The light bulb went off in my head.

by Jotter girl on November 26, 2012


This is a phrase I use when I get an idea.  I’ve probably said it at least 18,615 times in my life.

“I was trying to figure it out and then, the light bulb went off in my head……….blah blah blah.”

When I said this for the 18,616th time a few weeks ago, it was brought to my attention that perhaps I should be saying the light bulb went on in my head.  After a moment of pause, I practically curled up in the fetal position with the thought that I have sounded like an idiot over and over again.  The following, is a story about patience and waiting for that light bulb to go off….or on.

If you’ll climb aboard the Way-Back machine, you’ll find me back in 1989 in Huntington, NY making a paper mache dog just for fun.  I formed its shape with a coat hanger and used newspaper to build out the body.  I coated it with paper mache and set it to dry.  Well, it sat drying for 23 years in one basement or another as I moved from this house to that one.  With each move, I would pat her on the head as I put her into a packing box, telling her that one day it would come to me what I needed to do to finish her.

Early this November, the light bulb went off in my head while  folding an old map into the shape of a dress.  Wouldn’t my little dog look fabulous if I covered her in maps?  Yes!  I brought her up from the basement and went to work right away.

Here she is during her transformation using an old atlas, a paint brush and Mod Podge glue.

  Map Dog

I still have a little bit to do on her legs and then she’s ready for display.  What shall we name her?

As a creative type, I found out early on in life, that patience is a key component to my success.  As a child, many moments were spent in tears of frustration when I would rush to finish up a project only to make mistakes.  I didn’t understand that sometimes you need to let your ideas simmer.  Sometimes even for 32 years.

Back to the light bulb.  It turns out that my friend’s parents, who also originate from New York, say the light bulb phrase the same way I do.  Her father even went as far as to explain that the saying refers to a flash bulb going off.  While this makes me feel a lot better, I am still considering saying the following on my 18,617th time.

The flash bulb went off in my head…

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

JP November 26, 2012 at 8:16 pm

Say “cheese”! Looks fabulous!


Jotter girl November 26, 2012 at 9:46 pm



Barbara November 26, 2012 at 9:31 pm

First…I LOVE the dog and I’m trying to think of a name.

Second…This explains why it’s so damn hard for anyone to live with us creative types…we need time! I have things stewing in my head all the time and I need ALL my resources nearby so when the ‘light bulb goes off’ I can complete the project. I truly need space. Non-creatives just don’t get it.

Third…You really are brilliant!


Jotter girl November 26, 2012 at 9:45 pm

The fact that I can wait 32 years to have the light bulb go off may have something to do with why I am twice divorced. Who would put up with me toting around a paper mache dog for all these years. Sometimes I find all the stewing overwhelming and think that my love for sleep has something to do with quieting all those creative ideas for a bit. Hey, when is the Blogstress Network going to be back up and running?


Not Important September 5, 2013 at 12:39 am

Seems I have seen that dog before…finished with whimsy and verve.
Funny thing. I might put up with a lot.


Barbara November 26, 2012 at 9:55 pm

I am skypeing with the amazing Susie Riley on Wed. to answer that question. I’ll let you know as soon as we figure it out. Nothing worth having is easy, so they say. ;)


OpinionsToGo November 26, 2012 at 10:19 pm

What a fantastic project! The dog could not be any cuter. And by the way, It took Micheangelo years to paint the Sistine Chapel.


Criss November 27, 2012 at 5:24 am

What a novel idea. I LOVE the map dress.
Have you got a name for the puppy yet?


Jotter girl November 27, 2012 at 1:12 pm

I decided to try closing my eyes and pointing to a spot on the map for her name. First try got me, Okanogan. Nope. Second try, Denver. Nope. Perhaps I should go a different route. Ha!


Criss November 27, 2012 at 7:48 pm


Ideas………..Italian themes………….. I can go with Italian, it is in my blood, and i have always wanted to travel there…..


Meaning Italian form of Alexander defender of man. (good description for a dog)


This name tends to be passionate, compassionate, intuitive, and to have magnetic personalities. They are usually humanitarian, and generous, and tend to follow professions where they can serve humanity. (dogs do love to serve man) Because they are so affectionate and giving. (That sounds like a dog)

Soul Urge
People with this name have a deep inner desire for order and physical creativity.

There, you have my contribution!


Barbara November 27, 2012 at 8:25 am

What a fabulous idea! I am sure that the map dog is happy to be dressed! Perhaps her name should be something as clever as you are Jotter Girl…


Jotter girl November 27, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Thanks B. I think I will call her Scout.


OpinionsToGo November 27, 2012 at 6:24 pm

I think that you should give your adorable dog, an Italian name. Something reminiscent of your time in Italy.


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