Posted in Holidays, Life, Music, Personal Challenge, Photography

Disneyland Resort and Disney California Adventure at Night: Personal Challenge, Day 28 (10.14.12)

My friends and I go to Disneyland once a month and usually on a Sunday morning. We never go at night but since there are some new features at the park that only occur at night, we decided that this month we would partake in the Disney evening events.

I do have to say that even though Disney California Adventure was not usually on our favorites list (before the remodel) but now it is definitely the place to be at night. At sunset, the lights in Carsland come on one by one to a classic oldies song. And when the lights come on, the cameras come out (except
for me cause I was photobombed thus my night photos of Carsland were ruined). And it was pretty cool to ride Radiator Springs Racers at night.

Personally, my favorite area was the Mad T Party. This is where you can get your Rave on (and drinks) in wonderland. The White Rabbit DJ spins some awesome dance tunes. } would have loved to spend my time dancing there but it wasn’t really my friends’ scene. I would love to go back some time with my friends who like to dance the night away, like me.

But we were on a time schedule so it was off to Disneyland to ride the Haunted Mansion Holiday. We were able to see the fireworks and light show from the Haunted Mansion cue. Again, that is something I would have to go back to see (the fireworks & such) at a later date when we have more time to enjoy the nightly festivities at both parks.

Overall, night time at the Disneyland Resort seemed pretty cool. I just wish I could have seen more. It is something I will definitely have to do again.

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Posted in Life, Relationships, Writing

Daily Post Writing Challenge: A Letter To My Former Self

Hey Kelly,

I am taking part in a writing challenge from WordPress’ Daily Post. The challenge is to use the Post via Email tool and to write the post as if you are writing an actual email. So I decided I would write to you, my former self–a young woman who always hid behind the written word.

As your future self, I want to warn you of your habits of expressing yourself only through writing. You have this bad habit of holding in your real feelings until you explode through a written, verbal regurgitation that tends to make matters worse. I understand your fears. You are afraid of rejection and getting hurt. But the problem with email is that you don’t know if the other person even read your heartfelt diatribe, if they interpreted it with its true meanings and feelings (teasing and flirting doesn’t always come across in email), and you will never know how they feel if they decide not to respond. With verbal communication, yes, it is scary but at least you get responses right away, ending the “what is he thinking” loop that plays in your head. And no matter how scared you are to express yourself live (or even in-person), always remind yourself that what is the worse that can happen–you will lose something you never even had?

You started this habit of expressing yourself, especially in matters of the heart, at a young age. You used to write notes to the guys you cared for in Middle School and High School but then with the addition of email in college, your bad habit soared. In college, with Big, you used email to tell him how you felt. Then the one time you stored up enough courage to tell him in person what you wanted, he gave you what you thought was a rejection–thus causing you to further hone your written communication skills.

You are a writer. You have a college degree in the subject to prove it. It should be a skill, not a crutch. One in-person rejection (your interpretation, not his) and another one on the phone and you developed what Big would probably call “long ass email” syndrome.

This is going to be a very hard habit for you to break. Through therapy, meditation, and a lot of soul-searching, you are going to do your best to get over your fears. But your daily interactions with teenagers who conduct the majority of their communications through technology–texting, tweeting, Instagram and the like–is going to make this one of the most difficult challenges of your life. But remember, you are from a different generation. A generation where your parents made you get your own phone line so you could talk to your friends for hours. Go back to your roots and work on your Verbal communication skills (and do your very best to convince your teenagers to do the same). Stop using your pen (or keyboard) as a sword, a weapon to fight off your fear demons, and do your part to help stop a future of tech zombies who would rather text the person sitting on the other side of the table instead of having an actual conversation with them. Remember, the benefits of an actual verbal conversation is instant feedback and responses. I mean isn’t that why you go to “talk” therapy? This will improve our future–and end all the misunderstandings that have occurred via email.

Luv, Kel (your present and future self)

Posted in Astrology, Life, Relationships, Spirituality, Universe

The “L” Word

On Twitter, I follow several zodiac feeds, specifically those for Libras.  The other day, there was a tweet stating that a Libra will only tell you they love you if they really do and they don’t take love lightly.  For Libras, the “L” word has to have meaning or they won’t use it.  As a Libra myself, I can say this is completely true.

Here in Hollywood, so many toss around the “L” word like a disposable commodity.  Industry people will tell you they love you while stabbing a knife in your back.  It makes it really hard to trust the sincerity when someone uses the “L” word around here.  So I can completely understand why someone from my past, a native Angeleno, never believed me when I told him I loved him.

In my 33 years, I have only ever told two men that I loved them.  The first didn’t return the gesture and the second didn’t believe me, telling me “that’s impossible.”  If the second really truly knew me, he would know that such a feeling is difficult for me to express and that due to my own trust & relationship issues, I would never lie about this particular emotion.  And after an incident that occurred today, I still feel this way about this man and I probably always will.

Lately, the Universe has been sending constant reminders of this man.  This week, it was like a fireworks attack and today was the finale.

Whether this man and I have a romantic future is of no real concern to me.  I would be happy just to be his friend again.  But we had a falling out last fall and he won’t respond to any of my inquiries or attempts to repair our friendship.  Not knowing whether or not he is OK is like pure torture for me.  I am one of those people who loves hard and would do anything for the ones I love.  I don’t handle disconnection well.

And I really don’t deal well with the gut feeling that someone I love is suffering.  When someone tells you that they want to go off to be alone and depressed then you don’t hear from them for months, your worry alarms go into overload.  You do everything you can to reach out, let them know you are there.  You practically turn into a stalker but it doesn’t matter.  You have this need to help them, protect them, take care of them because you love them.  It doesn’t matter if that love is romantic or friendly.  You love them and you want to be there for them.  They will test you and push you away but unless I am told to “go away” in a clear manner, I am not about to abandon anyone I care about.

Now this particular person has trust and relationship issues that far surpass mine, making him quite a challenge to reach.  I have seen his good side as well as the bad and I am still here.  But I made a mistake last fall.  I let my trust issues come into play and I pushed him away.  I picked a fight over something stupid because I was afraid.  And he did what I asked, he disappeared.  When I realized I made a mistake, it was too late to fix what I broke . . . what we both broke.

But today, a scare snapped me back into reality and I realized that I want him back in my life, even if it is just as friends.  But I don’t know what to do.  I promised him that I wouldn’t write about him but I am breaking that promise for a good cause.  I am hoping he will read this someday and realize that our friendship has turned into a whiteboard.  We can keep clearing it off as long as we want to, leaving the past exactly where it belongs, in the past.  We don’t have to even look at the future.  We can live one second, one minute, one day at a time.  All that matters is the here and now.  I promise I won’t bring up our past ever again as long as we can try to be friends now.

At the very least, he could just find a way to tell me that he is out there and that he is OK, that he is surviving.   When you love someone, you want them to be happy, even if that means you can’t be in each other’s lives anymore.  But for me, a Libra with tons of issues, before I can let someone go, I have to know they will be OK and that they don’t need me anymore.

Posted in Astrology, Life, Spirituality, Universe

Time To Find Your Path

Tomorrow’s Full Moon is the Pathfinding Horse Moon.  With the moon in Sagittarius, it is a time to choose a new path or direction to take in our life’s journey.

How do we do this?  Well, you look at where you are and where you really want to be then you have to decide how to get there.  Simple, right?  I’m a Libra so I would have to say this is pure torture.  Trying to make a decision on which path I should take is an extremely difficult task for a Libra.  I will use my trusty Pros and Cons lists.  I will think of all the different possible outcomes for each decision.  I will ask my friends and family for advice.  I will go see a psychic or ask my own Goddess or Angel cards.  Then I will pray for a sign from the Universe, guiding me toward the right path.  Then I will finally make a decision.  But once I make that decision, I will constantly wonder if I made the right choice.  But once again, I am a Libra.

Ironically, I am in a weird place where I do feel like I have to make a lot of life choices about my future.  So today, I turned to someone I know and trust, Hot Dog.  I had just told him about my accident a few days ago so he was anxious to see me and get me whatever I needed.  He picked up dinner at my favorite Mexican restaurant and arrived at my house, ready to take care of my needs.  What I really needed was someone to talk to and he was ready to listen.  We went for a walk in my neighborhood (mainly to walk off the carnitas) and talked about what was bothering me.  Like any close, good guy friend would do, he poked fun at some of the decisions I made and actions I took.  But mostly he was in agreement with me that I needed to change things in my life.

I know where I want to be I just have no clue how to get there.  I need to let go of the past once and for all.  My past is holding me back.  So I guess whatever direction I wind up choosing, I need to make sure that it is in the opposite direction of my past with the future I want directly in front of me.

Now, if you are like me and you have a hard time making decisions, Kristen Madden from Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook suggests:

“To explore your path and any new directions you might take, you will need a pendulum (a ring on a string will do), and your life-adventure map.  Create your map by drawing a large circle on a piece of paper.  divide the circle into a pie graph, with one section representing your current path.  Into the other sections, place your potential paths, hopes and dreams.  Take your pendulum and ask what paths are most aligned to financial, academic, spiritual, or emotional success, then let the pendulum help find your direction.”

Now if the pendulums, tarot cards and psychic guidance methods freak you out, you can always ask the Magic 8 ball.  I have a fortune telling Yoda doll that I often ask for guidance (yeah, I’m a Star Wars geek) when my Magic 8 ball seems to be having issues (when it tells you “Future Unclear.  Ask Again Later.”)

Good Luck!

Posted in Life, Music, Relationships, Universe

The Power of a Song

It never ceases to amaze me how a song can find the exact words I am looking for. I was just lying here, after a long frustrating day of meetings and paperwork, and I decided to listen to my ipod on shuffle. It was weird how my mind started to wander off and the ipod shuffle almost served as a mind reader as it wandered along with my thought process.

Ironically, it chose two artists who I have blogged about before. Two artists that the Universe tends to use to try to open my eyes. Those two artists are Adele and Justin Timberlake (often followed by Kelly Clarkson or Linkin Park).

These are the two songs: “Don’t You Remember” and “(Another Song) All Over Again”

Posted in Life, Relationships, Spirituality, TV

Show Compassion for All

In response to last night’s GLEE episode, I feel that as a high school teacher I need to say something.  At first, I was shocked at where the storyline was going and then I was feeling a sense of Deja Vu when the “Adults” (why aren’t there more teachers in their high school?) were talking about how to react around the students and how nervous everyone is about “copycat” syndrome that often occurs after a student attempts suicide.  I sat through a very similar session just two weeks ago when a student killed himself at the high school where my best friend teaches.  Everyone in our school district is still dealing with what happened.  A young sophomore was picked on, pushed around and teased to the point where he felt the need to take his own life.  I personally never knew the boy but many of my students and friends did.  But what I do know is that he wasn’t even at the point where he could really live his life when he decided to end it.  No one should be made to feel like death is the only solution.

Bullying is a serious problem.  I have heard people from my generation talk about how they don’t remember Bullying being such an issue when we were in school.  The thing is that back then, we didn’t have the Internet.  If something happened, you didn’t usually hear about it.  Now, your cousins in Canada will know if someone at your school is gay or short or fat or a nerd or whatever, all thanks to the Information Hellway we call the Internet.  We didn’t have Facebook, Formspring, Tumblr, Twitter and the like.  We didn’t have cellphones that could text or go on the Internet instantly.  Rumors spread like wildfire these days and it is terrifying.  And the majority of the rumors are not even true.  It is the high-speed version of the Telephone game.  Information travels at light speed.  I knew about the student’s suicide before my friend, a teacher at that school, knew what was going on.  I had kids in my classroom crying 10 minutes after it happened.

And yes, as teachers we make the students put away their cellphones and stay off the social networks while they are in school but they are smarter than we are when it comes to high-tech sneakiness.  We used to try to figure out how to sneak out of our houses at night.  These kids know how to take notes and text without a teacher having any idea.  So if someone in class farts, the whole school knows about it within a matter of minutes.  We can try all we want but as a society everyone is addicted to their “Smartphones” and the kids today don’t know a world without them.  It is a battle we will never win.

I do love how realistically GLEE portrayed the instantaneous rumor spreading.  He came home and checked his Facebook to see what they were saying.  (Though if it were at my school, he would have checked his iPhone when he left the locker room).  It is sad but true.  The majority of kids see their friends teasing someone so they join in to be a part of the crowd.  So before you know it, hundreds, maybe even thousands of kids are participating in cyberbullying.  Many may not even know the person they are attacking.  So how do we make it stop?

As a teacher, I try to be someone the kids feel they can come to if they are having a problem.  Last year, I had a student come out of the closet to me and tell me about how they were being teased.  They were suicidal.  I followed procedure and instantly got them help.  I went to my administrator, the counselor and the school psychologist.  We all rallied around them to let them know that we all cared.  I found out about the Trevor Project.  They have experts that students can talk to and give the appropriate support.  We made sure that they knew they didn’t have to suffer in silence.  There are people out there that care and would be there for support.  There are people out there who would never judge them.

These kids need to know that life gets so much better after high school.  High School is full of drama and stress.  Everyone is in everyone else’s business.  They need to start thinking past themselves.  They have to learn what it is like to be in someone else’s shoes.  I always tell them, “treat others the way you would want to be treated.”  It’s sad that I have to remind them “how would you feel if someone was saying that to you” “or how would you feel if someone posted that about you.”

Teenagers are not zombies.  It is possible to get them away from the computers and away from their cellphones.  It is possible to get them to talk and to open up.  It is possible to teach them to have compassion for all.  But we, as adults, have to set an example.

We need to stop going after the gays in “the name of God.”  I don’t know what Bible they read but I remember Jesus saying he was dying for all our sins–not just the straight people.  Jesus said to love everyone and forgive everyone–right?  If Jesus, or God, was telling me to hate someone for any reason, then that isn’t someone I want to believe in.  We are all human beings and we should show compassion and respect to all other human beings.

I watched this great documentary by His Holiness, The Dalai Lama, entitled Compassion in Emptiness.  It is on NetFlix streaming and I recommend it to everyone.  In this film, His Holiness is giving a talk about Compassion.  He says that we need to stop looking at things from a complicated level.  We need to go back to basics where we are all just human beings.  When we start talking about race, religion, and sexual orientation, we are looking at the secondary level where things are too complicated.  Complications lead to strife.  So in order for us to achieve peace and happiness, we need to stick to the basic level of understanding, “we are all human beings.”  We need to show compassion to all human beings, even if we disagree with their life choices.

And we need to stop making politicians speak for us.  All politicians lie.  Trust me, I was in Public Relations.  They all have an agenda.  All they care about is winning and getting your vote.  They will say whatever you want to hear.  You can’t trust them.  Power is corrupt, ergo those with power are corrupt.  So why do we let them do what they do?  We seem to forget that they are supposed to be working for us.  And what kind of example are they setting for our youth with their campaign ads that are designed to “destroy” their competition.  The kids are taught at an early age to look up to our Senators, Governors, and Commander In Chief.  But when you turn on the TV, you see them bullying each other in ads and in debates.  What are we teaching our children?

There are many in this world who view the United States as a Bully.  If you are one of those people, I apologize.  I am an American but I am not a Bully.  I am a human being.  I am a teacher who goes to work every day because I know I have the chance to make a difference in the lives of my students.  I teach photography but my kids often say my class is “the real world” class.  I try to go above and beyond the simple practices of how to work a camera.  I don’t do it for the money–believe me, there is no money in teaching (which is why I have two other jobs on the side).  I do it for the kid who came to me for help instead of committing suicide.  It is about helping your fellow human being.

I once heard a woman give a speech about how we have two purposes in life.  One is to be a Student, learning all of life’s lessons.  The Second is to be a Teacher, teaching what we have learned.  I took it literally.

My story and the GLEE story had a happy ending–the kids survived.  But unfortunately it doesn’t always turn out that way.  It is sad that it often takes the loss of a young life to bring society to an awakening.  We need to open our eyes and see what is going on around us, see what our kids are seeing.  Start that conversation.  Stop saying “oh, it is just teenage angst.”  If you see a kid in pain, give them a hug.  Ask them what is wrong and LISTEN.  You have to become aware of the truth in order to make a difference.