Post Birthday Update

Welp, my final birthday gift was a fantabulous 104.6° fever. Thank you, Florida and plane traveling and being surrounded by thousands of children.

Other than that, I had a fun birthday. Got to do a lot of fun things with my best friends at Disney World (which I hadn’t been to in 20 years!), ate some good food (when I could eat), and made some great memories. A few of which I shall share with you now:

We stayed at the Coronado Resort, which was gorgeous (and the cheaper option). Our first night we did some light shopping at Disney Springs, which wasn’t called that the last time I was in Florida. It was called Downtown Disney (much like in California), but had distinct areas. There was the Marketplace, Pleasure Island, and other places I can’t remember cause I was only 10 years old and didn’t care about it cause there weren’t any rides there (obvi). Well, it’s nothing like that now. I mean some things were the same, but mostly everything got overhauled.

Day 2 was Epcot. Epcot was exactly how I remembered it, minus some rides that were completely gone or tweaked into less than stellar updated versions (Frozen and Adventures Through Imagination I’m looking at you…how could you do that to Figment?!). Though I definitely enjoyed Dame Judi Dench (or Dame Dudy Jench as I kept accidentally calling her because her name is itself a frustratingly frustrating tongue twister) narrating Spaceship Earth. I DID NOT however enjoy the ride breaking down right at the end and being evacuated off. But it made for some fun pictures and I got to catch a lot of pokemon while sitting for 20 minutes.

Day 3 I woke up half dead. The night before I woke up with a fever and chills. But I fought through the death and we headed off to the Magic Kingdom. We didn’t plan to stay there long since a lot of rides we have here in California.  But we did go on Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain (TWICE! Thank you Sjonnie [pronounced “shaw-nee”]), and the People Mover. Then we bussed over to Hollywood Studios. Of course we did Hollywood Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster. We also walked through the new Toy Story Land but didn’t go on anything. Then we had a delicious dinner at the Brown Derby before I crashed and we went back to the hotel. I passed out at 9:30 or maybe 10 and slept until….

Say 4 MY BIRTHDAY! We went to Animal Kingdom since some of the best rides were there. Plus the last time I’d been to Florida was when the park was still kind of new and under construction. They hadn’t quite figured everything out yet. Animal Kingdom actually had trees that blocked your view and more than three or four rides in operation. It was basically unrecognizable to me except for very oddly specific things. The Dinosaur ride (which was called Countdown to Extinction when I went on it as a kid), the Tree of Life, the 4-way cross in Africa where they have tumblers, singers, and dancers every five minutes (though I remember a parade with wild costumes and lion king characters). A lot of things (of the few things that were there) are gone. The riverboats are gone, there was a Tarzan show that I only remember catching a brief glance of (now replaced by Finding Nemo the Musical). Anyways, the first thing we did was go on Everest which was amazing. HIGHLY recommend it. Then we went on the aforementioned Dinosaur. Then we went to Pandora, land of Avatar. We rode Flight of Passage twice (AWESOME!) and the River Journey (eh). We watched the Finding Nemo musical which was cute, but as my good friend described it: “Finding Nemo on crack!”

After we finished in Animal Kingdom we hopped on the busses to go to my birthday dinner at the Hoop De Doo. A kitschy western show that’s been running at Disney for 20 years. It’s an all-you-can-eat barbecue dinner with fried chicken, ribs, beans, corn, mashed taters, and salad. It was fun, if a little out of date, but I felt so bad I couldn’t eat more since my illness was starting to really get going.

We headed back to the hotel to sleep for TWO hours before waking up at 3am to catch the bus to the airport.

Made it home fine. Ate some food okay. Took a nap great. Woke up with a 104.6° fever…hooray. And here I’ve been. Taking medication, drowning the fever with so many liquids, force-feeding myself, and sleeping so many hours I’m slowly losing track of when and where I am.

But my birthday weekend was fun so there’s that. It was all worth it.

 

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It’s My 30th Birthday

Today is my birthday.

Actually not the day I’m writing this, because I needed to write this post in advance since I will be celebrating my birthday at DisneyWorld and I won’t have time to write this, soooo hello future world!

I am turning 30 today. 3-0. I no longer qualify for Forbers’ 30 under 30. And you know what? That’s okay.

NOTE: I never had any interest on being on the Forbes 30 Under 30, but I highly respect those who are invited to be apart of it. It’s awe-inspiring to see people my age or younger do such amazing things or make such world-changing impacts on the world. Don’t let my attempt at being coy change your opinion about the list.

I don’t need to be successful at 30. At least, successful as determined by a magazine. I have a roof over my head, food in my stomach, and I’m still alive. If that’s not success…than maybe people need to take a moment.

There was a time, actually a few times, I thought I wouldn’t make it to 30. There were times I didn’t want to make it to 30.

But now that I’m here…it’s not so bad. Do I wish I’d done things differently in my life? Of course! But anyone who doesn’t have even 1 thing they regret or wish to change is a liar or in deep denial.

I have amazing friends who I’ll never completely understand why they put up with me and my long periods of no communication. I’m thankful they encourage me to go on adventures, do things that terrify me, and don’t ask too many questions when I just need to be in a room with people who know can take care of me.

Do I have any uplifting life lessons? No, cause I’m still living life. I can only offer experiences and maybe those could lead to lessons for you. But I won’t pretend I know what the hell’s going on.

But if you absolutely need something…just be a good person. Whatever that means to you.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to celebrate surviving until 30.

Wake Up Call

I don’t go to bed at normal hours…like, ever, but the last thing I want when I finally tuck myself in for bed at 2 or 3 in the morning is to be woken up at 4 in the morning to a loud voice.

But that’s what happened one fabulous morning.

I heard the loud voice but couldn’t really make it out so I (like any other intelligent human running on less than two hours of sleep) assumed it was just some jackass (possibly drunk jackass) going out to his car or walking down the road. Sometimes a gentleman or lady of unfortunate circumstances walks by and makes sure everyone knows it.

Anyways, I (again, having been rudely woken up) went to the bathroom. Now the window in my bathroom is probably made from the thinnest glass possible because I could hear the loud voice more clearly as I sat on my porcelain throne. And that’s when I realized this was not just a random person yelling angrily into the morning air.

My first clue it wasn’t a random person were the first words I clearly heard: “Exit the vehicle one by one!” (or something to that effect, it was a while ago and my memory can be a little shit). That was also when I noticed the flashing lights.

Now, if curiosity was a deadly sin, I’d be the poster child for it. When I heard these words and realized there were red and blue lights flashing outside the window, I finished my business and then ran to my bedroom window. I, also not being stupid, moved the blinds only enough so I could peek out but (hopefully) not enough that anyone from the street would notice.

7, and this is absolutely NOT me exaggerating, 7 police cars of varying sizes were parked in front of my house. Parked in the driveway across the street with spotlights on it was a silver sedan (?)…okay, I don’t remember what the actual car was, but come on, that’s not the ting to focus on here.

Not only were there 7 police cars, but there were about a dozen or more police officers standing behind their car doors with their guns drawn.

There are many things to think at a moment like this, but the number one thought in my mind (besides the excitement of having juicy gossip to pretend to tell co-workers at my fantasy work) was how the hell did all these cop cars get here without their sirens? Like, you’d think those would’ve woken me long before the one officer yelling. I’m sure all you experts in police chases are probably yelling: Well, since it was so early in the morning, police don’t turn on their sirens so as not to disturb or draw attention blah blah blah…and I would make a stupid face at you and admit you’re probably right, but when you’re woken up at 4 am, logic isn’t usually there.

Back to the police. So, now that I’m no longer at the paper-thin bathroom window, I can’t really hear what the police are yelling to the car blocked from ever leaving the neighborhood. But I do decide to move into my office for a more comfortable view (i.e. a chair).

The back door of the silver car opened and a guy in a hoodie and jeans (soooooo original) came out with his hands raised above his head. The police had him back towards them and raise his shirt to show he had no weapon. Then he walked backwards to the police cars until one officer could grab him and handcuff him, search him, give a stern talking to, and then stuff him in the backseat of one police car. The next guy got out of the car from the same door and did the exact same thing, ending up in a separate police car. Then a third, exactly the same. Then a fourth guy came out. The car shook a little bit and a fifth guy came out, following the officer’s instructions to the T.

And I’m thinking, Wow, must’ve been a tight fit. Then a SIXTH guy got out of the car. I have to emphasize one thing…all six of these guys had to exit the car through the same door. Including the guy in the passenger seat and the driver. The two in the front had to climb into the back of the car and exit through the same door as the other 4. Again, some of you police chase experts are probably pushing your glasses (or invisible glasses?) up the bridge of your nose as you stare down at us peons who know nothing saying: That’s proper protocol for blah bLAH BLAH!

By the time the sixth guy was being put into a sixth police car, an eighth police car (a sheriff car) pulled up and the sun was rising. People were going to be waking up and heading out to work soon. The officers approached the car and thoroughly searched it, including the trunk. Once they were sure there were no other guys hiding somewhere, the officers put their guns away and became more relaxed.

Some went to each of the guys to either get their statements or inform them of their rights or whatever. The sheriff got out of his car and spoke with a number of the officers, glancing into the windows to see the guys. Others began digging through the trunk of the car.

Fun Anecdote: While the police were going through the car, the guy who delivers newspapers tried to turn down the street, but clearly didn’t see the 7-8 police cars. He did a U-turn instead and parked on the street. He spoke with an officer and they let him deliver our paper. So…kudos to the police for not stopping my flow of information.

Back to the trunk search. Even with the sun coming up, I couldn’t clearly see what they found beyond some obvious items such as dry cleaning. Yep, these guys took a car with the clothes they picked up from the dry cleaner in the trunk.

Oh, but how do you know they didn’t steal the car? Well, I don’t, but I assume they wouldn’t be stupid enough to steal a car for 6 people and not get something bugger than a sedan. Plus, if they stole the car then the items the officers found in the trunk wouldn’t make sense.

See besides the dry cleaning (which I might add, the police held up and laughed about so pretty sure even they thought it was funny how the guys remembered to pick up their dry cleaning before heading out to commit crimes [also the officers were very polite and hung the dry cleaning from the top of the open trunk to prevent wrinkles…double kudos]) the officers pulled out two or three things and placed them on the curb next to the car.

Reminder, I couldn’t really see (and yes, by this point I had grabbed binoculars to go full rear window on this situation) but there was a bag with maybe drugs or money or something in it but nothing too big. But the other thing they pulled out looked like a (possible) gun wrapped in cloth. I’ll never know because this never ended up on the news or in the paper, but the police did photograph these items on the curb and took everything with them.

Police cars started leaving one by one and those left behind closed up the car (including the dry cleaning). One officer was left alone to wait for a tow truck to arrive. When the tow truck finally arrived, the world was waking up.

Traffic was starting to get heavy on the main road and once the tow truck took the car away the last of the police drove off. Our street returned to its usual quiet.

And that’s the story of the 7 police cars and the dry-cleaning bandits. Who knows what they were charged with, but it’s still a fun story.

NOTES:

The image of my cat is because in the wee, early morning hours I didn’t even think to grab my phone to take any pictures of the police outside my house. Priorities.

I don’t know who the 6 guys were or what they looked like. I wear -10.5 lenses (i.e. blind as a fucking bat) and even with my glasses I still can’t see details in the distance.

I won’t deny perhaps I’m forgetting specific details, but numbers are accurate. There were indeed 7 police cars on my street and 6 dudes in a four-door sedan-like vehicle.

Also, I can’t speak as to whether any of the neighbors witnessed this either, it was 4 in the morning and truthfully, I was surprised nobody tried to come out and talk to the officers. Where I live, people can be very nosy. But I guess seeing about a dozen officers with guns in their hands really discourages that.

A Joy on the Up Days

Anyone who knows me would never use the words overactive or outgoing to describe me. I’m quiet, shy, and, on most occasions, borderline anti-social.

True, if you’re able to bash through that initial barrier of “Don’t acknowledge I exist” and become someone I’m actually comfortable to be around, you get to see the close to outgoing, fun version of me. But to the outside world…I’m a shy, timid embarrassment.

How can such two separate beings live in one body? Well, you can thank my kindergarten and first grade teachers. Seeing as how I’ve not been in kindergarten or the first grade since…’93? ’94? Sure, anyways, since I haven’t been in either grade since those years previously stated, I can’t say this isn’t still one of the main focuses. But on the “report cards” for both kindergarten and first grade was included an interesting phrase.

SELF CONTROL.

I have to pre-empt the rest of this by stating I was an all right child when it came to grades. Above average, but not the top percentile, if you get what I’m saying. In some things I excelled (language comprehension, reading) while others not so much (MATH). Overall, I received glowing reports.

Where does self control come in?

I understand it’s mostly behavioral. For those of you who are teachers of kindergarten or the first grade, I’m sure you have better explanations, but I’m going to give it a shot. From what I can gather, it’s basically learning to become a member of society. Learning to fall in line when the teacher tells you. Don’t argue when told to do something. To behave like a good, little kid.

(I’m sure there’s more to it than that such as learning to speak when called upon, interactions with other children, and much more, but for the sake of my argument I choose to focus on the whole, learning to behave properly aspect.)

Now, I understand the importance of self control and teaching it to children when they’re young…BUT I must make one objection. Perhaps, don’t make the child feel so guilty about it.

You see, on MY little grade sheets for both kindergarten and first grade I got that notorious letter N in the little box after SELF CONTROL. What did that stand for? NEEDS IMPROVEMENT.

For those unfamiliar/if it was different where you went to school: There were no real grades until roughly fifth or sixth grade, this differed depending on schools, etc.. Where I went to school (in Indiana) a student could get an S+, S, or S- for Satisfactory, I for Insufficient, or N for Needs Improvement.

To be fair, I wasn’t insufficient at self control…I needed improvement. Do I remember why? No. But I do remember getting upset when everyone didn’t follow the rules exactly, or put things back exactly how or where they were supposed to. >cough< desks in the third grade after circling up >cough<

I remember being able to identify unfairness or the idea of someone clearly getting preferred treatment and voicing my opinion on that (as well as a four or five year old can).

There were two sentences on my first grade report card that, having gone back over these papers in an attempt to clean out boxes, have now resonated with me.

[J] has ups and downs with her self-control. She’s a joy on the “up” days. Let’s keep working on this.

Now, why has looking back on these, truthfully, unimportant pieces of paper bothered me? Because I didn’t learn self control. Oh no, I learned to never stand up for myself. I learned the better student is the one not heard. But here’s the rub! We were also graded on participation. Unlike self control, which improved, my grade for participation went down. It went from S to S- (shocking, I know).

So, yes, I became I good student (cause my grades were pretty good in elementary school [except for math, but come on, no one’s perfect…except for that one kid in every school, you know the one…self control and participation on top of straight S+’s, more machine than human…but I digress]). But I suffered vocally.

I learned to clam up and build a wall around myself, only letting people in who don’t mind that I got an N in self control.

People who don’t mind that I’ll always need improvement.

But, hey…I got a nice blog name out of it.

Hello Out There

This…is different. Maybe not for you, the reader/onlooker/passerby. But for me, this is different.

I could spend this post saying hello and introducing myself. I could. But that’s what the About page is for (this is my attempt to get you to click a link to another page that has more ramblings, but much better thought out ramblings…maybe not better, but different ramblings that took me more time to write/reach a point where I didn’t flinch every time I read it).

What I can add that isn’t on the About page (notice the repeated link) is this: Since names are common (and my first name is the same as another blogger, a far more well-known blogger than I’ll ever be) I’d prefer to be called J.

Blogging may no longer be a niche thing. Fact. Everyone and their mother, grandmother, grandfather, father, cat, dog, canary, parrot, ferret…egg may have a blog now. Fact.

But so what. I’ve alway been behind in social media things. Why change now?

Here is my blog. This is the first official post of my blog. And all I have to say is: Hello out there!