Tuesday, August 7, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: Images of America: Metropolis by Michael E. Bragg and Jon M. Bragg

Synopsis of the Book (Taken From the Back of the Book):

     When William McBane and James Wilcox envisioned founding a bustling city on the banks of the Ohio River, they hoped it would be a center of commerce at the gateway to the ever-expanding American West. They needed a name befitting their ambitious vision, and though it may not have matched the grandeur of its founders' intent, Metropolis, Illinois, is the only place in the world that can claim that name as anything more than a descriptor. Located near historic Fort Massac, Metropolis played a vital part in the booming river traffic of the 1800s and was an important manufacturer of steamboats. In addition to its pleasant small-town atmosphere and wide, expansive boulevards ready for the explosive growth that never quite made it there, Metropolis is the hometown of notable figures John Marvin Steele, the D-Day paratrooper made famous in The Longest Day, and the "Man of Steel" himself--Superman.

     Father and son Michael E. and Jon M. Bragg, both graduates of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, have roots in southern Illinois that extend back to the mid-1800s.  They compiled this book with the invaluable assistance of the Massac County Historical Society and local residents.

     The Images of America series celebrates the history of neighborhoods, towns, and cities across the country.  Using archival photographs, each title presents the distinctive stories from the past that shape the character of the community today.  Arcadia [Publishing] is proud to play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history available to all. 

My Thoughts: 

I love local history and this book didn't disappoint.

I've only lived here (in Metropolis, Illinois) for about 8 years, but in that small amount of time, my fiance' (a lifelong resident of Metropolis) and I have accumulated some neat pieces of history from this town.  This book is now a part of that collection.

This book makes a great "Coffee Table Book".

I Recommend This Book To:

  • Current residents of Metropolis, Illinois
  • Past residents of Metropolis, Illinois
  • Anyone who likes local history
  • Fans of Southern Illinois history 


This book has great pictures of days gone by and is full of history about the early days of this town.  It also has great stories/descriptions of some of this town's influential people.

And That's What Sarah Says!!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Sarah SINGS What?!?!?!? She Sings Adele!

I love the unique voice of Adele, and found a song that she recorded that I thought that I didn't sound too bad singing.  I wanted to share that recording with you, my faithful readers!

So without further adieu....."To Make You Feel My Love" in the style of Adele by SuperGirly (Also known as ME!)

I know that this post is short (like me), but rest assured that I AM working on other things and plan to share them with you in the very near future!

Until then.....

That's What Sarah Says (And Sings)!!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Congress wants to enact a federal sales tax!

Don't be fooled by this bit of legislation,  This is the federal government getting involved in states rights.
A major strike to the interstate commerce act if this passes congress.

Monday, April 9, 2012

My Thoughts on "3 Willows: The Sisterhood Grows" by Ann Brasheres

The synopsis of the book (taken from the author):

summer is a time to grow 

Polly has an idea that she can't stop thinking about, one that involves changing a few things about herself. She's setting her sights on a more glamorous life, but it's going to take all of her focus. At least that way she won't have to watch her friends moving so far ahead. 

Jo is spending the summer at her family's beach house, working as a busgirl and bonding with the older, cooler girls she'll see at high school come September. She didn't count on a brief fling with a cute boy changing her entire summer. Or feeling embarrassed by her middle school friends. And she didn't count on her family at all. . . 


Ama is not an outdoorsy girl. She wanted to be at an academic camp, doing research in an air-conditioned library, earning A's. Instead her summer scholarship lands her on a wilderness trip full of flirting teenagers, blisters, impossible hiking trails, and a sad lack of hair products.
It is a new summer. And a new sisterhood. Come grow with them.

My thoughts: 

I was a big fan of Brasheres' "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" books and with that being said, I didn't think that she could produce another series like it.

When I started to read this book, I didn't have high expectations for it, but the more I read it, the more I began to like it and found myself getting anxious about what would happen next to the characters.

It was nice to see a few of the characters from the original "Sisterhood" make an appearance.

I hope that Brasheres continues with the lives of the three characters in this book like she did with the girls from the "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants"!!

I recommend this book to anybody who enjoyed Ann Brasheres' "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" books, anyone who likes to read "Chick-Lit", young adult readers, or anyone who is looking for a heartwarming, coming of age book.

And That's What Sarah Says!!! 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

A Little Bit About Me....I have Rheumatoid Arthritis...Does It Have Me?

Rheumatoid Arthritis has been a part of my life from the very beginning. I didn't get diagnosed with RA until my early 20's, but it still affected me.

You see, my mom has RA and first started showing signs of it in her early 20's. Growing up, I would ask if I was going to get it too. She didn't know and neither did I. I had to help her get dressed and undressed, wash her hair, and when she was still working, I cooked dinner for our family most nights. I saw first-hand what my mom went through with surgeries and the everyday task of just getting out of bed.

My RA progressed faster than hers did. I think it's because she had my brothers and I in her 20's and that slowed her RA down. She always said that she felt better when she was pregnant (and I've heard that from other people with RA), but the pain would come back at about the time that extra strength was needed to open baby food jars. My mom tried many "remedies", but her RA would always return to rear its ugly head.

I write this today, from a hospital bed in the middle of the family room of the house that I share with my fiance, our Merle Great Dane, Charlie, and our Norwegian Dwarf rabbit, Jake. I've had total knee replacements on both knees and spent eighteen months in a nursing home.

Oh yeah, I'm just 32 (33 in July) years old.

In the next few months, I will be visiting doctors to see about getting my right ankle fused because my foot has turned in (due to the RA) and I am no longer able to walk. Once my ankle surgery is done, I will hopefully start trying to walk again. Then, I can focus on getting my hips replaced, because the RA has destroyed them.

I am wheelchair bound, but I still like to get around. In fact, in a few weeks, we're heading to Walt Disney World.

Me & Yoda On One of Our Past Trips to Disney World!

With the help of MANY medications (my pharmacy loves me), I am able to get the pain of RA to where it is tolerable. Thank goodness for the advances in medicines that have been made just in the last few years!

I wish that more people knew what RA was and how it affects people. I get looks from people when we're out in public, because I don't look sick. I'm sure they're wondering why I am in a wheelchair.

So, yes, I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and some days it DOES have me, but I am working on changing that!

And That's What Sarah Says!!!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Rest In Peace, Mr. Earl Scruggs!! You Will Be Missed!

Yesterday, March 28, 2012, the world lost a great musician and singer, Mr. Earl Scruggs.

If you're thinking to yourself that you don't know who he is/was, you're probably wrong.

Do you recognize the lyrics listed below?:

Come and listen to a story about a man named Jed
A poor mountaineer, barely kept his family fed,
Then one day he was shootin' at some food,
And up through the ground came a bubblin' crude.

That's right, that's the first verse to "The Ballad of Jed Clampett", also known as the theme song to the classic TV show, "The Beverly Hillbillies".  Mr. Scruggs, along with Lester Flatt and Jerry Scroggins recorded this song back in 1962.

Mr. Flatt and Mr. Scruggs even appeared on "The Beverly Hillbillies" in several episodes as family friends of the Clampetts.

In their first appearance, they portray themselves in the show and perform both the theme song and "Pearl Pearl Pearl".

While reading up on Mr. Scruggs, I found that he (along with Lester Flatt) was a part of  Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys.  For those not familiar with Bill Monroe, he is known as "The Father of Bluegrass", because he created the style of music known as Bluegrass. 

In 1948 Scruggs and guitarist Lester Flatt left Monroe's band and formed the "Foggy Mountain Boys", also later known simply as "Flatt and Scruggs".  In 1969, they broke up, and Scruggs started a new band, the "Earl Scruggs Revue", featuring several of his sons.

So, why did I decide to write a blog post about Mr. Scruggs?  Well, because thanks to Brett, I like Bluegrass music.  I'm not a huge Country music fan, but Bluegrass is a little different in my opinion.  I like the sounds of the banjos and fiddles.  You hardly ever hear a sad song with a banjo.

I was going to share an up to date recording of me doing a song in honor of Mr. Scruggs, but Mother Nature and her friends called "allergies" had other plans.  Instead, I dug into the archives of my recordings and found a couple of versions of "Will The Circle Be Unbroken".

The first one is in the style of Loretta Lynn and the second is in the style of Jimmy Martin.  I'm sharing both because I couldn't decide which on that I liked better.  I decided to set up a poll and let you readers decide which one y'all like the best.

The poll is below the recordings, so once you've listened to each version, please answer the poll question.

In the Style of Loretta Lynn:

In the Style of Jimmy Martin:

  • Loretta Lynn's
  • Jimmy Martin's
  • I Can't Decide.
  • I Like Both Versions.
  • I Don't Care For Either One.

If you would like to leave me a comment about my recordings, please do so!! I love hearing from my readers!!!

Thanks for taking the time to listen to my recordings and to answer my poll!

And That's What Sarah Says!!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sarah SINGS What?!?!?!? Sarah Sings Some Susan Boyle Songs! (Say that 5 Times Fast!!)

I was listening to some of my older recordings that I've done on SingSnap.com, and ran across two songs that grabbed my attention.  They just happened to be by the same artist...Susan Boyle!

If you're not familiar with Susan Boyle, I urge you to look her up, because her story is quite inspirational and so is her voice!!  She may not be much to look at, but my word, can she sing!!!

The first song that I'm going to share with you is Susan's arrangement of "How Great Thou Art".  When I heard this version of the Gospel song, I immediately fell in love with it and knew that I wanted to record it, so I did just that.

The other Susan Boyle song that I have chosen to share with you is her version of "Daydream Believer".  This song was originally done by The Monkees.  Their version is upbeat, but Susan's is more of a ballad, and I love  her version of this song.

I hope that you enjoyed my recordings.  If you did, feel free to drop me a line and let me know that you listened!

And That's What Sarah Says...AND SINGS!!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday to Sir Charles Lavern Barkley...Our Merle Great Dane!!

So this is a little late, but better late than never, right? (Just agree with me and we'll get along just fine!)

Yesterday, February 16th, our Merle Great Dane, Sir Charles Lavern Barkley (better known as Charlie), turned 1!!

We've only had him since October 31st of last year, but in that short period of time, he has managed to fit in with our little family very well!  He's also found a special place in both my heart and Brett's too.

The other night, I was having a pretty crappy night, and was crying.  Charlie came right over to me and proceeded to lick my tears away.  To some of you, that might sound gross, but to me, it was so sweet and it instantly made me feel better! 

Just how did we come up with his name?  Glad you asked!! When we got him, he already had the name, Charlie, which was fine with us.  We just added the other names.  Lavern was my grandpa's middle name, and he loved animals.  I'm willing to bet that if he were alive today, he'd really love Charlie, so that's where Lavern comes from.  As for the "Sir" and "Barkley", Brett gave him those names.  You see, Charlie went through a phase where he barked at almost everything.  Therefore, Brett would call him "Sir Barks-A-Lot" or "Sir Charles Barkley".  Now you know where his full name comes from!

For his birthday, we got Charlie a new squeaky toy. He has one that's a raccoon that we got for him shortly after he joined our family...."Mr. Squeakers".  He also has a Webkins Orangutan that he "adopted" from my stash of stuffed animals.  His name is "O.J.".  Charlie loves and plays with both of these stuffed critters, but "Mr. Squeakers" is kind of showing how much Charlie loves on him....he's starting to fall apart.  This is why we decided to get him another squeaky toy...a lion named "Leo". 

Below are pictures of Charlie and "Leo".

A New Baby...For ME?!?!?

He Smells Okay!!

Mmm...Tastes Okay Too!!

I Give Him Ride For Camera?  Are You Getting This, Mom?

Hold On Tight, Leo!!!  No, Silly!!! You're On Backwards!!! I Help You Get Turned Around!!!

I think that Charlie had a good first birthday!! He's now snoozing in his crate on his nice, comfy bed. 

He's such a good dog!!!  Brett and I love having him share his life with us, and although he probably would never admit to it, I think Jake likes having him around too!!

And That's What Sarah Says!!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Sarah SINGS What?!?!?!?

Do not be alarmed, you read the title of this blog entry correctly.  Today isn't really what I (Sarah) Says...but what I SING!!!

A while back, I did a blog entry about my love of singing and how I found a karaoke website where I can record some of my favorite songs.  Click here to read that blog entry and listen to a few of my recordings of some Elvis songs.

Well, I thought that I would start showcasing/sharing some more of my recordings from that site.  Recently, I've been sharing some of these recordings on Facebook and have received quite a positive response from my Facebook friends.  Some of my friends that I've known for years didn't even know that I could sing!!  This is a big reason why I thought that I'd start sharing some of my recordings here.

I would one day like to do an album and I think a lot of people (myself included) always dream of being famous.

I missed a BIG opportunity last month and ever since then have been beating myself up.  There was a singing competition in my area last month where one Saturday, you went to audition and then if you were chosen (there were 25 spots up for the taking), then you would go on to perform in a concert the following Friday night.  Then, the night of the concert, the top three people would win cash prizes and get the opportunity to record an album for charity.  As I previously mentioned, I missed this chance.  I'm not 100% why I did, either.  Maybe it was because I didn't think that I was good enough.  I talked about this on Facebook and quite a few people assured me that in fact, I WAS good enough.  I'm not sure if they were being nice or if they were telling the truth (I hope they were telling the truth, though.), but it made me feel pretty good about myself.  I was also second guessing the fact if I could win or progress in the competition because I felt that I was at a disadvantage because of my being in a wheelchair.  I know, I know....it's a silly thing to feel this way, but I can't help it.

Anyway, next time that there's a competition, I PLAN on being there and singing my heart out!!

Until then, I want to share my love of singing with you, my dear readers.

I love singing older songs (from The Bee Gees, The Carpenters, and Elvis, just to name a few groups/singers).  I like to sing newer stuff too, but older stuff is sometimes easier and more fun to record.

That being said, today, I've chosen two songs that I love.

The first song that I've selected is "At This Moment" in the style of Billy Vera & the Beaters:

For my second selection, I have chosen to share with you "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?" in the style of The Bee Gees:

I hope that you enjoy listening to my recordings. 

If there is a song that you would like for me to attempt, feel free to request it and I will 1) see if SingSnap has that song available and 2) try my best to fulfill your request.

Thank you for reading/listening, dear readers!!! 

And That's What Sarah Says (and Sings)!!!!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Tales From a Nursing Home! Well, Slap Me & Call Me "George"!!

I've often been asked about what it was like to be in a nursing home at my young age. I've decided to do some videos where I recall some experiences that I encountered during my eighteen month stay at a local nursing home.

This is just the first of many videos where I tell "Tales From a Nursing Home"

**Names have been changed to protect the innocent and sometimes crazy!**

Check back often for more "Tales From a Nursing Home" and other videos of mine!!

And That's What Sarah Says!!!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

2012 "Resolutions" & Tying Up Some Loose Ends From 2011!

We're five days into 2012, and I'm just now giving some thought into my New Year's Resolutions.  I usually don't do resolutions, per say, but this year, I figured that there were some things in my life that needed changing.  Some of these things are a result of things that I didn't get done last year. With that being said, here is what I'm going to TRY and resolve to do this year. 

  • I Plan To Blog More -- I feel that blogging is somewhat therapeutic for me, but I just don't like sitting still long enough to do a full blog entry.  I think last  year I got "burnt out" on blogging, and that resulted in me not telling you readers about all of Ollie the Otter's adventures and how I was coming along with some of my other projects like my "Knot-a-Quilt" (it's mostly unfinished) and my reading challenge to read 100 books (I accomplished that goal with a couple of weeks to spare before the new year).  I've also decided to do another blog where I find free books for Kindle devices and list them for people to find.  What's the website?  Well, I'm SO glad that you asked!!! It is http://kindlefree.blogspot.com/ .  There are so many good books that are FREE on Amazon.com, and I wanted to make sure that people knew that they didn't need to pay money for them.  Feel free to check the website out if you have a Kindle device.  I'm working on finding information on the Nook freebies, so that I can share that information as well.
  •  Finish My Crafting Projects -- I kind of touched on this in my previous resolution, but I'll expand on it here.  I have my "Knot-a-Quilt" project that I started back in June of last year. Click here to see the post where I promised you readers that I would keep you updated on the progress of this quilt.  I haven't really made any progress on this quilt (I've got MAYBE 3 squares "knotted" together), but I want to finish this quilt so that it can be used by someone.  I also started making potholders (the ones like kids make on the plastic loom) because I find that it is therapeutic for my hands and fingers.  Right now, I've got one on the plastic loom just waiting for me to finish the edges.  I had hoped to give some of my "masterpieces" away with Christmas gifts, but I didn't get enough of them done.  I hope to change that for next year, though.

  •  I Want To Be More Responsible With Money -- I need to learn to be more frugal with my income, so that Brett and I can do more fun things.  Not that we don't do fun stuff already, but if we saved up our money instead of "blowing it" on needless things, then we could plan a trip to Disney World.  I'm SO ready to go back to Disney World.  I think I could live there!
  •  I Need To Have a More Positive Outlook On Things -- There is too much negativity in the world without me adding to it.  I try to keep positive in pretty much everything that I do, but some days, it's just almost impossible to do.  I want to change that.  Negativity isn't good for me, nor is it good for the people who are around me.
  • I Want To TRY & Eat Better -- Notice how I didn't say that I wanted to "lose weight"?  Pretty sneaky of me, huh? ;)  I know that is probably one of the biggest "New Year's Resolutions" that is made and is probably the biggest one that is broken too.  That's why I worded this resolution the way that I did.  I'm thinking if I eat better (less fast food), then maybe I will lose some weight, which is something that I DEFINITELY need to do!

The toughest part of a diet isn't watching what you eat...it's watching what other people eat! 

  • I Want To Read More -- This isn't really a resolution, it's more of a goal.  I LOVE to read, so this shouldn't be too hard for me to accomplish.  Last year, I set a personal goal to read one hundred books before the end of the year.  As I mentioned above, I was able to accomplish that goal with a couple of weeks to spare. I actually went above my goal and read almost 105 books!  I started that goal in April of last year, so I figured that since I was starting at the beginning of the year, I would up my goal to 250 books.  I've already read two books, so I think that I should be able to accomplish this year's goal.  In keeping with my first "resolution", I will possibly do a review of a book that I read to let you readers know if it is worth reading or not.
These are my "resolutions" (I hate that word!) for 2012.  What are yours? 

Side note about Ollie the Otter:

I was going through Ollie's things the other day (just tidying up), and came across some pictures that he failed to show me of his adventures last year.  In the coming days and weeks, I will be sure to share these pictures with you, as well as pictures from his more recent adventures.  I wonder what he will be up to this year, don't you? Stay Tuned!!!

Oh, and don't worry, this year, I'm sure that I will have plenty of stories, pictures, and videos of "Charlie, our ADHD Dog"!!

And That's What Sarah Says!!!

Sarah Says...Save Money....and Here's One Way!!!

Was one of your New Year's Resolutions to save money any way that you could?  If so, have I got a deal for you!!

Amazon.com has a deal on Northern Toilet Tissue.

Sign up for their "Subscribe & Save" program (it's FREE!) and you can get 12 double rolls of Quilted Northern Soft & Strong for $5.50 shipped! That's 23 cents per roll!!!

Here's how it works:

  • Go here to the Quilted Northern Page. Make sure you have selected the 12 count.
  • In the blue box on the right side, select Subscribe & Save (I go with every 6 months)
  • Click the Add to Cart button
  • Your total should be $5.50 shipped or just $0.23 per regular roll!

What's "Subscribe & Save", you ask?

Amazon often offers discounts if you sign up to receive auto shipments (which can be canceled at anytime). I often select that I want to receive the item every 6 months and once I receive it, I go to “My Account” and click on “Manage Subscribe and Save” to cancel it. Don’t forget!

If you have any questions on how this works, feel free to ask me.  I use "Subscribe & Save" for other items, and I love it!  It's cheaper on the items that we use, and it's nice not to have to remember to get the item when we go to the store.  If we don't need the item when the delivery is scheduled, I just go to Amazon's website and cancel the delivery for that month.  It's so easy and helpful!

And That's What Sarah Says!!!