Do You Believe in Ghosts?

Do You Believe In Ghosts

This is the time of year where ghost stories, scary costumes, and haunted houses are incredibly popular. But do you all actually believe in ghosts?

I go through phases where I believe and where I don’t believe.

For example, when I’m binge-watching “The Dead Files” on TV all day and I’ve saturated myself in creepy content for several hours at a time, then I’m definitely a believer and I have difficulty sleeping at night because I hear things and feel shadow people watching me while I sleep. But I don’t do that often.

And I’m also a believer when I’m in situations that facilitate that belief, like when I’m visiting a supposedly haunted location or I’m having a sleep paralysis nightmare (yes, I have those and they are horrible, I’ve posted about those experiences here). I just FEEL like ghosts and spirits are real and they are surrounding me in those circumstances. It’s just an incredible belief at that moment that cannot be rationally explained. (I’ve posted about some haunted locations I’ve visited too if you’re curious: Bullock Hotel and Leap Castle.)

I have some pretty vivid memories from when I was a kid, of some ghostly kids hanging out in my childhood home. They would stand in my bedroom while I slept. At the time, I remember being terrified and I believed wholeheartedly that they were truly ghosts. But now when I recall those memories, they are more distant and I no longer have the emotion of being scared tied to them, so now I’m more inclined to explain them as extreme dreams or an overactive imagination.

But for the most part, especially when it’s not an event that’s affecting me personally, I’m probably not a believer. For example, when I see ghost videos on the Internet, I’m usually the first person to say “That’s fake” or “That’s edited” etc. So when I’m not experiencing a moment like those mentioned above, then I’m quite the skeptic.

So I don’t know. Am I weird? What do you all think about the subject of ghosts? Have you experienced anything like it before?

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Obnoxious Surprises at the Office

Unwelcome Surprises at the Office

I definitely do NOT miss any of the pranks or hijinks that would often occur at work. One of my most famous obnoxious surprises at the office is captured in my featured image. Check it out.

Obnoxious Surprises at the Office – Pranks

I was minding my own business and the next thing I know, I found this creepy murdered stuff bear in my desk drawer. I was not very happy about it. And it’s definitely a shock when you’re not expecting it.

I eventually tracked down the person who did it. And it was a prank only – no other ulterior motives. They actually spent alot of time and effort on it as they had to create all the murdered bits of the bear themselves. Imagine if they spent all that time and effort on a work-related endeavor instead.

I’m very paranoid and uptight, so antics and pranks like that aren’t my favorite. I start obsessing over WHO did it and WHY did they do it? Do they not like me? Am I being targeted?! Why are people in my desk drawers? What else could they be doing to me that I haven’t discovered yet?! What’s next?! Etc etc.

That’s definitely what goes on in my mind when something like that happens.

But basically, I don’t like being messed with. Joke or not. It just annoys me. And there’s something about the office environment that makes some adults feel like they can run around like unsupervised children. It’s ridiculous.

Do I sound uptight enough? I did a fun post earlier (link here) about which character from the TV series “The Office” I relate to most, and my answer was Angela. Lol, I probably sound alot like her right now.

Obnoxious Surprises at the Office – Cleaning Out Desks

Definitely one more thing that I do not miss about being at the office, is that when a coworker leaves us, we clean-out their desks. This leads to even more chances to find some unwelcome surprises at the office.

Usually we’re looking for a treasure that we’d like to keep for ourselves, like maybe a new pair of scissors or a stapler that isn’t jammed. But for the most part, everything left behind is trash.

One time a coworker left behind a nice framed photo of their family and kids. We actually called and asked if they’d like it returned to them somehow and they said “absolutely not”. Lol, ok. That same photo and frame later made an appearance at the company’s “Dirty Santa” gift-exchange that year. It was a very popular gift too. As I said, the frame was really nice.

The one thing I’ll never forget in my whole life… is when we discovered that a coworker had been hoarding the office coffee cups! And we are still stumped to this day – WHY did he DO this to us?!

I have photos of our discovery, but I need to warn you – do NOT scroll down to see these pics if you have a weak stomach or if you are about to have breakfast…

Don’t.

Do.

It.

I’ll actually wish you all a great day here, in case you do heed my advice and exit now. Catch you later!!! Bye! 🙂

Stop.

Scrolling.

Please.

Listen.

You.

Have.

Been.

Warned.

….

Obnoxious Surprises at the Office / Image Source: Pepper Valentine
Obnoxious Surprises at the Office / Image Source: Pepper Valentine
Obnoxious Surprises at the Office / Image Source: Pepper Valentine
Obnoxious Surprises at the Office / Image Source: Pepper Valentine

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Trip to Yellowstone National Park

Over the summer, we took a trip to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, United States. It was the first time I’ve ever been and I brought my daughter. We both enjoyed it very much. Read on for photos and deets…

Super-Volcano

Did you know that Yellowstone is actually the largest active super-volcano in North America?

This is actually what fuels all the geysers, hot springs, and other geothermal activity throughout this ecosystem. The good news is, it probably won’t erupt again during our lifetimes, and when it does erupt, it will reverse global warming. The bad news is, when it does erupt again, all life as we know it on North America will be destroyed. Geez.

Geysers and Hot Springs

But due to the active volcanic ecosystem here, there are several geysers and hot springs to view all throughout the park. There are tons of signs everywhere warning visitors not to step off any approved walkways due to risk of burning death, so make sure to follow the rules here!

Some of my personal photos are below:

Yellowstone National Park / Image Source: Pepper V.
Yellowstone National Park / Image Source: Pepper V.
Yellowstone National Park / Image Source: Pepper V.
Yellowstone National Park / Image Source: Pepper V.

Grand Prismatic

Grand Prismatic is the largest hot spring in the United States, and this one is especially unique due to it’s colors.

I don’t have any personal photos from the Grand Prismatic. This was the last stop of our first day and it was getting quite crowded with people, and I’m not my best self in large crowds. So I didn’t get my camera out and try to angle for a good shot because I was too busy being disgruntled instead. But it was quite fabulous to see in-person, and here’s a good picture of it that I found online.

So if I had to give you any advice, it would be to schedule this stop to be your FIRST stop of the day, and beat the crowds. Because you’ll want to take your time here and enjoy taking your photos in peace and quiet.

Grand Prismatic / Image Source: Grand-Prismatic-Spring-Yellowstone-National-Park-2.jpg (1600×1071) (pre-tend.com)

Old Faithful

Old Faithful is probably the world’s most famous geyser. It’s mostly famous due to the predictability of it’s eruptions. It’s timing is so accurate that you can easily find the daily eruption schedule and you can time your visit to coincide with it.

There are actually larger and more impressive geysers throughout Yellowstone, but due to their unpredictability, they are not as popular. People aren’t very inclined to sit around a smoking hole in the ground and wait for it to erupt, without some sort of expectation of how long their wait could be.

But because Old Faithful is so predictable and famous, it was also very crowded. (See above for how ornery I get in large crowds.) There were alot of seating areas set-up here, as well as a resort hotel in this area, and gift-shops and restaurants. It is definitely a tourist-trap if you enjoy that sort of thing.

I’m not very happy with my personal photos of Old Faithful since I prefer my pics to not have other people in them, but this is the best shot I could get due to the crowd.

Yellowstone National Park / Image Source: Pepper V.

Waterfalls

We spend another day at the park hiking the canyon trails and viewing the waterfalls. These trials are definitely physically challenging since there are elevation changes of hundreds of feet. And not much space to stop for rest if you need to. So just be aware of that before embarking on these canyon trials.

I thought the hiking was difficult, but also worth it to see the waterfalls up-close and personal. My photos won’t do them any justice by far. You’ll definitely want to see them for yourself instead.

Yellowstone National Park / Image Source: Pepper V.
Yellowstone National Park / Image Source: Pepper V.
Yellowstone National Park / Image Source: Pepper V.
Yellowstone National Park / Image Source: Pepper V.

Bison and Wildlife

Yellowstone is also very well-known for the wildlife in the area. Of course, it’s not safe to get close to wildlife ever, and there were a few instances where we were probably too close for our own good. But we were lucky and nothing bad happened! Below are some photos of the wildlife and the bison that we were able to see…

Yellowstone National Park / Image Source: Pepper V.
Yellowstone National Park / Image Source: Pepper V.
Yellowstone National Park / Image Source: Pepper V.

Anyhow, I think I’ve left you all with a decent summary of how the trip was. I would recommend a visit and I would enjoy going back in the future.

I also found the perfect packing list for Yellowstone if you were planning to camp there. It’s the post “Essential Yellowstone Packing List for Fall” by All Things Karissa.

Have you all visited Yellowstone before? What did you think of it?

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6 Reasons Online Friends are Better than Real Life Friends

Online Friends are Better than Real Life Friends

Sometimes, not all the time, there are situations and instances where online friends are better than real life friends. This isn’t a true statement ALL the time, but there are many times where it can be true when you need it to be.

I do often get sad and lament how my real-life friends have let me down. But what I’ve noticed instead, is that in those moments, my online friends are the ones to come to the rescue. I am so appreciative when that happens, bc it makes me feel like I am no longer alone and that there are actually tons people in the world that I can turn to.

Now, I do love my real-life friends. I’m not trying to disrespect that at all. Just I realize, that real-life gets in the way of friendships sometimes. I posted previously about how covid messed-up my relationship with my best friend here, if you wanted a refresher. So if there’s an alternate way to achieve friendships where real-life can’t interfere, then I’d like to promote the benefits of that too.

So I wanted to create a list detailing the reasons why online friends are better than real life friends. Here’s my list I’ve come up with:

1. Physical appearance doesn’t matter. You can interact with online friends in your jammies, in your comfy tees with stains on them, or nekkid even. And any personal hygiene issues won’t even matter. Nobody online will know if you stink. 🤗

2. Confidentiality. If you pay attention to protecting your privacy online (as I do), then you can vent about your most private issues and still have trust that your secret won’t be shared. In real life, there are so many human interactions that are out of your control. For example, in real life if I vent about a coworker at work, even to someone I believe is my friend, the risk is still inherently high that my secret will get out. This risk still exists online so you have to be careful, but more of that risk is within your control if you protect your identity.

3. Just-in-Time Interactions. Sometimes you just need a friend. NOW. But your real-life friends have jobs and families and their own lives and you’ll have to fit into their schedule somehow and it probably won’t be NOW. Or anytime soon. Online friends also have their own priorities, but there’s a much better chance that when you cast your net online, at least one of them can be available for kind words or a listening ear. It might not be the same person each time, but odds are in your favor that someone will be available and will rise to the occasion and be your friend at the moment that you need.

4. No fake friendships. In real life, sometimes you just HAVE to maintain relationships with people you don’t even like, or people that stress you out and give you anxiety, etc. For example, if I don’t like some of the moms from my daughter’s soccer team bc they gossip quite cruelly about others, well… I’m kinda out of luck bc they’re going to be in my life for YEARS. And the easiest way to deal with that is to fake friendships with them to maintain the illusion that everything is good. With online friends however, there is always the option to block them if they start becoming toxic or they engage in activities that make you uncomfortable.

5. Diversity. With real-life friends, there are usually many commonalities which bring them together in the first place – either growing up in the same neighborhood, going to the same school, working at the same office, going to the same church, or kids playing on the same soccer team, etc. With online friends on the other hand, no such common origin story exists to bring them together and you’ll end up creating friendships with people from all over the world with a variety of different mindsets, cultures, and experiences. And interacting with these globally diverse people can help us to grow and see ourselves and our situations much more critically.

6. Exploration. There may be a better word for this one, as I’m trying to describe the opposite of #5 above. Sometimes, you just don’t get along with the people in your immediate circles. The first example I can think of… you grow up in a very conservative and religious small town, but you have vastly different interests which are more liberal. So it’s difficult to create and maintain friendships in that situation where you may feel that you don’t fit in anywhere. But online it is much easier to explore different mindsets, as well as seek-out and befriend like-minded individuals.

So that’s my first-pass at creating this list on reasons why online friends are better than real life friends. Definitely let me know your thoughts. Or if there’s anything I can add to improve it.

Love you all, my online friends. xoxo

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Stop Trying to ReSchedule Halloween

So someone in my neighborhood has started the annual push to reschedule Halloween! They are asking for everyone in the neighborhood to rally together and “do Halloween” and the children’s trick-or-treating on Saturday night, Oct 30th, instead.

People, quit doing this! Halloween is ONE day only. It is October 31st. I don’t care if it’s Sunday and the children have school the next day and you have to go to work. There’s a simple solution for that: start early and end early. That’s it!!! So simple. Quit pushing a more complicated solution that burdens everyone else for YOUR issue!

If you are personally unable to attend to Halloween activities on the actual October 31st, then there are HUNDREDS of alternate activities you can attend on different days: The zoo hosts their ZooBoo event, there are several Trunk-or-Treat events scheduled all over town starting this weekend. Just Google it. And then you have all your alternate Halloween events to choose from that are NOT on Oct 31st.

But frankly, rescheduling Halloween for everyone shouldn’t be an option if there is not a more universal issue that warrants it. For example, if there are forecasts for severe weather or if there’s a massive power outage so all the lights go out, then I can be agreeable to a re-schedule because the issue affects everyone anyway. I’m not unreasonable.

And I don’t mean to pick on Halloween specifically. I feel this way about ALL holidays. Especially the 4th of July. I’m the ornery neighbor that’s upset about all the fireworks going off for WEEKS around July 4th. It should be ONE night only. That’s it.

Whew. Ok, I really needed to get all that off my chest. I get so worked up by this request every year when it happens! What do you all think? Do I need to lighten-up?

Quick Weekend Catch-Up

Hi everyone, how was your weekend? I just wanted to check-in with you all while I had the chance.

My weekend was quite hectic and I haven’t had much time to myself. And the first part of my upcoming work week is looking to be quite busy as well so this might be my only chance to catch-up with everyone.

So let’s see, what’s going on with Pepper?

There were a TON of Southwest Airlines cancellations today (about 27%) of their schedule, so I’m kinda nervous about my TRIP in a couple weeks! I’ve booked my flights with Southwest Airlines so I’m watching this news story very closely in case I need an alternate solution. I suppose my back-up plan will be to make the 12-hour drive EACH WAY instead. But I’m not very happy about it. 🙁

And, nobody has guessed correctly yet where my trip will be! Maybe my clue above (a 12-hour drive for me) will lead to the correct guess? I live in Tennessee, United States.

In other news, I’m still obsessing about starting an in-person meetup for bloggers all over the world. This is totally my cup of tea and I would love to make this happen. I previously posted about it here if you wanted a refresher.

I’ve been trying to come-up with the perfect title for this, but all my faves are ALREADY TAKEN! It’s discouraging that all my best titles aren’t available for me (I’m looking at domain names), so I’m a bit stuck at the moment. I feel like I’m waiting for inspiration to hit me and it’s slowing down my momentum. So I’m kinda bummed. 🙁

Anyhow, that’s my scoop for this week. My apologies that this post is so short but I’m out of time and I’ve gotta run! Everyone have a lovely evening!

Reasons to Travel Alone

I do enjoy taking my daughter to new places and seeing her experience things for the first time, and seeing her enjoy herself and her life. I wouldn’t want to miss out on a single instance of that.

But there are also many times where I would prefer to travel alone. In the last several years, I’ve had to travel alone for work and while I didn’t expect to enjoy it at first, I ended up realizing that it suits me very well.

Some of the reasons why I prefer to travel alone…

  1. Saves money! This is definitely the case when you are part of a couple or a family (which is my scenario) and usually have to cover expenses for more than just yourself. The only exception to this is when you’re travelling with friends who will split costs with you – especially the lodging costs which are often very expensive.
  2. Maximize time! You don’t have to wait on anyone else. You don’t have to wait on others to get ready for the day or deal with their personal matters. If others are slower than you and pokey, it won’t affect you at all.
  3. Maximize activities! You don’t have to begrudgingly participate in activities you are not interested in because others want to. Your itinerary is 100% up to you and no compromises are necessary except for scheduling and timing.
  4. Make new friends! When you’re travelling with your own family or clique, it’s very easy to silo yourself within your current group. When travelling alone however, you’re more likely to strike up conversations with others that share your same interests, and meet new people who could possibly evolve into friendships!
  5. Great for self-confidence! You’re solving your own problems, planning your own schedule and activities, figuring out a new place all on your own, and you learn to LOVE your own company!
  6. Indulge in selfishness! Imagine doing what you want, when you want, EATING what you want, and being as lazy or as active as you’d like. This is the ultimate “Me Time”.

So that’s my current list of reasons to travel alone. Perhaps I’ll come up with more reasons to add later. But what do you all think about travelling alone? Have you tried it yet? Do you want to try it?

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