Back to school time…again…

Back to school time!The best thing about being an adult? Not having to go to back to school. Homework was just the worst. I would have hated going to classes more, but I did enjoy some of the social aspects of school.  Don’t get me wrong. I was not popular. I was a nerd and still am a nerd. I never wanted to be popular. Mostly because those whom I perceived as popular were, well, stupid and vain. Granted, I was pre-judging them as all teens do, but I also didn’t have the stress of trying to fit in because I wanted nothing to do with anyone knowing who I was. Sadly, I was more stressed about trying to find a boyfriend. My excuse was the hormones. Puberty pretty much ruined my life until about the age of 35.

But, back to school, I was never excited about it. I don’t have kids yet, so I don’t have to get ready for anything.  If I did, I surely wouldn’t be freaking out about trying to find free range bread for my kids’ sandwiches. Honestly, I don’t think most moms do that. If they do, I kind of feel bad for them. Just do what makes you happy. Don’t freak out about it. It is what it is.

There was a point in my life when I could recite every class I had, in order, from the first semester of seventh grade to the final semester of my senior year.  I think college might have fried that right out of my brain.  That or I just have so many damn passwords floating around in there that they nudged out the trivial crap that doesn’t matter.

Back to school didn’t mean cooler temperatures in California.  It wouldn’t cool off until about mid-October, if we were lucky. I remember some sweaty Halloweens. I guess that’s better than a snowy Halloween.

Either way, the traffic will be hell for the next few weeks. I could never understand how back to school time equates to more people on the roads. I don’t drive by any schools. I don’t get what everyone was doing for the past three months. Plus, don’t schools get out at like 3:00 PM? Why is traffic crappy at 5:00?

Earthquakes: Still better than crappy weather

RealWeather-NonChronI was born and raised in California. I’ve lived through my fair share of earthquakes both large and small…mostly small. Still, after living in the Midwest for almost a year and a half, I prefer to take my chances with an earthquake rather than a blizzard or thunderstorm. Why? Because in the scheme of things big, disruptive earthquakes are a rarity.

Note: Earthquakes DO NOT HAVE SEASONS

Sure this list of earthquakes on the Sacramento Bee’s website looks frighteningly long, but most of those quakes no one even remembers. A 3.0 quake is not historic. It’s a tiny earth fart. An earthquake off the coast is almost like it didn’t happen.

Dumb lists aside, a decent size quake only happens once every 25 to 50 years or so in an area that causes fatalities or even a decent amount of damage. By damage I don’t mean bottles knocked to the ground off shelves, I mean structural integrity of roads and bridges compromised.

In fact, with the advent of stricter building codes, advances in engineering methods, and better preparedness, an earthquake under 6.0 is really not a big deal.

Most of the preparedness is common sense. Don’t hang anything over your bed. Don’t hang anything over where you might be sitting or laying down. Have fresh batteries in your home in case the power goes out. Make sure bookcases are either secured to the wall or if they fall over aren’t going to smash you. Some people will even install baby locks on upper cabinets not because they have little ones, but because they know the doors will stay closed when the shaking starts. I’ve even seen special shelf liner that is supposed to help keep glassware from being knocked over.

Growing up, any time there was a minor earthquake, the local media would remind everyone what to do in case a big one hit. I used to think it was dumb to constantly remind everyone how to be safe whenever a 3.0 shook some random town in the middle of the coastal range, but after reading my Facebook feed this morning after the Napa quake, I now understand why they do it.

Many people move to California and don’t know what to do in the event of an earthquake. They didn’t grow up with the knowledge pounded into their brains like I did. I take this knowledge for granted, but I’m glad that I know it. Why? Because of this knowledge, earthquakes don’t scare me as much as having to drive on icy roads with a bunch of idiots. That happens every freaking year for months at a time!

Five tips for attending a blogging conference: #BlogHer14

Blog conference tips: #BlogHer14It’s summer blog conference time! One of the bigger conferences bloggers attend is BlogHer.  This year it’s in San Jose, California. Ah, the Silicon Valley, such an amazing place. If you are going to BlogHer for the first time, I’ve got some tips to help you ease through your nervousness.  While most of my blog conference tips are centered around my experiences at BlogHer, they can be applied to just about any blogging conference.

Blog conference tips #1: Be friendly.

Honestly, most of the gals there are welcoming and friendly. Just say hi and start chatting. You have an opening line. You all have a blog. Ask them what they write about…that always breaks the ice because bloggers love talking about their blogs. Other things to talk about: Where they are from? Have they been to BlogHer before? Have they been to California before? How long have they been blogging? What sessions/parties are they going to attend?

See? I’ve given you tons of things to talk about with people you haven’t even met yet! Where can you use this blog conference tip? The meals are a great place to break the ice. Seating is usually at tables with 10 chairs, so sit down next to someone and say hello. Continue reading

How do you Independence Day? July 4th it!

Independence Day: July 4th decor, songs, and food.One week from today is July 4th. Is it just me or does this feel like the summit of summer? After Independence Day it feels like summer is on the down slope. We are all coasting into fall.

Oh the barbeques! In some places they are called cookouts. Whatever you call the gathering of people eating char-grilled meat, it’s a hell of a time. Folks bring out as much red, white, and blue decorations as they can handle. If you’re feeling especially patriotic, check out these July 4th photo booth props I made. Social media and the birth of the United State never looked so good! Continue reading

Ancestry DNA: Family throughout history

NonChron-DNA-Family-HistoryRecently, I did the Ancestry DNA test to see what ethnicity is running around in my genes. I have been building my family tree on the site, so I sort of knew what to expect.  That doesn’t mean I didn’t see some surprises.  Below is a screenshot of my ancestry DNA ethnicity results:

Non-Chron-DNA-ReportWhere did the Italian/Greek come from?  I mean I found out a few years ago that my great grandmother’s family had originally come from Italy, but that was like 10 generations or more ago. They were mostly Spanish…at least that’s what I thought.

I knew I’d have Native American since my dad’s family settled California.  They came up from Mexico (when it was still part of Spain), through Arizona and stopped in California. Needless to say, some Native American genes were likely already floating around the gene pool when they headed to Arizona. What I didn’t know was how many of those genes were still floating around in my ancestry DNA.

Non-Chron-DNA-Ancestry-BreakdownSurprising no one, most of my genes are European. Have you seen me? Pale doesn’t even begin to describe my skin color. Another thing that surprised me (but shouldn’t have) is that siblings can get different results.  I do have a basic understanding of how genes are passed on and that you never really know how they are going to be combined in each child. I just never thought that my sister and I could have differing ancestry DNA. She could have more Ibernian Peninsula genes than I do.

The top two ethnic gene groups are not surprising.  My great-grandmother on my dad’s side was Scottish & her husband was English.  My mom’s family has a ton of German and English in it. I thought I’d have a little more Finnish seeing as how my great-great grandmother on the maternal side was directly from Finland.

The traces of Pacific Islander genes are baffling, fascinating, but a little baffling. Then I saw the Asia genes, which are from India or thereabouts…again…fascinating and baffling.  The genes from West Asia are from what I like to refer to as the Fertile Crescent area.  Those genes are probably from someone conquering someone else way back when.

What all of this ancestry DNA information tells me is that we are all pretty much related.  I mean who knows what genes are floating around in your body? The person who you just passed on a street could be a very distant cousin.

A little review of the Ancestry DNA process

You order the kit online and they send you a box in the mail.  In it is a tube with a code.  You go online and activate the code, so they can match up your DNA with your tree or account. Then you spit into the tube…and you spit, and you spit, and you spit.

NonChron-DNA-Ancestry-SampleI think it’s about 1/2 to a whole teaspoon, while that might not seem like a lot, try spitting that much into a tube.  I swear it took me like 5 minutes to fill that sucker to the wavy lines. After that, you seal it up with the cap and blue stuff falls into your spit to stabilize it.

You put it in the packaging provided and send it to a lab to be processed. In about 6 to 8 weeks (or what seems like less in my case), you get your results.

Have you been tracing your family tree? What genes are likely floating around in your DNA?

April Fool’s Day: Just stop.

YoureNotFunny-AprilFoolsDay

You’re not funny.  Someone had to tell you because you might be about to do something really stupid. You might be thinking of a great prank or joke to pull off this Tuesday, April Fool’s Day…just don’t.  People who actually are funny, have a special talent.  Not just anyone can be hilarious, then again TV and movies have set the bar pretty low, so I can understand why you might be confused.

And no, I don’t think I’m funny. I just say ridiculous things that roll around in my head.

Sure, most acting awards are for drama, but that’s because they are afraid of comedic actors.  It is more difficult to be funny than it is to be dramatic. Have you seen people attempt to be funny? I rest my case.

Real humor is ever lasting.  Do you know how old the “Who’s on first?” bit is?  Old as shit. It’s still funny because of the delivery.  Listen to the original recording. If it doesn’t crack you up, you might be dead.

I hate April Fool’s Day. I can’t take it when someone lies to me. It’s one thing if they are being sarcastic…”I feel like shit” is a lie, but most of us can accept it.  No one knows what shit feels like or if shit has feelings at all, so that statement is really a lie.

Saying that you broke up with someone, are pregnant, or a family member died as a joke is just stupid.  Don’t dump a bucket of glitter on your boss’ head and don’t lie to your friends about some major life event or tragedy.

Weddings with a Twist #TwitterLoveWed

non-traditional, bridalHoly crap. I am a married woman and the world didn’t end. After my experience, I’m a big proponent of weddings with a twist…or two. That’s what we did…we put our personalities into the traditions and had fun while getting married.

Honestly, I had the time of my life. Yes, it was a bit of a blur, but I tried to enjoy every moment. The ceremony was really fast, but there were moments when I kept thinking to myself as the pastor (or whatever he was) performed the ceremony, “This guy is still talking. Why is he talking?”

I didn’t wear white. I wore a lovely turquoise and of course, my tiara. What better reason to wear a tiara?

Aside from the fact that the ceremony started almost half an hour late because the pastor dude was stuck in traffic (likely story), it went off without a hitch. Pun intended?

We wanted the experience to be a reflection of our personalities…not so much tradition. For processional music, Paul walked in to the Minnesota Rouser (insert Ski-U-Mah here), my bridesmaids walked in to Gimme Some Lovin’ by the Spencer Davis Group, and I came down the aisle to Best of My Love by the Emotions.

The moment I saw Paul at the altar, tears sprang to my eyes.  The love I have for him is overwhelming. He’s the sweetest man I’ve ever met. I am the luckiest woman on earth to have found him. We have so much fun together and our wedding was no different.

After what seemed like a never ending photo session (our photographer was wonderful though) rife with Zoolander references, we finally arrived at the reception, the event I’d looked forward to the most.

We had it at this Italian restaurant in the Forum Shops, Carmine’s.  Did I mention that we got married at Caesars? And it’s plural not possessive.  I read somewhere that the guy who started the hotel wanted everyone to feel like a Caesar or something like that.

Regardless, this is the part where our personalities really shined through.  I wanted everyone to be relaxed and have a good time. There was plenty of booze and food. As you can see from the photos, I made photo props to encourage others to take selfies with their phones and share them on instagram, facebook, or whatever their favorite social media platform might be.  Plus, I created a hashtag to be able to find the posts and photos.

I had intended to post more thoughts and funny photos on the Twitter using the hashtag, but I was having so much fun in reality that I didn’t have time to share it virtually.

Even though it might not have been as many tweets and posts as I’d liked, I’m glad I shared the video of the ceremony and photos to social media.  I know some of our friends and family who weren’t at the ceremony enjoyed the things they did see.

I’m glad we had a small wedding. I was able to visit with everyone and made sure I took photos with everyone too. If you look up the hashtag on the Twitter, you should be able to find most of my photos and probably a few shares of this post as well.