Monday, October 24, 2016

Songs for Life

By now, most of you know of and are possibly participating in Alyssa's "Back to Blogging" link-up.  I've been enjoying what I've been reading, and I've been enjoying the challenge of the prompts. 

Surprisingly, this prompt has/had me stumped:
1. Three (or however many you choose) songs that define your life and why

I love music.  I love live music.  I love listening to music, finding new music, feeling music, reading about music, and talking about music (as evidenced by my monthly playlist posts with Jana as well as other music posts on this blog.)  So, why did this one stump me?  Because I was overwhelmed with all the songs I love and why I love them.  To ask myself what songs "define" my life...well, that's just tough, but a question I've been trying to tackle.

It's My Life by Bon Jovi - My love for Bon Jovi began in 1984, and it never waned, but it was solidified and stamped into my personal history with the 2000 release of "It's My Life".  It bridged hair band '80s rockers with an updated, polished, new millennium band.  It bridged generations of fans; some discovered this band for the first time with this song.  It bridged teenage Erin with adult Erin; I was 11 years old when I first set sight and heard the sounds of Bon Jovi, and I was 27 when this song hit the airwaves.  The simplicity of the statement "It's my life, it's now or never, I ain't gonna live forever" is strong and powerful for me.

Just a Girl by No Doubt - It was 1995, and I was 22 years old when this song was released.  Already, I'd experienced a serious relationship with a very controlling man who wanted to mold me and fit me into his definition of what I should look like, how I should think, and what I should be when I grew up.  That very year, I was ending that relationship with this person.  No Doubt exploded onto my scene, and I was instantly in awe of Gwen.  Gwen's tongue-in-cheek lyrics of "I'm just a girl, little ol' me" and singing "I've had it up to here" was my jam.  It's exactly what I needed to hear at the time. It's still my jam.  And, I'm still in awe of Gwen.  She is creative and ambitious.  She is a girly-girl who hangs with the guys.   She is open, honest, and vulnerable (through her lyrics), but she is not scared to be strong and in-your-face. All of these traits are lovely little traits for "just a girl."

Slide by Goo Goo Dolls - Okay.  You may think this is a weird choice.  Basically, the song is about wanting "to wake up where you are".  I choose to believe it's a love song of sort.  So, why is this a song that defines my life?  Well, I have loved and still love all things Goo Goo Dolls.  But, it's this lyric: "What you feel is what you are and what you are is beautiful" that gets me every.single.time.  It has served as a reminder to me at those times that I am feeling really, really ugly (both physically and emotionally) to strive to FEEL beautiful, so I can BE beautiful.  Again, I don't just focus on the physicality that the world "beautiful" can signify.  I focus on the beauty within as well.  Even more so.  How much does this lyric mean to me?  Enough to get it tattooed on me permanently.

Scars by Papa Roach - This one.  This one I've song at the top of my lungs through tears more times that I can count.  It is a song that embodies what I love about live music: people of all ages, all backgrounds, all ethnicities, religions, genders, identities, coming together to sing a song while squished together, swaying together, sweating together, hands and voices raised, because I've been in many Papa Roach live show pits experiencing this.  I can relate to every.single.word of this song, but this is significant for me: "I can't help you fix yourself, but at least I can say I tried, I'm sorry but I gotta move on with my own life."  Eventually, I realized after spending so many years thinking I needed to "fix" someone else, what I really needed to do was focus on my own self-worth, well-being, and happiness.

Take Tomorrow (One Day at a Time) by Butch Walker - If you've read any of my posts talking about music, chances are you've heard that there's this musician named Butch Walker that I love.  I mean it.  I love this man.  This is from the album that made me fall in love with this man (yes, I was a fan before this album, but this album is when I fell in love.)  This song closes the album and the sentiment is one that speaks to me to this day.  "Give me all your fear, throw it all away, think of all the good things, no matter what they say, we'll take tomorrow, baby, yeah, one day at a time."

Worth mentioning:  Any song by Willie Nelson.  I am instantly taken to Texas when I hear Willie Nelson.  I think of my dad.  I think of road trips.  I think of Lone Star and Shiner Bock beer.  I think of honky tonks.  I think of bluebonnets.  I think of a man that is a legend and an icon who is unconventional and unapologetically himself.  He isn't the best looking.  Not at all.  He isn't the best singer.  Nope.  But, he is Willie, and he embodies Texas.

Linking with Alyssa:


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sunday's Seven Snapshots vol.95

True love is the husband surprising me with a slice of red velvet cake.

Selecting books for #SCWBC16

I love the battles between Ricky and my guy when there is steak on the plate.

Remember that I planted flowers earlier this month?  I'm pleased to say this is some of them blooming beautifully.

Halloween nails

Playing ball with the girls turned into a game of keep-away ~ Sally keeping the ball away from Dolly.

Sunday afternoon movie watching

Happy weekending to you and yours!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Semi-Charmed Winter Book Challenge 2016

To continue feeding my obsession with book challenges, I am once again participating in Megan's Semi-Charmed Winter Book Challenge.

Here's my preliminary list:

Challenge Categories:
5 points: Freebie! Read any book that is at least 150 pages long.
 My choice:  Dying Light by Stuart MacBride - I started this series earlier in the year, and I want to continue it.
10 points: Read a 2016 finalist (longlist or shortlist) for one of the following literary prizes: National Book Award, Man Booker or Man Booker International.
My choice:  Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo  - This sounds adorable and a little bit like Dumplin', maybe, which I adored.
10 points: Read a brand-new release (something published between November 1, 2016, and January 31, 2017).
My choice:  Cross the Line by James Patterson (expected release date: November 3, 2016) -  The Alex Cross series is the only James Patterson books that I loyally keep up with when one is released. 
15 points: Read a book by an author of a different race or religion than you.
My choice:  We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo -  I picked up this book last week for $5 without knowing it would be a perfect choice for this challenge.
15 points: Read a book featuring a main character who is of a different race or religion than you.
My choice:  When the Moon is Low by Nadia Hashimi -  I loved Hashimi's The Pearl That Broke Its Shell, so I've been wanting to read more of her work.
20 points: Read a modern retelling of a classic (e.g. an Austen Project novel, Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler, etc.) — Submitted by SCSBC16 winner Kaity.
My choice:  The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski (retelling of Hamlet) -  Jana rated this book 4*, and Jana and I have similar tastes in books.
25 points: Read a book with an alcoholic beverage (neat or cocktail) in the title. — Submitted by SCSBC16 winner Kerry. (And she was nice enough to come up with a long list of suggestions for you!)
My choice:  Tequila Sunset by Sam Hawken - I've read two books by this author previously, they've been decent, and it fits the category.  Why not?
30 points: Read a book with a character that shares your first or last name. (Alternate spellings are okay, e.g. Megan and Meghan or Smith and Smyth.) — Submitted by SCSBC16 winner Ericka.
My choice:  Charlotte Gray by Sebastian Faulks -  This was tough.  I had difficulty finding books to fit the category (besides 50 Shades of Grey and The Picture of Dorian Gray and I Let You Go, books I've read or not interested in reading.)  My sister-in-law recommended this one, and I'll give it a go.
30 points: Read two books: a nonfiction book and a fiction book with which it connects. For example: A is for Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie and one of Christie's mystery novels that features poison, or The Monuments Men and All the Light We Cannot See. The possibilities are endless, so have fun with this one! — Submitted by SCSBC16 winner Bev. (And remember you must finish both books to get the 30 points! No partial points will be awarded.)
My choices (both books about someone wrongly imprisoned):  Getting Life by Michael Morton and Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein -   CNV is sitting on my floor, already checked out from the library based on Megan's recommendation that I need to read this, and GL is sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be read from purchasing it over a year ago.
40 points: Read two books: one by an author whose first name is the same as the last name of the author of the other book. For example: You may read a book by Martin Cruz Smith and a book by George R.R. Martin, or a book by James Joyce and a book by Joyce Carol Oates. The shared name must be spelled exactly the same, no variations. — Submitted by SCSBC16 winner Jamie. (And remember you must finish both books to get the 40 points! No partial points will be awarded.)
My choices:  In the Pleasure Groove: Love, Death, and Duran Duran by Nigel John TAYLOR and The Informationist by TAYLOR Stevens.  Y'all know me, I love a rock bio...and the other book was already on my tbr, so this worked.

First up on November 1st:  Code Name Verity - (edited from first publication: this will NOT be my first book read because it is due the 28th of October, and I can't renew it because another reader has it reserved, so I need to return it, let that reader have it, then check it out again.  Dang it!)

Any opinions what should be my second read?

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Please Read Stuff and Things vol.6...

...because I didn't have the time to put together a post...and that doesn't matter because anything I have to say at the moment isn't as important as what Kaity shared:

He Grabbed Me By My Pussy: My Sexual Assault Story

or what her sister shared:

It was NEVER my Fault: Kelly's Sexual Assault Story

or what her friend shared:

This Stops with Us: A's Sexual Assault Story

I believe in knowledge.

I believe in support.

I believe in encouragement.

I believe in cleansing.

I believe in the strength of these women.

I believe awareness is a tool to battle sexual assault.

Linking with Kristin:

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Waiting to be published...

I think we all do it.  We have ideas for blog posts, we throw something into draft to remind us to work on it later, then we forget about it, or it just never comes together quite like we want it.  Are you with me? 

That's why, when I read the following prompt from Alyssa, I knew I had something to write about:

"A blog post (or a list of post topics) you want to write but have yet to hit "publish" on"

Here's a sample of current posts of mine sitting in draft:
  1. 5 strangers that make my day better - Steph wrote this post ages ago, and it inspired me.  It inspired me enough to create a draft, but I never actually listed or wrote about those people.
  2. Still adjusting - The idea of this post is to discuss my life as an expat and some of the things that have taken me awhile to adjust to this life in another country.
  3. Who's That Guy vol.3 - I intended this to be a series about my guy.  I wrote two posts and then abandoned it from there.  Oops.
  4. The Boy - For his birthday, I had great intentions to write a sweet post about my stepson, his likes and dislikes, and the things that make our relationship special.  His birthday came and went.  I know, I don't need it to be a birthday to write this post. 
  5. Women born in 1973 - Speaking of birthdays, I have a couple of posts I intended to write during my birthday week.  Didn't happen.  This was one of them.
  6. 1973 Happenings - this was another birthday post that didn't get published.
  7. Friday Favorites: Beauty Edition - I don't really do Friday Favorites anymore.  I'm terrible with weekly link-ups. 
  8. Rockers done good - This post is about those rock'n'roll idols that use their celebrity status for good causes.  This one is pretty much done.  I'll have to look at it again to see why it's not published yet.
  9. Repeat offender - This post is about the fact that there are so many wonderful places to explore in this great big world, but I have repeatedly visited some of the same vacation spots over and over again.
  10. Sisterhood of the World Bloggers - This is one of those "tags" that I received from another blogger with a question & answer attached to it.  Time passed, and I hadn't posted it.  I questioned "did too much time pass?" 
  11. Tour packages - a look at past concerts tours that I've seen and the bands that were packaged together; a self-indulgent post that will probably not get many views, and it hasn't been finalized because I keep feeling like I'm forgetting bands/tours.
  12. Australian vs. American English vol.3 - vol.1 and vol.2 were popular posts, why not a 3rd?
  13. Things about me - Yep, clever title for a post, huh?  Even better...all that's written in draft is "I love naps."
  14. I confess these things annoy me - pretty self-explanatory
  15. Lyrics - I have compiled a whole list of lyrics that have been meaningful to me throughout my life.  This one may get massaged into another post for Alyssa's link-up.
  16. Blogger Love vol.9 - I always have one of these in draft.  Do I use it often enough?  No. 
  17. Trends I've loved and trends I've hated - This is a fun one.  I just need to dig out some old pictures of me showing off those trends that I loved.
  18. Playlist: Songs from the year I graduated high school - I planned to post this last May while many graduations were being held.  Obviously, that post didn't happen.
  19. More serious talk - Every now and then, I tackle a difficult topic and express my opinions.  This one is about legalized prostitution.
  20. Do you remember when? - Rachel posted this clever and fun walk down memory lane for someone who enjoys traveling with others.  I plan to steal it borrow it.
Linking with Alyssa:


Tell me 3 of those drafts that you are most interested in reading.  I'll try to get those 3 drafts actually published!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sunday's Seven Snapshots vol.94

Our feline twins celebrated their birthday this week ~ Ricky & Ivy are 3!

The father-in-law had a birthday too. I celebrated by eating fried stuff with cheese on top (aka chicken parmigiana).

My step-mom sent this to me to wish me a happy Friday. 

Friday, lunchtime, gelato with a view

In case you missed it, I rediscovered some fun things while "Spring Cleaning" this "Glamour Shot" of me from the '80s. 

My sweet Sally girl ~ I love this face!

If you know me, you know I do not like cleaning house. I've never claimed to be domestic. This is my stunning self after 8 hours of cleaning with probably 2 more hours to go. Kill me now.

Happy weekend!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Hold My Beer


Why is it, when Alyssa gave a list of her "Back to Blogging" prompts, that the "hold my beer" moment is the one that I knew, without a doubt, that I could write?  Is it because I've had a lot of them?  Probably.  Is it because I've drank too much?  Probably.  Is it because I've had a lot of fun during some drunken debauchery?  Probably that too.

Here's a few things I love:  music, rock music, live music, and yes, beer.  I've been fortunate enough to see many of my favorite bands in concert, and believe me, there's been a lot of beer consumed at those concerts.

Stone Temple Pilots is one of those bands that I've seen at multiple gigs in different venues and at different times of their tenure.  The songs are fantastic, the band is always tight, the crowds are always good, and Scott Weiland was always one of the best of all front men.  I feel like I saw him at various stages of his drug addiction, but he still was always an incredible performer.

June 8, 2000 - STP returned to Houston, and a group of friends and I went.  I'd seen them before, and I loved the venue selected for this show.  It was a little smaller than where I'd previously seen them (holds approximately 2500).  The venue for this show was all general admission with a floor section and a back section that had an incline or rise to it. 
by artist Jermaine Rogers
For the opening band (and I don't remember who opened), I sat in the back section on the rise and many beers were consumed.  This was a common occurrence for my group of friends, depending on the opening act. 

We got to talking to this dad and his 13 year old son sitting next to us.  It was the son's first concert ever, and he was so excited to see Stone Temple Pilots. 

(I swear my "hold my beer" moment is coming..........)

Opening band ended.  More beer was consumed.  Lights go down.  Concert starts.  Everyone stands and is getting into the show.  The kid next to us is loving it.  He's so pumped.

Again, I lovvvvvvve live music.  I feel the adrenaline.  I absorb the environment.  I sing.  I dance.  I throw my arms in the air.  I sweat.  I shake.  I love it.  And, I like to be close and in the midst of it all.

At the time of this show, I was 26 years old (almost 27) and in my prime rock show music attending, concert going mode.  I was not going to stay in the back.  The band was pulling me forward.  If you are a fan of STP, check out this setlist that was played that night.

"Wicked Garden" kicked in, one of my favorites.  So, what did I do?  I said "hold my beer" and grabbed the hand of that 13 year old kid, and yelled "c'mon!"  (getting a nod of approval from his dad.)

I dragged that kid up into the middle of the mosh pit, and I just kept dragging.  He was jumping around, singing, going crazy, and his eyes were as wide as saucers with awe and excitement.  Eventually, I got us all the way up to the front of the stage, and he even slapped hands with Scott Weiland.  We remained there at the front barricade for the rest of the concert.

Not only was my concert experience amazing, but I'm pretty sure I gave this kid a story to tell about his "first concert ever".  At least, I hope so.  All because I put down my beer.

Now, if only Scott Weiland could've put down the drugs...........

A review I found about this particular gig:
With a healthy Weiland, STP an untouchable band

Join me with Alyssa and tell your best "hold my beer" moment...

Or...tell me one of your favorite concert experiences.