Monday, December 30, 2013

It all comes to a close

I’m sitting here in the quiet listening to the two clocks compete for the loudest tick tock, as I wish I had socks on because it’s a little chilly in here. In truth, I wish I would get up to go change into my workout clothes, but I did my abs video two days ago, and well, my thighs are ridiculously sore from it… (which is odd when you think it was an abs video, but it’s proof just how much you use your other muscles…), so I don’t want to think about the pain that’s involved with standing up to walk, so I remain seated.

Even though I haven’t been too into blogging lately, I still read everyone’s and as is normal, the common theme now is resolutions and theme words, and I can’t help but feel so far removed from it. I am not one to do resolutions, and though I know many who thrive on the ‘theme word’ for the year, I find it to be just another distraction and false sense of purpose. I’ll put the disclaimer of “for me” at the end of that, so as not to step on anyone’s toes, but ultimately it’s how I feel. And if I may, the idea of waiting until the new year to act on something, whether it’s working out, eating better, acting better or spending less…seems superficial. If a person can’t start something at any other time of the year, why is it believed to be different (and successful) at the first of the year?

I digress.

This year wasn’t anything like what I thought it would be and it ended far from what I ‘planned’, but I remind myself it’s silly to plan anything to begin with and instead trust in God to make it what He wants…despite my protests and grumblings. This next year, I don’t even want to think ahead and imagine, for fear of repeated disappointment, but rather focus on the daily task at hand, which is school, once it starts back up on the 13th.

Life has been on pause for far too many years, but just like a ‘wait until new years to start something’, it’s entirely my fault I haven’t acted and pressed play to get it back up and going. But I’m hoping to change that…ironically at the start of the new year. Does that make me a hypocrite? Or just ironic timing of it all.. Regardless, my focus through it all is on Him, and what I pray, is less on myself.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned these past few months living back with my parents, is that I’m selfish. It’s been hard to stop being selfish. So, less focus on myself, undoubtedly would be a good thing.

No matter if you make goals for the new year or continue on your day to day living, I hope each and everyone of you have a beautiful start to your new year. Maybe that’s what it’s more about. The “hope” of something new, a fresh start, the hope that this upcoming new year will be different from the last.

God willing {for everyone} it will be…

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I still get botox


I had my fourth botox treatment this past Thursday, and it still is the best thing I’ve ever done, ever! …next to laser hair removal.

In July of 2012, I talked about getting botox for the first time. Since then, like clockwork, I’ve gotten treatment every 6-7 months. I always make sure I do two treatments each year to be sure my insurance covers the second treatment 100%. (deductible having been met at that point and all.)

After the first treatment, even though the Dr. said it generally lasts a good six months before it begins to wear off, I noticed within month two it fading. I was disappointed but I knew that when it came to medical treatments and me, I’m always in the small percentile that has the extreme or opposite desire. And this was no exception. Even though, by the end of month three it had completely worn off, I still stretched it out to month six before going back in for treatment number two.

Little did I know that the moment it wore off I could have gone in for another treatment but it didn’t matter since I was getting round two of injections at that point.

After the second treatment, I noticed it lasted longer. Almost to four months and this only served to make me happy. The doctor did say that with continued treatments, the time frame will stretch more and more and thankfully, I fell in line with this. By the third, it stretched to five months and I can only hope this fourth treatment will go to a full 6 months.

I still highly recommend this treatment and am a huge advocate for it, which is why I thought I’d offer an update one and a half years later. If you have a dermatologist who is as amazing as mine and willing to go the extra mile to prove to your insurance company that this is a medical necessity, insurance will cover the treatments entirely. Which is a huge comfort on this currently diminished pocket book. I still remember describing my ‘need’ to the nurse and once done the guy said there was no doubt it was medically necessary. (Lest you think I or the doctor’s office is tricking insurance to pay.)

As long as I can, I will continue to get these injections. The confidence its given me is tremendous. With all my travels lately, it’s such a relief knowing I don’t have to be concerned with the sweating or smelling anymore. A huge relief! If anyone reading this is in the Central Valley of California, I would be happy to give my doctor’s information. She’s one of those where I’ll gladly drive hours to see because she’s that good.

Since I talked about it last year, has anyone looked into getting it done themselves? Or actually begun treatments?

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Friday, December 6, 2013

A little of my life


I’ve climbed out from under my rock to say I’m still kickin’. I am officially done with school, my finals were yesterday, and it feels really good to be done. Grades haven’t been posted yet, but I’m confident I did well. Now I have 5 weeks of nothing, and I’m scratching my head with what I’ll be doing with my days now, until school starts up again.

I attempted to blog once just last week but you’ll be happy to know I didn’t finish it. It was filled with a play by play of a whiny day. Do you ever find just writing something out helps you move on from it? No one needs to see it, but to be able to get the words out of your head, onto paper or computer, really help in freeing your mind of the thoughts that consumed you up until that point?

I got a haircut. A major one, and what I hoped would be like how I wanted, wasn’t. And I was angry for a good 5 days after. Couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror, it had me that upset. Now, 2 1/2 weeks later, I’m ok with it. I did see a second stylist to fix it, and actually plan to see a third in a couple weeks, after it grows out more, but as of right now, I’m ok with the cut.

The cut actually helps with my 20’s outfit I’m wearing tonight for my friend’s birthday party. A long bob and all, but at least it fits in with the 1920’s theme. I’m pretty excited to reveal the dress! I’ll most likely post first on Instagram, if you want to follow @emilygrapes It’s nothing short of gorgeous! Today kicks off what will be a trip filled month. I’m at my friend’s house now for the party, relaxing before I need to get ready, then within a few days I’ll be in Napa sipping some wine, followed by a snowy trip to Utah, and ending with some fun in Vegas. I don’t know what those trips will bring, but hopefully they’ll end up good. God willing.

Friends, this has been me. I’ve been very quiet, not just in blog world but in everything. Transitions can be hard to go through sometimes. Finding your position in this little space you occupy, looking to make sense of it all.

1 Timothy 5:16-18 comes to mind
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

That’s me these days. Lots of praying.

I hope to pop in again soon. Maybe with a recap of the party if I can get the photos from it. But if not, I’m wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season and a very Merry Christmas.

I’ll leave you with the initial cut…which is kind of mean for you and for me, given it looks a lot better now, but I don’t have any recent shots, so we get this before and after.
em137photo (3)

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Deep in it

Blame it on the holidays (as many seem to do) but blogland starts to get more and more quiet around this time of year. Which is good. People are doing real life things. Enjoying time with loved ones or just maybe incredibly busy with life they can’t catch a moment away. I’m a mix of all those reasons.

I’ve wanted to blog, but I have really little to say and even when I do, I can’t wrap my brain around words or justify my time spent blogging when I feel like I should be doing more more more homework.

I’m in the thick of my mid-terms and doing what I need to stay afloat with all my homework. That’s the thing with a 7 week semester. Everything is crammed together and it’s stressfully busy the entire 7 weeks. My life has pretty much been consumed with school, and I’m pretty sure you don’t want me talking endless about the fact that Chemistry is the most pointless subject I’ve ever taken. And how this is completely unnecessary for me to know, understand, or use for any part of my life now or in the future.
photo 1photo 5
and my personal favorite…
Write a complete ionic equation for the following reaction: potassium chloride and lead(II) acetate:
I won’t tell you how long it took me to create that in photoshop..

It’s just silly and I have something to say about it each and every day. (be thankful you don’t live with me)

I think my advisor was really wanting to see if I were serious about going back to school by putting me, a person who hasn’t done this in 14 years, right into one of the hardest classes out there from the start. It’s so hard, students (who live in Arizona) actually go to other colleges and pay twice as much money, just so they don’t have to take it with this professor. That says something.

So this explains my absence lately. This is my all consuming life. Chemistry nonsense and history papers where I get hung up on the proper way to cite and do bibliographies..and if it wasn’t for Natalie helping me (read: holding my hand), with my history papers, I’m not sure if I ever would have gotten it. Not to mention my third class that I deem unnecessary and a waste of my time, but is required for all incoming freshman with this school.

*deep breath*

Despite my mini freak out with all of this, I am still enjoying being in school. I like knowing I’m learning. Being challenged. Getting pushed and frustrated and confused because I still have my end goal in sight..albeit a very far away sight. I’m grateful I’m here and with so many friends coming forward to help me, it means a ridiculous amount.

You can basically find me in three places these days. In the chair, on the couch or on my bed studying, 7 days a week practically 24 hours a day because I want this, dangit.

So, since I want to spare you of my constant talk of school and the stresses it brings, I’ll be around a little less, but I’ll still be around. You can count on that!

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Those who can’t play, coach

Another perk to having nerve damage in my feet is the inability to play a sport I’ve loved for years. Volleyball. I played it in middle school, high school, college, city league and a beach league. To say I’ve missed it is an understatement.

A couple months ago, my sister told me of her friend who wanted to hire a private coach for her daughter, and I was mentioned. After some talking and scheduling, I now coach her one on one once a week in their big barn.
photo 2 (1)
It feels so good to touch the ball again. I’ve never actually coached before, but it’s something I’ve always thought about and am really enjoying.

If I can’t fully play the game anymore, this will be my way to get as close as possible to it.
photo 1 (1)

..even if the dust from the barn gives me a bad sinus infection every week.

So even though I have limitations, I’m finding ways to get around it so I can still enjoy a sport I’ve loved for as long as I can remember, and that one day a week sure makes me happy.

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Monday, November 4, 2013

It’s a basic routine

Monday is here again..

I’m kind of shocked its November. I  expected so much from this year, and so much of it didn’t happen, yet so many things I didn’t know would happen, happened. Ever have that? Big things you thought would occur, don’t; but then equally big things do?

I cope with this on a daily basis. Some days I let it all sink in and pull me down, and others, I marvel and enjoy the things that happened and it keeps my spirits up. It’s quite the roller coaster of emotions for me.

I got a little bit sicker over the weekend, but thankfully my mommy was here to thoughtfully tend to me. A perk to being back home. When I was living alone, no one was there or even cared if I was sick. So it’s nice to have some love given my way.

Some great things that did happen over the weekend was seeing my dear friend Angie open up her Etsy shop. There are so many great things in there. I love the verses and island colors. These two are some of my favorites

via Angie's Etsy

So simple yet beautiful. It’s a verse I say in my head over and over sometimes. If you remember, Angie lives in Maui and I got to meet her back in 2012, when G-man and I did a little island hopping. It was so great to hug her.

Another friend of mine is having quite the big birthday and is wanting to do a roaring 20’s theme! I can’t tell you how excited I am for this. This will be my first ever themed party I’ll be attending. Heck, I’m pretty sure it’ll be the first adult birthday party I’ll have ever attended in general!

I’ve been scouring the interwebs for the perfect authentic  20’s style dress. I’ve been looking for days now and it seems the majority believe the ridiculously short flapper dresses are “it”, but I wouldn’t give up and finally stumbled upon a fabulous website. Here are a few that I’m going to look over.

Aren’t they beautiful??

You’ll have to weigh in and say which one you like the most. I’d love to get all your input. I have about a month to choose one and find some feathers and pearls. I can’t even tell you how excited I am for this! Unique Vintage really has some great dresses to choose from.

Today I get to take my very first big exam and its for Chemistry no less, so this should be quite fun. I’m hoping everyone got to enjoy their fall weather over the weekend.

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Friday, November 1, 2013

A stuffy amount of sugar

Hello November.

Though I woke up off and on between 2am and 4am before finally getting up from a sinus infection, I knew what this morning would bring. A tiny drop of sugar. With lots and lots of coffee.

photo (1)

As I was walking down the hall to the kitchen, imagining my little drop of sugar in my coffee, I see my mom baking my ‘surprise’. Pumpkin bread to welcome me proper. She’s quite excited October is over so we can enjoy the sweeter things this holiday season and in a way, so am I.

I’m not wanting to indulge whatsoever, but it sure will be nice to grab a cracker when I want a cracker.

The month turned out to be fairly easy toward the end. All the chocolate I made thinking I’d need it, still sits in the freezer waiting to be eaten. My sweet tooth has pretty much gone away and overall, I’ve felt really good. No bloating ever.. TMI? But despite my lack of working out…at all in October, my stomach has stayed flat, pants are looser and I never feel gross after meals. Ever.

I still recommend anyone to take this challenge for themselves to see how much it’ll benefit them. And again, I don’t recommend doing it during the holidays (just too much temptation), but at least cut the sugar down greatly, if you can’t do completely. Of course (as I know we’ve all heard), the processed foods, because, why not. We all know they’re horrible.

So November starts out right. Pumpkin bread. A dollop of sugar. And a sinus infection.

The two cancel out the one, for sure.

Happy November and Happy Friday to you, my friends. Thanks for the support throughout October with cutting out sugar. I wish you the best weekend!

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A city on water

Last time I posted about getting to be on an aircraft carrier, I was asked about the size of it. I had a bunch of close ups that didn’t really give the full picture of the enormity that is an aircraft carrier and was sad to realize I missed out on photographing the ship as I was walking up to it or even when I was getting off of it; never thinking once about it.

Thankfully, when I was in Hawaii in February of 2012, I got to watch a carrier come into port. To me, it was pretty neat. I enjoy witnessing these sorts of things, and that day I was smart enough to bring my camera. To put into perspective for some who might not know, this is a ship that houses over 5,000 people. It’s basically a city on water.
As I mentioned last time, it was very easy to get lost through all the hallways and corridors. They all looked the same. If I didn’t have G-man leading the way every time, I don’t know how I would have survived.
em95                                               (what I would have given to have that guy not pop into my shot)

It was so humid on the deck, we would walk through the hallways just to cool down in the frigid temperatures. My camera would fog up every time we walked outside, it didn’t like the climate change. While inside, they had a live band in the hangar bay. What I didn’t understand at the time, and still don’t to be quite frank, is a Japanese heavy metal band was hired for the event.
A Japanese heavy metal band…for a family friendly event. They screamed, they snarled, they screeched out their words at the loudest decibel possible in this hangar. “singing” about anything they thought was music we liked. Swearing, mumbling over the words (because they forgot them), or jumping up and down slamming their heads; they thought it was our kind of music. And it was sad. No one clapped. No one cheered. Everyone endured it hoping against hope the song they were playing was their last song.

What ended up being their last song was the worst of all. They decided to mix things up and slow it down by singing Love Me Tender by Elvis. A song the singer didn’t know. He held his crumpled piece of paper in front of him as he tried to sing the song. They started the song over three times as the lead struggled to remember the words, and eventually his guitarist came forward to sing the words to help the lead along.

Friends, it was bad.

We were excited when they were done as our ears recovered and five young guys took over with drums. All teenagers, one as young as 13 and nothing short of phenomenal. People filled in around us to watch their amazing performance and received loud applause throughout.

It was coming time for the airshow, and it became a battle of decisions. Ride the elevator up to the flight deck. The elevator that takes all the planes up. The elevator that would be the coolest thing ever to ride. Or leave early to get our spots for the airshow. It was a tough decision, but we chose to leave early to grab a good spot.

{I still wish I had ridden it}

But it was the smart choice to nab the perfect spot because as time wore on, our little view from above the vulture’s nest, was getting more and more cramped. As the minutes ticked down, I began reverting back to my basketball days with boxing out people who were wanting to crowd me and block my ability to take pictures. I may be skinny and take little room, but my arms are long and block a good foot on either side.

After they walked the deck three times and cleared all the equipment, the show began.

It was good, real good. Seeing a jet trap on the flight deck or do touch and goes was a pretty amazing thing to witness. Once I get my act together and compile the videos of it all, I’ll share it. I’ve seen it on tv, but to witness it, and to know I was standing next to someone who used to do that (G-man), made it all the more special for me to see.

I got a glimpse into his life. His work. His world and it was truly an honor to be there among all the men and women who serve our country. He kind of blows it off like it’s no big deal, but it really is. Not everyone cares to serve, so those who volunteer their lives for us, no matter how big or small, deserve my gratitude.

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Monday, October 28, 2013

Weekend recap

Last night, I watched the fourth game of the World Series with my parents. Let this be the one and only time I sat and watched a baseball game. Wine was involved, so that helped. As did the cheeseburger. And the chocolate...

Did I tell you about this chocolate?? A sugar free, paleo chocolate…that I made with 3 ingredients?! I got it from Delighted Momma and it is different, but it is good. One that had me feel guilty bringing it to my mouth after all this time with no sweets. Coconut oil, raw honey and cocoa powder, with sprinkles of sea salt. Mix it, freeze it and call it good.

If I had known about this at the beginning of my no sugar thing, I would have been making it constantly to get through these 30 days. Only a few days left!

For the first time this season, I donned my boots. During the Fall/Winter months, I really like to wear my skinny jeans with boots, but I learned over the weekend, it’s best not to throw the football in them. Or get down into a hiking position. I was sad to see, once I got down to hike the ball, after numerous hikes, I had a nice tear on the inside on my thigh. One should know one’s limit.

But my jeans weren’t done taking abuse because later that night my niece peed on them and then smacked the bowl of apple sauce out of my hand and had it go all over the jeans as well. Poor jeans had seen better days.

You know how the little things can keep you going or make you happy when you aren’t feeling the happiest? I got my student ID over the weekend and it was pretty exciting. I took my own picture for it, so I knew I’d like the picture, but they didn’t have it lined up properly. And if there’s few things I’m OCD over, it’s lining things up. There’s a very large part of me that wants to…(and most likely will) call them to ask for it to be fixed. I mean, I can’t very well hold onto this ID for potentially 4 years with an off picture!? Not to mention my student number is on their twice!

I could just make up the story that it was damaged beyond use..that might work, and casually mention for them to do the picture the way it should be.

Too much?

Speaking of too much. I have so much left to share about Japan. So so much. Eventually, I’ll be rolling it out, because I want to remember it as I do now before it’s all gone. Hopefully you all will enjoy the fun things I have to show you. I got to do some crazy bizarre things that had us saying over and over ‘this is so weird!’.
So, more to come on that trip that happened over a month ago…how time flies.

How was your weekend?? What all did you get to do?

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

“People shouldn’t go to college online”

One week down and I’m feeling rather good about things. All my assignments have been turned in for the week, I’m ready to face the next week’s worth of assignments and happy to be moving right along in my little quest of a degree.

I’ve been getting asked how is it that I’m only in my first week, and not half way through the semester already, and I thought I’d explain what that’s all about.

With ASU, they offer 6 different start dates for online students. It’s all in conjunction with the normal semester program, however the one thing that’s different is it’s broken down into 7 week programs as opposed to the full 12-14 weeks a typical college semester is.

So, technically I joined in the middle of the Fall semester, but my classes are only 7 weeks; 2 classes per each 7 weeks, giving me a full time student schedule. They call it the ‘accelerated program’ but all it really is is a condensed program, because they’re cramming a full semester’s class into 7 weeks.

It definitely is a challenge, can be (ok, it is) overwhelming, but having that ‘7 week’ mindset really helps with pushing through to the end.

I really like having a shorter time frame than normal. Allowing me to only focus on 2 classes with such a short end goal, let’s me focus all my attention on my assignments while giving me that little bit of hope that it’ll all be over before I know it. To me, I see this as an easier opportunity to succeed. Having short term goals, like making it through Chemistry, has me thinking, ‘if I can do THIS and get it out of the way, I can do ANYTHING’, keeps me believing I can ACTUALLY DO THIS!

And there’s no denying Chemistry is making my head spin. I went so far as to hire a tutor and he turned out to be a major disappointment, chiding me for wanting to use my calculator, telling me a particular problem “is really easy…” (silly me, why did I hire a tutor if it was SOO easy?), saying people shouldn’t do college online, and doing all my work on his own without so much as an explanation to anything.

I told him at the end, I didn’t think I’d use him again (in a nice way) and he awkwardly shook my hand and left. I wanted to look around at everyone in Starbucks that day and say…Anyone else feel awkward through that whole hour?! But I refrained. I’m hoping this next tutor I’m meeting with is a little more helpful.

I didn’t expect my first nay sayer to be someone who was supposed to help me succeed in school, but I knew they would come and I know there will be more, but that’s ok. Not everyone will understand what I’m wanting to do.

The other night, my mom surprised me with an ASU t-shirt. My first! I wish I could explain how this truly warmed my heart. It meant so much to me, seeing her support and excitement for me, it put such a big smile on my face the rest of the night.


All in all, it’s coming along. I count down in weeks, have already made a friend through another student living in N. Carolina and feel the love and support from everyone, which keeps the drive alive inside. {say that five times fast}. And I’m happy. …I like happy.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

One board, endless possibilities

The day I started college..aka last Wednesday, my sister texted me jokingly asking if I wanted her to take me to lunch and take my picture like she does with her kids for their first day of school.

Once she said it, I knew I had to do it. Anyone close to me knows I have never liked school. High school and a brief stint in college left a sour taste in my mouth and it never appealed to me ever. Now that I’m in it, I’m really enjoying it. I know I’m only in the first week, but I’m liking my History class (and though I loathe my Chemistry class), I actually like learning, studying and doing all things “school”.

Clearly a product of being older and more mature because it even surprised me how much I’ve been enjoying it.

So my sister and I arranged for her to come over for breakfast the next day and make me a ‘first day of school’ sign, and I was excitedly looking forward to it. By the end of the night, things turned south when she texted saying she was feeling really sick. Plans canceled. I was disappointed but the next day, it didn’t stop me from what was already deep in my mind.

I wanted those pictures and the only way to do them, was to do them myself. Now I could have told you my sister came over and took these, but I’m all about the embarrassing honesty of sharing that I set up my tripod and took over 60 pictures of myself in the backyard.

No shame.. Besides, when will I ever have another “1st day of college!?”

Seeing as I had taken so many pictures of myself, I saw a golden opportunity to say even more than originally planned.
em133remote show fail
I thought I’d leave this one blank to fill it in with whatever you say. What do you think it should say?
Thanks to photoshop elements and the many fonts to choose from, I now have a great memory for my first day back to school.

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Monday, October 21, 2013

9 days left

I’m so close, friends. I can smell the delicious cookies, they’re almost in my grasp. I have to say, I haven’t really been craving sugar anymore. I don’t think about it really, and don’t have much of a temptation anymore. So technically, I’m totally cured. If I never have another drop of sugar again, I’d be completely fine with that.

Alright, so that’s not true. I do look forward to having a little in my coffee. And I do look forward to eating a cookie. And I do look forward to having a cracker. And I do look forward to, well, no restrictions whatsoever. It’ll be nice. In truth, beyond this whole no white sugar thing, I’m eating almost like I used to when I lived alone…it’s just that pesky lack of white sugar that’s different.

Still going strong though. For anyone still thinking of the idea..wanting to do it themselves at some point (not now…don’t do it NOW), just know, it gets easier. You’ll really lose the crazy cravings, and you’ll lose the obsessive thoughts that fill your first 10 days, and it becomes bearable, then manageable, then livable.

So, over the weekend I only left the house to take the garbage to the street. That’s normal, right? Why leave if you don’t have to is what I say. I did important things eat a ton of broccoli, watched a proposal that had me laughing and crying at the same time, (it’s long but TOTALLY worth watching), and other important things like that.

And can I just say how making a phone call is worth it sometimes? You know when you put off calling a company because of the hassle you think you’ll go through? The long wait, or the irritating rep, or one who’s not interested in helping you…so many reasons to avoid calling them, but a month ago, I got a letter from Verizon saying a discount I received for having worked for the state was coming to an end.

by the way, if you work for the government, you’re entitled to a’s amazing.

Any way, I was really sad! I’ve gotten this discount for 8 years, at least! I attempted to “prove” I was still working for the state by sending a paystub to them, but they rejected it saying retired employees don’t qualify for it. I was sad. It may sound really silly, but I was really sad this amazing discount was coming to an end.

I let it go and prepared myself for my upcoming bill, but I kept getting notifications and mailers from Verizon saying FINAL NOTICE to submit proof… uh, thought I was already denied, but whatever…salt in a wound.

So on a whim, I called yesterday. I almost hung up 5 times while going through the automated steps, feeling it was completely worthless to talk to them, but I got a guy, and I told him I was still getting mail after I was told retirees don’t get the discount. He confirmed retirees don’t, but then put me on hold to talk to his supervisor. And just like that, he came back to say I DO in fact still qualify for the discount, and again, it may sound so arbitrary to you, but this made my entire day.

Had I not called, it would have been removed and I would be paying a much larger bill come November, but 5 minutes of my time, ended up saving me a ton of money.

We dread calling phone companies, credit card, cable companies, but the amount of savings we can get from a 5-15 minute call could be huge. Heck, I’m saving my parents $80 a month by {making them} switch their phone and internet services…from a company they’ve been with for 10 years!

Totally got off on a tangent but since we’re still on phones, I finally updated my iTunes to the new software, but haven’t put it on my phone yet.. is it worth it? Is it annoying? I read these 18 tips for the new update, but am still a little slow with wanting to put it on my phone.

So fill me in, friends. Is it great?

Oh and I was playing around the other day and here’s a small taste of that. More to come on what I was actually doing. I had quite the fun…if its not obvious.

Happy Monday!

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

A thank you and a follow up

I have to say THANK YOU! Thank you to each and every one of you who are cheering me on. You all are such a great support. I know I’ll be coming back to everyone’s comments in twitter, instagram and here when I’m neck deep in homework to be reminded that I have a great cheering section.

First day went alright. I could certainly use someone skilled in the ways of Chemistry to step forward and teach me everything they know…in baby steps, because that’s Greek to me, but I hope to get in a ‘learning’ groove to nail these classes.

Once in awhile I’ll get someone asking how the ol’ feet are doing so… at the beginning of the week, I had to go see a doctor for my disability. It was a review of sorts, where the State hired him to do an independent assessment to determine I am in fact still disabled and able to keep my benefits. It turned out to be quite the visit, I have to say. I was in the room with the doctor for an hour and a half. That has to be the longest I’ve ever had a dr. in the room.

He asked so many questions and was incredibly detailed and left me with a lot to think about in regards to my retirement, which I can’t quite go into but this guy seemed like a really good dr who knows his stuff. Whereas the dr. I saw years ago who I feel is largely the reason I’m in the condition I’m in, was not.

Hindsight..always 20/20.

The worst part of the whole visit was him being unable to tell me any of his thoughts on my condition. Even unable to refer a dr. to me as it would be a conflict of interest to the job he was hired to do. The only thing he would say was any dr. who got hold of my file wouldn’t want anything to do with me and my problems.

Well, that’s a comfort.

Maybe he isn’t such a great doctor after all…

Now I get to wait to get word from the State on whether he deems me still incapable of doing the job to maintain my disability benefits. I’m praying so because this girl can’t handle the idea of losing her benefits.

Has anyone ever had to go through this? Going on disability and then being under review after a few years? Preferably in California but would still love to hear feedback if anyone’s gone through it in their state.


completely unrelated but had to share the hummingbird escaping the wind the other day.

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

To new beginnings!

Where do I even begin?

This is probably the most excited I’ve been in a very long time. I’ve had more pep in my step these past few days than I’ve had in years. No matter how much I wish I were uplifting and optimistic through tough times, I’m the type when handed sour lemons, I don’t add sugar to them to make them sweet, I let them sit there and rot and scowl over the whole situation of being given sour lemons in life.

It hasn’t been an easy past few years for me. Ever since retiring from the department, I’ve had no direction. No idea what to do or where to go from a career that required me to escort, pat down and handcuff felons. There’s no ‘real world’ translation to that! More often than not, I’ve felt lost, confused, frustrated and broken over my situation. I had (and still don’t have) NO desire to work in an office doing ‘office’ things from 8-5 every single day. And I had NO interest in going to college to ‘better’ myself in a boring major like business or administration or criminal justice.

No matter how many times I looked into it, no matter how many times it was suggested to me (and it was A LOT), college was the last thing I wanted to do and deal with. No major was appealing, no job was desired. I still, after 14 years of adult life, HAD NO CLUE WHAT I WANTED TO BE!

Is that even allowed? How can someone… a 32 year old NOT know what they want to do!? Is there something wrong with them??

This is what I asked myself often over the past 14 years. I felt like something was off in my brain for me to never, not once have an idea what I’d want to major in and more so, what I wanted to do when I grew up.

When I was 18, I did go to college… for all of one semester. It was to play Volleyball and nothing more. I slept through classes and didn’t own books and when finals came around and I attempted to write my 8 page paper for a class, by page 6, the computer froze, losing 4 of those pages, and I said, ‘screw it’, packed my bags and flew home for Christmas break.

At 25, I attempted to get an AA in criminal justice….I was working in the prison system after all, so how hard could it be? After 1 semester of the most boring topics and classes, I stopped and never looked back.

But it wasn’t until I was in Japan in August; when I was sitting on the couch reading an article about the top 10 schools in the nation, that I saw a well known university offering a complete online program. I clicked over and began scanning the majors they offered online. The typical ones were there..the boring ones, but then I saw something different.


That was something new. As I began reading more about the different types of degrees in nutrition, I came across Nutrition (Nutrition Communications). I read it. read it again, and the little light inside started to flicker to life again. I poured over the information for a week before requesting more information, and another week before applying to the school, never telling anyone that I was doing this. I first told G-man, who was elated for me…and said to ‘spill the beans’ since I kept it from him. Then I shared it with a few others close to me.

I was afraid they wouldn’t accept me. It’s best to keep something from others when there’s a chance of getting hurt and disappointed. I waited 5 weeks before getting word…just a mere 5 days before the classes would begin that I WAS ACCEPTED and I can’t even describe to you the elation I felt when I read those words.
When I told my sister, what she said had such an effect on me because it was truth that I didn’t realize until she uttered the words.

I finally have a direction. Corrections was supposed to be my career and when that was taken away from me, I had no where to go because it didn’t prepare me for anything outside of that life. She was so thrilled I now knew where I wanted to go and honestly so am I.

So today I start my first day at Arizona State University as a freshman with 4 very hard years to look forward to that I know will be very rewarding. For the first time in my life, I know what I want to do and what I want to be and the excitement I feel over that is monumental.

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Friday, October 11, 2013

Quieting the internal weeping (Day 10 of 30)

I’m starving.

all. the. time.

I should say I’m starving less these days, but I’ll get to that in just a moment. If you are seeing this and thinking ‘uhh, just eat something if you’re hungry, crazy!’, read what this crazy is doing >here<

So, I’m on day 10 and my eyes have been opened, my mind cleared, and I’m singing hallelujah for the clarity that is life.

It’s been a rough rough road going without any kind of sugar. Day 2 was tostados and if you know anything about tostados, fried corn tortillas are involved. I almost cried from being denied the foundation of the tostado as I ate my “safe” beans with all the fixin’s by themselves…just not the same friends, its just not the same without that crunch.

I unknowingly slipped up and on day 3, had white rice. *gasp*. I was even so proud of myself for calling it a ‘sugar free’ dinner and after finishing it, my mom casually mentioned that white rice is a carb that turns into sugar, and can we just say instant deflation?? …not to mention me giving her the side eye for watching me make AND eat my “sugar free” dinner without saying a word until I was finished.

That’s right! I don’t take any responsibility for any of my actions.

So, how has it been going these past few days?
I’ve had headaches, but thankfully they only lasted the first 3-4 days. My sugar…haha I mean COFFEE (I really did that on accident) is tasting better with each day with only my 1/2 and 1/2 in it. On the rare moments I’m having crazy sweet cravings, I’ll make a cup of coffee at night to soothe it.

I also am heavy on the fruit smoothies as my lunch. Fruit really helps kill the sweet tooth I get.
photo 1 (4)
I've noticed my skin is clearer. Honestly, I can’t tell if this is because of the lack of sugar clogging me up, or if this is just my skin doing it on its own, but either way, I’m not complaining.

One thing I learned is fruit smoothies SHOULD NOT replace actual food. This is a major reason I’m hungry all the time because it would be my lunch and nothing more until 6pm or later for dinner which wouldn’t consist of much.
>my fault< (look at that, I CAN take responsibility for something)

Another thing I learned is I crave carbs, breads, rice, breads, breads and more breads MORE than actual sweets. I have this thing for breads! So that was the most difficult thing I had to cut out…until my mom decided to make a pumpkin drop cake with a buttery sugary crust that filled the house up with it’s delicious smell for hours…and I mean HOURS!

Torture is how I best describe those many hours.
my mom just laughed..

Smelling it was my way of “eating” it.
photo 2 (5)
By day 6, I decided to weigh myself on a whim. Not because I was hoping to lose weight (this girl DOESN’T need to lose weight) but because I was concerned I had lost weight. I was surprised to see I had lost 6lbs in those 6 days.

I realize some might not like me saying that I don’t need to lose weight nor the fact I easily lost 6lbs but that’s just how it is for me..

Once I saw I’d lost so much weight, I decided it would be best for me to start eating carbs again. Still staying off white sugar and sweets, but incorporating carbs back in. I haven’t gone crazy with it, in fact I’ve hardly had any in the past 4 days, but when it comes to the dinners, I don’t think twice about eating the rice or bun with my burger and I feel so much better for it. More full. More satisfied. A lot happier.

Who knew I was so cranky!?

So even though I’ve put myself back on small amounts of carbs, I’m still going strong staying away from desserts and white sugar. I will say these past 10 days have been the slowest of my life. They felt like 30! but I think the next 20 will go by smoothly…well I hope so any way.

Happy a wonderful weekend everyone. Eat a cookie or slice of cake for pie..I don’t like pie.

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Get in front of the camera

I’m in a couple photographers forums, and one thing I noticed a lot of them say is how much they don’t get in front of the camera. How they take pictures of their kids, their husband with the kids and even their dogs, but they generally stay behind the camera..
a) because in their minds, who else will take the picture
b) they know their cameras best, and
c) which is the most common reason: they don’t want to be photographed. Whether they think they look horrible, unkempt, not where they wish they were physically, messy hair, no make up..and the list goes on.

A high percent of mom’s are never in the shots with their kids because they don’t like the way they look. So years go by with no memory for the kid of MOM.

I am one of those kids. I’ve talked about it before, and there’s no doubt I love my mom (I love you, mom), I just know the other side of it as the kid of having virtually no photos of my mom to look back on. And to be honest, it makes me really sad.

Even as an adult, I probably could count on two hands the photos of mom and me, maybe truthfully one hand.

On Monday, that all changed. I was determined once I found out my mom was getting off work early, to get some nice shots of us. And what was even better, my sister was coming over as well. I didn’t tell either of them until they got to the house, because I’m all for the element of surprise. My sister rolled her eyes, grabbed at her clothes and gave me that look of dread.

I shooed her to the bathroom to use my flat iron and makeup at her will and told her this was happening, so to get to it. (I’m the real sweet loving gentle sister, if you hadn’t noticed)

Once she was all done, I called her out to get some test shots so I could get my camera ready.

And then we got my mom to join. I took some of my sister and mom first and had a ball with it. Those two together are complete goofballs, laughing almost the whole time. Then I got my settings right in the camera, handed it to my sister and had her take some of mom and me.

It all turned out a complete success and I’m excited I have these new photos to cherish. It only struck me after we were done, to have gotten some with my sister and me  …next time.

Friends, moms, sisters, kids, I can’t encourage you enough to get in front of the camera. Freeze time in a photo. It doesn’t matter how you look, it matters that you’re there.

Go. Go grab your mom. Or your kids. Set the timer. Use the remote. Utilize your husband and have these precious moments together photographed for everyone to look back on in fondness.

Your kids will thank you..and if you let yourself, you’ll thank you too.

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