Wednesday, December 18, 2013



Mass confusion and passive-aggression surround the way Americans address their game of 'Football,' according to the >1,400 asking "why?" on Yahoo Answers, the Wikipedia of advice.

"It's just illogical" gripes BigBen21. "A better name might be Tackleball. Or Throwball, even"

As the National Football League continues to use the "illogical" term unfettered, Yahoo curmudgeons persist with long-held grievances "logic has nothing to do with most Americans ... They insist on using quarts, pounds and gallons then remain unable to figure out how many ounces are in each" opines pissed of Brit, Bullocks32.

As it often happens when Sports fans enter a room, the frustration and animosity tend to bring the conversation back to past sins "if it hadn't been for that High Treason against King George, they'd still be playing Rugby like normal people," claims bitter Englishman, PoppyCock47

Several disgruntled interneters turn to debate the origins of each game with such fervor, it's often unclear who is in fact in the right. Citing Wikipedia entry after Wikipedia entry, and continually using the terms "logical" and "football" to the point that it's impressive that anyone would continue reading. 

"If you've continued reading, it's probably because you've realized I'm right and you're an American," argues internet-fight enthusiast DryHumor69 as he defends explanation of the Urban Dictionary entry "HandEgg." 

While punting and field goals remain the only source of foot-to-ball contact in the exclusively American sport, the National Football League is in talks to remove the field goal portion of the game. If this is to happen, NFL execs are currently rumored to address the issue of name-contention that is sure to re-ignite online. 

Meanwhile, NFL Spokesman Brady Fannerman puts the "Who?" in Yahoo arguing "I do understand the desire to rename the game, but really? Who even has a Yahoo account anymore? It's so hard to take you all seriously" 

"[We know there's been] a lot of recourse over the name of our beloved sport" Fannerman empathizes, "we do intend to ease the minds of the many distressed individuals pleading almost daily to make the game currently known as 'Football' sit better with global (and domestic) naysayers."  

After his initial reluctance to provide so-much-as a hint, Fannerman explains that "as Rugby was named after the town of it's original emanation, the mostly likely contender to rename Rugby's American adaptation is the town of it's Connecticut birthplace," the bustling village of "Cricket." 

Saturday, October 5, 2013


The Young Mom Files

I was the first of my friends to get engaged and married six and five years ago -- I was also the first to have babies.

Maybe past generations of women just finished College, married up, had kids, and joined the ranks of everyone else doing the same thing. But today, women don’t seem to feel the same social tug (thank you Sex & the City). So what happens when your life goes the way of binkies and breastmilk while your peers are still enjoying impulsivity and predictable moments of time?

You turn to your day-planner -- or at least I do. I’ve come to realize that unless I make a conscious effort (between diapers, work, laundry and some ABCs), there is no way I will “just know” what’s come into vogue in that same way it seemed that we all did osmosis as a teenager. It’s not so much a hobby as it is a chore that sort of pays off when you get to have social conversations or head to the mall (and by “the mall” I mean to Target). 

 “I love your frames! Where did you get those?” I heard on the second and third day after purchasing my first script specs last week. I spent nearly a week online and in fashion mags picking out those "stylish" frames. Trying them on in fiction, actual test-driving of others  -- it was during times like these, when my kids are playing, well-fed and dressed (er, warm and comfortable -- their version of “dressed”), and my husband is watching the soccer game (go Liverpool!) 

But the game just ended, and we’ve got a full Saturday ahead of us. 

I don’t regret my time spent as a wife and a mother -- it's been a trade off, as every decision is at this age. And if you’re in the same position, then welcome. The chance to read a blog is a time-luxury we get to appreciate more than some of our other twenty-something peers. Take the last 2 minutes and 53 seconds of this luxury and create a wishlist on ModCloth or surf the waves of BuzzFeed or find a friend in HelloGiggles -- your impromptu conversations of tomorrow will thank you for it.

Saturday, August 24, 2013


**DISCLAIMER** the volatile state in the middle east, is a distressing, and heartbreaking matter. In the following satirical text, I am in no way belittling the issue, as not only am I human, but I have several friends who are from and have family in Syria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and other devastated parts of the world. Below is my way of merely wishing and imagining it all away, in hopes of a peaceful and prosperous region for some very dear people in my life. Enjoy and proceed with a grain of salt.

"Peace Out" Via:

DAMASCUS, SYRIA --- Rebel soldiers met early Saturday morning under the safest looking cardboard box they could find and had what onlookers called “an epiphany.” After years of battle against Bashar al-Assad’s militant forces, it finally became clear that the best way to punish the Regime, is to “make them lie in the bed they’ve made" said Rebel supporter Ghais Moussa "--and chemical fallout is a lot more stubborn than bed-bugs." Resistance leader and chairman of the Coalition of Syrian Rebels, Abu Adnan spoke publicly that “it’s now become clear that humanitarian nations like the US are too busy reading Reports about our atrocities, and likely will remain in their respective countries.” Adnan also mentioned that he felt that civilized countries would be a lot more likely to help the side with a lesser propensity for violence.
Political Economist Johann Stuttgart Mill said that the decision was a good one, as “no one is standing in line, waiting to enter Syria. Everyone wants out.” Sociocultural Anthropologist Jiminy Huston of the University of California Berkeley outlines “look, the only people ok with autocratic, totalitarian and tortuous government are the ones administering it, not the ones living beneath it.” Ostensibly, Rebel soldiers are following the rest of the country’s lead, and getting the hell out of their. “The place is a mess,” recounts one recent emmigrant “if Assad wants to rule a land devoid of people, then it’s all his. Good luck to him finding the funds to clean up all that shit.” The idea now is that the Rebels have “surrendered to civility, not to the Regime” and will “accept any and all help to flee the country.” That Report’s taking a lot less time to get through, and the US said it can be there by 5.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Or, you might say, just really scary.

I'm a sucker for ghost stories.
I just am.

I know that when I see Paranormal State, Ghost Adventures, Ghost Hunters, My Ghost Story or, hell, Long Island Medium, that I am viewing something that was produced for entertainment. There's almost no way that these aren't manufactured to look more legitimate than they are.

But I can't help it!

My favorite of the above list of programs: Ghost Adventures and Long Island Medium. I've watched with a skeptical eye for as long as I can remember. It comes from being the daughter of a dad who would watch a magic act at a kids birthday party and say to me as sarcastically as possible "oh, yea. Magic." He has always been the biggest realist I've ever met. His catch phrase when watching ANY fictional movie has always been " well that could never happen."

I never watched paranormal television with Danny, as I always believed him the same skeptic that my father is, but lately we've been watching Ghost Adventures. No, we've been addicted/committed to Ghost Adventures--we make every attempt to watch new episodes every Friday night at 9, 8 central. And I've more recently been hooked on Long Island Medium.

I hate NJ/NY accents. They bug me almost as much as Bostonian or Maine accents. I also shake my head at big hair, dragon-lady fingernails, cougars and reality television. It makes almost no sense that this show would grab me--but it has! First of all, Theresa's father is adorable, and any cameo appearance that he makes is just wholesome gold in my book. Also, there's no drama. Dramatic nothing-fights will immediately make me change the channel, no matter what I'm watching.

Theresa talks about how she used to see dead people, beginning at the age of 4, and that it would terrify her. She eventually learned to block them out so much that she no longer sees them, but she feels the presence of them, and that they are with loved ones in Spirit form almost all the time. One validating point that she makes is that "everyone" has powers like hers, but that they are felt on a much lower level You could ask almost everyone and they'll admit that they have uttered the phrase "I feel like ____ was there with me when I was ____." Watch the show. Though I know that a lot of content from her "30 minute readings" are taken out, the televised portions are very moving and eerily accurate. (While the information she channels is often not known to anyone but the loved-one at hand, it's important to note that Theresa's also not necessarily smart enough to cold-read or use a Google search engine.)

Now, Ghost Adventures. Yes, they are very over-the-top. Yes, their use of "dude" and "bro" and "check out my goosebumps" is a little much, but boy are they passionate about what they do. So much so that they may (and often talk about) have trouble with relationships for the rest of their lives. They use Mel Meters, infrared, Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) recorders, night vision cameras and even just their eyes and ears to detect the presence of spirits. One enormous validating point is that they don't ALWAYS find paranormal activity. Sure, every episode has SOME unexplained evidence (some more than others), but often then will set up cameras, provoke spirits using trigger objects, taunting, etc., and receive NO sign of activity. Additionally, when they DO have suspicious findings, they always try and debunk it as completely normal physical/expected occurrences, and quite frequently that is the case.


As hard as it is to believe the "unexplained" ... when you think about it, I really don't feel like it's THAT hard to believe. I think that it's a little pompous to say "I'll believe it when I see it," because countless people have said that and they now consider themselves "believers." To think that way is really to say "you're lying" to EVERY person who's ever seen the apparition of a ghost, heard a loved one speak to them, taken a picture or recorded their exact movement or voices. I just don't think that I could do that if I really considered myself an accepting person with an open mind.
I just figure I'd rather be an open minded sucker than a close minded person...with nothing to watch on Friday night.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Left: Ella, Right: Rory

Miss Ella Stiles:

Miss Rory Kazuya


Allow me to Introduce....

I've only ever known him as "Danny," and introducing him as "Dan" (which he's known by his colleagues as) is awkward and actually feels like a lie.
We met in undergrad and he now works for Southern New Hampshire University's College for America program. We got married on October 12, 2008, just a few short months after I graduated.
Danny holds a Bachelor's in Sport Management, an Master's in Sport Management, a Grad certificate in Non Profit Leadership a Grad certificate in International Business....and he's still in school!
Danny is a obsessively clean, a supportive husband, an awesome daddy and a Liverpool FC enthusiast.

Danny's G+ Profile

Saturday, May 25, 2013


Part five of five in my Social Media Marketing Series

I don't typically read a lot of books. I figure there're too many things to read online, and books don't let me open new tabs about about recent studies on childcare or inbox notifications. I like to multitask, though I know there are several benefits to slowing down a bit with a decent read that holds my interest.


Accordingly, I probably won't ever do a book review... Or mention many books (ideally I would like that all to change). All of this pomp leads to mentioning only one of the several outlets designed to satisfy best practice needs in social media marketing: Mark Schaefer's The Tao of Twitter: Changing Your Life and Business 140 Characters at a Time


I won't give it all away, but most notably, he mentions his four safest rules to satisfy the twitter marketer:

1. Three tweets, three times a day. (Don't be afraid to tweet outside your industry!)
2. Respond diligently to tweets and direct messages.
3. Re-tweet your followers a few times a day
4. Tweet a #FF Follow Friday every Friday (but don't bog down the tweet!)

I'll expand a bit on No. 4. If you use the twitter "search bar" you can combine hashtags to search for notable picks within your industry! For example, type in "#FF #HigherEd" and you'll find schools, University marketers and just interested folks encouraging their picks to follow for the upcoming weekend. This is a great networking opportunity, that I find many industries (including Higher Ed) are often missing out on. 

There's no "perfect scheme" when it comes to Social Media in any industry. It's important to keep our ears and eyes open when it comes to new technology, and never believe that you've got it all figured out--after all, there are entire careers based on the continued mastering of this fluid infrastructure

This will be my last Social Media Marketing Post for a while--I encourage readers to look to Mashable in my absence... (Yes, I am clearly comparing my itty-bitty, five post SMM series to arguably the largest Social Media news outlet in the world...). Mashable has all of the latest trends in Social Media, including the Higher Education industry. From articles on The Most Important Education Technology in 200 Years, to Harvard Teams Up With Foursquare For Collegiate Check-Ins to 15 Digital Media Resources You May Have Missed. Their aim to help folks in the world of social media should keep you out of trouble until I get back. 


Sunday, May 19, 2013


Part four of five in my Social Media Marketing Series

It's pretty safe to say that if your brand isn't involved somehow within the atmosphere of Social Media, you're missing out on a competitive advantage. Not to say that every single brand and every single industry is right for Social Media branding--but pretty close

I'm no expert (yet!), but I don't think I've seen a more actively involved school in Social Media Branding than Southern New Hampshire University. Be that as it may, it's not an easy job. There are certain inherent risks and challenges that go alone with Social Media use by any organization. [Though I've always felt like companies selling tangible goods (or, "widgets" if you're in an economic kinda mood) had a bit more straight forward time when developing/implementing Social Media strategies.]


And so in my ever peaked interest in the world of Higher Education, I've asked SNHU's Social Media Strategist, Director of Creative Services, Jason Mayeu to answer a few questions for us all to examine pertaining to Social Media Marketing and Higher Education.

Me: Jason, what is the biggest challenge in attempting to brand with social media?Jason: In a word, balance. Balance of number of accounts, number of platforms, types of posts. If you stretch yourself (the office) too thin, it's tough to keep up a unified voice. If you find yourself with too many accounts you end up diluting the voice because you can't ask the public to follow multiple accounts for the same entity with similar posts.

Me: What is the biggest risk a college takes when turning to social media when marketing? Jason: Getting too thin. If you don't have the resources to keep up with it, it can look like you stopped caring. Social Media in colleges are like a three legged stool; marketing, recruiting, and customer service. They all kind of work in tandem and yet also separately.Marketing is general postings about campus, events, interesting facts about the university and its constituents.Recruitment is reaching out to students who post about SNHU when they discuss how excited they are about attending an event, visiting campus or just in the decision making process (i.e. a students posts a picture of acceptance letters to SNHU, Fitchburg State and UNH and inquires, "What to do, where should I do?" - we'd typically respond with, "we'd pick SNHU, but we're probably a bit biased")Customer Service ranges from answering questions from prospective and current students ("What time is open house in the morning? Who do I talk to about a heating issue I'm having?) to answering questions from parents, alumni and other community members.Customer service is a large part of what we do on a daily basis, especially on Twitter. Marketing and Recruiting are bigger with the Facebook and IG groups. Although we do Customer Service with both of those platforms as well.

Me: What's the biggest risk in not jumping into social media?Jason: Institutions not in social media risk missing out on what people are saying about the institution; good, bad or ugly. If you're not listening and answering, someone else might be in your stead, potentially in a manner you'd prefer them not to.

Obviously, Jason speaks (er, types) with more authority, and well, accuracy on the matter than I do (thanks, Jason!). My next post will cover tweeting best practices and the Tao of Twitter! Stay tuned.

Friday, May 10, 2013


Via HuffPost:

LOS ANGELES, CA - Police are currently investigating the death of Amercrombie & Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries, found at his Los Angeles office Friday morning, beneath Plus Size model Ashley Graham.

Authorities say that that Jeffries died of an apparent suffocation, brought on by the weight of Graham Thursday evening. A full toxicology screen will be needed to rule out any type of poisoning, and a full autopsy has yet to be conducted.

Graham told police "it was just a freak accident. You won't even believe what happened." Graham went on to explain that she had received a call from an Abercrombie spokesperson to become the new face of Ambercrombie 2.0, and that when she entered Jeffries' office for a formal interview "all hell broke loose."

"I mean, I was surprised to get the call in the first place, after what I heard recently about his idea of beauty, and all, but I figured he was trying to fix that with some new campaign." Graham was of course referring to Jeffries' comments recently flooding Facebook and Twitter feeds across the country this week, with Robin Lewis citing Jeffries as saying (among other things) "[he] doesn't want larger people shopping in his store; he wants thin and beautiful people.”

Graham went on, "at first I thought he was laughing at me; he made laughing noises, but with no facial movements." Graham describes how "he tried to say something, but his face just looked like a ventriloquist trying to pronounce the letter B. I got so confused. I tried to get closer to him to understand him better, but at that point he reached for some medical mask and a crucifix and pushed me away."

At this point, Graham was too emotional to go on, but authorities believe that Graham lost her balance and landed on Jeffries. His secretary found them in the morning, Graham still covering Jeffries' immobile body, and wedged between what looked like a giant golden penis statue and a case full of empty bottles of Botox.

"The irony isn't lost on us," said Abercrombie spokesperson Hampton Carney, after hearing of the death of their retail leader, "it's just such a shame to see this legendary business man go down (so to speak) in such an untimely manner." The company plans to issue a broader and more formal statement over the weekend.


Part three of five in my Social Media Marketing Series. Enjoy.


Differing Universities and Institutions in Higher Ed have all enjoyed the recent "mobile app" breakthrough in the world of social media (and I'm not just talking about adding classes/degrees/majors in Designing Mobile Applications.) The one I'd like to highlight right now is the use of Instagram.

More photos are taken by mobile phones today than with any other designated camera. College students use mobile phones more now than just about any other demographic, which makes a Universities adaptation of Instagram a no-brainer.

But it's not just about college kids taking pictures with a hip filter and tagging their school on their profile, Colleges also are able to manage and maintain their own Instagram account, post photos, and interact with students showing interest or involvement with the school.

The risk involved here is that students (or anyone) displaying less-than desirable or inappropriate behavior have the ability to tag their image with the school's name, thereby associating their behavior with any organization they choose. There is no way of removing someone else's tag or comment, and so the person in charge of a school's social media account needs to be trained in PR, to understand how to appropriately deal with such an event.

With that being said, the pros far outweigh the cons when it comes to Universities having an Instagram account. It creates social engagement within the student population and alumni, which in turn leads to interest and involvement on campus. As an RA, I learned that the more involvement a student has with their school, outside of just their dormroom, the more likely they were to continue at that school, whereas the less involved student was at a higher risk of dropping-out or transferring. Retention is half the battle, in the world of successful Higher Education.

Success on Instagram can be measured in a few ways, depending on the industry, but typically more "followers" and more "likes" a school has is a pretty strong indication that the brand is doing something right. The number of followers an account holder has can be seen right from their home page, but the quantitative number of "likes" (or, "hearts") a company receives from each shared image can be a little harder to identify. That's where social media monitoring tools like can help. can feed you the information about progress your company's profile has made -- progress you wouldn't easily be able to compute on your own. This gives schools a "snapshot" of where they're at and allows them to better determine goals for future media involvement.

A "snapshot" example of my own progress, e-mailed to me from

Monday, May 6, 2013



I don't hate sports. I also don't particularly love or follow any sport either. My dad does, my husband does, and several of my dearest friends do. But whether you follow or like sports or not, I can't be alone in being annoyed by the stupid shit that comes out of the mouths of sportscasters.

1. Abbreviating and immediately naming a sports league.
"you're watching the NFL Football League on ESPN" or "he was called up to the Kings from their AHL Hockey League affiliate." It's right up there with grammatical pet peeves "ER Room," "PIN Number" and "ATM Machine." Cut it out.

2. Explaining the rules. Any of the rules. 
Ok, if my husband, or any other sports fanatic is watching a televised game, he or she already knows that Icing is not something you frost on a cake. If a casual viewer, or even a fervent hater of sports is watching (and by the way, why?) there is nary a chance that they would care to learn the rules of the game. (With the one exception being Rugby.... what the hell are they doing out there..? Somebody. Please?)

3. Stating even the most obvious aspects in a profound manner
"If the Phillies want to win the rest of the season, they'll have to rely on outscoring their opponents" -Joe Morgan

4. Small talk as a time filler. Or for any reason.
Ageless, faceless, neutral-man announcer-dude (AFNAD): A time out is called.
Guy #2: ....
AFNAD: D'you finish that sandwich you were eating earlier this evening?
Guy #2: Ya know, I did. And just in time too, as the kick-off was just about underway when I finished that last bite.
AFNAD: Yea, I saw that last bite, and you certainly seemed to be enjoying it.
Guy #2: I was enjoying it. Even up until the end there.
AFNAD: I know it -- didn't even save a bite for later. In times like these. When the Cowboys take their final time-out of the game.
Guy #2: ya know, it was just too good not to finish.
NFNAD:  I'm sure the Cowboys like a good sandwich.
Guy #2: A very likely possibility, very likely.....Annnnd they're back!

5. Misquoting even the most basic information
"Nobody in the game of football should be called a genius. A genius is somebody like Norman Einstein." -Joe Theismann

6. The latent homoeroticism in their lofty praise of players.
I cannot watch a football game without feeling the need to utter a well (or not so well) timed "That's what she said.." And God love Thom Brennerman. Will the man ever live down the time Tom Brady had all day to make a pass, and Brennerman pipes in "Brady's pitching a tent back there"? I say, so long as I'm still around, probably he won't.

Sunday, May 5, 2013


Part two of my Graduate class series.

As you probably know, my husband works in Higher Education. When I re-enter the workforce in the next year, my first focus will be likely be within the Higher Education Landscape, and so accordingly, my remaining four discussions (including this one) will be surrounding Social Media Marketing in Higher Ed.

It's pretty clear that Undergraduate Day students are are using social media on a daily basis for their own personal use. I visit campus at SNHU regularly, and it is impossible to get from one end of the school to the other without noticing a tablet, iPhone, or computer latched onto a student's hand like an additional appendage.

But this phenomena isn't simply molding the social lives of the traditional college student, it's molding how they adapt, how they learn and how they relate to their educational surroundings.

University's are constantly needing to adapt to these needs and thus their approach is constantly evolving.
One of the newest trends in Higher Ed, in response to this evolution?
Social Media services exclusively devoted to students, alumni, faculty. (No, not Blackboard).

Southern New Hampshire University has instated SNHUconnect.

SNHUconnect enables you to:

  • Get the support that can help you succeed. Access advisors, career advice, faculty and other support services, anytime you need them.
  • Connect with others, no matter where you are. Share pictures, stories and advice with your new-found SNHU friends and helpers.
  • Get mobile. You can interact with the community from your laptop, your tablet and your smartphone.

This is a relatively new feature, and truthfully, it has yet to be seen whether or not this will catch on concretely. In theory, it does respond to the ways students and alumni relate to their Alma Mater, but I believe it needs to be properly marketed to the student. Presence through clear channels of engagement needs to be a larger focus if it is to prosper and really cater to their audience.

I believe that success is possible for any school.
SNHUconnect has an access portal in every student's My.SNHU homepage (a necessary homepage for all current students), but to be honest, My.SNHU is not a well-organized, clear, concise webpage--in fact, it's a little disorienting. I personally need to know exactly where I'm navigating before I visit that page. Not currently the ideal place to introduce new features, as most links tend to get a little lost on the site.
Of course there are other channels to unveil this tool, but that remains to be seen.

When it comes to traditional marketing with Social Media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, SNHU certainly knows how to truly harness the power of a good campaign. With that in mind, the future holds mounting possibilities within the entire Social Media landscape and it's always good to be on the cutting edge of new technologies.

Saturday, April 27, 2013


I will be writing a series of five posts on behalf of my Graduate Marketing Class on Social Media. They will be tagged accordingly, and so all interested eyes and ears, I hope you'll join me in examining the ever evolving world of Social Media.

Courtesy: Matt Cosby (c) 2013

There are 10 different ways of getting in contact with me --- just on my phone.
(Tweet, FB, Text, Instagram, Call, E-mail, LinkedIn, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest)

Now, I'm not the person who's constantly yolked to my cell phone, but I do carry it around enough that if my daughter notices it laying somewhere without me, she'll immediately alert me to the situation.

I like to be informed, connected and kept abreast to the important things that are going on around me. That include significant politics, health science, friends in need and a variety of other life enriching facts. I also enjoy visiting the blogs and tumblr pages that are put together professionally to achieve an entrepreneurial gain. It's important to support the ones who are going out there to establish themselves in social media, and recently I've been liking tumblr.


Tumblr is a micro-blogging platform where users post short-form media to their personal tumblr page(s) (one account holder may own several pages)Users can follow other users' blogss, make their blogs private, and control their content via a homepage "dashboard" interface. Content on tumblr pages may be "liked" or "reblogged" instantly. A tumblr page is extremely customizable and can be used in place of a company's actual web site (thought I would rarely recommend that). 

My friend Matt Cosby uses his tumblr account to compile samples of his photography, and knows how to wrangle the tumblr account to propel a (successful!) professional hobby. 
Take a look around his page:

The Social Examiner found 26 Ways to Market a Business with Tumblr


Meanwhile, StumbleUpon is a lesser known realm of social media, and while newer features in the last few years makes it not the complete waste of time it once was, it's still something that I refuse to be a part of.  StumbleUpon is considered a discovery engine which finds and recommends web content to its users. The site allows users to "discover" and "rate" pages, pictures, videos and then uses that information to personalized their search. They've found a way to make liberal use of peer-source networking, social-media networking principles and way too much free time.

It really is a boredom media tool used mostly used by folks who have no idea what they're looking for, yet still feel the need to be even further removed from reality and from their children.

Businesses use StumbleUpon to "drive" viewers towards their website, by strategic use of the site's core components. For more on the specifics on this, visit Blue Glass's explanation here. (opens in new window/tab). The way to business success with StumbleUpon is much more narrow than with the flexibility and near boundless opportunity of tumblr.

To me, the use of StumbleUpon is contributing largely to the downfall of our homelives and, well, our live-lives. I've seen people become mesmerized by the pretty little "stumble" button embedded into their toolbar, spending hours on end looking at the funniest thing a monkey did or an internet forward that someone actually gave two shits about.

Blue Glass seems to think you could make a pretty penny with it's traffic possibilities, and if you've already tapped out or tapped into every other social media platform, and you're looking to run the gamut (of course, if you've failed at all of those...), why not try your hand. But with all of the other ways you can connect with a person or potential customer, I wouldn't waste your time. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013


I don't like to brag, but I do like to lie:
I'm really, really great at everything...

Even though that means I've failed a lot. And looking back, I know it's easy to be a skeptic and to look at every turn and twist through life as somehow an answer to prayer, and that it's especially pathetic and unflatteringly cute to find that after a turn goes wrong.

But my failures get pretty specific, sometimes.
When Danny and I were planning our future together, getting all dreamy-eyed and pretending our shit don't stink, we wanted to go to Chicago. Why? Not sure. I guess it just seemed more romantic than NOT going to Chicago, and it would have also proven that we didn't care WHAT the economic downturn had to say, and that numbers DID NOT matter to us, and math WASN'T going to ruin our lives and hell, recession was really just a grade school activity held after lunch. (Recess was everybody's favorite...Ask Michael Scott)

But that didn't happen. In fact, I only applied to one graduate school when Journalism was "obviously" my calling, after one Journalism class and a practicum writing for the terrible (at the time) school paper. Destiny. No previous jobs, no internship experience, but I WAS going to get into the best Journalism School in the country and I'd probably spent some time praying about it.

Well than didn't work. (Shocking.) And I took a job as an insurance charlatan, selling bundled policies to unsuspecting people at a time they probably needed the money most.
Why would God have me do all of that?
Well, not entirely sure, but they did mostly canceled their policies soon after I sold it to them (buyer's remorse, or God's good plan?) though 100% commission, it did provide me a paycheck while I figured out what else to do.
I quit.

That's what I did. I failed, went weeks without payment and quit. (Went even longer after.) In between, I met a lot of people whose stories stay with me today. One (among others), whom I didn't even pitch a sale to (they were uninsurable). I just sat with them. Let them tell me about how they hadn't worked in years, were sick and almost never had the ability to leave the house or talk to others. Pretty sure I canceled my next appointments after this one, too.

Unemployed and then got pregnant. Nice, huh? Husband and I were thrilled. Took a job as a Deli/Bakery bitch. I mean. Manager. Trainee. Yep. Worked for a time, became too slow to keep up with the company's harassment--after all, I was pregnant. I hadn't the energy or the space in my orbit to to work at a pace that could keep up with their expectations and put my child at risk. Their floors were slippery, I was large and a safety hazard who clearly loved her kid and likely wouldn't stick around to be nano-managed. Selfishly, I wanted to raise my own kid. The whole thing was a disaster, and I eventually bowed out.

But meanwhile we made rent (most months) and then realized (before quitting) that with my insurance being canceled when I was 8 months pregnant (as an "I hate you and hope you die a slow and penny-less death" from my employer), we realized we couldn't re-up our lease, or, hell, sign any other lease in the current known-universe, and had no money to show for ourselves. Things were looking great. A decisively wonderful win!

Prayer and prayer and prayer. We failed at procuring our own place and moved in with John, per our Pastor's connections.

Lived in harmony there for several months. His daughter moved in, lived in harmony for several more. Sort of.

Blah, blah blah.... failed. No jobs. Lots of no jobs! Lot and lots! Mama had no job, Daddy had no (full time) job. My daughter made it very clear that she would sooner starve than accept a bottle from any one at any time. (So there was a lot of fail wrapped up in that nursing success I had.) Fail, fail, fail. (But boy is that kid healthy!)

John and I were great friends. We talked and laughed and joked and things all went along synergisticly.
I never had it confirmed, but I'm gonna say lots of prayer happened around friendships in that house. Lots and lots of prayer. We basically did no thing without praying about it first, and though there was this certain kind of love, bursting at the seams, the kind where every person inhabiting this tiny, tiny abode would have dropped everything they had, were, or owned to help out every single person there in any way they need. Things didn't exactly end that way.

(Little slow here. The rest of this has all been typed rather quickly, but now I'm at a stalemate. I'd rather not  fail at this too, so I better not go off and pray about it.)

Danny and I live in a nice little townhouse now with our two daughters. And while we are still living paycheck to paycheck, we have a comfortable enough life (comparatively. It's all relative, isn't it?) For the first time in the last 13 re-locations I'm here for a second 12 months. Danny loves his job and I have some decent options.

So if you've failed to see the point, you probably must've prayed about it.
(Get it? Failed? Ooooh, my.)
We wouldn't be where we are right now without prayer.
Lots and lots of prayer.
And I've never regretted any prayerful decision I've made.

Thursday, February 28, 2013


tacos de chapulines - grasshopper/cricket tacos

To plan and afford a good trip is often difficult to arrange. Doing so after you've had a kid or two? Preposterous! Because of this, and since becoming a mother, I have been on exactly two trips involving flight--both of which were picked up by another person's tab.

Kids find a way to unpack your suitcase the moment your back is turned, and before you realize it, you don't know what you have and what remains. They do a similar trick with your wallet.

Ella's first night away from mommy was when she was nearly three years old. I took her sister across the map and landed in Grand Rapids. After 12 years of sad and difficult journey, my cousin Lara had at last given birth to her first child, Isabela. Lara's husband, James is a pediatrician who was working 70 hour weeks during the premature term of his daughter's delivery. That, paired with the recent move that the growing family had just accomplished, there was plenty to do. I was glad to help, but I still believe the experiences of family, the landscape, and our priceless discussions were a bigger help to me than I could ever have been to them.

The time before this was nearly three years ago to our Nation's Capital's neighbor: Bethesda. The Metro's were an odd hibernation from the near-perfect climate outdoors in August. It's hard to fathom that my older daughter wouldn't be able to remember even the most significant moments of our new adventure, let alone the minute details that still inhabit my mind today. There were three kids involved that likely remember nothing, two adults that I only assume remember maybe-something, and the remainder typing about it now.

We had every minute of every day accounted for and busy. Even if it was just to rest, to stand in the kitchen and banter, to toast frozen waffles with Trader Joe's cherry preserves, or to sit on the couch and drink, it was all within the confines of "a trip." It was our trip. Our time away from home, an experience that more than likely would never happen again -- and it didn't.

The beauty of having limited travel with kids, is that it's rarity makes it easier to appreciate the event. Think back to your most recent trip from home. Do you remember any of the cracks in the sidewalk? Your first sip of water off the bus? Every meal?

Sure, there are plenty of elements that can make a trip memorable--evolving relationships, losing your possessions, eating unbelievably strange cuisine. But in my experience, the rarity of young-parent travel gives you one more reason to never forget the minutia. It's yours -- and no matter what happens, nothing can ever take it away.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


If you google "holding a grudge" it's just going to tell you not to. That it's bad, and that you shouldn't, and that you're going to statistically die a much earlier death than you'd die had you not held the grudge. No kidding. It honestly doesn't take much effort to understand that the life escapes from your body as soon as you remember an insult. The minute you re-live the time that you did that thing that someone took badly.

It's also extremely tempting to keep keep reliving it.

Why? That's a good question. If it wasn't tempting to relive a grudge, than a grudge would not exist.

It wouldn't exist. Think about it. If it wasn't temping to relive, it would only be known as spat, a disagreement, a feud, a quarrel, a distaste or a clashing. But instead we refer to this long-term animosity as a grudge.

Remember in "The Happening" when everyone was self-destructive, reprogrammed-suicidal and everyone blamed it on plants and the environment? I think that's because reality is so close to the film, that no one would want to obscure it with things other than our own actual sense of self-destruction. And because plant-life is an easy target.

Is there any way we could actually be doing this to ourselves?

Think about it, why else would "Emo" be a culture? Why else would "To Write Love on Her Arms" be such a cultural success? We love to hurt ourselves. Otherwise, we'd never be so quick to maintain our act of holding a grudge. In fact, we wouldn't do it at all.

Everyone knows how to forgive. Everyone knows why to forgive, and yet even those so excited at the prospect, don't ultimately do it--even when they're "sure" they're going to or swear they've"already done it."

It certainly is nice to (privately) believe that being fueled by our own righteous indignation would have some effect on another person, but likely it wont. Some unknown man (?) once said "holding a grudge is like drinking poison. And then waiting for the other person to die." True, no? No one truly expects the other person to ultimately say that they're sorry. .. . Right?

Or... maybe they do? Or, not in reality, but how great would it be if that one person had reached out and apologized? How beautiful, and warm, and receptive that would be to encounter that person responding truly remorseful for what they'd done, and how much more beautiful it will have been, the longer we hold our grudge..

And perhaps that is the ultimate reason. We feel like the longer we stay displaced, the more fulfilling the reward when it is finally satisfied.
And that is what makes holding a grudge so appealing to even those who know the rewards of never having held one in the first place. That living a shorter life is a fair tradeoff for (even the possibility of) the elation of redemption.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


And we're not talking "abusive parents" here (I'd link a "help site" for those harming their kids, but in my experience, parents that are, truly don't believe beating/neglecting their kids is in anyway harmful).
Oh yes, we've been there. You've been there! You turn around too quickly and land on the muted shadow you know as your kid. You don't think your daughter can QUITE reach the stove yet -- but she secretly learned how to use a ladder. You shoot a rubber band across the room and it lands in your toddler's eye (hey, it happens).

I remember sitting in the hospital bed hours after Ella was born, listening to the nurses and trying desperately to absorb every blessed point. Impossible. But I will never forget a young mom-physician coming in and explaining "now make sure you only clip her finger nails when she's asleep. You wont be able to do it when she's awake - trust me." She went on to explain how she tried to clip her son's nails awake, and the ensuing pain and blood made sure that she never would again. I tried to keep this in mind.

She was the first, but not the only parent to ever convey "oh my gosh....I thought I was going to jail."

Yesterday, Ella was being her usual, defiant 3-year-old self (special, for mommy of course.)
"Please don't say that, Ella."
"stop that, mommy!"
"Go to your room."

This while I was changing her tired sister's diaper. It was a battle to get Ella upstairs - but eventually she did, up to her room and I sat with Rory on the couch, trying and coax her to sleep. Ella came out of her room almost immediately, and I carried Rory upstairs. Ella darted into our room, then ignoring my demands, attempted to run down the stairs. I, with Rory in my arms, did what I've done a number of times -- took my only available limb, caught Ella's defiant self by the arm (headed down the stairs her hand may have wiggled free, and I didn't want her to fall.) She continued to cry and protest, but I got her into her room.

I took Rory downstairs, who immediately fell asleep. I went upstairs and heard Ella going on about her arm hurting. Naturally, I thought she was just joshing me. There's no way her arm could possibly hurt.

But she wasn't bending it. Uh oh.

"You're gonna go to jail," Danny said jokingly to me after I called him at work.

I tried a couple of different calming techniques, but by the slight inflammation and refusal to bend, I knew I was looking at Nurse-maid elbow. Drat. I knew how to manually fix this subluxation, but I didn't dare (nor would she let me touch it). And so, fearful of "what they will think" I called her doctor. Luckily, I was almost magically transferred to a nurse I've spoken to dozens of times, Sharron--and bless her heart. She was almost laughing, telling me, it really is very common, and "please don't be hard on yourself--you could have done that dozens of times without even the slightest injury, then suddenly she's misaligned." It only made me feel moderately better.

Of course, the Urgent Care nurses didn't know me the way Sharron did, and were a bit more suspicious. Oddly, the older gentleman doctor didn't seem at all bothered and said "here, if it happens again, you can adjust her yourself, but we're happy to do it for you if you'd like."

I spent the rest of the night assuring Ella "I didn't mean to hurt you, baby," to which she was practicing her annoyed, laughing-at-mommy look and saying "I feel fine!"

Tonight, Danny held Rory after a good, warm bath. She was dressed, diapered, and pedicure-ready. Danny grabbed the brand new pair of clippers and witnessed relative disaster while I blow-dried her sister's hair. Rory's poor pinky-finger was pouring ounces. And it wasn't long after that my poor husband's eyes were equally damp.

Being a parent is hard -- being an involved, caring parent attempting to keep your kids mind and body's in one piece? Impossible. There will be broken pieces (even as I say it, I want to deny it's true), but it's about how you rectify the situation that really makes you you -- the caring and involved parent that jails still want nothing to do with.