A Trip to the ER for Me and a Quiz for You

This post may be a little short. I’m typing with one hand. At least it’s my dominant hand. My left is wrapped in a splint. I took a spill in the kitchen on Christmas day. Other than my hand, I suffered a few bumps and bruises, but all in all, I was pretty lucky. We didn’t even have to wait too long at the ER. Considering it was a holiday, it went quite well.

Emergency room sign

I fell over the dishwasher door, which opened just as I was walking past it. When my husband and I told others about my accident, they said they had almost tripped over their dishwasher too.

The door had been broken for a while and didn’t latch tight and I was afraid one of us might fall over it. In the movie Garden State the main character’s mother had been paralyzed when she fell backward over the dishwasher door which opened unexpectedly. Even though I mentioned this before my accident, I don’t think I really thought it could happen.

But were dishwashers a common cause of in-home accidents? After a search for dishwasher accidents in the home, I found that there was a danger of fires, scalding from steam, and contamination from fungus and black yeast sometimes found in the rubber seal of the door.

There was also mention of a freak accident where a woman died after she slipped and fell on the knives in the dishwasher which were loaded with the point up. Other dangerous appliances were space heaters, ranges, and toasters for their ability to cause fires.

It also made me think about Emergency Room (ER) visits. We were seen right away. I had an X-ray of my hand and a CT scan of my jaw pretty soon after we arrived, but then it took longer to see a doctor and to get a splint and be to leave. I wondered if my visit was typical and so I looked up statistics on ER visits and made a short quiz of what I found.

Have fun and be safe!

Draw Your Campaign Poster for the New Year

As we move into the new year I, like everyone else, have been thinking what I want to accomplish. I checked out a few resources, planners, dreamers, and goal setters, and while they were great, I wanted something a little less complicated. So I decided to draw a campaign poster instead.

Since I’m not great at drawing, I used Google’s AutoDraw. It’s been around for a few years, but it seemed appropriate for this year since it uses artificial intelligence to help you draw.

It seems like AI is all I’ve heard about this year. Google trends show that people were doing more searches than ever before in January 2018 for Artificial Intelligence. In my own reading about the brain this year I have seen that AI is being used more than ever to help scientists better understand this organ, how it is organized, and how we think.

How to Draw a Good Campaign Poster

Autodraw is the perfect tool to draw a campaign poster. To you use it you start to doodle what you want to draw and the computer uses an algorithm to learn what you might be drawing. Suggestions pop up at the top of the screen. So, if you are trying to draw a house, a finished house appears, or a few different types of houses, or maybe a few other types of buildings. You click on the building you want and it replaces your doodle. You can change colors add words and save your picture.

It works well for a campaign poster since you don’t have a lot of options and the drawings and colors are simple. A campaign poster is supposed to get its point across in a few words and images. Here are a few other guidelines for a good campaign poster:

  • Simple message
  • Bold, primary or complementary colors, and a restricted palette
  • Images support the words
  • Use symbols

To help myself make my poster I asked myself the following questions. My answers follow the questions. I did a year-in-review poster for 2018 and a campaign poster for 2019 so I have two sets of questions and answers:

  • If 2018 were a color, what color would it be? Green
  • If 2018 were a shape, what shape would it be? An octagon
  • If 2018 were a word, what word would it be? Waiting
  • If 2018 were a building, what type of building would it be? House
  • If 2018 were something from nature, what would it be? Tree
  • If 2018 were a vehicle, what would it be? A scooter.
  • If 2019 were a color, what color would it be? Gold
  • If 2019 were a shape, what shape would it be? Circle
  • If 2019 were a word, what word would it be? Yes
  • If 2019 were a building, what type of building would it be? Skyscraper
  • If 2019 were something from nature, what would it be? Rainbow
  • What type of path will get you from 2018 to 2019? Road
  • If 2019 were a vehicle, what would it be? A plane.

I took all the information and drew a 2018 year-in-review poster and a campaign poster for 2019. You’ll see that all the answers didn’t make the picture. Some just didn’t fit and others made more sense once I saw how the picture looked.

Using Autodraw was fun because of the objects that popped up as I drew. It gave me new ideas about which items to include that weren’t on my list originally. It was almost like asking Magic 8 Ball to draw my poster for me.

Here is my 2018 Year in Review and my 2019 Campaign Poster:

If You Want to Give Autodraw a Try

After you visit the Autodraw website,  the autodraw tool itself is the second from the top. Once you begin drawing the Autodraw menu with Autdraw selectedsuggestions will appear on the top of the screen. You can change colors with the color picker. To color items in, select the Fill tool and then the color picker. Have fun!

One other fun thing to try is to write out something in words. For each letter you draw, Autodraw gives you a picture. Select the ones that speak to you and make a picture out of them. This only works if you draw the words, not using the Type tool.

Let me know if you try this. Leave a link to your picture or your images below. You can use your questions or mine. Wishing you the best in the New Year!

Book Review: Starting with Goodbye

Lisa Romeo’s father gave her everything she could ever want. He financed expensive vacations and could get her almost anything else she desired from hard to get tickets to the best horses. Yet, he is distant, physically living across the country after an early retirement, and emotionally, somewhat because of her own choices and actions. It isn’t until after his death, that she sees all that she was missing while he was alive. Book Review Graphic

This is a memoir of parental death, but mostly of grief. Though we do experience her father before death after a stroke, the majority of the book focuses on Romeo’s experiences after he dies. This is when she begins to talk and visit with him. It is through these post-death interactions that she starts to get to know and appreciate her father.

It is an interesting concept for a book since I can not think of many books that focus on the grieving process of a daughter and father in the same way. Helen McDonald’s H is for Hawk covers the topic, though mostly through the author’s training of a goshawk.

There are also books about widows (Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking) as well as many books that deal with the illness and dying of those we love. Romeo mentions that researchers have begun thinking about how adult daughters process the death of fathers and that the relationship between fathers and sons (Blake Morrison’s And When Did You Last See Your Father) and daughters and mothers (Meghan O’Rourke The Long Goodbye) is often explored more often.

Book Cover Starting with Goodby A Daughter's Memoir of Love after Loss
Starting with Goodbye Cover Art via

As someone who writes often about my own father’s illness and death, I was particularly interested in the father-daughter dynamic, especially since our fathers would have been of the same generations. I also found Romeo’s interactions with her mother and family members honestly portrayed. She mentions how her and her mother don’t really speak and spend their time shopping. But when her father was gone she was able to view her relationship with mother with fresh eyes.

She is also much younger than her two siblings and had a different relationship with her parents than they did. She also did not shy away from showing scenes where they may not have always agreed on the care of her parents, which was refreshingly honest.

Overall, I found it to be a realistic and thought-provoking look at how a middle-aged woman deals with her father’s death. We often don’t appreciate what is in front of us and begin to miss what annoys us most about our loved ones when they are gone. We can’t see that their peculiarities are what makes them captivating.

What Are You Waiting For? Eat the Good Cereal First

This morning, I finally used the new bottle of shampoo I bought two weeks ago. I made myself use up all of the old bottle before I tried the new brand. I was excited to try the new formula, which promised to keep my flyaways in check. It also smelled awesome, like a tropical vacation.

The last bottle was fine, but I picked it up in a hurry when I couldn’t find anything better. It didn’t really smell like anything and didn’t promise to do anything but clean my hair.

Bowl of marshmalllow sugary cereal
Photo by Leah Kelley on

We were talking about how when we were kids we could only have one box of cereal open at a time. If your mom went shopping and brought home a good box of cereal, in our house Cap’n Crunch, you had to finish the other cereal first. That was usually something less tasty like Cheerios or Corn Flakes. But once you’re an adult you don’t have to wait anymore. You can open the good cereal right away when you bring it home. It reminded me of something a friend once said to me. “We’re adults now, so we can eat the good cereal first.”As I looked around my shower, I noticed all the other things I was waiting to use. All the products I was doling out slowly so as not to run out. The special scrub and gel which smelled like spearmint and tea tree and promised to reduce stress, the new bottle of shower cream my sister gave me at Thanksgiving that smelled and felt luxurious that I had used once a week since. I even had leftovers of the special antimicrobial cleaner I was supposed to drain before a minor surgery sitting on the edge of the bathtub.

I could think of all the other boxes of “good cereal” I was waiting to eat.

I could think of other unopened boxes of “good cereal” in my life. I had two pre-paid sessions at a float pod I had never used after trying it last winter. I had money left on a gift card at a spa. I squirreled away trial bottles of expensive shampoo, body wash, and lotion that I bought from St. Vincent De Paul, for some day in the future.

And I even had a real cereal example. In the morning I rationed out my granola, only allowing myself a small bit on top of fruit and granola instead of the full bowl with milk that I wanted. Everywhere I looked, I was keeping myself in check for some far off day when what? When I would I would deserve all this stuff?

So I decided to stop waiting. I made an appointment to take a float and I’m bringing along my luxurious bath creams, shampoos, and lotions. I’m calling and making an appointment at the spa today. This morning I had a full bowl of granola for breakfast. I’m done waiting for the day when I’ll be worth it. Today is the day.

What about you? What is the “good cereal” you are waiting to eat? Let me know below in the comments.

Honest Graphic Memoir of Addiction, Loss, and Artistic Passion

Book Review GraphicHey, Kiddo is a graphic memoir that tells the story of Jarrett J. Krosoczka from the time he goes to live with his grandparents until he graduates from high school. The subtitle gets to the meat of the story: How I Lost My Mother, Found My Father, and Dealt with Family Addiction.

The book is told through Krosoczka’s eyes as he loses his mother after she goes to prison, though he doesn’t know why, and eventually learns who his father is. He describes his grandparents as very old, having lived through the depression, and smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. They also often drink heavily are a bit gruff, though are loving to him.

Since it is told through his point of view and what he knew at the time, we don’t exactly find out why his mom went to prison, though there are pictures showing what he learned about the circumstances later. We also learn that she is a heroin addict and there are references to it throughout the book, often through other characters or to what the family reads in the paper after she suffers an overdose or is arrested.youngadultelement108

He wrote the book for teens who may have lived through similar circumstances, but I found the book to be pretty sad and rough at times, so I’m not sure how a teen would read it. The moments that touched me the most were those between Krosoczka and his mother. There were numerous times when she didn’t show up for him as planned and I found those heartbreaking. It was also heartbreaking when they were together, as the relationship was odd after being apart for so long.

The book does provide hope in the form of Krosoczka’s father, who he only learns the identity of at age 15. They meet when he is 17 and the epilogue tells us that they were able to have a relationship along with his two children.

The memoir also focuses on how Krosoczka became an artist and how it saved him. It details the first class his grandpa paid for him to go to, how his mother and he sent drawings back and forth to one another, and how he drew to amuse his friends in class. The book includes these drawings letters and other mementos from his childhood. The chapter breaks use the pattern from the pineapple wallpaper from his grandfather’s house.

This is a book I wouldn’t normally read. It’s a teen book and a graphic memoir, hey_kiddo_insidebut I really enjoyed it. I first heard an interview with the author on Fresh Air and I was so moved by his story I wanted to read it. I have tried to read graphic books before but have trouble finishing them. This one really gripped me. The style is very casual with limited colors and burnt orange accents, an homage to his grandfather’s touch of style and use of pocket squares.

TED Talk

After reading the book I watched the Krosoczka’s TED talk which he did before the book was written and ultimately became the inspiration after people reached out to him and told him how his story was their story. I was moved by these points:

  •  Imagination saved his life and is now his vocation
  • Loving an addict is like Charlie Brown with a football. Every time you open your heart to love that person, you end up on your back.
  • Writing is using your imagination on paper.
  • His mom was a good person who made bad decisions.

Jarrett J. Krosoczka: How a boy became an artist

This talk paints the funny and touching story of a little boy who pursued a simple passion: to draw and write stories. With the help of a supporting cast of family and teachers, Jarrett J. Krosoczka tells how he grew up to create beloved children’s books.