Six Word Saturday

Six Word Saturday

Mountain lakes, better than working, always.

Today we took a trip up to a mountain lake near our house.  I have not finished grading yet, but I took the afternoon/evening off and went on the drive with my hubby and daughter.  It was much better than grading.  The lake was beautiful, peaceful and the drive was relatively relaxing (I would probably have fallen asleep if my husband had not told me I couldn’t).  It was an afternoon/evening well spent with family and much needed after the last few days of pure havoc in my life.

Thursday Thumbs Up

Thumbs Up Thursday #17


This week has been a bit of a rough one.  Let’s just say I’m glad the 30th is here tomorrow (pay day), but it is soon going to all be gone once again.  So. Many. Expenses.  But, I’ll work with it…For now, let’s focus on some good stuff – my faves this week (some affiliate and referral links are included):


I have been a user of Swagbucks for a while now but I often forget how easy it is to earn a substantial amount of bucks just by investing a bit of time each day.  For those unfamiliar, Swagbucks is an online reward system (others exist like MyPoints and InboxDollars) that rewards you for doing searches, making purchases and doing other online activities from their website.  I personally like Swagbucks because I can build up “bucks” pretty quickly (for example, this morning I was able to accumulate over 50 “bucks” in less than 1/2 hour while also checking my email, bank account, etc.  I have traded in most of my bucks for gift cards, which you can get pretty reasonably (450 bucks for a $5 GC usually), which means I can earn a $5 GC each week if I am investing a little bit of time every day.  Not bad.  I think I’m going to try banking my bucks for a month to get a PayPal deposit this time (2500 bucks for a $25 deposit).  We’ll see if I can hold out if I my impatience drives me to the Amazon GC to get a faster payout.  If you haven’t tried Swagbucks, give it a shot – it can’t really hurt.  They have some fun challenges during the year and if you are a gambling sort, they have a lot of “Swagstakes” where you can win substantial prizes.  You can also play online games, etc. for bucks.  If you click on any of the links here, it goes through my referral code and I can get a few bucks for you using it as well!

Lipton Bavarian Wild Berry Tea

Bavarian Wild Berry Tea

I know I’ve already included Lipton Tea (once iced) on my Thursday Thumbs Up in the past, but I have to say that this new Wild Berry Tea combined with some traditional Lipton Tea is my new favorite.  I am also going to try to the Cinnamon Chai during the summer while my hubby is gone (he doesn’t like spicy tea)!  I like this tea because it isn’t really sugary sweet, but it does have a touch of berry flavoring and it smells really good!  It will be a great summer drink and would be even better infused with some real berries…yum!


My final thumbs up this Thursday goes to the website Upworthy.  I read a lot of stuff on the internet.  A. Lot.  But, I have learned so much from the items posted by Upworthy over the past few months.  The items are usually videos, they are usually quite short and incredibly impactful.  I love that they cover a broad array of topics and although most of the items are educational, they are also personal and meaningful.  I can’t recommend this website enough.  I subscribe so I get an email with a list of what they call “Things that Matter” and they are easy to share on all your favorite social media.  Check it out!

So, that’s it for me today – what about you?  What’s your thumbs up going to this Thursday?

Stray Thoughts Sunday

Stray Thoughts Sunday on a Monday…

Stray Thought Sundays

I feel like it is okay to do my Stray Thoughts Sunday post this Monday because it is a holiday.  So, that means it really is just like a Sunday, right?  Yeah…that’s it.  Well, since I’m so late with it, I will jump right in to this week’s wondering thoughts…

In my past life, I was a HUGE X-Files fan.  Well, up until the final season, when Mulder was gone, it was hard to stick it out.  But, I made it all the way to the final season.  I even saw the movies more than once and owned the soundtracks.  I can’t believe it was 12 years ago last Monday that the finale aired, but in other ways it seems like a lifetime ago.  Sigh…I miss Mulder and Scully…

This article about the new 9/11 museum in NYC from the perspective of a family member of a victim is pretty powerful, depressing and significant.  I know there has been a lot of criticisms of the gift shop experience there, but I think the perspective of a family member brings it to a whole new level.

The court decision by Oregon to legalize gay marriage made a statement with the following powerful line, challenging us all:

Where will all this lead?  I know that many suggest we are going down a slippery slope that will have no moral boundaries.  To those who truly harbor such fears, I can only say this: Let us look less to the sky to see what might fall; rather, let us look at each other…and rise.

Found out that Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me is going to be in SF (just a short 3.5 hour drive from my home) ON my birthday in July.  It seemed like it was meant to be.  I was thinking about getting tickets for myself and my sister (who also listens to the show most weekends) since her birthday is only a month after mine.  This is one of my favorite NPR shows and that says a lot since I kind of have an NPR obsession.  But, alas, the tickets sold out faster than I could make a damned decision, so it looks like another boring birthday at home.  Sad face…

This picture of my daughter’s preschool class during bike week makes me smile.  They are like a rag-tag girl “biker” gang ready to roll into some unsuspecting park and show the boys what they are made of.  Happy face…

biker gang preschool

And since I wrote my Master’s thesis on a female anti-war agitator, I have some knowledge of the Sedition Act and the government’s authority to censor speakers for reasons of National Security.  I also have some knowledge about how that power has been used to silence those who criticize the government, even when the connections to National Security are specious at best.  But, even with that knowledge, this news about legislation in North Carolina that would make it a felony to expose information like the chemicals used in fracking seems pretty amazing…and concerning…and completely over the top.  At least it got watered down a bit before passing.

I will admit I was completely shocked by the news that three of the top ten cities in the NATION for hunger are in California.  Bakersfield (my hubby’s hometown) is number one, Fresno is number five and Riverside is number six.  You can learn this and more by playing the game “A Place at the Table” from  Food insecurity is a serious problem in America.  As much so in some areas as it is in what we would consider to be underdeveloped nations.  It is really sad when I think about the waste our little family produces on a weekly basis.  I want to be much more aware and thoughtful about this issue moving forward.

This guy came to visit our house this week.  I found him hanging on the front door frame one morning.  Turns out he is a jumping spider, but I didn’t see him jump at all.  I thought the face on his back was a little creepy, but I just shewed him out to the front porch wall and hopefully he lives on to catch the pesky flies that are constantly coming in our house and who I find to be way more annoying than any spider!

I was disappointed in myself when I decided to turn in early rather than stay up for what was promised to be a spectacular meteor shower.  As it turns out, I made the right decision.  It was a total bust.  Glad I didn’t miss my sleep for that.

And to close out this week’s Stray Thoughts Sunday on a Monday…I finally have definitive proof that I am not OLD!  This HuffPost article provides the evidence and says that I have another 35 years before I get old.  So there all you people who ask if I am Bean’s grandmother!  I’m a spring chicken!  Now, if only I could convince my body and energy level of that truth…

I hope you all had a great week – share any of your Stray Thoughts with me in the comments!  I would love to see what causes other people’s thoughts to stray.

Six Word Saturday

Six Word Saturday

Long weekend, longing for more energy.

In the US, we are celebrating Memorial Day.  Historically speaking, this is a holiday to celebrate and recognize those who have and currently serve our country in the Armed Forces.  In today’s reality, it is a weekend of big sales and short trips to kick off summer.  Sad, but true.  I mean, there are some people who still visit the cemetery on Monday (something I remember doing as a young person) and/or go to parades or other events that are truly in the spirit of the holiday, but most (myself included most years) simply enjoy an extra Monday off and view it as the first real weekend of summer.  I may try to find something to attend on Monday that is more in recognition of the real reason for the holiday, but we shall see.

I am tired.  We had a BBQ at our house last night and we were up late and I accidentally left a small candle burning in the bathroom and when it finally burnt itself out this morning, the smoke from it going out set off our fire alarm in the hallway next to the bathroom.  I am obviously lucky there were not worse consequences, but I basically ended up getting only about five hours of sleep last night and then we left this morning for my mom’s house and are staying here tonight.  I never sleep terribly well here and it is warm and her house doesn’t have AC, so it makes it especially unlikely to serve up a good night’s sleep.  Maybe I’m so tired that it won’t matter and I will be able to sleep.  We’ll see.

I want to have lots of energy and live life to its fullest.  I talked about this being the summer of Desire, Passion and Joy.  I have a desire to simplify things, but I also would like to energize things.  Simplify and energize!  I like it.  I have a lot of words…Desire, Passion, Joy, Simplify, Energize.  One more word and maybe I have my Six Word Saturday for next week!

What about you?  How are you spending Memorial Day weekend?



New Direction…


Okay.  I feel like I make these statements all the time and I don’t have a lot of follow through.  I realize that anyone who has read this blog for very long has heard this story before and is probably wondering “wait, didn’t she just do this a month or so ago?”  The answer is yes.  Anyone else out there like that?  You talk the talk, but find it hard to walk the walk sometimes?  Yeah, that’s me.  I dream big and live small.  I just find myself lacking real…dedication, I guess I would call it.  I think I also lack…direction.  So, maybe this isn’t a “new” direction, but just me starting to follow a direction.  That, in itself, is a new direction for me though.

So, why now?  Why today?  Well, I’ve been really considering my life for the past few months and as I’ve written a little about on here, I find myself really frustrated with parts of my life (finances, stress levels, energy levels, ability to keep up with things) but also pretty satisfied with other parts (my job(s) is/are pretty good for the most part, I feel like I’m getting this parenting thing down pretty well).  But, I often feel like I am not leading life with any sort of purpose.  The “Focus on Seven” project was a bit too much.  I don’t have the energy or time or ability to multitask that it takes to focus on seven things in my life at once.  It was just too much, all at once, and with no real solid goals.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I am a self-help junkie.  I’ve tried them all at one point.  The amount of money I’ve invested in self-help literature and online programs and mobile programs and apps and such could probably get close to paying off my mortgage.  Seriously, folks, use the library.  Take my word for it.  Owning the book is not necessary.  You will NOT refer back to it in the future (and if you need to, just check it out again).  Don’t pay for that app thinking that the fact that it isn’t free is going to make you more likely to use it (anyone with me here?).  It is just going to make you more guilt ridden when you don’t use it.  Anyways, all has failed me.  And I don’t think I’m a failure.  I just think that I need something else.  I need a system that doesn’t seem like a system.  Systems make me want to buck them.  I need a calling.  I need an obsession.  I need to be driven.  So, I need to stop with the talk about routines and systems and such.  And I need to figure out what my passion and desire is and then figure out how to make that happen.

So, two things:  Passion.  Desire.  And beyond that, its just action.  Simple.  To the point.  No excuses.  No revising the system.  No “starting over”.  My passions are few.  I love to read and write.  I love to KNOW things, or at least know something about them.  I am a Jack of many Trades and I like seeking out new knowledge and sharing that with others who need/want that knowledge.  That is why I teach.  There aren’t many jobs out there for people who like to seek knowledge and share it with others, but coaching Speech and Debate is a pretty good one.  And teaching college is also a pretty good one.  Especially the subjects I teach.  So, basically, my job is perfect for what I have a passion to do.  I need to embrace that.

Desire is a little more complicated.  I desire some order in my life.  I do well when things are organized, decluttered and planned at least a bit.  But, when I try to implement “routines” they always fail.  So, I think I need to change that to “simplifies”.  I need “simplifies” in my life.  Things that simplify my home tasks, work tasks and family responsibilities.  If I focus on them being sources of simplifying, it will be more positive for me.  Decluttering is simplifying.  Planning ahead is simplifying.  These are all good things.  So, my focus is going to be on implementing “simplifies” this summer.  It will be my “Summer of Simplifying”.  It already sounds more relaxing and positive than “routines”…or to-do lists…

We’ll see if this makes things happen.

Oh, I’m also going to get back to being me.  Tonight, for example, I’m drinking some wine, having friends over and enjoying myself instead of feeling stressed out and anxious about what people are going to think of my house, our food, me, my clothes (which, by the way, I think looks kind of good.  I got a new shirt at the thrift store today that is pink, cute and stylie), etc.  I’m going with it.  I mean, I cleaned the house up and my hubby is BBQing, which is always good, but I enjoyed wine and mom’s club people at the wine bar a few weeks ago and I look forward to enjoying wine and work friends tonight.  I want to get back to enjoying my life.

Passion, Desire and Joy.  Summer 2014!

A Bloglovin Blog Hop

Happy Kids, Inc.
When Google Reader went the way of Google Wave (anyone remember that…yeah, I was part of that failed effort as well, but never became really attached to it), I was crushed.  I loved my Google Reader and had become accustomed to having a “feed” of blogs rather than having all those annoying email reminders when posts went live.  I looked around and even tried a few other feed readers.  For a while, I was pretty smitten with Feedly, but it just never really felt at “home” for me to be following blogs there.  Then, I found Bloglovin! And I fell in love!  It offered much of what was great about Google Reader, but I liked the layout of the reader even better!
I am now following numerous blogs through Bloglovin and have listed my own blog through them.  So, when I saw this Bloglovin Blog Hop over at Happy Kids Inc., I knew I had to join up!  If your blog is on Bloglovin, you too can join the hop!  And if you haven’t tried Bloglovin as a reader, I strongly encourage you to give it a try!  You too could be (Blog)lovin’ it soon!
Six Word Saturday

Six Word Saturday – Summer Edition


Can’t wait for summer fun.  Ready!

I am so ready for summer to be here!  I am sure you will tire of me saying that in the next couple of weeks, but I’m going to have to say it anyways!

I am finishing up grading at one of my teaching jobs (the full time one, so there is much more grading to do) and I have two more trips to reconcile and I am done there for the summer.  My other teaching job has another two weeks to go, but my classes are mostly just listening to students talk, so it isn’t too bad.  But, I’m at that stage where I just want it to be done.

The picture above is from last summer and that joy captures summer for me.  I am looking forward to swim lessons, hanging out at the pool with a book (on my iPad probably, but a book all the same), trips to Discovery Kingdom for the day (we got season passes again and Bean is big enough to go for longer periods of time and hopefully ride a few more rides this year), vacation trips, and I may even try a short camping trip this summer (with some others who have camping stuff, because I don’t have any).  My goal this summer is to (1) read a lot – I have missed reading and I want to take the hours and hours per week I usually spend prepping for class, grading and teaching reading books, (2) spend time doing fun stuff with Bean – this is her last summer of official pre school status and I want to make sure we do a lot of activities and crafts and such, and (3) establish a household routine that works for our family.  I really want to prepare this summer for next year and have some routines in place that will keep us ready for school each day – both Bean’s school and my school – keep the house somewhat clean and organized and give us a more relaxed work week than I’ve experienced in the past.

So, that’s my summer plan – what’s yours?  Any goals you have for summer?  What’s on your bucket list?