Classics Challenge 2017

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I have been wanting to get into classic literature for about a year now. I hate that I call myself a avid reader but whenever Jeopardy has a question regarding a classic, I rarely guess correctly. So, Im going to remedy rhat and join a classics challenge.This one I stumbled on is hosted byBooks and Chocolate(had to stop at a blog with such a great title) I’m listing the category and the book I’ve chosen for that category. I will edit this post later to clean it up a bit but I need to get this post done but the entry deadline.of March 1.

1)A 19th century classic(any book published between 1800-1899)-Wuthering Heights
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2)A 20th century classic(any book published between1900-1967)- Lady Chatterley’s Lover
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3) A Classic by a Woman Author-Jonah’s Gourd Vine by Zora Neale Hurston
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4) A classic in translation(any book published in another language other than your native language)- The Phantom of The Opera
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5)A classic
originally published before 1800- The Canterbury Tales(plays and epic poems are acceptable)
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6)A romance classic-Emma
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7)A Gothic or horror classic-Rebecca by Daphne

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De Maurier

8) A Classic With A Number In The Title-A Tale of Two Cities (Examples include
Three Men in a Boat, The Nine Tailors, Henry V,
Fahrenheit 451, etc. An actual number is
required — for example, Agatha Christie’s And
Then There Were None would not qualify, but
The Seven Dials Mystery would.)

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9) A Classic About An Animal or  includes the name of an animal in the title -White Fang by Jack Londor

(includes the name of an animal in the title. It
can be an actual animal or a metaphor, or just
the name in the title. Examples include To Kill a
Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men, The
Metamorphosis, White Fang, etc. If the animal is
not obvious, please clarify it in your post)

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10) Classic set in a place you’d like to visit- (It
can be real or imaginary: The Wizard of Oz,
Down and Out in Paris and London, Death on the
Nile, etc. ) A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway(Paris setting)
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11) An Award Winning Classic (It could be the
Newbery award, the Prix Goncourt, the Pulitzer
Prize, the James Tait Award, etc. Any award,
just mention in your blog post what award your
choice received. It must be an actual award-winner; runners-up and nominees do not count) – A Wrinkle In Time
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12) A Russian Classic (2017 will be the 100th
anniversary of the Russian Revolution, so read a
classic by any Russian author) – War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
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Old School Blogging: The ABCs of Me

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This is another OSB  from the fabulous Elaine from The Miss Elaineous Life. This is actually a draft of it that I never finished so while looking for some fresh ideas, I found it and finished it up.Enjoy!

 

Anyway, here are MY own ABCs! Link up yours below!

A- Age: 27

B-Biggest Fear: The cheesy 80s movie, Pumpkinhead…something about that monster thing freaks me out!

C- Current Time: 7;58pm, Thursday

D- Drink Last Had: Non alcoholic- Ssips strawberry kiwi juice Alcoholic- Sweet Bitch moscato

E- Easiest Person To Talk to: Next to God,my friend Bart

F- Favorite Song: That’s constantly changing from one Michael Jackson song to another because I’m always discovering old songs that I didn’t know and fall in love with them. Right now, my fave song is Get On The Floor from the Off The Wall album

G- Grossest Memory: When Amani was about 6 months old, she was constipated(yes,this is a poop story) and we didn’t know what to give her to ease her discomfort(when babies are that young you can’t give them anything,which sucks). My mom,who is a retired home health aide, came up with an idea. She had me bring Amani to her and take off her diaper. I didn’t know what she was going to do but I was desperate. She proceeded to put.on.a rubber glove, shove her gloved finger into a jar of Vaseline…and then put her finger in Amani’s butt. What followed her finger out was a HUGE pile of poop rocks. I was stunned,grateful,and then disgusted. My mom was my hero that day…probably Amani’s too.

H- Hometown: Queens,NYC. Born and raised in a few of the boroughs in NYC but all the significant events in my life happened in Queens.

I- In love with: Denzel Washington, Michael Jackson,corn starch(don’t ask),books,and coffee

J- Jealous Of: Pauletta Washington…the bane of my existence

K- Killed Someone? Does in my dreams count?

L- Longest Relationship: If we are talking romantically,then the longest.one is off and on for the last almost 9 years.

M- Middle Name: Lauren Marie. All of my siblings(except my oldest brother) have two middle names

N- Numberof Siblings: 5 brothers. Three biological and two by adoption. Two are older than me and three are younger than.me

O- One Wish: That I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life.

P- Person who you last called: The guy at the store. He makes the best chicken.salad sandwhiches so I wanted it ready when I got there. #priveleges

Q- Question you’re always asked: Whenever I go take carenof any business, I always get.”How old are you?” I look like a teenager,so..

R- Reason to smile: Amani. Hands down,no contest.

S- Song you last sang: Follow Me by Uncle Kracker

Follow me everything is alright

I’ll be the one to tuck you in at night

And if you want to leave, I can gurantee

You won’t find nobody else like me

 

T- Time you woke up: 6:45am. Amani has to be in school at 8am and even though her school is a ten minute walk away,it takes a while to get her going (like warming up a car).

U- Underwear Color: What the hell is underwear?

V- Vacation Destination: never really thought about it…maybe Hawaii?

W- Worst Habit:smoking cigarettes. A close second is ripping out my cuticles.

X- X-rays you’ve had: teeth, shoulder. And if ultrasounds count, Ive had those too

Y- Your favorite food: I love pork(bacon,sausage,.ham, chitterlings, pork shoulder,pork ribs,etc…)

Z- Zodiac Sign: Taurus. Yes it’s true that we are stubborn. But its also a little known fact that we are very sensitive as well. I cry at the drop of a dime!

Denzealots Unite!!!

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I’m really into Soundcloud’s podcasts right now. I got into it because of my brother, who is an aspiring artist. He has quite a few songs on Soundcloud and some are features with his best friend. As a big sister, I have to support but while I was doing that I stumbled across some real podcast gold! As I’m writng this I’m listening to a fave called The 😄 Experience Network.

However, before I found that I found one that I knew was created for me…Denzel Washington Is The Greatest Actor of All Time…Period. Yes, that’s the actual name of it and if you are a die hard fan of any and everything Denzel,then you are a Denzealot and you need this podcast in your life! I have been a fan of Mr. Washington’s since I was about six years old. I pride myself on having seen all of his films…until the podcast revealed that I’m missing about 4 or 5 films. But that’s soon to change with the Christmas vacation coming up. I can’t be out in these streets claiming super fandom if I haven’t seen all the Denzel movies. So, thanks to DWITGAOATP for setting me straight and giving me some Denzel homework!!!

Two comedians, W.Kamau Bell and Kevin Avery go through Denzel’s entire filmography in mostly alphabetical order and offer critique,insights and little facts about the movie. They are huge fans of Denzel (obviously) so their opinions and discussions are genuine and lots of fun. I’ve already spread the word among non Denzealot friends. They don’t care but maybe you will. Here is an episode to get you into the swing of things. Enjoy!

My Top 5…

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Im three years away from my 30th birthday and I’m sure I have a million proud moments ahead of me. However, it couldn’t hurt to take a look at my top 5 favorite proud moments thus far:

5) In August,I got a new job and as excited as I was to be working, once school started,I quickly realized that my work schedule was not going to be beneficial to Amani mainly because she will be taking her state exams for the first time this year. I really want to have a prominent hand in getting her ready for it,so I quit my job. Admitting that I quit a well paying job to get my baby’s academic life together makes me proud of me!

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4)Speaking of Amani, this past week she bought home her first reading assessment of the school year. I’m pleased to report that she is reading above grade level. Beingan obsessive reader myself,this makes me really proud!

3) My brother graduated from high school in June and then decided to take a year off. I was worried about what he would do in the mean time but he had his first job interview last week and I’m proud of him for taking control of his own life.

2) When she was in kindergarten,Amani was chosen to represent her class in the school’s “I Have A Dream” speech contest. For her grade it was only a couple of sentences from the speech but I practiced with her everyday and allowed her to watch the original speech on YouTube. The day of the speech,I was nervous about whether or not Amani would actually do it. Well, she stunned me abd her grandmother. She didn’t win but I was proud of her for being braver than I was at her age.

1) All through elementary school,  suffered with Math. I just wasn’t retaining anything I was learning. My 5th grade teacher sent me to Math Lab to get extra help, but I was already defeated. I was at risk for having to repeat 5th grade. I worked as hard as I could but I didnt have a good feeling. During graduation, medals were being given for outstanding achievements throughout the year. Two of my friends took home two a piece. The final category for medals was “Most Improved in Math”. I kind of tuned everything out until I heard my name being called.
I looked behind me and my mom was on her feet clapping and so were my teacher, ath Lab tutor, and my two best friends. After I got over the shock I walked across the stage where my tutuor was waiting to hand me my medal,certificate,and a case to hold the medal in. I had never been so proud of myself and on days when I doubt myself, I think of that special day and I’m right back on my grind!

The Ghost of Halloweens Past

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Today’s post is inspired by one of Mama Kat’s fabulous prompts

  When I was 16,my brother and I picked out these great Roman inspires costumes. He took on the role of Roman King and even though I am his sister, I was the Roman Queen. We felt prettt damn good about our choice and I even took it a step further by adding makeup to give me a zombie effect. As soon as we stepped outside,we felt like ***holes. We turned to our mother and swore we were done with Halloween. I meant it…until Amani came along.

  For the last two Halloweens, I have gone back to getting a costume. It took a lot of coaxing and her big cheesy smiles but I eventually caved and bought…get ready for it…a “Sexy” Snow White costume. I waited too close to Halloween to but one so there were few options left. I settled for Snow White because I wanted go a more unexpected route for my return costume and everyone knows I dont care for princesses and Im usually reserved in the way I dress so…Snow White it was.

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(Not me) as Sexy Snow White October ’14 and ’15

Anyway, Amani and I dont actually go trick or treating.In our neighborhood not too many people who celebrate it. A bigger part of our area is Jewish so they arent homes to go to for candy. And with this bizarre clowns in the woods thing that is happening, Im none too eager to change our tradition. My mom drops a load on candy and Amani and I eat ourselves sick while watching “scary movies.

Since she has started getting costumes, she has been a Monster High character.
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This isnt Amani(obviously) but this is the costume she wore the first time she got one which was October ’12

I love Monster High and all but I’m trying to persuade her to do something new.
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(Not Amani) as Abbey Bominable Oct ’14

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(Not Amani) as Frankie Stein(Deluxe..whatever that means) October ’15

She recently acquired a pair of cute Batgirl sunglasses from.McDonalds. I love when their toys can actually serve a purpose. As for me, I dont want be “sexy three years in a row so I may try something more predictably me. As long as Im with my favorite girl, it really doesn’t matter what I wearing. Happy Halloween,everyone!

Writer’s Workshop :My First Bra

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I found out thanks to Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop that October 13th is National No Bra Day. So,in honor of this fabulous female friendly holiday here is my first bra story. Enjoy!

I don’t remember if getting my first bra was a big deal. I remember where my mom bought it. It was this kids boutique in Harlem called Lazarus. She bought all of my brothers’ and mine’s clothes from there. The best thing I ever remember getting from there was this Tweety Bird outfit. I was obsessed with Tweety Bird as a kid and my mom found these Tweety t- shirt and legging sets and I loved them.

Anyway, I dont remember what my cup size was but I remember the bra was white silk. I liked the way it felt on my skin and it made me feel really grown up. My mom bought me two and said she would get me more as I grew. She was always very open about puberty,sex,and my body so neither one of us was overly emotional about it. I knew this day would come and it was no big deal.
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A year and a half before “the bra”

There was never a return trip to buy more bras from Lazasrus. Only a few months after getting my first bras,my cup size had doubled and I way past “training” stage. My mom seemed really crushed because I was no longer able to fit into Lazarus’ clothing or bras.  I was a woman now.

And yes, I slept in my bras nightly…

Writing Prompt:Paranoid

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This piece was inspired by Mama Kat’s weekly writing prompt for the week of 10/6:paranoid

   When I thought about that word, I was instantly transported to an incident that happened when I was 11-years-old. My mom,aunt,brother,and I had spent the day shopping. Our favorite area to shop at was 34TH STREET-HERALD SQUARE,home to the original Macy’s. My mom spent what sometimes seemed like hours perusing the many brands,styles,abd colors of sheet sets in the bedding department while my brother,aunt,and I picked one of their made up bed displays and just kind of waited. Let me remind you, this is in the time before smartphones and wifi. From Macy’s we’ll wander around from store to store, eat something, get food to take home,and head to the train station.

    I always hated waiting on the train because I was tired and couldnt wait to get home and play with whatever arts ‘n’ crafts kit I had picked up from Toys R Us. Plus,if I remember correctly, it was the middle of a scorching hot Summer and ALL NYers know about the torturous train stations in the Summer. It seems like its hotter in the train station than it is outside.

  Anyway, my mom and I are standing next to each other and my aunt and brother are sitting down. An old man in his 70s (maybe) comes over to where my brother is sitting and he looks like he is going to say something to him. My mom sees what’s happening and instructs my brother to give his seat to the old man. The man waves his hand and shakes his head “No”. But he stands awkwardly close to my brother for a bit.  I turn my back and face a direction that I think will bring some kind of relief from the heat. The next thing I know I hear my mom yell ” Get the f**k out of here, Pop!” I turn around and see the old man scurrying to the other side of the platform and stand in front of these two young women.

  My mom says to me ” He was playing with his d**k  through a hole in his pocket while staring at my breasts”. I immediately freak out and get scared because this is the first time I’ve ever been exposed to any kind of real life pervert situation. Our train pulls in the station and as we board my mom and I see the old guy pulling the same thing with the two women on the opposite side of the platform. They are pointing and laughing at him,which I don’t understand because I was terrified and disgusted.
  He notices that our train has pulled up and so he runs over to it and Im scared s**tless because Im thinking “Oh my God, he’s going to get on this train and rape us”. He doesn’t board the train but he does plant himself firmly in front of the large window we are sitting by and continues to masturbate. Meanwhile, his face has somehow shifted from “Sweet old Grandpa” to “Sick perv Grandpa” and that look will forever be burned in my memory. My mom gives him a double middle finger and the train pulls off.
  When we get home and I settle into bed, my thoughts go right back to him. When I close my eyes, I see him and every sound I hear is him breaking into my house to finish the job. The next day I beg my mother to never take me to that train station again.(The next time I would ask her that would be a year and a half later when 9/11 happens. I got really sad and angry whenever we’d be in the CHAMBERS STREET train station,which was directly across from the 9/11 site.) She agrees and for an entire year, I avoided that station like the plague. My mom would even travel longer distances on the train to avoid it,even if that were her intended stop. We never talked about it again and I think she knew not to because was “just another day in the Big Apple” to her was traumatic for her 11 year old.
  Now as an adult when I tell that story to people they laugh and say “Gross”or “What a perv” and I’m always taken aback by how a scary situation for a little girl is in any way funny. I was so paranoid whenever I travelled anywhere and wondering if I would ever see that man again. Eventually,I returned to the train station and life went on.

A Queens Tale

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Today I found myself on  an emotional tour of Queens. I went job hunting and wound up in front of the Central Library. Ah, the Central Library…a place I spent many afternoons escaping the lonely hell that was high school. I would cut school (Sometimes with my best friend, most times not) and just walk around the fiction section picking up books and running my fingers across rigid spines. It was there that I discovered Anne Rice and all of her beautiful vampires and witches. It was there that I was accosted by a young Indian man who asked me if I wanted to marry him ( i told him I was only 16…he said I should have been married three years ago).

On the way home, I walked up towards my high school, a place I promised I would NEVER step my foot into. I didn’t but i saw 16 year old me walking down that ridiculous hill with a loaded back pack and a frizzy ponytail. Some days I walked from school to home just to be alone. Sometimes, alone is good.I waited for the bus and just looked towards my alma mater, trees blowing in the wind but keeping safely hidden. Once on the bus, we rode through my old neighborhood. We moved there when Bubba was a little over a year old. My mother complained about how the store was blocks away and you needed a car to get around. I liked it because it was quiet and nothing ever happened. A good place to raise a child. I tas only in the house we lived in that my aunt had a stroke and our whole lives turned upside down. My aunt had babysat my brothers and I while my mom worked and it was at the moment the EMTs took her away that I realized just how important she was to me. A few years later, she died. We passed where Bubba’s dad lives. I met him while I was still in high school, you know.

My mom and Bubba want to move to Manhattan and they don’t understand why I’m so stuck on being a Queens girl. Bubba was born here, took her first breath here.I also took my own first NYC breath in the same hospital as Bubba did. I met my best friend in the whole world here, graduated high school here…and lost my mother here. When I think of all the important things that have ever happened to me until this moment in my 26 years, both happy and sad,Queens is always the setting for those stories. I am a Queens girl  emotionally, mentally, and geographically and no matter how far removed I am from here, this will always be home.

That’s a Wrap…On Summer

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So, this coming Wednesday, Bubba will be starting 2nd grade and my youngest brother,X, will be wrapping up his finally year as a high school student. This is a very important year for him and as his big sister I intend to make the transition for him from high school to college as seamless as possible.

Although Bubba and I have done a couple of cool things this Summer, I felt like we had to have a grand finale. We have really fallen head over heels in love with the Impractical Jokers. In case you are unfamiliar with they guys, they are four friends(Joe, Q,Sal,and Murr) who pull ridiculous and funny prank challenges on each other all over NYC. Bubba’s favorite Joker is James Murray(AKA Murr) and mine is Salvatore Vulcano (AKA Sal). A few weeks ago, I found out that the guys were having a live punishment special to celebrate their 100th episode at the South Street Seaport on September 2015 @ 10pm. The punishment was that all four guys were going to walk a tight rope 60 feet up.Who ever made it the farthest wins 50 grand for a charity of their choosing.

MURR

Right away I KNEW this was our grand finale event. I got my mom to come because she was worried about the crowd at such a late hour and she wanted to protect both me and Bubba. Let me just tell you, it was amazing!!! The energy was everything, the guys were so friendly and obviously scared for what they were about to do. Bubba’s goal was to get a picture and autograph from Murr and thanks to my mom’s big mouth and love for Bubba, she got it! Murr was very sweet to her and he just really made her day. My goal was to get that gorgeous Cuban?Italian dreamboat, Sal, to notice me. The crowd was cheering and screaming and then they fell silent. It was at that perfect moment that I shouted “SAL,I LOVE YOU!!!”. He turned his head, looked and me, gave me that 1000 watt smile and said “I love you,too!” I wanted to pass out!!

SAL

The show went live @ 10 as promised and Q made it all the way across the tight rope,winning the $50,000 for his charity (I think he chose Make-A-Wish, but I’m not 100% sure). All the other guys got $15,000 for their charities and it was just great clean fun. I am proud of myself for keeping my promise to Bubba, I’m proud of my mom for stepping out of her comfort zone to make Bubba and I happy and I’m proud of Bubba for being open to everything positive in life!!!