Friday, October 29, 2010

Social Network Support

My brother has had Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, a form of supraventricular tachycardia (irregular, fast heart rate) for 30+ years; he has been able to control the condition with medication, and has lived an active lifestyle with pretty great health.  This past weekend, the meds stopped working, and he was transported to a WVU-Ruby Memorial for abrasion treatment, which "zapped" the extra "abnormal" pathway. 5 days after being rushed to the ER, his heart is now beating normally for the first time in his life, he is resting at home, and his little sister is breathing a major sigh of relief.  Thankfully, family members and friends were there to keep him company when things were scary and uncomfortable during the hospital stay.   

Facebook made things so much easier.  A virtual world that most have given in to but some, unfortunately, still view as a shady place for creepers and weirdos, enabled me to keep in contact with my brother, my friends, his friends, and the rest of my family so easily.  We could keep tabs on each other at all times of the day, and ensure that the correct information was getting out regarding his condition. Our friends and family were on the same page, they knew where to go to check up and see how he was doing, and the overwhelming amount of support was totally unbelievable. 

I'm finding that so many non-FB users are misinformed about the social network; contrary to their belief(s), it can be a positive environment where people can easily communicate with one another with a few clicks of the mouse, or a few taps on a smartphone.  I've heard non-users say, "who cares what someone had for dinner?", "why would you want to tell everyone when you're going to the restroom?", and, "why would I want all of my personal information all over the internet?"  My answers to the questions are as follows: I WANT to know what people are having for dinner because it just might give this horrid cook some new ideas, I have yet to actually see someone post when they're taking a #2, and users can easily control the privacy settings of their "personal information".  If someone's taking a potty break, I'm definitely "liking" that status update.

If you feel that Facebook isn't the site for you, fine.  If you've encountered a nasty situation while on Facebook and it influenced you to ditch the site, totally understandable. If you're dissing the monstrous social network but have never, ever logged in to it or researched it, please... stay away from me!  Facebook can be good.  There are negative aspects of it (I've been involved in and have even instigated a "Facebook Fight" or two), but there are positives, too.  You have to learn how to use it in a way that best suits your needs and wants.  I need to let my Facebook friends know what I'm doing, how I'm feeling, what I'm reading, where I'm shopping, and how much chocolate I'm eating. Why? I'm just a social media whore.  I want to know what my friends are doing, how they're feeling, what they're reading, where they're shopping, and how much chocolate they're eating, too. I'm interested in their lives - call me queen nosey.

I needed to know how my brother was feeling this week.  I wanted him to know that while i was three hours away from the hospital and could only be there Sunday and Wednesday, I was easy to find and communicate with.  I needed to know that my mom was handling everything OK, and I wanted to keep her company when she was at the hospital, worried about her son.  She needed to know that I was there for her to talk to, and she wanted to keep her entire church family informed of how things were progressing. Through a series of Facebook private messages, status updates, and comments, all of this was possible - and easy - and quiet - and effective. 

The night before my brother was rushed to the ER, my husband and I watched The Social Network.  I know the story was Hollywood-ed to death, but still - it was inspiring.  I am a Facebook user. I'm proud of that, and I would defend the site to no end. I understand that there are negative consequences to using Facebook irresponsibly or carelessly, but I also know that there are numerous benefits to being a registered user as well.

End rant. Enter... Happy Weekend
Have a good one, sweethearts! And please - find me on facebook and send a friend request. I promise to fill you in on the type of m&ms I'm eating each and every day. 

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

30 legs of TERRIFYING

Count 'em15 Pairs of legs.
Now imagine spotting this creature climbing all over your solid white walls at the speed of light.

I spot one at least twice per week during the late Spring, Summer, and early Fall months; if the temperature is above 70 degrees and the humidity is high outside, my home is fair game for these buggers...

I'll never forget the first time I spotted a house centipede, just a couple of weeks after my husband and I moved into our Southeastern Ohio home in Summer 2006.  It was on the ceiling.  I screamed, I cried, I laid in bed and writhed in fear and had a serious case of "the shakes". I had no idea What the EFF the creature was, what it was doing in my home, and wondered if there were more.  The S.O.B. was a total pain to kill - my husband, standing on a chair and equipped with a Nike Air Jordan in his hand, was no match for Mr. Centipede - the bug scurried away, laughing at my husband's numerous attempts to kill it. Eventually, the hubs succeeded.  "It" was dead. And both of us had the heeby jeebies all night long. 

I couldn't resist googling the ugly effer, and much to my surprise, I found that it was actually beneficial for homes because it ate other possibly dangerous insects.  How in the Hizz-ELL could something so scary looking be beneficial?  I also learned that they thrive in humid climates, especially in wooded areas.  I thought critically for a moment: I lived on top of a hill, in the woods, in Southeastern Ohio where the humidity is like 14700% in the summer.  I knew I hadn't seen my last house centipede.

If I've ever come close to having a heart attack, it would have been on a warm, humid summer morning during the week that our central air was being repaired, just a couple of weeks after "the first encounter". At 6 a.m., I sleepily stumbled into the bathroom with towel and washcloth in hand, pulled back the shower curtain, and there were THREE.  Hot Mama, Big Papa, and Teenager Centipede.  I was frozen, as were my centipede friends. 

Enter my then 5 month old super spunky, sharp-clawed tom house-cat.

In total desperation, I tossed my orange tabby into the bathtub, and he annihilated the centipede family one by one. He clawed and squished each bug so quickly, so easily... then proceeded to bat around the piles of legs and goo that remained. I cleaned up the mess while my cat pranced around proudly.  I. was. traumatized. 

Over the years, we've encountered these 30-legged freaks pretty regularly.  An exterminator comes twice per year, but there are always a few bugs that manage to survive, and stumble out of their hiding places, confused and bewildered.  Up until around a year ago, my cat enjoyed preying on them... now he just sits and stares, lazily. A part of my regular cleaning regimen is inspecting our white walls for splotches of bug remains.  Every single morning i hesitantly pull back the shower curtain.  And there have been a couple of instances where one was hiding in my damp towel basket, and i "found" it when doing laundry.  On a positive note, we never have ants or spiders, so HOT DAMN - they really must feed on other insects! To my knowledge, a centipede has never touched my bare skin (although it's possible that i've swallowed one or two while sleeping.)  House centipedes keep to themselves and stay on the walls, near the ceiling -  so if you happen to encounter these scary creatures, don't worry - they're not hunting for you.

As part of the blog gang hosted by Susie, I thought I would share my creepy, ongoing battle with house centipedes.  If you are craving a little bit of hair-raising entertainment this Halloween, go ahead and google centipede images - you're sure to be in for a scare!

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Monday, October 25, 2010

I recently took some photos of the gorgeous fall leaves when I was out and about, wandering around Ohio University's campus - enjoy! (and Go Bobcats!) 

Weekend jeans & sneaks - doesn't it feel nice?

Ellis Hall

Blinding late afternoon October sun

Looking on toward Alden Library

Headed to Court Street, for a movie and some food!

Hope you're soaking in all of the October color while it still lasts!
Happy Tuesday! 

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It's Beginning to Look a lot Like...

I finally made it to Bath & Body Works this weekend to check out the Holiday Shop!
(I know, I know... it's the week of Halloween, WTH am I doing shopping for Christmas goodies already?  Go ahead and shoot me.)

It was beautiful, sparkly, and delicious.  I want it all

Holiday Traditions body care - new formulas, new packaging, same great scents!
{My favorite is Vanilla Bean Noel.}
These are included in the Signature Collection buy 3 get 2 free this season, don't let 'em tell you otherwise!

Slatkin & Co Candles
Call me crazy, but I tend to choose these over Yankee Candles - they don't last as long, but there's minimal black smoke, they're a little less expensive, and the classy glass jars are perfect for pretty gift giving.
{My favorite scents are Winter and Twisted Peppermint.}

Don't knock this display over! Yikes!

So cute!  The wallflower mix-n-match gets me every time!  I honestly believe that the home fragrance oils and oil burners are the best way to achieve a quick, long-lasting and stronger home fragrance - but wallflowers are powerful if plugged into several rooms.  Forget powerful fragrance, though - these are just too cute for words! (And great for dorms, too :) 

And finally, my personal favorite... HAND SOAP.  When in doubt, just give me B&BW Hand soap! I love all formulas, but my husband (who pretends like he doesn't care what he washes his hands with) prefers the self-foaming soap. Seriously.  One time, I made the mistake of placing a new bottle of the Deep-cleaning soap at the bathroom sink after emptying the self-foaming kind, and my husband hated it.  I had to switch.  He would never, ever admit to this kind of behavior. 
{My favorite hand soap scent from the holiday collection: twisted peppermint.}

Some other notable favorites include the 5 for $5 anti-bac pocket-bac gels (I love Cocoa-Mint!), the 3 for $15 holiday figural hand soaps, and the 2 for $5 moisturizing anti-bac hand lotion.

Breaking out the B&BW Holiday products is one of my very favorite things about the holiday season - the smells are fabulous, and the packaging is so bright and fun!  All products are super giftable and can easily be wrapped in the clear cellophane bags for giving; be sure to grab a few of the complimentary cellophane gift bags as you piece together hand-picked gift sets for your gal friends and fam!

That's enough B&BW plugging for now! I do not get compensated for this, and totally should. Who knows somebody who knows somebody who could help this girl out?!?

Have a terrific week - and you've gotta shop the B&BW Holiday Shop early, before everything is picked over on Black Friday!  
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Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday = VLOG Day!

I've finally done it! 


Before you press play, please forgive me for my "just got home from work" look. Also, make sure to turn your sound up now - you don't want to miss a snippet of some awesome Vampire Weekend!

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Little bit'a Rhetoric...

Pretend you are a stylish, cute little gal who lives vicariously through but doesn't completely understand your husband's life in academia.  For fun, also pretend that you're wearing a lovely green dip-dye scarf from GAP, skinny jeans, a cute little brown fitted blazer and adorable Rampage flats with gold buckle accents. And hot pink nail polish. In other words, pretend you're me:

I decided to accompany my husband to the University of Louisville's Campus last Friday, as he was scheduled to give a conference presentation in the afternoon. I figured I'd head over with him early in the a.m., and enjoy some time exploring and playing on and around the campus while he did his scholarly thing. Ya know... forgo the academic peoples and their ideas, avoid making a compete arse of myself by attempting to speak at their level, and carry on about my day, Steph-style. 

* * * *
We were waiting for the shuttle bus that would transport us from our hotel to campus.  A nice lady approached us in the hotel lobby and, in broken English, asked us if we are "going to conference."  My husband and I let her know that we are, indeed, headed to the conference; he immediately jumped into academic/competitive/"ehhh, so what's YOUR story" mode, and began asking her questions about where she was from, what school she was representing, her fields of interest, etc.  And no, I didn't just stand there, quiet as a mouse. I definitely should have.

The Serbian gal turns to me and asks, "And you? School? what is you school?" 

I had four choices:

1: Explain that I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Marshall University's School of Liberal Arts  in 2006 and currently work in addiction/mental health field, but currently, I am not enrolled as a graduate student (which is the truth, therefore obviously the best answer.)

2: Brain-dead-ing-ly reply in my twangy hick-girly accent that, "I AIN'T IN SKOOL NO MORE" - (which, sadly, is the first answer that came to my mind),

3: Pretend I'm mute, nod my head, and let my husband take care of all the questions, or

4: Lie.

I chose #4. I lied. In fact, I lied so much, I'm not so sure what the truth really even is five whole days later.

"Aeeeuuhh... the Ohio University", I said. Now, if you're from Ohio, or a student of either Ohio State or Ohio University, you will understand that there is a RULE: the schools are clearly named "THE Ohio State University", and "Ohio University". Never, ever, a combination of the two.  In my case, I've committed a crime as far as the college student population of Ohio is concerned. Anyway, my new Serbian friend continues:

"Ooooh and you study? What is it do you study?"

Since I'm a total social media hooker, and the only field I would ever consider studying in my husband's scholarly world is Digital Media, I stammered around and finally choked out this intelligent-sounding answer:

"new media - YA know, blogging, social networking stuff, a little bit'a... rhetoric".

A little bit'a Wha???

Yes, a "little bit of" rhetoric. Not a whole lot, just a little bit. Because I hate effing rhetoric. BAHAHAHA.  At this point my husband has turned his entire body completely away and is looking off into the distance, hoping and praying that the shuttle bus comes, like, YESTERDAY, or that he could be invisible.  OR... throw himself in front of the bus before it stops to pick us up. Next question:

"Are you Ph.D too?"

I shake my head no... "naw, naw, not Ph.D".  Well, what then? 
She looked at me quizzically.  I swear, my blogging friends, I was not toying with her mind on purpose. 
"Masters Degree" I squeaked. Hubby decides to jump back in on the conversation and rescue me. Or. So. He. Thought!
They carry on about writing a thesis vs. taking a cumulative exam to complete Masters Degree requirements. I'm sweating, but thankful that the attention has been turned away from me.

"Do you write thesis? or take test?"
You're kidding me...  "TEST. Ohhh nooo... i could never write a thesis.... after watching my husband go through this whole dissertation process. Yep, test. Taking the test."

She continues on, talking about how she hated taking the GRE test to get into graduate school, and how she cannot imagine taking yet another monster test, because she hates tests. Tests. Tests. Tests.
The bus is coming. Hot damn!  Finally, I decide I should tell the truth.

"I'm studying for the GRE now!"
Whoopsie.  Why would I be doing that, when i'm already enrolled in a Master's Degree program, studying new media and "a lil' bit'a rhetoric"?

Did my sweet Siberian friend have any clue that I tangled myself up in a whirlwind of lies? I think she was as confused as I was.

One little lie.  Leads to another one.. leads to the next one... and continues on.

I've decided, from now on, I'm telling the TRUTH. I never could have - or would have - tried to pull that one over anyone else.  I think there was a sick part of me that wanted to try to impress the poor girl for whatever reason - but my point is this:

Be comfortable with who you are, and don't ever try to be anything or anyone else.  And for goodness sakes, if you're going to lie, please do a better job than I did!

Off I go... to study a Little bit'a Rhetoric!

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Top 2 Tuesday: Back in the Day

The Undomestic Momma wants to see her readers' favorite old photographs.  I knew, hands down, what mine were the minute I saw her topic of the day!

1. My mom's high school photo - She says she had the best hair in the entire school in the late 70's.  I'm betting that she's completely telling the truth - look at those WINGS! "Shear" perfection.  She credits the fan she sat in front of after washing her hair each morning for giving her that perfect "swept" look.

2. In the spirit of Halloween, this is my second favorite old-school photo: My brother and I, dressed up and ready for trick-or-treating, back in '92.  Obviously, I'm the super cute clown. I hated that costume! My brother always went along to make sure no one ran over me, because I was such a little mousy thing. I was 7, he was 12. There was lots of candy.

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Louisville Love!

Hi all!  I hope you had a fantastic fall weekend!
I thought I would share some photos from last week's short trip to Toonerville/Luhvull/Looeyville/Looavall/Louisville, Kentucky.

And off we go!  My husband and I enjoyed the beautifully fall colored four hour drive across southern Ohio into KY. Our tunes for the trip?  Vampire Weekend, of course!

As soon as my husband and I checked into the Galt House Hotel and marveled at the view of Louisville, the Ohio River, and Indiana from our hotel room, we headed straight to the Muhammad Ali Center. I loved the architecture outside of the museum (note dorky photo above!)

This was my second trip in five years to the Center, which is five stories of endless history, art, religion, sports, love, peace, and happiness. Seriously.  Ali was the greatest at a lot of things, and there's no way I can post all of the photos that we took. The museum is pure graphic art/media genius;  I will stick with sharing some of my personal faves - the artwork:
My favorite paiting, by Simon Bull

My hand compared to Ali's; the wooden blocks that make up the "Hope & Dream" wall, pictured above.

This sculpture is amazing.

LeRoy Neiman sat ringside and painted live watercolors of Ali's fights. Simply amazing

(The dude I'm taking pictures of taking pictures is my husband.)

One of my favorite things about the Muhammad Ali Center is all of the artwork contributed by local children - so innocent and pure, truthful and powerful.

 Ali and Elvis were BFFs! This robe was made by Elvis' costume designer.

The Muhammad Ali center literally takes hours to walk through - so much fight and news footage to watch, a ton of hands-on exhibits, there's just entirely too much to document here.  It's definitely a must-see if you're in Louisville - set aside at least a couple of hours for the full experience!

On our way to Joe's Crab Shack - had to stop so my husband could get a pic of his very own "belle"!

With Thursday's fun over and done, it was time to get serious and focus on my husband's conference presentation on U of L's campus on Friday.  I attempted to fit in with the scholarly peeps in the a.m., but that was a total failure, so I decided to spare myself the embarrassment and enjoy the gorgeous campus until time for my hub's presentation:

A horse, of course! Outside the School of Art.

Behind the bench I sat on to tweet and check email - I was a little concerned!

Such a sweetheart squirrel! He was playful and fun.

We took a pic of the new basketball/event venue, in downtown Louisville after dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory - the KFC YUM! Center! Clever!

Good-night, and Good-bye Louisville

There WILL be a post describing my mortifying "scholarly talk" with a young Yugoslavian gal at the conference.  I'm thinking I have enough material for several posts.  So sit tight! It'll be worth the wait.
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