30 Days of Writing–Day 10

10. Where do you go when you need solitude?

Everyone has their place that they go to when they need to be alone. Some take solitude on walks, some go on long drives. My place is my room. I’ve always been one to hang out in my room by myself, so much that my mom would constantly have to drag me out of my “cave.” I can think better sitting on my bed surrounded by pillows than I could sitting in the living room. Even as I’m writing this, I’m sitting in the living room with my roommate watching Pretty Little Liars, and it’s taking me much longer to write this than I would like. Focus.

My room looked like this the day I moved in. It doesn’t look like that now. Never will again. But just know it was like this at one time or another. 
I live on my bed. It’s where I do homework, write letters, read, eat, watch Netflix, and of course sleep. It’s my place. I’m completely social, but even the most social butterfly needs time away from people at times. And I’m just as happy to do that sitting on my bed. 

30 Days of Writing Prompts–Days 1-9

(These few will be more condensed than I hope the future prompts will be. I’m squeezing 9 into one post, and don’t think anyone wants 5-paragraph essays on 9 topics.)

1. Tell us about something sweet.
I could go into detail about agave nectar and natural sweeteners and my new favorite paleo treats, or I could tell you some work stories. Work stories are much more magical than any post about food I could come up with.
A few days ago I was down at Funload, or Dante’s 10th circle of Hell, counting down the minutes until I could be rotated to the next position. When I’m down there, I am still extremely pleasant, as it’s the only way to stay awake and functional. I tell guests goodbye, or thank you, or have a good night, then they leave. Sometimes little kids will stop and talk to me. This particular night, a little girl and her mother walk past and her mom says to her, “Tell her!” and this three-year-old looks up and me and says, “Have…a…magical …night!” and I stood there and cried internally for the rest of the rotation.

Another time, I was at merge, and a girl about my age came down through stand-by with her friends. She had a very dapper dress on and I complimented her and told her that I thought your dress was beautiful. As she walked down the Port side queue, she turned back to me and said, “YOU’RE beautiful!” and I stood down there, dumbfounded.

Another night, I was walking in front of the ride and gave a family directions to Fantasyland (easily the worst place to get directions to) and as I walked away, I heard the little girl tell her parents, “She was nice!!”

It’s sweet things like this that make up for any crappy guest that can ever come through to try and make my day miserable. It’s virtually impossible for anyone to ruin my day when I have sweet families who can turn any moment around and be just as magical (if not more so) to me as it is to them. That’s what working for Disney means to me.

2. What was the last thing that made you laugh?

This. 

After sleeping next-to-literally all day, I walked into the living room to my roommates watching Hercules. This quote will forever make me laugh because it’s the absolute greatest. Honestly, Hercules is full of so many great moments that are easily forgotten. How many times a week do I go up to someone and say, “Hey kid, you wanna buy a sundial?” because it’s probably a lot. Just the overall style of this movie is so reminiscent of classic cartoon humor that I will always love. 


3. What is your favorite movie?

I’m a chick that loves her movies. I’m one of those who LOVES EVERY MOVIE SHE SEES AND EACH NEW ONE IS HER FAVORITE. I love every genre. My Netflix “recently watched” is a mess. In my “Recommended for you” section, it looks like I’m a family of 5 with a foreign exchange student living with them. Asking a person like me about her favorite movie is the same as asking me about my favorite book, or a mother about her favorite child. It can’t be done.

With that said, my go-to movies that I will forever cherish are easier.

  • When Harry Met Sally
  • Gone With The Wind
  • Treasure Planet
  • Thumbelina
  • This Is The End
  • Rocky
Of course, there are dozens more, but this is an alright mixture of the types of movies I like. You’ve got your classics, your rom-coms, your animation, your comedy, and your Stallone. I can’t help it. I like movies. 


4. Have you made any progress with your resolutions from the beginning of the year?

I stopped making NY’s Resolutions. Why wait till the beginning of the year to make a change? I don’t believe that resolving to do something should be confined to January 1st when you could just as easily start in June. My paleo journey started June 1st. I didn’t have any specific reason for that date, it was just a day I woke up and said, “I’m tired of living the way I am, so I’m going to change.”

Also, people get so worked up about New Year’s Resolutions. I don’t want that stress on myself to conform and make a resolution just because everyone else is.

5. How do you handle change?
Change is something everyone has to deal with in some way or another. In some ways I’m alright when it comes to change, and in others I’m not so hot.

For example: I was more than fine with moving to Florida. This has been a long time coming, and I was fully committed to being here and making that move. Everything seemed to be perfectly lined up in order for me to be here, so the change for me was a little too easy, I think.

At the same time, it’s been hard having so many people leave now that I’m here. It nearly killed me to have my best friend here go back home, and I suddenly felt the pain my mom did with me leaving home. As crappy as it makes me feel, I miss Skylar more than I  miss Jaelen. It doesn’t mean that I don’t love Jaelen any less than I ever have, or that I’m better friends with Skylar. None of that is true. But I have been away from Jaelen and we’ve had a long-distance best friendship for a long time. It’s been normal to be away from her when it was so sudden when Skylar had to leave.

Change is something that I handle situationally. Some things are easier to let go than others. But in the past I’ve had more trouble because everyone in my life was able to move on sooner than I was. But now I don’t feel so left behind and the change has been easier.

6. National Doughnut Day! Will you be celebrating with homemade doughnuts or picking up a box at the store? Share your best doughnut story or recipe.

With my new Paleo lifestyle, I was not an observer of National Donut Day. I’ve seen some recipes for paleo donuts, but have yet to try any of them. So hang tight and possibly someday I’ll try one and share it. I do remember way back when in Preschool, when it was my day to bring snacks, my mom would bring donut holes for the class. It’s not a great story, but it’s more of a memory, I guess?

 7. What is something you always take with you on vacation?
Any time we go on vacation, my packing list starts being compiled a week early. My bags are packed five days early, and I’m in the car first thing in the morning the day we’re supposed to leave. My must-haves are:

  •  my camera
  •  necessary chargers
  • more books than I could possibly read on a trip
  • earphones
  • my pillow

8. When did you learn how to swim?
I’ve known how to swim for as long–and longer–as I can remember. I could swim before I could walk. I remember taking swimming lessons and they made me open my eyes underwater and tell them which color diving ring they held in front of me. I was always afraid to open my eyes so I would guess.

I was also that kid with the irrational fear of sharks in the pool. Honestly, I still kind of am. I won’t go to a pool by myself. Weird? Definitely. 


9. What are your five can’t-miss blogs? Write about them, and give some link love.

The first blog I ever really followed was Ree Drummond. She sent me a signed cookbook and I fangirled majorly.

I also love keeping up with Joseph Birdsong through his blog. I watch his videos on YouTube as well, and it’s just another outlet to experience his dry humor. 
My coworker, Ian, just shared a link to his blog a few days ago and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed looking through it. He has a great writing style and some great topics that go beyond your typical Disney park enthusiast blog. 
But, honestly, I don’t follow that many blogs. I’ve been dying to find more average Joe blogs like mine to follow, but it’s tough. I stick to mostly YouTube video blogs, where my list is infinite. 


30 Day of Writing Prompts

I’m striving to be a better writer. It’s been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember, but I’m very out of practice. In 7th grade, I wrote, formatted, and sent out my own newsletter to friends and family. In high school I was on the newsletter and yearbook staff. All throughout high school and college, I not-so-secretly loved any writing assignment I was given, whether I cared for the topic or not. Being able to bullshit through an essay on a novel I didn’t read or a moment in history I didn’t care about was a thrill for me. Who knows how many blogs I’ve started and forgotten about in the past because I didn’t live an interesting enough life or have enough of my own thoughts to keep up with them. When I have an idea for a story I want to write, I lose motivation and tear myself down because my plots lose (or never had in the first place) their points. But practice makes perfect, and I’ve been practicing.

I’ve always wanted to do something with my life that includes writing. But I want to write on my own terms. Being a journalist would be fun, but there are so many articles I had to write and meet the deadline, but I had no passion for it. Taking a creative writing class would be neat, but I much prefer this kind of outlet where I can express my opinions on things that matter to me in my world. So as much as I love to write, I have no real desire to be a journalist or an author as a career. With that being said, I wouldn’t complain if I had one of those “cool” blogs that strangers follow. Not to monetize my blog, but just as a real person that has a real life that people are interested in. But that’s a shot in the dark  because I’m a little too boring still for that. An item on my bucket list is to write a book. With my love of reading and writing, I feel like it’s the obvious option for me to do someday. Again, it’s a long way off because I have 4.3 million prompts in my head but no driving plot. Maybe someday my writing will mean something.

So, to help aid my practice and passion for writing, I found an article of writing prompts for the month of June. The first 9 I will do all together in the next post, then I hope to keep up every day or so in succession with the rest. I love writing prompts and the freedom they allow you once you’ve got your initial starter. This will be both a challenge and a thrill to have to write about each prompt in some way, shape, or form.  Don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll double up some days if I have any other pressing thoughts of my own for other posts. But this will help me break out of my comfort zone just a little bit and expand my writing to something else. Also, feel free to give me any prompts yourself or direct me to your favorites. I always love new ideas to write about! I really want this to be an active blog, even if I have an audience of five people (and that’s high-balling it).

Forget Gender Norms

With gender roles and sexuality being so prevalent in society, I have several things to discuss that come from some recent situations in my life. This blog post is not about the LGBT community or marriage equality, though I have thoughts about that as an ally as well. I’m not writing this to sway an opinion for or against any way of thought when it comes to sexuality. Today I’m coming to you with an epiphany I have realized for myself. In advance I also apologize for a few colorful words if they show up. You’ve been warned.

Today I want to speak up about “gender norms.” When I was growing up, by no fault of my parents or anyone but myself, I believed certain things were off-limits to me because of my gender. Skateboards were for boys. Comic books were for boys. Video games were for boys. I had my Barbie jeep and my scooter and roller skates, but I always wanted a skateboard, but never asked for one because I was a girl. Only occasionally when my cousins would come visit for Christmas or thanksgiving and bring their Nintendo games would I play Mario Kart (I wasn’t any good) and I thought it was so cool. But I didn’t ever grow up with video games like most kids. 
This isn’t to say I lacked other things, but many of my friends have these nostalgic memories of Super Mario and Legend of Zelda that I don’t have because in my adolescent brain I was limiting myself to things only for girls. There’s nothing wrong with this. But as I grew older I changed how I thought. This is also why I didn’t see a lot of movies or read certain books. For one reason or another, I censored myself from things I didn’t think I was supposed to do. Harry Potter was evil and I was going to a Hell if I watched or read it (granted, our church preached that and I believed it). I thought my cousin was going to Hell for liking Pokemon. Really, I was afraid of Hell because our church made me fear it. 
My sister, on the other hand, loves video games. She’s the reason I even got to play ANY, and I’m still no good at them. I get too mad when I can’t win. But because of her interest, I have some kind of introduction to that world. Even now, I love watching people play games. It’s more enjoyable for me to watch than to actually play. I hope that when I (someday. Maybe. Eventually.) have a boyfriend, he’s interested enough in video games to teach me and let me play his games because I’m too cheap and ADHD to buy my own. 
Today, I love action movies. I visited friends in Abilene and the girls were going to see safe haven and the boys were seeing Die Hard. I had less than zero desire to see Safe Haven and so I went with the boys. I also saw Riddick with them another time (which was a stupid movie). I also love romance movies. When Harry Met Sally is my number one favorite movie in the world. Any Rom-Com with Meg Ryan I’m all over it. I’ve seen my fair share of The Notebook and A Walk to Remember and The Fault in Our Stars reduced me to a puddle in the theater. But damn do I love me a good car chase and explosions. 
I can tell inappropriate jokes, swear like a pirate, console you when you’re upset, and make sure you have what you need when you’re sick. I can look damn nice in a dress and I want you to know it too. But I’m not afraid to get a little dirt on me or kill a bug or touch a frog. I’m every inch a woman and I’m not ashamed to like things “meant for boys.” Because fuck gender norms: they don’t exist. Or shouldn’t anyway. It’s crap to think that seven year old me didn’t think she could ask for a skateboard for Christmas because she as a girl. Sure I grew up just fine, but it’s sad to think that I felt ashamed for wanting that. 
“Girls have long hair.” I have to remind myself daily that that statement is bullshit. The length of your hair doesn’t define your gender or sexuality. No matter how many times I’ve been at work and been mistaken for a man, I blame costuming. Not my hairdresser. I’ve got the boobs to prove I’m female, but costuming doesn’t do a great job of expressing that. So I put on my eyeliner and my sparkly earrings and head to work. I have my own style. So be it. 

My not-so-guilty pleasure is Sylvester Stallone movies. I have an unhealthy obsession with Sly and I’m not ashamed of it. I bought a Rambo lunchbox from Amazon to take to work, and I’m very proud of it. One of my co-workers looked at me funny the other day and told me, “Hannah, sometimes I question your femininity.” This person is one of my favorite people to work with so I took no offense to his comment. I thought it was funny and moved on. But it was part of what made me write this post. 

Just take Felicia Day as an example. She’s one of the most beautiful women on the planet, and she’s a gamer. But does that make her any less feminine? Hell. No. She’s like, the geekdom queen. 

I’m not any less feminine because I love Rambo. I’m every bit as much an “average white girl” as the next average white girl. I love my John Green novels and my Pumpkin Spice Lattes (get it with one pump of white mocha. You won’t regret it). I love Tyler Oakley and I don’t completely hate 1D. I think I can rap all the lyrics to Fancy when I clearly can’t. I’m just happy liking what I like and I’m not going to apologize or feel de-feminized because I like something outside of gender norms. I’m not an extrem-o feminist, but after planning out this post, I realized that I do have some thoughts that are pretty feminist. But is it so much “feminist” as it is “living my life the way I want to and being proud of my interests?”

A Response to the article: "Against YA"

My friend, Caitlin, (hey, girl, hey!) posted This article on her Facebook yesterday with a rant of her own. If you know me at all, you know my love of books and reading and wouldn’t be surprised that I jumped in on this conversation. It started with me just giving my opinion in the comments, but within myself it turned into more; it was an opportunity for a blog post to expound on the few small comments that I made against this heinous article. 

In the article “Against YA” the author, Ruth Graham, attacks adults for reading YA fiction, and tells them they should be ashamed of their reading choices. If nothing else were said, this is bad enough. No one should ever feel ashamed for reading. Reading is something that is hard enough to get most people to do without making them feel ashamed for doing it in the first place. 

[Side note, you can feel ashamed for reading Twilight. But that’s it.]

There are many reasons that an adult might read YA or children’s fiction. It could be a devotion to an author. I go through stages where I will read everything a single author writes until I’ve completed their entire repertoire. Some authors write both YA and adult novels, and no matter the age group, I’ll read it.  Some examples of writers who appeal to both age groups are Ted Dekker, J.K. Rowling, and Lemony Snicket/Daniel Handler.  I like the author, therefore I’ll read anything they write. It’s very possible that some adults have a certain affinity for an author, or even a style of writing that crosses the border of YA and adult lit. 

Another reason could be simple nostalgia. Graham counters this by saying she would never go back and re-read books she enjoyed in her youth. Why? Isn’t part of being a reader reading the stories you love over and over again? Many books I own are nostalgic to me because I loved them growing up, and I still love them now. 

What I really didn’t like about the overall article was the tone. It wasn’t her opinion that adults shouldn’t read YA: it was fact that they should be ashamed. Graham made sure to make her targeted audience feel uneducated and immature for their tastes in books. Life is so short, and the list of truly great books for adults is so long. And if you added YA and children reads, the list could be exponentially longer. 

And if people are reading Eleanor & Park instead of watching Nashville or reading detective novels, so be it, I suppose. But if they are substituting maudlin teen dramas for the complexity of great adult literature, then they are missing something….YA endings are uniformly satisfying, whether that satisfaction comes through weeping or cheering….These endings are emblematic of the fact that the emotional and moral ambiguity of adult fiction—of the real world—is nowhere in evidence in YA fiction. 

Is reading not supposed to be an escape? Satisfaction is a side effect of escape. Why does it matter to you, Ms. Graham, how people choose to escape their lives? Some people escape by running, by writing, by eating, by reading. Everyone has something they cling to that helps get through whatever it happening in their lives. What is so wrong with recreational reading? There is just as much fantasy and fluff adult novels. Romance trash novels, anyone? 50 Shades of Grey is NOT literature, but it’s still a book.

 But the YA and “new adult” boom may mean fewer teens aspire to grown-up reading, because the grown-ups they know are reading their books. When I think about what I learned about love, relationships, sex, trauma, happiness, and all the rest—you know, life—from the extracurricular reading I did in high school, I think of John Updike and Alice Munro and other authors whose work has only become richer to me as I have grown older, and which never makes me roll my eyes. 

If you’re a TRUE reader, you will always be expanding your bookshelves and growing. Whether the cover catches your eye, someone recommends it to you, or you find a review of it somewhere. Reading Adult lit is part of being a reader. But why would you limit yourself? Graham says as an adolescent she wanted to “earn” her way into adult reading. Reading isn’t something you earn. Everyone moves at their own pace. I know from my own life I didn’t read Adult or even most YA for a long time into my teenage years because I was uncomfortable with it. But I didn’t “win” anything when I finally wasn’t a prude anymore. And even if I was, it’s none of Ruth Graham’s business what I chose to read. Most of my bookshelf is full of Children YA novels. Some of them I even bought recently! You can learn just as much from a book geared for middle grades as you can from a book for adults. Children and some YA is about growing up, and now that we’ve already “grown up” we can look back on what it was like to be that age. I stayed in the Children’s section because I wanted to read a story without sexual undertones like YA and Adult books can be so full of. Sometimes I just want a sweet story. I definitely agree that no one should judge you by what age book you read The author of this article must be a very sad person with limited reading material.

I’m a reader who did not weep, contra every article ever written about the book, when I read The Fault in Our Stars. I thought, Hmm, that’s a nicely written book for 13-year-olds. If I’m being honest, it also left me saying “Oh, brother” out loud more than once. Does this make me heartless? Or does it make me a grown-up? This is, after all, a book that features a devastatingly handsome teen boy who says things like “I’m in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things” to his girlfriend, whom he then tenderly deflowers on a European vacation he arranged. 

Obviously, you didn’t read the book at all. Did you not read that his Cancer Side-Effect Wish was to give Hazel what she wanted? He sacrificed his Wish for Hazel so he could do something for her. So they could meet Van Houten together, the author who they had loved together. Another reason why books are so important, whether they be YA or Adult Fiction.

I will stand by the idea that you can learn anything from a book. No matter what the target age group, authors desire to have their ideas be felt by others. Why should it matter if it’s a story that takes place between two teenagers or two adults? It’s an adult writing the children’s novel or YA fiction anyway. I pick books because someone has recommended it to me, or I hear good things online. If it sounds good, I want to read it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a classic or contemporary or YA dystopian, but “no one can ever make you feel inferior without your consent.” That was the exact purpose of Graham’s article: to make people feel inferior because of their reading tastes. 

[Also, she called Divergent “trashy” and for that she must pay]

Paleo and Training

Today was day 3 of being Paleo. Usually by now on a “diet” you think “What the hell am I doing?! I want to cheat!” But so far I haven’t had any major sense of desperation as far as food goes. There’s honestly something really exciting about walking around Whole Foods and knowing that it’s a whole new world of health.

I had found some recipes that I wanted to try, and since it was my day off, I went hard-core grocery shopping. A lot of the stuff I got cost more than I would like to spend on food, but much of it was stuff that I’ll use for a while. A jar of coconut oil is $20, but it’ll take me a while to use it. Almond flour is a good $12, but there’s no way I can use it all that quickly. So that how I excuse myself for spending $130 between Publix and Whole Foods. 

I made Cauliflower mashed potatoes which were pretty good (for cauliflower), and Mango bars (which I kind of messed up, but they still taste good) and then went to DHS for a few hours. I’d definitely make both again, and will probably try different fruit variations to the mango bars. It’ll be a lot easier to make those when I have a big food processor. I only have a very small one so had to make it in halves so the consistency was a little off. But overall it was a good recipe.

After being home for a little bit,  I went on a two-mile run. I’m ready to start training for the Tower of Terror run as well as the Princess Half, (oh god…registration for that is next month. Ugh. Money.) so with this added energy from eating right, making a little time for running should be easier–let’s hope.

So, day three and I’m still doing alright!

Paleo at Disney

After a lot of thought and excuses and lack of determination and motivation, I’m finally starting my journey to a Paleo lifestyle. I had my last piece of cake for APATOTSS birthday yesterday (okay, I had a few last pieces of cake), and today I’m done. I’m ready to feel energized and to lose weight and all around like my body better and treat it that way.

I’m excited to start this, and I feel 100% ready. It will be an interesting change getting rid of so many foods I’ve depended on in the past. I’m committed to still go out to eat with my friends and not feel like I’m on a diet and can’t eat anything. Instead, I can’t wait to find other options from my normal orders and see the outcome of that. I still want to go to the parks and be able to eat, but eat things that fit closer to the Paleo guidelines than what I’m used to. Being familiar enough with park food, I know it isn’t impossible to find better Paleo options to make due when I’m on property.

So…wish me luck?