've never had a problem before, and it's not like we live out in the boonies. We're on a main street in the Small Town, and they deliver almost daily to our next-door-neighbor. I "chatted" with UPS Friday night & they said it would be delivered Tues. I should have told him that they would deliver it on Saturday. I would have, except I'm not quite ready to read them yet...I have another book that I've started & want to finish before I start on those. The books were delivered Tuesday night, right before 7:00. 

6.  Have you ever been to the Alps? If so where did you go? If not, is this a destination on your must-see list? If you were headed that direction this summer, which of the following would be your preferred activity...a gentle walk, a serious walk, a bike ride, a boat ride around one of the lakes, or summer snow skiing?
Oh, my. I was in the Alps 2 years ago when I "chaperoned" a group of high school kids on the Germany trip. GORGEOUS. And we didn't even get into the more beautiful areas in Switzerland. We took in an Alpine Ride...by the time we got to the top, it was raining ice and we were absolutely freezing! Oh, but the views! I'd love to go back and explore with gentle hikes. 

7. What is one saying or phrase that was considered 'cool' when you were growing up?
Far out, man! 

8. Insert your own random thought here.

It's back to work for me on Monday. Crazy, right?  Every year it seems like it gets harder & harder to go back, and this year is the worst so far. I'm sure it'll be fine once I get in there & get back in the swing of things. I'm not nearly as motivated this year as I've been in past years. Time to "suck it up"! 

I Try...I Think

I try…
… to respect other’s opinions.
… to not be thought of as “holier than thou”.
... to leave people that I meet no doubt that I am a Christian.
... to be tolerant of others.

I think…
...SCOTUS opened up a whole can of worms with their decision.
...maybe if the wording had been different, there wouldn't be such controversy.
...this country is more divisive than I've ever seen it.

A Year of Firsts

Well, we made it. We made it through the first year without mama. Her presence is still felt, though. I still expect her to come around the corner when I'm at Daddy's house.
In my mind, I've written this post about a hundred times. This past year is hard to put into words.
Mama picked a perfect day to go home: it was an exceptionally cool day for July: sunny, not a cloud in the sky. Why is it that it seems like things that rip your heart out happen on beautiful days?
We made it through Daddy's birthday, their anniversary, Christmas/Mama's birthday, Easter, Mother's Day, and all of our birthdays. On our birthdays, Mama & Daddy would call us and sing "Happy Birthday". One of my sisters said that a friend called her on her birthday and sang the song, not knowing about them serenading us on our day.
We've had several health scares in the family this year; it's nice to know that we have a special angel in heaven praying for us. We know that Mama came through for us each time.
I hear her voice during Mass. During Daily Mass, she's really missed when the priest picks a difficult song, or a song that nobody knows. (There is no piano or organ at early daily Mass.)
I've had 3 dreams about Mama this year. Each time she talked to me/us. It's still so incredibly hard to know that she's really gone. The hole in my heart is still there; I think it will always be there. There are days when I feel it stronger than others, but it's there every day.
I think I handled her death a lot better than I thought I would. I was able to function during the day without being hysterical. No one can ever prepare you for what this feeling is like.
Just as I suspected, there are times when my first thought is, "Mama would love this!" And then I panic just a little bit because I can't call her or go by to tell her. And then the hole in my heart gets a little bit bigger.
Hopefully we can just get through today. The Mass intention is for Mama, and we're all gathering together for supper at Daddy's. I've been dreading this day all summer long. I know we're going to get through it...we've made it through the important days thus far.

OBX Adventure

I can sum up our vacation in 1 word, but I think I'll let Robin do it for me:
Some nights we got some relief...as long as the wind was blowing. We also had some mosquitoes to deal with, but they actually weren't too bad. Thank goodness for air conditioning in our little trailer!
We were very pleased with our campground. When we got to the site we reserved, we realized how small it was. Our trailer would have fit, but we wouldn't have been able to put up our canopy. The office staff was so accommodating; they gave us a list of sites to look at so we could switch. We ended up with a large site. It didn't have the view that our original site had, but it had some shade. Plus, we had a large RV blocking the late afternoon sun.
(Reminder: You can click on the pictures to see them better!)
The view behind our site:
We didn't have anybody in the next 2 to the other side of us, so we had plenty of room.
The OBX is so different than Florida. Once you get south of Nags Head, the only chain businesses you'll see is Dairy Queen & a Food Lion. It definitely adds to the charm. Then, of course, there was this:
We went on a bird watching walk given by the Park Service. We saw several animals during the walk:
Of course we saw these beautiful structures:
Bodie Island
We didn't climb to the top of Hatteras or Bodie Island. It was just too hot.  Ocracoke's stairs aren't open, and the base is only open during certain times. We just happened to hit it when it was open. The history of the lighthouses was fascinating. What a job the lighthouse keepers had!

We saw cool things on the beach:
Horseshoe crab
 An honest-to-goodness shipwreck
 Turtle nesting areas
The man with the vehicle was a biologist with the Park Service. He had just moved about 150 turtle eggs back  off the beach so they wouldn't be in the way.
CH got to drive his truck on the beach (I'm pretty sure this is the #1 reason we went to the OBX in July):
We spent a day out on the beach:
(I bought the little tent at Dicks & it worked great!)
We went to Kitty Hawk but didn't walk up the hill to the memorial. (Waaay too hot for that!)
On the way back from Kitty Hawk, we stopped in Manteo to see Fort Raleigh (the site of "The Lost Colony")
Following the volunteer's recommendation, we went to Elizabethan Gardens. It looked very nice, but we didn't go in since it cost $9/person, and we're not that much into flowers and plants.
In the campground and just outside of it, we saw some very interesting things:
According to a friend, the "spaceship" is called a Futuro House. It was designed by a Finnish architect to use as a ski chalet.
We even managed to see a few pretty sunsets:
Some of you may recognize this house from Nights in Rodanthe:

If you remember the movie, the house was right at the edge of the ocean. Well, it had to be moved or else it was going to be the ocean. It was in disrepair and just about to be condemned when the current owners saved it. They moved it to its present location (snugged in between some houses), put the blue shutters back on, built the balconies, and even redecorated the inside to look like the movie.  You can stay here for right around $2500/week. (See the details here) I had a hard time finding it, especially when we were coming from the north; it's easier to find coming from the south.
CH originally wanted to stay at one of the National Park Campgrounds, except there's no electricity or water. I mentioned it was hot, right? The Frisco Campground looked the best out of the ones we saw. We rode around the campground & took a look around. The views from the top were spectacular:
I definitely would stay there in cooler weather. They're only open from May-October; July is not the time to stay!
Overall, a decent vacation. The OBX is very family friendly. In fact, almost everything closes at 9:00, but since there are a lot of fisherman in the area who get up at the crack of dawn to fish, it's probably late to them! While there are some little markets spattered around the islands, there are only a couple (Conner's and Food Lion) that will have everything you need. I asked a waitress where she does her grocery shopping, and she told me the 2 that I just mentioned. Which means she has a drive to get there. 
This was a relatively inexpensive vacation for us. Our biggest expense was the campsite & gas. The only attraction that we went to where we had to pay was Kitty Hawk, and it was only $4/person. The  Fort Raleigh Visitor Center has a film you can watch that summarizes the Lost Colony. There is also a show there, but we didn't stay for it. We thought the restaurant food was very reasonable, especially for being at the beach. Gas wasn't even too high; it was around $2.90/gallon. 
I would definitely recommend a trip to the Outer Banks...just not in the dead of summer!

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