Divorce is FINAL!!

divorced

What a fitting word for today’s prompt–final!  Many of you have been along the journey with me as I obtain my uncontested divorce.  Who would have thought an UNCONTESTED divorce would take so long?!?!  There were many hold-ups all along the way, but I was able to learn quite a bit through it all.  At one point I even researched the credits I would need to become a lawyer.

One major hurdle was the process the Monroe County Supreme Court has in place for people submitting paperwork to obtain a divorce.  Ed Gangarosa was assigned the responsibility to review my paperwork prior to it being sent on to the judge and he caused frustration, confusion, and unnecessary obstacles.  I actually never received a letter stating my paperwork had been signed off and ready for me to be picked up, which is a complaint many have about him.  After being contacted by someone stating that they did not receive notification that their paperwork was ready I decided to give them a call and ask for a status update on mine.  I was told my paperwork had been sitting there for weeks waiting for me to pick it up.  They insisted Gangarosa sent a letter, but I’ve been stalking out my mailbox and nothing was sent!  I picked it up that day (Monday), and immediately filed it with the County Clerk’s Office–so the divorce is FINAL!  I can’t even put the feeling into words, but the sense of peace that overcomes you as you sing a favorite church hymn is the closest I can come to attempting to describe it.

I did take the time to write up a detailed letter of complaint to Gangarosa’s supervisor stating how difficult he made the process and how I was trying to remove myself from an abusive situation, but he made it even more difficult.  I’m confident that if they conduct an investigation into his communication with people they will find that he needs to go!  People of Monroe County deserve someone who will take that responsibility seriously!

maya

Happily divorced and ready for what God has planned next.

 

Some previous posts about my divorce:

Rebuild:  Divorcing a Pedophile

Blood, Sweat, and Tears

A Somber Week, Still I Shine

Endless Possibilities

Trusting HIS Timing

Another Step Forward

 

Crystal

via Daily Prompt: Final

 

101 Blog Post Topics

If you’re like me, from time to time you struggle with post ideas.  I decided to create a list I will refer to when I need some inspiration, and wanted to share it with others who may also need a little kindling to spark that fire waiting to be ignited!  Let your thoughts take control as you ponder these topic ideas…

  1. Facts about you (likes, dislikes, accomplishments…)
  2. Goals list (day, week, month, year, life…)
  3. All about a favorite item (what is it, who gave it to you…)
  4. All about an item you loathe (what makes you loathe the item, who gave it to you…)
  5. Top 10 Inspirational people you have met and why
  6. Childhood moments you miss
  7. Post in memory of a lost loved one (why are they special to you, how did they pass, favorite qualities/memories)
  8. The biggest trial in life you have faced (what was it, how did you overcome it…)
  9. Favorite place (bed, house, park, town, vacation spot, restaurant…)
  10. A letter to someone who wronged you
  11. A letter to someone who encouraged you
  12. A letter to your future self
  13. A letter to someone in your life who made a positive or negative impact
  14. A letter to someone special on her/his birthday (favorite qualities, moments, reasons you think they are special)
  15. A story behind a photo (dig a photo out of that drawer or in that dusty album, and share the story behind it)
  16. Top 10 reasons to live in your specific city
  17. Top 10 favorite/secret spots that people should visit in your area
  18. Highlight your favorite coffee shop, music store, local business…
  19. All about your favorite hobby (what you enjoy along with the struggles)
  20. Must cook dishes for a specific holiday
  21. Share your family traditions and a memory (ex. Every Christmas you are allowed to open one gift for Christmas and one year you opened…)
  22. It’s late at night, I don’t want to cook, but I’m starving…what do you recommend?
  23. How do you begin a blog post?  Topic? Where do you write?  Tips?
  24. I can’t live without list and why…
  25. You are looking out the window…what do you see?
  26. Type the ramblings of the thoughts racing through your mind
  27. What lesson did you learn this week? (ex. back up photos)
  28. Top 40 music list/Work-out song list
  29. Wish list items
  30. An open letter to a company you frequently visit
  31. Address a controversial topic
  32. Funniest moment of the week
  33. Book review
  34. Movie review
  35. Analyze lyrics of a song
  36. Best fashion trends vs. Worst fashion trends
  37. Best make-up trends vs. Worst make-up trends
  38. Favorite quote/bible verse and connect to your life
  39. A day in the life of you (transgender, Asian, black, white, male, female, addict, disability, immigrant…)
  40. Best ways to meet people
  41. Date night ideas
  42. Memorable date
  43. Compare two unlike experiences (watching a golf game vs. Facebook)
  44. Do’s and don’t list (Facebook posts, interviewing, dating, blogging, buying a home, planning a vacation, applying make-up…)
  45. Slang term list and definitions
  46. “Ann Landers” style post where you respond to a question from someone seeking advice
  47. What is in your junk drawer? purse? make-up bag? sports bag? trunk?  gym bag?
  48. Ways you stay positive when negativity is knocking down your door
  49. Memorable books you have read
  50. Memorable movies you have watched
  51. Do you recycle any items in ways that might surprise us?  (ex. dryer lint as campfire kindling…)
  52. Healthy ideas (snacks, breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts…)
  53. Highlights of your month
  54. Only a dog (cat, hamster, lizard, birds, fish) owner would understand list…
  55. Letter you want read at your funeral
  56. Ways you save money
  57. Best shows/movies on Netflix to watch with…(kids, partner, daughter, son…)
  58. Common sports terms for someone not familiar with the sport
  59. Sports tips (three pointer tips, stringing a lacrosse head…)
  60. Congratulations to me for ___________________(quitting a bad habit, graduation, engagement, pregnancy, passing a test…)
  61. Craziest quotes students (professors, parents, teachers, parents) have said…
  62. Almost everyone I talk to has a time in their life they felt like they didn’t belong…tell your story
  63. The story of your name…where did it come from?  what does it mean?
  64. Do you keep cards and letters?  Write a story behind one you find tucked away in that box in your closet.
  65. Mother’s Day is coming…write a post honoring your mother or someone who helped teach you how to be a good mother
  66. Same for Father’s Day…write a post honoring your father or someone who was a that father figure in your life
  67. If you have an absent parent write a letter to her/him
  68. Scroll through your phone pictures…look at the 20th photo and write a post about it
  69. What teacher made an impact (positive or negative) on your life and why
  70. What are some thoughtful birthday gift ideas that are affordable
  71. Dorm room must haves
  72. Most families have at least one special recipe everyone loves…share it with us!
  73. Interview someone who inspires you
  74. Does your town have a certain food that it is known for?  Highlight it.  (Ex.  Rochester, NY has the “Garbage Plate”)
  75. Are you great at finding deals and discounts?  Share them!!  What tips can you provide for others to find them?
  76. Weight loss tips…what works for you?
  77. Share your workout routine
  78. Start a challenge (workout, photo, letter, post…)
  79. List of what you are grateful for
  80. Sports predictions
  81. Highlight a player
  82. What is in your diaper bag?
  83. Baby names
  84. Wedding planning theme ideas
  85. Online resources for (blogging, shopping, travel, educational, law…)
  86. Top apps right now and why
  87. Best stocks to invest in
  88. How you started investing in stocks
  89. Announcement (family addition, anniversary, pregnancy, engagement…)
  90. Gardening tips…what to plant when, natural plant food, compost, protection from insects…)
  91. Study tips
  92. Conduct an experiment (ex. I recently tested Trader Joe’s Alkaline water with PH strips to find that it is not what they advertise it to be, but is the same as my tap water)
  93. Video game tips, cheat codes, secrets…
  94. Mother’s Day ideas (gifts, celebration, traditions…)
  95. Fundraising ideas
  96. “How to” post (publish a book, write a novel, organize an event, make a superb cup of coffee…)
  97. Prom fashion do’s and don’ts
  98. Graduation party activities, decorations, etiquette…
  99. Free template for…an invitation, handout, contract, grocery list, budget sheet, craft, stencil…)
  100. Random Acts of Kindness List
  101. Your own blog idea list

I will be referring to this to keep my creativity flowing, but I hope it helps those of you who also need an idea from time to time.  Do you have a list of blog ideas?  Share it in a comment to help others who are seeking inspiration.

Crystal

Wanderlust-Spring Break in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

wanderlustI have not been one to follow the crowd down to Myrtle Beach for Spring Break until this year.  My son’s friend’s family invited him on vacation with them (also to Myrtle Beach), so it was my youngest daughter, boyfriend, and me.  This wasn’t one of those vacations that was all planned out months in advance, but all went smooth.  As I’m a teacher I receive breaks throughout the school year and need to start taking advantage of the opportunity to travel more.

We looked around at options and Myrtle Beach was close enough to drive, affordable, and the weather would provide us with plenty of vitamin d and sea that we have been quite deficient in.  We decided that we wanted to find a resort with a lake-front view, be close to the boardwalk (but far enough away from the noise), and we wanted a resort that included breakfast.  We found all of that and had a wonderful time!  We decided to drive an additional two hours for one of the days to spend time touring Charleston which was another pleasant adventure!

Myrtle Beach is a 13 hour drive from Rochester, New York…we stocked up on snacks and drinks and left when the school bell rang!

Top 10 Favs:

  1. Sunrise:  Every morning we set the alarm, so we could watch the sunrise…this was probably one of my most favorite moments on our trip!  Each morning the glow was different, yet still mesmerizing.

     

  2. Pleasant surprises…jellyfish, seashells, and shark teeth…Ohh…my!  Walking the shoreline we stumbled on a variety of washed up treasures.

     

  3. Food, food, and more food (more food pics coming…my phone broke and all the food pics are on it)

     

  4. Brookgreen Gardens (Former Rice Plantation)  I teach African American Literature, so touring a former plantation was something that was on my “must do” list.  We learned quite a bit about rice plantations as this was an area I didn’t know much about.  I’m still struggling with some emotions and thoughts from our tour.

     

  5. Charleston & Magnolia Plantation  Another former rice plantation we toured…there really are no words I can type to properly describe my experience…

     

  6. Animals/Wildlife  No matter where we are, when we see animals we are interested…isn’t everyone?  We saw a bird fight on one of the plantations, which ironically one was white and the other was black…just after they fought a peacock opened up to show its beauty off.  Whether it was an otter scratching its back, a fox in a tree, an alligator sneaking up on us, or a snake crossing our path we were in awe!

     

  7. Boogie Boarding  I prefer to lay on the beach and soak up the rays and dip in once in a while, but Craig and McKinley are like fish when it comes to swimming.  They were in the water for hours boogie boarding and I enjoyed capturing them riding the waves.

     

  8. Boardwalk  Such fun we had on the boardwalk!  Shopping, eating, shopping, snapping pictures, talking to people, the Sky Wheel, and the arcade!  Tip:  Even if the morning starts out chilly, don’t wear pants to the boardwalk…it will warm up.

     

  9. Arcade:  I’m not one to play arcade games, but Craig and McKinley had a ball…they hit the jackpot a few times and tickets were everywhere!

     

  10. Ocean Being mesmerized by the beauty of the ocean or just listening to it while in bed was one of the best parts of the trip!  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

I thought this vacation would satisfy my wanderlust cravings, but they have intensified!  Suggestions where I should travel next?

For more photos follow me on Instagram!

Crystal

Wanderlust

Trusting HIS Timing

My vision for this post was to announce that my divorce is final, but unfortunately that is not the case.  I was sent a letter from Edward Gangarosa who is assigned by the court to review the documents before being sent on to the judge.  He wrote in the letter that I needed to file two more papers and then resubmit them.  That sounds easy—although I was annoyed I figured it doesn’t take that much time and went to pick them up to file them.

When I picked them up there was a blank form, paper-clipped to the form I already completed.  I was confused and asked the employees in the Supreme Court office if they knew what he meant by doing this (as this is not mentioned in this letter), and they were also confused.  I decided to call Gangarosa for clarification to avoid any additional hold up.  Well he said I needed to redo the form because the one I submitted was an old form that has been revised—ok, so why didn’t he say anything months ago?  This paper has been completed since September and he is just now requiring this?  He also seemed incredibly bothered that I am not seeking maintenance in the divorce.  I told him that I’m sure he is used to women wanting every last dime from their ex, but I have everything already—everything I’ve worked for and care about.  I’m no ordinary woman!  I have zero desire for my ex’s retirement and want to just move on with my life.  I was crying out of frustration and told him that I will resubmit this form (which also requires me to send it to the prison to be signed by my ex and notarized), but after this if he continues to pull this I will be writing a formal complaint.  I really don’t like to pull that card, but I have had enough!

I’ve spoke to several people already who have shared similar stories and I will not allow him to abuse his position and prevent me from obtaining this divorce.  I was also informed that I should write a letter to the attorney general, which I am considering.  There is even a complaint online about him that is similar to my experience.

I wouldn’t mind if this was one time, but every time I submit the paperwork he writes me a letter of corrections that need to be made and when everything is fixed he finds something else.  He has even stated that I did not include documents that were clearly there.  Not to mention he is a lawyer, but has many grammatical and spelling errors in his letters.

lawyer

 

The paperwork is sitting here on my table ready to be sent to the prison…God willing this will be the last paper I’m asked to re-submit.

I have been living my life mindful not to be negative and part of me struggles to understand why God is prolonging this—I do know I am where He wants me, and He is working things out even if I can’t see it.

2

Crystal

 

Three Months & Two Days

I wanted to provide an update for people because I’m incredibly excited that I have made it to three months and two days as a non-smoker!  I joined the non-smoking club November 13th, 2016 after listening to a self-hypnosis video!

I’m not crazy…it really worked!!  I wasn’t intentionally searching for a quit smoking video…I happened to stumble upon it and after reading the many comments from others stating how it worked for them, I thought why not give it a try.  I listened to it before bed for a couple nights and have not smoked a cigarette since!  The sound of Michael Sealey’s voice is calming which made me fall asleep rather quickly, so I didn’t even put much effort into listening.  I was moody an evil demon for a couple weeks, but other than that I didn’t have any other side effects.

My past attempts were always a battle, but this time was different…much different.  I’m still floored at how easy it was and wanted to share it with other people who may be struggling with this addiction.

Since I’ve quit I’ve noticed:

  • my skin is clearer and smoother
  • I feel healthier
  • I sleep better
  • my hair, skin, and clothes smell amazing
  • I quickly realized I smoked when I was bored…I now use that time to be productive
  • I save a ton of money!

smoking

Are you or do you know someone who is struggling with a smoking addiction?  Share this post with them and give the video a try! 

Crystal

Video: Stop Smoking Self Hypnosis

Read My Previous Post: I Joined the Non-Smoking Club

 

 

 

PMS: The Struggle is Real!

I was reminded this weekend how it is impossible to be positive all of the time…how there are days that hormones just take over and cause total destruction.  I tried, tried pretty darn hard I’d say to keep positive, but I finally surrendered when I just couldn’t take it anymore.

pms2

Friday night wasn’t so bad…I watched some football movie on Netflix…Mark Wahlburg was in it and played some Eagles player…Invincible was the name of it.  I was balling my eyes out…I immediately knew hormones were playing a factor because I don’t cry easily…well, except when you catch me this time of the month!  I told myself ok, now the next couple of days are going to be great!  This will be the month the moodiness will not visit!  I feel fabulous, eating healthy, gym action going on…all will be good!

pms1

Then Bam…the switch was flipped!  Dear boyfriend just doesn’t understand.  My due date is even programed in his phone to make him aware of the days to leave me be, but for some strange reason he just doesn’t believe that it’s a real thing…the struggle is real!

pms-copy

What escalated the situation is my trip to McDonalds.  I very rarely eat fast food, but I was feeling disgusting, skipped the gym, and decided I wanted hotcakes!  Why do they call them that—they are pancakes!  I can’t even tell you the last time I ate McDonalds, but all I know is I wanted pancakes with hash browns….ohhh and I tossed on an order of nuggets too to add to the misery!  I asked for syrup to dip the nuggets in, but she told me I couldn’t substitute that, so I ordered an extra–no big deal–I wanted an extra syrup…period!  haha..pun not intended!  Well, of course I get home, set everything up to chow down and find out there is no extra syrup!  Holy flames and f-bombs Batman!  Out of all the days to screw up my order this was the worst!

pms3

The remainder of my night was spent doing my laundry (folding laundry is quite calming), watching Netflix, eating a Skor candy bar, uploading pictures to Facebook, and slowly coming down off that evil estrogen spike as I write this blog post…see, writing can be therapeutic!

Pray for my students tomorrow…better yet, pray for a snow day!

Crystal

The Power of Music: Positive Vibes Soundtrack

music

A fun project my students and I worked on was to create a soundtrack of songs that immediately put you in a positive mood.  Students have a host of struggles which spill over in their academics, and since they enjoy listening to music I challenged them to create a list they can turn to or should I say, turn up (ha…see the puns there) if they feel a bad mood creeping in.

Ohhh…one more rule was that the artist had to be African American (or write lyrics touching on African American issues) because I currently teach African American Literature and this was a way I could incorporate additional learning.

I have found starting class off with a positive song improves the environment of the classroom…this is not always an easy task as I teach in an inner city school. (Students are ages 16-21).

Have you heard?  What we put in our bodies affects us—we have the power to decide if that is for the positive or the negative.  We discussed that when we are in a bad mood we tend to gravitate to and listen to music that makes us even more angry and upset.  Being mindful about what you are listening to can change that.

Our Positive Vibes Soundtrack

Pharrell Williams “Happy”

Pharrell Williams “Freedom”

Kirk Franklin “Smile”

Tupac “Dear Mama”

Tupac “Keep Ya Head Up”

Tupac “Changes”

Alicia Keys “Superwoman”

Alicia Keys “Girl on Fire”

Tasha Page-Lockhart “Fragile”

Bob Marley “Buffalo Soldier”

The Temptations “I got Sunshine”

Otis Redding “Dock of the Bay”

Meek Mill “Traumatized”

Jussie Smollett Conqueror

Monica “Angel of Mine”

Comment:  What song immediately puts you in a good mood?  What song would you add to our list?

Crystal