Music Monday 03

Ongoing challenge: listen to the 1001(+) Songs you Must Hear Before You Die, 20 songs each week. Read about it, and find the full list here. 

Music Monday 03

  1. I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor – Arctic Monkeys (released 2005, album “Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not”, Garage Rock, Indie Rock, Punk Rock)
  2. Respect – Aretha Franklin (released 1967, album “I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You”, Soul)
  3. I Say a Little Prayer – Aretha Franklin (released 1968, album “Aretha Now”, Soul) – should also listen to same song by Dionne Warwick (released 1967, album “The Windows of the World”)
  4. U Don’t Know Me – Armand Van Helden (released 1999, album “2 Future 4 U”, Garage House, disco)
  5. Sun City – Artists United Against Apartheid (released 1985, album “Sun City”, New Wave, R&B, Hip Hop)
  6. Kung Fu – Ash (released 1995, album “1977”, Power Pop)
  7. Dum Maro Dum – Asha Bhosle (released 1971, Film Score, Indian Rock)
  8. One Armed Scissor – At the Drive-In (released 2000, album “Relationship of Command”, Progressive Rock)
  9. 212 – Azaelia Banks (released 2011, album “Broke with Expensive Taste”, Hip House)
  10. Please Love Me – B.B. King (released 1956, album “Singin the Blues”, Blues)
  11. The Thrill Is Gone – B.B. King (released 1969, album “Completely Well”, Soul, Blues)
  12. Everybody (Backstreet’s Back) – Backstreet Boys (released 1997, album “Backstreet Boys”, Pop)
  13. Manic Monday – Bangles (released 1986, album “Different Light”, Pop Rock)
  14. Guilty – Barbara Streisand and Barry Gibb (released 1980, album “Guilty”, Pop, Disco)
  15. Romeo – Basement Jaxx (released 2001, album “Rooty”, Disco, House)
  16. No Sleep Til Brooklyn – Beastie Boys (released 1987, album “Licensed to Ill”, Rap, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal)
  17. Sabotage – Beastie Boys (released 1994, album “Ill Communications”, Rap, Hard Rock)
  18. Dub Be Good to Me – Beats International (released 1990, album “Let Them Eat Bingo”, Dub)
  19. Loser – Beck (released 1993, album “Mellow Gold”, Alternative Rock)
  20. Devil’s Haricut – Beck (released 1996, album “Odelay”, Alternative Rock)

Halloween Décor

I always wait until October 1 comes around to bring out my Halloween decorations and make the house spooky. Here are my top five favorite décor pieces. I don’t quite have all the rooms and outside decorated, but I am working on that.

Do you wait to decorate on the first of the month? Do you have a theme (all witches, pumpkins, …) ? Have favorites?

October is Family History Month

I’ve always been curious about my family history. I was given a few booklets that people did on different family lines and I would like into finding more information once in a while. I really got into trying to find out more in 2007 when I joined This opened a whole new resource and community to find information. At first I was added all the people in my tree whenever there was a possible connection. That seems to be the rookie mistake all beginner sleuths have on It’s so exciting to see those matches you hadn’t known about. I later realized that I was a mistake. I hadn’t verified with actual resources (like birth, marriage, or death certificates) to truly know if they really should be added to my family tree.

There really hasn’t been any HUGE breakthroughs, but I have been able to verify lots of new information. And connect to some distant relatives. Through these connections I was sent some wonderful photos that we hadn’t ever seen before.

The first is a photo in 1891 of my 2nd great-grandmother on my mother’s side, Luella (Austeel) Phelan. She was a very interesting lady. (I think I will work on expanding about her in another post) She taught and wrote about Shakespeare in the early 1900’s. Even going on lecture circuits. We have a scrapbook of projects that she helped while living in Dallas, Texas. Found out from the person that sent the photo that there is a large family group (and descendants) from Luella’s father, Frances Austeel (1 of 11 children) and his parents Joseph & Mary (Grindstaff) Austeel.

Luella (22yrs) and her son Hugh (2yrs)

The second photo is a family group photo in 1907. When the person sent me this photo, I learned about another large family group on my mother’s side. Going with information from my 2nd great-grandfather, James Griffith, I learned that his wife, Mary Ross, was 1 of 11 children.

Amos n Sarah Ross family with Griffiths 1907

This opened up finding out about a lot more distant cousins and new ancestors to search about.

Have you done any family history searches? Found anything exciting?

October is National Pizza Month

National Pizza Month began in October 1984 and was created by the publisher of Pizza Today magazine and pizzeria owner, Gerry Durnell. He chose October because it’s the month the first issue of his magazine debuted. He lived in a small town called Santa Claus, Indiana, and realized there was nothing to support his growing pizza business, or the pizza industry in general. Since he created a pizza-themed magazine, as well as started an official month to celebrate this wonderful food, we thank him from the bottom of our stomachs!


My family loves pizza and pretty much get it at least once a month. I make sure to have it in October as part of my birthday celebration. I was going to post photos showing this tradition of the last 5 years, but it seems like I only have a few years of photographic evidence. Hmm, guess that just means I’ll have to have pizza twice in October to make up for it. Or change it up, and make my own. Just because.

This year, we got take out from BJ’s Restaurant. Love all their food & beer. The BJ’s favorite (pictured here) is definitely our favorite. (Housemade meatballs | pepperoni | Italian sausage | mushrooms | green bell peppers | black olives | onions | seasoned tomatoes)

Do you celebrate pizza in October? Or every month? What is your favorite?

Music Monday 02

Ongoing challenge: listen to the 1001(+) Songs you Must Hear Before You Die, 20 songs each week. Read about it, and find the full list here. 

Music Monday 02

  1. Amandrai – Ali Farka Toure (released 1988, album “Ali Farka Toure”, Mande, folk, blues)
  2. Elected – Alice Cooper (release 1972, album “Billion Dollar Babies”, Hard Rock)
  3. Only Women Bleed – Alice Cooper (released 1975, album “Welcome to My Nightmare”, Soft Rock)
  4. Fallin’ – Alicia Keys (released 2001, album “Songs in A Minor”, Neo Soul, R&B)
  5. Never Ever – All Saints (released 1997, album “All Saints, R&B, Pop, Soul)
  6. Uptown Top Ranking – Althea & Donna (released 1977, as a single, Reggae)
  7. Hunger Of The Pine – Alt-J (released 2014, album “This Is All Yours”, Indie Rock, Art Rock)
  8. Sabali – Amadou & Mariam (released 2012, as a single, Malian music, worldbeat)
  9. Foi Deus – Amalia Rodrigues (released 1956, as a single, Portugese, Rado)
  10. Fuck Me Pumps – Amy Winehouse (released 2004, album “Frank”, R&B)
  11. Love Is a Losing Game – Amy Winehouse (released 2007, album “Back to Black”, Soul)
  12. Pokarekare – Ana Hato (with Deane Waretini) (released 1927, as a single, Maori)
  13. Summertime Clothes – Animal Collective (release 2009, album “Merriweather Post Pavilion”, Indietronica, experimental rock)
  14. I Can’t Stand the Rain – Ann Peebles (release 1973, album “I Can’t Stand the Rain”, Soul, Memphis Soul)
  15. Blackwater Side – Anne Briggs (released 1971, album “Anne Briggs”, Folk)
  16. Aguas de marco – Antonio Carlos Jobim & Elis Regina (released 1973, album “Jobim”, Jazz, Bossa Nova, Latin)
  17. Hope There’s Someone – Antony & The Johnsons (released 2005, album “I Am a Bird Now”, Baroque Pop)
  18. Come to Daddy (Pappy Mix) – Aphex Twin (released 1997, as EP, drum and bass)
  19. Strange and Beautiful (I’ll Put a Spell on You) – Aqualung (released 2002, as a single, Pop Rock, Electronica)
  20. Rebellion (Lies) – Arcade Fire (released 2005, album “Funeral”, Indie Rock, Art Rock, Post-Punk Revival)

October Fun Themed days to Observe

Until a few years ago, I only observed the main traditional days, like Halloween (or All Hallow’s Eve), St. Patrick’s, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, etc. Thanks to social media, I started becoming aware of one’s people created to honor, remember, raise awareness for causes, promoting an industry, and ones that are just fun. National, International, Worldwide. There are also themed weeks to observe, and the months have multiple themed awareness (like October being Pizza month, Breast Cancer Awareness month, Family History month, etc.) I am focusing on just the days for this post.

There are a few sites you can go check out an extensive calendar, but I like to go to the National Calendar Day site. You can find out the origins and how to celebrate the day. I also got a calendar on my wall that I love created by Susan Boynton, her drawings are so cute.

Here are a few fun one’s I thought to “observe” for October:

  • 10/1 – homemade cookies day
  • 10/4 – national cinnamon bun day
  • 10/5 – do something nice day
  • 10/6 – mad hatter day
  • 10/6 – national german-american day
  • 10/7 – national chocolate covered pretzel day
  • 10/8 – national fluffernutter day
  • 10/10 – national angel food cake day & cake decorating day
  • 10/10 – world mental health day
  • 10/11 – international day of the girl
  • 10/14 – national dessert day
  • 10/14 – national bring your teddy bear to work/school day
  • 10/15 – I love lucy day
  • 10/16 – national liqueur day
  • 10/17 – national pasta day
  • 10/18 – national chocolate cupcake day
  • 10/21 – national pumpkin cheesecake day
  • 10/24 – national make a difference day
  • 10/26 – national pumpkin day
  • 10/27 – national American beer day
  • 10/28 – national chocolate day
  • 10/29 – national oatmeal day
  • 10/30 – national speak up for service & national candy corn day
  • 10/31 – national trick or treat day (last Saturday in oct) & national caramel apple day
    And of course it’s Halloween

Fall Season Traditions & Bucket List Inspirations

Saying there’s a seasonal change in the year is nice in that it breaks up the year. It gives you things to look forward to doing that’s related to that part of the year. Stuff that you do each year that have become traditions, and new things you are wanting to accomplish and experience. Some of the following things I’m looking forward to are traditions and some new experiences to try.

  • Watch 31 Halloween-ish movies from the “1001 Movies to Watch Before you Die” List
  • Apple Hill road trip (located around Camino, California) – Apple donuts, apple juice, apple pie, apples, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin pie, pumpkin ice cream
  • hiking, see the colorful foliage
  • pumpkin patch, pick a pumpkin, carve a jack-o-lantern
  • corn maze (located in Dixon, California)  – probably not this year
  • pumpkin flavored food hunt (not pumpkin spice)
  • Hayride
  • Fall Festivals – mountain mandarin festival, in November (located in Auburn, California) – pickup only this year
  • Pizza, go to a new place (October is pizza month)
  • fall picnic
  • Make some fall recipes
  • Fall themed music playlists (Halloween one for sure)

Fall related Items listed in the “2001 things to do” book

  • order yourself a birthday cake (birthday in October)
  • be the guest of honor at your own party
  • build a birdhouse
  • roast marshmallows in your backyard
  • pick, then bob for apples
  • have a Halloween bonfire with hot apple cider
  • See a ghost
  • levitate someone
  • have a séance
  • work at a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving
  • learn the Rocky Horror Picture Show routine by heart
  • walk knee-deep in maple leaves
  • learn to carve a turkey like a chef
  • buy a perfect tomato from a farm stand and eat it like an apple
  • bake the best apple pie
  • Sing Christmas carols around the middle of August
  • Have a cookout that ends with S’mores
  • Tell ghost stories in a pitch-black room
  • Develop your own recipe for chili
  • Exorcise demons
  • jump into a big pile of leaves
  • Cast a spell
  • Spring clean in October
  • Carve a smiling jack-o-lantern
  • Sleep with a ghost in the room
  • Cruise the backwoods of Vermont between Oct 7 and Oct 14
  • gather a bunch of friends for a Halloween hayride
  • perform an exorcism
  • study witchcraft

Any other fun things to add for the Fall season?

Germany Staycation

The first weekend of October typically marks the end of Munich’s Oktoberfest and usually the start of fests throughout the month at places nearby me.
Told mom, this would be a perfect weekend to take a “trip” to Germany.

Key elements for a good “trip” while staying home is to enjoy at least:

  • 1 meal
  • 1 drink
  • music
  • an activity
  • maybe a movie or travel video
  • Bonus are any decorations

There’s currently no shortage on yeast, flour, or eggs anymore so we decided to make our own pretzels (activity & food). I also found a Spotify playlist of Disney songs in German (music). Made a game of “guess the song” for the afternoon.

For dinner, we enjoyed beer-soaked bratwurst and roasted potatoes, brussel sprouts, carrots, onions & apples (meal). A really nice fall type dish. I enjoyed an Oktoberfest style beer and my mom enjoyed a Kolsch style beer (drink).

It seems like Germans mostly enjoy a “continental style” breakfast. Typically breakfast, or brunch, which might have boiled eggs, pastries, and sausages or meats & cheeses, and coffee or tea. We decided to eat oatmeal with cinnamon sprinkles.

We watched a travel episode of Rick Steve’s on European Festivals (particularly the one with him talking about the Oktoberfest). I couldn’t find any popular movies that was in “Germany” that we wanted to watch. Seems they are mostly war related (especially WWII) or offbeat humor.

And that was our change up for the weekend and how we took our “trip” to Germany.

Hmm, where to next month?


Music Monday 01

I grabbed a list from an online site regarding the 1,001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die, (Book Link). Hopefully it’s an accurate list. I’m going to try to get through list in one year, which would be about twenty songs each week. I will be creating this Music Monday Playlist to share which songs I will be listening to, for the week.

Music Monday 01

  1. 96 Tears – ? and the Mysterians (released 1966, album “96 Tears”, Garage Rock, Pop Rock, Psychedelic Rock)
  2. Voices Carry – ‘Til Tuesday (released 1985, album “Voices Carry”, Pop, New Wave)
  3. Because the Night – 10,000 Maniacs (released 1993, album “MTV Unplugged”, Alternative Rock, Folk Rock, Soft Rock)
  4. Dear Mama – 2Pac (released 1995, album “Me Against the World”, Hip hop)
  5. Bonita Applebum – A Tribe Called Quest (released 1990, album “People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm”, Alternative hip hop, Jazz, Rap)
  6. More Than a Woman – Aaliyah (released 2001, album “Aaliyah”, Pop, electoro, hip hop)
  7. Dancing Queen – Abba (released 1976, album “Arrival”, Disco, Europop, Euro Disco)
  8. Voulez-Vous – Abba (released 1979, album “Volulez-Vous”, Disco, Europop, Euro Disco)
  9. The Winner Takes It All – Abba (released 1980, album “Super Trouper”, Disco, Europop, Euro Disco)
  10. Whole Lotta Rosie – AC/DC (released 1977, album “Let There Be Rock”, Hard Rock, Rock and Roll)
  11. Back in Black – AC/DC (released 1980, album “Back in Black”, Hard Rock, Rock and Roll)
  12. Kings of the Wild Frontier – Adam & The Ants (released 1980, album “Kings of the Wild Frontier”, Post Punk, New Wave)
  13. Walk This Way – Aerosmith (released 1975, album “Toys in the Attic”, Hard Rock, Funk Rock)
  14. The Sun Always Shines on T.V. – A-ha (released 1985, album “Hunting High and Low”, Synth-pop, pop rock, new wave)
  15. Save Me – Aimee Mann (released 1999, album “Magnolia” Soundtrack, Contemporary folk)
  16. Kelly Watch the Stars – Air (released 1998, album “Moon Safari”, Space pop, chillout)
  17. Tired of Being Alone – Al Green (released 1971, album “Al Green Gets Next to You”, Soul)
  18. The Snake – Al Wilson (released 1968, first released as single only, Soul)
  19. Woke Up This Morning – Alabama 3 (released 1997, album “Exile on Coldharbour Lane”, Electronica, acid jazz, trip hop)
  20. You Oughtta Know – Alanis Morissette (released 1995, album “Jagged Little Pill”, Alternative Rock, Post-grunge)

Joining the Blogtober 2020 Challenge

I’ve seen this theme for the month of October in the past. In brief, it’s a challenge for bloggers to post everyday of the month. (You can see elsewhere more about what it means). Typically around a themed list (usually fall related, but doesn’t have to be). I see how this also helps the blogging community connect with each other as all use the Blogtober tag to find each other’s stories to read.

I’m joining in and hoping that I can post everyday. In looking at different Blogtober prompt ideas, I’ve started a list for what I plan to post about.

Here it is in no particular order:

I’d love to know if you are also going to join the Blogtober challenge. Or if you have suggestions of things to do / write about.

August & September Check In / October Plans

I got stuck in a bit of a routine of going to work and then home to watch shows or read. Completely forgot to write a recap for August. Now, here it is the end of September and trying to reflect back on this month just makes me sad (for the most part). Still laying low and not going out with friends to events, restaurants, & travels. Restrictions are being lowered as I type, so crossing fingers that it stays at the level or even lessens the emergency level.
The saddest part of August & September has been dealing with bad air quality with fires raging near. I was shocked to come out to my car one morning and find a layer of ash from fires happening several hours away. I also never thought that I would be checking air quality levels as much as I check how hot the weather temp will be for the day. So sad.

BUT, looking forward to OCTOBER. It’s truly fall, Halloween fun (even if just decorating the house & watching movies), & MY BIRTHDAY. Need to think of something fun to do. Any suggestions?

(read about my “Starting With a Dozen Each” here)

General Things Done the Past Month(s):

  1. We took a “trip” to Italy, particularly the Tuscan area for a staycation weekend. That was fun. Coming up, “going” to Germany in honor of Oktoberfest.
  2. Will be adding posts to cross off “visiting Parks” on a new City / State / Nation Park check list

Music: current music challenge: “1001 Songs to Hear Before You Die”.
Trying to post on Mondays and listen to 20 songs each week.

Breweries, Cocktails, & Wineries: See posts over at “My Drinktopia”

  • Negroni – a popular Italian cocktail, made of one part gin, one part vermouth rosso, and one part Campari, garnished with orange peel. It is considered an apéritif.
  • Americano – Cocchi Americano liquor with club soda

Movies: current movie challenge: “1001 Movies to Watch Before you Die”
Watched in August & September

  1. none to report

Books: current book challenge: “1001 Books to Read Before you Die”

(took a break and read other stuff – fantasy, need to get back to this)

Currently reading  = All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren

I’m always open to suggestions for any of these categories.

PARKS (more check lists)

I have a couple of friends going through the list of different National and California State parks. Those are great goals and I thought, why not do that too.

Then, as I was driving home from work, I passed by a couple of city parks. That got me thinking, why not go visit all the city parks too.

I’m inspired to create a few more bucket / check lists. Why not see how many Sacramento City, California State, and National Park sites I can visit? What would be a fun thing to do, for recording keeping, at each park?

Let’s start with the city parks. In Sacramento, there are about 223 parks and parkways. They are defined in 3 different categories. Check it out here at the City of Sacramento Parks webpage.

Neighborhood parks range in size from 2 to 10 acres, and serve a ½ mile radius. Some Neighborhood Parks are located adjacent to elementary schools and park amenities are usually oriented toward the recreation needs of children.

Community parks range in size from 6 to 60 acres, and serve a 3 mile radius or several neighborhoods. Community Parks contain amenities found in Neighborhood Parks, but may also contain lighted sports fields or courts, skate parks, dog parks, nature areas, and off-street parking and restrooms. Specialized amenities may also be found in Community Parks including community centers, water play areas or swimming pools.

Regional parks generally range from 75 to 200 acres and serve the entire City and beyond. Amenities in Regional Parks may include all the amenities found in Community Parks and also include sports complexes, large scale picnic areas, golf courses, and region-wide attractions.

Going by a very quick search, there are:
223 Sacramento parks and parkways
280 California state park units
419 national park sites

Adventuring keeps life interesting!

Tuscany Staycation

We had a pleasant weekend “trip” to Florence, Cortona, and a few other places in the Tuscany region of Italy. Most of our staycation was through our culinary food menu.

No décor this time. I did see some ideas when visiting Italy again: printing out the Italian flag & words or phrases, using terra cotta pots with flowers & herbs, hanging photos & postcards of Italy, & red checkered tablecloths.

Started off on Thursday, by celebrating National Prosecco Day. I read about adding a dash of limoncello, and it really makes it a refreshing drink. Friday night, we cooked up some Tuscan shrimp pasta and opened up a nice Italian wine – Scaia Garganega Chardonnay (via Corti Brothers).

Saturday, stopped by a nearby place, Café Latte, for a latte and a breakfast sandwich. (We read how most people ate pastries with their coffee drinks, but we were in the mood for a little more). As we were enjoying breakfast, we watched Giada De Laurentiis cook some yummy looking dishes while in Florence. (Giada in Italy, season 2) We also compared the weather in Florence & Sacramento. Seemed to be cooler in Italy, but with a lot higher humidity (about 52%). Chilled in the villa for a bit, listening to Italian music.

Went out to get food at the market, the “vendors” were friendly & nice. “Traveled” to Cortona and saw Frances Mayes house. She even came out and shared how she ended up there. We could really picture it, just like a movie unfolding as the story went. (Under the Tuscan Sun)

We ventured on to find a bar and try a aperitif. Gave the Negroni & Americano a try, but didn’t much care for them. The Cocchi Americano liquor with club soda was more appetizing. Enjoyed leftover shrimp pasta dinner. And then treated ourselves with pistachio gelato & raspberry sorbet for dessert.

Sunday, we California-ized an florentine omelette by adding avocado. Also enjoyed bacon, cantaloupe, & coffee to complete the brunch. Went to another market. They are known for their great cuts of meets, olive bar, & other gourmet foods. We then decided to stop by a winery, to pick up wine & a pizza. It was a bit hot so we didn’t stay long, and brought the pizza back to the villa to enjoy. Ended the evening with a very yummy dinner of bistecca alla Fiorentina & insalata di verdure e fagioli. Plus more gelato & sorbet after.

Hmm, where to next?