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A-Z Challenge: “B” is for Blogging

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BWhen I started this blog, it had no real direction or theme.  In fact, I did not expect anyone to read it because it was going to be a place to synthesize my thoughts.  I never expected to “meet” other bloggers and be moved by their words, laugh with them or feel badly when they were experiencing the tough side of life.

I also did not expect to post my thoughts on books in a public forum for others to read.  I was content with posting my thoughts on Amazon or Goodreads, but the blog gave me the opportunity to add more personal comments that I did not feel were appropriate on Amazon or Goodreads.  Ultimately, this led to the reorganization of the blog.

My life has been in a state of transition for the past four years and some things are still unsettled.  I feel that everyone that has flowed in and out of my life, has helped me move in the right direction.  Some have moved into my life for a brief period to demonstrate what I want or do not want out of friendships and some have helped me along my blogging journey.  So today, I am recognizing Michelle from Ms. Romantic Reads, Anna from Herding Cats & Burning Soup, Becca from Lady or Not…Here I Come, The Chicks from Chick Swagger and Suzie from Suzie81 Speaks.  All of these bloggers have encouraged me, stopped by to chat and inspired me with their words.   May you all continue to brighten other people’s days with your wit, snark and spirited discussions.

 

A Toast to Transforming the Blog

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blog to change your lifeI began this blog when I returned to undergraduate studies and believed it would document my experiences through Nursing School.  During the process, I found myself wanting to talk about any topic, except Nursing school and it became a place to recharge my soul batteries.   I also enjoyed posting book reviews and discussing different literary genres with readers. The blog’s transformation was gradual, and I was happy to let it happen, organically.

Yesterday, “Chronicles of a 40-Something Nurse Wannabe” evolved into “Reading, Drinking and Dancing with a Chaser of Snark.” The name and layout makeover reflected my blogging persona and recurring themes of this blog.   It bids fond farewell to a name that served me well, but no longer represents where I am in my life.  Hubby helped synthesize the name.   He does not know it yet, but I hope to interview him for future posts, to get “The Former Sergeant’s Perspective.”

Over the next weeks, you will see specific posts on designated days, especially featured book reviews.  There may even be a “Grand Opening.”  I will continue to discuss current events, reality television and topics that move me.   All previous posts were saved and may be read by searching by topic.

Thank you for being on this journey with me.   Stay tuned for more!

“Portal to Hell’s” New Owner: Zak Bagans

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zak_bagans_fuck off ghostsI have mixed feelings about Zak Bagans’ Travel Channel show “Ghost Adventurers,” even though I am a fan. They seem to have a knack for disrespecting spirits and taunting demons. However, their show is a nice contrast to the more serious “The Dead Files,” which takes a methodical, more global approach to examining places with possible paranormal activity. “The Dead Files,” pairs Amy Allan a medium with Steve Di Shavi on each case. Amy and Steve disseminate evidence separately, then provide the families a comprehensive report, with historical data, about events that may have lead to hauntings.   They also provide suggestions on how to deal with any paranormal activity.  Zak and his crew have a more of a “bull in a china shop” approach.

As The Haunted Librarian notes, Zak recently purchased a property in Indiana, known as the “portal to hell.”  He plans to live there, while his team investigates any activity. What could possibly happen? Oh boy.  Dangerous, does not begin to describe the world of hurt they may be unleashing, if they go into that situation ill-prepared and full of piss and vinegar.  In other words, the way they walk into all of their investigations.

API will be discussing this case and possible repercussions on their show, Thursday and I am curious to hear their take. Tune in, folks.

The Haunted Librarian

Supposed "Portal to Hell" House Supposed “Portal to Hell” House

“Portal to Hell’s” New Owner: Zak Bagans

Granted I’m a tad tardy to the discussion, but I’ve decided to jump into to fray. Ghost Adventurer’s Lead Investigator Zak Bagans has purchased the “haunted” house on Carolina Street in Gary, Indiana. He paid $35,000 for the “modest” property. Bagans is quoted as saying: “I really [have] a passion for this stuff… .” This smacks as a publicity stunt!

Charles Reed, the former owner, sold the property days after a local newspaper published a story whereby calling the house the “Portal to Hell.” Former renter Latoya Ammons, along with her three children and mother, moved into the house in 2011. During the following year, Ms. Ammons claims that one child levitated over a bed, another child walked backwards up a wall, ominous footsteps were heard, and the animal elicited strange behavior. Catholic priest Rev. Michael Maginot exorcised…

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El Bachelor es un Gran Pendejo and We Can’t Stop Watching

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El Pendejo
El Pendejo

SPOILER ALERT:  If you have not watched this week’s episodes of The Bachelor stop reading, immediately. 

I have watched ABC’s The Bachelor and The Bachelorette on and off since the first season.  I usually watched the first few shows, dropped off in the middle and picked it back up when the contestants had been narrowed down to four or five.  Of all the reality TV dating shows, The Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise had the best track record of lasting relationships.  Two Bachelorettes and one Bachelor reached the altar with their chosen “Final Rose” recipient.  The majority of the couples dated then broke up.

I questioned the motives of the male contestants and Bachelors, because it could be a meat market for unscrupulous men.  Fortunately,  most of the men have taken the process seriously, whether they have found Ms. Right, or not.  Moreover, most of the female contestants were truly looking for love –  in the worst possible scenario and under international television scrutiny – but, once all the hype was stripped away, they wanted to make a love connection.  This show was for folks with brass cojones, as they were willingly subjecting themselves to an artificial dating environment and giving up their privacy.  In fact, the group dynamics were fascinating  (cringe-worthy) to watch from a sociological perspective.   (I hope there were mental health professionals available to assist them as they transitioned back to the “real” world.)

Kermit is not amused by you, Juan Pablo.
Kermit is not amused by you, Juan Pablo.

On Desiree’s season of The Bachelorette, there was a contestant who stood out as special.  His name was Juan Pablo Galavis and along with so many women (and men) I fell under his mesmerizing spell.  I was thrilled when he was named the next Bachelor.  Finally, a Bachelor I could root for!  Juan Pablo was an attractive, Latino, single dad, completely devoted to his daughter,  who carried himself as a charming gentleman.   Desiree  eliminated him relatively early, but his loyal fans ensured ABC knew how popular he was, and he was selected to be the next Bachelor.

All of us who expected to see the same man who enchanted us, were duped!   Juan Pablo started off charming enough, but quickly became quite the megadouchetart.  As the weeks progressed and he narrowed down his selection of contestants,  we saw sides of his personality that sent up puzzling red flags.    Was he plagued by a language barrier or simply a “guy,” versus a “man” as eloquently expressed in Cameron Crowe’s 1989 movie Say Anything?   Long story, short…..he was a guy…the lowest version thereof.

Andi from Atlanta
D.A. Andi from Atlanta

Not one, but two women walked off the show, effectively eliminating themselves.  The first, Sharleen, was ambivalent about the entire process and I am still confused as to how she was selected to participate.  The woman was never engaged in the process, but was likely seeking publicity for her opera career.   More power to her.   On Monday night, however, Juan Pablo went on the “hometown” dates, where met the final three contestants’ families.   Each family expressed concerns over the situation the women found themselves in and questioned whether or not, Juan Pablo was seriously committed to each one.

Here's to an epic Rose Ceremony, and the well-deserved roast of Juan Pablo. ¡Salúd!
Here’s to an epic Rose Ceremony, and the well-deserved roast of Juan Pablo. ¡Salúd!

Tuesday night, Andi, the bright, bubbly District Attorney from Atlanta, with the best dad in Bachelor history, left the show.  She and Juan Pablo had a  disastrous fantasy suite date,  where he shared (bragged?) about his  “conquests.”  After trying unsuccessfully to make Juan Pablo understand, react or reach out to her, she put him in his place, called him out as an arrogant asshole and left.   I cheered her on all the way.  As I live tweeted through tvtag, the overwhelming consensus was that all the women, who had either left or been eliminated, were better off without Juan Pablo, aka. El Pendejo.   His final tweet of the show was “I’de Rather Not Be Appreciated Being Honest, Than Be Appreciated And Not Being Honest…”  No te preocupes, querido.  Las pocas fanáticas que te quedaban ya no existen, mal criado.

Must see TV indeed.   Telenovela writers wished they had this material!    I felt badly for the women on the show, but as a viewer, this was reality TV gold.   Oh, and I expect to see Andi again.  Very soon.

Next week is the Final Rose Ceremony and the rumors abound as to whether Juan Pablo will choose Clare or Nikki.   Reality Steve provided spoilers when the season started, but nothing is as entertaining as the teasers for the Reunion Show.  It promises to be a skewer-fest as the women have their “day in court.”  I will be watching and live tweeting.  Pour yourself a lovely glass of Malbec and join me.

In the meantime, here is a toast to Lloyd Dobler , who proved to a man, not a guySigh.

Happy Valentine’s Day

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Happy Valentine's Day

Hope you have a wonderful day, everyone. Whether you “celebrate” Valentine’s Day or not, it is a great reminder to practice self-care and be kind to ourselves and each other.

“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete” ~ Buddha

 

 

 

Here is my favorite Valentine’s Day memory:

My favorite Valentine’s Day memory didn’t actually happen on Valentine’s Day. Hubby and I had been living together for about six months and talked about getting married. He met my parents, and unbeknownst to me, asked my Dad for my hand in marriage, at Christmas. For a while I thought he was going to propose at Thanksgiving…then at Christmas…then on New Year’s Eve. But, nothing happened.

I thought “ah, he’s waiting for Valentine’s Day,” and all the when-is-he-going-to-ask-me-to-marry-him stress left my body. It was briefly replaced with maybe-he’s-not-going-to-propose panic, but I figured it would happen eventually, otherwise we would not have talked about it. He also said, “leave Valentine’s Day open.”

Around the middle of January, my washing machine broke. Hubby said, “you need to be home because I’m calling a guy to come fix it.” Ok, cool. It never occurred to me that a repairman coming out to our apartment on a Friday afternoon was odd. So, when the “washing machine repairman” knocked on my door, I opened it.

It was Hubby, fortified by a few beers at Hooters (the waitress ended up comping all of them, when he told them was he was getting ready to do), and dressed in his suit dropped to one knee and proposed. :)

We still celebrate our un-Valentine’s Day date, almost 17 years later.

Tell me about your favorite Valentine’s Day.

 

“Battle Flag” by Lo Fidelity Allstars featuring Pigeonhed is the Song of the Day

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A word of caution.I first heard “Battle Flag” in the late 1990s as a club mix. It was originally written as an homage to Prince by Pigeonhed and remixed and recorded by Lo Fidelity Allstars. The beat and a few of the lyrics stuck with me. However, it was not until I heard it on the episode of “ER” where Dr. Carter (Noah Wylie) meets, and is stabbed by, a Schizophrenic patient that it grabbed me.

Then, I heard it on an episode of The Sopranos and was thrilled when they included on one of their show soundtracks.  It has become one of my get-up-and-MOVE jams.

The song starts off with a bang and just keeps going. Here are the first few lines:

Your construction
Smells of corruption
I manipulate to recreate
This air to ground saga
Gotta launder my karma

Gotta launder my karma, indeed.   Great advice for all of us.     Wave your own battle flag!

Happy World Nutella Day – February 5, 2014

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world nutella dayNutella has always been a part of my food vocabulary.  Growing up overseas, we were exposed to international foods from an early age and items that might have seemed “exotic” to some, were commonplace to us.   Nutella, was one of those treats.    My great-grandmother would spread it on toast, as a dessert with tea. Since it was a memory I associated with childhood, I always assumed it was  tastier than it actually was.  The same way camp cabins seemed so enormous, when we were younger, but grew smaller as we aged.

I was wrong.  Nutella was not only as delicious I remembered, it was even better incorporated into “adult” desserts.

Imagine my surprise when I moved to the U.S. and there was NO NUTELLA, anywhere.  Some Italian specialty markets carried Nutella, but it was expensive and would fly off the shelves as soon as they were stocked.  In some cases, it was like watching a small version of Black Friday sales crowds, before the mayhem and murder.

KeepCalm_NutellaOnFortunately, American fans demanded that Nutella be available and we prevailed!   Now, Nutella is available in our local grocery store and a few American food corporations have created their very own versions, of the luscious hazelnut spread.   I wish them luck, but I am a loyal Nuella woman.

There can be only one!

Eight years ago,  blogger Sara Rosso created World Nutella Day  to extol its wonders.  Other food bloggers soon caught the bug and World Nutella Day became a grassroots success.  Unfortunately, the “holiday” met with some early legal challenges from Ferrero, the Italian company that produced Nutella.   Once they realized that World Nutella Day was not only a celebration of the product, but an opportunity to gain new fans, they relented and joined the fun.   Today, Ms. Rosso and Michelle Fabio  are the coordinators of the festivities, with the blessings of Ferrero.

If you have not tried Nutella, today is the perfect day for your first taste!  To all the other Nutella fans out there, I high-five you with my spoon!