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 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 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.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Home Stretch

Note, I had started this post prior to today.  On that exact day, January 30, it would've actually been considered the home stretch.  Yep.  Now that it's not the actual home stretch, and more like swinging late and missing the ball, here goes.

January 30:  BIGGEST FLAW
I don't have a good feeling about this piece.  My biggest flaw?  Hm, let's go physical with this one.  One that's been showing up a lot lately is related to my feet.  Because I am one of the most clumsy people known to man, I only wear shoes that are close to the ground.  I have approximately eight pairs of flats, two pairs of tennis shoes, and an outrageous amount of flip flops.  Obviously, I wear socks with my tennis shoes and nothing with my flops.  They make small stretchy pieces of fabric that you're supposed to wear with flats.  I do, on occasion, but not as much as I should.  Biggest physical flaw?  My feet stink.  Or they sweat too much.  Or I wear my flats too much.  Or, I should just wear those no show "socks" with my flats.  But, I don't.  That my friends, is probably off the TMI scale, it's so ridiculous.  But that was the prompt!  So, in review, stay away from my flats and feet.

January 31:  FAVOuRITE
I don't spell favorite with a 'u' but that is the prompt.  Favorite...what?  Recently, my favorite thing in the entire world is...napping.  I took a long, nice, warm, peaceful, and invigorating nap on Thursday.  It was a day changer.  When I woke up I got a lot of things done and was even able to stay up for Scandal!  The next day (Friday, the day I was supposed to write this blog), I woke up before my alarm even went off!  Yep, naps are my favorite.  I must figure out how to get more of these glorious things!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My Multiple Homes

I get a lot of crap from portions of my family when I refer to my parents' home as my home.  Since leaving home for college, I've had ten different residences, yet my home remains the same.  Sure, I live in Virginia now, in an apartment, that is currently my home.  I think my major setback is that none of those have been permanent.  When we first moved to Harrisonburg, I compared renting houses to apartments.  Unfortunately many did not allow pets, so I gave up and here we are.  Since we've lived here, I've subscribed to a listing of local houses on the market in a semi-reasonable-but-still-ridiculous price range.  Today though, when a new house came through, I took a look.  I realize we are not in that place that we can actually buy a house, but it's nice to think about.  One of the houses I had previously marked as a maybe had came down in price.  With that drop, the mortgage became less than our monthly rent for our apartment.  It seems impossible and ridiculous (again, I know) but the space there and yard, and deck, and on and on and on...just is so...blargh...out of reach?...ridiculous?...confusing.

So there you have thoughts on a new home, that may be coming sooner than originally thought.

Bam!  I hit publish.  Mom and Dad, I'm going to trivia tonight and no, I don't want to talk about this post.   Love you!

Monday, January 28, 2013


In preparation for my department's Super Bowl Chili Cook-off, I made a test batch on Sunday.  This was my first attempt making chili, so it made sense to try it out prior to office humiliation.  I opted to make a vegetarian version, as we have a couple omnivores.  I found a recipe for sweet potato chili on  After reading the reviews and gathering the non-meat ingredients, I ended up with the recipe below.

Sweet Potato Chili (4 servings)
1 sweet potato, diced (I suggest microwaving the potato prior to avoid A-breaking the knife or B-breaking your hand.  Also, the smaller chunks the better.)
12 ounces diced, stewed tomatoes with chili seasoning
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
1/3 cup celery, diced
1/4 cup water
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup corn
12 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed
1-1/2 teaspoons chili powder
pinch teaspoon ground cumin
pinch ground cinnamon
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of salt
pinch of ground black pepper
pinch of garlic powder
pinch of onion powder

The original recipe was for cooking in a crockpot, but I opted for stovetop cooking to avoid the 2-1/2 hour wait.  After mixing the mess in a large pot and cooking on medium until it got a little bubbly (I know, that's very technical, I should write cookbooks.) it was good to go.  The surprise part is two-fold.  

Looks nasty, I know.  I also know it's delicious.
One, the chili was really good.  I mean, not to brag, but the picky, picky, picky husband had a spoonful last night and a WHOLE BOWL tonight.  That means, whoa, I make a MEAN chili.  Oh yeah!  Boasting  Part two of the surprise...the chili was very hot.  Whoa.  So hot, that I had to Google it and text my dad, the chili connoisseur.  For the record, everyone has their own way to fix hot chili, but most just say to leave it alone.  I opted for milk as my beverage while eating, in case you were wondering.

So, for the next go round, AND the win at work, I'm cutting the cayenne pepper.  I'm hoping that'll wind it down a little bit.  I'll keep you posted if that happens to be surprise number three!

Sunday, January 27, 2013


Let's keep this light, shall we?

I regret not getting a new vacuum earlier.  The feeling of clean carpet on bare feet can't be beat.  I regret that my family did not pass any kind of green finger gene on to me.  I can't keep anything plant-like fully alive for more than a couple weeks.  Luckily though, I can revive plants like those paddles that doctors use.  CLEAR!  (They're called defibrillators.  I just looked it up.)  I regret spending time with people with clear ulterior motives.  Yep, no explanation on that one.  At this very moment, I regret not buying more warm, cozy socks.  Oh yeah, these ankle socks are perfect...for the summer.  I need more ugly tall, warm, stay in the house socks.  Add that to my mental shopping list.  I regret that I didn't branch out more in college.  I had my job, which helped me meet all kinds of people, and my future (now? current?) husband.  Other than that, I stuck with the people I liked in my classes and work people.  I didn't spend much time building "lifelong friendships" outside of that.  And now?  I have that one friend who was an awful worker, but great friend, that I still talk with weekly.  Oh, and that husband of mine.  Everyone else?  Gone.  Sure they wish me happy birthday in September and I reciprocate, but that's it.  Whoa long explanation.  Moving on.  I continually regret that it takes me longer to get out of my shell than other people.  (Note, I had to return Quiet:  The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking, as the due date was again looming.  I'm really failing at being a proper book hoarder.)  I'm not really sure how to work on this, or even if it's an option.  Lastly, I regret buying that lemon of a car in 2007.  That Saturn L200 was the biggest headache for a longer time than needed.  From that, I've learned that a new car is worth the "awful depreciation  that everyone nags about.  New car, no problems. That's totally unrelated to "Mo money, mo problems."

Saturday, January 26, 2013


I really have an excuse for yesterday's post not being written.  I got sick.  Real sick.  I won't bore or gross you out with the details, but please know it was awful.  Aw.  Ful.  Ok, imagine Aubrey from Pitch Perfect projectile vomiting into the crowd.  Yep, it was pretty much like that.

January 25 (one day late):  el oh vee ee.
For us humans, that's LOVE.  So, for a real quick read...last night I ate a lot of sugar free gummy fish and bears.  I have done this before, which ended badly, but I tried again.  Let's just say I like gummy bears/worms/fish and was trying to be "healthy."  Related to the top message about being 5:20 this morning, I was unable to leave the bathroom.  Luckily I had taken my phone with me and was able to wake up the super sound sleeper with only two texts.  He was able to bring me medicine and water and braved the smell coming from the bathroom.  That's how I know he loves me and cares whether I survive.  The end.

January 26:  Winter/Summer
Lately our weather has been cold.  Like legs numbing cold.  Like cold wind that makes your eyes tear up cold.  Like Rosie-walking is unbearable cold.  Yet today, we braved the wind chill and temperature in the 15-25 range to walk the dogs at SPCA, because we signed up to, and let's face it, no one else was there to do it.  It was only 1.5 hours of our time, and cold for the dogs too, but I love being there.  Spending time with them is very meaningful to the dogs and the employees of the SPCA.  So, in a super roundabout matter the season, no matter the temperature, the dogs there warm my heart and I will continue to volunteer there for as long as we're in this area.  For the record, I feel that fits both prompts.  So, BOOYAH!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Falling Behind

Oh man, I've fallen behind again.  How does this happen?  I even talked about my blog with my parents for ten minutes or more.  Yet, I failed to get it together enough to write yesterday.  And now today.  Well, guess what?  Double post time!

January 23 (only a day late!):  DESSERT
Favorite desserts?  Comparison between homemade and store bought desserts?  Nah, let's make this semi-complicated, this time.  Every day, Rosie has her evening meal (normally straight dry dog food) before we have our human dinner.  However, after she completes her meal, no matter the quality or quantity, she is very interested in what we happen to be eating. I've started thinking of our remnants as Rosie's dessert.  It may be some stray alfredo sauce, some vegetables from tacos, or even the last piece of a hot dog bun that no longer holds a hot dog.  In our human world, that stuff is useless mess that would usually go in the sink for a quick rinse.  In Rosie's world, that's her favorite dessert after her evening meal.

Today, January 24:  TEACHERS
Back in high school, I went to a defensive driving course.  I obviously didn't need it, considering my impeccable driving record, minus that one speeding ticket that should be erased from my insurance soon.  Anyway, it was free and fun.  We got to drive Honda Civics, hard and fast, on a variety of terrains.  We tested how fast cars actually stop, when going different speeds.  I strongly believe that experience is the best teacher.  This safe environment made it easy to understand the way that cars worked and under what conditions.  Although I've probably forgotten the capital of Thailand, the year the Magna Carta was drafted, and who wrote The Star Spangled Banner, I for sure remember what was taught in my driving course.  My favorite piece (that really applies to everything):  When in doubt, keep feet out!  Especially during snow, rain, ice, etc.  Sure, I had my favorite teachers in elementary school (Miss Anderson), middle school (Mrs. Self), and high school (Mrs. Clawson), but really only the basics and daily used items have stuck throughout the years.  I drive everyday.  It's not an option to forget how to drive safely.  

Just as a reminder for the rest of the month's prompts...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


The prompt for today is kids.  Last year at this time, I would've been able to write, don't have any.  Case closed.  However, in August of this past year, we adopted a darling beagle from a nearby SPCA.  She used to be Darla.  She used to run away from home frequently.  She used to be a shelter dog.  Now?  Now, she's Rosie, she's loved and spoiled.  She walks at least two miles a day, every day.  She has her own CHAIR.  She's our kid and she's worth every penny.

Forgive my wild hair.  I was just so excited to adopt her.  This was the day before we took Rosie home.
Since that day in August, we have started volunteering at our local SPCA.  We've went from being socializers, to dog walkers.  Spending time with those babies (ok, they're all not really babies) reminds me that Rosie had been in that SPCA for over a month.  She could've been one of those dogs that had been there for many, many months.  But, we came along.  We are her family.  Because some of those dogs will wait for their new family, for a long, long time, I want to be that pseudo-family.  So yes, we have one real baby, BUT many, many beautiful foster babies...that just so happen to be living elsewhere.

Spoiled rotten and loving it.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Mood Board?

Wait, the prompt for January 21 is Mood Board?  Uh.  Well, I don't actually have one of those, nor do I know what it is.  I'm picturing a mood ring, tacked to a bulletin board.  That's probably way off.  Instead of spending time trying to figure it out, I'm going to update my book hoarding.  Mood board vs. book hoarding.  Yep.

1. The Choice by Nicholas Sparks Four stars...if it wasn't for the awful part about the woman going into a coma, it would've been perfect. It would've been too easy to just be a love story, though, I guess.
2. Bossypants by Tina Fey (returned to the library with the impending doom of the due date)
3. Between You and Me by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus Ugh, three stars? After I read the whole book, I looked up others' reviews. Apparently the book is semi-based on Britney Spears' life thus far. I can see it, but had I known that prior...nope, wouldn't have read it. It was kinda like a car crash. So bad, but hard to look away.
4. A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty by Joshilynn Jackson (not to be confused with JoshuaJackson!)
5. Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks
6. January First: A Child's Descent into Madness and Her Father's Struggle to Save Her by Michael Schofield
7. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain (My Myers-Briggs always says I'm an introvert. Let's see if this book agrees.)
8. Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
9. the five people you meet in heaven by Mitch Albom (it just hurt my brain to not capitalize the title. Yowch.)
10. Ordinary People by Judith Guest

Fun fact:  I'm two books ahead of schedule!  Woo!

Sunday, January 20, 2013


What is that saying?  Something about "Don't forget to stop and smell the roses."?  No matter, the saying, well, kinda, that's how I feel about scenery.  Particularly stunning skies, weather, mountains, and cliffs overlooking seemingly small cities.  Instead of writing a super lengthy post as to why I love all these items, please check out the beauty below.  I'm mostly talking about the view, and not the husband and dog.  But they're pretty great too, and they make my life what it is, beautiful.  (Ahem, this post is supposed to be beautiful.  Ba dum cha.)

This is the wild mountain dog and her handler, photo taken on Skyline Drive in Virginia.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Playing Catch-up

Ok, ok, ok.  I know I'm two days behind.  I blame my parents.  Ever since I found out that they actually semi-religiously read my blog, I've shied away.  Ok, maybe that's not the reason.  Maybe I've been a little busy with work, and trying to count calories, read books, and generally be a good person.  Yeah, that's probably the reason.  Or maybe, I just had nothing good to write about rhymes or advice.  Or maybe, it's procrastination.  Yeah, that's probably the reason.

January 17 (two days late):  RHYME
Have you ever actually listened to some of your favorite music?  I went through a weird phase a long time ago, that instead of singing to the music at the top of my lungs, I listened to the words.  I tried to understand what they were singing about.  Most of all, I wondered if the things musicians sang about were actual life issues or just made up, because it was easy to sing about.  

On a less philosophical note, I noticed (among other things), that often the words in popular songs don't rhyme.  In fact, it's not even close.  Take for example, LFO's Summer Girls, ok, that's weird example, but it's one I remember.  "New Kids on the Block had a bunch of hits."  "Chinese food makes me sick."  Seriously.  You can't make this stuff up.  I mean, they did, but I didn't.

January 18 (one day late):  ADVICE
Yesterday, the day I should've (why does should've always have a red squiggly line under it?  It's a word!) blogged, I spent a couple hours in a group interview for student workers.  So, the advice I'm going to share with the five people that read my blog, are things I noticed in that setting.  These things should be common knowledge, but were not in this case.

Be punctual.  Timing is everything.  You have to assume that is your very first impression to the interviewer.  Others can fail with the first impression, but by the time that happens, you were already way behind.  Try to be normal.  Nervousness is normal, especially in this setting.  Although it may feel like it's taking over your entire body, don't overcompensate.  There's nervous, normal, and crazy.  Crazy isn't going to get you the job.  It'll get you noticed, duh.  But, not in a good way.  Maintain some boundaries.  You don't know these people.  They don't know you.  Show the true you that you strive to be every day.  Being yourself will give the interviewers a good vision of what you'll look like in various situations that specific position will encounter.  Above all, think.  Think before you answer questions.  This isn't necessarily the early bird catches the worm scenario.  People that think on their feet are great.  People that think more clearly after given a moment to process are sometimes better. Oh, and wear sunscreen.  No, just kidding, the interview wasn't outside.  But it's a good ending line.  And it makes sense.  And it's good advice.

January 19 (not late at all...Boom!):  SUPERPOWER
While interviewing for other student positions, we asked "If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?"  It broke up the monotonous "Why should we pick you?" and "Tell us how you work in a team" questions.  It also loosened up the candidates.  We received answers all over the board.  One would like to control the weather.  Another wanted to be able to speed-read books (for both academics and pleasure.  One wanted to fly.  A couple wanted to time travel.

After hearing all their answers, I tried to formulate mine.  I often have dreams where I fly high across the land, through the clouds, and look down at people who resemble ants.  Nah, that's out.  I've lately been joking that I want to rearrange the states (putting Virginia and Ohio side by side of course).  Is that even a superpower?  What is that called?  Nah.  I think if I could pay for something for me and just me, it would be my own road.  This one road, that is a one way street of course (because I'm the only one on it, duh) goes from my current home to my childhood home, work, and some favorite places.  Knowing that the construction on this private road will probably drain my bank account, I'll go back to superpowers, in hopes that they are free, somehow.  I would like to be able to snap my fingers (similar to how in I Dream of Jeannie, she twitches her nose) and travel to anywhere of my liking.  That'll save time, money, and packing issues (since I'll have to have my luggage in my other hand, of course). Likely I will go to the normal places, that my private imaginary road would lead, but I'd rather snap.  Yeah, snapping's easy.  Can I contact the people sponsoring the blog challenge to cash in on this superpower?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Meatloaf Lyrics?

Oh boy, this post could be interesting, if I think about it some more.  In fact, it has such potential to be awesome, that I think I'll let this one fall flat.  The January Blog Challenge topic is “I would do anything for love…but I won’t do that.”  Let’s see, I wouldn't wear Crocs, leather pants, Uggs, Converse sneakers, giant hoop earrings, tall athletic socks, button-down shirts with collars (gagging), or leggings, of any color, type, or make.  I wouldn't wear lipstick, smoke cigarettes, or drink whiskey or buttermilk.  I wouldn't eat red velvet cake, anything with mint in it, blue cheese, liver, or raw cauliflower.  I wouldn't be caught dead in unnatural hair color, a sweater or shirt dress, or wearing a non-coordinated purse to clothing color.

Oh, and Johnny Depp.  Won't watch him, ever.  And heavy metal or hard rock.  No thanks.

Very random, I know.  I’m sure I’ll think of more as time goes on, but let’s face it.  I’m not Meatloaf.  I don’t have to play by these rules.  I do what I want.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


During the two weeks that we were waiting on a new Virginian title for the old Ohioan Escort, we carpooled to work.  Keep in mind, we work at the same college campus, so it wasn't that big of inconvenience.  It’s funny though, since we work on opposite sides of campus, the difference is only 1.3 miles, but normally takes about ten minutes with traffic, especially since you cannot go directly through campus.

I had a mini-grudge about this carpooling business, since it threw off my schedule.  I like my schedule.  I know what time I need to leave every morning, how long it takes me to walk to my office, and the shortcuts if needed.  I had my morning alone time.  I thought of everything that I needed to get done that day and made a mental list.  I jammed.  Yeah, that's right, I sang to Michael Jackson or Buble.  Sometimes, I even belted out some Taylor Swift.  It hurts to write that, since I didn't actually like any of her music until her latest album.  Tangent over.  I liked my drive to work.  It was a great start to the day.

Sharing my ride was ok, just not great, like I wanted.  Fast forward to now.  He has a new car.  We don't need to carpool anymore.  The weird thing is...I don't want to drive myself to work anymore.  I've started enjoying some company on my drives in.  Oh, and getting dropped off close to my door isn't bad either.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Calorie Count

Today's post is supposed to be about food.  In a roundabout way, mine will be.

What feels like a really long time ago, I took a nutrition course, my sophomore year in college.  This course convinced me to become a vegetarian.  That lasted about six months, until my mother opened a can of tuna (I know, what a weird thing to bring me to the light) and I was done.  The same class suggested that I count calories of what I was eating, if not for anything else, just to see how healthy I was.

From then on, well kinda, off and on, I counted my calories, for a hopeful change.  Unless you're a label reader, you're unlikely to know just how many calories are in ONE slice of American cheese.  That'll make you think twice about a double-sliced grilled cheese AND tomato soup.

Not only does this website (and now app) house your calorie intake, but it keeps track of your other stats.  Carbs.  Fats.  Nutrients.  Vitamins.  The whole thing, for free.  No, I'm not getting any kind of cash money from this post.  I am not a sponsor of Calorie Count.  I just believe it gives you some insight on your life and what you can do to make it better and last longer.  Besides, YOLO!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Blog Challenge Continues

The prompt for today is top ten.  Top ten?  Top ten what?  Movies of all time?  Most influential celebrities?  Worst fast food items to eat?  Dog food brands without grain or corn?

Let's make this simple.  Besides, my grandpa always says, "Keep it simple, stupid."  I'm feeling a little stupid today, so here goes.

Mollie's Top Ten List of Books (that are currently in her possession from various libraries that she needs to read before their due dates which seem to creep closer and closer by the minute.)  Please refer back to this post for clarification as to why I'm a book-hoarder.

1.  The Choice by Nicholas Sparks (I'm really moving on this one, but I've started stalling since the wife went into a coma.  Bad news, Bobcats.)
2.  Bossypants by Tina Fey (C'mon.  It's Tina Fey.  I have to at least try it.)
3.  Between You and Me by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
4.  A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty by Joshilynn Jackson (not to be confused with Joshua Jackson!)
5.  Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks
6.  January First:  A Child's Descent into Madness and Her Father's Struggle to Save Her by Michael Schofield
7.  Quiet:  The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain (My Myers-Briggs always says I'm an introvert.  Let's see if this book agrees.)
8.  Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
9.  the five people you meet in heaven by Mitch Albom (it just hurt my brain to not capitalize the title.  Yowch.)
10.  Ordinary People by Judith Guest

I read somewhere that once you are reading a book and for whatever reason find it tedious to continue, you should just stop.  I have such an issue with that, but I did give up on The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling.  Go New Year's Resolutions, go!

Saturday, January 12, 2013


I thought a lot about this post yesterday.  What I was going to write about recovery?  Really though...recovery?  Who came up with these prompts?  And then, BANG!  Something happened that suggested needing recovery.  Below is my most recent recovery.  From shock.  Follow me, it could be a bumpy ride.

My husband has had his 1999 Ford Escort for a long, long time.  To put it in perspective, the locks and windows were manually powered.  That used to be a common feature.  Nowadays, there are very, very few super base (no, not Super Bass) models to be found.  It has over 150,000 miles on it and has served it's purpose.  The alternator has went out a few times, the A/C no longer works, and the tires are quite bare.

See, in Ohio that wouldn't have been an issue.  There's no safety check or inspector saying who can have what vehicle on the roads.  The initial plan was to run that car into the ground or until the wheels fell off.  Surprise, we're moving to Virginia.  This new foreign land requires state safety checks once a year.  After dealing with getting new plates and a Virginia title for this car, which is a story within itself, the Escort would need a 32-point safety check to keep on keepin' on.

This morning, he went out to look at his car, start it up (it hadn't driven since December 22, since the tags were expired), and clean it out a little.  Shortly after, he came back inside, defeated.  The cloth ceiling had started falling again, this time more than normal.  The outside looked more rusted and the cost of upkeep may turn into more than we bargained for.  I hadn't seen this sad look before.  Although I've been on the 'new car' team, right then, I knew how much it was hurting to let his baby go.  He had a lot of memories with that car, mostly good.  Immediately, I jumped into 'let's save the Escort mode' to try to appease his sentimental part.  He was pretty set in his ways, thus we just came home with his new car, leaving the Escort behind.

This is where the recovery part comes in.  I know it took a long way to make the circle, but here it is.  I was in complete shock when I thought he was giving in to the Virginia rules instead of repairing his baby.  He'd had that car for what felt like forever and it was more of his family than I was.  Letting go of something you've become so comfortable had to be hard, even for an inanimate object.

Right now, I'm (he probably is too) recovering from this shocked feeling.  Recovering from a long day at the car dealership, talk of numbers, options, and warranties.  Recovering from a whirlwind of purchasing a car.  Recovering from the understanding that the Escort was more than just a car.  Recovery?  That's what we're doing.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Good Girl Gone Bad (for one minute)

For day eleven of the January Blog Challenge, confession is the topic.  Hmm, so many juicy things I could share.  So many juicy things that I could share that could get me or other people in trouble if they ever stumbled over (and read) my blog.  To avoid getting anyone in trouble (mostly myself), I will divulge something from so far back, that I can't get in trouble.  I mean, there's gotta be a statute of limitations on mischievous things done in high school right?  Here goes...

For many years, I played softball.  It was mostly during the summer, and once I hit high school during the spring.  I really enjoyed it, but in the grand scheme of things, probably wasn't very good (confession #1).  I really blame that on summer ball.  I really felt like a star there.  But in high school, I was often a really good bench warmer.  Hey, teams need those, too!  I was an A+ cheerleader, not like an annoying one, just a "Nice catch!  Good hit!  Keep your eye on the ball!" type.  Keep in mind, as far as schools go nowadays, mine was small.  I graduated with 140 students.  As a freshman and sophomore, I was on the JV team.  I actually really liked my sophomore year, since I was the only non-freshman, thus I played.  A lot!  But, I missed my friends.  They had made varsity, because, let's face it, they were better.  At the time it was a big deal, a real big deal, but I digress.  As a junior, I was on the varsity team, but played little.

When senior year rolled around, I was ready.  Ready to spend the season with my friends, making memories, and trying to win a few games.  Unfortunately though (in some respects) I was one of the students cut from the varsity team, and as a senior, it would be embarrassing to be on the JV team.  It was devastating.  I was really upset for a long time.  In a roundabout way it gave me time to devote to the other eighty things I was involved in, including getting better grades.  At the time though, I was very, very bitter.  So bitter, that revenge was needed.  Who was this coach?  What made him think that I was not worthy?  I'll show him!  Keep in mind my small school.  So everyone knew that I didn't make the team.  Awesome.

The day before I left the country (for a school trip, over spring break) I had a stroke of genius.  One of my best friends was on the team, and I wanted to spend the after-school time with her, instead of her going to practice.  She wasn't really happy playing anyway, since I wasn't there (or maybe I'm making this up?) and the coach was a jerk (not making that up).  One of my pieces of involvement as a student was being an office worker.  Thus, me being in the front office was not that unusual.  During one of my study halls, I (and another student) wrote/forged a note saying that softball practice was cancelled for that afternoon.  I slipped it in the announcements box, and it was read at the end of the school day.  Of course, the softball team was excited (not knowing that it was actually not cancelled) and I got to spend the afternoon with my friend.

Upon returning from England and Scotland, I found out the coach had "known" it was me who had written the note, since I was upset for being cut.  He talked with the principal (who I was best buds with) and tried to prove it through handwriting samples.  Luckily, I didn't actually write the note AND my locker (which the coach took some notes from) was being used by another friend.  I was safe all around.  I never got in trouble for it, despite many people knowing it was me.  It's all about proof, baby.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Bring it back now, ya'll...

Back in 2004, I started college at Ohio University.  The next four years would become memorable based on the classes I took, experiences I had with friends, challenges at work, and trying to balance it all.  Most of these instances were positive and hold a special place in my memories.  In another mental chest, infamous events are stored.  For today, as a part of the January Blog Challenge, one of the weird, funny, what-in-the-world-just-happened moments that happened over eight years ago will be released from the vault (like an old-ish Disney movie).

Not many people know the back story of how my husband and I met.  For the most part it is an easy story to tell.  We worked together at one of the campus dining halls, during Sunday brunch.  Unfortunately though, that's all it really was.  Co-workers.  Courtesy of AOL Instant Messenger, (man, I feel old) I semi-invited myself (and was semi-invited) to a movie showing at the local Athena theater.  Team America:  World Police.  Although he walked to meet me at my residence hall and we walked to the theater together, it was not a date.  That was clear from the get go.  His roommate tried to get him to pay for me.  Fail.  The same roommate ended up sitting next to me in the movie (for the first twenty minutes or so).  Fail.  It was one of the most uncomfortable movies to sit through.  Fail.  At the end, the boys walked me back to my hall and that was it.  All in all, it was an extremely awkward night.  I should've known that going in.  He is awkward.  What was I expecting?  One awful movie (I Heart Huckabees) later (also watched in a group setting), and the rest is history.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Homemade Memories

With the holiday season over with, the decorations have went back to their eleven-month storage home (aka giant totes stuffed into my closet).  Every year though, the same items remain out.  I wonder what to do with them, knowing I cannot and will not throw them away.  They will eventually end up in another tote/box/tin/drawer/nook.  I have often thought, there must be something I can do with these.  Each one hand-crafted with personality, thoughtfulness, love, and careful dedication.

Greeting cards!  What did you think I was talking about?  It doesn't matter the occasion.  Christmas, birthdays, Valentine's Day, or none at all.  Cards have a homemade feel to them, even if they were purchased at the local grocery store or tourist trap.  Obviously, there a variety of beautiful cards:  giant obnoxious cards, postcards, photo cards, handmade cards, musical cards, and even pop-up cards.

Each tells a story.  Where did it come from?  What is your relationship with the sender?  What treasured memories are stored inside your heart about them?  Not all of these cards have a long handwritten story inside.  But, in this exact example, it's the thought that counts.  The sender thought of you when sending out their cards.  It was intentional.  You were on their list.  

Behold, our most recent Christmas, Birthday, and just because cards.
Now, after scouring pinterest, I have found something I can probably do.  A greeting card book to exhibit the cards that I have been hoarding for the past 20+ years.  I do get this gene from my mother and her mother.  It runs deep.  The way I see it, these cards (or other mementos) meant (mean) something.  Most people live in the present and look towards the future.  These are my connection to the past.  Sometimes cards (or other treasures) spark a memory that triggers an emotion.  These cards are worth keeping, preserving, and putting some time and effort into holding on to them for forever.

Every year, we do a photo card (with unblurred names, of course).  It's easy to make and a great way of sharing pictures.  I'm thinking ours will be mixed in with the rest of the cards we receive.  They are just a reminder of the past and how far we've gone since then.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Ok.  Honesty.  Here goes.

Every year I make New Year's resolutions.  Unfortunately they rarely make it into reality.  Certain items don't make it past January, because I lose my patience, passion, or interest.  Like Project 365, taking an artistic photo every day.  Honestly, it's tough, sometimes I barely went from home to work to home to bed.  There's nothing artistic there.  Others float in and out of my day-to-day life.  Such as in 2009, when I said I wouldn't eat Taco Bell anymore.  Note that it was the most appetizing? quick food closest to my job at that time.  Also note, I don't remember the last time I had Taco Bell.  So maybe my resolutions are just a few years ahead of time?  Honestly, I don't know.  But this year, I'm keeping one, for sure.  I know it's not very exciting, but work with me, will you?  As a declaration, in writing, for the record, (that I can promptly delete if I don't keep it, how's that for honesty?) that I plan to read 52+ books in 2013.  I'm on a roll, I've read one!  Last year, I read a few, with a resolution to read 52.  This year, it's going to happen.  This is going to be my year.  Honest declaration.  Let's go.

Monday, January 7, 2013

January Blogging

Okay, it's true.  January can be a bit grueling.  Although I did not hold myself to a new year's resolution of blogging more, I will be for the next 24 days!  A blogger from around my home-area that I enjoy reading about started doing a daily entry starting January 1.  I'm already six days behind, but I will be catching up with this single post!  From now on though, one post a day!...through January 31.  Let's see if I can actually stick with it anyway.  So, here goes, my daily entries, sponsored by Lindsey and Katrina.

I feel like this may become those chain bloggy things I did back in high school...and college.  Name 10 things that scare you, 9 places you want to visit, etc., etc.  However, I did agree to blogging more .  So here goes.

January 1:  NEW

I got a lot of great *new* gifts for Christmas that I could rant and rave about (also since I have not blogged since before then).  Instead though, I will outline some gifts that were extra special.

I still create a list of sorts for my parents, as to avoid getting a sword, electric knife, or pet rock.  Please note, all three of those would be ideal gifts for someone.  Not me though.  On said list was a set of "everyday" wine glasses.  I have recently found an appreciation for a sweet red wine and drinking out of regular glasses is obviously wrong.  Keep in mind I'm not drinking this perfect wine every day, but I didn't want something beautiful, fragile, and therefore unappealing for drinking on a Wednesday night, by myself.  On Christmas morning, I opened a "set" of seven wine glasses.  My loving, thrifty mother had bought Monday-Thursday glasses, Friday-Saturday glasses, and then Sunday.  They were labeled of course, not just for everyday, but every day.  Four medium glasses for Monday-Thursday, two large glasses for Friday and Saturday, and one tiny glass for Sunday.  Perfect.

It only makes sense that the 'Bless this Home' wall hanging is also from my mom.
I also received a carry-on bag to replace the one my lovely husband had involuntarily squished on an airplane.  The new one does not match the set we already have, but it is purple.  Purple may be my new favorite color.  Color was not one of the new things I had planned on discussing.  Bonus!  Anyway, a picture of it is not exactly exciting, so let's move on.  

From my in-laws we probably got the most needed gift.  A vacuum.  Yes, a vacuum.  You would not believe how much our 20 pound beagle sheds until you sweep the floor with a new vacuum made for eating pet hair.  It's a Hoover and it's my new favorite thing.  In fact it has made cleaning bearable.  Seeing the canister fill of all the hair from my lovable doggie just makes me smile.  For those of you wondering, yes, we had another vacuum prior to this piece of magic.  It couldn't compete with this one, nor the hair it was supposed to be picking up.  

The last couple gifts are close to my heart, but not in geographical distance.  We moved to Virginia in July.  Since then we have been back to Ohio multiple times.  Most of the time it doesn't bother me how far away we are.  Except when I realize how long it's going to take to get there.  Seven hours to my "house!"  It used to be no more than three!  But before I get a little weepy and nostalgic, below are gifts from my sister-in-law and my probable sister-in-law (that's like a woman that will probably marry my brother-in-law, for those confused).  Both are Ohio products, one a tote bag/purse, the other a beautiful bracelet from Etsy zoomed in on Athens, aka the homeland (where I spent four years of undergraduate school, met my husband, got married, and will always love the campus).  So many memories in Athens and Ohio, both gifts warmed my heart automatically.  Not to mention I can sport one or both at any time and I'm not being a non-JMU fan or employee.  Perfect.

The background is obviously of this stylish bag I now have, please ignore the red state of Ohio.  In my book, Ohio is a green state!  Go Ohio Bobcats!  This is evident with the bracelet, right?
Holy cow, this piece of seven days is getting much longer than expected!  Let's move on to the second day of this challenge, shall we?

January 2:  TWO

Hmm.  Two?  Well, let's keep this simple.  Why is so hard to keep two socks together?  Whether they are clean or dirty, I feel as like certain socks are destined to live a life of solitude after one wear.  Sorry, socks, I'm not sure where you end up.  Live long, and prosper in hidden eternity, while I use your match to dust before throwing it away.  Yep, that's random. And I'm going to write one post a day for the rest of January?  Oh boy.

January 3:  BUCKET LIST

I didn't really like that movie.  I'm not the biggest fan of Jack Nicholson, or Johnny Depp for that matter (yes, I realize he's not in that movie).  No matter, my bucket list is not particularly written.  I kind of do things that I want, when I want to do them.  No real rhyme or reason.  If I decide that I want to go para-sailing tomorrow, I will do so...ok probably not because it's January and there's snow on the ground.  But that's just an example!  I don't really believe in plans in my personal life.  Bucket List?  No, thanks.

January 4:  PET PEEVES

Oh boy, this one could be it's own blog (yeah, that's what it's supposed to be...) based on the number of things that just seem to annoy me.  Let's just go with the recent ones, which are related to dogs and walking, and surprise, sometimes dog-walking.  When on a sidewalk, going down stairs, or on a dirt path, etiquette dictates you stay on the right side.  None of this holding hands business, walking side by side, or slowly passing someone.  Sidewalks/stairs/paths are made for single-file lanes, like, I don't know, a road.  If you feel like doing any of the above (which is not an exhaustive list) at least be courteous enough to stop for five seconds while someone is trying to get around you.  Related to walking...if you are walking in an able-bodied fashion (yeah, there's probably a better wording for this) you do not, repeat, do not, need to use the handicap door opener (again, probably better wording needed).  Something that really bothers me (and breaks the roommate...err...apartment agreement) is dog owners that do not clean up after their furbaby.  Why would anyone think it was ok to leave their dog's business in the front yard?  It makes it increasingly difficult for me to walk my dog, who I clean up after, of course.  She likes to smell other dog's stuff, and one of both of us end up with the smell trekked into our home.  Gross.  Clean up after your dog.  It's not that hard.  Ok, last rant.  Whoever created stuffed dog toys, with the fluffy white cotton-ball-like insides...what were they thinking?  I suppose it is possible that certain dogs do not tear said toys to bits.  I do not have one of these dogs.  In fact, can I trade this one in for a non-toy-destroyer?

It's all fun and games, until the moose loses his stuffing.
January 5:  BIGGEST FEAR
Well, there are a lot of obvious answers here.  Dying, losing loved ones, my dog getting hurt, brain aneurysms, etc., etc.  One that comes in my head and stays there is car accidents.  Oh no, they are not all deadly, and sometimes they're just a small bump that just rearranges your mental stability.  In November I was in my first real car accident, in my car, by myself.  I wasn't hurt, nor were the other two drivers/passengers that I was sandwiched between.  More than anything it was just scary.  Oh yeah, I called my parents bawling.  They probably thought I was dying, once they could understand what I was saying.  Car crashes are scary.  Yep, that pretty much sums it up.


Oh man, there's just so many things I can think of here.  Recently though, around Christmas, I tried to open a bottle of wine with a semi-old-fashioned corkscrew.  Let's just say I have a high-tech one that is very user friendly.  Anyway, using the parents' old corkscrew, I broke it.  In the bottle of wine.  Enter, loving, thrifty, tool-wielding Mom to the rescue.  Or kinda.  She used a small drill bit to make a tiny hole which we were to pour the wine from.  Between her and my Air Forceman? brother, everyone got a small glass of wine.  With cork as a garnish.  To lengthen the embarrassment related to creating this visual and emotional mess, I choked on some of the cork-spiced wine and proceeded to fully turn fifty shades of pink, red, purple, and blue.  Enter, loving, thrifty, tool-wielding, nurse Mom to  She tried to do the Heimlich  which of course made me laugh on the inside and gag even worse on the outside.  And that, my friends, was enough embarrassment for the evening.  Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight!

January 7:  SHOES (Last one for today!  I'm caught up!)

Shoes?  Hmm.  Well, my soon-to-be sister-in-law, (not to confused with my probable sister-in-law) is planning her wedding (with some input from my Air Forceman? brother).  On Christmas night, she asked if I would honor her and my brother by being the best Bridesmaid ever (in so many words).  Of course, shocked by this proposal, I gushed and cried my agreement (in so many emotions).  Fast forward to now...she/we are trying to find appropriate silver shoes/heels/sandals for her/their June wedding.  You would not believe the sheer vastness of the silver shoe.  They range from flip flop to eighteen inch stiletto.  Of course, being the clumsy one, I need a non-stiletto.  Period.  But just looking online, I cannot imagine who created all these shoes and what they were thinking.  Who, I repeat, who would wear some of these crazy contraptions?  Oh, please.  Don't let this be the shoe.  Please and thank you!

Seriously?  Who would be able to walk in these?  And why?  Why would you ever think you needed this particular pair of spiked heels?  Seriously.