Some Advise for the Grads

First of all, congrats! Whether it be high school, college, military or whatever else has graduations, you did it! All of your hard work paid off.

I want to share some of the things I learned over the years, mostly in college, to try to help some of you. Some lessons you will have to learn the hard way, but I hope this will give you an idea of what to watch out for. It will make you stronger, smarter, better. It will hurt, and some of that pain may take a long time to fade. And we all will react to that pain differently. Just be sure to do what is best for you.

Anyway, some food for thought:

  • Try new things. Especially if you are going the college route. Now is the time to find the things you like. Maybe swing dancing or improv. Campuses have a little bit of everything.
  • It is absolutely okay to not know what you want to do and to change your major. I started out as a creative writing major, and now I am a C.P.A. Accounting was my third major.
  • Apply for the Disney College Program! It’s fun. You will learn a lot, and it’s Disney. Do it.
  • Just because it is popular, does not mean that it is your style. Not all of us can pull off feathers in our hair, though some of us tried.
  • Alternate water when drinking! Believe me, it will save you a headache. Always have water.
  • It is perfectly fine to be the mom of the group. Groups need the mom friend for a reason. You will help them survive.
  • Learn and grow from your mistakes. There will be plenty.
  • You will come to realize who your real friends are. Beware one sided friendships, and be mindful of who stays by you when there is a rough patch. Be there for your friends as well. Also, you will be the bad friend to some. If they call you out on it, try to do better.
  • College weight gain is a real thing. Just because it is a buffet, does not mean you need to get pizza and a burger.
  • If you feel like the outcast in your friend group, maybe you need to find different one. Do find a different group if that group does not take your outcast feelings seriously.
  • You do not have to say yes to everything and please everyone. That is impossible. Again, do what is best for you.

My hardest learned lesson was toxic people. I am not a social butterfly- I have a handful of close friends and that’s it. I am mostly an introvert. But, I also felt like I should have had more friends. Been more outgoing. Basically be not me. As a result, I was the mom friend and the outcast of a friend group. I did not start out as the outcast as we were a small group, but the group expanded when I went to my DCP (no regrets there, obviously, because I am now a salaried CM), and I never really got close to the new members of the group when I got back. Those last couple years of college were hell on my mental health as I kept trying to fit in with that group. They did not treat me well, and I did not see them as toxic until I let the fact that I was the outsider consume me. I tried so hard to fix things, when I should have just let them go. Thank whatever god or goddess was watching me when I found one of my now best friends who made that last year fun and bearable. One good friend is worth more than 10 fake ones.

And family members can be toxic as well. Yes, there are different rules to handling it depending on the culture of your family and how easy it is to enforce boundaries. I had A LOT of one sided relationships with family members. And, again, it took a good friend (or several in some cases) pointing out the effect that person had on my health before I realized it. If someone is concerned about you, listen to them. A lot of times you cannot see the toxicity because you are too close. It is a hard lesson to learn without experiencing it. And I hope that you will not have to endure too much pain before you learn what is toxic to you.

So, in conclusion, the bullet pointed list is the general pieces of advise I would give to everyone. The paragraphs after were definitely more personal, but I believe that it is the biggest lesson to learn. You will have to deal with toxic people in school, work, personal life, basically everywhere. And if you cannot get rid of them, you will have to find ways to cope – i recommend having a really good friend on hand to boost you up. And if you try to tell someone they are toxic, be prepared for a world of defense mechanisms and excuses. Not everyone owns their flaws. Own yours.

I feel like this has become a hot mess of me just ranting. So, congrats again grads of 2020. Good luck in your journey, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

Goals Check In

Hello everyone! We are still in self-isolation/quarantine land, and I have barely been outside my home in over a month. The worst traffic I have seen is my cat cleaning his junk in the middle of the walk way. As such, most of my health goals have been replaced by excuses.

I started out really well with morning runs and such, but then the Cast Member 5K at Disney Springs was officially cancelled and I just kind of lost the motivation. And that motivation has been extremely difficult to get back. I haven’t worked out in two weeks. It’s bad.

I did sign up for a virtual 5K that is taking place May 2nd. Bert’s Big Adventure from Atlanta is hosting it. All money raised is going to the charity which takes children and their families to Disney World among other things. Most of the children have some kind of serious illness or superpower, and I have been a big supporter for more than a decade. It’s awesome. Go check them out. The race is $15 for a runner and $5 for each additional runner you register.

I also purchased an elliptical that has yet to ship. I am hoping it will come soon, but COVID is putting a delay on a lot of purchases.

The other big problem my health goals are facing is the fact that I can snack all day long with no judgment thanks to working from home. The snacks plus the lack of movement (I am averaging less than half of the usual steps a day I got in the office) means I am definitely consuming more calories than what I am burning.

But, this is a new week leading into a new month. I am going to get back on track and complete that 5K. I will be ready to get back to the gym and the theme parks when they finally reopen. And as soon as that elliptical gets delivered, I will be adding it to my morning or afternoon routine to the point where I am doing some kind of cardio at least 4x a week.

And I will continue to be honest to myself and to you guys when it comes to the ups and downs of this. Health is hard, and you have to be able to acknowledge the issues to get there.

I will Go Down with these Ships

On today’s episode of “it’s quarantine and not much is happening” I will invite all sorts of hate and criticisms. It is time to reveal the ships I sail (for those who do not know what that means, I do not actually sail. These are romantic pairings that may or may not be cannon in the fictional world). Not all of them will be defended. I do not owe you reasons for my opinions. And, yes, some of them are very not cannon. I do not care.

Let the fun begin.

  1. Sparrowbeth. Captain Jack Sparrow and Elizabeth Swann are my favorite ship that I will die for. She was done so dirty. Elizabeth is 10x the pirate Will will ever be, and I refuse to believe she stayed on an island just to see him once every ten years. She was-is- the pirate king, after all. Jack met her in wit and in adventurous spirit. Will, while I will always love Orlando Bloom, was not supportive of her pirateness and decided the father who abandoned him was worth more to him than she was. Sparrowbeth for life.
  2. Dramione. Hermione Granger and Draco Malfoy are fantastic only if they are written well. He was a twat and a bully, but intellectually they match. I know this one will be the most hated on my list, but I like what I like. And I have a weird thing for villains. Sue me.
  3. Robin and Starfire in the original animated Teen Titans. Duh.
  4. Danny Phantom and Ember McClain. I really do not have any reason for this one. I just like it.
  5. Rachel and Puck from Glee. I KNOW THE REAL LIFE ISSUES. I do. But, I really did not like Finn. Again, see above. I like assholes.
  6. The Phantom and Christine. I am not that big of a fan of Love Never Dies. But I do like the Phantom and Christine pairing. Raoul is a big weenie.
  7. Reylo. Rey and Kylo Ren is not my hardest ship in the world. There are aspects to them I like, but the writing of the sequels ruined them. The redemption arc was there. It could have happened.
  8. Me with Loki. I’m kidding. Kind of. I love him.
  9. Joker and Harley is the most problematic relationship to ever be popular. I am almost ashamed of putting this on the list. Abuse is never okay. But I love them (animated series anyway. Live action Harley is better off. She doesn’t need anyone).
  10. Team Jacob.
  11. Teem Peeta.
  12. Eric Northman and Sookie Stackhouse. Read the books, y’all. They are so much better than the series. I have no idea what the writers were thinking when they made all those changes.

Okay, there you have it. Twelve ships that I ship. At least, the ones that came to mind when I was making this list. There are probably so many more (Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy for one) that fall into the definitely cannon list. And, I will be the first to admit that I see the problems with my ships. I know a lot of them would not work in the real world. But that is the joy of fiction and fanfiction. We can do what we want.

Tell me your ships or why I am the worst in the comments!

The Top Disney Animated Sequels

Let’s do a top 15 list! I debated long and hard on whether or not I was going to include sequels released in theaters, because I did not want this list to be all Pixar. After all, the 90s and 2000s were a prime time for straight to home video sequels and prequels and mid-quels that were labeled as sequels. So, I will do one top 15 with theatrical releases, and one without.

As always, feel free to tell me why I am wrong in the comments.

THE TOP 15 DISNEY ANIMATED SEQUELS

  1. Toy Story 2
  2. The Lion King: Simba’s Pride
  3. Toy Story 3
  4. The Incredibles 2
  5. Frozen 2
  6. Lilo and Stitch: Stitch has a Glitch
  7. Lion King 1/2
  8. Toy Story 4
  9. Kronk’s New Groove
  10. The Return of Jafar
  11. Belle’s Enchanted Christmas
  12. The Rescuers Down Under
  13. Cinderella 3: A Twist in Time
  14. Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea
  15. Peter Pan: Return to Neverland

It is important to point out that a VAST MAJORITY of the straight to home video sequels were the opposite of the original. In about half of them, the offspring of the main character wants to do the reverse arc of the parent. Also, a lot of them have “return” in the title. It’s pretty wild. Anyway, here is the same list without theatrical releases:

  1. The Lion King: Simba’s Pride
  2. Lilo and Stitch: Stitch has a Glitch
  3. Lion King 1/2
  4. Kronk’s New Groove
  5. The Return of Jafar
  6. Belle’s Enchanted Christmas
  7. Cinderella 3: A Twist in Time
  8. Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea
  9. Peter Pan: Return to Neverland
  10. Aladdin and the King of Theives
  11. An Extremely Goofy Movie
  12. Mulan 2
  13. Lady and the Tramp 2: Scamp’s Adventure
  14. Atlantis 2: Milo’s Return
  15. Tarzan 2

There you have it, folks. I know some of these are controversial. And my mom is probably reading this and thinking “you made me watch this movie so many times, and it’s not even at the top of your list?!” Well, Melody is annoying, and Ariel should have just told her she was a mermaid. As I have re-watched these with an adult mind, I have noticed my perceptions have changed.

Except for the Lion King movies. Each and every one is a masterpiece. Lion King 1/2 was the first thing I watched on Disney Plus and I am proud of it.

I am also not justifying this list. Most of the second list is “I like the characters, but the original had the magic.” And I really should not have to tell you why there are so many Pixar movies in the first list. And, yes, I think Frozen 2 is better than Frozen.

But Tangled is better than both.

Isolating Truths

Do you ever feel a certain way and then get angry at yourself for feeling that way because you know other people have it worse than you? Like, you should be grateful for what you have, but you still feel really crappy? That’s been me the past few days.

I know isolation and quarantine has started at different moments for everyone, and a lot of people are still working. Disney announced closure about three weeks ago, and I have been lucky enough to be able to work from home. At first it was fine, but then things in the world got worse. Events I had been looking forward to, including one of my best friends’ wedding, got cancelled. We couldn’t drive to Atlanta to visit family. I couldn’t see my favorite hairdresser that I am willing to drive eight hours for. Seemingly small things when there are those who lost their jobs, their milestones, their lives. So, I am mad at myself for feeling so crappy.

This past week has been the hardest. It is one of our busy times at work, and Thursday Disney announced that furloughs are in the future for some cast members. Oh, and we won’t know for sure who is affected until next week. It was hard enough to concentrate on my duties without the uncertainty. I know it’s a necessary evil for the company as everything is shut down, but I just want to know one way or the other. Accounting is usually safe (to my knowledge. I have no source.), but cruises are cancelled, trips are cancelled, parks are closed. What is there to report on? There certainty is not enough going on for whole teams, maybe partial. Either way, nothing official has come out and I have spent the last few days stressed out and not sleeping.

Though, the not sleeping thing has helped my Camp Nano word count. Nothing like insomnia to spur the internal muse.

Working from home has it’s challenges. The cats are distracting. I miss my standing desk, and I am not moving as much. Heck, I haven’t worked out this whole week. I’ve taken a couple walks around the neighborhood, but I just haven’t had the energy to actually exercise. There is also this weird stigma that’s probably all in my head that I cannot be the first to log off. I end up working through lunch (unless I take one of those walks). During busy time, we were on until 10pm or later to get everything reviewed. When Taylor is not working, he’s a distraction because OMG I GET PEOPLE INTERACTION. There are at least three more weeks of this. I really hope this gets easier.

I’m trying really hard to stay upbeat. I try to practice daily gratitude. I try not to get angry because some coworkers have children at home and can’t always work a full day. I try to stay focused. I am one of the lucky ones who have a job and my health. But I am so tired. I am stressed. Every day is unpredictable. Taylor is still going to work as phone repair is considered essential, and I just have to hope that the store’s precautions will be enough. Even though I know that they have worked with customers that have been tested for the virus. Phones are dirty and disgusting. I am scared.

Stay inside. Wash your hands. Social distance. Do your part so things can go back to normal, or at least a new normal that allows us to go to parks and malls again.

Create Semi-Stable Financials

Personal finances is always tricky, and for a lot of us right now, it’s in trouble. I am not about to tell you how to pay off debt in 30 days. I haven’t done that. I feel like I fit in with a majority of millennials (no, we are not still going on Spring Break. We’re like 25-30 years old right now. Stop confusing us with Gen Z just to make headlines flashier): a lot of student debt, high cost of living. But I am also lucky to be married to a man with a pretty good job and we were able to save up to buy a house. This post is for those wanting a starting point in personal finance as I am just going to talk about the things I do.

The biggest thing is having and tracking a budget. If you can stick to it, then kudos, cause that’s where I struggle (especially in the grocery department). I use an excel document on One Drive online so I can update it on my phone if I need to. I have multiple tabs in this excel: Bank Account (used as a transaction register so I know how much cash I have and need for bills), House Budget (bills, food, income, etc), Personal Budget (any extra spending on things that do not fit into the House Budget categories. This includes books, clothing, hobby things, movies, all the fun stuff), Savings (keep track of the three savings accounts I have), Master Budget updated every 6 months, Vacation planning as needed, Loans to keep track of balances, and Christmas budget to keep track of how much I am spending on who. I try to keep this excel as up to date as possible to see where we need to work on. It’s helpful to see what you are using your money on to highlight patterns that may be problematic.

To help keep track of transactions, I use the Mint app by Intuit. You link your accounts to the app, and it will update and list all transactions. There is a budget aspect built into the app, but I found that it was not too user friendly as a lot of things are auto-categorized incorrectly. But, that may just be me. I mainly use this as a transaction checklist when updating my budget. It’s also nice to see all your balances in one place if you link everything.

I mentioned earlier I have three savings accounts. This is a personal choice, but I do recommend having more than one. We have an account for the following three areas: emergency, house, and vacation. I regularly contribute to the emergency and vacation funds, but when we decide on projects or moving, I will restart monthly contributions to the house account as well. Having separate accounts for each area may not be necessary, but I like having designated things for the money there, especially the vacation fund.

Most recently, my husband and I have started investing in stocks. If you have some extra disposable income, but not enough for most broker companies ($1K seems to be the most popular initial investment), use RobinHood. There is not a minimum investment, the app is user friendly, and you get a free stock when you sign up. And, if you can, right now is great to start as most companies are “discounted”. Even if it’s not much, it’s a start. Just don’t check it every day- things are roller coaster-y right now.

If you have any tips or tricks to create better personal finances, let me know in the comments!

Create Stories

My career is in accounting. It took me four years to get my CPA license after graduating with my bachelor’s degree. The first year of that I was also getting my master’s degree while working full time. Accounting students that may be reading this: I do not recommend doing all three at once. Pick two. I used to be a tax accountant- did five tax seasons- and now I am a cast member. I create a story with numbers.

However, that is not the type of story I want to create. I started college as a creative writing major. I wrote a lot of fanfiction and a trilogy in high school. I want to be published. I want to write stories.

My goal this year is to create the stories I want to tell. But I’m treating it more seriously. I am reading books on writing. I am watching Brandon Sanderson’s lectures on YouTube. I even have a planner separate from my normal one to keep track of how much time I put into my writing. This blog included. It’s practice.

While my main goal is to finish the NaNoWriMo project I started in November, I also want to start creating more short stories. Ones that I can share here. I haven’t done that in some time, but I think it would be good for me. Exercise my brain and all that jazz. It should hopefully help with writer’s block as well when my main stories get to be difficult.

Speaking of NaNo, Camp NaNoWriMo starts next week! I have a modest goal of 20,000 words as it is a slightly busy time at work. I will be working on that 2019 NaNo project, and I hope you guys will join me! The people at NaNoWriMo are also doing a “Stay Home Wri Mo” right now. They are posting daily challenges and prompts on the Facebook page if anyone is interested.

Add me as a NaNo buddy: https://nanowrimo.org/participants/destinydalma. DestinyDalma is also my author name if you feel like reading cringey fanfiction on fanfiction.net that was written a decade or so ago. Tell me about your writing projects! We’re a large community, and I am excited to be a part of it.

The Word of the Year is Create

I am a big fan of having a word of the year. And after having more “serious” words the last few years, I decided to do something more fun. My 2020 word is “create.”

I am not sure if you can read all of the headers, but the pictures above say “In 2020 I will Create…”

  • Stories
  • A Healthy Lifestyle
  • Ears
  • Better Relationships
  • A Loving Home
  • Memories
  • Stable Financials
  • Gratitude

I have four blank columns left, but all of these correspond to some goal I have for myself this year. I want to work on what makes me better as a person, which means I need to create the habits and hobbies that will get me there. I have also noticed that I have stopped spending time doing the things that make me relaxed an happy, which is why you see stories and ears at the front of the list.

And by ears, I mean Mickey. I have started making my own, because even with my cast member discount, those things are expensive. Plus, it’s fun to design and make. It’s putting my sewing machine to good use. I’m not making them to sell, though. I am no where as talented as some of the people I see on Etsy.

I will post about each of these areas- either separately or a couple at a time. There is a lot that will go into each one, but some are hard to describe/ explain correctly. Plus, some just seem to go together so well that it would make sense to talk about them at the same time. I encourage you all to have your own word of the year. I find them to be good motivators.

Better Late Than Never!

Good bye 2019! This past year was definitely my renaissance (which happened to be my word of the year. I chose well). So much happened!

  • Got my CPA license
  • Got the job offer from Disney
  • Left public accounting
  • Moved to Orlando
  • Bought a house
  • Went on an Alaskan cruise
  • Surpassed my reading goal
  • Basically made playing in theme parks my new hobby
  • Started going to OrangeTheory Fitness
  • Survived our first travelling Christmas with very few casualties (only 5 presents left in Orlando. I had a 10 minute freak out about it but what are you going to do when you are 8 hours away?)

I can’t wait to see what 2020 brings. I am not going to go into all of my current goals and projects in this post as this is just a “Oh crap, I haven’t updated in months” thing, but I promise to post my 2019 reading list the hope for the future soon.

I will get better about posting on a schedule, I promise!

Happy NaNo!

Go start yours!

National Novel Writing Month is here! 20 days. 50,000 words. Roughly 1,667 words a day. Time to ration the discount Halloween candy to get through the challenge.

My project this year is Golden Soul. I am also using the software Schrivener for the first time. So far I really like it. Go start your project by going to NaNoWriMo.org and announcing your novel! Then add me as a buddy: DestinyDalma.

Well, I have writing to get to. Good luck to all the novelists out there!