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What I Learned This Week – 5/31/15

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This week I learned that my car cannot get fixed if there is no Internet.

Can you believe that?

I mean, I understand that stores can’t load gift cards or access your EBT account without Internet, but car repair?

Typical dashboard warning lights

Typical dashboard warning lights

My car started doing very funky things on Memorial Day. Warning lights that I had never seen before and had no name for kept illuminating on my dashboard. (I literally have NIGHTMARES about this exact sort of thing.)

So, on Wednesday, after a rather large storm, mind you, I took my car in to get it looked at. The car dealerships Internet was down. With no Internet capabilities, they could not plug in my car to the diagnostic to see what was wrong. They could not access my warranty information to see if it was covered. So, I left my car there. The dealership was nice enough to give me a ride home. I assumed I would be picked up again by the end of the day. I didn’t get my car on Wednesday. Or Thursday, for that matter, although, to be fair, I did add another repair onto my order for the dealership. The warning lights only indicated that the sensor was bad, and needed to be changed.

My husband was disgruntled that I didn’t get a loaner car. I was grumpy because they had my car there to work on at their leisure. I assume they probably gave priority to the customers who were waiting in the lounge, repairing their cars first.

I ended up getting my car back on Friday. I mentioned my long wait to the cashier, hoping they had planned on giving me a discount or something. No, I just got an earful about how hard the outage had made her job :-/

I learned something else this week as well.

Let me tell you a little story. You know how sometimes you hear music in your head, like a certain song that just won’t stop? Well, in high school, I used to have Garth Brooks and George Michael singing in my head. At the same time. Singing different songs. This went on for weeks, maybe months. Long enough that I still remember it to this day. It made me realize that they both had really nice voices that actually went pretty well together. I also realized this dueling music in my head made it hard to concentrate on listening to the boring teachers.

I actually just found out today that this magic in my head actually became a reality back in 2000. I found the video below of Garth Brooks joining George Michael on the song “Freedom” at an event called Equality Rocks on YouTube. Garth shows up at the 2:30 mark. See below.

Have I mentioned that I was fortunate enough to see Garth Brooks in concert this year? Thanks Patti Keno!

Garth Brooks at Joe Louis Arena, 2015

Garth Brooks at Joe Louis Arena, 2015

My first book, The Wind Could Blow a Bug, is NOW AVAILABLE!

PURCHASE as a Paperback or eBook on Amazon.com TODAY.

[Pssst…Book 2, When You Least Expect It, is COMING SOON!]

Re-Post: I’m SAD

This was originally posted on 3/11/14. But I figured it may be good to share this time of year, as this is when the onset of symptoms tends to happen. Original post can be found here: https://imnotstalkingyou.com/2014/03/11/im-sad/

I get Seasonal Affective Disorder. I suffered from it long before I ever heard about it on the news. I suffered from it for many more years because I had heard the special lights that could help it were available by prescription only.

I live in cloudy Michigan. It only gets cloudier and more dreary with less daylight hours November through March. Being a fan of the Twilight books, I sometimes like to pretend I live in Forks, Washington, where there are sexy vampires and shirtless werewolves around every corner.

Every year when the Christmas celebration died down and January rolled around, I would write depressing poetry. Or want to quite college. Or quit my job. I didn’t want to get out of bed or laugh or smile. But I did. I faked it. Because I am a Capricorn. Life must have order and go on.

Even at my previous job, when I would walk outside for 30 minutes a day on my breaks and be in the car for two hours Monday through Friday, there still was just not enough sun outside to ease the symptoms. I believe that people who are more prone to depression are probably more sensitive to this. That has been my experience anyway.

Then, a couple years ago, my mother-in-law’s doctor suggested she order a SAD light to use during the winter. His nurse printed off a list of lights that could be ordered off of Amazon (Go figure!). So she ordered and received her light. I kept inquiring to find out if it was helping. It had only been a short time, but she seemed to think that it was.

So, I totally pestered my husband to order me a light as a Christmas present. After studying them all online, I ended up picking the same one that my mother-in-law had. When it arrived at the end of November, I had to convince my husband to start letting me use it right away, as I could already feel the effects of less light creeping into my body. Plus, it is not like it was going to be a surprise. I had told him which one to buy.

And it did seem to help with my symptoms that year, although I think it would have been more effective had I started it earlier. My light is a SunTouch Plus by NatureBright with an ionizer. The instructions say to start with a half hour of light per day, then you might be able to step it down to 15 minutes. I always do a half hour every morning. With a toddler and two dogs, I have trouble staying seated in one spot for 30 minutes straight. And there are always a few days when I forget, or I have to get to work, so some mornings I might only get ten minutes. It is sort of like taking birth control pills. If you miss more than one day, you are going to have serious side effects.

Rainbow bear demonstrating my SAD light

Rainbow bear demonstrating my SAD light

You have to be fairly close to the light to get the benefits, as the lights are only like 15 inches tall. If I try to use my light and my laptop at the same time, it takes up most of my kitchen table width-wise.

Supposedly, the ionizer will help with symptoms as well. I do not use the ionizer at the same time I use the light (it has a separate switch). I don’t like to be that close to the ionizer when it is on. The ionizer has a slight, weird, plasticky smell that makes me feel a little sick. Sometimes I turn it on while I am making dinner or something, and I feel like it freshens up the stale winter air in my house.

I had a scare when my dog knocked my light over and one of the four bulbs quit working. I thought I was going to have to call the company to order a new one. But it turned out that she did not break the bulb, she just knocked it loose.

In a normal winter, it does help. It keeps me from wanting to peel my own skin off. It helps me get out of bed in the morning. But I have felt especially bad in the last few weeks. I think that is because this has been an especially horrible winter, with too much cold and too much snow. Where I live here in Michigan, we have had the snowiest winter on record, combined with that PMS and the death of my hard drive.

While I can’t wait for sunshine and warmth, I dread the ants waking up and crawling into my kitchen, and days over 80 degrees.

SAD-Once

My Love of Lighthouses – Part 1

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Old Presque Isle Lighthouse, Presque Isle, Michigan

Me at Old Presque Isle Lighthouse, Presque Isle, Michigan.  See how excited I am!?

I had never given much thought to lighthouses. I had never seen one, and had no desire to.

Then when I was eight my mom took us on a trip Up North (that is how people from southern Michigan refer to any point north of Grayling). Our destinations included Mackinaw City, Sault Ste. Marie, and Tahquamenon Falls. But we also were stopping anywhere along the way that caught our eye. We were heading north at a leisurely pace on US 23, which hugs the Lake Huron shoreline.

We had just passed through Alpena (a town whose name still makes me giggle) and were headed up to Rogers City. (How nice. Roger has a whole city all to himself.) On the way, we saw an old, weather-beaten billboard alongside the road that boasted tours of a real lighthouse. We made the quick decision to check it out.

We drove on a tiny winding road through the woods for what seemed like forever. Every turn did not bring us to a great lake or tall light, only more trees. It felt we were in an episode of Scooby Doo. I expected a green monster in ratty clothes to step out of the thick woods in front of us at any minute. Except we were not in a multi-color van, but a silver Chevrolet Chevette 2 door hatchback. If we had hit one of those monsters, it would have destroyed our tiny car.

The Creeper from Scooby-Doo

The Creeper from Scooby-Doo

There were a few turns that were not well marked, but we must have gone the right way because we eventually came to a parking lot. Instead of yellow lines marking out the spaces, there were trees between the cars. You had to park just right, so that you could still get your doors open. The cool day must have warmed by that point, because I changed out of my jeans and into my shorts while we were still in the car. There were other cars there, but no people at the moment. My mom acted as a look-out. We were still under the dark cloak of the forest. But the sun could be seen to the south of us.

We walked toward the light. We found ourselves in a big grassy clearing, with Lake Huron stretching out to the east. Between us and the great lake, lay a brick house painted white. Next to it, a white stone tower. That would be the first time I would ever lay eyes on a lighthouse.

Inside there was an elderly man and woman who seemed to be running the show. They had a few souvenirs for purchase, and collected any money required to go up into the tower, details that I cannot remember. The man was also giving out rocks from the beach. He stamped them all so that they said “Old Presque Isle Lighthouse”. The rocks were free. I found him a little scary at the time. I grew up with very few males in my life. Even though he looked old and grizzled, he kindly showed me where my rock had a tiny fossil on the corner (If rocks can have corners).

Then I went up in the tower. It was a relatively short lighthouse, standing only 30 feet tall, but one of the oldest surviving lighthouses on the Great Lakes. And it was plenty tall enough for the view to be impressive to an eight year old.

View in the Old Presque Isle Lighthouse, return visit 2003.

View in the Old Presque Isle Lighthouse, return visit 2003.

While not a big fan of history, from that day on I was hooked on lighthouses. I wanted to see all of them that I could, but I also wanted to climb as many as I could. I didn’t even know at that time that I could do better than that.

Only after we got back home, did we discover there was an even taller New Presque Isle Lighthouse just a mile down the road. Although I would take many more trips Up North, it would take me almost 20 years to get back and climb the 113 foot tower of New Presque Isle Lighthouse, tallest lighthouse on the Great Lakes that can be climbed by the public.

In the years since, I found out that the elderly gentleman, George Parris died in 1991, and is said to haunt the Old Presque Isle lighthouse. I saw the story on a PBS special. It is kind of cool to have met someone who is now a ghost. Maybe I was on to something with my earlier Scooby Doo analogy.

Marblehead Lighthouse, Marblehead, Ohio

Marblehead Lighthouse, Marblehead, Ohio.  The most beautiful lighthouse I have ever laid eyes on.

My mom and I also went with my grandma to Marblehead, Ohio to see the lighthouse there. Marblehead Lighthouse looks the most like the idyllic lighthouse you will ever see. When you are in a souvenir shop and see light switch covers or hand towels with a generic lighthouse on them, I guarantee you that they will bear some resemblance to Marblehead. It has very classic dimensions. It is a white tower, with green doors and a red roof and railing. It is is the oldest lighthouse in continuous operation on the U.S. side of the Great Lakes.

Photo of Marblehead Lighthouse from 1885.  Later, they would add another 10 feet to its height.

Photo of Marblehead Lighthouse from 1885. Later, they would add another 10 feet to its height.

It was a very dreary day when we visited. The sky was the same gray as the sheets of marble that the lighthouse rests on. I enjoyed climbing on the uneven stone. It really frustrated me that the lighthouse was unmanned and locked up. I was like a reverse Rupunzel. I desperately wanted to get INSIDE the tower. But it would be years later before the State of Ohio would realize its full tourism potential and started offering visitors a chance to go inside of it.

Return visit to Marblehead, 2002

Return visit to Marblehead, 2002

It turns out my lighthouse memories are very long-winded. For more stories on the lights of the Great Lakes and a complete list of lighthouses that I have personally visited, come back by on Thursday.

I’m SAD

Posted on

I get Seasonal Affective Disorder. I suffered from it long before I ever heard about it on the news. I suffered from it for many more years because I had heard the special lights that could help it were available by prescription only.

I live in cloudy Michigan. It only gets cloudier and more dreary with less daylight hours November through March. Being a fan of the Twilight books, I sometimes like to pretend I live in Forks, Washington, where there are sexy vampires and shirtless werewolves around every corner.

Every year when the Christmas celebration died down and January rolled around, I would write depressing poetry. Or want to quite college. Or quit my job. I didn’t want to get out of bed or laugh or smile. But I did. I faked it. Because I am a Capricorn. Life must have order and go on.

Even at my previous job, when I would walk outside for 30 minutes a day on my breaks and be in the car for two hours Monday through Friday, there still was just not enough sun outside to ease the symptoms.  I believe that people who are more prone to depression are probably more sensitive to this. That has been my experience anyway.

Then, a couple years ago, my mother-in-law’s doctor suggested she order a SAD light to use during the winter. His nurse printed off a list of lights that could be ordered off of Amazon (Go figure!). So she ordered and received her light. I kept inquiring to find out if it was helping. It had only been a short time, but she seemed to think that it was.

So, I totally pestered my husband to order me a light as a Christmas present. After studying them all online, I ended up picking the same one that my mother-in-law had. When it arrived at the end of November, I had to convince my husband to start letting me use it right away, as I could already feel the effects of less light creeping into my body. Plus, it is not like it was going to be a surprise. I had told him which one to buy.

And it did seem to help with my symptoms that year, although I think it would have been more effective had I started it earlier. My light is a SunTouch Plus by NatureBright with an ionizer. The instructions say to start with a half hour of light per day, then you might be able to step it down to 15 minutes. I always do a half hour every morning. With a toddler and two dogs, I have trouble staying seated in one spot for 30 minutes straight. And there are always a few days when I forget, or I have to get to work, so some mornings I might only get ten minutes. It is sort of like taking birth control pills. If you miss more than one day, you are going to have serious side effects.

Rainbow bear demonstrating my SAD light

Rainbow bear demonstrating my SAD light

You have to be fairly close to the light to get the benefits, as the lights are only like 15 inches tall. If I try to use my light and my laptop at the same time, it takes up most of my kitchen table width-wise.

Supposedly, the ionizer will help with symptoms as well. I do not use the ionizer at the same time I use the light (it has a separate switch). I don’t like to be that close to the ionizer when it is on. The ionizer has a slight, weird, plasticky smell that makes me feel a little sick. Sometimes I turn it on while I am making dinner or something, and I feel like it freshens up the stale winter air in my house.

I had a scare when my dog knocked my light over and one of the four bulbs quit working. I thought I was going to have to call the company to order a new one. But it turned out that she did not break the bulb, she just knocked it loose.

In a normal winter, it does help.  It keeps me from wanting to peel my own skin off.  It helps me get out of bed in the morning.  But I have felt especially bad in the last few weeks. I think that is because this has been an especially horrible winter, with too much cold and too much snow. Where I live here in Michigan, we have had the snowiest winter on record, combined with that PMS and the death of my hard drive.

While I can’t wait for sunshine and warmth, I dread the ants waking up and crawling into my kitchen, and days over 80 degrees.

SAD-Once

Excuse Me

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I’ve been busy this week.

This is all I have for you right now. Enjoy.*

REDNECK PORCH LIGHT

*Note: I am a redneck on my maternal grandfather’s side.

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