Wednesday, April 11, 2012


As a kid I remember listening to a radio show with my friends just waiting for the next opportunity to call in and win a prize. On one occasion, yes only one, I managed to call in and correctly spell vacuum. I was elated to have won four tickets to the circus! All the late nights listening and waiting for the perfect opportunity paid off. At the time I had little experience with vacuuming but I knew that it was loud, dirty, and something that happened every week when my mom would clean. I'm not sure how I got out of this chore but I managed to avoid it for awhile. Now, 20 years later, I have a new appreciation for vacuums. With three furry dogs and three roommates vacuuming occurs at a new level. When I find a product I like I often imagine what I would say if I were to write a product review. I love my vacuum cleaner so I'll start with that one.

I've been in love with my Dyson for four years now. I even decked it out with stickers to mark how much I love it! If you are debating what vacuum to purchase don't hesitate to spend the extra money on this dust sucking machine. Investing hundreds in a cleaning device may seem extravagant, but every time I use this engineering marvel I'm thankful to have spent the extra money.

#1. Easy Access Receptacle. Unlike traditional vacuums that have dirty and clumsy bags, the Dyson has an easy access receptacle that takes seconds to empty before you are back to being a cleaning machine. The receptacle easily unclips from the vacuum and just as easily snaps back into place. I don't have to worry about having the right size bags on hand or wasting time figuring out how to secure the receptacle back into place. In the unfortunate event that you suck up some sticky mess it's very easy to rinse or wipe out.

#2. Suction. The suction is awesome. If you like seeing progress while you vacuum this is the right machine for you. I feel accomplished after a each run over the carpet because it actually picks up those stubborn fuzzies, pet hair, and rogue debris. Unlike other products, I don't waste time rubbing the aforementioned matter into the carpet hoping that if I repeat the motion enough times the matter may disappear. My Dyson really picks it up. For those of you in disbelief you can see the proof in the full receptacle.

#3. Attachments. The extra long hose and attachments make reaching for cobwebs, corners, ledges, and other out of reach places. Again, the Dyson stands above other machines because it maintains strong suction in the attachment mode. The flexible hose also makes it easy to clean multiple locations without having to haul the machine around close to you.

#4. Customer Support. At one point in time my Dyson lost some of it's suction. I thought this was unusual so I called the support number. The person on the other line was extremely helpful and solved my problem in minutes. She walked me through a quick adjustment and I was on my way again.

#5. Quality. This machine has had to contend with loads of dog fur, spilled flour, confetti, and of course dust for years. I've had to call customer support once and I've never had any repair issues. Dyson's are made to last and withstand bumping into walls, furniture, and doors.

#6. Overall Awesomeness. This is that special category that only is awarded to products deserving of significant attention. Dyson's are user friendly, functional, long-lasting, good looking, well supported machines.

If you have any doubts about what vacuum to purchase I hope this swayed you to purchase a Dyson. You won't regret it!

Sunday, April 08, 2012

To Write.

I recently endeavored to complete twelve weeks of serious goal-setting and, more importantly, following through of said goals. I chose four goals using a work book type journal thingy by Seth Godin who took his cues from the goal setting master Zig Ziglar. I won't yet privilege the public to these four goals. But I'll let you in on one of them, writing.

One of my goals is to write. Just write. In college I majored in chemistry and generally scoffed at any majors that did not house in the science buildings. I would much rather complete five math problems, multiple choice tests, and hours in the lab than actually have to write. I didn't understand why students would spend thousands of dollars on studying the nuances of literature, writing, or communication when the hard sciences lured promises of an actual income after four years in a liberal arts college. That was until I decided I had had enough of the lab, didn't want to pursue a PhD in science or medicine, and decided that what I really wanted to do was to become a therapist. (Yes I ended up spending thousands of dollars to end up working in a non-profit living below the poverty level, then going to grad school. Feel free to applause the irony.)

A couple years after I graduated with a degree in chemistry (I wanted to pursue material science), I plunged into a world of writing and feeling. What the *%$# is this? Quite the opposite of the sterile, rigid, and black and white nature of the lab.

I always thought I was a bad writer, which in retrospect was perhaps why my aversiion to the humanities was so strong. I told myself I was a bad writer and good at math and science. I loathed the days when any sort of educator would return a paper chalk full of red pen denoting my numerous failures. After spending hours procrastinating and finally handing in a paper, I rarely revisited the words I wrote. I anxiously awaited the score scribbled on the first or last page, usually accompanied with a few remarks that showed the professor or T.A. had actually read my work. I filed the hard copy away avoiding any further interactions with the work,

What I discovered in graduate school, however, was that I actually enjoyed writing. And I actually appreciated what the graders had to say. I appreciated the subjects I once loathed and realized I wasn't really the terrible writer I believed myself to be. Since I graduated, I have not written anything but a slew of emails, procedures, and patient related documents. I've dreamt of someday writing a book or publishing a research paper but put that on the back burner until I'm "more seasoned" or "experienced" in my field. When my little goal journal politely asked me to consider what I wanted to focus on, I decided to revive my once hated, then loved, and finally ignored task of writing.

I initially entitled this entry "My Dog." Seriously, before I entered any text into the main section I wrote "My Dog." I have not written anything about my dog as you can tell. Not sure how I got into my history of writing after entitling this post "My Dog" but here it is. I guess I will have to tell you more about how my dog is the best alarm clock tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mental Health Parity 2010

This is a big deal when and if it actually happens and insurance companies don't go crazy in the meantime...
Check it out!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

sometime soon

I may just write something again sometime soon. In the meantime I am watching my roomate and dog do yoga together. She does downward dog, then he does. It's amazing!
You should check out the Film Call and Response though and educate yourself about human trafficking. It'll break your heart likely, and perhaps move you to fight for justice. I'm going on Saturday night.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

why my dog is hilarious and [somewhat] not that smart.

I just returned from a morning of appointments and errands. As usual I left Spike inside to nap and occasionally get into the random foodstuff container. He is smart in that when he is distraught that I haven't paid him due attention he decides to tear up mail or an easily accessible package of food. With serving, walking other peoples dogs, and then school I admit my attention toward Spike has been menial of late. Which will likely explain the following episode.

After bringing my groceries inside I let Spike outside. Usually he stays close to the car hoping that he gets to go with me to my next destination, even if I'm not going anywhere. Today he decided he was not going to get left behind. Standing a few feet from the back of my car Spike decides to take a chance at getting into the car by launching himself full force into the CLOSED door of my hatchback! All of a sudden I see him take this giant leap smack into the back of my car. His four legs all sprawled and claws trying to grab hold to the roof. Oh dog of desperation! Gravity quickly took over and Spike, a bit confused, planted himself back on the ground and gave me the most curious look-"what just happened?" (in his eyes).

"Um, well Spike, you just threw yourself headfirst, full throttle into a stationary object."

"oh. okay. ho hum." (my ex-roommate does the greatest Spike impression!)

I offered my condolences then had to laugh.

Then check out the paint on my new car...luckily both spike and the car came away sans injury.

I say [somewhat] not that smart because that is obvious...He is smart in the way he will get back at me if I'm not around enough. Generally he finds something that is mine and chews it up. Luckily he doesn't get mad all that often but he has eaten quite a few towels, old pizza boxes, a shoe, a book cover, and other recyclables within reach of his outside cable. Many times I've gotten in my car to leave only to see him go for a large piece of cardboard with a look of "take that ALISON!"

Spike also has a huge flab of skin on his neck that when pulled up looks like a fin. It also can be put into a pony tail. This is entertaining.

Spike knows how to sit, shake (although he hates it when you actually touch his feet so he just puts his paw up and tries not to have it touched), lay down, and go to his bed. The hilarious part about his tricks, however, is the fact that he just knows the behaviors not the word associated with them. So as soon as I get out a treat he goes through all of the tricks at once until he gets his food. I'm not too concerned about this as you can tell.

Successful car entry. Spike as a shark or dolphin. Spike asking "WHAT are you doing to me Alison?"

Generally I don't anthropomorphize animals. Today, however, is an exception. Spike says "hello" to all of you ;)

Monday, June 30, 2008


Meet my tattoo.

A Serious Question.

Why is it that a man who can sing or play an instrument or do both well so enchanting/compelling/captivating?
Truly, what are your thoughts?