Monday, July 23, 2012


Since my sis is currently buried alive somewhere under 92 pages of dissertation, I'll go ahead and continue to fill this blog up with pointless stuff.  Oh, hey, I haven't talked about PETS in awhile.  Let's do THAT.

I mentioned in a previous post that Trinity recently lost her pet cockatiel.  In a household full of pets, you tend to experience a fair share of unfortunate mishaps.  Like the time our cat got scalped by the street sweeper.  Or the time our parakeet flew straight into the spinning ceiling fan.  Or the time our royal gramma fish got sucked halfway up the air pump into a giant kiss of death.  But the demise of poor little Dimples was the worst.  I actually had a long paragraph here explaining why this little bird's untimely death was so tragic, but it was just too sad, so I deleted it.


Teri made this for Trin.  It says "In loving memory of Dimples" and has her baby picture.  Okay, yeah, that's ridiculously pitiful.

So after a few days of mourning, Trin decided that she might be willing to try out another bird.  We paid a visit to the same bird breeder we purchased Dimples from (he lives about an hour and a half away), and came home with a baby conure.

We named him Loki.  In Norse mythology, Loki is the God of mischief, which is a pretty apt description of this bird.  While Dimples was nothing but cuddly and sweet, Loki is sneaky and playful.

Here's the cage Clint built for Loki:

He stained it a purple-pink to match Trin's room.  This picture was taken before the cage was actually finished.  Now it has a slide-out tray on the bottom, perches and toys on the inside, and a built-in perch on the outside roof.  He also made Loki a little playground to chill out on when he's not in his cage:

Now I know it seems like we're constantly taking on new pets, BUT--I actually gave Harriet (the tarantula) to the local pet store today, so that keeps the critter homeostasis levels at approximately the same (<---I have no idea what I just said).

Current list of pets:

2 dogs
3 cats (two of them live outside though)
2 goats
4 chickens
3 rats
1 rabbit
1 conure
Approx. 17 goldfish

See?  That's not that bad.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Dissertation Drudgery

Just a quick post to explain my absence from this blog, before my sister starts sending out search & rescue dogs or the FBI to track me down. I am currently in the midst of a horrible binge writing episode, dissertation style. The good news is that my entire dissertation (1st draft) will be complete by the end of next weekend (July 29). I just completed Chapter 4 today...only one more chapter to go! The bad news is I can't get a hold of my dissertation chair to set up my dissertation defense, so I'm not sure if it will even matter or not. Either way, I am chipping my way through this dreadful paper (97 pages so far), and this ordeal is almost done (I hope). ~~Shannon

Monday, July 16, 2012

Summer Tidbits

Hi Blog!  You feel like a long-lost friend I haven't seen in awhile.

I'm going to make this quick (HA--I always say that) so I can go to bed at a decent hour tonight.

I'm already on my very last week of my summer job!  The job was only four weeks long, but it went by so incredibly fast.  Thursday is my last day, and then after that, I'll have about a week-and-a-half to get ready for the new school year.  Last week we went to UCSD, and the campus was both enormous and gorgeous.  Here's a few random pics I took of things that I found interesting:

 The Singing Tree (plays music all day and night)

 Some bird thing on a green arch thing

 Woods in the middle of a university--this is only interesting because I live in the desert

 Alphabet letters made from chicken bones (or some other little bird's bones)

A house perched precariously on top of a building

I had pics of miniature pianos, a go cart made out of junk, an archived book room that we weren't allowed to go in, the Theodor Geisel Library (aka Dr. Seuss), and a collection of old kazoos--but for some reason none of those pics are coming through, so I'll just leave it at these.  I'll admit, that last picture I swiped from google images, because mine didn't come out.  That little house is definitely my favorite.  It's actually a sculpture of sorts put up there by an energetic group of artists on campus, and students are allowed to tour the little house during certain hours.

Oh, I just looked up the bird thing, and I guess it's actually supposed to be a sun god.

Overall I have enjoyed this job so much, and I'm hoping it's something I will be able to do again next year.

In addition to work, we went to the park for the kids' promotion ceremony in karate this weekend.  Elijah earned two stripes on his brown belt, but Trin is pretty much stagnant right now.  She tests for her black belt the last weekend of July, so right now it's just a waiting game for her.  I know I'm going to be a nervous wreck that weekend (my little girl is going to be in the woods for four days!), but for now I'm just putting aside thinking about it.  During the karate picnic on Saturday, Clint had to lead the game of baby oil dodge ball, and that was hilarious.  I played the first game and was doing fabulously well until I shot the ball at one of the kick-boxers, Bill (we were targeting each other the entire game), and although I nailed him with it, it bounced off of him and hit me.  So of course, the incredibly tough ref (Clint) declared me out.  *stomp/pout*

On Sunday we drove two hours to pick up a new baby bird for Trin to replace the incredibly tragic loss of Dimples, her hand-fed baby cockatiel (Dimples' heart stopped during the fireworks).  The new bird is a baby pineapple conure named Loki.  I'll have to write about him another time.  Upon my very insistent prompting, Clint constructed an awesome cage for Trin's new bird, so I'll post pics of that on my next entry.

Oh, our house is over-run by ants again.  I think they all get together every summer and vote to holiday at our house.  We're like the anthropod-Hawaii.  On the up-side, their crash visits always prompt me to clean every surface of this house from top to bottom.  My counters are actually glowing right now.  Glowing, but still occupied by transient ant stragglers.  Teri stopped by to meet Loki yesterday, and at one point she rested her arm on my lovely clean tile, but then pulled it off quickly and pointed out, "You guys have ants."  Our response was a resounding, four-voiced, almost bored "Yeah, we know."  Like, duh, it's summer.  What else is new.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Getting a Headache over Excedrin

I've been using Excedrin Migraine for about three years now. I have tried Aspirin, Tylenol, Aleve, Motrin, etc...And Excedrin is the ONLY thing that works for my headaches. Not only does it work, but it works GOOD. Usually within 20-25 minutes, I not only have forgotten I even had a headache, but I have transitioned from a useless, distracted, emotional creature to a functioning human being.

The problem is, Excedrin was recalled back in January. It's maker, Novartis, issued a massive recall of its products, including Excedrin, No-Doz, and Gas-X. Apparently, the FDA found some problems with the manufacturing plant, and there was a possibility that opiates got mixed in with over the counter stuff. REALLY, I don't see what the BIG deal is....Personally, I'm not going to complain if a little Morphine or Percocet gets mixed in with my headache medication...

I heard about the recall in January, but wasn't too concerned because Jeremy buys my Excedrin at Costco in a 300 caplet bottle, and I still had plenty left. I also had a smaller container that I keep in my purse. (Both of my stashes were on the recall list, but NO WAY IN HELL was I going to turn them in). I figured  I had enough to last me until the product was back in stores. So....6 months later, there is still no Excedrin to be found! This morning, I realized I was down to three pills. I was wailing to Jeremy, "What am I gonna do?! I CAN'T LIVE without it!" He commented that he thinks I am addicted to Excedrin, and taking it so often is creating a cycle of headache/relief/headache/relief. Possibly.

I spent some time online trying to find out when it was going to be back in shelves, and there is so much conflicting information. Some sites say in June or July (last time I checked, June already passed), some sites say 2013 or 2014, and one site said "never." Holy Crap.

I discovered I am not alone in my pathetic desperation. There are countless online forums with people commenting how anxious they are to get their Excedrin back. These pitiful individuals state they have tried the generic brand with the same active ingredients (250 mg aspirin, 250 mg acetaminophen, and 65mg caffeine), and have found these alternatives to be ineffective. On eBay, the individually packaged (travel sized) tablets of Excedrin are selling for crazy amounts of money (these were not recalled). For example, 50 packets (containing 2 tablets each) is currently at $172.50 with 21 bids and 1 day of auctioning remaining.

My husband is my hero. After me moaning about it for a half hour, and him lecturing me that I need to "kick the habit," he pulled out a hidden stash. Turns out he had stored 30 caplets in our survival/emergency kit a while back. I promised him I would only use them for my most severe headaches, and even had him count them to make sure I wasn't using them frivolously. When you add the 30 pills with my existing 3, I currently have enough to handle 16  1/2 headaches. I can only hope this gets me by until my miracle drug makes it's appearance back in stores. When it does, I am going to celebrate by buying a case of the stuff and a bottle of champagne. ~~Shannon

Friday, July 6, 2012

Fish in Trees

Like me; if I were to be judged by my sense of direction, I would be classified as a complete idiot.  I can't count the number of times I've walked out of a public restroom and immediately turned the wrong way because I have no recollection of how I got there in the first place.  I have zero navigation skills.  Yet I can write an ethnographic comparative study on bilingual education with no problems.  And then you have Clint, who can't spell to save his life, yet troubleshoots and solves mechanical challenges as if they're mere baby blocks.  It really does seem like everyone has their own little inner-genius.  But I have to ask, if the fish can't climb a tree OR swim in water, then are we allowed to call it stupid?  Because some of the people I've come across in Wal-Mart....I'm just sayin'......

But seriously, I love this quote.  It reminds me of the artists in my classroom.  I get them every year--those students who are so amazingly creative, who have imaginations as tall as Mount Everest, yet are hopeless when it comes to memorizing the difference between a conjunction and a preposition.  These kids end up suffering perpetual inferiority complexes because the kind of intelligence they possess is never tested nor validated.  The academias, on the other hand, constantly get their egos groomed with 'A' papers and high test scores.  Funny how the ability to correctly fill in a bubble seems to hold more value in today's society than the ability to create something unique and beautiful.

Not to change the subject (I don't get that transition because every time someone says that, they are changing the subject), but I keep neglecting my blog.  For some reason, I tend to leave my poor blog high-and-dry every summer.  I will say that I've been working on my manuscript a lot lately.  I still can't believe how long it takes to write a book.  I wish I could hurry up and finish this one, because a) I want to see it done, and b) I have other plot lines in mind now for other stories, but I feel like I can't start those ones until I finish this one.  Here are a few more quotes from the story.  These first three are from one of my more scholarly characters, Mr. Chronos.   

“For the people who thought the world was flat, it was.  For them.  Because that was their reality.”

“I’ve learned in all my time that words have power.  But only if someone believes them.”

"Visiting the past is like studying a history book or gazing upon old snapshots.  Our desires for it, our joys, our regrets, accomplish nothing.  We can’t change the past.  Not in this timeline.  But the future is different.  It is malleable, a constant work-in-progress, represented by many possibilities, countless timelines.  It is perpetually being molded by our current choices.  You must realize it’s impossible to see the whole picture of something that has yet to take shape.”

The dude's really growing on me, even though he does condemn his own daughter to a terrible curse.  

This last excerpt is the main character's internal thoughts, and ironically, might be edited out of the story due to a conflict it presents.  So I guess you might think of this as a potential deleted scene.

Like rich soil absorbing the morning dew, realization seeped through me slowly, little by little, until I was thoroughly nourished with this new knowledge.  Yes, I had believed him.  At that last second, right before I brought the bottle down, right before the pain ripped through me, the smallest flicker of belief had alighted within me.  And it was just enough.  It was the tracest amount necessary to force the invisible—yet potent—hand of the Laws to bring down their gavel upon me.  I had become a threat to the rules of the universe, and now I needed to serve time under Stryder’s curse.  Stryder’s curse was now my curse.

Okay, that's it for now.  If I put up anything real, my sis will start hyperventilating.  She really is a helicopter parent when it comes to my story.  ;)

I will say that trying to write a book is definitely not all sunshine and roses.  I wasted about four hours writing what I thought was an awesome half-of-a-chapter, but then discovered later that information from this new chapter completely clashed with information from a previous one.  I ended up having to scrap the entire thing.  It was pretty devastating.  I handled it with a lot of maturity though and didn't throw a temper tantrum at all, or scream and pout that I was never going to write again (nope, I would NEVER do THAT).  Eventually, after the temper tantrum I never had, I felt better and moved on with life.  Now I'm keeping all of my screw-ups in a separate folder, so at least they're not gone, gone.  Maybe I can put them all together someday and title it Jodi's Book of Random Oopses.  Or, better yet, Fish in Trees.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Raining Shannons

I figured that Shan would write a few words about Yosemite, I would write a few more, and between the two of us we'd pretty much cover the whole trip.  But as luck would have it, her rendition of our camping experience was so dead-on that I don't think there's much for me to add.  But here are a few more pics of my own:

Yang wedged into crowded car

Trinity squatting on a giant leaf?

Cassidi surfing

 Shan and I on our favorite rock

 Clint and I at the top of Veneral Falls

No one's gonna steal this tree.

Our campsite backed up against an endless forest

 Campsite at night--so cozy!
 Clint panning for gold that didn't exist

Home sweet technology!

Actually, all of the other photos Shan posted were mine, too.  She ransacked my facebook since her and Jer took, like, six photos to cover the entire five day experience. 

My favorite photo of all is the waterfall/rainbow pic in Shan's post.  In person, it was breathtaking.

On to other things real quick.  I started my summer job last week, and I couldn't love it more.  It is the most pleasant, kick-back teaching position a person could ask for.  The staff is super-friendly, and they really take care of their teachers.  The students, also, are bright and enthusiastic.  It's strange to have a classroom full of students who are all there because they want to be.  As much as I love working at my beloved middle school, it's going to be rough going back after being spoiled by this job.

Friday afternoon Becky and I went out for our monthly girls' lunch.  Because Becky loves culinary adventures,  she suggested a cute Korean barbeque restaurant where you grill your own food.  Everything was delicious, but more than that, we had such great conversations.  It began with idle chit-chat about work (how awesome it is to work with your girlfriend!), but eventually we started to talk about things more near-and-dear to our hearts.  For me, it was much-needed therapy.

Yesterday we went to my parent's house on the lake for an early Fourth of July celebration.  My parents know how to entertain, and they pulled out all the stops to ensure we all had a good time.  We ended up having an amazing day.  Something about the whole day just felt different and more memorable than normal.  Part of it was my dad was being so nostalgic and loving.  Meanwhile, my mom was being hilarious and silly.  Shannon and I normally just float around on rafts, but this time we actually played in the water.  I swam all the way across the lake and back, which is something I haven't done in years.  It's fun, except for the fact that when you get to the other side, you're forced to stand up in a bunch of muck.  When I was a little girl, the lake used to be full of small leeches.  Shan and I would exit the water and our legs would be covered with them.  My grandma used to spray our legs down with the hose to clean off any residual mud, then any brown blobs still remaining would have to be plucked off by hand.  I never thought this was a big deal until I shared this memory with Clint once, and he was completely grossed out.  Luckily, despite my gallanting around in the mud yesterday, I came out of the water leech-free.  I wonder if they are even there anymore.

My favorite part of the day was last night.  We all piled into my dad's speed boat and went out into the big lake to watch the fireworks.  Between the silly oohing and ahhhing, song-singing, and my mom freaking out that my dad's lousy anchoring skills were going to result in us missing the "finale", it was a perfect night.

Oh, one more quick thing about Yosemite.  Jeremy's constantly teasing Shan about possibly having more kids, and of course she is way, way done.  Well on our last night there, we were sitting around the campfire and taking turns responding to questions posed.  It was my turn to come up with the question, so I asked the group, "If you could make it rain anything besides water, what would it rain?"  This question prompted the most hilarious responses, but by far the one that stands out the most in my head was Jeremy's.  He said:
I'd have it rain Shannons and I'd scoop them all up because I'm sure at least ONE of them would want to have a baby."