Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Overnight at the Lizzie Borden House!

 For Rocco's birthday gift, Elizabeth rented out the three rooms on the top floor of the Lizzie Borden house and we spent the night there ("we" being Liz, Rocco, me, Jennifer (our sister), Nate (our brother), Kat (Nate's fiancee), and Liz's boyfriend). This is one of the most haunted houses in the country, where numerous ghost investigations for TV shows have happened over the years, and while we'd all toured the house in the past, none of us had ever spent the night. It really was a memorable and fun night! 

We did a ghost hunt with one of the tour guides at the house from 10 pm-12 am and that was really, really good. There is definitely ghostly activity happening in that house. I'll share the memorable experience that I had: I was sitting on the couch that's in the spot where Andrew Borden was killed, and I suddenly felt a cold spot on my lap that lasted for a few seconds. A few minutes later, I felt it in the front of my legs. It was too random and sudden and specific to have been a draft. Perhaps it was the ghost of a child who sat down on my lap and then later sat on the floor and leaned up against my legs. The house is known to be visited by the spirits of children, likely the two children who lived next door and were killed (by their mother 😢). 

This is the room that Jennifer and I shared. I'm happy to report that we didn't have anything spooky happen to us there during the night!

I love old-fashioned things.

Our bedroom was the "Andrew Jennings Room," named after Lizzie's defense lawyer. He did a good job defending her since she was found innocent when I'm 99% sure she was guilty of being involved.

We found a creepy doll in the room that Nate and Kat stayed in. 😨

Me and Jen and the creepy doll

This is the back of the house. We were up on the top floor.

In the kitchen (stating the obvious). This is where our delicious breakfast was cooked in the morning.

A (flattering 😆) candid picture of some of us in the living room

Do you see the woman's face on the wall? This is down in the basement, and it's so bizarre!

A hatchet in the basement, complete with red uplighting. 😯

This is also down in the basement, directly below the spot where Andrew Borden was killed. His blood leaked into the floorboards and the bloodstains can still be seen in the wood. As fun as it is to investigate the house, what happened to him and his wife was tragic and evil.

Pretty lace curtains lit up by the sun in the morning

The stairwell up to the third floor is unique because of this door that can open and close over it. This is how it was set up when the Bordens lived here. It's weird (and creepy) that you could be locked up there with no way to get out. Unless you chopped through the door with a hatchet. Ba-dum-dum.

The third floor sitting room, where we sat. 😄

 I really enjoyed our night at the Lizzie Borden House, and I hope to do it again in the future!

Monday, May 16, 2022

March Birthday Celebrations!

 March is a big birthday month in my family because there are three of them and they're all close together. Elizabeth and Rocco both have theirs on the fifth, and John's is three days later on the eighth. So we do the sensible thing and have a party for all of them together. 🥳🎉🥳🎉🥳

The opening of the presents by the birthday trio...

The lady at the bakery spelled John's name wrong, which was kind of annoying (it's not a hard name to spell!) but instead of complaining I chose to see it for what it is--kind of funny and not a big deal. At least the cake was good! Just not the spelling. 😆

This ghost cake was so cool, and it was delicious! It was a donut cake.

 It was a ghost because Rocco likes ghosts and ghost-hunting, and his big present was an overnight stay at the very haunted Lizzie Borden house. (I'll be writing about that fun and memorable experience tomorrow!)

The birthday trio

John's big presents from me were a new bathrobe and a bag for wrestling with his initials embroidered on it. His team calls him "J.C." so that's why I chose his initials over his name.

Chillin' in the new b-robe 😆

I can't believe that John is 17 now. My little boy really has grown up. I intend to enjoy this last year before he becomes a legal adult. 😲 There will be lots of belting out of "You are 17, going on 18" sung in the voice of Rolf from The Sound of Music. 😁

This was his birthday gift from seminary. It's a verse from Exodus because they're studying the Old Testament this year. I enjoyed this gift 😆--I hadn't had Honey Smacks in a long time!

Not to be forgotten was my little man Sam! His half-birthday was on March 20th, and we celebrated with half of a cake (we ate the other half too 😄). It's fun to remember and celebrate half-birthdays!

Six more months until he's officially a teenager! Actually, at the time of this writing, it's four more months! 😱

Friday, May 13, 2022

February 2022 Randoms

Oh hello, it's Donna in the Dark again!

I got a pair of cute owl pajamas that were on sale. 

I also got a set of owl-patterned sheets that were on sale. They're soooo soft and comfortable and I love them! I think high-quality bedding is a totally worthwhile investment. 
These are just the pillowcases.

I got a part-time job in February working for! It's headquartered in Silicon Valley so technically I can say that I work for a Silicon Valley company, for whatever that's worth. Which isn't much--if only the pay were S.V. equivalent. 😆

I review and edit lessons before they go live on the website. I really like it because I truly enjoy editing and working with writers, and I love reading and learning, and the lessons I edit are on a variety of interesting subjects in history, literature, the humanities, science, business, and even math. In February I did the training online and I started working at the beginning of March. As many new things do, it started out a little rough but has gotten much better, and I'm really enjoying the work now. I like having a job that I can do from home too. It's a great way to ease back into the working world. I just wish it paid better and that there was more work to do on a daily basis.

I was my own valentine (again) this year and bought myself a dozen chocolate-covered strawberries from Edible Arrangements because I love myself 😊. They're the best! 

2-22-22 was a fun and unique date! And it was very cool that it was on a Twosday!

Since my editing job isn't going to provide me with enough income, and because I don't have the bandwidth right now to take on a full-time professional salaried job that is commensurate with my education and experience, I decided to look into medical transcription, which can be done from home and pays pretty well. 

I watched a webinar done by a business that will train and hire you, thought about it for a few days, and decided that a combination of editing and medical transcription could definitely work for me (no pun intended). I can do them both from home and set my own hours. There are some drawbacks, but I think this is going to be best for me while I figure things out over the next year with this new and unexpected path my life has taken. 

I bought the training program and have put in about 30 hours so far. I try to do at least an hour a day during the week, which I'm going to have to increase in order to be done with the training by the fall, which is my goal. Then, if all goes as planned, I'm hired! So right now I feel very encouraged and blessed by my employment opportunities. They're not glamorous or high-profile, but they work 😉 for me at this stage of my life.

I was so disappointed with this movie. It was more like "Death on the Woke Nile." "Murder on the Orient Express" was much, much better. This could have been a really good movie, but it wasn't, and I was a little outraged on Agatha Christie's behalf. 👎😝

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Wisdom, Humor, and Inspiration in February

I found this quote when I was doing research for my church talk about learning and teaching the gospel. Example is a powerful teacher.


I like this, and I believe it's pretty much true, too.

I can relate to this lady 😆

"Of all the medical conditions I see, hair loss, especially in women, causes more tears." Amen to that! But not anymore for me. I now have "lusher locks" and it was easier than I ever imagined!

If I ever get cancer--which I don't plan on doing, but you never know what will happen in the roller coaster of life--I'm going to get this book.

This is what a healthy lifestyle is, and not just for avoiding or treating cancer: "a 24/7 lifestyle, a self-empowered mindset, and a long-term commitment."


This is hard, but it works. And it gets easier.

This could be talking about me! 
I lost my husband (not to death, but to his own tragic choices), and these strategies work really well for me. Being organized and maintaining routines and planning my days helps me to stay mentally, physically, and emotionally healthy no matter what I'm going through. And when things have been especially tough, the last part of this advice really helped me.


There's a dangerous side to the body acceptance movement. 

I watched a webinar done by a former college admissions officer and it was helpful and informative. I still can't believe that John is gearing up for the whole college admissions process.

I'm a long-time fan of the Pomodoro Method! I've been using it for years, and it works well.

This is great advice. I've had to think a lot about my time and how I use it as I've gotten back into the working world.


I'm a big believer in self-sufficiency, a.k.a. self-reliance. Among other things, I now regularly bake my own bread and do a summer garden, and I'm more aware of where my money is going and how to hold on to more of it.

This was a nice article about virtue. I'm far from perfect and I make mistakes every day, but I know that I'm a genuinely good-hearted person with high moral standards, and I love the peace that comes from living a virtuous life.

"Realize that virtuous living is a choice and decide to follow righteous living." There really is no better way to live!

This is encouraging. 
Financially my life is going to be very different from what I thought it would be, and while it can be scary and overwhelming, I know that I can do it and that I'll be okay. Better than okay, I can thrive! (Famous last words, ha ha!)