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second week of 2017

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Happy New Year, since this is my first post of 2017.

It’s not going too bad, really. Actually I got a raise. Yup. All of my complaining finally paid off – 14 months it took (well really, 10 years of my life), but better late than never. I got a pay grade increase and a 10% raise. I haven’t seen how much money that will be on my paycheck yet though. It will cause my insurance to go up (our health care premiums is based on your salary) so I really don’t know how much money I’ll really be seeing.

My other news is that my Disney related thing did come true, and I got it. I am in training to be a Disney travel planner! I am taking online classes in that to get my new business up and running. I will also be using my online computer class training to build a new website for that, so I can keep this as a personal blog and my Disney/travel stuff on another blog. I also want to learn to book other travel, since I like Royal Caribbean and other non-Disney destinations as well. It’ll be up to me to get clients, but I hope the new website helps out in that.

So far I’ve got 3 online classes going on right now – Computer, Disney, and a work-related one that I do on the clock at work. I have no time in the evenings when I get home, but I’m okay with that since it’s short term. My training for the 5k and 10k I’m doing in a few months is nonexistent. I really have to make time to do a few miles on the treadmill every Sunday at least.

Oh! And even more exciting news – I got tickets to see U2! I’ve got a Florida trip in April, and a U2 concert in June. I love having things to look forward to.

California Dreamin’ Day 8

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So finally we get to the reason why I saved for 3 years to make this trip happen – my birthday was on Friday the 21st. My uh, *cough* 40th birthday. There I said it.


We had early admission into California Adventure and headed straight to the Tower of Terror. And it was down. So we only had one ride on it, and that was the special ‘dark’ version. Oh well. I’m excited to wear the Tower of Terror t-shirt I got when I was there to WDW in April.

I had a breakfast of champions at Ghiradelli. I had to ask a few times if they really did serve ice cream at 9am, and turns out, they did.


I split it with my husband, so only half of this went to my thighs. And look, I’m wearing my Fitbit. Back when it still worked. I think we also rode California Screamin’ because you can never do California Screamin’ enough.


I hung out with Walt. And then we went to Disneyland.


And it was my first time on the Disneyland version of It’s a Small World. Loved it! I remember talking to my mom on the phone cause she called to wish me a happy birthday, and asking if she could hear the music from this as we were walking by.

We went to Toon Town and had a photo shoot with a really nice Photopass photographer.


This one cracked me up.

For lunch we went to Earl of Sandwich because I had a coupon. It was less than stellar actually. It was just okay. It has a cult following, and I’ve been to the one in Florida too, but it’s just… eh. It’s a sandwich.

We have a new tradition of getting those hand-drawn prints from the art stores at Disney parks. We had 3 at this point, and my husband said for me to pick out one for the artist to draw for us. Usually he picks, and this was pressure for me to pick the perfect character. I settled on Steamboat Willie and for the artist to write Disneyland 2016 on it.


We tried to get into Cove Bar at California Adventure, but the line was too long. We went back to Downtown Disney and had drinks at the outdoor Uva Bar.

Dinner that night was at Goofy’s Kitchen at the Disneyland Hotel.




The pic of my husband with Dale cracks me up, because at first glance it kind of looks like he’s holding a blue gun (the bowtie) up to my husband’s head.

For those of you wanting to celebrate your birthday at Goofy’s Kitchen, I have this warning: EVERYBODY celebrates their birthday at Goofy’s Kitchen. I heard the Happy Birthday song nonstop while we were there. The woman at the table right next to me was celebrating her birthday. It’s not a big deal, but it was just surprising that there were so many birthdays there that night. It’s something I never really noticed at other Disney restaurants we’ve been to. Alas, I was not a special snowflake that day.


And that was pretty much my birthday. Cast members didn’t fall all over themselves to give me special fast-passes and I wasn’t gifted with free Dole Whips or Churros, but I did have a few cast members and guests wish me a happy birthday.

All I wanted was to spend my 40th birthday at the happiest place on earth, and I did. I’m trying to talk the husband into spending his 40th birthday (next year, the day after Christmas) at Walt Disney World. But he’s one of those who thinks you celebrate Christmas separately from a Disney vacation. Who is this person?


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I’ve been so busy and tired lately! Last weekend I was so worn out that I slept until 11:30am on Saturday. That’s just crazy.

I’ve finished the 2 books I was reading – You are a Badass and Unfu*k Yourself, and I have to say, it really makes sense. Basically the premise is that all the good stuff in our life, the things we want, are our there for us to have. We just have to get out of our comfort zone to act on them. People get too comfortable and talk about the things they wish could happen but never get around to actually taking action to make it happen. If you want change, you have to work to make the change.

So I’ve been trying to make things happen. And guess what? All of my complaints at work may be paying off. I can’t put the cart before the horse, but I feel like people may actually be listening to me now. I’ve put in motion a kind of internship at work where I can learn more tech skills from another department. My boss may actually be supporting me in getting a pay grade increase (it’s up to HR and they could say no, but still it’s nice that my boss is finally paying attention to me). I’ve got a job interview next week. It would only be part time and online based, so I couldn’t quit my day job. But it’s Disney related. That’s all that needs to be said, haha.

My computer class is still killing me. I’ve had to watch YouTube videos to clarify some things. Here’s something I don’t really like about my class. You watch a few videos, read the transcripts, practice a few things, take a quiz, and then there is usually a big project. My issue is, the big project, 9 times out of 10, involves a lot of new material. So I just spent the past 2 days learning the difference between text sizes in pixels, EMs, and REMs. You would think my project would be based on that (and it could be involved eventually, I haven’t gotten that far yet) but in the video where they introduce the project they basically say “You haven’t seen this before, you’ve never heard of it, it doesn’t make any sense, but this is all the lines of code you need added to your project.” HUH? My nights (when I have time) involve me sitting in front of my laptop for 2 hours after dinner trying to figure this stuff out. And then I get up and walk in circles to make sure I’ve gotten at least 10,000 steps, haha. This whole thing that this class could be done in an hour a day is not true. For me, anyway. I think I’m a slow learner in that regard. I’ll eventually get it, but it may take me longer than some people.

This is an introductory class. I’ve only been doing it since early November. But you always have those prodigies who are ahead of everyone and reply to people who ask questions in the message board with things like, “Well I tell my clients…” You have clients and you’re in an introductory class? It reminds me of when I took Spanish in college with a guy who was fluent in Portuguese. My teacher loved him cause he was already pretty much fluent. Meanwhile the rest of us couldn’t understand them at all.

Tonight is Rogue One, so no homework. This weekend is the annual Christmas get-together with my side of the family and baking with my niece. And then it’s off to Pittsburgh again for the WWE show. And the whole time I’m doing all of these other things I’m going to have major anxiety that I’m behind on my homework.

at last I see the light

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Last Saturday I forced the husband to spend the day in Pittsburgh. We went to my favorite mall, South Hills Village, and then to my favorite grocery store, Trader Joe’s (cause we’ll never ever get one in my area). And then we went to the Holiday Lights at Kennywood.

It was a lot of fun! It was cold, but nothing unbearable. Until the end of the night that is, we rode the train and when we got off I honestly could not feel my feet. When we got in the car and cranked up the heat my face felt like it was on fire.

We ate at my husband’s favorite burger restaurant, Johnny Rockets, located in the park. (So the only one near us is only open when Kennywood is.) They were kind of phoning it in though, only half a menu and they put everything in take-out bags. My veggie burger was cold and it pretty much tasted exactly like the one you can get at Burger King.

There were a few rides open, so that was fun. We saw a really elaborate train set display. Watched the lights show (with the required Trans Siberian Orchestra song) and met some characters.

We’re going back to Pittsburgh in 2 weeks or so for a WWE show. And then in January cause I got tickets to see Hedwig & the Angry Inch, which I’m beyond excited about.

I’m still doing my online class. And it is tough – so much to learn. I had to buy a domain name and upload my practice site on there. I’m hoping to turn it into a portfolio site so I can put it on my resume and then get the hell out of my current job. I’ve been buying self-help books with titles like “You are a Badass” and “Unfu*k Yourself.” I hate feeling stuck here. I want a new job so bad. But when you live in an area where everybody either works in the medical field or service jobs (restaurant/stores) my choices are really limited. Plus I have my student loan program to consider. I read something like, “If you really hate your job, quit.” Oh really? How do I pay my bills? I’m guessing they mean get a new job, but I’m not really thinking I can get anything good living around here. People who live near cities with lots of opportunities should be thankful. I live in the middle of nowhere, and I guess I should be grateful for the job I currently have. Then why do I secretly wish I would get laid off? I dream of the day I no longer have to be here. That’s sad to be so miserable. It was never like this with my old department and my former boss. I just don’t mesh well with my new boss and her way of doing things. Every day she comes up with something new we ought to be doing. She feels some need to impress these imaginary people. Meanwhile, here I am, still at the same level and pay grade for the last (nearly) 10 years, even though my work load and skills has grown substantially in the past year. And the promise of my boss’s boss to upgrade me has never been mentioned since that meeting she and I had well over a year ago.

But this did give me the shot in the ass I needed. Realizing that I never, ever want to retire from here (2 hour daily commute for the next 20 years? I don’t think so) is what motivated me to take that class. Realizing that I can’t work for such a mismanaged place for the rest of my working life has motivated me to know that I can do better, and I will. I will “unfu*k myself.”

California Dreamin’ Day 7

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I’ve been so busy lately! My online class is kinda hard and takes up a lot of my time. My husband even told me he missed me cause I’ve been spending my evenings camped out in front of my laptop attempting to code a website. I’ve also been neglecting my Etsy shop. Such is life.

So, back to California!

On this day we checked out of the Candy Cane Inn, and dragged our suitcases down Katella Avenue to the Paradise Pier Hotel. On the way I saw a nice entrance sign for Disneyland. And there was a homeless couple sleeping under it. You don’t really see that at Walt Disney World.


Our room wasn’t ready so we had to drop off our luggage with Bell Services. Then we followed people through the Grand Californian to enter the hotel’s entrance there to California Adventure.


We were on our way to Disneyland to have breakfast at the Plaza Inn. This is a character meal I booked because all of the reviews I read had said you can meet rare and random characters there.

It was a letdown, really. It’s also kind of strange – they made us pay as soon as we walked in, and then we didn’t have a server. We had to get our drinks ourselves (and food, of course, since it was a buffet). The buffets at WDW aren’t like that. But we got a free button, which since I’m a pin/button junkie, I loved.




I had some Mickey waffles drenched in bananas and caramel sauce, and that’s about it. (Really, I shouldn’t be eating this crap anyway.) I don’t eat omelets, cereal, sausage, or bacon, so my choices were limited. Oh, I did have some plain hash browns. And it’s like $30 each or around there. So we left here thinking ‘meh.’


We had our fast passes, so ready to get out there and hit the rides again.

We also did the Star Wars Launch Bay this day. But the lines to meet Chewbaca and Darth Vader were too long for us.

Back to California Adventure park, where we met Goofy.


And Daisy actually pushed me out of the way to get a photo with just my husband.


We rode Mickey’s Fun Wheel, which is the big Ferris wheel we took 10,000 photos of. There are 2 types of seats – ones that are stationary and ones that kind of rock back and forth. We took the ones that rocked, of course. Everyone said it was scary. (Search Youtube for videos of people riding it – they call it Mickey’s Wheel of Death.) It was completely, 100% fine. It did not live up to it’s nickname at all.


The view from inside Mickey’s Fun Wheel (that is actually the World of Color viewing area)

We walked back to Paradise Pier to see if our room was ready. We were originally told we would have pool view, but I found out we were upgraded to theme park view! (We told them it was my birthday, so maybe that was it. So thanks, Paradise Pier Hotel!)



His & Her beds again!


The view from our window –  you can see the Fun Wheel, Tower of Terror, and Cars Land

And then we walked back to California Adventure for dinner at Flo’s V8 Cafe in Carsland.


We rode California Screamin’ and then time for World of Color. We used a fast pass, but we didn’t camp out for any specific spot, so we were towards the back. It was a great show, but it really hurts your feet to stand in one spot for too long. This was another 12 miles of walking day.



Goodnight from Paradise Pier!

California Dreamin’ Day 6

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So I decided to wear a skirt on this day. I knew were were going to the Halloween party that night and would have different clothes on for that, so I figured I could survive wearing a skirt for half a day. Everyone always looks so cute in their dapper outfits at Disneyland, and I wanted to participate. Instead I felt foolish and out of place. I loved wearing my skirt and dress on the cruise, but here I just felt so strange and I couldn’t wait to get back to the hotel to change my clothes. I did get a few compliments on my skirt though, haha.

I met Cruella, whom I was “Disney bounding” as, but the photo with her is just plain awful (me anyway, Cruella was fine). The photo with Dale here was also awkward. This is the first instance I had witnessed a Disney cast member being blatantly rude to a guest. The cast member was handling the guests around Dale and was cutting off the line. One younger lady said, “Oh please, it’s my birthday, can I just get in line?” This cast member replied, “It’s a lot of people’s birthday today, Sweetheart.” So totally condescending that it really shocked me. Then he tried to talk to me and be nice and I was just too shocked to even respond to him.

Lunch was at the Galactic Grill, which is a Star Wars themed quick service restaurant. It wasn’t terribly over themed. You got a view of the kids participating in some Star Wars show, and the menu items all had Star Wars names. The only seats left were in the sun.


There’s Kylo Ren!


I got a veggie wrap and I liked how it was, well, wrapped.

We stayed for a little bit then went over to California Adventure. We tried to get on the Luigi ride but it went down. It would take us 3 tries before we ever got to actually ride the thing.


We went back to the room to change for the Halloween party. We wore matching Jack & Sally shirts.


The sun was setting which didn’t make for such a great photo.

The party was super crowded. We didn’t really know where to go. We knew we wanted to meet Jack and Sally since we had the shirts on. The cast member near their meet & greet told us to come back later in the night when the line would go down. It never did. We ended up waiting about an hour. My feet were killing me at that point. But that was at the end of the night.

So we trick-or-treated!


And went on Big Thunder Mountain, which is AWESOME at Disneyland. I don’t really care too much about it at WDW, but it was fabulous here. We did Space Mountain again, and I’m sure some other rides.

In line to meet Jack and Sally again, a random cast member gave us a bag of beignets. Thanks!


I look awful in our posed photo. I do not photograph well. So this one gets posted instead.

Oh, and a Photopass photographer had us pose for this one.


At the end of the night we waited to meet Maleficent at the front of the park.


Again, I look awful in the photos, so I’ll post the one I’m barely in, haha.

We walked back to the hotel. My feet were in so much pain. I think we walked across the street to a little plaza to get food for dinner this night. Can’t even remember what I got!


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So I did it. I signed up for online classes at Skillcrush. I started this past Monday. So far I’ve been learning HTML, which I had a little bit of background in. I’ve learned a few things and have gotten confused on a few things. There are daily lessons (well, Monday-Friday) with weekends off or to catch up. I even bought a new, cheapo laptop to do my homework on. I’m in it for long haul too – I signed up for 3 classes, at 3 month each. So I won’t be finished until next summer. I’m going to learn to be more techy, dammit.

I went to my boss’s boss and asked if her staff (meaning me & my coworkers) could offer an opinion on her since it’s ‘review’ season around here. (My review resulted in me being rated ‘average.’ On a scale of 1-4, I rated a 2. As did all of my coworkers. I’ve always been rated very highly by my previous boss. This, after we all won an award for best unit at our company and we received accolades in our employee newsletter, survived switching departments/bosses, and learning an entirely new computer system. But we’re all just average joes around these parts.)

So we all voiced our opinions about our boss, and our boss’s boss was quite shocked. We just laid it all out there. We’ll see what becomes of it. I haven’t been pissed off to tears lately, but then again, I had been gone a while on vacation, and my boss was off at a conference.

I learned we are going to have quarterly reviews now, to see if we are on target with all the crap we are to accomplish in those 3 months. I honestly haven’t looked to see what expected of me – not really interested. We had a meeting yesterday and we all had to go around the room (this was our entire department, not just my unit) to say what we’re looking forward to and how we’re doing. I wanted to badly say: Well I’m stuck in a dead-end job so I’m learning tech skills so I can get a better job, hopefully next year. But I didn’t. I honestly didn’t say much at all. I’m looking forward to getting out of here? I’ll be better when I’m at a job that respects me?


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