Thursday, May 31

Return To The Garden

The time difference is pretty rough because I'm getting tired at a ridiculously early time. It makes me feel like a total wimp. The heat is up there and there's a ton of smoke and dust in the air due to a huge fire in New Mexico. Was not exactly expecting that and I hope that they are able to contained it soon.

While I prepare some side-by-side comparisons of the plants from before my trip and how they look now, here's a quick vlog I made earlier today while I explored my little garden nook. Again, a big thank you to the SO for watering and keeping an eye on things. The damage was completely out of his control because the wildlife here are voracious vegetarians, lol. Sigh.

Wednesday, May 30

Back Home & After

After a bit of turbulence, being surrounded by young twenty-something hot messes, screaming children, and various delays- I'm back! Finally back home in the desert after some delicious Waffle House because it was open and I love breakfast foods.

After attending a wedding and then having another dear friend get engaged over Memorial Day weekend, weddings have been on my mind. This video has gone viral over the past few days and I tear up every time I watch this amazing proposal.

Unpacking is just going to happen tomorrow. :P At least our kitty remembered me and welcomed me home. I missed him terribly.

Tuesday, May 29

The Night Before

May or may not get some sleep tonight because tomorrow is travel day.

Thankfully, my flight is in the early evening so that gives us a few precious hours for last minute rushing around.

Time has kind of flown here and I've started my panicking last night about everything I need to do to pick up my life again out in the desert. It was not a pretty sight.

Was able to squeeze in a few more goodbyes and they seemed sadder than usual. I think time and growing up does that somehow.

I don't think I have a terrible about of packing to do with my one checked bag. It's the peripherals that I'm worried about. I tend to carry those on my poor back and shoulders. Eh, time will tell.

In the meantime, here's another video that has popped up about packing! What are the odds? :P Being a girl is crazy. Language warning.

Monday, May 28

Memorial Day

I have been incredibly grateful to have the means and opportunity to visit with many great people that are also my friends these past few weeks. My brother and I made it back to our folks' home safely today and while I figure out what to do tomorrow, I think back to where I was a year ago.

It was on a spiritual journey to Texas and while many things have changed since then, I'm still on that journey. Will be making sure to contact as many of the people I met during that trip over the next few days and am proud to say that I continue to work on one of my life's missions that was shown to me on this day one year ago.

I hope that we've all been able to take some time to remember all of those who have fought and continue to fight for all of us here at home. Stay safe and Happy Memorial Day, all.

Sunday, May 27

Party Games

It has been so nice to just relax in good company today. The four of us have hung out, made tacos to eat, and played various multi-player games on the Wii. It's too bad we can't stay longer. One of those games has been Mario Party 9, so here's this video to enjoy.

Saturday, May 26

Last Stop

We made it to our final destination before heading back home! I get to see my best friend! Hooray!

My brother and I hung out with my former roommates and their puppies for most of the day. We drove into town and had lunch at IKEA- it was my and my brother's first visit. Extremely fascinating. The makers know their audience so darn well. I'm really excited to try to get stuff there when the SO and I are in our own place. Then, I remembered the fact that the nearest location is about 2 hours away. Whoops.

We also played video games that were reminiscent of the old days of living together or being neighbors. So awesome to have a chill day.

Then, my brother and I headed out across the state to meet my best friend and her sister. I freaked out, to say the least. It's been way too long, even though I've video chatted with them recently. The stars have aligned for us to be in the same state at the same time. We're taking a break from a video game tournament against each other right now, but I should get back to that! So excited to be here and so grateful for having the chance to spend at least a little bit of time with so many great people.

Friday, May 25

On The Road Again

My brother and I are driving all over Central Florida today. I have forgotten how much traffic, impending bad weather, a long holiday weekend, and the people around here can drive you absolutely bonkers.

Plus, make you terribly late to everything. I cannot stand how late I've been to nearly everything lately and feel terribly about it. Thankfully, I have some really awesome and patient friends. I'm trying my best to see as many people as possible before I leave next week! Crossing my fingers that we can get back on track and that we aren't too badly affected by the start of Hurricane season. It won't officially start until June 1st, but we're on our second named storm already. We are predicted to have high chances of Thunderstorms but I think the areas we'll be in over the next few days skirt just below the forecast are for Subtropical Storm Beryl.

Please enjoy this fun cover of Adele's "Rumour Has It" by the talented Chester See and Andy Lange.

Thursday, May 24


We're packing (or trying to) tonight. Squeezed in three more visits today full of coffee, frozen yogurt, and video games that test the strength of your friendships. There was also an emotionally intense conversation that I was grateful to be apart of too. In the end, they were successes.

Enjoy this cover of Maroon 5's "Payphone" with Avery, Max Schneider, and a bunch of other talented guys on iPhones.

Wednesday, May 23


My poor mom was stuck at the doctor's office for hours today. Her one day off. :( We did get some more shopping done together, so that's always good. I'm almost set with a new wardrobe and it's adding to my motivation to go through my old clothes and see how much is worthy of donating.

Tonight, I've done something I have somehow managed to avoid all of these years: karaoke in person in public. I have performed solos on stage and sung along endlessly online but never this. It's always been in the comfort of (someone's) home, surrounded by people that I know well. Helping a friend support a friend, a few of us went to a sports bar and sang at least a song each. I know it probably wasn't the best choice to keep a party going, but I tried to do a song that I knew the tune to that was vocally safe. I ended up singing Brad Paisley's "Whiskey Lullaby" with the DJ helping me out with harmonies because it's originally a duet with Alison Krauss.

I adore this song so it helped with the bag of nerves I was on stage. It was a lot of fun, almost as awkward as I expected to be, and it's done! XP

On an unrelated note, I have to mentioned how sweet the SO has been. From humoring me with updates about the scorching temperatures at home, how his kitty is doing and what he's (the kitty) doing at that very moment, and about my garden that he's been looking after. He has even sent me pictures of new things that are happening in my little space and of the solar eclipse that I missed out on seeing. A lot of patience, that one has, lol.

I cannot believe I have a mere week left here. My brother and I are becoming very excited about our road trip to the central part of the state this weekend. I just hope that traffic isn't too crazy because of long holiday weekend.

Tuesday, May 22


The midnight release last night was amusing. About a dozen or so young guys waiting around. The most entertaining person there was an energetic and enthusiastic employee who was preaching and praising the awesomeness that was/is the Dragonball franchise.

My brother and I were knowingly nodding and giggling in the corner. After he got his placeholder ticket, we still had nearly two hours to kill before he could get the game, so we took a detour of sorts to the 24hr Walmart down the street. XD We got some snacks because my brother came ill-prepared for camping out, a Mancala set because we have yet to own one despite being a favorite, and two Disney-themed CDs for our road trip this weekend. He let me borrow his Nintendo DS and Kirby Superstar Ultra game after we came back to wait out the remainder of the time. He got his cool thing and has been playing it ever since.

I've spent most of the day visiting a friend I've known since fifth grade. It was awesome seeing how much her kids have grown! The last time I saw her little girl, I don't think she was walking yet! We played catch-up and after the kids went to bed, we headed out to dinner for a reunion! Yes, we pulled it off! Lol.

Four of us ladies reunited after nearly 12 years and it was so good to be together again. We were crazy and close in middle school, each went to different high schools, and virtually dropped off the map for the past six years. It's really odd summarizing the major events of your life for the past few years. Especially when it's to someone who understands you as a person but has had no idea what's been going on with you during that time. I'm really fortunate to know people that still truly care and don't judge no matter what crazy choices have been made or what conclusions have been reached. We were tempted to keep the party going afterwards but realized we were out in the middle of nowhere and it's a Tuesday night. There were not that many options and we all had things to do soon. Oh the joys of adulthood and growing older. :P

Tomorrow, I hope to spend more time with my mom on her day off, maybe do some karaoke in the evening with friends, and cramming in more visiting. I think I have just one week left here in Florida! Ack!

Monday, May 21

Midnight Release

I'm not sure how I did it, but last night, I managed to screw up my back.

Yes, that thing behind where all of my organs and important stuff is kept. It hurt so badly that I was considering waking up someone in my family and heading to the ER. However, it didn't feel like radiating nerve pinching or like one of my organs had exploded, so I stuck it out. I couldn't sleep, kept trying to stretch our that muscle the best I could without tossing my cookies, and was generally miserable. Thankfully, the majority of the pain had subsided around 7am. At least, enough for me to get some sleep. I really wish I knew exactly what I did to make sure that it never happens again. That sucked.

This led today to be less productive but I started reading and watching tutorials on using my new software to edit the photos. I tried using a few straight from the camera in that family scrapbook but I could not stand it. I love how most of the pictures on this blog are turning out now that I hit a few buttons for quick edits. I have a feeling that this software does the same sort of thing. If I can get it to work. Baby steps, lol.

My brother and I took a quick trip to the store to pick up a few more supplies for our road trip  We also took a quick little field trip to the Everglades. It's about a 15 minute drive from my parents' house. We luckily snuck in between shifts of mosquitoes and rain, so that was great. Took a couple of pictures with Flat Stanley, mostly of peacocks that were all over this particular park. It's a place for boats to enter into the canals, they have alligator shows, camping grounds, and docks for people to fish off of.

However, my brother had one this on his mind today: Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. He has reserved the Signature Edition of this game and wants to go to a midnight release at our local store. My folks were a bit dubious at first, but then I said I was going to go with him and nowadays, we have our gaming store right around the corner. If we wanted to, we could walk there easily. He has been waiting for this game to come out for two years now. Poor thing.

If you don't count the various expansion packs, this is the fourth installment in the series. Ubisoft mentioned that it was in development back in 2009 and it's been delayed quite a few times since. They don't often do that with games anymore, it used to happen all of the time. With the economy these days, if a game or even a development studio is taking that long to crank out, the parent company dismantles the project without warning. I'm surprised they stuck with this but I'm glad they did.

So, that's what we're doing tonight. I'm a little excited to go, I haven't done many, let alone in a while. Wonder how big the crowd is going to be at our store. We've gotten a few calls from them the past few days to remind us (not that my brother needed it), then was told to call at 4pm today to find out if/ when they would assign ticket numbers for the midnight release, and we're going to get that ticket number at 10pm. Hanging out at a gaming store for 4.5 hours can be really fun or really boring, it depends on the store and the crowd. I'll be ready to bunker down for sure! Will let you know how it went.

Sunday, May 20

Back On Track

I finally got to spend some productive quality time with my mom today so it finally feels like an official visit to see my folks.

We shopped and got quite a bit of things that I've needed all before torrential rain started. I might be doing a mini haul soon. Mostly loose-fitting, flowing garments that I can throw on during the scorching hot desert summer.

The drama has temporarily subsided. Well, it's at least moved out of our house so we have access to the first floor again. My brother and I thoroughly enjoyed sprawling out on the couches and making couch-angels when my dad got home that day. He was actually amused by our antics. Unlike yesterday when I pulled one of these with his ringing cell phone:

Yeah, normally, I would have just answered it and walked them upstairs to him, but after all of the madness that has been going on lately (and the fact that I didn't recognize the name), I didn't want to. At least my brother and I were amused. 

I've started to tackle the summer vacation album from a year ago and am running into one snag after another but now I'm determined to get some work done on it. That may require me to learn two new editing softwares. Fun fun. It'll all be worth it. Still trying to assemble a few ladies together for a reunion that's been over ten years in the making. Also, planning out the roadtrip my brother and I are planning to take this weekend. I go crazy planning but when the time comes, I'm pretty zen about matters. I think my brother's a bit of the opposite, go figure. It'll all work out and be fun, I'm sure of it.

Saturday, May 19

An Aquatic Adventure

Letting a few pictures tell a story from the excursion my brother and I had today.


Friday, May 18

Drama Mama

My family actually got to sit and have dinner together tonight!

This is great despite the drama going on at home that we're all dealing with since it showed up on our doorstep on Tuesday. Some parties are trying their hardest to involve my family in a feud that has been going on for more than twenty years and we're not having any of it. It's tragic but it's gotten ridiculous. My dad had to leave early because the police wanted to follow up on some claims and yeah. Our patience has worn very thin. I would love to have the first floor of our house back.

My mom made the comment that I had brought the aura of drama with me from the desert and we had a good laugh about that one.

My brother and I spent more time together today playing different kinds of co-op video games and we had lunch with an amazing friend of mine. I have to say, it's such an honor to know such a ambitious and creative person. I'm so proud of her! Not only was it great to catch-up, she ended up dragging me to the mall in an attempt to find a few last minute pieces before she leaves on Sunday for Europe. She only plans to have a backpack, so we needed to make each piece count! In all of this, I somehow ended up having to try on dresses and getting a mini-consultation at a makeup counter. She's hard to say "No" to, so I didn't even try to fight it, lol. It was a fun kind of craziness. I fear for what would have happened if we had more time and choices. Let's skim over the fact that I later rushed back to the mall in torrential rain to get a security tag removed only to walk out 15 minutes later to nearly clear skies. These 30 minute suddenly rainstorms are weirding me out. XD

Now, after finishing up a few chores, I'm planning a field trip to an aquarium tomorrow with my brother! I cannot wait to figure out what we're doing and heading out!

Thursday, May 17

Another Day

It was another day of going out to have lunch with my brother, hanging out with friends, coming home exhausted by 11:30pm, and thoroughly loving it.

While no activity has lasted as long as I wanted it to, the fact that I've been able to get my fix of a bunch of people has been so great. Checking out and playing video games together and indulging in yummy food everywhere are just some of the best things in life and what I miss the most while so far away. We had a great time celebrating a birthday today!

I'm also working on a few new Flat Stanley figures because I'm having technical difficulties photographing my second version. My brother and I hope to take a field trip or two this weekend by using FS as inspiration to explore our own backyard.

Even though the atmosphere around the house is still pretty awkward, we're trying to make the best of my time here. I finally got to hang out with my mom late last night into the wee hours. I had just written about being disappointed in not being able to spend time with her just before it happened! Yay!

Neither of us could sleep despite being exhausted so we gravitated and were miserable together. It worked out wonderfully because it's the first time we got to sit down and have an actual conversation in the week that I've been here. She even helped me assemble and finish the main church photo album. Our conversations at this point in our lives are pretty hilarious, full of substance and real life advice/ facts/ situations, and have the oddest path. It's taken a lot of time and effort to get to this point, but it's fantastic. The only thing I would change about it is extending it!

I need to be more consistent with my coffee-lifeblood. I don't understand how casual fun activities are leaving me brain-dead each night. I have not worked on any of the projects I had reserved for doing during my downtime on this trip, but I think I'll panic about that later. This is the closest I'm getting to a vacation this year and will treat it as such!

Wednesday, May 16

Florida By Flat Stanley

Had a chance to go through some of my own pictures today as I assembled an album for my folks' church activities.

Didn't get a chance to hang out with my mom today and that got me pretty bummed. She's a huge reason why I like to visit for extended periods of time.

My brother and I hung out with my fabulous friend and watched Adventure Time! I think we got him hooked! We also went to a pet store, the toy store (where I found many things that I was way too excited about- such as a Perry the Platypus karaoke machine- don't get me started), and a few hobby-comic book stores.

Either way, I think Flat Stanley's pictures tell a pretty good story about what being here has been like. I didn't get him with the gaggle of geese that were in the driveway earlier today though. They were having none of that and I like having all of my digits. No, these are not all of the pictures I've taken so far. They're not even all of the ones featuring Mr. FS.

Our flight to Florida left on time that Wednesday morning.
FS liked checking out the small plane that we were going to be in.
We found out where those *ahem* interesting golf pants came from.
 We rushed through Houston airport.
 Got on a bigger plane that was delayed due to bad weather.
 Arrived in Florida right before the rain started. The road trip started like this too.
Sunsets here are sure different-looking than in the desert.
 After more than four hours in the car, we made it to Cape Canaveral on Thursday night.
 The sunset here was just as pretty.
 FS met a new friend, Cody the Cat.
They became close friends very quickly.
Even played a game of Hide and Seek.
 That night, we visited the Ron Jon Surf Shop and met even more new friends.
 FS had a hard time deciding which board to get.
FS thought this little nurse shark was so cool.
 The next morning, FS spotted something moving in the water.
 It was a pod of manatees!
They came to say, "Hello!"
 During the next four hours of driving, FS noticed that Northern Florida looked very different than South Florida.
 We also collected too many lovebugs. It was pretty gross.
 FS also found a wolf spider during one of the stops.
We have these in the desert too!
 During the weekend, we had a lot of fun.
 But FS loved to relax at the comfy hotel room too.
Sunday morning, FS had to decide which breakfast to have before driving 8 hours back south.

To Be Continued... :P

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