Sunday, November 22, 2015

Happy Birthday to me

It’s not brand new, but it’s new to me.
And the best birthday present I’ve ever gotten.

The road I drive every day to work, is a tough one. It’s dirt mixed with little pebbles, large rocks, and many dips and holes. There is a section that makes me feel like I’m doing a four-wheeling rock climb, and while that is just cool in itself, the Honda of SS’s I have been driving since my accident in April, just wasn’t cutting it. Plus, with El Nino supposedly coming ten fold this year, SS was determined he wasn’t going to be riding his motorcycle to work every day for the next two years while I finish school. So, he went out and bought me this truck for my birthday. That’s how bad he wanted his Honda back.

So, every day, I drive this Escape down a long, windy, bumpy road, and she gets me there. In one piece. She’s a real good sport about it, because I know that road isn’t very forgiving.

I see camping trips, 4-wheel-drive back road mud days, and a teenage boy that won’t complain about the lack of room in the small car anymore. Score!

Now she just needs an appropriate name. I don’t know why I assume she’s a female. Maybe because she’s not a monster truck with large tires? Who knows. Either way, this baby needs a name.

P.S. I’ve already got the Kyle Busch stickers on order for the back window. And of course, the MsNscr license plate will be on just as soon as we get all the registration stuff from the dmv.  :)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Yo, yo, yo.

I can’t even begin to tell you how incredibly busy I’ve been. Between work and school, I don’t get anything else done. You should see my kitchen table. It’s got soldering irons, a remote control helicopter, some legal paperwork from the child support office, some homework scratch papers, a few odds-and-ends I pulled out of my crashed Nissan, and my laptop. There are four totes full of Christmas décor that we’ve pulled out of the garage in hopes of putting up, but haven’t gotten to yet, sitting in my dining room. And the most annoying thing, is that there are dishes in my sink that I haven’t rinsed and moved to the dishwasher. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. Even when I had that extra hour for Daylight Savings, I still needed a few more.

Even though things have been super busy for me, other things have been happening in the background. Life doesn’t stop, no matter how much you’d wish it would once in a while. Can’t wait to share my most recent news. ;-)

Talk soon…..

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Back at it

A few months ago, I received a phone call from an owner of another animal company in the business. He expressed interest in hiring me to run his office, but at the time, I was very content with just going to school. My days were filled with studying and trashy daytime television. It was the best mix of chaos and relaxation that could have ever falling into my hands. And although SS was extremely jealous that I was doing that, he tolerated it.

As much as I enjoyed my time off work, I couldn’t realistically continue to do that. Since the fear of starting a new job was more overwhelming than I wanted to handle, I decided it best to at least stick with the field in which I was familiar. Animals in the entertainment business. That was my whole life for more than eight years, so I decided to call him back.

I just finished my first month.

The new place is different than my last ranch. Different in so many ways. So. Many.
First of all, they are mostly known for exotics. Yes, exotics. I now currently work at a ranch that houses lions, tigers, and bears (Oh My!). When I get to work every morning, I can hear the lion grunting – perhaps trying to remind the trainers it’s breakfast time?

It’s been a really tough month. A huge eye opener. I’ve learned that I’m tougher than I thought I was. Work from 8a-5p and classes from 6p-11p. Some nights I just want to pass out dead tired after class, and some nights I just want to keep going. But then at 6:30a the next morning, I want to pull my eyeballs out because the sun is just too bright.

Here’s to another job. And to another quarter of school.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Behind the Wrench.

“I may be a mechanic, but I can’t fix stupid.”

‘67 Corvette Stingray

Today, we’re talking with SS about what it takes to be an Auto Mechanic, and the ups and downs of dealing with machines. And the people that drive them.

Me: How did you decide to become an Automotive Mechanic?
SS: “Growing up, I always helped my dad work on his cars, and I was good at it. When I started at the local community college after high school, I took several different types of courses (accident investigation, EMT, along with general courses), hoping to find something that interested me enough to make it a career. Nothing did. That’s when I decided that since I was so good at working on cars, and I actually enjoyed it, I’d make THAT my career. And off to Phoenix, AZ I went.”

Me: What type of education do you have?
SS: “I have a high school diploma, a few general education courses from the local community college, and an 18-month Auto/Diesel program from Universal Technical Institute.”

Me: Do you feel the education you received prepared you enough for real job prospects?
SS: “No. I think the work experience has been the best teacher for me.”

Me: What certifications do you have?
SS: “No certificates. I’ve found that most employers would rather see your actual work skills, than trust the results of a paper test that anyone can pass.”

Me: What’s your favorite thing about your job?
SS: “The accomplishment of knowing I was able to fix something that was wrong/broken. Knowing I could fix something someone else couldn't.”

Me: What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever worked on?
SS: “There have been so many, but I suppose I’d say a ‘68 Roadrunner and a ‘69 Dart. They were 9-second race cars. Definitely not street legal. That was fun.”

Me: What are some of the duties you do every day as a mechanic?
SS: “Inspect (and repair) vehicles for regular maintenance including belts, hoses, leaks, or any generically worn out parts, to ensure the safety of the customer.”

Me: What is the hardest part about your job?
SS: “The big jobs. The rebuilding of engines that takes days, instead of hours. Making sure you keep track of so many different little parts, and making sure every single one of them goes back. Those can be tough sometimes.”

Me: What are some specific characteristics that make a good mechanic? SS: “Right off the bat, I can say problem solving and creativity. You need to be able to look at a situation, and visualize how to fix it. At times, when you’re supposed to do something a certain way, your creativity and rationalization can come into play, allowing you to do it a little more efficiently. You need to be fast and efficient, not careless.”

Me: How has the Internet affected automotive service? For example, are there more customers trying to self-diagnose their car problems based on something they read online?
Let me interrupt this interview by saying that the amount of eye roll and irritation SS showed while answering this question, proved to me just how difficult this job can be.
SS: “I see it all the time. A person has their car towed to us, in pieces, because they couldn’t get done exactly what the YouTube video was trying to teach them. Either they didn’t have the right tool, or they weren’t strong enough, etc. The worst part about it, is you have to hope they brought you all the parts to put back. YouTube, sometimes isn’t the answer.”

Me: You work for a small, independent auto shop. How does that differ from working for a major automotive manufacturer, like Ford or Chevy?
SS: “Working at an independent shop, means you have to have more general automotive knowledge. If you work for a specific manufacturer, you typically know about that one, not any others. At an independent shop, you work on a variety from German to American to Japanese. And is generally a little more relaxed. Less bureaucracy, and not as many hoops to jump through to get something done.”

Me: Is there something in the Automotive business you would like to do in the future?
SS: “I know there will come a time when I won’t want to wrench anymore, so I just figured I’d move into the management portion of it. Maybe at my own shop. Maybe not.”

Me: If you hadn’t become an Auto Mechanic, what would you have done?
“Ha. I had such a hard time decided what to do, I can’t imagine doing anything else. However, now that marijuana is making it’s legal way into our lives, perhaps maybe I would grow that. I’ve always enjoyed that as a hobby.”

Well, that’s a little look into the Auto Mechanic career. Do you think it’s something YOU could do?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Monday in Pictures

Hey, hey, hey. It’s Tuesday, and I thought I’d do a little post about how my Monday went. It’s been a looooooong while since I’ve done a Today in Pictures post, so I thought I’d go ahead and do one.

My Monday started out just like any other day, at 7am. Sometimes, that alarm goes off just too early. Yesterday, I was not ready to hear it scream at me, but I put on my best smile anyway. ;-)

Once SS left for work, I went downstairs and started my day.

I immediately turned on the television so I could watch the latest episode of I Am Cait. Everything else can wait because I just love that show. And her!


Once the show was over, I got a little daring, and mixed two different types of cereal. Since there wasn’t much left of my Oh’s, I went ahead and filled the rest of the bowl with SS’s Cap’n Crunch. Mmmm….


For several years now, I’ve had an unhealthy addiction to playing FarmVille on Facebook. Yesterday, that addiction continued while I ate breakfast….


Once I was done fooling around on the computer, I decided it was time to get started. After all, it was Monday morning. The rest of the world was working, so I figured I might as well be too. Even if it is just around my house.
Laundry. It’s one of my favorite things to do. The smell of fresh clean clothes, towels, and SHEEEEEEEETS. Ohmygosh. It’s sooooo worth it.

I’m learning how to solder, so my dining room table is a ridiculous mess. Totally not acceptable to me by ANY standards, but since we don’t have a workbench, or anything of the sort, I’m forced to use this space. Good thing we don’t have company for dinner very often.


Turns out, playing around with soldering irons makes me hungry. Or maybe it was just because it was lunchtime. ;-) 
I was in a sandwich mood, so I played “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe” with which type I wanted.
--Peanut Butter & Jelly, a classic favorite?
--Turkey & Mustard, maybe with cheese?
--Grilled Cheese, comfort food for the soul?


Every Monday, the USA Network shows an NCIS marathon. Every Monday, the NCIS marathon is on my television as background noise to anything else I’m doing around the house. I suppose it’s a soothing and somewhat comforting feeling to hear DiNozzo, Gibbs, Ziva, or McGee talking. Call me weird, that’s okay. ;-)


Around three o’clock, I started to get a little hungry. We don’t eat dinner around here until 7:30p or 8p most nights, so I usually eat multiple times during the day. This time, I made some plain noodles with salt and pepper. Was good and held me over until dinner.


A little while later, SS came home. The day is always better when SS is around.

Finally it was dinnertime. We had a Rosemary marinated tri tip, rice, and a salad. It was the perfect amount of food, and I even have leftovers for lunch another day. Score!


Before bed every night, we have a snack. This time, it was a Ding Dong. Remember those? They’re waaaaaaay smaller than they used to be when I was a kid. (Or my hands are bigger and they just seem smaller.)


Bedtime – 10:30p. I look forward to this time every single night. It’s an awesome feeling to climb into bed, knowing I’ll be cuddling up with SS and all his warm body temperatureness. And clean sheets. Can’t forget the clean sheets!

{No bedtime photos – sorry}


Until next time….

Monday, August 17, 2015

Monday NASCAR news

1. Can you believe the kind of roll that Matt Kenseth and the whole Joe Gibbs Racing team have been on? It’s crazy, and I’m loving it.

With a start from the pole, he dominated the Michigan track. I don’t know if the JGR organization is doing so well because they like the new competition package, or because it’s just ultimately their time. Either way, I’m super happy.

2. Stewart-Haas Racing is supposed to announce on Tuesday, the new sponsor for Danica Patrick next year.

Remember we heard a few months back that Go Daddy was leaving NASCAR? Yep, that means Danica needed to find another sponsor. It’s my understanding that Nature's Bakery is going to take over. I’ve never heard of them, but looking at pictures, it appears to be something I wouldn’t eat anyway.

3. Here’s the latest Chase Grid…..
It’s great to see KB up there in the top.


We could see McMurray, Menard, Newman, Gordon, or Bowyer lose their current spot at any moment within the next three weeks, so we’ll talk more about it then.


4. Did you catch the Xfinity race on Saturday? Seems there is a difference of opinion about the final outcome of the race. David Regan tapped the bumper of Alex Tagliani on the last turn of the race, which caused Tagliani to lose the groove line completely moving him out of the way, and allowing Regan to take the checkered flag. Some call it dirty racing. Some just call it racing.

To me, it’s just racing. That’s the same exact way Dale Earnhardt used to race, so people just need to simmer down. You don’t get to win races without taking chances. Tagliani should have raced harder and had a bigger lead.

Let’s talk more NASCAR next week.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Wednesday Confessions

It’s time to do a little confessing….

I confess that I’m definitely not looking forward to going back to work. Let’s be honest, not working is awesome. I can do whatever I want around the house during the day, and don’t have to answer to anyone. Except SS. He gets kind of irritated when things aren’t done around the house and I’ve had all day to do them. Homework and studying doesn’t take up my entire day. Just part of it. No excuse.

I confess that I’m kind of excited about Fall. It means orange and red crunchy leaves on the ground, blankets, hoodies, fires in the fireplace, cuddling, hot chocolate, and Christmas décor in the stores.

I confess that the big hike SS and I did on Sunday, was awesome, but my legs are still sore three days later.
     Pinion Pathway (1/3 mile)
     Loop trail (1 mile)
     Devil’s Chair – there (3.7 miles)
+  Devil’s Chair – back (3.7 miles)__
                       8.7 miles
And it was a haaaaaaard 8.7 miles.

I confess that I’m super happy and excited Sis has an interview today for a job in Oregon. Seems all the family is moving there. I’ll just stay here in SoCal and make sure it doesn’t burn down. ;)

I confess that I’m also a little irritated that Sis could be moving soon. One of the reasons I went back to school, was because I was going to have Squid with me as a partner the whole time. Sounds like I’ll be doing this school thing alone from now on. Hope I have enough determination to stick with it. :(

Hope you have a fabulous Wednesday.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Hiking, hiking, and more hiking

Devil’s Punchbowl

When we first got there, we walked around a 1/3-mile circle. It was accidental, but I guess it got us warmed up.


We then walked the 1-mile Loop Trail. That was pretty brutal in itself, because there was a lot of up-and-downs, but we charged through it.


Then, Sis and Squid went home, and SS and I continued up to Devil’s Chair. Which kicked our ass. Once we got up there, we stopped to have a small lunch/picnic under a shady tree. Our legs were hurting so bad, it was really hard to think about turning around and going back the way we came. But after a little bit of sustenance, we trudged back down the mountain and charged through each and every painful step.

steve and val hiking

When we got back to the car, we wanted to cry. The trek was over and we were done. I was so very proud of us for sticking with it.

We started at 8:20am, and by 12:23p, we were high-fiving at the car.

I’m extremely grateful I had such great hiking partners. Couldn’t have done it without them. And even though Sis and Squid did only the first 1-mile, I’m so super proud of them for doing that. It was hard, I know. SUPER hard.

Monday, August 10, 2015


Today is the day. I’ve decided to have this blog go private for a while. It’s just better that way for me. And let’s be honest. This site is all about me anyway, so might as well do it.

If you’d like to continue to follow me while private, send an email to me, and I’ll add you to the list of approved readers.

It’s nothing personal. I promise.



Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Wednesday Wish List

It’s Wednesday. Do you know what that means?
If I was that annoying person that just can’t stop, I would remind you that its…. HUUUUUUUMP DAAAAY!




hump day

But I’m not that person, so I’ll just tell you. Wednesday means it’s math class night. Sigh. This stuff just burns my brain. Quadratic equations are soooo hard to understand. I’m not sure if I’ll end up using this in my future career, but even if I do, I’ll still have a calculator that tells me the answer.

Let’s get started on today’s short Wish List:

  • I wish that my refrigerator was full of food.
  • I wish the math I was studying, made more sense to me.
  • I wish RJ could be here with me more often.
  • I wish I could babysit Udon again. We miss him terribly.
  • I wish Lil’ SS lived closer so we could visit more often.
  • I wish I had a gas card that had unlimited funds on it, so I could just drive anywhere I want at any time.
  • I wish I had the nerve to cut my hair differently.
  • I wish Jack in the Box would make their drinks $1.00 to compete with McDonald’s. I like their tea much better.
  • I’m not really sure what direction Taylor Swift is going in, musically, but she lost me as a fan a few years ago. #Disappointed

I hope everyone else’s Wednesday doesn’t involve solving difficult equations.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Brownie Bliss

Tuesday! Tuesday! Do you know what Tuesday means?
It means it’s not Monday anymore. Yahoo!!
Yesterday, amidst the studying and TV watching I was doing, I found time to make brownies for my love.



What started out as a powdery mix……

Turned into a flowing, gooey, mix of awesomeness.

And then came this….


We may or may not have had seconds. Or thirds. Winking smile


Monday, July 27, 2015

Monday news

It’s Monday, and that means it’s time to start another week. For some, it’s another week of sitting in traffic. Another week of customer or patient complaints. And another week of school. But most importantly, it’s another week I’m alive! And I’m so very grateful for that.



Kyle Busch - How about that Kyle Busch sweep in Indy this weekend, huh? That guy is on fire! He just can’t do any wrong right now. We’re at a part of the schedule that he normally dominates, so I’m not too surprised, but I am. He was out for three months after a crash that left one leg and one foot broken, and since he’s been back, he’s won FOUR out of the last FIVE races. If that isn’t dominance and pure talent, I don’t know what is. He’s fought incredibly hard to get to where he is today, and I couldn’t be more proud to be a fan. Now all that stands in his way for a chance at winning the Sprint Cup, are those pesky 23 points that are keeping him out of the lineup.

Caitlyn Jenner – Did you watch “I Am Cait” last night? I haven’t watched it yet, but let me just say quickly, that I’m so beyond excited to watch it. I wasn’t a huge Bruce Jenner fan. I mean, I knew who he was, and I thought his incredible talent as an athlete was beyond amazing, but seeing Cait, makes me obsessed. I’m in no way a “girlie girl”, and do not have any desire to ‘be like Cait’, but she has me watching her every move. And I totally dig it.
A family friend of SS’s, ran into Caitlyn at a Starbucks one morning. The friend was fumbling the stuff she was holding (read: carrying too many things while trying to order coffee), and while Caitlyn was standing behind said friend in line, she offered to help hold her coffee while she got her stuff back in a descent holding order. Pretty nice of her. Most people I see would just watch someone struggle and go on about their day. Props to Caitlyn.

Toyota Tacoma – For the last few months, I’ve been driving around in an awesome Toyota Tacoma, that I’ve fallen in love with. The truck belonged to Squid’s dad, but when he passed away a few months ago, it became his. Because I’ve been out of a car since my wreck in April, Squid so nicely allowed me to drive it as long as necessary. Now that Summer is coming to an end, and the kids are gone, we don’t need a second car anymore. SS is quite content with riding his motorcycle to work every day, while I drive his car to school. I suppose it works out for both of us.
As much as I’m going to miss driving that truck, I definitely will NOT miss the gas guzzling it does.

Here’s to hoping you have a fabulous Monday.




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