My First Concussion

Four days ago – On the morning of Thursday, January 8 2015 I suffered my first concussion, as a result of me slipping and falling back on and hitting my head on my driveway. From that point on the events of the last days have been very difficult for me. I am sharing them here so I can later read and for future understanding.

So lets go over the events as I can recall them.

My wife had asked me to start our minivan so that it would be warmed up for her. After starting the van I recall closing the door and turning to walk towards the front of the van. This is where I slipped and fell backwards (my drive way is somewhat on a slant). I completely lost balance and fell back.

I remember the air being knocked out of me as I also hit my head on the ground, there was a dull clunk sound like a glass bottle and like a flash of bright lights. I was embarrassed about falling and attempted to get up right away and could not. I recall reaching up to the back of my head to feel for any bleeding and looking at my hand.  I couldn’t find a sense of direction; left- right, up – down, everything was spinning and I guess this is where I blacked out

Black out period – despite trying hard to do so, I do not recall these events properly

Now when I say black out, I am referring to loss of time or memory of events taking place.

The short version my wife found me outside, called 911. The local township police arrived followed by EMT’s who evaluated me and got me on a stretched and into the ambulance where I was soon after taken to the hospital. I was admitted to the ER for evaluation.


While at the hospital server tests and evaluation were done included a CT scan. I was later diagnosed with a concussion after the results of my tests and scan and later in the day released. I was instructed not do things that involve physical and mental activity.  I have been trying to do this.


Symptoms – Monday, January 12, 2015

  • Feeling tired
  • Feeling like I’m half asleep
  • Falling to sleep during the day; can’t keep my eyes open
  • Having issues concentrating, distracted
  • Off balance – when moving my head or walking around I get the spins (dizziness), when in bed the sensation of falling when on my back

Looks like its time to see what the Neurologist I’ve been put in contact with has to say


Update – Thursday, January 15, 2015

I went to the Neurologist office yesterday morning. Amazingly I was the first person in. The doctor did some evaluation checks and matched them with the notes and info sent over from the hospital. She had indicated that what I was feeling is relative to that of my injury and will subside.

Awesome news as I will be able to return to work on Monday and perhaps ease back into my daily activities. Frankly I am going a little nuts sitting around the house.

She said I am currently suffering form Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) which is caused by fluid in my inner ear and this should subside in time (week to weeks, even up to a months time and if it doesn’t more tests and treatment can be done. She offered me some medications but I declined them as I don’t wan’t anything which is going to make me wan’t to sleep or be zoned out.

Symptoms I have

  • Dizziness when moving my head – But this seems to happen only when I quickly turn my head
  • Dizziness when turning quickly while walking – I guess similar to that of turning my head quickly
  • Off balance – I still be a bit off balance but no more sensation that I am going to fall.  Perhaps I didn’t mention that prior.

Overall I am feeling good.

Oh and I must give a thumbs up to my niece “Jessica” who I spoke to about my symptoms; The issues I am experiencing are related directly with the “vestibular system”.  I guess all those years in school getting her Masters in Occupational Therapy you did learn something.


Update- Friday, January 23, 2015

I’ve been back to work this week.  Monday which was a hard day for me and took a lot to make it into the office, work the day and make it home. I kinda jumped in feet first and was overwhelmed.

After working from home the next week days I was able to make it into the office for a full Thursday and Friday work day.  Admittedly I am very drained mentally but keeping up. I am looking forward to a weekend of rest.

Symptoms Remaining

  • Dizziness when moving my head
  • Dizziness when turning quickly while walking
  • Off balance

Wishing You Happy New Year!

May the New Year bring you lasting happiness and success!

Happy New Year!

- Jermal Smith (jermsmit)

Holiday Care Packages for Teachers

My wife and I are thankful for all the teachers whom educate our kids year after year. To show this appreciation we send in a holiday care package to them to help them with class room supplies.


Some of you may be unaware that teachers, will reach into their own pockets to pay for supplies to help students threw-out the school year. A few rolls of paper towels, extra crayons, disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer, etc… and most importantly a “Thank You” goes a long way. After all these are the men and women our children spend time with and look up to.

I’d say its worth the effort, and the love.

Dryer Cleaning / Troubleshooting

This week like many weeks before it we are doing laundry as we normally do when noticed a smoke smell coming from our laundry room.  The smell was like that of a cigarette. The smell seemed to be coming from the dryer.

So why not open it up and take a look inside.

On inspection I noticed that the inside of the dyer was filled with a carpet of dryer lint.
Dryer lint built up over a five year period of usage and the lack of proper maintenance

This amount of dyer lint would cause excessive heat build up in your dyer causing the thermal sensor to stop the dyer before your items are dyed out. In-fact on further inspection this lint which covered the the bottom of the dyer seem to be burnt; shockingly to my surprise.  This would eventually cause a fire

The advice I can now offer any of you, is to open up and clean out your dryer *NOW* if you have never done so.
The risk of property damage and your life is a reality and all can be avoided with some simple steps.

While I was in the dyer I was able to remove the fins on the internal drum to remove the lost change and even found a few missing socks

Info on my dryer

Type: Kenmore Elite

Video I found online and used to assist me in working on my dryer


Other Photos 

Lint Tray assembly

Dryer Exhaust

QOTD: I’m good

Every time I want to do bad, she’s there to remind me that I’m good. - Jermal Smith 2014

jermsmitmas tree (Fraser Fir)

So here we are again, on the edge of the most wonderful time of the year.

After hours we have found this years tree, and  for the next 24 hours we will wait for the branches to open up and then its time to decorate it for the Holiday.

Below  is some info about the jermsmitmas tree, and please visit again to see it all dressed up.


Abies fraseri (Pursh) Poir.

Common Characteristics:

The Fraser fir branches turn slightly upward. They have good form and needle-retention. They are dark blue-green in color. They have a pleasant scent, and excellent shipping characteristics as well.


In many respects, Fraser fir and balsam fir are quite similar, although the geographic ranges of the two species do not overlap. Some scientists even suggest that because of the many similarities, the two species were once a single species which has since evolved into the present-day forms.
Fraser fir was named for John Fraser (1750-1811), a Scot botanist who explored the southern Appalachian Mountains in the late 18th century. The species is sometimes called Southern balsam or Southern balsam fir. Locally Fraser fir is known as “She balsam” because of the resin filled blisters on the tree’s trunk. Red spruce, often associated with Fraser fir, is called “He balsam” and lacks the distinctive blisters.

Fraser fir is a uniformly pyramid-shaped tree which reaches a maximum height of about 80 feet and a diameter of 1-1.5 feet. Strong branches are turned slightly upward which gives the tree a compact appearance.

Leaves (needles) are flattened, dark-green with a medial groove on the upper side and two broad silvery-white bands on the lower surface. These bands consist of several rows of stomata (pores). Leaves are 1/2 to one inch long, have a broad circular base, and are usually dark green on the upper surface and lighter on the lower surface. On lower branches, leaves are two-ranked (occurring in two opposite rows). On upper twigs, leaves tend to curl upward forming a more “U-shaped” appearance.

Fraser fir is monecious meaning that both male and female flowers (strobili) occur on the same tree. Flowers are receptive in May to June depending on elevation and other environmental conditions. The species is wind pollinated, and cones mature in a single season. At maturity, cones are 2-2 1/2 inches long with bracts longer than the scales and appearing reflexed (bent over). The presence of these visible cone bracts is a distinguishing feature of Fraser fir as compared to balsam fir. Upon ripening in September to November, cones fall apart leaving an erect central core. Red squirrels are the primary consumers of seeds.

Bark is usually gray or gray-brown, thin, smooth with numerous resin blisters on young trees. As trees become older, the bark tends to develop into thin, papery scales.

Fraser fir is intermediate in shade tolerance and is usually found on fertile, rocky to sandy soils which are acidic. Natural associates are red spruce, beech and yellow birch. Rhododendrons also are found in this ecosystem, and add significant beauty during their flowering season.

The most damaging natural enemy is the balsam woolly adelgid (formerly called an aphid) which is an imported, wingless insect. Phytophthora root disease attacks Fraser fir, but is most harmful at lower elevations. Some scientists also point to air pollution as a contributor to the decline of many natural red spruce-Fraser fir stands.

The combination of form, needle retention, dark blue-green color, pleasant scent and excellent shipping characteristics has led to Fraser fir being a most popular Christmas tree species. North Carolina produces the majority of Fraser fir Christmas trees. It requires from 7 to 10 years in the field to produce a 6-7 feet tree.

Fraser fir has a somewhat restricted range. It grows naturally only at elevations above 4,500 feet in the Southern Appalachian Mountains from southwest Virginia, through western North Carolina, and into eastern Tennessee. A number of stands occur in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Its highest native habitat is Mt. Mitchell, North Carolina (6,684 feet) which is the highest U.S. point east of the Mississippi River. A variety of balsam fir, phanerolepis, occurs in the Northeast United States and Canada and as far south as West Virginia and Virginia (38 degees north latitude). This variety is best described as an intermediate form between balsam fir and Fraser fir and may represent a remnant of a once continuous range of the two species.

Most propagation is by seeds although propagation by cuttings, and grafting has also been used for special purposes. Propagation via tissue culture has been attempted but not on a large scale.

Principal uses are generally the same as for balsam fir, although Fraser fir has been used less for timber because of the difficult terrain on which it grows. The wood is soft and brittle and may be used for pulpwood, light frame construction, interior knotty paneling, and crates. Fraser fir boughs have often been used for “pine pillows” and bed stuffing.

Info source on tree

Homeless People Were Asked To Write Down A Fact About Themselves. Their Answers May Surprise You

Several homeless people were asked to write down a fact about themselves to share with others who just simply dismiss them and pass on by. You may be surprised by the answers.

For all we know the person that could have could have made a breakthrough in the fight to cure Cancer could be among them. It’s best that we rethink before we judge.

And remember… Even those with jobs can be homeless and those with homes can be poor.  We are all in this thing called life together, lets make the best of it and help one another.


First Sunday of Advent 2014

The Advent season marks the beginning of the Christian year across many western churches in the United States. Its length varies from 22 to 28 days, starting on the Sunday nearest St Andrew’s Day and encompassing the next three Sundays, ending on Christmas Day. (Advent Sunday is the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day).

First Sunday of Advent 2014 starts on Sunday, November 30, 2014


It is uncertain as to when exactly the celebration of Advent was first introduced in the Christian church. Some sources say that Advent began on November 11 (St Martin’s Day) at some time in the fifth century in the form of a six-week fast leading to Christmas. Advent was reduced to its current length at some stage in the sixth century and the fasting was later no longer observed. Advent is originally a time to reflect and prepare for Christmas similarly to how Lent is in preparation for Easter. Advent has sometimes been referred to as the Winter Lent. In recent times the restrictions that Advent brings to Christians have become more relaxed.

Advent traditions spread from Europe to the United States, especially the Advent calendar, which became very popular in the United States after World War II as American military personnel and their families who were stationed in Germany brought them home and made them a part of the pre-Christmas traditions. Some people credit President Dwight Eisenhower with helping the tradition of the Advent calendar spread in the United States during the 1950s.

What do people do?

Many Christians in the United States attend a church service on the first Sunday of Advent and may engage in activities such as special prayers and contributing to ideas on enhancing peace. Many Advent traditions are observed in the United States in the prelude to Christmas Day. For example, the Advent wreath is becoming increasingly popular in the United States. The wreath can be seen in various churches across the nation around this time of the year.

Advent calendars of all designs are also given as gifts at this time of the year. The calendars feature openings in the form of windows or doors that are numbered to count the days to Christmas. Calendars may contain chocolates, toys, or candy and are given to children as a fun way to observe the Christmas countdown. Some traditional Advent calendars show 24 days but many Advent calendars showing 25 days, with the last opening on Christmas Day.

The church year begins in September 1 in many eastern Christian churches, so Advent begins at a different time to when it starts in the western churches. The eastern equivalent of Advent is called the Nativity Fast, which runs for 40 days.


Personal Note: I may not practice, but will guide my children, and perhaps one day…. one day  – Jermal

Workout – Plan For December: Happy New Year

Now that the holidays are here and the new year is approaching, its time for me to attempt a nice program to push myself into the next level of my workouts. To do this I need to write out a plan of what I will be targeting week after week.

So here it is… And for each I plan to take a full day off between workouts; and if I do go to the gym it will be interval cardio walking, running only.

Back and Biceps (3 sets of 8-10 reps)

Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps (3 sets of 8-10 reps)

Shoulder Workout (3 sets of 8-10 reps)

Leg Day Workout (3 sets of 8-10 reps) And be ready not to walk the next day

Note – there will be a minimum of 50 push-ups done, with the target of 100 per each 24 hour day.

Thanks to for the video links

Thankful I have something to be Thankful for.

Originally Shared By a Friend {{name not posted}} but his feelings in this are shared by my family and I also, as well as many others.


While growing-up, I guess I took it for granted that my entire family would gather around a table and take in all the joys of Thanksgiving. What did the day offer? It began with waking-up to the intense smell of wonderful food cooking in the kitchen. Everything, down to the pasta, was homemade.

Then, there was a trip to Mass to give thanks to God for the many blessings we were given (even though sometimes life was filled with difficulties, we knew there was strength needed to get through them). Watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was a must. Hours later, family would arrive (many members) and gather around a table where a feast would last for hours on end… Filled with laughter, intense conversation, and priceless moments of family bonding.

The kids would all watch “March of the Wooden Soldiers” and then pies, cakes, pastries, nuts, and many more hours of talking until it was time to dig into the leftovers. Our family day was completed late in the evening and then everyone went home and the house was cleaned-up.

NO ONE felt the need to shop and spend precious time fighting with other consumers that had been groomed to believe that “SHOPPING” and not family time was the focus of the day. Retail is winning a war on family time. Each year, these monsters on Wall Street develop ways of enticing more people into leaving their families and “experience” Black Friday or shopping on Thanksgiving Day.

Forgive me by stepping on anyone’s “fun”…but if shopping is the focus of the holidays, there is no real holiday. Yes it is true, doctors, nurses, military personal, rescue workers and first responders all must work on Thanksgiving (trust me…my father was a fire captain, so I know), but if our society places all emphasis on this shopping frenzy, then we have lost our collective soul.

So, if you are out there shopping on Thanksgiving, I hope that somehow your needs are met. As for me, I’ll be eating my turkey sandwich at 8:00PM nestled in-between my family watching a movie and being Thankful I have something to be Thankful for.

- A Friend, A Teacher, A Mentor