Blog

Posted in Welcome

Welcome

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Welcome to my narrative horizon about our wacky, wondrous world. There’s no pattern to my inspiration, so my pieces range from silly and mundane to serious and heartfelt. Here I share true, slice of light pieces about family, friendship, dogs, womanhood, health and wellness, wine, education, shopping, shoes, spirituality, reading, writing, entertainment, the moon, the sun and anything else under our sky.

I am a high energy, middle-age active woman who is constantly on the move. Filled calendar pages give me pleasure and purpose, but they also stress me out and make me more scattered than your average part-time sunshine. The older, busier, and more disorganized I get, the more I need to recharge in order to relax and refocus.

This blog gives me a chance to take a timeout to savor life, collect scattered memories, highlight sunny moments, and unclog cloudier ones. I seek balance, meaning, hope, and laughter that I’ll spread like PB&J through my stories.

My professional, home, and social fronts keep me hustling while giving me stories. I am a full-time high school English teacher, mother to two adolescent daughters, pet owner to two furry dogs, wife to one witty husband, relative to many loves, and friend to those who embrace my friendship.

I’m also a part-time sunshine who strives to be lively, bright, lighthearted, and comforting. Oh how I wish I could make my sunshine status full-time, but no can do. When the sunshine zest is too exhausting, and warmth becomes a scorcher, I lose the chipper optimism you’d expect from someone with nicknames like Sunshine or Sunny D. It can be a cockadoodle-dodo world, so being constantly happy and smiley while being honest and genuine is a trick I’d like to master.

For now, I’m a part-time sunshine, at best. When frazzled, my daily mission is to dazzle and find some extra beaming reason to smile and share why.  Random rays and small warm shimmers are the best, like double rainbows at a wedding, a greeting card among the bills in my mailbox, or a spotless bedroom cleaned by my daughters (who jest that this blog should be called Full-Time Nut Job, Part-Time Sunshine.)

I invite you to follow me on my horizon.  There’s a chance of sunshine (and a handful of nuttiness) in it for you, yours, and everyone else under the sky.

Posted in Education, Family, Social Media, Teenagers

13 Reasons Why: Adults Need to Talk About it.

13 reasons why

I plan to write an exploratory blog a post on why parents and teachers should watch 13 Reasons Why and talk about it with their teenage viewers. Most kids are binging it and having their own conversations. I think adult input is beneficial. If you watched this series, please share your input as an adult viewer and why you think it can help generate a conversation about the issues depicted: suicide, bullying, underage drinking, rape, violence, dishonesty, neglectful parenting, bystander (blind-eye) teaching, premarital sex, homosexuality, depression, social media, and more.

If you aren’t aware, this is a Netflix series based on the book of the same title. The Protagonist, Hannah makes cassette tapes to be distributed to those who she felt influenced her suicide. There is a lot of hurt, pain, blame, and shame revealed. I do NOT agree with how Hannah handled/mishandled her issues, but I think it merits a mature conversation that could help other distressed adolescents.

SPOILER ALERT — When you comment, act as if all readers of the post have viewed the show. If you have not, you may want to refrain from reading comments until you finished the series.  I recommend watching the 30-minute documentary following it on Netflix: 13 Reasons Why: Beyond the Reasons.

Comments — I hope to generate a good, adult conversation. Anything you add can find it’s way in my next blog, unless you state otherwise.

Posted in Dogs

Puppy Scams: ISO of Golden Retriever. Prefer a Female with Papers and a Heartbeat

I emailed that I wanted a female golden retriever.  You sent adorable pics, but your puppies’ coats were too ivory for my color palette.  

Cream dogs matter, but I need one to blend in with our flooring which is the color of fried chicken.  I hated to say no to your fluffy, mashed potato hued pups, but I want a golden retriever not a cream retriever.

After I told you why I wasn’t interested in your litter, you suddenly sent another picture of one with the preferred KFC coat. I wondered why you didn’t reveal her in the first place, but I dismissed the question as my heart swelled.  What a gorgeous photoshoot; she looked perfect, like a model!  I couldn’t believe you were willing to give her up for $400, a discount for a purebred.

It would cost just $100 more to ship her all the way to Pennsylvania from California. You told me I could get her tonight, on my daughter’s fifteenth birthday.  What a great surprise that would be.  My dog heart leapt and my imagination excitedly chased its tail.  I imagined Miss Puppy-Love popping out of a box with a pink bow and saying, “Happy birthday!” like Frosty the Snowman did with that hat.  

Back to reality.  You explained how our puppy would fly on a private jet to our nearest airport and then complete her journey to my house in a van.  She would show up potty trained, healthy, and grateful to be a part of my family.  I could buy love for half a grand. What a bargain!  

I started to think of names to reflect her birthplace: Cali, Hollywood, Peaches, or Sunny could work. Or we could be original and call her Fried Chicken or Phyllis. The possibilities for this little furball seemed endless.  

I admitted I recently contacted so many breeders that I couldn’t remember your website.  You reminded me you didn’t have one to offer per se, and shared your contact on a puppy finder site.  You revealed that you are a part-time breeder and wanted to keep all five puppies in your litter.  Since you got a new job, you realized you couldn’t.  That’s why your goldens were eleven weeks old instead of the ideal eight. I figured that contributed to the cheaper price.   

Geneous seller, I had some more questions and asked you to call me. I was tired of texting, although I thought it wise to have a record of our conversation in writing. I certainly didn’t want to get duped.  

After a five minute pause in our texts, my ringtone went off.   I  didn’t think it was you because the Caller ID indicated the call was from Darlington, Maryland. I was also surprised by your masculine, foreign voice.  Your email name is Jenny Morgan. You had to convince me you were the California seller who had the golden princess and private jet. Suddenly, a red flag went up.  Hmm, could this be a hoax?

As sure as dogs and my Canadian friend Doreen love bacon, I can assure you that this was indeed a hoax, a scam, a con.  

I caught on during our phone conversation and told you I thought you were lying and trying to pull the puppy fur over my eyes.  You reassured me that I could trust you, a god-fearing Christian.  Who says that?  I hung up and texted a request that you send the dog and THEN I would pay you when I got her, safe and sound.  You wouldn’t go for that, “Jenny,” because you have no puppies with fake potty training skills to put on a fake plane in a fake van to join my real family. My final text wished you a blessed day, you god-fearing, con artist!  You stink like dog crap!

I plan to report you to the authorities.  Give it up.  Quit messing with people’s puppy-heart strings. I’m sure you stole the above pics from the internet, so if any readers recognize these as yours, let me know and we’ll work on justice.   

If you experience such puppy scams, you can report the shenanigans to the following:

https://www.ipata.org/pet-scams

https://www.aspca.org/animal-cruelty/puppy-mills/why-you-should-never-buy-puppy-online

Posted in Blogging, Social Media, Technology, Writing

Technical Difficulties: Building a Blogging Platform, one Story, Tweet, and Pin at a Time

I am not a tech savvy person.  Quite frankly, I feel like Wilma Flintstone when it comes to staying caught up in the information age.  One might think that I’d be more like Jane Jetson. After all, I am a cyber teacher, run this blog, teach at an iPad high school, can publish online school newspapers, and live with a techie husband and two teenagers whose thumbs can text a novel before I can get my iPhone friend Siri to define “streaking” on Snap Chat (FYI – does not involve opening up a trench coat to your birthday suit).

img_0483I am trying to build my blogging platform, but I get completely overwhelmed and distracted with all the social networks. Sometimes I want to give up, unplug, and build puzzles instead (with real cardboard pieces).

I read that to get more blogging “followers” I need to tap into social media beyond my WordPress Blog.  Here is what I know, which is minimal:

I’m pretty good at  Facebook and have been a FB Friend for years. Beyond my timeline, I started a Page. I’m still learning how to boost organic traffic to my Page.  I once paid five extra dollars to get more readers and it made me feel cheap and dirty (like opening up a trench coat to my birthday suit).  I refuse to try buying social media friends ever again. *There are better ways.  

As for Twitter, I have an account but barely know how to Twit. #whatisahashtag

I made one single Youtube video but forget how to access my account, so if you want to hear me playing the harmonica you will need to click here.

Pinterest truly is “the world’s catalog of ideas.” I have an old Pinterest account that I avoided using because I didn’t want to get addicted to pinning. After opening up the Pandora’s Box of everything that could potentially interest me, I am indeed hooked.  I just spent over an hour looking up sweaters for hairless hamsters.  Yes, there are some amazingly dressed hamsters out there.  After reading an article about making these little rodents cozy, I was asked to vote to promote the adorableness. Then I created this category on Pinterest.  Click the link for: Hairless Hamsters Need Clothes.  What in the hamster hell is going on here?  

Last Saturday, I spent most of my afternoon creating an Instagram account.  I thought I could get an App for it on my Mac, but there isn’t one.  I do not yet understand what a “story” is and how to stop “loving” my own pictures.  I asked my teenager for help, several times, and she frustratingly told me she was going to delete my account if I didn’t quit asking her so many questions.  I’m not sure how to promote my blog through Instagram anyhow so that medium might have to sit on the back burner.  You know what else has to sit on the back burner? A hairless hamster without his sweater, freezing his cheeks off.   

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My Very First Instagram Photo

I have so much to learn!   From tweets, streaks, and pins to widgets, links, and  posts. The technological jargon alone is mind boggling.  Luckily, I stumbled across a course called “WordPress for Writers” that started yesterday.  I paid $49 and signed up for it hoping for some extra blogging guidance.  I’ll let you know how it goes.   

While I tune in with technology, I’ll keep writing my stories and sharing with all who hop on to my horizon.  It’s a little too late to start pounding out tales on a rock tablet, so I gotta just keep moving forward.  

If you haven’t followed yet, please enter your email (via WordPress), so you don’t miss out on the part-time sunshine I hope to deliver.    

*If you are my FB Friend and you enjoy this blog could you share it with your FB Friends, and then your friends can be my friends, and we can all sing about it?  Thanks in advance for SHARING my FB Page on your Timeline:  Tales from a Part-Time Sunshine Kindly ask your friends to LIKE the Page.  If you still haven’t responded to your Invite to “Like” that page, give a thumbs up and feel the warmth.

Shine on!

Posted in Family, Forgiveness, Running

Forget and Forgive: Leaving Behind iPhone Chargers

imageThis is a little story about leaving behind phone chargers.  How many of you have done this?  I bet if I could magically retrieve every forgotten charger, I could stretch out the cords to lasso the moon.

Last weekend my husband, two teenage daughters and several family friends traveled to Hershey to watch our Meadville Boys’ Basketball Team compete in the state championship game.  Neither Harry nor I are big basketball fans, but we wanted our kids to get to experience this event with friends and support their team.  It was a quick, pricey trip, and even though Meadville lost, we had a great weekend away together.

Moments after our five hour drive back home, Cara realized that both she and her sister, Elena, left their chargers at our hotel. My husband’s charger broke, so among the four of us, we only had one to share, mine.  

Who can count how many times my kids and their friends leave chargers places?  I can’t really scold my girls though, since my husband and I both leave a trail of various other things behind us.  It’s very frustrating to be a forgetful family, but we’re all working on it. The biggest consequence is losing an item and having to waste time searching for it or paying to replace it, which my girls did and will continue to do.

Since Elena’s phone was at 23% battery power, and she was leaving the house soon, she recharged first.  Cara was at 9% and wanted it before her phone died.  An outrageous battle initiated by Cara over the coveted charger broke out, so I confiscated her phone.  

Cara is typically calm, especially over something as trivial as battery percentage, but she couldn’t control her mood.  After all, she is merely the full-time daughter of a part-time sunshine who is prone to heated temperaments.  I’m sure being up all night hanging with friends during our getaway was the cause of some of her irritability, so I’m certain she suffered what I call: SLEEPOVER-HANGOVER.  Crashing after too much fun is no excuse to mistreat our household though.  

After a busy, exhausting trip, running was not on my agenda, but that’s what I did shortly after unpacking all of our stuff.  I was angry over the petty sibling rivalry especially after treating them to a good time that was all about them.  Ungrateful, I thought, as I laced up a new pair of running shoes and ran six miles away from our bad moods.  

It was one of my fastest and strongest 10ks, and I chalk it up to my adrenal gland anger more than the new Asics.  Exercise is the best way to exorcise my own unquiet spirits.  Thank God I can recharge by plugging into an endorphin outlet (More about this in a future blog.)  

I raced back home and entered a serene scene.  My girls befriended each other again, our dog snored on Harry’s lap, and the drained phone rested on the counter along with the silly yet sincere notes from Cara.  The source of her apologetic inspiration came from this recent meltdown over a forgotten phone charger.  

“I’m sorry for being a butthead, fam.  I love you all.  I don’t even have an excuse today since it’s Saturday, and I am only a walrus on Tuesday, Friday, and sometimes Monday.  But on Saturdays, I am a jar of peanut butter, so this one was all my fault.  I made multiple mistakes, and I apologize for them.  I hope you can forgive me and like your gifts!    —Love Cara”

In our house, arguments and outbursts happen.  Thankfully, remorse and apologies do too. These notes and re-gifts (i.e. batteries, candle, and lotion from our kitchen junk drawer) were a funny, endearing way for our teen to end the quarrel and recharge our home with peace and forgiveness.  

Posted in Nature, Springtime

Dear Mother Nature…I Must Voice this Complaint

Dear Mother Nature,

I want to start by saying I love you and all that you do, but I must voice this complaint from Northwestern PA. Three days ago, the calendar marked the start of spring, yet I woke to a fresh layer of snow.  Also you blew my garbage can over, again; you did that two weeks ago and caused me a lot of problems, remember?  In case you forgot, read White Trash All Over the Place.  

I know you have localized weather-helpers all over the world to sprinkle out the appropriate temperatures, precipitation, and wind chill, so the newbie in charge of the Crawford County area is not doing her job! I fear she may have seasonal affective disorder, like so many of my neighbors craving vitamin D.  I hope your employee can get out of this confusing slump where she drops snowshine instead of sunflakes.

As a part-time sunshine, I would help, but I’ve been laid off for months due to budget cuts.  They won’t recharge my sunrays until my job is reinstated.  I know you’re busy, but I would be grateful if you would put in a word to put more of us back in the sky.  My territory demands extra sunshines, and I’m ready to get back up there and do my thing.   

Anyhow, please help her heat the thermometer and send us some blooms, bluer skies, and bunnies. The only bunnies I have gotten near are chocolate ones, and I fear I’ll keep eating off their ears (the best part) if I don’t get some genuine spring weather here!

Thank you for your time and concern.  I look forward to a warmer forecast after you expedite a solution to this seasonal mix up.

Your loyal friend,

(Part-Time) Sunshine

P.S. I would appreciate you keeping this complaint confidential.  Your staff member may become my superior, and I don’t want to cause any dissent.  

Posted in Nature, Springtime

Hello, Springtime Greens. Goodbye, Winter Blues.

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Rebirth! Resurrection! Revival! What a wonder spring is. After slipping, sloshing, and slugging through another Northwestern Pennsylvania winter, I am thankful that we woke to the calendar start of a new season. So long, Winter.  Ba-Bye!!!

Heartwarming octaves of brave birds filled the morning.  It’s amazing how strong feathers and chirps are. Through the part-time sunshine, the snow burnt like marshmallows, melting into the grass of our future picnics. This splendid foreshadowing of warm blooms is sloppy, but it’s the start, a sign of winter’s end.

Free ice cream is another sign of the new season as many dairy huts and ice cream chains gave a free scoop, cone, or shake to hopeful repeat customers.  

Longer days, warmer temps, melting snow, frozen treats, busy birds, sublime singing, Spring is NOW our air. Open the windows of your heart, soul, and eyes to avoid missing its parade of blossoms, fragrances, and flavors. Wishing you longer spring days you dreamed of!

Name five of your favorite spring things?  Mine are:

  1. Strappy sandals and flip flops
  2. Mother nature’s rainbow spread all over gardens, fields, bushes, and trees
  3. The smell of fresh cut grass
  4. Seasonal fruit that tastes like candy
  5. Lenten Orthodox songs and services

spring

Birds on a Branch – Courtesy of SafariWallpaper.com

Posted in Review, Shopping

Is your Refrigerator Running? It was until you “fixed” it.

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After five weeks of recent Sears Warranty battles, we finally got a replacement refrigerator. The original was only seven years old but was irreparable.  I have a home warranty through Sears that I pay 39.99 a month for. In the end, I’m relieved that I got a new fridge, but this warranty has been far from hassle free.  

First of all, I feel like I was duped into purchasing this plan.  I called Sears last fall to set up a repair for my washing machine (another broken seven-year-old appliance).  At that time, I was offered this amazing plan that would cover appliances and items I didn’t even buy from Sears.  Yes, the nice lady named Barb said it would cover the microwave I got elsewhere and the swimming pool that came with the house.  If I would have asked if it covered my kids’ orthodontics, I’m sure she would have said yes.  

She was a smooth talker and had a quick answer to my myriad of questions, so before I set up the repair, I agreed to be transferred to the warranty department to hear more of the spiel.  Although it sounded too good to be true, I signed up. I was a sucker, a Dum Dum, a Chupa Chup.  

I quickly realized this warranty and service was bunk when Paul the washer repairman finally came to fix the leaking machine. The repair was given a window of sometime during my kids’ childhoods between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.  I needed to wait by my cell phone, landline, ipad, and laptop to get a more precise day and time; they never seemed to use the same contact twice. What a pain it is to be available at their convenience.  

Well Paul came on a Friday, diagnosed the machine, ordered some parts, and came back a week later. We were given the same window of time, so either my husband or I had to take time off of work to be home while Paul worked his handyman magic. It would have been swell if  he fixed it during this second Friday visit, but that weekend the machine leaked again.  When he finally returned the following Wednesday, he accused me of overloading the machine and told me to use the heavy-duty feature at all times.  He tweaked something with a wrench and left.  The leaking stopped, but ever since Paul “fixed” it, I can’t use the light-load dial, an option that I chose to conserve energy and time.  

Annoyed, I called to cancel the warranty and just pay for whatever Paul did or didn’t do.  It was too late though, and I was stuck to the agreement like chewed bubblegum.  I was responsible to pay my monthly fee of 39.99 for twelve months.  Whether I wanted it or not, my funds would be withdrawn from my checking account anyhow.  IMG_0860

Fast forward to January.  The freezer and ice maker from our refrigerator unit (from Sears) broke, so I used the sticky warranty. The first available appointment ended up being on Serbian Orthodox Christmas Eve, Friday, January 6th.   My husband had to stay home and wait for John (not Paul), so I made the 90 mile trip alone each way to visit my family and church and then return to be with mine on Christmas.

This was a great inconvenience, especially since John (not Paul) didn’t even show up! The only notification we were given that this appointment was cancelled, was via email where it stated a new one was scheduled the following week!  Everyone we called about this had no answer for the repairman’s absence.  Another week of living out of our coolers.  

John came next Friday and said he had no idea why someone didn’t show last week.  I’m sure he was “someone” but didn’t say it.  Anyhow, he diagnosed the freezer, ordered some parts, and planned to return when they came in.  The following Friday, he spent the entire day “fixing” the unit.  He admitted to running into trouble since the two hour job turned into six.  He said to give the freezer a night to cool down and we could use it in the morning.  

Oh my my!  Do you know what happened next?  I woke to a warm freezer and even warmer fridge. Since NOTHING was wrong with the refrigerator until John touched it, it was still packed with food.  All of our groceries were ruined!  John nor Sears was responsible for the spoiled food that we had to throw away. It’s all in the warranty, you see.  

My husband and I made several calls and emails and got nowhere with the food replacement.  Food vouchers could not be awarded.  They suggested we turn it into our homeowner’s insurance.  I was afraid of premium increases for making a claim, so we ate (uhh, not ate) our losses.  How unfair is that?  A repairman breaks the thing that preserved my food and he isn’t responsible for the resulting loss which would have been a couple hundred dollars, easy.   

The other problem was that no servicemen were available until, you guessed it, next Friday! At this point, I requested a whole new fridge, but this couldn’t happen until John or Paul or some other dingleberry came back to assess it for another repair. This is the jargon from the terms and conditions:

How long will it take to repair or replace a covered item?

Once the service technician diagnoses the failure and the item is deemed eligible for coverage, repairs/replacements are usually completed within 1-5 business days, depending on the item to be repaired.

At one point, a customer service rep seemed genuinely concerned like she could help, and I had a glimmer, a blink, a wink of hope.  She put me on hold, go figure, and came back to say sorry.  Then she asked what else she could do for me. I politely told her to unplug her fridge for the night and requested she call me back in the morning. She never called.  I bet she didn’t even unplug her unit.  She probably went on serving Popsicles, unspoiled meat, and fizzy drinks with ice cubes.

A week later, John (UGH! Him again!) came back to attempt to fix his mistake. After four more hours of trying, he finally put the “cannot repair” seal on the deal.  Whoa!  He apologized but didn’t replace the food.  I thought I was being sly by taking pictures of his work truck to score the contact for John’s boss, but I was duped again!  The number was an alternate to the Sears Home Warranty Center and I talked to no boss.  I’ve had it with automated operators and incompetent customer service reps.  

It took another week to send out a replacement fridge, one comparable to the original discontinued unit.  So far so good and everything has been chilling with the new model, thankfully.  Maybe because it was delivered on a Thursday, not a Friday.  I’m satisfied with the refrigerator, but aghast at the time, food, and energy wasted on this claim.  When did groceries, appliances, and customers become so disposable?  

Are there any warranties out there that are hassle free?