Book Blogger Hop ~ Instagrammin’


The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. Each week poses a book-related question. The hop starts on Friday and ends on Thursday. The purpose is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers.

Do you have an Instagram account? If so, do you only follow book folks? (submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver’s Reviews)


I do have an Instagram account. Follow me @sissybearla.

I follow ALL KINDS of Instagram accounts. I don’t have a separate account for each activity I do and my pets. It’s all rolled into one. I don’t have time to run 5 different accounts. I follow a TON of bullet journal accounts – in fact, I just went and followed almost 20 new BUJO peeps this week! I also follow readers and bookish people, of course. I follow sea turtle accounts, gardening accounts, great photography accounts, dog accounts. You name it. If I like it, I’ll follow it and ❤ their pictures.


Leave your Instagram handle below and I’ll go follow you! 

Beyond the Books ~ Made You Smile This Week


Beyond the Books is a weekly meme hosted by Karen @ KissinBlueKaren. Each week features a new topic (mostly non-bookish). This meme is a fun, social weekly post.

This Week’s Topic:

What Made You Smile This Week?

What Made You Smile This Week?

Two things really made me smile last weekend. On Saturday, I attended the 49th Annual Elgin Western Days. It is in my hometown, and all the classes celebrating get together and do a float in the parade and have their parties. There are also vendor booths in the park and it is hot as Hades even in June. My family has been to every single one…we park in the same place, we sit in the same place. Down in the park there was a little petting zoo with the most adorable babies.

There were these two teeny tiny piggies. This spotted one just wanted to hang out under that feed bucket the whole time. The other one was even smaller, and he’d venture off. What was funny was anytime someone petted them, they’d buck like a bronco! It was so cute. I want one so bad. I think that’d be an appropriate baby for Baby. Don’t you think? She gets in these spells where she wants her own baby and it makes me sad that she’ll never have her own. A baby piggy would do. 🙂




Then there was this poor little Brahman calf. He couldn’t have been more than a few days old, which is cruel to think about in hindsight. He was literally terrified – even of the teeny tiny black piggy! I wanted to scoop him up and love on him and take him back to his mom. He was so scared of everything it broke my heart a little. Ironically, he kinda bullied the goats. They’d make way for him if he got up and went around.



My dad came to my house on Sunday to fix my water hose. The roofers stripped my brand new one unscrewing mine and the one that came with the house. He ended up staying…all dang day. He – and my brothers – act like they don’t like Baby. And here he was playing with her all day, trying to get her attention, patting and petting on her, being nice to her. He always complains about my brother’s dog he left at my parents’ house that my dad babies. Sissy is awful. My dad always asks why Sissy can’t be more like Baby. I take it as a compliment, but then again I actually worked with Baby and taught her. She’s also an inside dog, not an outdoors dog. Later my dad ended up “falling asleep” (he really wasn’t) with Baby.

What made you smile this week?

WWW Wednesdays (6.27.18)


This is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words. To join in answer the following three questions and hop over to Sam’s and leave your link.

What are you currently reading?

I have been on hiatus since April 8th, and I stopped posting for WWW a couple weeks before that because I wasn’t making any headway with books. A LOT has happened since then that you can read about here, but I am now ready to come back to my blog and to reading. That’s right – I haven’t read anything since I picked up Unmasking Juliet in March, and I never finished it. I still remember the premise of the book and what I’ve read so far (which wasn’t much). I AM going to finish this book and start a new one by next week’s WWW. Promise!

Ever since she was a little girl learning to make decadent truffles in her family’s chocolate shop, Juliet Arabella has been aware of the bitter feud between the Arabellas and the Mezzanottes. With their rival chocolate boutiques on the same street in Napa Valley, these families never mix. Until one night, when Juliet anonymously attends the annual masquerade ball. In a moonlit vineyard, she finds herself falling for a gorgeous stranger, a man who reminds her what passion is like outside of the kitchen. But her bliss is short-lived when she discovers her masked prince is actually Leo Mezzanotte, newly returned from Paris and the heir to her archenemy’s confection dynasty. 

With her mind in a whirl, Juliet leaves for Italy to represent the Arabellas in a prestigious chocolate competition. The prize money will help her family’s struggling business, and Juliet figures it’s a perfect opportunity to forget Leo…only to find him already there and gunning for victory. As they compete head-to-head, Leo and Juliet’s fervent attraction boils over. But Juliet’s not sure whether to trust her adversary, or give up on the sweetest love she’s ever tasted.

 What did you just finish reading?

The only major thing I’ve read since picking up Unmasking Juliet has been my state’s standardized testing manual. And I get to read it not once, but twice! Today I am administering the 3rd and final administration for the 8th grade students for reading. I’ve had these yahoos for the past two-and-a-half weeks and I hope the things we’ve taught them take root. Most of them only missed passing by 1, 2, or 3 questions!!

What do you think you’ll read next?

These were the books on my list at last check, and I don’t know if I’ll read these ones next or not. I probably will read Cactus Rose and Help Yourself next, but I might mix it up after that. 

 How about you? What are you reading this week?

Leave a comment with your answers! Share the link to your WWW Wednesday post OR leave your answers in the comments if you don’t have a blog. Happy Reading! 🙂

My Favorite…Book Blog To Visit

My Favorite.. is a weekly meme hosted by Maureen’s Books. In this meme, we share every week something we love with each other. Because let’s face it…The world can be a dark place and it’s time to share something positive.

Book Blog To Visit

Nooooo! Don’t make me pick one favorite.

This stinks, guys. I don’t like this game.

OK, I picked two. That’s good, right? Close enough.

Click on each banner to be taking to these lovely ladies’ blogs. I’ve been keeping up with Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library for a while, and the same with Lark @ The Bookwyrm’s Hoard. I love checking in on them each week and see what’s going on, and Katherine has some of the best Top 10 lists ever. Lark also includes a weekly News & Notes post that features book, publishing, and other related news. I often find a little nugget in those that strikes me or catches me unaware. I don’t keep up with the twitter world, so I never know what’s going on.

Top Ten Tuesday: Series I’d Like to Finish Someday

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. For the list of past topics and future schedule, click here.

Series I’d Like to Finish Someday

There have been A LOT of series I have unknowingly started over the years – usually romances. Those are the ones that always get me! And cozy mysteries, too. There are several of those I want to read and finish, but I’ve read such an insignificant amount of those books I’m not including them today. But there are many.


Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer

12 books – I first discovered these books at the very end of high school, and I continued to read them in college as they were published. But like always, eventually I fell behind. The books are in order below, and I have read through book 6, My Bonny Light Horseman. So far it has been my least favorite. L.A. Meyer passed away several years ago, and I am fairly confident he wrapped up the series knowing his health was declining. I’m not sure what the second half of the series holds, but I do want to dig into it soon.


Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

8 books (to date) – I first read Outlander when I was 11 or 12. I’ve talked about that many times on the blog, and I’ve reread it numerous times. I never tire of it. I love the following three books in the series, too. I got stuck in The Fiery Cross YEARS ago. I have not picked it up and read in over 5 years. I can’t even remember when I stopped reading it, but I know it was before I began working for my school. I really need to. It was just so boring and the plot wasn’t moving forward for me and I wasn’t connecting anything fresh or new to things I knew to riddle out future plot lines. I did buy the Kindle omnibus, so maybe reading on my Kindle will help me get through it faster since I seem to have trouble holding the books now…and I read a lot at night and my eyes are crap. I also saw a 9th book is in the works?!


The Lockwood Legacy by Juliette Harper

6 books – I began reading this series through book tours. As far as I was aware, the series ended at book 3 because I never heard anything else from the tour host. Shit went down in that book! Then a couple years later I was trolling Amazon book lists and I saw the last three books!! I downloaded them but have yet to get to them. I know they contain some suspenseful nuggets given how book 3 ended.



A Bakeshop Mystery by Ellie Alexander

8.5 books (to date) – I also started this series through a tour company. I even won one of Ellie’s giveaways one year. I’ve read through book 4 and again, that seems to be where the author-tour relation ended. I haven’t purchased the rest of these, and I won’t until I clear some major headway off my Kindle and bookcase. 😦


Which series do you want to eventually finish? Which do you want to DNF?  

Where in the World???


Aloha! I’m back!

You guys, it has been a ROLLERCOASTER ride since the last real post I did. I had a few scheduled, but you haven’t seen me around since my official hiatus on April 4th.


I have moved …. twice! 

You guys already knew about the big break-up. I don’t get why people keep asking me if I still talk to him??? Like, no! WHY would I!?! I had to call the cops on him – a cop! Just STAHP, right nowUH. So I packed up all my crap, put most of it in a storage unit (new expense), and was stuck living in my “temporary” rented one bedroom. My roommates were very amiable, but I HAD to move for several reasons:

  • I was super cramped and felt a little claustrophobic.
  • It took nearly 50 minutes to travel to or from work.
  • The fence was unreliable and the neighbor’s dog was aggressive.
  • I could not really invite guests over besides family.
  • I was tired of dirty dishes literally ALL over the house.
  • Whatever my body-building roommate threw away in the kitchen trash started attracting never-ending bugs.
  • My landlord’s two sons were not very nice to Baby – and she ADORED them.
  • I wanted to be able to walk around half-dressed or looking like a hot mess hobo and not care.

I was not planning to move again right away. I was going to wait it out and pay crap off (y’all, I’m seriously in debt now, not quite sure how this is going to go). My work partner K had her BFF’s apartment locator husband on the hunt for me, and then my SPED teacher from my first year of teaching sent me a screenshot of this potential rental coming on the market – right around the corner from my old house, and even closer down the street to her house! I couldn’t pass up the 2 bedroom for the price. It was less than the rent my new landlords were jacking up my one bedroom to down the street (also large factor in why I moved out of my little bungalow down the street).

Moving was painful, I’m not going to lie. I think I’ve mentioned about 339087497 times how much I HATE moving! I was moving EVERYTHING out of my room to the new place by myself. One day I almost passed out. I had to go cool myself with a cold cloth for about 10 minutes. I moved everything except the bed and two dressers, but I did take all the drawers out and move those. In the process, I found several new pieces of furniture large and small for my new house because remember when I was supposed to move in with that asshat and spend the rest of my life with him? Why would we need two couches and two microwaves and this huge ass desk? So I had to buy some things for the new house. I had movers move the bed and dressers, and then I hired them a few days later to bring everything out of my storage unit.

We are 90% settled in. I am still waiting to get my kitchen table out of my parents’ storage unit. Of course it is in the very back! That probably won’t happen until mid-July. I also have not put up any of my wall decor yet, but I should do that soon. I have 2 boxes of picture albums, frames and other photos I don’t quite know what to do with, so it’s still all boxed up. The only thing I am not sure about is my inversion table. Right now it is in a corner out of the way, all taped up so it can’t come open. I have no idea where I am going to store it after use. That’s also a July problem.


I’ve gone on dates … and almost got kidnapped! 

I’ve gone on a few dates. All fizzled. It seems that we are living in a first date culture. I don’t get that. I am also SUPER surprised at the number of couples looking for a third partner or a partner for just them or just for their wife. I guess I’m too naive?

My first date was with a German engineer. He was very knowledgeable and extremely talkative. I liked him, but I felt a little ashamed of myself that in his 3 years in the US he has traveled more extensively than I have! He was going back to Germany this summer, so it wouldn’t have been a lasting thing anyway.

Then there was the ADT head honcho. His voice was like silk. Makes sense that his degree was in musical production. That lasted a week and a half.

Then there was the Indian guy. We went to a really nice place close to downtown Austin. I had just started my keto diet, so I was sticking to water, salads, and meats. I understand there are people who feel awkward or whatever when they are the only one drinking. I don’t understand that because you do you, so I thought he was just trying to be nice. He already had champagne for himself when I arrived. He asked a couple times if I wanted a drink and I declined every time. We had a really great conversation as we ate. As the dinner wound down, he wanted to go see Deadpool. I was interested exactly 0%. I agreed. The theater was sold out, of course, with opening weekend. I found this cute little drive-in theater that was showing The Goonies! We actually got a spot. I was so excited. We couldn’t keep the radio on without turning off the car, so he was fussing about all the displays. I didn’t care. After that was fixed, he all but attacked me. I told him to cool his jets because he was making me feel very uncomfortable. He was as far onto his door as could be. After about five minutes, he got out. I thought he was going to the concession stand. He got back in and started the car. As we pulled out of the theater, he was FLYING. He almost got us T-boned on my side. We got back down to the main street we’d come in on, and he was turning the wrong way. I asked him several times where we were going and he wouldn’t answer. Finally he said he was taking me to my car. He plugged his phone in and set his maps and the GPS said “Going home.” I started panicking, for good reason. He was going 60-65 down a residential street. I started reaching for my purse – to get my phone and call 911. All of a sudden, he swerved into this super shady convenience store with no gas pumps and started yelling at me to get out. He told me I could get an Uber to my car and shoved me out and took off. In hindsight, I think the only reason he stopped and dumped me is because he thought I was reaching for a gun. It cost nearly $50 to get back to my car. I was so shaken I cried. My (male) Uber driver was ultra nice. He let me cry and then when we got to my car he went on this angry tirade about men like that giving all men a bad rap, nothing was wrong with me, hoped I would find a nice guy, etc.

After a few weeks, I went out with this guy who lived in my hometown. Instant connection. We had a great night. Ate at Olive Garden and then went to play putt-putt. He made a few holes-in-one. He was old school country and I really liked him. Again, after a week and a half, it died. He totally ghosted me. If I ever run into him around town, I guess I’ll ignore him and pretend I don’t know him either.


I’ve been recognized at work…finally! 

My principal hand-delivered the yearbooks to me when they arrived. He was waiting for me to crack open a box. He poured over one and congratulated me on a job well done. Considering he has no idea what we do or how hard or stressful it is, this made me feel really good. He legitimately was interested in what our books looked like.

My principal also complimented my partner and I in a sit-down with him (about other department stuff) and then in a meeting with other teachers present. He is proud of the fact that we actually work together, plan together – and that we get along and like each other. We told him we’re joined at the hip. Seriously, at this point we share a brain. I also felt so validated because my partner K said if I had left this year (because that was the plan before the break-up), she was going to approach our principal and ask to move to the writing elective because she couldn’t work with anyone after me. Awwww. I hope we’re together for many years to come.

We have also been approached to try TWO new things next year. The first is from our principal. He wants us to completely change our teaching methods to blended classrooms. The upside is we have more individualized instruction with small groups of students and can really target skills. The downside is it is less control over the classroom and who knows if those kids over there are actually working? They look like they are….and then you grade the work and they were 94% goofing off. He specifically said it could crash and burn horribly, but we are failing forward. At this point, what could it hurt? The second came from our instructional specialist (which came down from the district). We are going to do a Texas Lesson Study with the state education agency. It is a long process that involves several sessions where they come in and film. Last year there were 216 educators in Texas who piloted this program. NONE were language arts teachers. My partner and I will be the first that we know of. It’s quite daunting.

Lastly, I received my five year service pin this year! I was so happy to hit this milestone, especially since it almost didn’t happen. This also means I can now apply for federal loan forgiveness! My loan will almost cut in half after everything goes through. It will be so nice once that’s paid off.

On another note, my yearbook staff next year is going to be awesome. I have a great core group of veterans returning and a stellar leadership force. And they are a force – to be reckoned with! We went to our spring workshop in April and got some good stuff going. I also got to lock up our principal in jail at our carnival.


I’m teaching summer school

Lord knows, I need the money right now. I am seriously a bazillion dollars in debt at this point (how??) and while I am panicking over here in this one corner, in the other three I’m totally ignoring and not caring. We’ll always have bills. And I have a plan! However, my living arrangement costs have drastically increased, so I’m not sure yet what the new monthly bills will look like. It’s going to be tight for a while. This summer school money will only alleviate a little.

31432470_10155503651062643_6359687550018867686_nThe kids are too much. I like a lot of them, and then there are the 3 or 4 that are absolute turds. (I’ve been using the word “turdie” a lot lately.) I tried choosing activities that would be engaging and fun. They LOVED the murder mystery at the end of the first week. Even though it’s work, I’m enjoying it. The kids have proclaimed that me and my partner K are the most likeable and favorites. I’ll take that.

The summer school principal has taken note of that, so hopefully I’ll have a fast-track in for next year. We have two more days of instruction and then they take the third administration of the state reading test. I have been assigned to an oral administration group, so I will at least not go crazy out of my mind being bored for 4 hours because I’ll have to be reading questions and answers to every student.



The cruise is coming up

35932269_2089212971121098_5229359833794215936_oThe cruise is coming up! Things are starting to get finalized and all the details put into place. I just ordered our group shirts and excursion yesterday. I’ll have to get our parking ordered and hotel booked this week. It’s fast approaching and I’m realizing I need a new swimsuit (the elastic is out on my old one) and I have no water shoes (never have) and who knows what else I’ll think of. I am going to soak up this experience – AND SWIM WITH SEA TURTLES!!! After this, I plan to pick dates to head down and watch a release of Kemp Ridley sea turtle hatchlings.


The brothers

My oldest brother has deployed. He is currently in El Paso doing whatever they’re doing before they leave the states. He will be going to Africa and I’m a lotta nervous about it now that it’s closer and weird shit has been happening over there. He kept telling my mom, “Don’t worry, you’ll be a rich woman if I die.”

My middle brother came home for leave and then went to his new base in Kentucky.  Just a few days later the Red Cross was sending him home when my grandfather died. He is back up there and loving it, although he doesn’t send much word back home. I learned from my oldest brother that my middle brother is also deploying in January to the Middle East. My oldest brother choked up a bit when he told me and he stressed that he was the one to go, that it was his job. Maybe he is growing up a little bit.

My youngest brother, my baby, graduated high school! He is spending his summer at home until we go on the cruise and then he’ll be shipping off to basic training soon after that. Because he now has his license, he is wanting to drive everyone’s vehicles everywhere. (The bleached hair is for baseball playoffs…it’s a tradition.)


I’ve spent a lot of time with my family and friends and Baby. Yes, she is french fry wasted in that photo. This time, I didn’t fall apart. I just moved forward. Thanks for all the love and support these past two months.

I am back and I’ll be working on getting things back up and running around here. I have not read a book since mid-March, so I am anxious and excited about diving back into reading this summer now that I’m mostly settled in. I can’t wait to hear from you guys and go around visiting!

My Favorite…Thing To Do Next To Reading

My Favorite.. is a weekly meme hosted by Maureen’s Books. In this meme, we share every week something we love with each other. Because let’s face it…The world can be a dark place and it’s time to share something positive.

Thing To Do Next To Reading

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ve seen some of my bullet journal posts every so often. That has become another one of my big hobbies and I’ve sunk a lot of money into what I have bought for my bullet journal. I think more than I have spent on plants and related expenses in the past three or four years. I think I need to put an embargo on myself! Here is the 2017 series of posts on my bullet journal. I have done a few posts this year (here and here), but then I went off the grid in late March so I haven’t shared anything new. Enjoy!



My Favorite…Thing About Being A Reader

My Favorite.. is a weekly meme hosted by Maureen’s Books. In this meme, we share every week something we love with each other. Because let’s face it…The world can be a dark place and it’s time to share something positive.

Thing About Being A Reader

There’s not just one favorite thing about being a reader. There are many! They all go together. 🙂

When Someone Asks For A Book Recommendation

It makes my heart happy

When It’s SOOOO Good You Can’t Stop Turning Pages

Or go to bed even though you have to be up in 3 hours


When You’re So Comfy

And at peace in solitude


When You Get The Giggles or Laugh Out Loud

Because it’s just so dang funny and feel-good


When It Takes Me Places

Cause teachers are broke and I’ll never get to travel


When It Keeps Me Away From Doing Something I Don’t Want To Do

Or go to an event I am not interested in….or is my perfect excuse for staying away from weirdos


When You Get To the *GASP* Part

And you are shocked the author took this turn


When You Have Choices

And you don’t know what you want to read next


When You’ve Finished

And you are happy and content the story ended the right way


It Makes Me Happy

A small cost for immense joy

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Didn’t DNF Early Enough

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. For the list of past topics and future schedule, click here.

Books I Didn’t DNF Early Enough

I really try to give books a chance…and another chance…and another. I keep hoping all of a sudden the writing is going to sparkle and glow and something spectacularly amazing is going to happen with the plot. And it never does! I should just take a word of advice from Einstein….sigh.


What is your policy on DNFs?