My Ideal Day: Bloganuary Entry #11

Photo by Zen Chung on Pexels.com

Writing Prompt: What is my ideal day?

It’s really hard to settle on one ideal day. Are we talking about an ideal day in my current life? Or an ideal day if I had the day off…or if I didn’t have to work because I was wealthy…am I on vacation? There’s a lot of ways that a day can be ideal. Here are the five things I need for an ideal day.

Perfect weather. It either needs to be 70 with a slight breeze or 85 and sunny, depending on whether I’m at the beach or not. But perfect weather is truly the start to an ideal day.

Rest. I definitely need to sleep until my body rises naturally. Any day where I’m on a clock, especially when I wake up, is not ideal to me.

Time outdoors. OK, so…I’m not a hiker or nature buff or anything like that. But I love being outside when the weather is nice. And even when the weather is not perfect. But on my ideal day, I am assuming the weather is perfect according to my preference. If I’m on the beach, I want to sit out there ALL day. If it’s fall, I want to sit outside and enjoy the crisp air or take a nice walk. So something that involves a walk outside, sitting outdoors at a restaurant or winery is definitely ideal to me.

Live music. I absolutely love live music. I don’t care if it’s one guy and his bagpipes, or someone singing an acoustic cover of Baby Got Back. I love it all. My ideal day absolutely must include live music of some sort.

Good company. Now…for me, this can be tricky. As I’ve mentioned in past posts, I am a complete and absolute introvert. I prefer my own company above all. However, if I am in the presence of others, it needs to be quality. Not that the person needs to be some sort of elite or an academic or anything like that. But introverts do not care for superficial conversations. For me, there needs to be banter or a topic of substance, or just an agreeable, pleasant, conversation with mutual exchange. I don’t want to hear someone just jabber on and on about some topic I could not care less about, I don’t like having conversations with people that have no interest in what I have to say, and I don’t want to talk about hateful horrible things. We introverts do not care for fake people or wack, disingenuine vibes. So whether I’m alone (which I love!) or with someone that I have a great exchange with, the company needs to be top notch on my ideal day.

Do you have an ideal day? What is a must for your ideal day? Do we have any musts in common?

Airbnb Journey: The Townhouse in Kissimmee

I’ve fallen behind in my airbnb home summaries. Life…amiright??

So just to recap, in December 2020 with full-time telework looking like our indefinite future due to COVID, I found a tenant for my condo, my boyfriend and I gave up our lease, and we put all of our stuff in storage and became digital nomads. We decided to basically take advantage of airbnb’s discounts on monthly rentals, and we figured if we kept our monthly lodging at around the same price as what we’d pay in rent/mortgage, it would all work out.

Our first airbnb home was in Raleigh, NC, then we needed to come back to the DMV area so we stayed in Alexandria, VA and then stayed in Frederick, MD for two months. By this point, it wasn’t quite yet Spring and we were tired of cold weather, so we decided to head to Florida for some sun.

We knew that with Covid, amenities were not guaranteed at a lot of places, and even if they stated that pools and gyms were up and running, there was no guarantee that it would stay that way once we got there. Outbreaks and surges just made things really unpredictable, so we thought it would be nice to have a house in a warm area that had a pool included. The 3 bed, 3 bath townhouse with a pool in Kissimmee was perfect! When we read the summary, we liked that there would be space to spread out. And somehow when we mentioned Florida, some friends and family said they may want to visit. And visit they did. lol.

The Rundown: So here’s the rundown on the home. Kissimmee is a neighboring town of Orlando. We had hoped that picking a time before Spring break, we’d for the most part have a peaceful space, before families started converging on the theme parks and warm climate. And that completely worked out. For the most part, this home and the neighborhood were quiet during our stay.

The home itself was decorated in white and orange throughout, and there were televisions in each room, which we loved. We had enough room for visitors, with a bedroom and bathroom downstairs for privacy. We had every kitchen convenience needed, except a few small things. We also loved having a trash valet, so all we had to do was put the trash in the bin right outside the front door and the community was responsible for placing it out for the trash men to collect, and then returning the bin to the home. But of course, the thing we loved the most was the pool right outside the back door. It may have been May but it was HOTTT in Florida. We’re talking upper 90’s on a lot of the days. So being able to take a quick dip during lunch or after running an errand in the hot sun was super nice. We even had a pool guy that came once a week to check water levels and chemicals. The community also had a pool, so we went there as well when we wanted more pool space or a change of scenery. And on most days, we were the only ones in the community pool. It truly was fabulous.

What we did: Because of the pandemic, of course we mostly stayed in the house. We did a lot of cooking and took walks. We found a few places that we could go to and still be socially distant. Because Orlando is inland, it wasn’t like we could really frequent the beach. But we found a nearby lake town where we could walk around, enjoy the scenery, grab food, and enjoy the day.

Before heading to Florida, we researched the safety protocols for the theme parks. They were limiting the number of people who could enter the park, and they also had strict mask mandates. We felt comfortable enough to buy tickets, so we also visited Universal Studios and Epcot. And we literally were not even 10 miles away, no traffic, easy parking…it was awesome!

What we loved and didn’t love: We loved that we had visitors and that we had space for them. We loved the warm weather. We did not love that there was no real space to work (I mean…who goes to Orlando to work??). We had to work either from the glass dining room table, which shifted if you leaned on it too hard…or from bed or the couch. So that was definitely not ideal. And we also had issues with the internet. There were four full work days that the internet was out due to them doing work in another unit and accidentally messing up our connection. Which means we had to take days off that we did not expect to take. So that would be the biggest complaint.

Overall, with a few exceptions, great space and great pick!

Here’s my IG vlog post about my stay:

Have you been to the Orlando/Kissimmee area? How was your trip?

What people incorrectly assume about me: Bloganuary Entry #8

What do people incorrectly assume about me?

Let me start by saying that people probably assume a lot about me. And I guess that is what people do. It’s not that I’m particularly interesting or controversial. But people have their opinions no matter what. And because I’ve been known to be closed-off (that’s the cancer in me), I think that lends itself to people filling in the blanks with opinions and assumptions.

If I had to pick something that I think people assume about me, it’d be that they assume that I think I’m perfect. I do admit that I don’t really deal with a lot of foolishness, and I want people to be the best version of themselves. And maybe that standard makes people feel like I don’t realize that I myself am flawed.

But I do realize it. I actually realize my flaws quite a bit…definitely daily…and several times throughout the day. Like my girl Beyonce says, I’m a train wreck in the morning, I’m a bitch in the afternoon. It’s the story of my life.

I make mistakes. Often. I slack off. I make bad decisions. I can be mean. Snippy. Sarcastic. Horrible. Judgmental. Opinionated. That’s just the top of the list. I’m definitely far from perfect. And I realize this. So maybe I should do a better job of communicating that I do in fact realize that I’m quite flawed, and very, very, very far from perfect. Or maybe I should just let people assume whatever they’re going to assume.

What do people assume about you, and…are they right?

I’ll close this post out with my girl Bey. Flaws & All.

What I like about my writing: Bloganuary Entry #7

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This is tough for me because it requires self-promotion, which I am not good at. The temptation for me is to spin the topic around into “why I like to write”, so that I don’t focus on the writing itself, but rather what I enjoy about the process.

But I won’t do that. I will allow myself to have a moment of vulnerability and try my best to answer this prompt as written.

So, here are some things that I like about my writing…I’ll keep this short and sweet:

  • I like reading my thoughts.
  • I like journaling. I enjoy reading other people’s journals as well. There are a lot of blogs about a lot of things, but the type I like the most are people who write about their daily lives and thoughts.
  • I like sharing things that I’ve accomplished or made or done with people beyond of my text list.
  • I like my word choice. Sometimes I can be quite quirky and amusing.
  • I like practicing the art of writing. Seeing that I continue to write encourages me to keep writing.
  • I like seeing improvements in my writing and phrasing.
  • I like the appearance of the finished product…the picture, the text, the additional elements, the layout…maybe this is why I liked being on the newspaper staff.

That’s all I have for today. So what do YOU like about your writing? I’m curious about people’s answers to this question because I found it a little difficult. Let me know!

What Makes Me Laugh: Bloganuary Entry #6

this is as scammy as I get…on a fake plane, holding a fake glass of champagne…at a selfie museum.
hopefully this makes sense as the pic for this post.

Let me tell you, I absolutely love to laugh. I love memes, I love funny twitter threads, I love funny facial expressions, and one of my favorite things is watching people trip. Idk what it is, but that gets me EVERY time (as long as the person is ok).

But tonight, I realized something that really makes me laugh. The absolute audacity of scammers and fraudsters. Like…their utter and complete gall just really gives me a good chuckle. But not like an “omg that’s so funny” chuckle. But more like “omg is this person really delusional enough to do this?” and “omg are people really buying this??” chuckle.

I love a good scam story. Not because I love scams, but the make-up of the scammer, the personality traits that leads people to fall for scams, and of course, the trail of events that leads to the scammer being caught…I just love it all! American Greed is my favorite show, and I’m obsessed with cults…which for me, is just another scam.

I’ve been a victim of a white collar crime, and luckily for me, things worked out ok. I was in college, and this was back in the 90s when I was young and naive, from a small town but went to school in the big city, and I had no idea that people like this even existed. Someone passed me a stolen check for a couple thousand dollars, and I cashed it when the bank made the money available. A few days later, I was being sat down by the police. Shocked, confused, overwhelmed…my naivetee diminished. Now as an adult, I know how easy it is to be sucked in when you don’t know better. And I know how horrible people can be when they prey on those that don’t know better. And it’s disgusting. And yet still very fascinating.

I had been hearing Elizabeth Holmes’ name for a while. But never in a way that interested me enough to actually pay attention to what she was in the news for. Until this week when the story broke that she was found guilty of four counts of fraud. I had some time to kill and decided to read up on what this was all about.

If you’re like me, you intentionally select what news stories you allow into your life, and maybe this story has not made the cut. So let me tell you about Ms. Holmes.

Elizabeth Holmes is a Stanford drop-out who went on to found a revolutionary company, Theranos, which boasted having the technology to prick a finger, obtain a small vial of blood, and then analyze these small amounts of blood for over 200 diseases by way of a small box called Edison. This small box, Edison, would be the analytical powerhouse that conducted all of these tests, taking up only a small amount of counter space. The vision was that this tiny vial of blood and small box would then result in these blood tests being made affordable and accessible for any and everyone, and it would ultimately give people more control over their health and life, which would, as she always said it, “change the world.”

I’m not mad at this vision. Anything that gives people more tools for life-saving health screenings at an affordable price…what’s not to love?? The affordability, the accessibility, the innovation could save lives which WOULD change the world! This could be awesome!

The next layer to this story is that Ms. Holmes aligned herself with some of the most powerful men on the planet, convincing them to invest and be ambassadors for her vision and for her company, Theranos. We are not talking famous actors or social media influencers or athletes. We are talking literally presidents, secretaries of state, presidential cabinet members, and billionaires. Bill Clinton, George Schultz, Henry Kissinger, Rupert Murdoch, The Walton Family (aka the Walmart dynasty), Carlos Slim…I mean…these people sat on the board, touted her achievements, and heavily invested in her company.

So now she’s got the vision, she’s got the media attention, she’s got the funds, and she has tremendous support for something that could be absolutely amazing! As she repeatedly says, Theranos could change the world! When all was said and done, this company was valued at $9 billion! She was a Stanford dropout in her 30’s doing the damn thing!

Ms. Holmes modeled herself after other great visionaries such as Thomas Edison and her clear idol, Steve Jobs. She even wore a modified version of his black turtleneck uniform.

Ms. Holmes was featured in Forbes, gave Ted Talks, and had her own security detail. She was living the dream. She was a dropout to billionaire success story.

However…things were not what they seemed. Long story short, the technology was faulty, inadequate, and it just did not do what she promised. And the reality was that it probably never was going to do what she promised. Ever. The results of her company’s labwork was at best, right about 50% of the time. But patients were being given the results as if they were guaranteed correct, and people’s lives were at stake. Because Theranos was a private company, she did not have to divulge certain information to government agencies regarding its technology, she did not have to have audited financial statements, and she basically could control the narrative under the privilege of keeping trade secrets.

Companies like Walgreens were starting to try out her technologies in their stores and inaccurate and unreliable test results could result in a potential nightmare for patients.

Employees, terrified by threatening lawyers and cease and decist letters, finally started speaking out and jumping ship. They spoke to reporters and they whistleblew about what was actually happening at Theranos. And Ms. Holmes’ house of cards crumbled.

I love reading and learning about white collar crimes. I just cannot believe that that kind of audacity exists. I’m always intrigued by the narcissism that leads to the crime, and the investigations that eventually bring the whole enterprise down. And this story is right there on my list. It checks all of my boxes.

  • Charismatic and odd leader that somehow convinces people to get on board with a big-vision plan (and don’t get me started on how this is extremely similar to my other fascination, cult leaders) – CHECK!
  • A following of people totally drinking the charismatic leader’s kool-aid – CHECK!
  • A fraud scheme that just makes me shake my head – CHECK!
  • Lots of money being thrown at said fraud scheme – CHECK!
  • All of the red flags that the charismatic leader is a fraud that people should be picking up on but aren’t – CHECK! CHECK!
  • The slip-up that leads to the subsequent downfall – And CHECK!

While there are so many white collar criminals and huxters that are just plain evil, I feel like this at least was a well-intentioned plan. At least initially. Life changing healthcare being made accessible to all–honestly this is what society needs. But most successful scams play on the vulnerable and the weak, and provide hope to those that truly need it.

But Ms. Holmes didn’t double down on her fraudster ways by preying on the elderly or vulnerable people that couldn’t afford to invest in her company. So at least there’s that. She sought out the ultra rich and ultra powerful. Those that could invest tens of millions and not even miss it.

But everything crumbled and at the end of it, I’m doing my “omg did people really buy this??” chuckle.

Do you love true crime and white collar crime stories? Why do you think people believe they will get away with scams like this? Do you have any favorite shows or stories that intrigue you?