Sunday, August 9, 2015

I Am A Travel Addict

Hi, my name is Valerie, and I am a travel addict. It has been 108 days since my last trip, not counting day trips.

Here is the evidence of my addiction:

1. My Road Trip Playlist has a little over 7 hours of music on it, and there are at least another dozen songs I want on it that I don't yet have.

2. In my after-hours spare time at work, I use Google Maps to memorize the names, capitals, and locations of countries...

3. ... And map out extensive trips in every part of the globe.

4. I own far more luggage than I could ever possibly need. (I should probably start renting it out.)

5. I have a small suitcase full of travel size toiletries.

6. I get antsy to go somewhere if it's been too long since the last trip... or the weather is perfect for travel... or I notice my luggage when I go into my storage room... or I hear a particularly awesome road trip tune on the radio ("Up Around The Bend" by Creedence Clearwater Revival, for example.)

7. I follow multiple travel bloggers on Facebook and Twitter. My favorite can be found at I've been following her blog for several years.

8. I get annoyed by people who don't want variety in their travels. Disneyland and the Caribbean are great, but there is so much more out there!

9. I've attempted to learn languages I will probably never need in the U.S.: Hungarian and Bulgarian.

10. I enjoy packing for travel far more than could possibly be normal.

11. I have five separate Pinterest boards dedicated to travel, totaling 200 ish pins.
Travel Quotes
Travel Gear
Travel Bucket List
Ghost Towns

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Un-Glamorous Parts Of Adulthood

1. Doing taxes is not a project you work on somewhere between January 1st and April 15th. You spend all year dealing with it, and it is mind-numbingly dull and tedious.

2. The compassion of your creditors should never be counted on as an option when you get behind. This is especially true of medical bills. Get a credit card exclusively for these expenses, or have a substantial savings account. 

3. Stuff breaks down constantly.  Big things like the car or the water heater, less important things like your mobile phone or your hair dryer. I have come to believe that at least 30% of waking time is spent in fixing things, or saving up to replace it or pay someone else to fix it.

4. Pets and kids are capable of making more messes than you could ever possibly believe. Get used to it. Develop a sense of humor about it, or you'll go crazy.

5. No one's life really looks the way it does on social media. Cropped out of that photo is the garbage can the dog knocked over, or the dishes molding in the sink because you've been too sick to deal with them, or the pile of dirty laundry that changes size but never truly goes away.

6. Yards take a LOT of work. If you don't like yard work, find a place to live where you don't have any that needs doing, or make sure you can afford to pay someone else to deal with it.

7. There will always be someone who wants some of your time. If you don't schedule it, someone else will.

8. Sure, raising kids is rewarding,  and totally worth it. It's also a huge challenge.  Toys will get stepped on, there will be injuries, various bodily fluids will end up on various surfaces, there will be whining, crying, tattling, lying, tantrums, and bad attitudes, no matter how well you think you've raised your kids.

9. You will get grey hair and wrinkles, and you will one day find it takes so much more work to get/stay in shape.

10. There are a million ways to waste away the years, and you'll succumb to them if you're not vigilant. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

About The Time I Was In A Pageant...

No, really,  I was. For about a week. It was even the Miss Layton Pageant. 

Then I learned about the time and money involved. Sure, there was the whole "getting sponsors" thing, but the thought of going to a business and asking for money scared the crap out of me.

I also found out about the meeting where you brought your mom. At that point in my life, I did not want to deal with that.

The only thing I had going for me was the massive amount of volunteer hours I had put in working in the theater department the school year after I graduated high school. It wasn't enough.

Honestly, it worked out for the best. I have the wrong personality to be involved in pageants. I hate skinny heeled shoes, it requires an enormous effort for me to be ladylike, and I don't excell at any of the other things required to be a believable pageant contestant.

For one week, though...

Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year's Resolutions 2015

1. Get rid of a lot of excess stuff. Seriously. We have way too much stuff in our house. (Especially in our overstuffed storage room... it's scary.) There are so many reasons why the excess has got to go.

2. Get healthy. I'm horrified at the state of my health right now. I'm up to 234 pounds, my feet hurt, my back hurts, and walking up a flight of stairs leaves me panting. I'm so ashamed of how bad things have gotten. No more excuses.

3. Unplug more. I hate how dependant I have become on technology.  I love my Galaxy 5 a little too much, and that needs to change. With one exception, (writing a novel), my long-term goals cannot be achieved by staring at a digital screen.

My long-term resolution?

Make traveling easier by having less stuff, better health, and more money.

(And maybe a drivers license, but I'm not making any promises there.)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Prejudice and Over-Generalization

I don't expect everyone to agree with me on this one. Maybe no one will. That's okay. I'm still going to say it it.

Not all Muslims are terrorists. In fact, considering how many Muslims there are, it's safe to say that the vast majority of Muslims are not terrorists. 

Yet we humans tend to over-generalize everything. Let's consider common American stereotypes.

Are all blacks criminals?

Are all hispanics illegal immigrants?

Are all Mormons polygamists?

Are all really tall people good at basketball?

Are all fat people lazy?

Are all thin people healthy?

Do you see where I'm going with this? I hope so.

Let's try to put aside sterotypes and prejudices.They're unfair, misplaced,  and often wrong, and they limit our ability to learn about others. It would be nice if we could respect each other enough to learn about and see others without the filter of prejudice. 

I don't expect staunch conservatives to still be reading this, and I can just imagine some of the things the liberals might say. The more I consider politics, the more I realize that 1) I'm a moderate Republican,  and 2) I really hate politics. Hey, if anyone feels the need to defend their prejudice, have at it. You won't change how I feel about this.

Prejudice is wrong. Period.


Maybe you have an unpopular belief. That's okay. You have a right to stand up for it if you chose. You also have a responsibility to not be a jerk about your belief.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

An Attempt At Gratitude

I've had a lot going on in my life, lately. Between being behind on bills (it's getting scary), dealing with side effects of a medication (weight gain and depression), and some "other" changes I'm not yet allowed to talk about openly, I'm finding myself cursing (literally) my life and everything about it. I am forcing myself to find something to be grateful for. Please, bear with me.

1. 800 mg prescription ibuprofen, for my daily stress headaches and my joint inflammation.

2. I still have a job.

3. My kids still like me.

4. I still have clothes that fit. (Barely.)

5. My journal, which takes the brunt of my frustration.

6. Nice autumn weather.

7. My husband. Not sure how he puts up with my drama, but I'm grateful.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Salt Lake Comic Con - Survival Tips

1. There WILL be lines. For everything. Plan for it. Deal with it. Do not whine about it.

2. If crowds make you nervous, have a plan to take breaks from the madness, or bring Valium. It can be very overwhelming.

3. Food is expensive, and outside food is not allowed. (Though I've never had my purse checked any time I've gone.)

4. Many celebrities will not just chat with you, you will be required to buy an autograph. Some will not chat at all, and will only do an autograph. Some will allow you to take a picture with them with your own camera, but will charge you for that, as well.

5. The especially popular celebrities will be difficult to get to see, whether by autograph, photo op, or attending their panel. If you're really determined to do these things for that celebrity, get in line as early as possible, plan to wait a long time, expect autographs and photo ops to be expensive, and don't be surprised if you still get turned away.

6. Photo ops are not a good way to chat with a celebrity. You will not have the time.

7. While Comic-Con is technically "family friendly", be aware that in the Artists area, there will be artists whose art may include barely clothed women.

8. If you're bringing children, be very well prepared. They will get tired and cranky, they will get overwhelmed, and any kid who's not capable of staying right by your side should be confined to a stroller or strapped into one of those harness-leash things.

9. Read up on the organization's website regarding the rules, especially if you plan to dress up.

10. Bring cash. A few places will take credit cards, but most will not, and it's cash only for autographs. There are ATMs if you need them, but you can be sure they come with a high transaction fee.

11. Do as much advance planning as possible. It will make your experience much better.


* Bring more cash than you think you need.

* Plan for longer lines than you think there will be.