Things That Make Me Happy

We all should have things in our life that makes us happy. Sometimes it’s the smallest things that make us us happy. Today I want to share a few things that make me happy. These are in no specific order, just a random order. This will be just a list. No explanations like I normally do. Let’s get it.

  • My niece and nephew
  • A new electronic gadget
  • Traveling
  • Photography
  • Family time
  • Football
  • Reading
  • Writing poetry
  • Sleeping
  • Lasagna
  • Movies

What are a couple of things on your list that makes you happy?

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50 By 50… Not Excatly

So, I’m here a bit late.  So today I’m doing a 50 by 50. Right now, the list is only at 37. Of course, some of these I’ve completed.  Some I’ve been working on, and others I haven’t even started.  I’m 46, so I have about 4 years to get it completed.  It may change to a 50 by 60 by the time my list is 100% complete.  We shall see.  Here’s my list as it currently stands.

  1. Visit half of the US states.  I’m just about there. I have 13 more states to hit before 50.  Let me start planning. Who’s ready to roll with me?
  2. Have my own studio for my photography.  Yep, I haven’t started.  Well, I have been on the back burner.
  3. Buy a dog.  I’ve thought about it, even looked at some, but haven’t made a move to get one.  I haven’t even prepared for one.
  4. Write 10 poetry books. I’m at 8 now. I guess I can make 10 happen. I’m actively working on book 9.
  5. Go back to Germany as an adult.  Actively looking into that one. Gotta start by getting my passport.
  6. Write a full novel. Yes, I’ve tried a few times. Just haven’t got there. Will I get there? I’ll keep trying.
  7. A train ride from GA to NY and do the CityPass. I’ve priced it and just haven’t planned it yet.
  8. Read every day for a year. 365 days straight! Completed that goal finally! This was completed in 2022!!!
  9. Perform spoken word. I’ve completed this in 2016 at the Compound. Thank you, Solow.
  10. Go to a NY Broadway play. There’s a few I want to see, but I will settle for one.
  11. Take a 30-day world cruise. These have gotten cheaper, so who knows.
  12. Go see LL Cool J perform live. Fingers crossed.
  13. Have a full library of autographed hard back books and 1st editions. Haven’t started. That’s all. Right now, I’ll settle for just autographed.
  14. 365 photos/Photo A Day – I never get this done, but I’m not giving up. Just started this one again on the first.
  15. Learn a foreign language – Started two different ones, but I keep stopping.
  16. Visit headquarters for paparazzi in Utah – This may happen in 2024.
  17. Go to the Superbowl – who can help me out here?
  18. Go to the opening ceremony at the summer Olympics. I’m shooting for 2028 when it comes stateside to Los Angeles.
  19. Alaskan Cruise – Based on my current schedule, maybe 2025.
  20. Visit the farthest city from Columbus, GA – Perth, Australia.
  21. Go to a Murder Mystery weekend resort – I keep putting this off. But I really want to do this.
  22. Attend a Murder Mystery Dinner – I’ve done this, but I want to do it again.
  23. Road trip around the country – This may be when I finally retire. I don’t want to rush.
  24. 500 Blog Posts – I’m currently at 383.
  25. Go to a live NFL game – Done this. But I want to see my Cowboys live!
  26. Go to a live NBA game – Done this. Got free tickets years ago. Thank you, Children Miracle Network.
  27. Go to a live MLB game – Done this. I’ve been to a few, actually.
  28. Go to a live NHL game – Been to some local games, but not NHL.
  29. Host a fashion show – Done. I’ve actually hosted three as part of my nonprofit.
  30. Start a non-profit business – Done. But I want to apply for a 501c3.
  31. Start a for-profit business – Done. Photography, jewelry, and travel.
  32. Write a travel book – About to travel more to help with that.
  33. Write a biography as a military child – I’m still not sure how I want to proceed with this. I’m open to suggestions.
  34. Take a Riverboat cruise – I want to cruise out of Savannah, GA, or Jacksonville, FL. I can do Tennessee, too.
  35. Adopt a baby. At this point, I’m not 100% sure.
  36. Become a viral product reviewer – well, let’s just say it’s a work in progress.
  37. Go to a ski resort. As crazy as it sounds, I don’t want to ski. Just go to the resort.

20 Truths About Me & My Life

We’ve entered a new year. Some of you may be new to me and my blogs and/or my social media pages. I wanted to take a moment and share a few quick truths about me. Here we go!!!

About me:

  1. I currently live in Georgia. Do I like it? For the most part I do.
  2. I love to read. I’m an avid reader. I’m scheduling less books to read this year.
  3. I love to travel. Getting back into traveling since the pandemic started.
  4. Photography is a passion I’ve had since I was in middle school. It became more so evident in Germany.
  5. I enjoy sports. I tend to lean towards American football more than anything.
  6. I’ll try a number of things once. Notice I didn’t say ANYTHING. That’s because there’s some things I won’t try no matter what.
  7. I value my close family and friends. Knowing they are there for me and me for them is vital, critical even.
  8. My tolerance for stupidity, lies and ignorance is nonexistent.
  9. I’m not a huge fan of chocolates. I’ll eat a chocolate candy bar every now and then or a brownie, but that’s about it.
  10. I enjoy dancing, but I have no rhythm. Don’t judge me.
  11. I enjoy changeling myself. I may not always complete it, but as long as I do better each time I’m good with that.
  12. I’m an introvert through and through. While I’m an introvert, I do try to be a more extrovert at times. Because of that sometimes you may not realize it.
  13. I love playing board games with my family. I love playing cards with them too. It’s a fun and wholesome activity.
  14. I’m awful at budgeting and saving. Yes, even at this age I struggle.
  15. As a writer, I still like to write my poetry by hand before typing it, unless I’m out somewhere. Then, I’ll just type it in my phone.
  16. I don’t eat a lot of what we call ‘soul food’. Some times, I’ll force it if someone invited me over and/or fixed me a plate. Don’t make that a habit though.
  17. I get bored quickly, even if I enjoy doing something. My attention span be spent. I normally can’t just watch a movie. I’ll watch a movie, read a book and talk with a friend.
  18. I’m currently working on my next poetry book. Title? I have no idea yet.
  19. I like working out, especially cardio, but, I’m not dedicated enough.
  20. I prefer movies over TV shows. I only really watch a few shows.

There’s my list of 20 things about myself. What’s a couple of things about you?

Growing Up dOdds

Growing up as a DoDDS child with the Army…

Growing up for me was really interesting.  At least it was interesting to me. Like millions of other kids I grew up as a military kid.  Yep, I took it for granted.  Still it was awesome and I really did like it. Traveling from place to place, meeting new people, making new friends.  It was great.  This maybe where I’ve developed my live if traveling from too. Of course, if I knew then what I know now, I probably would have savored a lot more of it, but it is what it is. I just have to go off memories now.

In my travels I’ve been to some awesome places.  Seen some great things.  Had some life changing moments as well.  I went to so many schools.  One school year I actually went to 3 different schools, 2 state side (different states) and one in Germany.  High school was just as diverse.  Three schools in four years.  My sisters didn’t care for the moving as much, but me, I loved it  I always looked forward to that next move, the next adventure.

The question always come up if I keep in touch with any of the people I went to school with over the years. That’s an easy answer. Yes, yes of course. As a matter of fact, many are right here in my same city and we speak on a regular basis. Others, we speak on occasion thanks to the various social media platforms. They do have DoDD reunions every year in a different city. I haven’t been able to go because it was always a conflict in my schedule. Maybe one day soon.

How did it impact me going to so many schools during the school years? I think it made me more versatile when it came to my friends and the things I saw and did. I always enjoyed the mixture of race and nationalities and meeting people from different cultures. This enabled me to be more understanding when working with a wide range of people. This became very evident when I moved to Alexandria, VA, a very diverse area. Even when hanging out at the clubs, I felt comfortable anywhere the soldiers were allowed to go because if they go there it’s almost guaranteed it would be a nice diverse crowd. So you see, it has affected multiple areas of my life.

Not all of it was great times of course. My dad be being army was gone a lot. He did make sure my mom and us had everything we needed though. We never wanted for anything. When he was gone my mom held down the fort. My dad also served in Desert Storm.  So, some challenging moments of course.  But guess what?  The good outweighed the bad in my eyes.  Adults may have thought otherwise. As a teenager when my dad retired, I missed it, but I was in my last two years of high school so it was all good.

We experienced so much traveling with the Army. We traveled to many cities in Germany as well as many places here state side. Each experience was a new memory I’m able to share with the younger generations as well as those who may have not had the chance to travel and see some of the things I’ve seen.

I finished my teenage years in a singular location.  Nope, didn’t hate it.  Actually the complete opposite.  Enjoyed it a lot.  Got the chance to really experience being in a place for more than three years.  That didn’t happen until I was about to exit high school and enter college.  I have to say thanks to my dad for that life and my mom for ensuring we stayed grounded. I must say I loved my growing up years.  Roller coasters and all.

Did you grow up as a military child. Did you like it or hate it? Share your experience please

Mental Health

It took me a moment to comment or talk about the shooting at Walmart in Chesapeake, VA and the suicide of tWitch. I know it’s been almost a few weeks and many of you have moved on to other mass shootings or drama. Yet, I realized a simple post on Facebook wouldn’t really work for me. Although I don’t know anyone personally involved with either situation, it still hits closer to home than other mass shootings. Mental health is real, and not just in retail or among the rich and famous, but here in your own communities. However, I can only speak on the retail aspect and from what seen personally and feel within myself.

I want to tell you about my experience in retail before I speak on the Chesapeake situation. I’ve worked many positions at various locations with Walmart. I understand the stress, concerns and everything on many levels. When I first became an assistant manager, I made a vow that when it got to be too much, I would be done. I did about 6 years an assistant manger for a total of 17 years. Why did I leave? The store I was at stressed me out so bad that my vitals were at stroke level and was hospitalized for THREE days. The day I was released from the hospital I made the decision to put in my two week notice. Once I made that decision all my vitals dropped to almost normal. Who would have guessed that.

Leaving was the best thing for my health all the around. Four years later somethings changed. I needed a full time job like asap. Guess who was hiring? Walmart. Did I apply for an assistant manager position? That would be a big fat NO. However, the store manager, who I worked for before, offered me a department manager position. Perfect right? Yes, until it wasn’t. There were many ups and downs as usual. My breaking point was five years later when they changed the positions, added almost double the responsibilities and I had two knee surgeries. Oh and I caught covid that impacted my respiratory. This had me in a crazy frame of mind. My poetry was very dark, my mood was foul, I didn’t want to be around people (this made me grateful for the pandemic restrictions), I lost trust in everyone, I didn’t care about anything or anyone. What helped me? My blood family, my church family and my close friends. Deep prayer and mediation helped me to leave the company before I had a total breakdown.

I’m not condoning what he did in no form. Wrong is wrong. What I wanted to say is to be cautious of how you treat others regardless of what is going on. I’ve had moments where I wanted to be rude and nasty as a customer and as a subordinate. Heck, I have done it as a supervisor. Each of those situations I had to stop, say a silent prayer and sometimes an apology. Most of the time it was simply because I thought about the fact that I wouldn’t want someone to come at me that way. Other times I think about people who have committed suicide and I never want that on my conscious. Then I remember, I don’t know what’s going on with them.

This brings me to tWitch situation. I’m not as familiar with him as many of you are. I did some research when I saw what happened. I saw he presented as being happy and helping keep others motivated. It’s obvious he had some things going on within himself that others didn’t know about. Whatever the issue was, he didn’t feel as if he could discuss it with others. Maybe it wasn’t a mental health type of situation, maybe it was. However, something vital played a key part in this. When it comes to the mental health it’s vital to get the help you need.

I know many of our parents or grandparents don’t believe in that. They think it’s something we as individuals are doing wrong. Sometimes you can overcome the issues on your own, others, not so much. You have to know when to ask for help. Sometimes, that maybe easier said than done. At that point, as family and friends we need to be asking the important questions, not just surface questions such as “How are you today?”. There is more that’s needed. For me personally, when it comes to my friends and family, I take in the whole picture. Or at least I try to. Sometimes it’s hard when you’re going through you’re own set of problems. Still, you should know those around you well enough to know when something isn’t 100% right. You may not know exactly is wrong or how deep it runs, but, it’s important they understand you are available to talk when they need to. If you are on the other end of the situation, please understand there are people that care and will listen. We may not always understand, but we will listen and help how we can to help you navigate the waters. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, even if it’s just a listening ear you need. If one person is unavailable, another person will be. A tiktoker said it best, you are important. We need you here.

When it comes to mental health, it’s vital to understand that not all mental health looks the same. Just like in tWtich case, you may never see an outside sign of it. You’ll have to dig deeper to find it, listen to and pay attention to the signs. Other cases like in VA it maybe a little more apparent. In either case, it’s always important to understand that sometimes your words and/or actions can either help them off the edge to safety, or it can push them over the edge. Even without knowing you’re doing it, it can happen.

There’s my spiel on mental health to end the year. Let’s remember to be kinder to those we meet or interact with in our lives. It doesn’t matter if it’s for two minutes or two days, show kindness, it can go a long way to saving a life or two.

End Of The Year Wrap Up

We are approaching the of the year pretty quickly. As the year come to an end, we plan to to wrap up big so we can start big in the new year. Ending the year on the right note so the new year can begin on a great note. Hopefully you have planning on how you will wrap up the year. When it comes to planning for end of the wrap and and beginning year plans, you must know what your goals are and where you want to know.

As I began my planning for anything, including my year end and year beginning goals, I typically make a outline of the major things I want to accomplish. Then I take those major goals and turn them into small goals. Sometimes I even turn those goals into smaller goals. I do this to make them easier to accomplish. What do I mean?

For example: Major goal: pay off my trip for 2024 no later than June 30th. How? Smaller goal: Make monthly payments of set dollar amount or higher. Even smaller goal: Make weekly or bi-weekly payments of set dollar amount or higher. What will help me with those goals? Increase my income across my multiple streams of income. How: Increase sales by doing specific actions.

When setting your goals I want you to set yourself up for success. Don’t make unreasonable goals. There’s nothing wrong with pushing yourself to do more and be better. Just make it reasonable. If you only bringing in $20,000, don’t plan to purchase things for $100,000.

As we close out another year, I’m hoping you had a great 2022. I’m looking forward to all the things we can accomplish for 2023.

  • Before I go, here are some of my goals:
  • Do at least 1 themed mini photography session per month. Tentative dates are already scheduled.
  • Pay off my cruise by July.
  • Complete the 75 Go Hard challenge for my jewelry business.
  • Read 12-24 books
  • Publish my 9th poetry book before May 1st

What are some goals that you have for 2023??

Health Journey Part 2

I’m in my second month of my health journey. I’ve already lost five pounds. What has been going on this month since you last heard from me? To be honest with you all, it’s been a struggle finding the balance I need to really move forward. Let me just tell you where I’m at now.

With my first visit the doctor put on Saxenda. Well, this is $1200 with insurance. After she found my slightly elevated A1C, she wanted to change me when I went back. She did. She changed it to Ozempic. She did give me an sample in the office for a month. Guess what? After fighting to get the prior authorization, it’s still $445 for the month supply. Now what? Well, those I won’t be taking. I also can’t take Metformin. It made my legs numb and tingly. So she tried Farxiga. Again this is another $400 medication that’s not covered by my insurance. Now I’ll be trying glimepiride. While this is a lot more affordable, it’s not what my doctor really wanted me on to see the maximum benefits. I will see how it works though.

On the flip side, the Saxenda and Ozempic has helped curbed my appetite. Typically if I eat breakfast, I’m done until dinner. If I skip breakfast and just eat lunch, I’ll eat a snack later and be done for the day. That’s the plus side to those medications for sure. One thing I’ve changed, well slightly, was my grocery order. I did order chips, but I ordered the box of small bags so I’ll stay within the serving size. I’ve ordered more fruit and salads. I still have other foods in my freezer I’d like to finish before ordering meal prep meals. So I’m eating those in small portions until they are gone. Not that I have much choice with the medications.

One thing I’ll have to be extra careful about is allowing my numbers to get too low. The glimepiride can drop your glucose levels too low. Yes, I did the research on what to keep on hand just in case. I do check my glucose numbers every morning at the doctor request. Typically it sits between 130-145. Hopefully when I start the glimepiride it’ll get it to the 105 she wants it at.

One thing I didn’t talk about last time was my anxiety. Well, mainly social anxiety. I don’t typically have issues when going to the doctor or to handle some business, but socially…that’s an entire different thing. Even working and taking calls an trigger it. It can get to the point where I’m so nauseated and legs so weak it’s like there’s no way. Yet, on some occasions, I’m able to push through. When I do, it’s normally a good thing. When I can’t push through, I just don’t worry about it. This is something that has been getting progressively worse over the last five years, especially since my last knee surgery followed by having covid. Even working in retail at the time I saw myself pulling away from dealing with people as much as possible. Even more so if I didn’t like or trust you. It’s my plan to not allow myself to fall into a deep depression where medication is needed daily. That I don’t want. So I was given something to take on as an as needed basis. So far since having it, I’ve only taken it once. It was more of a test run on my off day to see how it would make me feel and if it would make me drowsy. Now that I know that answer, I’ll only take it when I really need it going forward. Hopefully that won’t be too often.

My next steps? Continue to try to eat healthier and decrease my unhealthy calorie count. I have been tracking my food on Fitbit and I don’t take in a lot of calories as it, just need to increase in certain areas like protein. I’m also planning to increase my workout as planned and restart using my infinity hoop. The infinity hoop really helps my back and other things. I was up to 15 minutes and I want to eventually get up to two sets of 15 minutes at least 3-4 times a week. This along with my weekly cardio with my family. I need to add in some toning somewhere. I’m not a gym person, so I’ll be checking TikTok and YouTube for suggestions in that area. We are in the middle of winter, so for me, walking outside is out the door. Now if some nice person would like to donate a treadmill, I’ll gladly accept it and use it regularly. Don’t worry I don’t need the big one, just a small one that can be put up if needed to when I have company.

This is where I’m at now on my new health journey. Hopefully I can continue to move in the right direction. Love you guys.

Unbelievable

Before I even start, just a heads up. This is more of a venting post. I work for a company that contracts other companies. This is my second year doing Annual Enrollment with them for the season. I want to be a hundred precent honest here, I don’t know if it’s just the external staff or also the internal staff there that is this awful. I’ve worked at many stores with Walmart for 20 years and I promise you, nothing has been as awful as the seasons I’ve worked Medicare for them through my company.

When I say the worst, I mean the absolute worst. They don’t care about employees moving up, they try to hold you hostage in positions you no longer want. Then have the nerve to be offended. Get real. Out of all of the supervisors I’ve dealt with during both seasons only two or three did things that made sense. If it didn’t make sense they tried to explain it where they could.

On top of that, they are not the smartest ones in the batch. I know every supervisor will not know everything. I completely understand that. I also know the work ethics are not the same either. I’ve been a manager/supervisor long enough in my working career to know you don’t expect something you don’t do either. I never seen such a large group of clueless supervisors and leads ever.

Did I also mention they 100% rude and selfish and have zero empathy. Yes, a job is a job. I get it. Still, empathy and kindness go a long way. 99% of normal humans don’t wake up and say “Oh I’m going to be sick today” or “Oh, I plan to have my internet crash”, or “I plan to have a storm knock my power out.” Get it together people. One thing Wal-Mart taught me is that if I want you to respect me as your manager, then I need to respect you. It’s that easy. Your subordinates are not your children and shouldn’t be treated as such. Again, I also understand that some people don’t really listen in any form, so you may have to take additional actions to handle the situation. You can’t just make off handed snide remarks and think everyone will let it slide. You also can’t go around violating a ton of government laws.

Did I say violate government laws? Yes, I did. Just because you think you can, you really can’t. You are going to get BOTH companies in lawsuits they won’t win and cost a ton of money. Keep playing with the HIPPA laws for employees, the FMLA, and the disability laws. These managers, supervisors, and leads violate those each and every day. I guess when you use terms like “Must,” some think they have to do things like work through your lunch or make-up time. If you ask me or I ask you, then fine. However, you still have to be careful. Missed lunches can still result in fines and fees. Personally, I need that break away from you, among other things.

The biggest thing that makes me angry is when you lie. Lying in effort to boost my ego or whatever will not get me to stay. Nor will it make me want to stay. If I did something and it was wrong, fine, I’ll admit I did it, but if I didn’t do it and know I didn’t, please don’t try to say I did. Nor do I need you to lie the other way to make me feel better.

That’s it. That’s my vent. At least for now.

Work From Home Tips

Working from home became huge as the pandemic began. Yes, a lot of people were working from home prior to the pandemic. However, the pandemic introduced a lot more people to the work from home environment and changed the dynamic of many working cultures. Still, many don’t know and understand what it means to work from home. Today I want to share a few of my tips for working from home.

One of the first things you need to have is a pretty good work ethic. Let’s be real, you can get real lax and lazy. Afterall you have your bed right there and it’s just a few steps away. You do have to have the right mindset to get up and to work and to stay focused each and every day. If you can’t do that, then you may not need to work from home. Trust me, it’s tempting each and every day to slip, but you can’t.

A dedicated work space is a must. I do suggest not doing it in your bedroom if at all possible. Why? Seeing the bed would be too tempting for anyone. My sister would testify to that. Plus with your dedicated space it doesn’t feel like you’re at work all the time. This also will come in handy if you have a webcam and/or camera. Some companies will force your camera on to ensure you are at your desk working. Can you imagine if you’re in your in your bedroom getting ready for bed and your boss is watching you through your camera? Yea, that has actually happened. Nope, not to me because I keep my work space separate. This dedicated space should be free of other family and friends too. This is especially important if you are working with HIPPA information. You want to keep their information confidential.

One of the most important factors is the quiet work space. I know many people have kids and that’s the entire purpose of many people working from home. However, if you are on the phones, you still need it quiet. Think about when you call and you’re trying to talk to the representative has a crying child or a screaming child in he background while you’re trying to conduct business. How would you feel? What if you’re already agitated and you hear it? Doesn’t make for a good experience does it? Think about that when you are looking for a work from home job.

Your internet service, how is it? I asked this question because working from home you must have good internet service. Yes, there are times when it will go down. That shouldn’t be a normal occurrence. Most companies do require a certain speed too. You may can get away with using Wi-Fi, many you need to hard wired for safety reasons. If you can’t get reliable internet, you may want to rethink working from home as well.

Can you follow directions? You can? Great! Working from home you have to be able to follow directions really well. In the time I’ve been working from home, there’s always about three or four in EVERY training class that can’t even follow the simplest directions. This shows your lack of respect for the instructor and the rest of your co-workers. There will be times you may not understand or get lost, that’s okay, that happens. I haven’t met a supervisor that didn’t understand that. The problem comes into play when you are never paying attention and following directions. I’ve seen where the trainer, IT rep or supervisor, say something simple like “Do not go any further. Stop and wait.” What happens? Some fast person trying to move ahead and gets stuck and ask about it when they could have waited and they would know what to do.

This is not an be all, end all list of working from home tips. This is some of the basic tips that is required or needed by most companies. Plus it makes your job easier when you follow all of these tips to the best of your ability.