Book Review #75: “Mia”

Mia - American Girl

Image Credit: Amazon

I have a whole shelf of my bookcase dedicated to American Girl books. It will always be this way, period, end of story.

I remember reading Mia several years ago. I was fascinated with the doll when she was the Girl of the Year in 2008. But, at that time, I was in college, and I wasn’t about to breathe a word of liking American Girl dolls and books at school.

Now, 11 years later, I’m loud and proud. And I own Mia the doll as well.

I wrote stories about ice skaters and figure skaters when I was a kid. I did a report on Michelle Kwan in fourth grade. I wasn’t a good ice skater myself, but I was always taken by the figure skaters on TV, and especially during the Olympics.

Reading Mia’s story brought back that nostalgia, but it also reflected the mid- to late-2000s appropriately. I really appreciated the partial story line about the U.S. economy and what became the Great Recession, where Mia’s parents are working multiple jobs and barely making ends meet for their four kids. It made it relevant to readers when it was published, no matter how sad.

I’ve always liked how American Girl pays attention to details. In addition, these books are good for many ages to read! Although clearly written for younger girls, I enjoyed reading it as an adult. And the illustrations are beautiful, too.

Come back tomorrow for the review of the “sequel,” Bravo, Mia!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth πŸ™‚

Adventure Time: Norfolk, VA Edition (Round 5 – Norfolk Tides Baseball Game)

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Image Credit: Ticketmaster

The Norfolk Tides are our home baseball team!

The Tides’ home, Harbor Park, opened on April 14, 1993. This year is it’s 25th anniversary!

The Tides are a minor league team in the Triple-A International League. Prior to 2007, the Tides were affiliated with the New York Mets for 38 years. For the last 11 years, the Tides have been a farm team for the Baltimore Orioles. Harbor Park can hold 11,856 people!

The long-time mascot is Rip Tide. He’s hilarious!

Image Credit: Wikipedia

And, yes, he has a baseball for a nose.

Not too long ago, the Tides changed their color scheme to green, black, orange, gray, and sea foam, and added a seahorse mascot.

For more information, check out this link: Norfolk Tides

On Tuesday night, we enjoyed a night of good food, a few drinks, great conversation, and the game with several of Al’s work colleagues, and the law firm that his company has on retainer. The law firm has one of the boxes at the park, and they offer tickets to any employees who are interested around once a year. Al scored an extra ticket, and asked if I wanted to go!

I can’t remember the last time I went to a Tides game. I think it was with Al, and I know we weren’t in a box! I felt super fancy.

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This was the Tides’ long-standing image/marketing. Image Credit: SevenVenues

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An aerial view of Harbor Park, which sits next to the Elizabeth River. Image Credit: The Virginian-Pilot

We left the game in the eighth inning, mainly because we knew the traffic would be bad once the game ended. The score was 3-2, with the Tides leading, when we left. I checked the final score yesterday, and that’s where the score remained! Go, Tides!

Do you follow baseball?

What are some of your favorite summer pastimes?

Until the next headline, Laura Beth πŸ™‚

Hot Topic #2: The National Football League in Recent News

β€œTo paraphrase several sages: Nobody can think and hit someone at the same time.”
― Susan Sontag, Regarding the Pain of Others

I like the sport of football. My family, especially my dad’s side, has been loyal Green Bay Packers for as long as I can remember. I think we still have the foam Cheeseheads somewhere in our attic. My dad has a well-worn GB T-shirt, patched and frayed. I have a newer sweatshirt showing my fandom. My dad’s sister and brother-in-law reside in Wisconsin, and my cousin Ryan proudly owns part of their stock.

Did you know, the Green Bay Packers are the only team owned outright by its fans?

But, as many of you know, the National Football League (NFL) has endured plenty of hits and tackles, particularly this season.

Initially, what got my blood boiling was the act that Ray Rice committed against his then-fiancee, Janay. He hit her so hard that she fell unconscious, and then he dragged her limp body out of the elevator. I think everyone knows that at this point.

I will never forget Wednesday, July 14, 2010. That afternoon, John Ivey hit me so hard in the arm/elbow, that I lost my grip on the steering wheel of my mom’s car. Thank goodness we were at a standstill in traffic at the time. We had been dating for a little over 4 years when he hit me. He hit me on a Wednesday afternoon, and I’d ended the relationship by Saturday morning.

But, this isn’t about me. I wanted to share that snippet of my life because I’ve been there. Domestic violence should not be tolerated.

And for the most part, it isn’t tolerated. People, both men and women, are arrested for it every single day.

But sadly, it took a high-profile NFL star to make the public truly aware of it. To that, I shake my head.

The other point I want to make is that recently, Rice won his appeal of his indefinite suspension.

This means, that he is cleared to play in the NFL again – If a team decides to sign him.

I hope not. I hope he never gets the chance to play professional football ever again.

He was cut from the Baltimore Ravens soon after everything started coming to light, thanks to the media. The Ravens did the right thing.

This new development/decision … Not so much.

According to an article by CNN,”‘The suspension has been vacated,’ George Atallah, the assistant executive director of external affairs for the players’ union, said.”

I almost fell out of my chair when I read that.

As I said earlier, domestic violence shouldn’t be tolerated. And the NFL has spoken up about that. They’ve gone so far to take up the Say NO MORE campaign – Watch the video here.

But, that’s not enough.

Ray Rice should have continued to be suspended. Furthermore, he should have stayed in jail. That’s what others who commit acts of domestic violence go.

I’m disgusted by Ray Rice, former U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones (She presided over the appeal case), the media in general, and even Rice’s now-wife.

I’m applauding the Baltimore Ravens team and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

The Ravens cut Rice from the team, and Goodell extended Rice’s original suspension of two games to it being indefinite.

Barbara Jones stated that her decision to vacate the second penalty – The indefinite suspension – was … “‘Because Rice did not mislead the commissioner and because there were no new facts on which the commissioner could base his increased suspension, I find that the imposition of the indefinite suspension was arbitrary. I therefore vacate the second penalty imposed on Rice,’ …”

In addition, Jones said “the case wasn’t about the number of games that Rice was suspended but the need for Goodell to be ‘fair and consistent’ in its discipline.”

Back up for a hot second.

“The need for Goodell to be ‘fair and consistent’ in its discipline” ?!?!?!

This case was extreme. How on earth was Roger Goodell expected to be “fair and consistent” in disciplining its athletes with this case?

The Rice case came on the heels of several other domestic violence and child abuse cases against NFL players – Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings. Jonathan Dwyer of the Arizona Cardinals. Greg Hardy of the Carolina Panthers. Ray McDonald of the San Francisco 49ers. Quincy Enunwa of the New York Jets.

All those were within the last few months of this year, 2014.

But there’s more. Read about the numbers behind domestic violence arrests of NFL players here, and a report on the players still playing here.

I’m disgusted. Athletes in this country, and around the world, are so high on people’s pedestals. It’s like some people worship these men and women. Kids idolize their favorite players; they want to be just like them.

People actually look up to these players, these men that have committed horrible acts against the people that they supposedly love and care for?

Not me.

I may be a die-hard Green Bay Packers fan and I’ve watched the team evolve and change over the years, but I don’t have a jersey of a particular Green Bay player, and I never will.

For now, I’ll follow the news of the Packers, and I’ll continue to read the news. But, it certainly doesn’t mean I’m happy with these events.

In fact, I wish more far more people were up in arms about this.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth πŸ™‚