Monday, May 7, 2018

You only turn 40 once

This year, I’m turning 40.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been forty years since I was born. I think my parents might be a little shocked too. I mean, they were just young adults when I was born. I guess that means they’ve aged forty years too. But shhh! They certainly don’t want to hear it. Ha!

My 40th birthday party started out as a surprise, but apparently there were too many questions to answer, and they didn’t know how to get the answers without making the whole plan obvious. So, although it isn’t a surprise, it’s still a pretty awesome thing.

The second to last race of the 2018 NASCAR season is November 11th in Phoenix. There will be eight of us, spending the entire weekend at the racetrack. We’ve rented a very large home, big enough for all of us to stay together, and I promise that house is going to get a lot of use those several days. Three NASCAR races, over three days. I can’t imagine the kind of shenanigans that will take place, but I can guarantee that I’m going to let loose and allow my 40th birthday to be amazing. I mean, you only turn 40 once.

Racing, swimming, and bbqing. This will be a birthday to remember.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Are you happy?

It’s no secret, for years I was miserable and unhappy, and I brought EVERYONE around me, down into my miserable hole.
I was recently divorced, and I wasn’t allowed to see my five year old son. I was living with my father, who, in all terms of the word, is a monster, and I was borrowing his car to make the 1.5hr drive to work every day because The X got the car in the divorce. Life really sucked.

Dad got tired of me always being gone with his car, so he bought me my own. It wasn’t a brand new, fancy car, but it was new to me. It got me to and from work, and allowed me to stay out of the house and away from him as much as possible. As much as I still hated him, I was grateful to have my own car. I was happier.

I still hated the 1.5hr drive to work, each way, so I changed jobs. Now my drive was only one hour. I was happier.

One night, I came home from work and my dad wanted to fight (he did this ALL.THE.TIME). I was tired and exhausted from working all day, but he didn’t care. He made all kinds of threats against my life and my friends’ lives, so I grabbed a few things and left. I ended up staying with my then boyfriend. A few days later, he went back to the house with me because I didn’t know what kind of mood dad was going to be in. Unfortunately, he wasn’t in any better of a mood. This was the day he pushed me down on the floor into the dishwasher. As I was walking back to my room to collect some more things, my head just about went into the wall when he attacked me. My boyfriend grabbed my arm and pulled me out of there immediately. I went back only once after that, and it was with three other guys to help me move. I cleared out all my stuff while my dad was asleep. Freedom from the madness at last. I was happier.

Several years later, I was in a funk. I was unhappy at work, and unhappy about where I was living. I was feeling like I needed a big change. I needed to be happy. A few weeks later, I met SS. We hit it off great, and I was happier. I changed jobs again, this time because I was ultimately so unhappy there, but ended up getting the same job with another company. It wasn’t what I wanted and was very unhappy. I would cry on my way to work every day, and I would cry in my office. I was so miserable and because I couldn’t get it off my mind, I was making it worse. It was literally making me sick. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. I was depressed and miserable and hated everything and everyone around me. All because I hated my job.

One Sunday night before going to bed, I prayed really hard. I mean HARD! Anyone that knows me, knows I don’t pray. I’m not religious and don’t believe there is a higher power. Things don’t happen in life because you prayed for them to happen. I’ve prayed a million times that I would win the lottery, but alas, here I sit, without millions in my bank account. But despite my doubt in prayer, I still did it. When I woke up in the morning, I made a decision that I didn’t want to cry that day. I didn’t want to drive to my office and be unhappy. I was taking a stand and turning things around. Because I wanted to. Because I wanted to be happier.

Things between SS and I became a little tough. I was now out of a job, and he was supporting us all by himself. My school had shut down, so I didn’t even have that to keep my mind off the stress we were feeling at home. I wasn’t depressed or unhappy or sleep deprived, and I was happier.

Today, I have one of the funnest jobs in the world. I get to take pictures of kids Preschool aged through 12th grade. I take yearbook pictures, fun Spring pictures, and graduation photos. I am happy.

Today, I have an amazing boyfriend, who supports my job choice, allows me to work at the Daddy/Daughter dances on Friday or Saturday nights, and puts up with all my crazy shenanigans. I am happy.

Today, I have my own apartment that both SS and I work very hard to keep. We decorate it with things that make us happy. We take care of it so that when people come over, it doesn’t look like dirty, gross, slobby people live in it. We are proud of what we’ve accomplished and proud of what we have. I am happy.

It’s taken a lot of years, and a lot of bad times, but I can honestly say, right now, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. Things are amazing. And do you know why? Because I sought out the things that make me happy. I made my happiness a top priority. And once I did that, all the other things just fell into place.

I still have people in my life today that try to drag me down into their unhappiness. They are miserable, and try to bring all the people around them down into their miserable hole. Some of them don’t even know they’re doing it. It’s just become so normal for them, they are oblivious. Unfortunately, those people take a back seat to everyone else. They get ignored. And they don’t get invited to weddings. *wink, wink*

So smile. Just smile. It doesn’t hurt. It doesn’t sting. It doesn’t tickle. And it doesn’t bite. It’s just a smile. And it goes a long way. A loooooooooooooooooong way. Trust me. Your face is prettier with a smile.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018


As a school photographer, it’s my job to make every student smile. Sometimes that involves making funny faces. Sometimes I have to play a certain song that the student likes to sing so that he’s happy enough to smile. Sometimes I convince a shy little girl that I’m going to send her pretty, smiling picture, to her favorite character. (Kids think it’s amazing that I have Elsa’s email and then tend to want to smile for that.) And sometimes, for the boys, it involves talking about food or video games. One of the very things I don’t want to discuss.

When The X and I were married, about 85% of the aggrivation that came out of my body towards him, was due to video games. He buried himself in them, for days at a time. He wouldn’t sleep. He would eat on his own terms, without the rest of us. I was being ignored, on purpose, and it pissed me off. Now, here I am, in another relationship with someone who loves video games. (Insert eye roll here.)

One of the big video games that kids are playing now, is Fortnite. It’s a game that drops 100 people onto a giant map. The players battle each other, building forts to hide behind. The goal is to be the last one standing. Well, SS has developed some sort of addiction to this game. He has gone from playing XBox once or twice a month, to EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Because of this game.

I’ll be honest, this doesn’t have me smiling from ear to ear. However, it does allow me to come up with additional conversation starters for those hard to photograph 6th - 8th graders that don’t like to smile. Silver linings.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Changing Blog Hosts

When I started putting my thoughts to the keyboard, I created my first blog using Blogger. It was blogging for dummies. A lot like AOL was for the internet. They made it easy, and easy is what I needed since I was just beginning the road to blogging. That was around 2008 or ‘09.

I started by using the actual website to do my posts, but when I discovered there were other applications that you could use, I was intrigued. There were other cool features you could do that the website didn’t allow or offer. So, I’ve been using an outside application to create blog posts all these years.

Over the last few years, I’ve had more and more problems with that application. I believe it’s due to Blogger putting limits and discontinuing certain things, which causes me problems when it comes to posting. This is one of the main reasons I have gone from blogging daily, to once a month. The annoyance is just too much.

I’ve thought about changing to another site, like maybe WordPress or Wix, but after playing around with both for a while several years ago, I ultimately decided it was best to stay where I was comfortable and not change anything.

I’m once again entertaining the idea of changing from Blogger to something else. I have a spreadsheet created that will help me beak down all the things each offers. This should be fun. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

70 floors and 1,000ft above Los Angeles

Every time 'Lil SS or RJ come to visit, we try to find fun, different things to do, because bored teenagers can be irritating and annoying. And get into trouble.
A few weeks ago, when ‘Lil SS was here for Spring Break, we took a drive to Downtown LA. We had been told about this slide on the side of a building, so naturally, we had to check it out.

From atop the US Bank building in Downtown LA.

You had to buy the tickets downstairs before you even went up into the elevator, so you didn’t get to see the actual slide ahead of time. Because I’m the scared, reluctant one in the family when it comes to heights, I opted to not ride the slide. However, once we were up there, I think it might have been cool to experience it. Just to say I’ve done it. Oh well. Here's a video of SS and 'Lil SS riding it.

I have to be honest, the view is really why you go up there. It was 70 floors up (1,000 feet). I haven't had the opportunity to go up that high into a building, so this was awesome. The Empire State building's observation deck is on the 86th floor! Can you imagine??

Until next time....