Tag Archives: challenge

#fmsphotoaday Day 14 #fms_eye

As Instagram filled with creative, high quality photos of eyeballs…


#fms_eye #eye #aussie #australianshepherd #jersey #dog #pet 5/14/16

A post shared by Sbertsche (@sbertsche) on


I posted this…

I do understand that I lack excellence in my photo with the others of such high caliber.  When you are desperate for a shot that involves an eyeball and you’ve got this going on, you’ve got to run with it.  Get on that treadmill and start hoofing it.



Goodreads Fail #Mondayblogs


I figure I better go ahead and get this out and in the open now.

I failed my 2014 Goodreads Challenge.


Like so bad it is downright embarrassing.

How embarrassing you ask?  I read 13 books. My goal was 36.  Yeah, you mathaholics can start calculating that up.  It’s not good.

Last year, I signed up for the challenge blindly. I’d never bet myself (or others… is it really a race against yourself?) on the number of books my brain could consume in a year. “What fun,” I thought! I have all those friends counting calories and steps and carbs. You know what I’m going to count? Books!

To give you an idea of how much of a flop this turned out to be, I’ve bought myself a pedometer that not only counts steps but also calories burned.

It seems that I am indeed defeated.

But wait!

Isn’t the New Year a chance to learn from our mistakes and make strides to be a better person (reader)?

I’m hoping it is because I’m going to give it a go again! (Smack me now.)

So here’s my plan.

1. Remind myself it’s not a reading assignment.

I love reading but I don’t love it crammed down my throat. I think this is why I had a hard time with book club. It’s my defiant side I suppose.

2. Be a little more reasonable with myself.

I pledged myself for 36 books last year which seemed reasonable at the time. Three books a month! Sheesh! No problem, right? Somehow it did become a problem. Was it when I realized that friends of mine had pledged less? Or when I realized other people had signed up to do more? (Really, who the hell are these people that are planning on reading 259 books in a year? Come on, people!)

3. Live life.

Life happens. Whether it’s bird watching and bird raising, getting married, baking up a storm or developing some weird disorder that makes you seem like an out of control lunatic… life happens. When it does, you might have to put the book down and accept that those people reading a book a day are clearly going to smoke right by you. Assholes.

I’m stepping down the number and pledging 24 books this year. Two a month. Or three this month and one next month. Who knows, maybe I’ll bust out and read all twenty four books in the last month of this year.

Here’s to doing better in all aspects of our lives.


Are you participating in the Goodreads Challenge? Tell me how many books you are going to read. Unless you are one of those book a day jerks… in that case you can keep on moving.

You Bought It, You Read It: Lost and Found

I’m surprised Goodreads hasn’t sent me a ‘You Suck’ notice.  Yes, Goodreads.  I’m aware that I am now FOUR books behind on my reading challenge.  I’m behind on a lot of things here lately.

I should have held one of those ‘Guess How Many Jellybeans Are In The Jar’ contest when it came to books.  How many books of my You Bought It, You Read It Mission would have animals as main characters?  I’m even surprising myself.


Lost and Found by Jacqueline Sheehan

The Overview:

A poignant and unforgettable tale of love, loss, and moving on . . . with the help of one not-so-little dog

Rocky’s husband Bob was just forty-two when she discovered him lying cold and lifeless on the bathroom floor . . . and Rocky’s world changed forever. Quitting her job, chopping off all her hair, she leaves Massachusetts—reinventing her past and taking a job as Animal Control Warden on Peak’s Island, a tiny speck off the coast of Maine and a million miles away from everything she’s lost. She leaves her career as a psychologist behind, only to find friendship with a woman whose brain misfires in the most wonderful way and a young girl who is trying to disappear. Rocky, a quirky and fallible character, discovers the healing process to be agonizingly slow.

But then she meets Lloyd.

A large black Labrador retriever, Lloyd enters Rocky’s world with a primitive arrow sticking out of his shoulder. And so begins a remarkable friendship between a wounded woman and a wounded, lovable beast. As the unraveling mystery of Lloyd’s accident and missing owner leads Rocky to an archery instructor who draws her in even as she finds every reason to mistrust him, she discovers the life-altering revelation that grief can be transformed . . . and joy does exist in unexpected places.

My Review:

I loved this book from the first few pages.  As you read above, her husband dies immediately in the book.  You can sense that this grief filled woman is right on the edge of insanity … and then she does something that crosses that line and keeps on going!  I have to admit … I laughed.  I’m sure other readers were disturbed, but I couldn’t help myself.  It was a sold deal after that and I was committed to this book and the woman tampering with lunacy!

And of course, I loved Lloyd the black lab.  There’s even a few chapters written in the dog’s perspective.  I have to admit, the character I wanted to know more and more about was the dog.  Everyone in this book is interesting though, with lots of skeletons in their closets that desperately need to be aired out.  There’s not a dull person or moment.

And as usual… I cried my eyes out at some parts.  Books with animals become more emotionally wrenching the older I get.

There are two issues I had along while reading this book, and they are veterinary related.  In the beginning she said she could tell a cat was a female because of her small head, but when she first starts describing the cat she says it is a calico.  That should have been the giveaway that the cat was a female.  It is EXTREMELY rare that a calico is a male.  Play the lottery, the odds are better than a calico being male.

Second, there’s an incident where a tom cat is trapped and neutered.  The cat was assumed to be a stray, but then the owner came forward.  She mentions that the belly was shaved from the surgery.  Feline castration doesn’t go into the abdomen unless the cat was cryptorchid.

Sorry!  I know!  This is why no one wants to discuss animal books with veterinary staff!

Picture This is the sequel to this book and I think I will give it a try once I clear my bookshelf of all of these books.  Sheehan is also the author of Now and Then, which hints to some dog dialogue of its own.

This one is definitely something I will share with the coworkers.

Next on You Bought It, You Read It:  Getting Warmer by Carol Snow

25 Songs, 25 Days : Day 13


I had to spend some time thinking about this one.  A former friend.  Was that someone estranged to me like my sister?  I was going with that at first, but then I couldn’t find the Diamond Rio song that we would sing as children/teens.  Should I pick a song that reminded me of a deceased friend?  I have had three friends murdered, so how do you pick one of them?  It’s like picking your favorite child.

In the end, I went with Rock Lobster by the B-52’s.  Chip was my very best buddy for many moons.  We were glued at the hip, usually three sheets to the wind, and most likely playing this song on the bar’s jukebox.  How many times depended on how much we’d drank.  One night, we played five dollars worth of Rock Lobster.  After the third time the song came on, people started to complain.  Who the hell played that song?

It was likely the giggly pair splitting a pitcher of beer while singing and dancing.  Being the only two people enjoying this song AGAIN seemed to be the biggest clue.


It’s only natural that as we grow and move along in life, we lose some of the bonds and similar ground we shared with others, and sadly Chip is one of those people in my life.  I wonder… does he think of me when he hears the B-52’s jamming out?

Want some more music?  Check out these bloggers!

Did That Just Happen

Surviving The Madhouse

Life In The Wylde West

Four Calders

Bishop Eddie Tatro’s Study

Writing In The Night

Mavadelo’s Mindscape

25 Songs, 25 Days: Day 10




My favorite band?

Ask me what finger I’d rather have chopped off, I’d come up with an answer so fast.

But this, really?

I have spent more time on YouTube than is acceptable for a woman in her thirties.

I’ve always loved music.  My class ring even had a music symbol engraved on it.  People would say to me, “Nice class ring.  What instrument do you play?”  I would reply, “I don’t.  I like to sing to the radio.”

While the beau washed dishes, I admitted I was stumped.  “Who do I pick?  How can you pick a favorite band?”

“I would think band would imply a group.  Is that what you are thinking?”

I agreed.  “Yes, band equals group to me.  So Elvis is out and Tori Amos is out and Snoop Dogg is out.  I was thinking about going with Cracker because that is who my senior quote came from.  I owe it to them.”

“What about Weezer?”

“I know… I LOVE Weezer.  What about the Counting Crows?  The Cranberries?  Verruca Salt?  The Beatles?  The Alabama Shakes?  If some asked you what your girlfriend’s favorite band was what would you say?”

“I don’t know.  Can you be funny and do your least favorite band?  I know the answer to that.  Metallica.”

“No.  It has to be my favorite band.”  I put my face in my hands.  “This hasn’t been a challenge until now.”

“You should go with that crow one.  I hear you talk about them all the time.”

“Do I?”

“Not really.  I was just trying to help you narrow it down.”

Finally … I decided.

Nirvana.  In the all the piles of cassette tapes (don’t you laugh, it was the 90’s), Nirvana dominated the scene.  Sadly, I was just getting on the Nirvana train when I was 13.  This didn’t leave much time before the devastating news hit me that my new favorite person on Earth was dead.  (I still think Courtney Love killed him, but I think his early demise was coming no matter who pulled the trigger.)  I remember taking vows of silence on each April 5th during my high school years while wearing my favorite Kurt t-shirt.  His unkempt blonde hair, that cardigan he totally rocked in a way that would make Mr. Roger’s blush, his troubled blue eyes starring off into the distance beyond my shirt and close to my heart.


I can’t believe this Saturday will be 20 years.

It’s taken me all day to decide and could have easily taken as long for me to pick what song.  Here’s to you, Kurt.  Your band came up with amazing songs that touched the confusion of my teenage soul.  You made me feel like I wasn’t alone, years and years after you were gone.

Once you are done drying your eyes and swaying your lighter over your head, check out these bloggers who are also doing the 25 Songs, 25 Days Challenge!

Did That Just Happen

Surviving The Madhouse

Life In The Wylde West

Four Calders

Bishop Eddie Tatro’s Study

Writing In The Night

Mavadelo’s Mindscape


25 Songs, 25 Days: Day 7


Day 7:  A song that reminds you of last summer.

This song doesn’t remind me of any particular event of last summer, but I had become addicted to it last year.  The jazzy tune, upbeat tempo.. it made me dance while driving whenever I heard it in the car.

I have included both versions of the video for you, so you can be as shocked as me.  I thought by uncensored they meant there would be some extra cuss words.  This is the link to the uncensored version.

25 Songs, 25 Days: Day Five


Day 5:  A song that is often stuck in your head

Sledgehammer:  Peter Gabriel

All I have to do is hear the whispering of the word sledgehammer and I’m doomed.  You may be thinking, how often could one person hear the word sledgehammer.  If you are SUPER sensitive to the word, you hear it all the damn time.  Trust me.  At times, all I need to hear is the word hammer and that does it.  The rest of the day, I’ve got Peter Gabriel rocking out in my head.

Thanks, challenge.  It’s in my head all day now.

Other bloggers rocking out the 25 Day Soundtrack with me:

Did That Just Happen

Surviving The Madhouse

Life In The Wylde West

Four Calders

Bishop Eddie Tatro’s Study


25 Days: 25 Songs : Day 2


I had to dig to the depths of my brain for this one.  A song that reminds you of your most recent ex (coming up on four years ago, I can barely remember what I had for dinner two days ago).  The most recent ex loved Slipknot.  They’re okay in my book, but I’ve never rushed out to buy their album.  This song he played when he was happy, sad, angry, drunk, sober, drunk (yes I said that twice), depressed.  Slipknot all the time.

Is The Goodreads Challenge Good For You?

This is my first year participating in the Goodreads Reading Challenge.  A brief summary of this challenge is a plegde among the millions of Goodreads members to read a certain number of books throughout the year.  Set your goal and get to reading!

A little over a week into the third month of the year, and this is what Goodreads is saying to me.


I’m on my sixth book and I can tell you nine times out of ten, Goodreads says I’m one book behind.  I have to be honest that I didn’t have a statistical calculation for the number thirty-five.  It’s just a number I yanked out of my head.  At first, I felt like two books a month would be a fair goal.  Something about twenty-four books in a year seemed pretty weak.  I needed to pledge more.  Twenty-four would be comfortable.  This is supposed to be a challenge!  I picked thirty-five even though I felt like a wuss compared to those pledging two hundred and up.

At times, I’m on track.  It doesn’t take much time at all for the Challenge to tell me I’m a slack-ass.  I almost want to start using my book comment space to give excuses.  “I’ve been sick.”  “I worked overtime today.”  “I can’t find my good reading glasses.”  “The dog is being obnoxious.”

I started to search the internet for opinions on the matter.  Is the Goodreads Challenge good for us?

A phrase that I read over and over again is that The Challenge takes the fun out of reading.  Some bloggers feel that having this pledge hanging over your head causes you to speed through books and not allow time for enjoyment.  How can you savor the words if you are reading a book a day?

Some readers feel that this makes reading too competitive.  I admit, I do check out the challenges of my friends and the community and I do size myself up to their promised reading load.  Did I pledge too little?  So and so has pledged seventy-five books and has already read twenty of them. 

I wonder about these members who have already cruised through four times the books that I have.  Are they super speedy readers?  Do they have a job?  Are they reading a hundred page novellas?  Maybe the Goodreads Challenge should be based on pages read instead of books.  Hell, my first book I knocked off the list was 1916: A Novel of the Irish Rebellion.  It was almost six hundred pages long.  Should I get double points for that?

I could fall into a depressed slum of reader’s self-doubt, but I won’t allow that.  I’m going to remember why I committed to this in the first place.

1.  An Excuse To Read.  Adult life can be a vacuum at times.  You get sucked into jobs, housework, financial goals, etc.  At the end of the day, sometimes it’s hard to sneak in twenty minutes just to enjoy yourself.  This is my excuse to enjoy a book whether it be twenty minutes, forty minutes, or an hour every single day.

2.  Another Commitment To You Bought It, You Read It.  This adds another level of commitment to my own personal challenge to clear my bookshelf.  It makes me accountable to the books I have purchased and hoarded for years.

3.  A Good Writer Is A Good Reader.  Thousands of authors have said it.  Becoming a good writer means being a good reader.  It’s like constantly researching for your trade.  Yes.  I need to set aside time to write.  But what will I write if I don’t read?  Crap.

Are you part of the reading challenge?  Comment below and tell me about your pledge and progress.

Life’s short …

Our senior year, I nearly fried my brain trying to come up with the most amazing senior quote for our yearbook.  In the end, I went with lyrics from a Cracker song.

I have always taken more than I have given back,

As a matter of fact,

I’ve given nothin’ up. 

All that work, just to be outdone by Melissa’s.

Life is short, eat dessert first.

She was so right!  Life keeps speeding by and I find that I never eat enough dessert.  Well, I have came up with a challenge that’s going to nip that shit in the ass.


I don’t know if it my Virgo tendencies or what, but I’m not happy unless I am running myself right into the ground.  I’m blogging, doing social media, watching every tutorial there is on how to twitter, begging people to review my books, writing my third book, the You Bought It, You Read It Challenge , and an insane amount of overtime at work.  Now, I have challenged myself to bake one cake from scratch every Sunday.

It started with the fact that the beau can eat an amazing amount of store bought cookies in one sitting.  The workday is over, he comes home, grabs the sleeve of Keebler’s and heads to the couch for a little TV time.  Boom!  Cookies are gone.  After making a cake the other week, my studies found (because this is scientific shit here) that he’d cut a piece of cake, head to the couch and that was it.  His cake intake was controlled unlike the cookies.  Don’t get me wrong, I think he could very easily just take the whole bake-and-carry container with him in the living room and never look back.  So far, so good.

My inner hippie digs this because I don’t know what the hell they are putting in those store bought cookies.  Let’s be real, what makes a cookie have a shelf life of two years.  I know when I make cookies from scratch, those guys would not survive the that long.  Are they dipping them in formaldehyde before shipping them out to the public?

Also, this gives me more time to spend with Buttercup.  *blushes*  I love you, Buttercup.



On this challenge, I was planning to explore baking blogs galore!  I was going to find every delectable recipe ever created!  It seems I have developed a bit of a cake crush though.  Seriously, this blog is probably going to have to take out a restraining order on me.  Yesterday was week three and I have used the same blog for all three cakes!  Life’s Ambrosia has recipes of every culinary genre, but I can’t get past her dessert tab!

Week #1

The Blueberry Lemon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting



Picture from:  lifesambrosia.com

I felt like I had experienced this before, but couldn’t put my finger on it.  When I told the beau about it, he was a little wishy-washy.  He loves cake, but blueberries aren’t his favorite thing on Earth.  Surprise!  He loved the cake.  The lemon blueberry balance is perfect.  

Week #2

Pumpkin Cake with Amaretto Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe



Photo from lifesambrosia.com 

This one I was a little leery about.  Pumpkin in a cake?  Should I wait for Thanksgiving, it seems like a Thanksgiving cake.  Hmmm.  The beau, still on a cake high from the week before, would agree to anything at this point,  So I trudged on.  I was a little pissy that the liquor store didn’t sell anything smaller than a quart of amaretto.  What if I never used that stuff again?

I should have bought a gallon of that stuff.  This cake is going to be sticking around in my recipe book.  

And that thought on Thanksgiving.  As long as there is canned pumpkin on the shelf, I don’t care what time of the year it is.  This is a rocking cake.

Week #3

S’mores Bars



Photo from:  lifesambrosia.com 

I can’t give you a review on the prepared version of this one yet.  It was still cooling when we went to bed.  But… if the raw batter of it says anything, this one is going to be as bitching dessert as well.  I know, I know.  I’m going to get salmonella.  Read the title of this blog entry, for God’s sake.

I love S’mores but rarely have the opportunity to make them.  When I saw this recipe I thought, S’mores?  In the oven?  Fuck yeah!  I’ll let you know what we think!  That is if I’m not to fat and lazy to make it to the laptop.  

*Excuse any typos, I barely had time to write this over coffee this morning.  It was a busy, busy weekend.  Plus, who the hell can concentrate on words when you are looking at those cake pictures!