Thursday, November 14, 2013

NaBloPoMo - Early Bird or Night Owl

NaBloPoMo Prompts

Hold the phone... I am blogging... AGAIN?!?! What is going on? I know it's a sign of the apocalypse or something right? Actually I just really like this prompt and I am super excited to talk about it. So hold your hats....

Prompt: Are you a morning person or a night owl?

I know some of you may be thinking why is she excited about this? But it's something that I feel I can talk about with ease. 

When I was younger I was definitely a night owl. This came in quite handy when we would set out on our road trips north. I could always be counted on to keep the driver awake during the night hours. And back at home I would stay up all night if I had my way. But sadly at that time I did not have my way, as I was living with my parents. 

When I started working my job actually happened to fit my night owl tendencies quite perfectly. I worked at a movie theater. The hours there were all over the place and for a while I closed most of the time. That consisted of going in at 6pm at times and leaving at 2am, or sometimes later. After sometime this began to wear on me. I would be asleep during most people's waking hours and it would also make getting normal things done difficult. So after almost 6 years in the business I had made up my mind I wanted a "normal" job. 

I got my wish. In 2003 I started my first 8-5 job. It was quite a change to go from the evening hours to the daylight hours. It took some adjusting but I eventually got used to it, and I never looked back. 

Over the years working a "normal" job I feel like I have adjusted quite well. Although of late there are times when I feel my suppressed night owl just itching to get out and break free. She has been hiding for quite some time. Every so often she will break out and I will be up until almost midnight during the week. She has been especially present since Firefighter has started working at the ER overnight. (I am almost completely adjusted to this new schedule. This is another story for another day.)

For the most part during the week I am up about 6am, or at least that is when I start to wake up. I don't actually get out of bed until 6:45am. (Which by the way is ill advised. It is suggested that you set your alarm to the time that you will realistically wake up and get right out of bed.) But then when it comes to going to bed I tend to put that off as long as I can. No reason in particular it just happens. My brain has a mind of it's own (HA!) and never wants to shut off. It wants to keep going and going like it's the freaking Energizer bunny or something. But... it isn't and I sure as hell am not either. 

And as I have gotten older (lord that is a scary statement) I have found myself becoming more and more of an earlier riser. Even on the weekends I am usually up at 6 am no matter how late I am up the night before. The art of sleeping in is totally lost on me. Not sure how that happened, but I would like to rectify that immediately. I will say though that days that are particularly draining, especially mentally, make it easier to come home and want to crash right away. But those are few and far between.

So right now as I sit here, I would say that I am a hybrid...I could be considered an Early Owl or a Night Bird you decide. 

So which are you? Night Owl? Early Bird??

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

NaBloPoMo Catch up!

NaBloPoMo Prompts

So it would appear that I have missed a few days and that would mean that I am not off to a good start....bad blogger!!! I blame vacation and the time change. Curse you free time and extra hours curse you to heck!

That's my story and I am sticking to it!!

SOOOO in light of my setbacks, I want to try and play catch up.

Here I go!!!

Prompt: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

There are several different answers for this question. Sadly there are a handful of things that I would change about myself. One of the main things I would change I think is my motivation... or rather lack there of. I have the best intentions with things and I do not always put things into action.(Hence my blog writing skills) In my mind I have all these ideas and plans and then nothing happens. Not sure why that is, which is super discouraging. I am not sure what I need to do to change that.

Another thing that is frustrating is that I have bouts of motivation. They do not last long but they exist. I get a burst of energy/motivation and I go to the gym or eat good or write on my blog for a week or a few weeks straight and then something happens and BAM... it all stops. I want to be more consistent on here. I really truly do, and ALL day I have blog posts running through my head, but when I get home from work they all escape me. 

It is something I want to work on and every New Year for a resolution I vow to change, and then at the end of the year nothing has changed. And I am back to square one. 

Damn that square one.

So that is just one of the things that I would change about myself. I assure you there are more. Even though deep down I think I am practically perfect in every way! HAHA!! 

What is one thing you would change about yourself?

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Importance of {Great} Grandparents

I have recently watched my mother become a GREAT grandmother. This is a title not afforded to many grandparents. They are not fortunate enough to see their grandchildren procreate and relish in the joy a new baby always brings. 

In this society today I don't think people value the gift that is having a grandparent/great-grandparent. These are the people that hold the genetic and historic maps of who we are and who we will become. They have stories and wisdom that can't be found in books. They have family stories and traditions that people take for granted these days and that they will never truly appreciate until it's too late to ask. 

I was not fortunate enough to truly know and appreciate my grandparents. My grandfathers were both passed on before I had the chance to even really know who they were. They both passed when I was 2. My grandmothers, both surpassed their husbands, and never remarried by the way. My maternal grandmother lived in another state and therefore I wasn't able to really develop a close relationship with her. She passed away when I was 28. My paternal grandmother lived a few hours away from where we live. I did get to visit her but not with a consistency that would establish the relationship my nieces/nephews have with my mom. My paternal grandmother passed away when I was 14. 

The older that I get the more I want to know about my past, where I came from and exactly who my family is. And now with my father being gone, the importance of finding out about my family history seems more important and also less attainable. 

The memories I do have of my paternal grandmother consist of mostly her sitting and talking in Italian with her sister. Now, more than anything, I wish she would have taught me some of the language. I wish that I would have expressed an interest. But what did I know? 

My memories of my maternal grandmother are warm and inviting. I have vivid memories of sitting at her kitchen table watching tv with her and my mom having coffee and her cooking sauce. There was something about her kitchen that was always so cozy. It was such a gathering place. I remember her feistiness and her pride. I truly wish that I had the opportunity to know her better and that I could ask her questions now. I'd love to talk to her about her recipes and her family traditions. 

I love seeing the relationship that my mom has with her grandchildren and I am a little jealous! That is what it is all about. They are close to her and know they can talk to her and trust her and they know they can have fun with her too. It's a great experience to watch. I think it is pretty cool also that she has the opportunity to be apart of her great-granddaughter's life. It is truly a very rare gift. 

Do you have a relationship with your grandparents? Do you have great-grandparents?

Saturday, November 2, 2013

WAY outside the comfort zone!

There is a quote floating around the internet stating that life begins at the end of your comfort zone. If that is the case, then my life is truly beginning right now. I have left my comfort zone and have made a decision to do something that I myself even question at times.

I have decided to venture into the world of direct sales. I am not going to revel the company that I am working for at this time, but I will say that it is a jewelry company. I have been attending parties here and there over almost a year with the same consultant. She took the time to talk with me about the business at one point several months ago. At that time I wasn't ready. And right now I am not sure that I am ready either. Regardless I have made the decision that I am going to at least try.

Most of my fears stem from the fact that I am not a sales person. I would much rather just be the go between. The person that facilitates orders for people who want to buy the pretty things. I don't really relish the idea of getting up and talking in front of people that I don't know, let alone people that I DO know.

I am trying to be cautiously optimistic. Firefighter isn't too warm to the idea yet. While that may sound completely mean or unsupportive, it isn't. He is just surprised as this is something that I have never really excelled at or mentioned to him. I do not have a killer instinct. I will not go for the jugular and try and sell you anything. If you want it great if not, then that's ok too. He sees me being a photographer, not a jewelry sales person. And while my mom is more supportive vocally, I think there is a part of her that is still skeptical. And I am fine with that. I am fine with the skepticism. It just means I have to prove them wrong. and I seriously hope to.

Right now though, there is a part of me that fears I am not going to be successful. I know that is fear. I know that it's to be expected. I am trying hard to beat the negative thoughts out, but it isn't always so easy, because it is easier to believe the negative thoughts then it is to believe the positive ones.

I am going to give it a try. That is all that I can do. If it doesn't work, then it doesn't work. But at least I would have tried.

What was the last thing that made you go outside of your comfort zone?? 

Friday, November 1, 2013

I want money...lots and lots of money!!

NaBloPoMo Prompts

Ok... let's see how this goes. It's been a while since I have blogged on a regular basis and perhaps this will help me to get over this massive hump of writer's block that I have had for months. Every day there will be prompts and a link up! So let's rip off the band aid....

Prompt # 1:
If you found one million dollars in the morning, and HAD to spend it by nightfall what would you do with the money?

Well the obvious first answer for most people would be to pay off debt, so that is a given. That would take care of my student loan, our vehicles and a Best Buy card and a few other small debts that we are carrying.  After that my first purchase would be a house. A bungalow/craftsman house on a decent sized lot with a white kitchen with stainless steel appliances. It would be over 2,000 square feet with 4 bedrooms and 3 bath rooms, and a basement (despite the fact that I live in Florida). There would be a beautiful deck outback with one of those built in grills and a gazebo. I would want to be surrounded by as much nature as possible. And I would take myself on a little shopping spree to Pottery Barn!! 

I currently love our Santa Fe, but I know that Firefighter would want to upgrade to a Hyundai Equus and a truck. I, however, refuse to give up the Santa Fe. I can't argue with the idea of having a luxury car, but I don't see a need for it. But when you are talking in unrealistic "what if" scenarios anything is possible. 

Next I would pay off my mom's mortgage. I would also get her a brand new car of her choice. I would then buy her a plane ticket and send her up north to spend time with her sisters and brothers. Hell while we are at it, I would buy her a place up there. I would see if my family members needed anything too! 

Some of the smaller things I would by are a brand new full frame Canon 5D Mark III or 6D. And I would get some fancy lenses and a nice camera bag to store it all in. Then I would take that new camera on a trip to ITALY!!!!

All this is well and good since we are thinking of an unrealistic possibility. In reality if I were to get that much money given to me, I would take care of a few things and invest the rest. That is the practical thing to do and in this world right now, there is no way to know if Social Security is going to be around when I am old enough to need it.

So there you have it. That is how I would spend my million. How would you spend yours?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Buster Brown

This is our dog Buster. We have had him for about 10 years or so. He came to us from Firefighter's parents. Apparently Buster nipped the neighbor's daughter and the father of the little girl said get rid of the dog or put him down. Well, the later seemed a bit extreme since this was a one time occurrence so Firefighter and I decided to take the dog and have him live with us. 

Buster is a chow-shepherd mix and a fairly large sized dog. He is not necessarily the dog that I would have chosen on my own. In his younger days he was far more aggressive and scarier then he is now. He has mellowed a lot in the last 5 or so years. That doesn't mean there haven't been moments when he hasn't scared me. He has! 

Six or seven years ago he had a stroke that affected his hind legs. He wasn't able to get up on his own and we had to assist him with a towel in order to get him up and outside. This was quite challenging since he was still very aggressive at that point. My poor, sweet, caring brother-in-law felt the full effects of that one night when he came over to help me move him. We tried to get him moving and you could tell Buster wanted no part of it and my BIL got in the way and well he ended up in the hospital with three pretty deep puncture wounds on him arm. His heart was in the right place but it just wasn't a good idea. Firefighter and I have both been bitten by him, neither one of them intentional and in my instance it was somewhat provoked. Nothing serious, but I did have to get a tetanus shot.  

Lately his age is really starting to show. His arthritis is setting in and has a very strong presence. His joints crack and he is moving slower and he has to have a pill to move around with more ease but he still functions... just slower. His bladder seems to have gotten weaker as well. This morning, after Firefighter and I returned from breakfast we were sitting on the couch watching TV and all of a sudden Buster started drooling and he had his mean face on. Since Firefighter has medical training he was able to recognize that Buster was having a seizure.

It was the scariest thing I have ever seen. He was looking at me but almost like he was looking through me. He got up and was going in circles like something was chasing him and then he was on the floor and his teeth were chattering. I felt helpless. I couldn't help him, because frankly I was scared to death he would hurt me and there isn't much of anything that I could have done for him. We had to let it pass. 

I wasn't sure if he was going to make it or not. I thought I was watching him die right in front of me. And even though a few hours have passed I still get a knot in my stomach and a sense of discomfort when I think about the fact that I could have been watching my dog die, and that I was totally helpless. I had to get outside and I couldn't move fast enough. I know that it is approaching Buster's time to go to the Rainbow Bridge, but I am not comfortable with the idea of making that decision. If he is ready to go, I would prefer for him to go on his own. 

But today was not that day. 

We have been talking a lot recently about putting him down. He is suffering and after today, I think we are making the right decision. I would hate for him to suffer another grand seizure like he did today.  But the idea of him not being here in the house makes me sad. I know that is selfish, but it's what I am feeling. Even though he has been annoying the crap out of me lately, I still love him. 

When his time does come, there is a part of me that doesn't want to replace him. But deep down I know that I will have another pet. But there will never be another dog like Buster Brown. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Newsroom is AWESOME!!

I am in LOVE with this show! I think part of this stems from my deep down desire to be a journalist and work in a newsroom. 

My favorite episode from the first season has to be episode 7, "5/1". This is the episode when our Navy Seal team killed Osama Bin Laden. It was just a great episode. I loved the plot building and how Don broke the news to the flight crew and then how Will told his security guard who told the police officers. I loved the behind the scenes excitement and activity that goes on that we, the audience don't know about. True they do that in EVERY show, but this one was such an important story, and I can remember so vividly where I was that night that this episode just resonated with me. 

On 5/1/2011 I was getting ready for bed and perusing my Twitter feed when I read a tweet from someone who was in Afghanistan and he said that he had heard some really loud noises outside of his hotel or apartment. There were a few other tweets by that person and then I read that Osama Bin Laden had been killed and then President Obama came on the TV and confirmed it. I remember how solemn and poised he looked at the podium. I remember jumping out of bed and telling Firefighter the awesome news!! Then, in true social media fashion, pictures from the situation room started to appear all over Twitter. But the best pictures were the ones with people gathering in the middle of the night and celebrating our Freedom. Flags were waving and there was a sense of relief for the country. The next day it felt like a weight was lifted. Like we no longer had to live in fear or worry that he was going to attack us again. Of course, I am not naive enough to believe that there aren't other terrorists out there who want to harm us, but for that time we take a small sigh of relief. 

I am so looking forward to the new season that started last night (I wrote this before watching the season premier). I can't wait to see what it will bring! 

What HBO shows do you watch? Do you like The Newsroom?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Deciding to move

It's no secret that I want to get a house of our own. The house we are in is old and needs TLC. I have considered asking Firefighter's parents to buy the house and then bull doze it or use whatever sustainable structure there is, but I doubt there is any. The house has had termites in the past and currently we are dealing with flying carpenter ants. When I think about what it would cost to reconstruct this house or to construct any house, I fear that we could not afford it. I am actually pretty certain that we won't be able to afford that. 

I know I have talked about it on here almost ad nauseam, and for that I apologize, but it's big topic that tends to occupy too much of my brain and I need to get it out. 

Our housing options are limited in the city where we live. The cost of living is getting more and more expensive here and I fear that our options for this city are limited. The "handyman" specials are being sold just within our price range. So needless to say that means that we would hardly be able to afford the repairs. It also means that we may have to look elsewhere for a house. The other options we have include a 20-25 minute drive every work day of the week or a 45 minute drive every work day.... and as our luck would have it we can afford the houses that would include the 45 minute drive to work. Now this wouldn't be a problem per say if at least ONE of us worked in that city, NP we will call it. But both of us work in Sota. How do you decide to move when your commute could possibly go from 7 mins for me, 10 mins for FF to 45 mins.... EVERYDAY!?!?!?!?! OMG....the cost of our gas would sky rocket!!! And would that be a financially smart decision?? Would that make moving the worse decision???

This is where I am struggling....the amount of house that we can afford in NP (3 or 4/2, 1600-2000sq ft), is equivalent to 3/2 1200 sq foot house in Sota. And then with that in mind the amount of yard you get is significantly less in Sota as well. NP over all has better housing options. Not to mention that it's smaller and quiet down there, and that appeals to me.  When we go down there to hang out with our friends, I feel a sense of calm when we pull off the interstate. Not sure what that means or why it happens.

AND THEN.... I worry about friends and family. Most of our friends are here and all of my family is here... how do you move away? Now granted we are not hours and hours away, we would be possibly 45 minutes away and that is far, or at least it feels that way. I fear that IF (BIG IF) we ever moved to NP then we would never see some of our friends and family. And that has been a deciding factor for me. I don't know if that is a good thing to use as a deciding factor. I need to be concerned about what is best for Firefighter and I! But sadly, that is not completely how I am built... I care about those things. Ugh!

I guess these things shouldn't really concern me right now since we aren't seriously moving. We are talking about it. We are considering it... We don't have a prequalification letter yet either.

What would be the biggest deciding factor for you to move??? 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Love, Marilyn

I can honestly say that I have always been a bandwagon fan of Marilyn Monroe. I have a good friend that loves her, so when HBO advertised that they were showing a documentary about her I decided to watch it as well.  There is a lot more to this woman than people realized, than I realized. She was a deep, passionate, very dedicated to becoming a good actress, and very .... lonely. It's so sad to see a woman who wanted so much to be a good actress and to be loved and taken seriously, to only feel alone and not even truly loved by a man that she loved so much. As I listened to her words, it made me think how brave it was for her to put it all out there, even though it was only for her personal reflection and perhaps a sense of release. I hold back... even with myself. I am afraid to put myself out there in anyway at all, and I envy that she was able to do that. She was unapologetic about who she was and things that she did that caused a stir. How can you not admire a person for owning who they were? And she OWNED it! 

The documentary is shot with current actors/actresses, authors and other people who knew her or had input on her life either reading her journals or her poetry or revisiting events in her life. Hearing her words are so powerful and gut wrenching. Having these actresses say her words out loud, it makes you really feel her emotions. The words really make you feel the emotion along with her... it's almost like you become her. Marisa Tomei is one of the actresses who is reading Marilyn's letters and she does a GREAT job of emulating the tone of the letters with her actions and her voice, her delivery. Jennifer Ehle, who looks like Meryl Streep to me, also did an awesome job of bringing her words to life. Glenn Close, Evan Rachel Wood, Elizabeth Banks, Uma Thurman and Viola Davis also lent their voices and talents to Marilyn's writings. Marilyn was an inspiration for so many of our current actresses and paved the ways for many of today's celebrities. Lady Gaga and Madonna are among those who have tried to replicate her sex appeal. (Hello.. Madonna Material Girl?!?!?)

It's so tragic how these movie stars long to be accepted and loved and how they end up feeling so lonely when they are surrounded by so many people. But the sad truth is that they don't know who they can trust. And while there are times I envy their pocketbooks, I do not envy their relationships. How can you tell when you have genuine and authentic people in your lives when you are in the spotlight? It seems that all Marilyn wanted was to be a wonderful actress, to be loved and to be accepted, even though she couldn't accept herself. The more the movie went on, the more sadness you could see in her eyes as her words filled the screen. Even through the screen I almost got a sense of the loneliness she felt. 

While the movie was playing in the background, I was googling her name and quotes. I also took to Amazon to see about the books that were referenced in the movie. I have become more interested in historical fiction after reading Hemingway's Girl by Erika Robuck. It was just a good story and the fact that it centered around an actual person made it all the more interesting. I would like to say that I will read a book or two maybe, if I am being extremely optimistic, about Marilyn Monroe. I am considering My Week with Marilyn, which is also a movie, to start with and go from there. 

It's absolutely crazy to think that she was only 3 years older than me when she died. What could she have become? How could her legacy have changed? Would she have been able to fulfill her dream and become the great actress that she wanted, and so desperately tried, to be? What would have happened had she gotten the help she truly needed, and deserved? Would she have had children? 

Sadly these are all questions that will have to go unanswered and we will forever be haunted by her unfinished legacy. After watching this movie I can definitely say that I am an admirer. She was quite a woman. 

Are there any Hollywood icons you admire? 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

It's Officially O F F I C I A L....

I am now a GREAT aunt! Ms. Kendall Shae made her appearance Tuesday, 6/4/13 at 4:34 am weighing 7 lbs and 18" long! 

(daddy, grandma and baby - 3 generations)

It is truly one of the most surreal things in the world that my NEPHEW is a father! But he is super excited about it, which is great! 

Mama decided to go to a birthing center instead of the hospital and had the baby the au'natural way. Bless her heart! No drugs!!  Oh and she went home the same day... a mere 2-3 hours after delivery! For you mama's out there that had the hospital births I am sure that sounds crazy. And since she delivered the baby in like a tub of water, the baby didn't need to be cleaned off. Oh and did I mention she was in labor, active like pushing, for 2 hours! From what I understand that is not a long period of time. 


This is my favorite picture of the night! I love the pure joy and love that is on my mother's face. I don't think its too common that people get the privilege of being GREAT grandparents. Sadly, my father isn't here to enjoy that privilege, but I can't help but think he would have loved this little girl SO much, and I know that my mother is going to love this baby to the moon and back! And maybe even more than that, if it is possible. 

(daddy, grandma, great grandma and baby - 4 generations)

(ME and my great niece!!!!)

Last one I promise.... 

Babies bring such joy!!!! I can't wait to watch her grow!!! 


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Why Disney?? WHY????

I can never fully understand why theme park admission prices have to increase every year. Especially the ones (*cough cough DISNEY cough cough*) that are internationally known and VERY well um, attended. I get that they are making changes and adding more to the parks to make it more enjoyable for patrons/customers, but it's getting harder and harder in this economy for people to truly enjoy the parks. I don't think that this is what Walt Disney would have wanted. I think he wanted families to be able to come and enjoy the parks and to do so frequently, and well that isn't always the case now. 

But even as I sit here and say that, I KNOW, as we all do, that even this price hike will not stop people from going to the parks. I do not understand how large families or foreigners do it. How can they afford it all?  I do not have children yet and I find it expensive to go to the parks. I can't even imagine what my grandchildren will have to pay to get in. When will it ever become enough? 

Don't get my wrong, I understand that they need to make money, however, it's not like it's some small rinky dink place that no one goes to. This is a HUGE company with multiple theme parks, a cruise line, resorts, the DVC, and many many other things, why in the hell must the admission price go up?!?!? 

There will be people out there saying that we should boycott Disney and other theme parks that have recently raised prices (Universal Studios),and that will teach the parks a lesson, but do you know how many people would have to do that??? (honestly I had that thought myself, ME a DISNEY FAN!!) There would have to be thousands upon thousands of people to boycott the parks, and while that is all well and good to SAY, people will not do it! Which is why they feel they can raise their prices, and get away with it. They know that people will still come no matter what. People will figure out a way to make it happen.

And really I am just venting my frustrations, because let's face it, nothing compares to driving under that sign and knowing you are on Disney property. NOTHING!!!! 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Brain Dump re: House Hunting

Trying to find a house in our price range and meet the criteria we would like is proving difficult. Or rather, let me rephrase that... trying to find a house in the current city we live in now is proving difficult. I am finding plenty of houses that are 30-45 minutes away. And while there is some appeal to moving to a new, up and coming place, its so far away from my family, friends, my job and what I know. 

The houses in the city we live in are smaller and have less amenities than the houses 30-45 minutes away. You are getting so much more for your house for your money by moving away. When you do a side by side comparison it should be a no brainer, but then the heart weighs in and things get blurry and confusing. I start thinking, would my family and friends travel that far to come and visit? Would I visit on the weekends? Would it create distance between us and our friends? What about gas mileage? 

What things do you consider before moving a considerable distance away? I feel like these are things that are holding be back and then I start to over-analyze everything. I think to myself is it worth moving that far away if we have to travel back to our current city every day for work? It makes more practical sense to just find something in the area right? Of course! And then I think to myself what is the point of even having a house there if we are here all the time, why not live here? And it goes on and on... and ON!!!! 

I think Firefighter and I were seriously looking at a place about 45 minutes away and then my father passed away and well that changed everything. I could not bring myself to move that far from my family at that time. And now that it has been almost 3 years it is still too hard. UGH! And the fact that house prices are on the rise is making me want to get our little buts in motion and do this like.... NOW!!! 

But like with anything else I seem to want, there are strings. Getting a loan isn't as easy as it used to be. They want you to be employed with the same profession for more than 6 months. And of course now, Firefighter has only been at this gem of a new job since March 1. My job is going well and I have been there over a year now and I have a promotion in line. But is that enough? I have more research to do!! 

OH and then there is this USDA program that we probably COULD qualify for, but you have to find a house east of the interstate. And most of those houses are too expensive and out of our price range or they are 30 minutes away. I KNOW that I will never get it handed to me and that it is going to be hard work, but it would just LOVE for something to give, for something to make it a little easier. I am not even asking for money to buy the house, just something to make it more accessible instead of it feeling like it's never going to happen. 

I have much more to say about the idea of moving away but I will save that for another day. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Color Me RAD 5k

Yesterday I participated in my first color run! It was an absolute BLAST, and I can't wait to do another one!  In fact I already preregistered for one in October called Run or DYE!  

These lovely items were included in my swag pack for the race. As I type this I am wearing the shirt in the photo. It's like a medal of achievement. I am so proud of myself for doing this race and for doing it under the time I have done in the past. I wore the shades during the race, good thing too, and the remnants of the tattoo are still on my right arm. 

When we arrived at the Florida State Fairgrounds for the race it was madness. People in white were EVERYWHERE. And then there were those who were not so white... They were more colorful! People were sporting tutus and colorful socks and wigs. It was such a fun event and the energy there was just oozing into the air and made it contagious! I was pumped!!!! 

I didn't have a bandanna to bring with me and I had heard that it could be necessary when going through the color stations. Thank goodness they were selling some there. I purchased one for $5. It really went well with my sunglasses. Although with this look I felt like a criminal sticking up a convenience store. But it ended up being a life saver, because whatever was used in the color bombs did not taste good at all! BLECH! 

The weather was absolutely amazing yesterday too! Thank goodness. It would have been a total shame if it rained or anything. Although I wouldn't have minded a little less sun and a little more breeze and clouds! I hate running in Florida. It seems like the only time of day that I would enjoy it is after dinner time and after dark. While we were running yesterday, the humidity made my fingers feel like sausages and dried out my skin too. Even now I am still a little bloated. 

At the end of the race we were not met with a stop watch, which I liked, but rather a big party with an absolutely awesome DJ. The DJ stand had a crows around it and they were tossing out color packets left and right. My mini-me, pictured above, and I went into the crowd along with her cousin and grabbed handfuls of color when the DJ made his rounds and then on his mark the crowd let the color explode from their hands. It was insanely crazy and I loved every second of it. And when we emerged we looked like this.... 

I can't wait until the next color race. I am glad that it will be taking place in October. I vow here and now to not partake in any more 5ks in the summer time in Florida, unless they are at night time. 


I couldn't have asked for a better day or time yesterday. And even as I sit here and type this I am feeling excited for having had the opportunity to do this run and have this experience. Maybe next time more friends and family will join us! 

P.S. A few of the things they don't mention is that your spit will change colors (mine was blue), so will your um, boogers, (sorry) and that your body will become a little stained. But it's all worth it in my opinion!!! 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Can I just say that....

I LOOOOOOOOVED Iron Man 3!!!! 

Robert Downey Jr is still HOT and just a great actor!!!

Can't wait to watch it again!

Friday, April 12, 2013

No one is too old to read a Disney book

I purchased the first of the new chapter book series from Disney called "The Never Girls". It tells the tale of four young girls you are accidentally transported to Pixie Hollow. I just got book one over the weekend and I am currently getting ready to start Chapter 3. My co worker and her daughter read the book on a road trip recently and I am happy to report that BOTH mom and daughter are excited to read the second one. YAY!!

I also took the plunge and decided to buy the first of the Kingdom Keepers series. I haven't started it yet, since I want to finish the above book first, but I am looking forward to this series as well. The first book tells the tale of young adults that get stuck in Walt Disney World after dark and they are being followed by Disney villains. There are currently 6 books in this series that have been published. 


I am excited to read both of these series. This is definitely something that combines two things I enjoy ...reading and Walt Disney World. Once I have completed the books I will report back here with a review. Excited aren't you? I bet!!! 

Disney books.... they aren't just for kids, are they?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

I went to the gym ... am I skinnier yet?

I have the worst mind set in that I think that if I do something once I will get the results I desire. Like going to the gym ONE time will make me lose all the weight that I have gained. This is a precarious way of thinking. It's almost like self sabotage. I KNOW that going to the gym or running more than once is necessary to lose weight and I KNOW that I need to practice at things in order to get better at them, but I don't always do it. And why? Who knows. I think that I get so caught up in my desire to be like everyone else and look like everyone else and have it "easy" that I assume by doing something once I am going to get the results I want, when the exact opposite is true. I know I have written here before about how other people make things I want to do look so easy, that I tend to forget that they had to work at it and I am only now seeing the results of their hard work and dedication. 

I miss Medifast. I wish that I could afford it again. Right now it would be like a third car payment and that is something we just can't afford right now. (Maybe after I get my raise with my new position) I remember how great I felt while I was following the diet and how easy it seemed. I know I may be contradicting myself, but I truly thought that I could do it on my own. Apparently I can't. I need guidance and I do better when I have it all laid out for me. Truthfully too, when I was on the Medifast I was taking a different thyroid hormone replacement. It was a more natural one and I truly believe 100% that it was a factor in the way that I lost the weight. But now the doctor is too afraid of the side effects to put me back on it. I have gained 15 of the almost 50 pounds that I lost in the last 2 years. I need to do something and clearly doing it on my own isn't working. I don't eat bad foods, I just think in regards to the food aspect, my problem is portion control. I don't stuff myself, but I don't always stop when I feel adequately full enough. 

I have clothes in my closet that I bought when I lost all the weight that I refuse to get rid of. They are reminders of how good it felt and how good I looked. I would give anything to get back to that place. I know I want to be there and I do try but I struggle with getting motivated and than staying motivated. 

This week I started Couch to 5k. Today would have been day 3 but I didn't go. Lunch wasn't sitting too well after work and I had no one to go with me. I need to not be so reliant on others to help me achieve the goal of being more fit, but it is just easier for me to do things when I have a partner. I don't want that to be an excuse, it's just he way I think it is for me.

But I do vow to this..... 

Friday, March 29, 2013

The Artist's Way

I have been struggling with my blogging as of late and at the suggestion of a friend I purchase The Artist's Way to help me to hopefully get back to blogging, or rather, start blogging, and writing, more religiously. I started it last week and to be honest I haven't kept up with it like I should. The main activity asked by the author is to participate in Morning Pages. 

Morning Pages are to be done first thing in the morning. I mean like you roll over grab your pen and paper and start writing. And frankly sometimes I can't even function or think until I am out of bed. They are three pages of free thinking, no formatted writing. I can definitely say that I haven't had a problem with that. My entries have been all over the place from relationship stuff to work stuff to home stuff. That is the beauty of it, there is no right or wrong way to do the Morning Pages. And the author suggests not writing the Morning pages on a computer. I would have to agree with that as well. There is something about actually writing it out with a pen onto paper that feels more cathartic and more effective then "writing" it on a blog somewhere. 

Although I fear that I haven't been doing it right. The author asks you to identify your creative enemies and frankly I don't have any that I can think of. I don't think that I have encountered anyone in my life that has halted me. If anything I have been surrounded by supportive and constructive people. I am my worst enemy and therefore I fear that I am on the only person standing in my way. 

I hope to get back on track next week. Hopefully this will help open the flood gates and help me be more creative. Fingers crossed!!! 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Our Corner of the World

Things have been shaken up around here. I am getting a promotion of sorts and Firefighter got a new job! 

I am going to be a surgery/ancillary scheduler. (And I haven't even been there one year) Doesn't that sound thrilling? Actually, to me it sounds intimidating a little. I mean, surgery is a big deal and I am going to be scheduling and coordinating with doctors and hospitals and all that jazz! First I am going to start off scheduling injections and nerve conduction tests and eventually I am going to have my own doctors to schedule surgeries for. And you want to know what the most exciting part is?? THE RAISE! I am apparently going to be getting a decent raise. More than my supervisor expected! WOW!!!! And on top of that, today at the staff meeting it was announced that I was the employee of the month for March. That got me $100, a snazzy parking space and an entry for a drawing for a cruise for two at the end of the year. EXCITING!!! I can't wait for the new position to kick in. They are trying to replace me at the check in desk, and let's face it that is going to be a challenge (haha), and once that happens I will be able to make the transition. A few other good tidbits I want to share... I am going to be getting a part time where I can work from home (yay) and I am going to be photographing a wedding in June. I am excited and nervous at the same time. I am grateful that I had the experience from the previous wedding which has given me a bit more confidence. I need to get out there and practice more with my camera. I am debating about whether or not I want to borrow a full frame camera from my wonderfully, awesome friend who is a sports photographer. (wink wink)

So firefighter got a new job! Recently he was put in a position where he felt like he needed to leave the transport company he was working for. Thankfully something else was available for him to walk right into basically. He isn't getting the same number of hours but the pay rate is the same. He is working at a facility with patients that have sustained some sort of brain trauma and they are either rehabbing or they need constant care and coverage. I really wish that things didn't have to change for him. He liked his shift and his partner, and now this new position that he has is so boring and I was afraid of that. Needless to say the job hunt is in full swing for him.This has been a rude awakening. When he was in school he was told jobs would be easy to find and that is so not the case. He has had nothing  but trouble finding somewhere to find gainful and respectful employment. Not that he wasn't working somewhere respectable but it wasn't what he wanted and he wasn't getting paid what he should have been. He is trained to save people's lives and he makes less than I do. What is the matter with that??? UGH! I could go on about how unfair it is but 

So that is what's going on in our little corner of the world. What's new with you???

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Baseball is back!!!!

Well.... almost! 

Last weekend to kick it off we attended the Tampa Bay Rays fan fest at Tropicana stadium. I was very excited about attending for the first time. Although I think I was expecting it to be something different than it was I am still glad that we attended. It was super cool to have an opportunity to walk on the field and just walk all over, like we owned the place.

This what the "grass" looks like up close and personal. I think it was last year that they went to astroturf. My brother in law was able to get dirt up from underneath the turf! HA!!!! 

There were lots of things to do there for the younger kids. There was a video game station, a pitching station and a hitting station as well. Some lucky people got to play MLB against David Price. Of course we left before I got to see that happen. DAMMIT!!!

One of the coolest things for me was the clubhouse tour. It was so neat to see where they get ready for games.

All the players and managers have their own chairs and mailboxes too! Maddon's mailbox was overflowing a bit!! Hee hee!!! 

And of course the highlight of my day was seeing this guy..... 

MATT JOYCE!!!! OMG... such a cutie and a good ball player too. Don't worry I don't just appreciate his good looks. 

I am looking forward to going to a handful of spring training games. I remember last year at this time I was able to go and watch a full squad practice. That was AWESOME and I wish I could have done it again this year, but ironically enough it was the same day as fan fest. Didn't understand that at all. 

Who else is glad that baseball is back? Did anyone else attend a fan fest for their respective teams?? Please share!!!! 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

One year ago....

One year ago this month I was let go from my job as a legal assistant for a family law attorney. 

It was the BEST thing that could have ever happened to me. That job was draining me. I didn't believe in what we were doing and I didn't care for the way that she was practicing or the way she was treating her associate and myself. She worked from home 90% of the time and didn't always help the clients the way that it seemed she should. She would also make me lie to clients and I was uncomfortable with that as well. All in all, I was disenfranchised with the whole idea of what the law stands for and represents. Its not fair. I do not feel that it provides justice for the victims, at least not for the people that we were representing, people getting divorced. It's all a matter of interpretation, or manipulation, and the lawyers job is to present their idea of what this certain law is saying. Now don't get me wrong the law did work in our favor sometimes, but not always. Such is life though. And it was getting to me. Seeing people come in and tear apart families and 20 year marriages, just got to be so disheartening. I became jaded and well, I am a romantic. Bottom line is that it wasn't the right place for me to be.   

I didn't go back to work right away. I stayed unemployed for about 3 months and it was also one of the best things I could have done for myself. It was a good mental and physical break. I hadn't stopped since dad passed away. And I was in such a negative place with that job that I had fallen into a depression of sorts. So the time off was necessary. While I was unemployed, I wanted to find something to do to make it so that I could work from home. But I don't have a strong enough passion for anything to make a living working from home. So I went back to work. And to be honest I didn't go on a lot of interviews. Only one! 

That's right... 1! 

And I got the job!! 

Now.... I am so happy. 

I love where I work and for the most part, I really like the people I work with. I went from one extreme to another ... leaving the legal field and entering the medical field was like night and day. And now I can't imagine it any other way. I have been there about 9 months and I am going to be getting a new position already. YAY!! And while my previous employer was good to me in some ways, these people are good to me in other ways. They have had an employee appreciation week since I have been there, we all received gift cards at Thanksgiving and Christmas and for Valentine's day we were provided with pizza and other goodies. And now they are offering an employee of the month program where you get $100 and your name is put in a pool to win a cruise for 2 at the end of the year. Plus there is room for growth. Can't say the same about the other place. 

A year can bring a lot of changes, both good and bad, and I have to say that this year has proven to be nothing but good things! What changes have you seen in the past year? Were they good or bad??

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

It's not the camera... it's me

I have a problem. 

I have this almost crippling expectation that my camera will take awesome pictures and all I will have to do is point and click. 

That is not the case, right fellow photogs???

You have to know lighting, exposure, ISO, aperture, shutter speed and the list goes on. And for the most part I have a basic understanding on aperture and ISO. Lighting, composition and exposure elude me. One of the reasons that I love my 35 mm lens is because it can be used in low light places and 

Going through the pictures from the wedding proved to be rather disappointing. Most of my indoor pictures turned out awful. There was a lot of noise and some sort of reddish coloring in the pictures that I couldn't figure out. And even though I have lightroom, I am not fully educated on how to use it 100%. I am ordering this book for myself so I can have some sort of reference guide. 

The camera that the other photographer used was more advanced than mine and it showed. Not to mention that her vantage point was better than mine. I was up front closer to the actual ceremony and she was at the back. The sun was directly behind the couple and that made for some interesting shots. Now don't get me wrong some of my pictures I really liked, but I liked hers better. And while I continue to blame my camera, I need to realize that the camera isn't the one that took the pictures. The camera was merely the tool that I used. I am the one the pressed the shutter release button.

I expect it to be easy, because others make it look easy. I fail to realize that these people have more experience because they have been doing it longer and they have practiced. Or because they have training. And I don't. I expect it to come naturally and it doesn't, at least not for me.

I know I am being overly critical of myself and I need to stop that. But I set the expectations for myself too high. I expect the pictures to be just totally awesome and editing would be a cinch and that was not the case. Oy! The only way I am going to get over this is to practice more. I just need to make it a priority! 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

My First Wedding!

.... not MY wedding and when I do get married, I plan on that being my ONLY wedding.

Saturday, February 2nd I helped a friend photograph a wedding for the first time. It was exciting and I was a little nervous at times, since I feel like I do not understand photography enough to take on the responsibility of a wedding, but I think it went well. 

It was definitely an interesting experience to be at a wedding where I didn't know anyone and where I was allowed to, or rather where I was more at ease taking pictures of everything and not feeling like I was being judged. It's a privilege to be apart of someone's special day like that and to be a total stranger. I understand how photographers and brides become close. You spend time together, talk and develop a connection. And as the photographer you are capturing special moments from one of the happiest days of the couples lives, so your role is important. These are moments they aren't going to be able to recreate so you need to try and grab them while you can.

The couple will have their pictures tomorrow. I am anxious to see how they like the pictures. I would do another wedding as a favor, I don't know that I would consider taking this up as a profession. 

If you want to check out the pictures that my friend Amy and I took I have a photobucket album set up. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

With GREAT Power Comes GREAT Responsibility!!!!

I am going to be a GREAT Aunt! (Goodness seeing it in writing is so surreal) My 21 year old nephew and his girlfriend are going to have a baby in June. They made the announcement at Thanksgiving and last night we had a "Gender Party" at my mom's house to reveal the sex of the baby. Mom-to-be made a cake which revealed the cake. They gave my mom (Great grandma) the privilege of cutting the cake for the big reveal!! 

And to everyone's surprise, the inside was PINK!!!! Mom and Dad to be were expecting it to be a boy. Before last night whenever she would refer to the baby she always said he. And I was going along with her because of mother's intuition, I figured that was a pretty strong feeling! 

I am super excited and started looking at baby girl clothes last night online and even some Yankee outfits. (the nephew is a Yankee fan....ugh!)  They have some cute girl names picked out... Kylie, Charlize, Leigh for a middle name. Woo hoo!!! 

Hurry up June 3rd!!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Food on the Table

One of my New Year's resolutions for this year is to focus on the money I spend and try to be more conscientious. I realize one way to do that is through meal planning. I have tried to do this in the past with no real success and as a result I have become one of those everyday shoppers. And needless to say that isn't good for the purse strings. I end up buying and spending more than I intend to. So in an effort to become a more diligent meal planner I have downloaded an app called Food on the Table.

First you add the stores that you frequent and the app pulls the most recent ad for that store. It's awesome. Then when you find a recipe and add it to the program and the app will add the ingredients for the recipe to your grocery list and then tell you what store offers what deals that coincide with your list. How cool is that?!?!?

I am going to give it a try this week, my first week of meal planning. What an adventure this is going to be!!! 

Monday, January 21, 2013

My First Major Run/Walk

Saturday my family and I participated in a run/walk sponsored by the YMCA. It was a 4 mile course that you could either walk or run. And naturally I chose to walk. I am by no means a runner, but I am preparing myself to do the Wine and Dine marathon at Epcot in November. My family and I are doing another 5k walk/run in March. I am excited and I am enjoying this so far. 

I wanted to run for part of the course, but I woke up light headed due to my sinuses bothering me and that coupled with the cool air and the wind made it impossible to run. Which was disappointing. I was looking forward to challenging myself a bit. I did "jog" a bit and afterwards my chest felt a little tight, but I figured that was from the cold weather that I am not used to. 

Now I just need to get myself back to the gym. I mean I am paying for it, I should use it right?? I want to be able to run at the next event. It's a goal of mine to become more active without having to go to the gym. I would also like to get a bike, but I am going to have to save money for that one.

Any tips for a new runner??? Please feel free to share!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

First Guest Post .... EVER

Today I had the privilege of contributing over at My Dreams of Disney. I am super excited because this is the first time that I have ever done this and it's about something that I love so that made it easy.  Mickey at MDOD gave me the task of writing about the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival. Stop on by My Dreams of Disney and check it out!!!  

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

My Happy Place!!

Three words... WALT DISNEY WORLD. Just thinking these three words causes me to instantly relax and my blood pressure to level out.  For all intents and purposes Walt Disney World is my happy place.  All I have to do when I am having a freak out moment is think about walking onto Main Street USA and catching that first glimpse of Cinderella's castle and my mind calms and my insides subside. It brings me to a peaceful and serene place. 

When I am there I feel like a child again and I forget all the problems of the outside world. At that time, at the precise moment all that matters is that I am there, "the happiest place on earth", and that I am in fact happy. I feel relieved of the everyday, mundane, adult thoughts that nag at me when I am going about my normal day. We have the seasonal annual passes with the park hopper option and that makes me feel like we own the place. We can go to any of the 4 main parks whenever we want... It's awesome! 

 Magic Kingdom


One of my favorite things is when we are riding up on the boat from the ticket center and watching the castle come more and more into focus as it gets closer and closer. Walking through the archways under the train station welcomes me. Finding my way onto Main Street USA, looking around and being reminded of the familiar scenes, yet feeling like I am seeing it for the first time helps to ease my mind and spirit.  I truly feel at peace when I am there and like nowhere else exists. 

It is my sanctuary. And to think that it all started with a mouse. 

Do you have a happy place? A place in your mind that you go to when you are stressed or overwhelmed? 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Resolution Ready.......or Not {Part 2}

I know you are all waiting with baited breath for the remaining resolutions I have, so we are going to dive right in.... 

5. Make my house more of a home
Its obvious that I am not exactly in LOVE with my house. It's a place to live. It's partially my fault for not taking the bull by the horns and putting my own personal touch on the house. I have started to get more pictures of Firefighter and I up around the house. I love sunflowers, and I have slowly started integrating sunflowers into the house and the kitchen. I would love to get a new table, but that may have to wait a bit. I also want a new bookcase for the books and DVDs. There is one at Target I like and also IKEA of course has great stuff. 

6. Follow through on projects
The above item, would be considered a project yes? Well I am great at starting things and not always finishing them. I get to a point where I am either tired of doing it or get frustrated. So here is another thing that I do not necessarily feel I need to have anything in order to accomplish this, I do not need to buy anything. Although, this could also include getting my house more organized, in which case I would need to get some storage containers. I just need to find the motivation and/or will power to follow through and get things finished!!! 

7. Plan a trip to DISNEY for my birthday!!!! (THIS MAY BE MY FAVORITE)
So I have a handy dandy planner now for Disney, thanks to my brother and his family,  which I will use to plan this extravaganza!! The book even has the new Fantasyland mentioned in there with all the new rides and restaurants. It's so exciting! And come hell or high water, I am staying on property. I want to be there for the parade and the fireworks and I don't want to have to worry about driving anywhere. I also like the idea of the freedom that is offered when you stay on property. It doesn't have to be one of the fancy resorts, just one of their "value" resorts and that would be fine with me. Not to mention that since my birthday is in December, the park will be decorated for Christmas!!!! YIPPPPEEEEEE!!!!!!!! 

8. Learn Italian
This is one I would like to keep and get to, but if I don't it won't be the end of the world. I have some CDs that my dad ordered that my mom gave to me after dad passed way. I need to remember that I have them and make an effort to use them. 

So there you have it, my resolutions!!! I hope you are all able to stick to yours and I am going to make a valiant effort to keep mine!

Here's to a happy and healthy new year!!!