Tuesday, February 11, 2014

While the man's away...

...the girls will play, or so I thought.  Instead, I spent an abnormal amount of time holding a smoking light bulb and running from an invisible skunk.  I guess I'm lucky my dog is here, however, he'll still be gone for three full days.  Who knows what could happen in the next three days?!

Backstory on the light bulb:

Before buying our house, we knew the current owners strived (What do you mean strived isn't a word?  Get outta here, little red squiggly line.) to be green, in a variety of ways.  They had a composter, a low-flow toilet, and a rain barrel, just to name a few things.  Their master bedroom had space for four light bulbs, yet they kept less than that in there.  Based on all the other energy efficiencies, I figured that was the case for the bulbs.

Fast forward to present day, ya know seven months later when I wished I had a little more light in that room.  But of course, I waited until it was just the dog and I when I chose to  buy and replace the bulbs.  I've replaced bulbs before, these should be no sweat.  I turned the lights off, removed the bad bulbs and put a new one in.  I turned the lights back on, just to see if two bulbs would provide the light I wanted.  It did, so I spent a little time folding clothes and basking in my newly-found light.

Not five minutes into putting my clothes away, the new light goes out.  Seeing as I did not have a ladder to stand on to put the bulb into the ceiling fan, it was obviously not screwed in tight, right?  Without turning the light off, I reach up and twist the bulb slightly to the right.  BAM.  Light bulb explodes, starts smoking, and the smell of burning something (dust?) fills the air.  I bring the remainder of the light bulb down, looking for fire.  No fire to be found, but I also couldn't find the inside of the bulb.  Knowing I had to capture this moment of a broken light bulb smoking with no fire in sight, I took some photos.  

Ok, so it didn't quite explode...but it shattered...and almost killed me.  Yep.

None of which show the extreme amount of smoke in them, c'mon iPhone, get it together.  With it being 11:30 at night and no one to discuss this situation with, I texted my parents:  "Whoever wants to troubleshoot an exploding light bulb situation should call after 9am tomorrow."  Without missing a beat, my dad replies:  "Unplug offending light.  Talk tomorrow."  Later I find out that he leaves his phone at the foot of the bed and the train choo choo sound was too much to take.

The next morning, after the initial shock of almost being killed by an exploding light bulb wore off, I was ready to get the rest of the bulb from the socket (with audio help from both my parents via phone).  Needle-nose pliers and a flashlight in hand, I stood on the bed to get close to the ceiling light.  At Dad's suggestion, I tried to pry it away from the socket (after cutting the electric to that room) with no luck.  In fact, little pieces of glass and metal came shooting out of the remainder of the bulb.  So, much to my dismay, I had to follow Mom's advice:  "Wait until Justin comes home, having two people handle this project will be easier."  Yeah, there's no way Rosie the dog will be able to drive me to the ER with shards of glass in my eye.

As I haven't posted in many months, I'm going to hold off on the skunk story until later this week.  Hopefully I'll have nothing new to report...stay tuned.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Recently Read

I just finished January First: A Child's Descent into Madness and Her Father's Struggle to Save Her by Michael Schofield.  This memoir focuses on the Schofield family, but primarily the father (author) and how he feels, thinks, and interacts with his daughter January, who is thought to have a mental illness.  It’s really a page turner, but not for the reason some books are.  There’s suspense, there’s love, there’s imagination and creativity, but really this whole book is that family’s life. 

When I added this book on Goodreads, I saw all the varying reviews, but didn’t read them fully until I  finished the book.  I cannot believe the awful thoughts, insensitivity, and downright hatred people show towards the father/author.  The book is written in an honest fashion, and he handles various situations with his child in the way he sees fit.  I find it repulsing that people reviewing the book could even imagine that they could do better without any prior experience or knowledge of mental illnesses or medication involved.  From my point of view, which is all it is, until someone is put into the exact situation with the exact same responses day after day after day, there’s no way to know how it would work out.  It’s possible the readers could have better ideas, be able to engage Janni in different ways, and create a seemingly ok life. However, on the other hand, they may grow annoyed, frustrated, and upset with the ways things are happening and the outcome could grow much worse than depicted in the book.

Anyway, a review:  January (later called Janni and Jani) is a young child when the book begins.  She has many imaginary friends that other children her age do not have or understand.  She creates better relationships with these seemingly fictional beings than with real humans.  Her father plays along with her for the most part, feeding her creativity, or so he thinks at the time.  As she grows older and the imaginary friends multiply, Janni becomes more detached from the world. 

Her father and mother grow increasingly worried about her mood swings, false reality, and most recently, violence.  Towards the middle of the book, they have a second child, Bodhi, and things take an unsafe turn for the worst.  Janni “has to hit” people and items if they do her wrong.  Bodhi and their dog Honey often end up the source of her frustration, thus her punching bag.  After going to see psychiatrists, doctors, and other professionals, the couple is forced to look within themselves for the solution to their discomfort, frustrations, and overall unhappiness.  

The book does a nice job of showing the father’s emotions throughout everything.  It felt very honest and I hope getting it down on paper helped him forgive Janni, all the while trying to maintain hope for her condition.  Overall, I rate this book a four out of five.  It’s a very touching story of a family in difficult circumstances, a healthcare system that was failing them, and a little girl lost in her own little world.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Weekend Recap

We spent this past weekend in Ohio with various family members.  Below are some notes that I gathered during this time.

Sleeping in the car may not be comfortable, but sometimes it is necessary.  Sirius Radio is a welcome addition while driving through the lack-of-radio-signal mountains.  Radiation is hard on body and mind.  Laughter can sometimes be the best medicine.  Memories are made despite the circumstance, negative or positive.  Unsolicited advice can sometimes be on the right track.  

Having an actual designated driver (not just for intoxicated situations) can make all the difference.  I have to believe that sometimes my mom knows she'll get made fun of for saying/doing something, but she does it anyway for our amusement.  On occasion, Chinese food can be awesome.  Falling asleep together on the couch, when everyone else leaves is love.

My brother is far more evil than I had ever thought.  Revenge is coming, buddy boy, when you least expect it.  My cousin's wedding was beautiful.  How'd she grow up so fast?  Tights are necessary for a church ceremony, but not for the reception.  Wine that sounds like biscotti is really, really good.  At one point in my life, I hope to not care what others think about me...just like my mom does...at all times.  When all else fails, you can use a ballpoint pen to put your hair up.  Sometimes watching is more fun than participating.  I never thought in a million years that I would teach my mom to Wobble, Wop, Macarena, and Bernie.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Work Dream

Last night, I had a very bizarre, very real, very freaky work dream.  Now for anyone trying to understand this dream, you'd have to understand my job.  So, in a very neat nutshell, I crank out JMU's Orientation publications.  Namely, The One Books, are one of my responsibilities.  I work with my closest friends (departments across the university) to make sure all of their information is accurately represented to our incoming first-year and transfer students.  These books are basically a checklist of "pre-college" items that need completed, as well as a sea of information to be completely informed about the JMU experience.  As you may imagine, my email inbox is like walking through a minefield.  Anyway, after all of the revisions from across campus are in (and three proofs later) I (and others in the office) read and reread the text until it all becomes a blur and eyes turn red and dry out.  Yesterday, we got our final proof  of The Transfer One Book prior to printing thousands of copies.  Based on a teeny tiny bit of anxiety, the below dream took place.  It all seemed so vivid that I woke up in a panic.

Miranda* had come up to give me her last revisions, the day Sarah (name not changed, as well, she likely does not read my blog and even if she did...she has already read about this ridiculous dream) left for vacation (this actually occurred, today).  Miranda had one totally new page that was supposed to be the new cover, on a piece of gray cardboard.  It was called ‘More Muffins Monday’ and had small clipart muffins as a border.  I told her I didn't think it made sense (at all) but maybe we could put it further back in the books, but not the cover.  She said she wanted all the families to know that since Summer Springboard (Orientation program name) Mondays were to be large, they were having muffins those days, as an extra perk for those braving the crowd.  (Some context would probably be helpful here.  Due to a change in summer work hours, all of our Orientation days run Monday-Thursday.  Previously, Mondays and Fridays had been large days, for families clumped those days into a weekend.  It makes sense for those traveling from afar and those wanting to not miss work during swing of things at work.)  It had to be on the cover, because it was more important that the rest of the book, she said.  I had tried to talk her into just stuffing a half sheet in Springboard folders for Mondays, but she wasn't having it.  As Sarah AND Tisha (my supervisors with The One Books) were gone, I made an executive decision to “lose” the muffins page and not include it in the books.

Fast forward to getting the actual books printed…the cardboard cover muffin page was not included.  Sarah comes running up to my desk to ask about why that particular page was not included…to which I respond something along the lines of “It was about muffins, Sarah…I didn't feel like it fit the theme of the books.”  To which she gave me a glare and said that they all needed reprinted.

*Name has been changed to protect the innocent that actually did nothing wrong.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Straying from the prompts today...instead, see below.

Recently read:  A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty by Joshilyn Jackson 
(spoiler free is the way to be!)
The book centers around three generations of women in one family.  The oldest, Big, gave birth to her "wild child" at age 15.  Wild child, Liza, gave birth to her baby at age 15.  The now 15 year-old Mosey, is being watched like a hawk for this "gene."  If only that was the family's only problem...

Early in the story, we learn that Liza collapsed at her daughter's school function and never really recovered.  From what I imagine, it seems like she had a stroke.  Unfortunately, this character hits a little close to home.  Tangent alert!  My grandmother suffered from an aneurysm a few years ago.  After a routine procedure, she was fine.  If she wasn't in a hospital gown and bed, you wouldn't have known anything was wrong.  Later on, something happened.  A stroke, probably, but I don't remember all the details.  My grandma is in a nursing home, where she has resided for at least the last three years.  Hold on, I'm going to take this explanation full circle.  On a good day, she speaks some and laughs and smiles.  I know that my Grandma I know and love is in there, she just is unable to show it like I'm used to.  I am also sure that she understands everything I say or do, pictures she sees, and emotions I am unable to hide.  

The Liza character in the book is mentally stable, just unable to speak in a language that is understandable by the average human.  The book's chapters are categorized by the person's point of view (Big, Liza, and Mosey) and alternates between all of them.  Liza's made me think of Grandma every time.  Her struggles just forming a seemingly simple word, like cup, seem unreal.  Sometimes other words come out instead of what was meant.  But I've seen the same look on my grandma's face and heard words that don't necessarily make sense.  Liza's internal struggle to make sense and help her family understand goes on throughout the book, pulling at my heartstrings each time (exactly the way I feel with my grandma).  Anyway...the book has quite a few twists and turns that are semi-believable and seeing each person's perspective is interesting.

Like all movies I've seen, I will give it a "Netflix rating" of four out of five.  The book started a little too slow for me, and I almost gave up.  Once the story started unfolding, I became more interested and couldn't put it down.

Recently watched:  The season finale of Downton Abbey
Most people my age do not watch Downton Abbey, or maybe that's just how I feel.  I must admit, I didn't watch it until recently.  I watched the whole first season on Netflix in a matter of a week.  Season two is not on Netflix or anywhere that I could find...so I gave in and bought a month's worth of Hulu.  Season two took only a few days.  And now?  Finale of season three?  Bahhhhh.

Without ruining anything from the show, season, or episode...I'd like to respond to the overwhelming feedback from viewers.  Actors and actresses are people, too.  They have lives outside of their English ways in Downton.  These people are able to make their own decisions and sometimes their choices may not align with lovers of the show...tough.  Yep, that's how I feel.  Oh, and for those wondering...I will continue watching the English wonder, despite the changes.  Sure, I jumped on the bandwagon and started watching way late.  But, I'm not a fair weather fan...until something drastic (this isn't drastic, this is life) happens, I will continue enjoying the trivial happenings of Downton Abbey.

Saturday, February 16, 2013


Two for one!  Get it?  2-4-1.  Oh, c'mon.  

In unrelated to blog news, JZ has returned from Cali, not in time to "celebrate" the holiday.  It's funny how holidays are supposed to work out.  Expectations, thoughts, rituals, and past experiences all play into these things.  Based on the previous, we either look forward to or dread certain holidays.  Really, it makes me think of Sheldon in Big Bang Theory.  His rule of reciprocity is spot on, even if he is a crazy scientist.

February 15:  CARTOONS
As a child, we only got the normal network channels (ABC, CBS, NBC, WB?, etc.).  It was probably a good choice, considering I remember spending a lot of time outside making mud soups and playing games in the yard.  I doubt children today make a lot of mud soups or even know what Red Rover is/was.  Anyway, Saturday mornings were made for cartoons.  I ate a lot of cereal while watching Bobby's World or TaleSpin.  Later on, Darkwing Duck, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Pinky and the Brain were favorites.  But, let's be honest, I actually had to Google 90s cartoons to remember some of these.  But not Bobby's World.  Fun fact, Howie Mandel was the creator and starred in it.  Thank you, IMDB.  It seems weird to me.  Don't cha know?

February 16:  DREAM HOUSE
Random prompt.  Yep.  Well, there are a few things I'm looking for in a future home.  I want a large kitchen with a separate dining area.  I want pantry space or possible a lazy susan.  I want a bathroom attached to my/our bedroom.  Said bathroom is to have a large tub, but not the kind with feet coming out of the bottom.  I want a fenced in yard, with space for a small garden, but also an arena for Rosie to run about and play.  Said garden will only be for vegetables, as flowers are hard to sustain.  I want this pipe dream of a house to be in a quiet, friendly neighborhood.  I want to know my neighbors and be able to ask them to watch Rosie or make them muffins on a whim.  I want this area to have sidewalks for easy walking terrain.  Since I'm dreaming, speaking of walking, I'd like to be within walking distance to the local library.  I want to be able to paint, repaint, and decorate the walls to my (our) liking.  I want to be able to put holes in the walls without thinking about our deposit being hacked to pieces.  I want to have a front (for drinking lemonade swinging on the obvious porch swing) and back porch (for grilling out and catching fireflies).  I want a separate room for a washer/dryer, with room to set up a ironing board...for ironing?  I've accumulated a variety of souvenirs from many "foreign" locations.  I'd like to finally put all of them on display, thus having a smorgasbord room.  That way my porcelain cat from Mexico can watch over my wooden jewelry box from Costa Rica, etc., etc.  I'd like this dream home to be lived in, not just a house.  I want visitors, friends, and family to feel at home in this place as well.  Most of all, I want each space to have purpose and memories throughout, much like all of my favorite places have had.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

February Blog "Sponsor"

For the rest of February, I will be using prompts my mom has given me to write about.  Keep in mind, these are all over the map.  So hold on tight!  It could be a bumpy ride.

February 13:  STARS
As most Bobcats know, Emeriti Park holds a special place in my heart.  I'm not sure many know why, though.  Easily put, that's where we got engaged the day before I graduated with my Bachelor's degree from OU.  But why there?  What made that place special?

Back in 2005, when JZ and I started dating, we took a lot of walks.  Most of the time they led no where in particular.  My most vivid memory of us dating goes back to a walk to Emeriti Park. 

After spending the majority of our night with friends off campus, we took the long way back to our residence hall.  Yes, it's a residence hall.  When we got to Emeriti, the sky was so lit up with stars that it hardly seemed nighttime.  Instead of continuing our trek, we stopped in the park, sat on a bench (that I now call ours), and just looked up and around in awe.  The night was already memorable, just based on the overall beauty.  After talking and staring at the sky for a while, JZ admitted that he had seen the stars and sky like that.  He said that before he had wished he had someone to share the experience with.  He was happy that it was with me the second time around.  Please hold all awwws, thank you.  And that's my favorite story about stars!

February 14:  VALENTINE'S DAY
I'm not sure when it started (or how) but a while back, my mom started doing Valentine's Day cookies.  Keep in mind, most of the "family" cookies came from a refrigerated roll or the break-away pieces, so this was special (obviously).  So, these, as far as I can tell, were made from scratch.  Lots of icing, design, and decorations.  Beautiful cookies...but they didn't travel well.  Imagine the bumpy ride from London to Athens (both Ohio, NOT overseas!) while I was in college.  Although Valentine's Day is like any other day (for the most part), these cookies reminded me, no matter where I was (Athens, Perrysburg, or Toledo) that my family was thinking of me, regardless of the distance.