A Chocolate Box

This is my box of chocolates; you never know what you're gunna get

August 15, 2013 10:22 pm

Thankful Thursday: THE SUMMER OF JEN

As you all know, my job went up in flames (almost literally) this summer, but they generously paid me full salary. I was reminded a few days ago of the Seinfeld episode where George gets fired, but gets severance pay for the summer. He calls it The Summer of George. Thus, I have decided to call this summer: The Summer of Jen!

What did I do with my summer? Well, to start, I finished transferring all the home videos to DVD, read 11 books, had a Harry Potter marathon, road-tripped to Colorado with the fam to see my sister, spent quite a bit of time on Amazon, caught up on 2 TV series, watched 13 seasons of various other TV shows, watched countless other movies on netflix, watched ALL the behind the scenes of the Lord of the Rings extended edition (that’s what, 18 hours?), fixed a painting from last semester, painted and donated a painting for an online art auction, did a paint study for my senior art project, studied a book for my computer science classes, designed 2 headbands, knit 3 of them, designed and knit a pair of legwarmers, and knit an afghan for 6 weeks.

People ask what I did this summer, but it’s hard to sum up. And that’s the sad (but also happy part): it has summed up. Yesterday I packed from 2pm-2am (with breaks for food, back-stretching, and 2 episodes of White Collar with the fam). It’s always sad packing up because it means I have to back to work, school, homework, little sleep, not-so-tasty food….but this time it’s even more sad; it’s my senior year. This is my last year of work, school, homework, little sleep, and not-so-tasty food. My friends are from all over the country, so who knows when I’ll see them again. This is the last year of late-night Yogurtland runs, midnight hikes, skinny dipping—-jk. just checking to see if you’re still paying attention =)—- But this is it. This is the last time my parents will move me into my dorm room. This is my last pair of college roommates. This is the last semester of required chapel attendance. Freshman year seems like an eternity ago, but it doesn’t seem like senior year is already here.

I am part of a leadership program this year, so we get to go to school 11 days early. My parents and the boy moved me in to my room today, and we have already had a meeting and then a Q&A with the president and his wife. Tomorrow we head off to the Channel Islands, and after Sunday, we have a bunch of meetings and organizing events, and oh! we help move in the freshman. Classes start on the 26th (haha, joke’s on them! I don’t have classes on Mondays!) and the next thing I’ll know, I’ll be walking across the stage with a $200,000 diploma.

Then what? 

(ps. I’m keeping count on how many people ask me what I’m doing after college. So far this year, it’s at 1. Just wait until Spring semester)

August 7, 2013 6:45 pm
Please Use Your Words: Playing Doctor


Home Center’s theme has once again changed, and our classroom is now the proud location of Colorado’s most envied “Doctor’s Office,” complete with two entire sets of Fisher Price medical supplies. Nothing but the latest and greatest equipment for these ambitious tots….And I’ll give you one guess…

July 8, 2013 3:34 pm

It’s Summer when…

It’s Summer when you sleep in as long as possible because you know when you wake up, it’ll be over 90º in your house, and over 100º outside. It’s summer when you wear the same clothes for 3 days in a row and you only change cuz you can no longer stand the smell of yourself or have to go into public. It’s summer when you have a huge list of productive things to do in your spare time (which is constantly) but you don’t do them for weeks cuz taking a nap or watching a lizard climb up the window outside takes less effort.

Well today, I’m going to cross off something from my list: blog about my trip to Colorado.

My family loves to travel…well we all at least like to camp; I don’t think my brother would ever leave California if he had a choice. Anyways, about a month ago, the Crockett family set out to Colorado (pronounced “call-er-ADD-o”). We spent about 3 days tugging our tent trailer around to various campsites. It was all fine and dandy, but we really wanted to get to Grapenut. Some days the drive felt so long that it seemed like we’d never reach CO. The Boy decided that we had been taught wrong in geography class and that Utah is actually the largest state in the U.S. Here is the picture he drew depicting the true dimensions of our country:

But eventually we made it to the Centennial State and set up camp outside their house (we’re all allergic to cats so we slept outside).

We had a great few days with Lisa and Matt. We went to Boulder:

…went scenic driving and played on old, abandoned rail road tracks:

…played games, and just hung out:

It was a great week. We even got to put another sticker on our tent trailer map of places we’ve been (note: there is not Rhode Island on here, despite my encouragement to visit the tiny state many years ago): 

One fun story about the week was their dog, Blaze. Last Christmas, they came to visit and Blaze was just a puppy. She was scared of everyone at first, but soon warmed up to us all, she especially loved me: 

Well now she is a little older, and doesn’t remember any of us, but once again, she warmed up to everyone…well, almost everyone. She hates me. “Hate” is a strong word, you say? Well Blaze doesn’t care. She hates me even still. I did nothing to her that I can remember. I teased her playfully a bit when we first arrived, but I do that to all animals (even her upon our last meeting). Blaze spent the entire week avoiding me: slinking under the coffee table when I walked by, going 3 rooms out of her way to run past in hopes I wouldn’t see her, and climbing into the shoe rack (to hide behind the shoes) when I wanted to walk out the door. Needless to say, we don’t have any cute pictures together during this trip. On the plus side, the cat, Teddy, loves me. She’s not so fond of visitors, but she would sit by me, waiting patiently, as I ate cereal in the morning. She would play with me in the evening when she wanted to get back at Blaze for bother her. Yes, I do say I have made another feline friend.

Overall, it was a great trip. Some very pretty drives, and some very not-so-pretty drives. We had a lot of fun, and even went to a Cracker Barrel for the first time in 9 years. Why, California, do you not have a Cracker Barrel? On our last night, we stayed in the exact same campground in which we spent our last night of our sabbatical almost 10 years ago. Someone was in our spot from last time, so we settled with the site next to it…they probably thought it strange that out of the empty row of spots to choose from, we chose the one right next to them. Oh well, not my problem! =)

The Crockett (and Horner) family photo.

June 28, 2013 10:40 pm

Summer Daze

This summer has had its ups and downs, but today was definitely an up. I woke up early (yes, 9 am is early in my summer) for some reason, and though my plan was to run and then paint, I instead watched a few episodes of Psych and got caught up with the Pintrest happenings. By one in the pm, I was ready for my scheduled Skype date with my close friend Jess. It was so good to catch up with her and hear about all her exciting travels from her Mayterm abroad. It made me miss my travels abroad, but I’m so glad she had great adventures. She is such a blessing to talk to, always patiently listening to my rants, and offering supreme words of wisdom and comfort. After an hour and a half, we realized we had things to do, so we said our farewells until the next time.

But she was not the only happy happening of my day: I also bought a bunch of yarn for a throw that I’m going to throw together (puns come so fluently to me, don’t they =) ). Then I sketched the logistics for the blanket. Since I was in such a creative mood, I also sketched out different ideas and possibilities for my Senior Art Project, and as long as I can get the medium to work, I think it will be a good project. Since I’m on top of the game with the senior art project, I figured I might as well keep the ball rolling and work on my Senior Computer Science project. So productive. 

At this point, I was too exhausted and hot to do anything else—not the kind of hot I know you all are thinking, but the kind of hot where it’s 104ºF outside, and 93ºF inside. It was so hot that we could barely move, let alone do anything more significant than blow our noses. Thus, I sat and read Gathering Blue: my 9th book of the summer so far.

I thought my thrills of the day had reached the peak, but I was wrong. It got even better. My dad came home with 2 packages…for me!!! One of them almost brought me to tears: huge manilla envelope that was stuffed with a staff T-shirt, a counselor name-badge, a 2013 pin, a rubber bracelet, a calendar with all the camp events of the summer, a huge hand-made stuffed-turtle comfort-pillow, and a card signed by all the staff members I never met from the job I was supposed to work at this summer. It was the sweetest thing work has ever done for me.

As soon as I got over the shock of this care-package, I moved on to the next one. This one was from my beautiful and wonderful roommate from last semester. To give a brief backstory, there are videos on the YouTube in which kids tell stories and their parents act them out with the kids’ voices dubbed over. One of our favorite Kid History videos (that’s what they’re called. look it up if you haven’t seen it) is Episode 6: Healthy Food. You have to watch it to really appreciate the gift, but stuffed into a small box were Sunglasses, a lollypop, many mints in money printed wrappers (“they’re white, they’re yummy, and they make my mouth all tinglwy. but you can only eat one, cuz they’re too tinglwy”), an ice-cream cone (not “in a cup!”), a ring pop, balloons, cut-out stars, quotes from the video, and RedVines (a treat from the pantry that aren’t too hard to bite). You can’t really understand how happy this makes me until you watch the video, know I have it all memorized, and quote it in daily conversations. Needless to say (sorry Mumzy, I know you hate that phrase, but you did say the word “baby” today, so we’re even), this gift filled me with overwhelming joy, and this day has probably been the most exciting that I’ve had at home all summer (Grapenut, the trip to visit you isn’t included in “at home” so don’t be mad at me; I’ll post about that in the next few days).

Thanks for all the love, friends!

P.S. Below is a picture of the package my roommate gave me =D (go watch the video now by copying and pasting this into your web browser. do it! best 8 minutes ever: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fh0NLQJfAYU)

June 6, 2013 2:29 pm

And the Lord of the Rings analogy continues

I promise it won’t be as long as the movies…well at least the extended edition.

I thought yesterday was a bad day and the end of my story. Should have waited one more day. The ending of my summer job story is, in fact, not over. I got an email today from the camp I was supposed to be happily working at right now. I thought they were going to give more details about the fire and give a more formal apology for canceling my summer job. I was tremendously mistaken. Yes they are still canceling the summer and I still don’t have a job, but they are paying me (and everyone else) full salary for the summer! We haven’t even set foot in the gate, and got every cent of our wages! Talk about a miracle and answer to prayer! I can’t express how blessed I feel. Thank you Jesus!! Bring on the hours of painting, knitting, reading (almost done with the Harry Potter series), and studying computer science!

June 5, 2013 2:06 pm

Well there was that one day without tears

It’s bad enough having 5 minutes warning to evacuate your house, but then to be separated from your father, have no phone service, and then stay at a stranger’s house (well, a friend of Mumzy, but I didn’t really know her until now) with 5 dogs for 2 days…Let’s just say it wasn’t the happiest moment of my life.

—Don’t get me wrong, I sincerely appreciate her letting me, Mumzy, and the Boy bum the night in her spare rooms and just sit around the house waiting for the next news report. And Leo, the great dane, was tremendously big and fun (especially since he thought he was a lap dog, despite the fact that he’s 175 pounds)—

I’ve been cooped up in the house for a month, simply waiting for the day to start my job. I couldn’t express how excited I was to start. If you read my last post, you can get a glimpse into my elation, but that wasn’t even the half of it. Though it wasn’t an Art job, it was still a job, and it looked super fun and challenging at the same time. I couldn’t wait start. Make new friends, experience a different kind of camp, work directly with kids, etc. etc.

Well, as I think I mentioned, I live 2 minutes’ drive from this camp. So that means when I evacuated, they also had to evacuate. The first night of evacuation, the fire skirted my camp and went around their camp. Then the winds changed and came back towards both camps. It got more of their camp, and miniskirted our camp. But the plan was still to go along as planned, just a few days later.

Two days ago—the 3rd day of evacuation—we still had not really heard from my father, but talked to people who had seen him. We also heard that a back road to our camp was open. This meant an extra 45 minutes of driving, but I pumped up the beat and sang horribly as I followed in the car behind Mumzy. We were going home! Part of what made this weekend bearable was imagining I was a Jew in WWII and had to be cooped up in a house with no outside contact. So going home felt like such a liberation. On the way, we passed by the huge plume of smoke: the remains of the 32,000 acres that this fire destroyed. It was big, but we were thankful to be done with it…Oh naivety. About 2 miles away from our house, there was a rode block. We thought we’d just have to show ID and they’d let us pass. Nope! Apparently what the sheriffs were saying did not reach to the cops. The cops told us the fire was coming back this way and we needed to leave. No exceptions. We drove 100 miles to get home, just to be turned back a minute and a half away from the doorstep. It felt like I had been punched in the stomach. Oh the winds inside me were angry that day my friends. I had just spent what felt like a year (literally, it felt like a year in my mind. not joking) being locked in a house because outside was too smokey. There were dogs all over the place. Some very small, some very large. All of them loved me and wouldn’t leave me alone (although I didn’t mind Leo’s company). The news wouldn’t tell us anything useful. I had not seen or heard from my father in 4 days, but I knew he was safe and fine, but I couldn’t get to him because the cops told me it was unsafe and not fine! I had bad dreams the entire night before, and this was a continuation of it, yet I couldn’t wake up this time (this morning I awoke to be brother’s long feet on me. If that what it would mean to wake up from this nightmare again, I’d gladly take it). 

Short story longer, later that day, we found out a different road would be open for a short time, only for residence. I was not going to let anything stop me from getting home this time. If I had to pull a Forest Gump and run home, I would. No one will tell me what I cannot do. We past 3 check points, all saying we could go through, but on the 4th, wouldn’t you know it, the cop said we couldn’t go though. I had gone though annoyance (waking to my brother’s feet on me while he watched baseball), happiness (finally going home), anger (that I couldn’t get home), and disbelief (that we were literally .6 miles away [half a mile away!] from home and he wouldn’t let us through). Well I made up my mind this morning that I was going home and let me tell you, I was going home today! We turned around, but not in defeat. Oh no! not in defeat! If you’ve seen Lord of the Rings, you’ll remember the Black Gates of Morodor. Frodo and Sam were there! They just had to get past that one road block and they’d be in! But they couldn’t go that way. Did it stop them? No! They turned around, not in defeat, but in determination to get in, no matter what that entailed. Well that was me, the Boy, and Mumzy (I think my brother will be Smeagol since he has such long feet). We found an old, rocky, soft sand, windy, narrow dirt road that we forged our way through. And ladies and gentlemen, WE MADE IT HOME!!!!!

How I wish the story could end here, but recall the ending of Lord of the Rings…it never really ends. So, this brings us to yesterday. Someone in the whole firefighting situation thought it would be a good idea to start a controlled fire next to the property of our camp. Did they learn nothing in the past week?! Honestly! This fire has jumped several ridges and turned back, jumping over more ridges for the past 5 days. Do not start a “controlled” fire behind my house with 50 mph winds! Thank you very much. Needless to say, it got out of hand and smoke for the 4th time this weekend started looming over the top of the camp. The power went out again, and Mumzy started packing (not that we ever really unpacked, just in case). I refused to let this happen again. I am not evacuating. I am not driving anywhere. I will not be separated from my father again. I will sit here and read my book by flashlight. You put out that fire you started or you will have to deal with the fire inside of my mind right now. And let me tell you, forestry man, you better hope you never have to see that fire cuz not even Smokey the Bear can prepare you for that one!

As far as I know, they got the fire out cuz the power came back on.

Oh how I wish much more that this could be the ending of my story (and you too, since this is probably my longest story yet). But this why I am writing this post in the first place. The Painted Turtle (the camp I got the job at this summer, and the camp that also evacuated earlier in this story) has been keeping me updated throughout this whole horrible fiasco. The camp was fine after the first wave of fire, but the second wave hit harder and they got smoke damage to all the buildings and some of their grounds were burned. They called this morning, and the job I was so excited for, the job that gave me perseverance through all trips and car-sick rides to and from various places to be medically up-to-date, the job that finally took me away from the camp I have been working at since I was 14, the job that I wanted this summer more than any other job I applied for, and the job I finally got is now cancelled. CANCELLED! I’m completely stunned. I’ve unpacked and found the tags for as many things as I can return. I have no idea what to do. That job wasn’t just to keep me busy and productive over the summer. I need a job to pay for college. That was my income. Now I go back to school in 2 months and 10 days, and have no plan.

Any suggestion or connections to anything would be appreciated, so would prayers. Prayers for me, my family, both camps, school finances, everything. Thanks. Sorry for the long story, just to leave you with this depressing piece of news. But hey, at least my house didn’t burn down and with it the cell phone charger to the phone I plan on lasting for 24 more years.

June 1, 2013 10:25 am
Please Use Your Words: The Cinderellas


Finding the right man is hard at any age, but three-year olds might have it the worst. You see, three-year old boys do not have that little thing called tact…a trait that gradually develops with age. So when a three-year old girl asks a three-year old boy to be her boyfriend, he doesn’t politely…

May 25, 2013 11:51 am

the job market is tough

May 24, 2013 10:25 pm

News Flash!

My plan for life when I was a freshman was this: major in Art, take awesome, fun classes, get an internship somewhere artsy (hopefully after sophomore or junior year), continue working there after I graduate, and live happily ever after.

Well, my plan was boring. Yes, I’m majoring in Art, but because I added a minor in Computer Science some of the “awesome, fun classes” turned out to be, well, extremely difficult. I did not get an internship somewhere artsy, shoot, I didn’t even get an internship! I have no idea what I’ll do after I graduate, and we’ll see about the happily ever after part. I’ll keep you updated.

It’s not that I didn’t apply for internships, man, I applied for so many jobs and internships. This semester alone I applied to over 20 positions and had several interviews via Skype, phone, and in-person. These jobs were everything from a nanny to a cupcake froster. None of them seemed to fit (well, one did, but I didn’t get the job. Yay for interview experience, though! right?) I live in a pretty secluded area, a half hour away from town…and that town has an unemployment rate of 18%. I don’t have a car or place to stay, so it looked liked home was my fate again this summer. Year 8 working at this camp. And don’t get me wrong, I love home, my family, and the easy accessibility of working here. I can paint, knit, try out new hairdos (or see how long I can go without washing it) and finish all the family videos I started transferring to DVD last summer. Finals were a month ago, and home was getting pretty comfortable. But then, 31 hours ago, I got a phone call that offered me a position as a Cabin Counselor at a camp for kids with chronic (and I think occasionally terminal) illnesses. I applied for the job over a month ago, had 2-3 phone interviews, submitted my resume, and references, and now I’m officially working there! I start in a little over a week!

I’ve had multiple visits to the doctor to make sure I’m updated on all my shots and won’t give anyone chickenpox. I now have to get a one-piece bathing suit, watch, khaki shorts, and “camp clothes”. I have to fill out about 40 pages of forms, and read about 300 pages worth of info. Last night was a long night of reading the manual (and I’m probably the only one who will read it before orientation).

So that’s that! I can’t express how excited I am to start this! I’ve never had a job outside of the place I’ve lived (be that camp at home or college). This will be week after week of non-stop fun with kids ages 7-16. If you want to contact me, I won’t have my phone or internet much, so mail is best method (and the most fun, let’s be real). Contact me (now) if you want to contact me (later). See you at the end of summer!

May 5, 2013 5:21 pm
Please Use Your Words: Save Yourself


The boys in our preschool class far outnumber the girls. Yesterday we had fifteen three-year olds…..three of them were girls. Therefore, when the boys and girls both want the same thing, the boys usually win.

Yesterday, the desirable object on the playground was the “life-size” Little Tikes…