My Story: 365 day blog challenge Day 33

365 Day Blog Post Challenge 2019
Day 33
37. Your 10 greatest joys are….

My 10 greatest joys in no particular order:

1.) Random texts from those I love just saying they are thinking of me
There is just something so special about getting a random text from someone for no other reason then because they wanted to say they were thinking of you.  It does not happen often, but the few times this has happened, it not only brings me that instantaneous joy, but also puts me in a good mood for the rest of the day.  Just recently I was having a not-so-great day at work and out of the blue, I received a text from my god-daughter saying that she just wanted to say she loved me and missed me and that she hoped I was having a good day.  I found it interesting that she just happened to send that text on a day when I was having a rough time.  It made me smile from ear-to-ear and it pulled me out of the funk I was in.  It just goes to show that the smallest things can bring another person such joy.  We should all do more to bring joy to others life.  I love that girl.

2.) Taking pictures and revisiting those memories
I love taking pictures.  I have my camera (yes I still go old-school style and have an actual camera) or my cell camera out taking pictures wherever we are.  It does not matter the event or vacation, you can be assured that I will have pictures to document the memories.  The importance of documenting moments with photos is extremely high on my list.  Although I have pretty much always been that person that has her camera out snapping shots, the importance really hit me just recently when we attended a memorial for my friends husband.  During the celebration of life ceremony after the service, they showed the most wonderful slide show with photographs spanning his whole life.  It made me realize that this is exactly why I do what I do.  I take pictures so that down the road, I (or others) can look back and revisit the experiences that were important enough to for me to take the time to photograph them.
For a while I was big into making the photobooks of each individual event and adventure. There are times when I will just sit down and look through them all and remember all the wonderful memories.  With all the pictures I have, I probably could make another 200 books and still not be finished, but I am determined to try.
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3.) Disney
I have no other words then Disney brings me joy.  Pure and complete joy.  I cannot walk into any Disney location without instantly being overwhelmed with happiness and a strange sense of calmness.  I think the calmness comes from the fact that in everyday life I am very anxious and high strung.  Disney is one of the few places that all of those feelings vanish and I can just be at peace and enjoy everything around me.  Granted, I am not a big fan of crowds or screaming children.. and outside of Disneyland it would pose a problem, but inside Disneyland I seem to be more tolerable of the things that cause me anxiety in everyday life.


4.) Planning Vacations
Yes, planning vacations brings me joy.  I know for some it is stressful, but for me, it is often one of the best parts of vacationing.  I love the organizing, the searching around for new and interesting things to do and the hunt for good deals.  I love keeping binders with reservation printouts and google map directions (I know.. there is GPS on the phone.. but what can I say, I’m a paper person.  I like to hold that piece of paper in my hand rather then the phone).

5.) Taking vacations
Getting away from life, whether it be for 1 day or 9 just makes me a much happier person.  My husband and I don’t often get to vacation on our own.  We are usually with various other people.  So part of the joy of vacationing for me is that during all of the pre-planning, I try and make sure that I am able to do special things to make vacations special for others.  If we can go on vacation with other people, and I can in someway make their experience better by having something planned that is going to bring them joy.. then that brings me joy.

6.) My alone time
My work offers the option of working a 9/80 schedule.  This means that I work all of my 80 hours in 9 days and then I get a day off every other week.  I find a lot of joy on that every-other Friday off when I get have some quality alone time.  I personally think it’s important to spend time alone.  It gives your time to decompress and get some much needed space.  This is a difficult part of my relationship with my husband, because he is the opposite.  He does not like to be alone.. ever.  So he does not understand why I find so much joy in being by myself.  I think after 15 years he is finally starting to get it, but it still can be difficult.  I try to explain to him that sometimes a person just needs to have time to sit and watch old reruns of their favorite show without someone else there giving comminatory about how stupid they think it is.

7.) Having time to work on hobbies 
Since extra time is not something that I have a lot of, I usually don’t give myself the opportunity to spend time doing things that I enjoy.  As mentioned above, I love pictures.  So this has created an obsessive hobby of photobook making and scrapbooking.  I recently started getting into a form of scrapbooking called Project Life.  I purchased a ton of products to get started, but have yet to find the time to actually sit down and do it.  So, on the rare occasion I have time to do any type of hobby, it brings me a lot of joy.  It could be that I find more joy in it because the time I get to spend doing it is so rare.

8.) Paying off a bill
Having been in debt for so much of my life and always having those credit card bills hanging over my head, there is an extreme since of joy when a bill gets paid off.  I wish I could say that over the course of the last 35 years that once I paid off a bill, it would stay “paid off”, but that unfortunately wouldn’t be the truth.  Even though I know the joyous feeling of paying them off, it still apparently is not enough to keep me from charging them back up again.  I have gotten much better and this is the year of my debt free journey, so here is hoping that I have that feeling of joy more and more often in the upcoming months.

9.) Socks
There is not a lot to say about this one.  I have no explanation for my strange fixation for socks.  But they do bring me joy.  Socks are comforting to me.  I wear them all day and all night (minus the few times I wear sandals or go to the beach/pool).  I wear them to bed regardless if the weather is 45 degrees of 100 degrees.  I know it sounds crazy, but I just feel very uncomfortable without them.  I actually despise the feel of sheets against my feet.  You know the shivery feeling  you get with nails on a chalkboard?  That is how I feel when I have to have sheets rub against my feet.   Hey… what can I say… I’ve never tried to pretend I don’t have some serious “issues”.

10.) Lists:  making them and crossing things off of them
Sheldon Cooper said it best….”If there were a list of things that made me more comfortable, lists would be on the top of that list”.  How true that is.  Lists do all sorts of things for me.  They not only bring me joy, but they bring me comfort and a sense of calmness.  I would be lost without my lists.  I have them everywhere.  I have work lists, personal lists, grocery lists, food planning lists, money budget lists…. need I go on?  I clearly am obsessed with lists.  The only thing more joyful then making the list is crossing something off of it when you have completed a task.

postit scrabble to do todo
Photo by Breakingpic on


My Story: 365 day blog challenge Day 10

365 Day Blog Post Challenge 2019
Day 10
284.  List all the vacations you’ve taken

It would be difficult to try and list all of the vacations I’ve taken in my lifetime with just one post.  So for the sake of this 365 day blog experiment, I am going to try and briefly list as many as I can think of.

Except for my one month long trip to France for work, I’ve never taken any overseas vacations.  Although I would like to and hope to in the future.  When I was a child, our vacations consisted of camping trips and trips to Disneyland and Universal Studios.  Except for some trips to Tahoe, Reno and Las Vegas, I never even left California until I was 18.

Over the years I have been to Hawaii several times, traveled to Disneyland pretty much yearly, as well as Disneyworld every 2-3 years.  We take regular camping vacations and have been to Texas a few times.  Once to Dallas so that my husband could see a Dallas Cowboys game during the last season in their old stadium (my husband is a born and raised Californian as well, so I’ve never really understood why he is a Dallas Cowboys fan).  I went to San Antonio for a week on a business trip so I’m not sure that really counts as vacation, but I was able to do a bunch of fun stuff like one of those open top bus tours, a cruise down the river walk and of course a trip to the Alamo. We go to Las Vegas yearly and have been on numerous cruises. We’ve also been to Seattle a few times.  I love it there.

1.) Places we have been on Cruise ships:
Alaska: Junaeu, Glaciers point, Skagway
Caribbean: Cozumel Mexico, Nassau Bahamas, Labadee Haiti, George Town Grand Cayman, CocoCay Bahamas, Jamaica, San Juan Puerto Rico, Phillipsburg St. Maarten, Charlotte Amalie St. Thomas
Mexico: Ensenada, Cabo San Lucas, Cancun, Mazatlán, Puerto Vallarta

I think that cruising is probably one of our favorite forms of vacationing.  I get that it’s not for everyone.  However, I would like to say that for those that are reluctant to cruise because they think they will be “bored” on cruise ship, please give it a try.  Cruise ships now are literally sailing cities.  You can do so much not just during the shore excursions, but on the ships themselves.  We have ice skated, roller bladed, zip lined, watched Broadway style shows, enjoyed comedy clubs, climbed rock walls and played miniature golf.  This all while sailing the high seas.  This does not even take into account the extraordinary shore experienced we have had when we stop at all the different port of calls.  We have snorkeled with turtles, swam with dolphins, swam with stingrays, zip lined through the trees of Alaska, taking train rides up into the mountains of Alaska, gone out on an “all you can drink” pirate ship in Mexico, walked waterfalls in Jamaica, and have taken numerous city walking and bus tours.
One of things we love so much about cruising (other than the food) is the fact that on a one week long vacation, you get to visit so many different locations. Usually each cruise has 3-4 different stops.  This is another reason some people are not fans of cruising.  They would prefer to pick one location and stay there.  We like to do that too, however, when you are limited on vacation time, sometimes cruising gives you the most bang for your buck.

2.) Disney:

I don’t think it’s any secret if you have read any of my other blogs that I am a huge Disney fan.  We got to Disneyland at least once a year.  We pretty much always go in October for their “Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween” party.  As adults, this is one of the few places where we can still dress up in Halloween costumes and actually trick or treat for candy.  We normally come home with many pounds of candy from our trip.  We like to say that we try and get as much candy as possible to offset the price of the ticket… but let’s be real.  We get the candy for ourselves.  🙂
We also take a trip to Orlando to go to Disneyworld at least every 2-3 years.
We are such Disney lovers that we have been Disney Vacation Club Members for about 10 years.  This is the Disney timeshare, which helps with the cost of Disney hotels since we can use our points instead of having to pay cash every time we go.

3.) Work?  France/Germany
I added this in even though it was not technically a vacation.  I went to France (28 days) and Germany (4 days) on a business/work exchange program.  It was officially a work trip, but I did so much tourist stuff, it sure feels like it should be considered a vacation.

4.) Camping

Does camping qualify as vacations?  I think it does.  I actually think camping is probably the most relaxing of ALL the vacations we go on.  Camping is the only vacation we take were you actually HAVE to just kick back and relax.  You can go on walks and hikes and other various activities, but for the most part, it is not like our typical vacations were we seem to be busy morning until night doing all sorts of tours and excursions.
The best part of camping?  Smores of course!

5.) Las Vegas

As I mentioned, we go on a week long trip to Las Vegas every year.  My parents have a time share and we’ve been going along with them for the past 15 years.  The time share itself is lovely.  It has a beautiful pool and a lazy river and has daily activities for all owners.  We don’t really spend much time at the resort though.  We seem to always be on the move.  Even after all of these years going, we always seem to find new and fun things to do.  People are often surprised that we can go to Vegas for a full week every single year.  I could see how that would be difficult for some to understand if you just think of Vegas as a place to gamble.  We do like to gamble, but we are “cheap” gamblers.  We play penny slot machines and that’s on a budget.  We don’t however spend all of our time at the slot machines or on the Vegas Strip.  We like to venture out and do different things other then your typical Vegas type of actives.  We’ve been on a Ghost Hunting tour, food walking tours, cruised Lake Mead on a paddle boat, visited old ghost towns (this is my favorite thing to do).  We also spend time down on Fremont Street which is the old Vegas.  We’ve visited the Neon Graveyard (where all of the old Vegas neon signs retire) and because I love anything mob related, I made everyone go visit the mob museum (which was extremely fun and interactive).  Then there is of course the shows.  Any and every kind of show you want to see, they have it and we’ve seen a good amount of them.  Although I am not a huge fan of the heat, the rest of the group loves it, so they are just happy to enjoy the heat.

There are so many vacations still left on my to-do list.  I hope that if I were asked this question in 5 years, I could add a lot more to the list.  Although I enjoyed Europe, I am really focused on seeing as much of the U.S. as possible.  There are just so many things and so many States to visit.

All of this talk about vacations is making me want to go and plan one right now.  I better get on that!  🙂