I Miss Having a Best Friend

Now that I’m thinking about it, I’ve been without a best friend ever since covid happened. That’s a long time to be without one. And I do believe that the absence of this person in my life is one of the biggest contributors to my negative mindset lately.

The reason why covid interrupted our friendship, is that work was the major facilitator of our friendship. We met for lunch at least twice a week (sometimes more) and then we met for happy hours after work at least once a week (also, sometimes more).

We used to work in close proximity to each other so this arrangement was incredibly convenient. We do not live in close proximity so we’ve only seen each other twice within the past year and it was an effort to coordinate.

But we used to talk about everything during these times! Every miniscule detail of our lives, we shared with each other. We laughed together, got angry and sad together, and gave each other support and advice. I never realized how significant this friendship was to me until it was gone.

And it’s gone now bc we both have to work from home, where there is no longer any privacy for us to chat with each other like we used to. For example, I can no longer confide in her any difficulties with my family and have her support me through it, when my family is literally at home in the same space with me all the time. And vice-versa.

So I do have that void in my life now. And it’s sad and lonely here.

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My Scary Experiences with Sleep Paralysis

Has sleep paralysis happened to any of you before? Where you are asleep. You start to vividly “see” and “hear” things in the dark that make you want to move. But you can’t move. You start to panic about not being able to move. You try to turn away. You try to scream. But you can’t. You are literally frozen. And scared to death. And just when you think you can’t take it anymore… you finally physically break free. Shaking and sweating. And those sights and sounds are finally gone.

This actually happens to me. Not all the time, thank goodness! Maybe about once a year. I’ve googled it before and it’s officially called sleep paralysis where apparently you are partially awake while dreaming. Your brain is awake but your body is still locked in it’s dream-state which prevents you from physically acting out your dreams.

This blog post from “The Strange Ways” by Lenny Wall describes this experience much better than I can, and even includes the scientific and paranormal explanations of it. So definitely check it out if you want more information.

But that specific post got me thinking… My experience with sleep paralysis is always scary!

It’s always a demonic entity whispering to me. I never understand its whispers. I can see it slowly approach me. Sooooo freakin’ slowly. And the whole entire time I watch it approach me, I am frozen. Not able to move or scream, even though I am violently attempting to do so. And at the very end… when it’s at the closest possible point… it JUMPS at me! And THAT’S when I finally wake up!

And all the movies/stories about this are also always scary! The most recent movie I watched featuring sleep paralysis was “Mara” on Netflix and holy cow it freaked me out! Definitely don’t watch it unless you love horror movies.

But my major question is… Why is this experience always scary? Why can’t I be stuck at an all-you-can-eat buffet? Why not be stuck in bed with Zac Efron? Why not be stuck at Target with a $10,000 gift card? Why does FEAR make this happen?

What do you all think? Have you experienced this as well?

P.S. I can’t believe I posted this at bedtime. Now I’m thinking about it. Wish me luck tonight!

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I Don’t Want to Jinx Myself

But it’s about to be 2 months since I last had my weird migraine headache! This is the longest I’ve gone without one ever since they started for me approx a year ago! I’ve posted about them before, so here’s one link for you if you wanted to check it out: https://peppervalentine.com/down-and-out-with-a-migraine/

I’m very happy about this, but also extremely worried that I’m about to be disappointed soon. I don’t want to get my hopes up. 🙁

I don’t believe I’ve discovered a magic cure or anything. I wish I did bc I’d immediately share with everyone! But I hadn’t done anything specific that I can attribute to improving this for me.

Anyhow, I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that this pain-free living (feels so good FINALLY) sticks around!

Southern Tomato Cucumber Salad

Lol, you know any salad automatically becomes a “southern” salad when you add a cup of sugar to it. And this southern tomato cucumber salad recipe certainly does contain almost that much sugar!

But it’s still one of my favorite summertime side dishes. I just made a batch for this weekend so decided to share the recipe while it’s fresh on my mind.

It’s very easy to make too. Check it out.

1 white onion, chopped
2-3 large tomatoes, chopped
3-4 large cucumbers, chopped
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup vinegar
1 tablespoon black pepper

1) Put chopped onion, tomatoes, cucumbers into a large bowl or Tupperware.

2) Heat water, sugar, vinegar, black pepper until sugar is completely dissolved.

3) Pour this mixture onto the chopped vegetables. The mixture might not cover the entire batch of chopped vegetables – if not, make sure to toss the vegetables frequently in the next couple of hours to ensure the flavors get absorbed evenly. The first couple hours are most important for this.

4) Refrigerate overnight. Stir occasionally to ensure flavors are well-integrated.

5) Enjoy. 🙂

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So Close to Freedom! (Update Post)

So remember my post from a few weeks ago when I was fussing about my husband working from home ever since covid? And it was making me crazy? The link is here if you wanted a refresher…

Well… The update is that his work is making him go back to his physical office starting next week! And they dropped his raise from 20% to 10% due to all the inconvenience he caused.

Holy cow, I am so relieved! I don’t know how much longer I could survive being trapped in the house non-stop with him. To have a break everyday is exactly what I needed. Woohoo!

Now… I just need to wait-out getting the college kid out of the house too. He’s been home ever since covid bc his classes were all online this year. But starting August, he *should be* back on campus full-time instead! I cannot wait!

And my 10yr old daughter has been in school in-person this whole time anyway so she’s been out of house more than all the rest of us combined!

I have a light at the end of my tunnel now. I’m so happy! 🙂

FYI – my husband should’ve taken the 20% raise right off the bat. I hope he’s learned his lesson.

Thornton’s Pool – Incredible Summer Pool Party Destination

Thornton's Pool

It’s summertime and the kids (me too!) are ready to hit the swimming pools again! We found Thornton’s Pool last summer and everyone loved it.

Thornton’s Pool has been featured on tv and in many articles by now, so you might’ve seen it already on all those extreme pool shows on the television. But here’s a handy link to one such article if you don’t want to search yourself. And if you don’t want to read through all the scoop, here are the highlights:

  1. This pool is physically in someone’s backyard.
  2. It is 500,000 gallons of water.
  3. You can book a pool party here for a donation fee.
  4. Some features to interact with while there: a swing rope, a diving board, a floating platform, and a waterfall display.
  5. It is located in Covington TN. If you’re travelling to visit this, then the closest large city will be Memphis TN for your reference. Otherwise, it’s most convenient for persons that live in the area already – Millington/Covington/Raleigh/Bartlett area of TN.

Here are some of the photos I took while I was there last summer:

Thornton’s Pool / Image: Pepper V.
Thornton’s Pool / Image: Pepper V.

So, this was a great time and a great destination pool party last summer. And I would highly recommend it. If you want to check it out for yourself, you do need to book a reservation. I think the easiest way to contact them is via their Facebook page.

Have fun!

Summer Pool Party – Shopping Links

[Disclosure: the following links are affiliate links where I may earn a commission on any resulting purchase, at no additional cost to you.]

You might have found yourself on this page if you are looking for pool party destinations or maybe even gathering ideas for a pool party. If that’s the case, below are some ideas of items that might be fun to have at your pool party. Enjoy!

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How I Increased my Domain Authority

I sure did. My website’s DA (Domain Authority) just went from 1 to 5 and I couldn’t be more thrilled! Only took 8 months to get there too!

I know, a DA of 5 still basically stinks. But I’ve been getting some more clicks now from Google and I never really have before, so that’s exciting to see!

I created this domain 8 months ago. Around this same time, I started reading about SEO and how important it is. So I found the RankMath plugin and started following it’s guidance on most (not all) of my posts in order to improve my SEO. I still stink at it, but I’m trying.

Also around this time, I started checking my DA and found that it was ALWAYS 1. No matter how many SEO updates I made via RankMath, it never changed from 1. So I was really getting discouraged. I’ve been using this site to check my DA because it’s free and simple to use: https://websiteseochecker.com/domain-age-checker/

(That’s not an affiliate link above. I’m just providing it for your info and convenience.)

I also noticed that I was NEVER getting any clicks from Google. I was getting clicks from other search engines such as Bing and DuckDuckGo but never from Google, so I wondered if something was wrong.

I did some research via Google (oh the irony) and found that Google has a “Sandbox” that it puts new websites in for 6-8 months so they don’t affect any rankings. This is to weed-out spam sites and the people that aren’t serious.

Then last week, I noticing that I was suddenly getting some clicks from Google. I was like, WHAT!!? Lol, only 1 or 2 a day so nothing crazy but still a big change for me since I was accustomed to 0.

So I checked my DA out of curiosity and it had changed to a 5! I was so excited because I had practically given up on Google by this point, as it had taken so long.

I guess I’m now out of the “Sandbox” finally. Lol, now what do I do?

Do you all focus on this stuff like DA and SEO? Any tips on what I should try next? 🙂

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