Friday, September 30, 2011

A Wonderful Wellie Day

As each step splashes water up over her toes, Amber smiles in the lamplight's reflection on the wet ground beneath her. This spot, with the benches lined up is usually packed with people reading, meeting with friends, workers catching a quick lunch, but not now, not today. Why? Because right now it's begun to rain.

She's got her Wellies on, along with her hooded raincoat and can plainly see she is the only one on the street. As she stopped for a moment to absorb the silence, stillness and peace of the world around her sitting on one of the benches, she was suddenly thankful for the moment.

A smile emerged. She could no longer contain herself. She tilted her head back and, with both hands, pulled her hood down shaking her long chestnut colored hair free. She closed her eyes just to feel the moisture on the tenderness of her eyelids.

When she fully relaxed with head back, eyes closed, wide smile and arms stretching in either direction across the back of the bench, Nature seemed to respond to what her inner child was begging for: Wellie-worthy rain.

GLOP! on her finger.

GLOP! on her forehead.

GLIP GLOP! on the bench beside her.

GLIP GLIP GLOP GLOP! large, almost bouncy raindrops were falling all around. It was the one on her eyelid, though, that caused her to finally laugh out loud.

As if suddenly possessed by Gene Kelly himself, Amber jumped from her seat and burst into dance. First she climbed atop the bench, smiling, laughing and even cheering the rain on. Next she jumped down, two feet, side-by-side, straight into a puddle forming at the base of one of the lampposts, which she then, of course, grabbed and swung herself around.

She was smiling the way one does when they have finally released all of their inhibitions because they are sure no one is looking. Which Amber had every reason to believe. She knew there was no other soul on the street. She knew the windows were dark. And she knew no one had any business staring out onto a misty street on a seemingly ordinary day.

I was, though, because I was always by my window, fascinated by the beauty the mist captured on our lamp lit walkway. I never expected to find Amber there.

I never expected to fall in love that day. I didn't know I was going to find the girl I would marry on a bench outside my apartment window smiling, laughing and dancing in the rain.

I never expected it, but when I saw her I knew I had found the girl of my dreams.

This post was written in response to a prompt from the Write On Edge group. It is part of their Red Writing Hood writing meme that is posted each Tuesday and links up each Friday.
This week, we want you to be inspired by pictures.  Write a piece – fiction or creative non-fiction – based on your reaction to either of these photos. (I put the photo I used at the top of the piece).
Word limit is…600

A Girl's First [Book] Love

Where It Began 
The book had a sort of lime-green border with a picture of  a kid in a multicolored striped shirt standing next to a tipping fishbowl on a small table. The story had something in it about a turtle and a kid in the fourth grade. That is pretty much all I could remember of the details of Judy Blume's book Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing.

The experience of reading the book, on the other hand, stuck with me all these twenty-five years later. I remember asking to go to bed early to read. I remember "sneak reading" using the light in the bottom of my bedroom lamp that served as my night light. I remember falling asleep with this book on my head and my parents telling me about it the next day! I remember, for the first time ever, laughing out loud from a book.

Why This Book Is So Important

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothinghas always played a significant role in my life as a reader because I do believe it was with this book that I first fell into what I like to call "book love." Reading that book, on my own, has counted as my earliest memory of wanting to rush everything just to get back to my book! I have sung its praises for this reason for as long as I can remember, but would always come up short when people would ask seemingly simple questions like
  • What was the book about?
  • Why did you like it so much?
  • What was so funny about it?
I did not know how to answer any of these questions! And, for the sake of full disclosure here, I will admit that this kind of thing happens to me all of the time (this is why I love keeping a Reading Journal or being a part of book clubs, both help me jog my memory)!

Mission: Reread
For years my absent-mindedness did not bother me in the least. However, in the last year or so (probably because I have a lot more time to just think about things) I got to wondering what really hooked me. I wondered how Judy Blume managed to captivate me without magic, fantasy or having characters stuck on some deserted island. About a month ago, I decided to find out; I decided to reread the book.

Sounds simple. I thought it would be, but, strangely, there were a couple of obstacles in my way!
  • First Stop: My iPad. Well, that didn't work. This book was not distributed in digital form and I haven't been able to read a printed book for about two years. However, I thought about this conundrum for a little while, and realized something: I don't work anymore. I don't have kids. If a book sends me into a headache-spiral of hell, then we'll have to order dinner in! In other words, there was really no reason for me not to at least try to read the printed book.
  • Second Stop: My Barnes and Noble. Right up the block, I charged right into the children's section. There were no copies of the book.
  • Third Stop: Borders in the Mall.  Guess what? No book. The salesperson told me that the children's section was the first to get wiped clean (that made me kind of happy...).
The book, in my hand finally!
Looking back now, I have no idea why I didn't go to the library. I guess I got so used to not being able to get anything there that it really got riped from my radar completely.
  • Fourth, and Final Stop: Barnes and Noble in Brooklyn.  I had to go down to the Board of Education to do some paperwork that made me pretty miserable, checking out the B&N across the street was just about the only ray of sunshine in my day, and boy did it pay off! They had the book!! Finally!!
Book Love All Over Again
I made for really bad company on the trip home that day. I read on the train and on the ferry, and, you know what? A couple of times I even laughed out loud just like I did the first time I read the book!

I remembered so little of the story, but I could instantly see why this book was so right for me when I was a child:
  • It was set in New York.
  • The protagonist, Peter, had a little brother, Fudge, that was really, in so many ways the center of his whole world.
  • Peter tries to be polite and "grown-up" and wishes Fudge could just do the same.
  • Fudge likes to be involved in whatever Peter is doing.
  •  Peter has to do things like get a pair of shoes he doesn't want to ever wear just so his little brother will want them too!
  • When Peter's dad is left alone to take care of the kids, he kind of has no idea what he is doing .
It goes on, but, in short, I must have loved this book because Fudge was the extreme version of my own little brother and Peter's whole family could have been some alternate version of my own (some day I'll have to write a blog post about my dad's Macaroni and cheese debacle!. In fact, in my memory of this book the protagonist was a GIRL - talk about relating to a character!

I had an absolute BLAST rereading this book. I'm so happy I finally did it and I believe this reread will be marked in my memory with the same level of importance in this reader's life as the first read.

Why Rereading Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing Was One of the Best Things I Have Done THIS YEAR:
  1. The book held up. I was so worried the book just wouldn't be as good. I feared that my memory has placed it on some beautiful, impossible pedestal of worthiness that I would not be able to appreciate as an adult. Those fears were unfounded, Judy Blume is that good.
  2. The book captured a time. As I rad through the pages of this book, I felt as though I was transported in time, back to the 1980s, remembering the carefree joy of my childhood, the love of my family and the interesting kinds of worries I carried as a big sister. It was strange that this book took me there, but it was also so magical.
  3. I READ A PRINTED BOOK. I'm not entirely sure I made that large enough for you, but, for the first time in two years I read words, off a page and didn't need days of rest in between. Now, grant it, the book took me much longer to read than a 110 page children's book should, but WHO CARES?!
She Lived Happily Ever After...

I held a book.
I turned pages.
I smelled the paper.
I could touch the words.


It was beautiful, and, for that, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing shall forever be remembered as my first and truly faithful book love.

This book introduced me to a world of wonder when I was younger that I will forever be grateful for. I was always the girl with a book - on my nightstand, in my backpack, in my pocketbook, by the pool and under my desk. I don't know how long it would have taken me to discover that world had I not found Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, or if I ever would have. Judy Blume simply showed me how enjoyable reading could be.

Some 25 years later, due to what seemed like a bunch of obstacles for no reason, this book brought me back from a hibernation I wasn't sure I would wake from. Since reading Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, I have read four other printed books and I am on my fifth. I am getting faster and tomorrow I am going to the library! I couldn't be happier. Reading the story brought back the joy of my childhood, but being able to read the book has revived the joy in my adulthood.

I take it word by word, page by page and book by book. Some days are easier to read than others, but hope is restored!

What was your first "book love"?
What was your last book love (I'm always looking for something great to read!)?

The term book love comes from Steve Leveen's book,
I highly recommend the book!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Return of the King (Lord of the Rings Part Three) by J.R.R. Tolkien

The following post is taken directly from my hand-printed Reader's Journal. I will be sharing these reflections each week on the Rivera Runs Through It blog. The date at the end of each post is the date of the original writing, which is typically the date I completed the book. The reflections are short, but represent my initial reactions to a book, a brief summary of the book or the questions it raised for me at the time. I hope you enjoy this segment in my blog and feel free to comment on what you read here.

The Return of the King (Lord of the Rings Part Three) by J.R.R. Tolkien

Well, this tale has finally come to an end. I have been on this journey for about two years since I first read the Hobbit and it has been a wonderful ride. I understand why these books have been held in such high regard for so long - I will miss Middle Eath and all of its occupants. While I cannot believe the story is over, Tolkien has not left me wanting any more. He has finally given me the closure I had hoped for in the first two installments. I believe, in time, I will read these books again.

Dated: 05/18/02
How were you introduced to Middle Earth? Was it with the movies first, or the books? If the books, where did you begin - LOTR, The Hobbit, or another of Tolkien's tales?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What if #9

This post is an invitation to you to think about the word in the middle of life: IF (L-IF-E). Each week the Rivera Runs Through It blog will present a different "What If...?" question for you to explore. Some will be serious, some will be silly, some might be political, religious or historical.

You can either write a response of your own, or just tune in to see what everyone else has to say about it. At the bottom of this post will be a place for you to link up your own post about the question, so feel free to share. If you have arrived at this post and the inlinkz tool is closed, or you don't have a blog, then please leave your response (or link) in the comment section below using DISQUS.

Happy pondering to everyone...

What IF #9:
What if I had/hadn't ______________?

It's our first fill in the blank What If question!!

Nearly three months ago when I started compiling my great "What if" questions, I started asking everyone I knew in the real life, and virtually, what their own personal great "What if" questions were. The single most popular answer across the board were questions that fit this mold. Some examples:
  • What if I had finished college?
  • What if I hadn't stayed in that abusive relationship so long?
  • What if I had said "Yes"/"No" to _______? (that proposal, the job offer, that first date)
  • What if I hadn't gone to that party?
I think you get the idea... When asked to think about "What Ifs," most people wondered about the choices they made in their life (some big and some small) and what alternate reality they would be living in had they made those choices.

I have resisted posting this question with a fear that it would be interpreted as a request to rehash regrets in some way. I think this question could be a celebration of the serendipitous little moments in our lives that lead us to our current existence. In the end, it is up to you how you would like to interpret it, but, unless one question screams aloud with a desire to be written about RIGHT NOW, then take a moment and then of all of the different angles you can approach this from!

There it is, finally, due to popular demand of the topic, here is your chance to pick your own What if! This week, create your own "What if" question, beginning either with "What if I had...." or "What if I hadn't..." and take it where you like - be as serious, sentimental, or as silly as you like. These questions can go in so many different directions!

 I look forward to the responses, link up or comment below!

For a list of all of the What if questions asked so far, 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Lazy Sunday Stumble

Each Sunday, I do a lot of catching up on my blog reading. I like to read all of the posts collected in my Stumble group and share them with my followers. In the past, I've overwhelmed my Facebook and Twitter followers with a bunch of recommendations, so I have decided to gather all of the posts into one blog post for everyone to read!

Web Tools
  • How To Use Storify from Kludgy Mom. Perhaps this is the next great tool for you. I've been toying with using Storify myself, so I am excited about this tutorial from Kludgy Mom (she's one of the best!).
  • Great Internet Marketing by Thinking Like a Teacher from Creative Boomer. For my fellow bloggers, internet marketing is one of those skills you need to hone if you'd like to spread the word about your presence online.
Creative & Funny
  • Where I'm From from Modern Gypsy. A beautifully written piece linked up to Mama Kat's Losing It! about where Modern Gypsy is from.
  • What did he just say? Funny Kids Cartoon from Sason & Pobi. A cute cartoon where our blogger makes a first attempt at drawing with a mouse (that can't be easy!!).
  • Women of Faith IMAGINE Conference from Woven by Words. Mimi gives us an introduction to the Women of Faith Conferences by looking back at last year's event and showing us where to go this year!
Product Reviews & Giveaways
Relationships & Family
  • How to Turn Your Nags into Requests He'd Love to Honor from Before You Marry. 3 great ways to turn your nags into requests are hidden in this post - whether you are working toward getting married, or already there, who couldn't use these great tips?
  • Winnie-the-Pooh, Complete Tales & Poems by Read Aloud Dad.A fabulous review of the classic A.A. Milne stories and poems illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard. Read Aloud Dad not only reviews the collections, but reminds us why these stories are so precious to share with the whole family.
  • Do You Know What Your Pet Is Saying? from Daily Organized Choas. Bibi takes the time to describe the differences between various pet actions so her family can better understand what the furry family members need. A great read for pet-lovers.
  • Naptime, Interrupted. Kind of. from Genie in a Blog. This is hilarious, embarrassing and an important read for anyone this hasn't happened to yet! What do you do when your kids are enjoying naptime? Think about it and read this!
Health & Diet
  • From B12-D: A Better You from With a Side of Sneakers. B-12 helps Heather deal with her pain, which is fantastic news for those who feel better taking vitamins rather than drugs. She discusses all the ways vitamins and minerals have been helping her and her husband.
  • How to Stop Stuffing Your Face At Parties by Alison Golden. Do you have issues with self-control when in social situations? Do you lurk around the snacks and find, at the end of the night, that you can't even keep count of how much you consumed? If so, check out Alison's post for some tips on how to survive your next social event!
  • Cheap Eats - Beer Bread from The Budget Diet. Homemade bread for less than a dollar and no bread maker needed - this sounds awesome!
  • Rustic Peach Tart from Delishhh. If the recipe doesn't sound tempting, just click the link and take a look at the delicious picture!

    Friday, September 23, 2011

    Why Everyone Should Check Out the New York Comic Con (NYCC)

    It's coming back! I can't wait!! The New York Comic Con will be back at the Jacob Javits Center this October from the 13th through the 16th! It's getting so that I can't feel it coming nearer...

    Are you wondering WHY all of these people are on line at NYCC?
    Typically, when talking about comic book conventions, in my experience, I have been faced with two starkly different reactions from those I am conversing with:
    • unbridled enthusiasm, or
    • confusion, with a hint of fear that I am one of "those kinds of people"
    Now, having selected Mathematics as a major in college and following that up by becoming a high school math teacher, luckily, these are reactions that I am all too used to in conversations. I am never offended, I merely see them as an amazing opportunity to let you in on the secret joys of my subcultures that have gone long unappreciated by the masses.

    I don't dare to propose that ComicCons are for everyone, however, before you dismiss them entirely based on some preconceived notions of what they "must" entail, I would like to give you a brief list of some of my joys of NYCC:

    1. It is just about THE best spot in all of NYC for people-watching.
    I was raised a people-watcher. Mom and Dad would bring us to Central Park (another fabulous people-watching spot!) and after hours a having fun in the sun, we would park ourselves on a bench and watch the people go by. There were always so many different kinds of people doing so many different things! I'd think up stories about each person's day and life. The whole thing amazed me!
    The Joes +1.
    It still does, and ComicCon has INCREDIBLE people - authors, artists, fans of multiple subcultures (comics, specific movies, TV shows, games), people of the press, celebrities at multiple levels, and then (mostly on Sunday) lots of comic-loving families with their kids for family day.
    The thing that makes this possibly the "BEST" spot for people-watching is that at the Con people show-off their uniqueness, their fandom and their super-fun inner child with unabashed pride! It is rare to see so many people, who lead otherwise very normal day-to-day lives, come together and just geek-out about whatever it is they love in such a mass effort.
    2. Conventions Are A Great Place to Learn.
    I think everyone knows this when it comes to conventions surrounding a particular profession or skill, but I feel like it is not something people think about in terms of the ComicCon. Ordinarily, when people think about the ComicCon, they think of crowds of people (they are there), many of which are dressed up in costume (this is very true) walking around an exhibit floor looking at and buying comic books, memorabilia, getting autographs and the such - this is all a part of the experience, however, it is not all of the experience.
    One of last year's panels with a line of questions from the audience.
    The first time I went to a Comic Con, I didn't realize this and I missed out on all of the PANELS and DISCUSSIONS. Once I discovered them, I never made that mistake again. The Panels are now how I design my entire experience. They vary from fan fun stuff like (thinking back to last year's event) James Marsters telling a packed room of fans what he's up to and answering all their questions (as wacky as they got!), to industry stuff like discussing how digital publishing will impact comics and what publishers, authors, artists and fans are saying about it, to how to bring Graphic Novels and Comic books into the classrooms as tools. There is so, so much going on in the panels and every year I fill a notebook with my nerdiness notes!
    3. You get SO MUCH FREE STUFF.
    The swag at NYCC can become overwhelming. I have almost excatly the same experience every single year. I walk in people are handing me cool pins, stickers, t-shirts and books and, in my glee I grab it all... hours later I am bogged down wondering, "What the heck am I carrying around?"
    However, when night night falls and we get home, it is a combination of that post trick-or-treating and Christmas morning feeling all swirled into one! My husband and I spill out our bags and compare. "Ooo! Where did you get that? I didn't get that!" or "Cool! Look they gave me TWO!" Piles are made - mine, his, stuff to bring in to the students, and stuff to throw in with this year's candy for our trick or treaters!
    In addition to the free stuff are TONS of coupons and discount codes for all types of convention deals on ALL TYPES of cool stuff.There are internet promo codes, pre-sales and exclusive offers (i.e. last year there was a special, and very competitive, ComicCon price for the SpiderMan Turn Off the Dark Broadway Show) slipped in among the swag. I'm going to keep my eyes peeled for these this year, because I always end up looking at them last and end up missing out on some of the dated offers - such a bummer!
    This was my favorite costume last year.
    I thought he was a prop until he MOVED!
    This is a costumed person!!

    4. It's Just Plain Old-Fashioned Fun!
    There is a happy excitement in the air at Comic Con. People don't take themselves as seriously when they are in that space - they're dressed up, perhaps painted blue, or walking on stilts, or sitting in a quiet corner dressed up like a bizarre space octopus scaring THE CRAP out of whoever walks by thinking you are a giant stuffed animal.
    People are smiling.
    You get to bear witness as fans meet their idols, shake their hands, take pictures with them and thank them for giving them joy.
    People of all ages are playing - not just video games (although they are there, too), but jousting, having light saber battles and this year there will be wand duels and a Quidditch team is coming!
    There is art everywhere - drawings, paintings, the written word, and now there's more video and graphics, too. Sunday is extra fun because it is family day and there are loads of family-friendly and kids' activities planned! It is just plain awesome.
    After writing this post, it has come to my attention that I may be a biased in my perspective, however, let me tell you this: I only went to my first comic book convention out of love for a boy. I had no idea what I was getting into and thought this was going to be one of those things he was going "owe me" for. In other words, I was once the person who was confused by possible enjoyment "those people" had at comic book conventions. I didn't know. I hadn't tried it out. Now that I have, I love it. So maybe it's something you should check out - at least once - even if it's just to say that you have. I say put this on your bucket list and let me know when you're coming!

    What are your thoughts about NYCC?
    Have you been to any other comic book conventions?
    What type of geek-out convention would you like to see and be a part of?

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011

    LIVESTREAM: Summit for Social Good 2011

    Join me in watching this fabulous event from NYC September 19-21 from 1pm-6pm EST each day.

    Watch live streaming video from mashable at

    Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth's Last Days by Tim LaHaye & Jerry B. Jenkins

    The following post is taken directly from my hand-printed Reader's Journal. I will be sharing these reflections each week on the Rivera Runs Through It blog. The date at the end of each post is the date of the original writing, which is typically the date I completed the book. The reflections are short, but represent my initial reactions to a book, a brief summary of the book or the questions it raised for me at the time. I hope you enjoy this segment in my blog and feel free to comment on what you read here.

    Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth's Last Days by Tim LaHaye & Jerry B. Jenkins

    I can't remember the last time a book had me question myself so much. It is a fictional story of what happens to the Earth after the Rapture. Jesus Christ has come down to Earth and taken all his people to heaven, all others are left behind. The book contradicts many of my beliefs about who gets into heaven and how thy do that - and that is where the questioning comes from. Am I to believe that all the people in the world that do not believe in Jesus do not deserve salvation?! There are so many that do not have the freedom to choose or the education to know. Is it truly God's will to deprive them for that?! I will probably continue to read this entire series of books to hopefully answer these questions.

    Dated: 04/27/02

    Have you ever read a book that caused you to question your own beliefs? 
    If so, which book?

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011

    Hey Chronic Diseases: ENOUGH!

    I have come to accept a way of life that is simply unacceptable.

    I am angry right now as I am coming to understand that I gave up on a piece of me.

    Chronic disease. Damn that term. I was diagnosed with a chronic condition long before I decided to leave my job, but when I was diagnosed with two it seemed as though the weight was simply too heavy for me to bear.

    Understandable. I can forgive myself for caving under that burden. What I can't forgive, or understand, is why I am still laying down on this ground.

    I have glimmers of hope within almost every week now. I have nearly complete days where I am feeling close to normal in the health range. I've been able to do laundry, keep up on house chores and cook again. I left the house on my own twice this past weekend. I walked places. I have read three printed books (NOT DIGITAL) with minimal difficulty. I am tapering off of my medication with all of this still a reality.

    And yet, somehow, it is not enough.

    This morning I got sick again. Not from my brain condition, but from my old-standby - the digestive issues. Before 9:30am I have already been to battle with my insides more times than I can count. So, as I prayed for the pain to stop and for my second attempt at breakfast to stay with me I thought, "Why is this still happening?"

    When I asked my doctor this same question after he told me that my colonoscopy revealed I am "in remission', his response was a simple, "Oh, then I guess you have microscopic colitis. You should keep taking your medicine." OK. I'm doing that. However, does having a name to what is wrong with me suddenly make it OK? I felt that way when diagnosed with IIH, but that's because I knew the name could finally guide me toward treatment, this time the name feels like an afterthought, not a tool.

    I don't eat gluten. I don't eat dairy. I just found out I still have high cholesterol - WHAT ELSE SHOULD I STOP EATING? And, honestly, what difference does it make if none of the food stays with me anyway? I've lost 40 pounds, should I be happy or scared?

    I am not only not working now, I am not living. Based on the way this morning went, I will, most likely be in bed (and the bathroom) most of today. Forget my muscles, now my SOUL is starting to atrophy!

    This is just dumb.

    Getting so sick caused me to do something that I decided in high school I didn't want to do anymore: QUIT. I hate it.

    I am exhausted. I am in pain. But, today, I am finally angry and maybe that's enough to wake the warrior within. 

    I don't think any of my doctors have a full grasp of how I have altered my life to garner the "improvements" in each of my conditions they see. It is time they realize that I have had no intention of living like this permanently. It is time that I inform them that I would like to bring my life back up to human speed and, for that, I need them to work with me. It is time for me to speak up.

    What if #8

    This post is an invitation to you to think about the word in the middle of life: IF (L-IF-E). Each week the Rivera Runs Through It blog will present a different "What If...?" question for you to explore. Some will be serious, some will be silly, some might be political, religious or historical.

    You can either write a response of your own, or just tune in to see what everyone else has to say about it. At the bottom of this post will be a place for you to link up your own post about the question, so feel free to share. If you have arrived at this post and the inlinkz tool is closed, or you don't have a blog, then please leave your response (or link) in the comment section below using DISQUS.

    Happy pondering to everyone...

    What IF #8:
    What if we were charged the "true" price of food and/or gas?

    Money is tight right now for pretty much everyone, so no one wants to talk about paying more for anything, but what about the non-monetary costs of all that we consume from our planet? We do pay for some of the true costs of food and energy consumption through our taxes (here in the US) since certain things such as clean up costs and subsidies to these large industries, but what about the other costs? What if we could put a dollar amount on the environmental and wildlife damages caused by the food and energy industries? What if the health care costs resulting from certain food or energy choices could be accounted for?

    How expensive would our food become? How much would it cost to fill up your car? Would these changes be enough for you to make new choices about your food and energy consumption? Do you think this "true" cost would be a good thing for society to embrace, or no?

    This was a part of the conversation during last week's 24 Hours of Reality campaign by the Climate Reality Project. It is also something I've been thinking about for a long time. Now I'm wondering what you think! Link up or comment below!

    For a list of all of the What if questions asked so far, 

    Monday, September 19, 2011

    My Contribution to the Bullying Problem

    I just found out about a 14 year old boy who died on Sunday.

    It's heartbreaking. He was just a child. His life had barely begun.

    He had just started high school.

    He was getting bullied... again.

    Did I mention that he died at his own hand?

    No excuse. As a unified front of humanity we should all be personally affronted by this act. We should all stop and really ask:


    Who are we as a species? Who are we as a people? WHO ARE WE that we can not even protect our children from themselves?

    Something is very wrong. 

    We keep preaching that bullying is wrong. Everyone agrees. I'm sure even the bullies do.
    We keep sharing our own stories of being bullied. Everyone knows it hurts. I'm sure everyone knows this feeling.
    We keep teaching that bulling shouldn't be done. Everyone supports this. I'm sure we all believe we are doing all we can.

    But then we 
    • Rip apart celebrities on tabloids, television shows and in the news rather than allowing them to lead their own lives.
    • Watch shows where people are judged (that's fine for a talent show) but then are often humiliated publicly while others laugh.
    • Create a culture where supporting someone and tearing them down may often happen in the same breath (I am thinking here of Charlie Sheen's fans and how they reacted when they went to his live show).
    And I say "we" because I know there are times when I engage in some of these behaviors out of social norm, forgetting the bigger picture. Forgetting that these things matter.

    “Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
    Watch your words, for they become actions.
    Watch your actions, for they become habits.
    Watch your habits, for they become character.
    Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

     So my dear child, who took his own life this Sunday, I am sorry. I am sorry I didn't know you. I am sorry I didn't hear you. I am sorry for any negative ripples from my pond reaching your waters. I hope you can rest in peace and I hope you hurt no longer.

    An Open Question to Fellow Whovians: The God Complex

    I watch Doctor Who.

    It makes me think.

    Then I have questions.

    I pester the same people week after week with these questions FORGETTING COMPLETELY THAT I HAVE A BLOG!

    This week's episode, The God Complex, has raised a big question for me about the Doctor himself and I am wondering where Whovians stand on their interpretation of these events.

    [SPOILER ALERT: If you have not seen the season 6, episode 11 entitled The God Complex and do not want any of it to be spoiled for you, then I advise you STOP READING THIS RIGHT NOW UNTIL YOU HAVE SEEN THE EPISODE!]

    My Big Question: What is the Doctor's motivation at the end of the episode?

    The doctor decides, at the end of this episode, to bring his companion(s) home before it is necessary. Now, Amy (and Rory) have been through hell and back with the Doctor, so they definitely have reached what would be considered "the limit" for some, but they did not request an end to their adventures, the Doctor, uncharacteristically, volunteered it.

    In the past (mind you I have only watched the re-boot of the Doctor Who series, as Netflix has yet to acquire the completed versions of the previous Doctors and I don't like watching things piece-meal), the Doctor has only ended his companion relationships when it was either beyond his control, or it is the literal last thing to be done in order to save their lives. He destroys people. He takes them on the adventure of a lifetime, of TWO lifetimes, even, and then returns them to their world as (in some way) broken human beings. No one really complains about it, they all come to the understanding that this is the cost of the travel, but it is what seems to transpire, nonetheless. Then, all of a sudden, on this weekend's episode of Doctor Who, the Doctor brings Amy and Rory home to a brand new home, a shiny new car and says, "Ta-ta! Didn't want to mess you up any worse off than I already did!"

    image from Whoinverse

    So the optimist in me jumped on this - Wow! The Doctor is growing, and learning from all of his years of experience... so sad he has to suffer alone.

    Then I mulled it over for a while. Amy had to abandon her faith in the Doctor in this episode. She had to convince herself finally that he could not fix everything. And obviously, she did or else the Minotaur monster would not have died.

    Which brings me, finally, to my question: 
    Did the Doctor leave Amy to save her, or just because she finally understood that he is "just a madman in a box"? Does the Doctor need companions for companionship or some level of worship? 

    While I know the term "Lord" has a different meaning in the British vernacular, in my world (of a catholic school upbringing) it is a pretty lofty title, so is the need for some sort of worship embedded in the Time Lord being?

    I have a feeling these things will all be revealed in time, but I was just wondering what others thought about them now based on what we know of the Doctor so far. (Perhaps those of you who have known the Doctor longer than I will have an even deeper insight).

    So, Whovians - What do you think?! Of course, there is one other  burning question from this weekends episode I'm sure everyone is salivating at:  
    I feel pretty confident that he saw himself, but I get surprised ALL THE TIME, so what do you think?

    Friday, September 16, 2011

    The Ring That Binds Us

    1st day with 1st iPhone
    This week's "What If" question asks "What if you could take one thing with you when you die?" The question is compelling because it asks us to place an enormous value upon an item, a thing, something material. This is not the same as the age-old "What's the one thing you would grab if your house was burning down and all lives were already saved?" at least it is not the same to me. The latter question has always been one of practicality, of survival, some sentimentality and moving on. My answer to the latter is always my iPhone, so that I could call for help, have all of the contact information for my friends and family and also have a camera with a large number of recent photos stored in it.

    When thinking about what I would like to take with me after I die, though, the iPhone loses all value. AT&T already has crappy service in some parts of Staten Island when I try to make calls, so I am sure that wherever I end up  after I die, I won't be able to use it as a phone. I also have no idea if there will be any charging stations, so, while the idea of a camera intrigues me, I don't know how long it would last. Finally, surprisingly, when thinking about this question, pictures did not rank as things I would like to have with me.

    So, having ruled out the iPhone, I was left asking myself some questions:
    • What is the thing that I would bring with me? 
    • To a place and time where I think materials would no longer hold meaning? 
    • What is it that I possess that somehow means more than what it actually is? 
    • What item would I carry with me after death?
    It suddenly hit me. There is one thing I have that means so much more than what it actually is. Of course, what it is is pretty impressive on its own, but even when people (even strangers) stop me to tell me this, I know that they don't even know how magnificent it really is.

    The one thing that I would take with me, if I could, when I die would be my engagement ring.

    It's a beautiful ring. Many people notice it when I wear it and ask to see it. I can't blame them, I have always loved it myself and I don't even like jewelery all that much, but from the moment I saw it I knew that when I got married that was the kind of ring I wanted.

    So where did I first see this ring? On my mother's hand. My engagement ring is my mother's engagement ring and for that  it means more than what it actually is.

    I had no idea this would be my ring. My discussion with my, then boyfriend, was, "All I know is that I like my mother's ring." I knew nothing more about the subject, but all the other stuff we looked at didn't appeal to me. Knowing how much I loved the ring, my husband and mother did some sort of behind the scenes negotiations.
    When, on a cold January night, my boyfriend, then fiance, slipped this ring on my finger I was so overwhelmed. First of all, I was going to marry my best friend (finally!!). We had such dreams of our life to come and where our journey together would take us. I was freezing my butt off, but that wasn't the only reason I was shaking! I didn't even notice the ring at first. I didn't even care (is that the worst?). Then he finally asked, "Did you see the ring?" It was kind of dark, so I didn't recognize it at first, but it looked beautiful. "It's your mother's. Well, now it's yours, but you know what I mean."

    I knew what he meant. I understood his words, but a whole new feeling washed over me. I realized, in that moment, that we weren't the only ones rooting for all of the wonderful in our life ahead. I mean, this was the ring that my father had picked out. I felt, even though he was no longer with us, this was a sign that he gave his blessing to us. My parents loved each other and created a beautiful family, I felt with this ring we were destined to do the same. I felt the ring symbolized the true birth of my new family fully embraced by my whole family.

    So, when, six months after our engagement, my mother was shockingly taken from us by cancer, the ring's sentimental value exploded exponentially for me. The ring symbolizes everything that I hold in my heart:
    • my husband and our love and life together
    • my mother and father who were both taken away too soon
    • my brother who is here, just like me, because our dad bought this ring 40 years ago and our mom accepted it
    Since I have no children of my own to pass this on to (yet), I believe this is the thing I would bring with me when I die. To keep all those things dear to me. It's better than a picture because it does not freeze them in a stagnant pose for an eternity, instead it refreshes those feelings of love acceptance, friendship, laughter and comfort I have had with all associated with it.

    It's beautiful. It sparkles. It is incredibly special. However, for me, it is all those things without even looking at it, just feeling it on my finger is all I need.
    This post is written as part of the What IF? Project hosted here on the Rivera Runs Through It Blog. Each week a new "What if?" question is presented and I do my best to respond to the query.  You are invited to as well. This week's "What if?" was

    Wednesday, September 14, 2011

    24 Hours of Reality

    There she is. Isn't she beautiful? So big, so powerful, so full of life and so ready for humanity to take notice.

    Look real close at this picture. Enlarge it if you like. Zoom in using whatever tools your technology allows. I promise you, you will not be able to see a human from this angle. We are that small. However, in a sick twist of fate, we are having an enormous affect on that beauty. We, in our masses, are changing the scope and landscape of our Mother Earth.

    It is time to get real about the situation. It is time to STOP wondering after all of these natural disasters, Why is nature turning on US? and start figuring out How can WE stop ABUSING Nature.

    Many of you are doing this already. Many recognize that every little thing each one of us does right is a step in the right direction, but tonight, there is a call to action for the MASSES. Tonight begins the 24 Hours of Reality:

    Will you join me? It begins at 7PM Central Time there will be 24 different presenters in 13 different languages. Let's get real about this, let's not be victims of green washing anymore, let's heal our world together.

    For more information on the event, see the Event Page at The Climate Reality Project.

    A New Study: Bring on the Laughs!

    Yesterday I read an article that I knew I had to share with my Intracranial Hypertension (What the heck is that?!) buddies over at the IH Brain Pain Blogs, but as I was halfway through my post it occurred to me that this is relevant to anyone who experiences pain! Here is a snippet of the post I wrote, or if you just want to jump directly to the full post now, click here.

    Prescription: Ridiculousness

    We have all heard that "laughter is the best medicine," but is this just an old-wives tale? Is this a way to get people who are feeling crappy to just clam up and find the fun in life again? Well, a scientific study was done and the answer is no. Laughter, at least, those really deep, hearty, uncontrollable belly laughs, actually have a physical affect on how we feel pain!

    The Science Says So
    In an article I read yesterday on BBC America, the results of an experiment conducted at the University of Oxford were discussed. The experiment was conducted as follows:
    The experimenters first tested the pain thresholds of volunteers.
    They were then split into two groups, with one being shown 15 minutes of comedy videos, while the other was shown material the researchers deemed boring - such as golfing programmes.
    The researchers found that those subjects that had recently experienced belly laughs were able to withstand up to 10% more pain than they had done before watching the videos.
    To their surprise, the scientists also found that the other group was less able to bear pain after watching 15 minutes of the "boring" programmes.
    So the question must be asked: Is 10% less pain really all that much? The scientists admitted that there was no way to determine that (in an audio clip accompanying the article) since it would depend on each person's experience, but I can say, personally ANY decrease in pain is a positive in my book!

    Learn How to Laugh First
    If you are like me and you're thinking, Where can I get my next dose of laughter?! AND NOW?! Hang on for just one more second, because this isn't just any old giggle you need to muster up.


    100 Random Questions Answered [The Last 50]

    For my SITS class on the ProBlogger's book "First Week of Blogging" I am supposed to write an About Me post. It has come to my attention, though, through a lot of this memoir writing and randomness I bring to you here on Rivera Runs Through It, you may already know a lot about me, so instead I found these 100 random questions and decided I'll answer them, hoping we'll stumble upon some new facts about me!

    Did you miss Part 1? HERE'S PART 2... 

    51. Have you ever won a trophy?
    Yep. I was on various sports teams in elementary and junior high school.

    52. Are you a good cook?
    We don't starve around here. I have a lot to learn, but I think I'm OK. I have a bunch of recipes and food stories on my foodie blog Searching for Sustenance.

    53. Do you know how to pump your own gas?
    That was the only way I used to do it!

    54. If you could meet any one person (from history or currently alive), who would it be?
    I'm coming back to this one.

    55. Have you ever had to wear a uniform to school?
    For eleven years and I miss it terribly. That made things so simple!

    56. Do you touch-type?
    No, but I had to teach touch typing. Isn't that ridiculous?

    57. What's under your bed?
    Shoes and dust-bunnies.

    58. Do you believe in love at first sight?
    I don't think so.

    59. Think fast, what do you like right now?

    60. Where were you on Valentine's day?
    Home, movies, blogging - starting this blog, in fact.

    61. What time do you get up?
    Since he started work again I've been getting up with my husband at 7am. Otherwise, my natural wake up time is around 9:30-10:00am.

    62. What was the name of your first pet?

    63. Who is the second to last person to call you?
    Sylvester, my husband's friend.

    64. Is there anything going on this weekend?
    Yep. Fun and festivities.

    65. How are you feeling right now?
    Headache is finally gone, just a little pressure on the right side of my head. Otherwise, OK.

    66. What do you think about the most?
    What I am writing about next.

    67. What time do you get up in the morning?
    How is this question different than #61?

    68. If you had A Big Win in the Lottery, how long would you wait to tell people?
    Until I received the money, at least.

    69. Who would you tell first?
    Well, I would tell my husband right away, but he's not people, he's Bobby!

    70. Do you sing in the shower?
    Yes. I have a shower radio, and when I don't I make up my own songs about the shower, my day, my ridiculous bathroom situation - whatever strikes me.

    71. What do you do most when you are bored?
    I go to twitter.

    72. What do you do for a living?
    Breathe, focus on getting better, write and hope someday I will find a way to make money again that I love!

    73. Do you love your job?
    I loved my job (as a teacher). I think I could love writing the same way, or at least close to it, if I could find the right kind of writing gig.

    74. What did you want to be when you grew up?
    First, I wanted to be a journalist. Then I wanted to be a writer. Then I wanted to be a science teacher, or scientist so I could go into space like Christa Mcauliffe. Finally, I decided teacher. There was a quick deviation for architect and political dreams (I had an AWESOME US History teacher during and election year), but teacher won out knowing I could always write even while I was teaching (which I did).

    75. If you could have any job, what would you want to do/be?
    This is a loaded one. I must be careful what I write here... I am still, as I think I have always been, torn between teaching and writing. My teaching dreams have so many conditions placed upon them based upon past experiences, moves in the system right now that I don't like and moves that I do like, that I don't know what the "dream teaching job" looks like. Therefore, I think, if I could have anything right now, especially because I am also enjoying the slowness of my current life, if I could have any job it would be to paid for my writing.

    76. Which came first the chicken or the egg?
    The egg, which was laid by something that closely resembled a chicken, but was not a chicken yet - it's egg was the next leap in evolution. Someone told me this, I wish I could remember who, because, to me, that is the answer to that question.

    77. How many keys on your key ring?
    Two - house and car.

    78. Where would you retire to?
    I'm already here.

    79. What kind of car do you drive?
    I can't drive anymore.

    80. What are your best physical features?
    I still say my eyes even though one eyelid got sliced in a surgery and the eyes themselves aren't at 100% functionality.

    81. What are your best characteristics?

    82. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation where would you go?
    If I could go anywhere, then I would go everywhere.
    83. What kind of books do you like to read?
    I like YA novels. I like dystopian tales. I like non-fiction when I want to learn about a subject matter, but it takes me forever and a day to finish them. I like comic books, but usually independent ones.
    I like a lot of different types of books. I don't think I like romance novels, though.

    84. What is your favorite time of the day?
    The quiet times.

    85. Where did you grow up?
    Right here.

    86. How far away from your birthplace do you live now?
    0 inches.

    87. What are you reading now?
    I am rereading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone for the first time while I am exploring Pottermore. com.

    88. Are you a morning person or a night owl?
    Night Owl.

    89. Can you touch your nose with your tongue?
    Can't believe I just tried to do that. No. I can't.

    90. Can you close your eyes and raise your eyebrows?
    Yes. Is that weird?

    91. Do you have pets?
    Two dogs, one gecko and at least eight fish (we are still not sure how many babies were born in the pond this summer - every time we do a count there's more!).

    92. How many rings before you answer the phone?
    Oh man. I don't like the phone. It depends. Sometimes one ring, sometimes I don't make it at all.

    93. What is your best childhood memory?

    94. What are some of the different jobs that you have had in your life?
    Newspaper girl, I worked in a Gourmet Fares & Wares store in the Mall, I was a student teacher, I was an administrative assistant in a head hunter's office, office assistant in a medical office (Temp), tutor, high school math teacher.

    95. Who is your favorite Muppet?
    I have to pick one?? This is ridiculous. Beeker makes me laugh.   Ernie and I were inseparable as children. Fozzie is awesome. Pepe is also hilarious. Well, I guess it has to be Kermit. All he has to do is strum that banjo and sing me the Rainbow Connection and he'll win the day every time.

    96. What's the longest you've gone without sleep?
    I believe the longest is 36 hours.

    97. Have you ever taken a picture in one of those booths?
    Yep. My husband and I took a picture in one at a wedding show we went to. (That was about the best thing about the whole show. That thing was torture.)

    98. Any new and exciting things that you would like to share?
    I'm pretty excited that I got a Press Pass for the New York Comic Con so I can cover the event for the Rivera Runs Through It blog. Also, I got sorted into Ravenclaw at Pottermore. Besides that, not so much.

    99. What is most important in life?
    Who you are with.

    100. What Inspires You?

    Please share at least one random fact about yourself!

    Ten Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Went Out Into The Real World by Maria Shriver

    The following post is taken directly from one of my hand-printed Reader's Journal. I will be sharing these reflections each week on the Rivera Runs Through It blog. The date at the end of each post is the date of the original writing, which is typically the date I completed the book. The reflections are short, but represent my initial reactions to a book, a brief summary of the book or the questions it raised for me at the time. I hope you enjoy this segment in my blog and feel free to comment on what you read here.

    Ten Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Went Out into the Real WorldTen Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Went Out Into The Real World by Maria Shriver

    This book was based on a speech Maria Shriver gave at a college graduation. It was fantastic. Here are the ten things:
    1. Pinpoint your passion
    2. No job is beneath you
    3. Who you work for and with is as important as what you do
    4. Your behavior has consequences
    5. Be willing to fail
    6. Superwoman is dead... and Superman may be taking Viagra
    7. Children do change your career (not to mention your entire life)
    8. Marriage is a hell of a lot of work
    9. Don't expect anyone else to support you financially, and
    10. Laughter

    Dated: 01/01/02

    What would you put on YOUR list of things you wish you knew before you went out into the real world?

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011

    100 Random Questions Answered [The First 50]

    For my SITS class on the ProBlogger's book "First Week of Blogging" I am supposed to write an About Me post. It has come to my attention, though, through a lot of this memoir writing and randomness I bring to you here on Rivera Runs Through It, you may already know a lot about me, so instead I found these 100 random questions and decided I'll answer them, hoping we'll stumble upon some new facts about me!
    1. Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 18, and find line 4. 
    There's a picture on page 18. The book is The Cooking With Trader Joe's Cookbook. (Trader Joe's should be opening up the block from me soon!)

    2. Stretch your left arm out as far as you can, What can you touch?
    A red floor pillow that is not on the floor.

    3. Before you started this survey, what were you doing?
    I was on doing nothing important.

    4. What is the last thing you watched on TV?
    Conan O'Brien. It must have been a repeat of last night's show.

    5. Without looking, guess what time it is
    8:49pm, or, according to my iPhone 20:49

    6. Now look at the clock. What is the actual time?  9:11 pm

    7. With the exception of the computer, what can you hear?  Crickets outside the front window. Death and destruction on the TV as my husband plays Halo.

    1 of 4 pumpkins
    8. When did you last step outside? What were you doing? Before dinner, went to go check on my pumpkins and I found a HUGE praying mantis. IT.WAS.AWESOME.
    Awesome praying mantis

    9. Did you dream last night? Didn't sleep last night. At all. I changed medicines yesterday. Fell asleep at about 11:30am until 1pm. Keeping myself awake so I sleep tonight.
    10. Do you remember your dreams? Very frequently. They are pretty awesome.

    11. When did you last laugh?
    Not too long ago, while on reddit. I found this Law & Order SVU Drinking game hilarious. I believe this might kill anyone.

    12. Do you remember why / at what?
    Um... have you stopped paying attention to me? I will quote my answer above for you:
    "I found this Law & Order SVU Drinking game hilarious. I believe this might kill anyone."
    13. What is on the walls of the room you are in?
    Paint. And then, behind me there are a bunch of pictures from my wedding.

    14. Seen anything weird lately?
    Did I mention I was on reddit today?

    15. What do you think of this quiz?
    It is keeping me relatively amused for the moment and I am sure my husband is pleased I have not questioned him about the television domination his video game has taken.

    The Help16. What is the last film you saw?
    In the movies, I don't think I've been back to the theater since I saw The Help in the first week of August. At home, I fell asleep during Conan The Barbarian.
    17. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live? Wherever the temperature stays in the 70s and there's no rain. Unfortunately, I love the rain, but the on coming storms give me headaches that put me out of commission.  I'd like to stay here (New York) if I could just trap it in Spring/Fall weather forever.

    18. If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy?
    My house and then another house somewhere in the mountains.

    19. Tell me something about you that most people don't know.
    Wow. I don't know... I'm thinking... There was a time when I wanted to be an architect.

    20. If you could change one thing about the world, regardless of guilt or politics, what would you do?
    I don't know how it could be done, but I would want the entire world to respect all life - human life, animals life, plant life - and maintain a balanced coexistence with all. 

    21. Do you like to dance?
     I don't think so. This is a rough one for me. I have happy memories of dancing times, but I don't know if it was the dancing that was fun, because now-a-days dancing just stresses me out!

    22. Would you ever consider living abroad?
     Without a doubt. In a second. Anyone got a place for me, my hubby, two dogs, a gecko and a pond of fish. (OK... maybe I'll leave the fish!)

    23. Does your name make any interesting anagrams?
     Evidently, it makes 3098 anagrams (thank you,!). The one I like the best is "Carnivore Lie" since I am currently wondering (AGAIN!) whether or not I should give up meat since I keep losing this battle with my high cholesterol!

    24. Who made the last incoming call on your phone?
    My little brother. 

    Muppets: The Green Album25. What is the last thing you downloaded onto your computer?
    The Muppets: The Green Album. It is AWESOME. You need to get it now, if you didn't already!

    26. Last time you swam in a pool?
     Well, now you are just trying to make me cry. I love swimming and haven't gone in well over a year. My goggles, swim cap and bathing suit are bone dry (come to think of it, my suit probably doesn't even fit!). One of my goals this school year is to get my energy up enough so I can get back in the pool. The smell of chlorine is like aromatherapy for me - when I smell a pool I am calmed the way most people do when they smell lavender.

    27. Type of music you like most?
    Alternative and Classic Rock. I could listen to 101.9RXP for the rest of my life and be happy.

    28. Type of music you dislike most?
    Hmm...  I used to always answer "country" to this question, but, I've got to be honest, I think country is growing on me. Oh! I know! I don't like to listen to dance/house music - I mean, if we're in a club, that's a different story, but I don't just listen to it!

    29. Are you listening to music right now?
     Yes. I am listening to the beautiful songs of the crickets outside the window. (Only beautiful because I am not trying to sleep right now).

    30. What color is your bedroom carpet?
     No carpet ANYWHERE. Hardwood floors. We had carpet in the basement. We had a flood. Carpet is no longer.

    31. If you could change something about your home, without worry about expense or mess, what would you do?
    I've got a list on my hall closet door of all the things that need changing RIGHT NOW. #1 the bathrooms need to be redone.

    32. What was the last thing you bought?

    33. Have you ever ridden on a motorbike?
     I don't think so.

    34. Would you go bungee jumping or sky diving?
     Absolutely. I was supposed to go skydiving the summer I was diagnosed with my crazy disease (pre-diagnosis, of course).

    35. Do you have a garden?  I have a space in my backyard where pumpkins have been nice enough to grow for me. I take NO CREDIT for this whatsoever. I would like a garden. I hope to, someday, be the person who can maintain one.

    36. Do you really know all the words to your national anthem?  If we sing it together, yes. If you ask me to sing it right here, alone, without music, I will probably mess it up somewhere.

    37. What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?
     What time is it?

    38. If you could eat lunch with one famous person, who would it be?
     I feel like a social moron, so I fear that I would be awkward with whomever I pick, but let me think. You know, after an article I read last night, I think I would love to have lunch with Jimmy Carter and I think I'd be comfortable with him as well.

    39. Who sent the last text message you received?
    Let me check... Oh look at this! I got a text from Notify NYC - my favorite! It is announcing the Aerial Larviciding that wil be happening over my house for the next three days! Oh Joy! Thank you, West Nile Virus! Thank You, Mosquitoes! I am so happy that POISON will be sprayed down upon me for the next three days!

    40. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card?
     Wow, this is difficult. Right now I'm thinking of some place where I could get lots of food stuff to store up for winter or something. Maybe CostCo - it has a little bit of everything (I can even grab a book and a DVD if I want!).

    41. What time is bed time?
    Somewhere between midnight and 2am. Anything else means something is wrong - either my medicine is off or my body is.

    42. Have you ever been in a beauty pageant?
     No, but it wasn't for a lack of trying. My mother thought I should try when I just started high school, so she took me to this hotel that was holding interviews. The people said that if I really wanted to do this I needed to come out of my shell more and be more open. I explained to my mother in the car ride home that I tried for her, but that just wasn't me.

    43. How many tattoos do you have?
     None. Too much of a commitment.

    44. If you don't have any, have you ever thought of getting one?
     Not seriously.

    45. What did you do for your last birthday?
     Is it sad that I don't remember?

    46. Do you carry a donor card?
     Only a blood donor card. I need to fix that though - this wacky body needs to go to science! (I don't think anybody actually wants any of my faulty parts!).

    47. Who was the last person you ate dinner with?
     My husband. He's awesome.

    48. Is the glass half empty or half full?
     Half full and, if you hold it at just the right angle it may even appear to be 3/4 full!

    49. What's the farthest-away place you've been?
     Tunisia, I think.

    50. When's the last time you ate a homegrown tomato?
     Grown at my home? Not since I was little. Sad, but true. Grown at someone else's home? Over the summer.

    OK. I think that's enough for right now! Tune in soon for the continuation!!
    Check out my new profile!