Monthly Archives: January 2009

Random Friday

The newest Cabbage Patch Doll

The newest Cabbage Patch Doll

I’ve run out of variations on “odds and ends”, so I had to come up with another title.

1. Interesting article by David Pogue on twitter. (I’m getting really good at this live links thing, aren’t I? Huh?…Huh?) 

2. Another great post from Bob Hoffman, the Ad Contrarian, on social media and its potential for marketing. Any marketer who reads this is now scared shitless, as we’re all putting more and more resources (money AND people) in social media.

3. Whatever it is, I’m against it. (A little Groucho Marx on a Friday afternoon.)

4. The octuplets’ mom already had six children. Not passing judgment. Just wondering why you would subject yourself to fertility treatments (or would even want them, for that matter) if you already had six children. I’ve had fertility treatments, and it’s no picnic. To me, having more than six children would be no picnic either, though. Again, not passing judgment. Just saying.

5. For the second year in a row, we’re having a pretend  Super Bowl party.  We’re not actually having anyone over, because they would talk too much and then I might miss some of the commercials. We’re just making food as if we were having people over.  Wiener dogs, chips and salsa, veggie tray (with lots and lots of olives. I love olives), and pizza rolls. Yum. 

Go Steelers!


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January blahs

I try really hard not to complain. Really I do.  Each morning I list the 25 things I’m grateful for.  I know that my life is easy compared to the lives of most people in the world (even most people in the U.S.)  But I have never experienced life in Darfur…so the relevant comparison is my life in January vs. my life in not-January.  And my life is so much harder right now vs. what it was like in, say, October.  

First, there’s the lack of light.  I get up in the dark, and I go home in the dark.  I catch glimpses of daylight as I look out my office window, and when I run across the street to Subway to get my lunch. But that’s about it.

Then there’s the cold. Bone-chilling cold, particularly when there’s snow in the air. (Don’t get me started on the wind.)Not only do I have to wear a hat, which I hate (I’m no Aretha Franklin, in case you hadn’t noticed), but I’ve been wearing the same pair of boots every day for a month.  It’s a hassle to carry shoes with me, so I bought boots that are actually acceptable for the business dress code that we have in our office (don’t get me started on that either) and I wear them all day. Every day. For a month.

And not only does the cold affect my own personal attire, but it adds approximately 20 minutes to our morning routine, between the added clothing elements that have to be located and donned in the morning (putonyourbootsputonyourbootsputonyourboots) to the extra time it takes getting to and from the car, to the time it takes to take off all the added clothing.

Next, there’s the difficulty in walking down the street.  I am not known for my gracefulness, and I never learned to ice skate (or even roller skate, for that matter). I have not fallen yet this year (knock wood), but I have come dangerously, embarrassingly, gracelessly close, as I’ve lost my balance and looked like an idiot while regaining it.

Finally, there’s the difficulty of getting the kids in and out of the van.  The curbs are covered with about 18 inches of snow/ice.  There are narrow shoveled paths, yes.  But if I position the van so that Margaret’s door is in front of the shoveled path so that it’s easy to get her in, then I have to climb over the snow/ice banks to get into the street to get into my side of the van.  (I think I’m not explaining this particularly well. Just think about a big mountain of snow the entire length of the street between the sidewalk and the street.)

I’m going to put my head under the covers now. Wake me when it’s March.

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Odder ends

1. Last week, Governor Blagojevich compared his arrest to the attack on Pearl Harbor, and said that the whole thing is part of a conspiracy on the part of Illinois lawmakers to raise taxes.  Today, he said that he thought about selecting Oprah to fill Obama’s senate seat.  Hey, why not throw in Cardinal George, while you’re at it?

Further evidence that he’s a special kind of crazy, and there ain’t no medication for it. Can we just get this trial over with, please, and move on?

2. It’s called “social media” for a reason, folks.  Two weeks ago, an account VP from the Atalnta office of Ketchum, a very large PR agency, landed in Memphis to meet with FedEx, the largest client of the Atlanta office.  Upon landing, he tweeted something to the effect that if he had to live in a place like Memphis, he’d kill himself.  Well, unfortunately, some of the FedEx people he was about to meet with were his followers on Twitter, and they took great offense.  The full story is here. Just a reminder that everything we say in the social media world is public, not private. I don’t know what I would do if I were Ketchum..but I’m very glad I don’t have to make the decision.

3.  I made Shepherd’s Pie in the crock pot tonight, but I’m going to spare you this one, because it wasn’t very good.  My family just wishes that I had spared them.

4. I just found out they pushed back the date of the digital TV change-over, and we’re going to have four more months of hearing about it.  Please, let this end.  The people who haven’t heard about it yet are not going to hear about it in the next four months, and I’m still going to hear about it every day.

5. If January doesn’t end soon, I think I shall perish.  Further, if February is anything like January, I think I shall perish.

6.  I think that one of the most dangerous jobs in the world is “former girlfriend of a famous athlete.” I don’t mean to sound harsh, but they seem to have a high mortality rate, for whatever reason. I’m just saying.

7. The TiVo did not record tonight’s episode of “24”, so I have to implement a total news black-out until tomorrow night when I can watch it on hulu.  Don’t tell me what happened!

This was particularly “stream of consciousness” tonight, wasn’t it?


Filed under Current Events, Social Media Observations, Uncategorized

A familiar cry in the night

At 3:30 this morning, I was awakened by a distinctive cry.  As I swung my legs over the side of the bed, I said to Tim, “David threw up”. To which he responded, “How do you KNOW that?” And I knew because it’s a cry in the night like no other – actually, it’s two cries. The first is caused by the discomfort of severe nausea combined with the fear of what they know is going to happen next.  Then there’s silence (the actual throwing up time.) And then the distinctive cry of shock, fear, shame, and revulsion, a combination of feelings unique, I believe, to vomiting.

Those of you who are parents (and anyone who isn’t has most likely stopped reading already) know this drill.  I never experience that overwhelming feeling of “I have no idea what to do first” like I do when my child vomits.  (Actually, that overwhelming feeling is preceded by the realization that I would pay someone. Anyone. a lot of money to walk into my child’s room at that moment so that I didn’t have to. )  The list of to-do’s seems endless in the middle of the night: Clean up David. Put on new jammies. Clean up the floor. Strip the bed.  Start laundry. Put towels on the bed. Remake the bed.  Get the bucket from the basement.  Turn my pillow over in case some stomach-flu germs got on my pillow during snuggle-time. )

We divided and conquered. (There are many times I’m thankful that I have a spouse, but never more than throw-up time). I took David into the bathroom  (Is there a way to comfort your child without actually having to touch him?) and did the kid clean-up/jammie change, etc.  Tim started on the room clean up. Luckily, most of it landed on the bare floor (thank goodness the new rug for the kids’ newly-remodeled room wasn’t in the budget this month!) I started the laundry.  Tim made the bed. We put the kids back to bed.

Then came the sleepless horror for the next hour, as I imagined what the next week could be like, as we all  go down with it: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Wondering in what order we’d go. 

With daylight came the realization that David hadn’t thrown up again, and the hope that maybe it was a fluke, caused by severe coughing or some other random event of the universe.  So far, everyone seems okay.  Keeping my fingers crossed.  And washing my pillowcase, just to be sure.

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Inauguration observations


1. I feel sorry for John Roberts.  He may be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, but yesterday was his big moment.  Here’s a guy who has been perfect his entire life, and on his big day, he gets overconfident and blows it.  I can imagine his conversation with his wife beforehand:

Mrs. Chief Justice: I think you should read the oath, just to be safe.

Mr. Chief Justice: Don’t be ridiculous.  It’s only 35 words, and I have it memorized already. I don’t need to read it.

Mrs. Chief Justice: Have it your way, but I think you’re making a mistake.

I wonder if the other justices will tease him.

2. One of my favorite moments of the day was Bill Clinton helping George H. W. Bush down the corridor before they made their separate entrances into the VIP stands.  H.W. was walking with considerable difficulty, but walking by himself.  After the Clintons greeted H.W. and Barbara, Clinton helped him walk in that “I know you don’t need any help walking, so let’s just pretend that I’m holding on to you because I’m so glad to see you and I don’t want to let go” kind of way.  They’re obviously very fond of each other. Which is nice. 

3. My least favorite moment of the day was the crowd booing W. as he arrived at the inauguration.  Was that really necessary? He’s leaving office knowing that an overwhelming majority of people think he did a crappy job.  Did you have to rub his nose in it? He’s a human being, and at that point, still the President, fairly elected (even if you think he wasn’t fairly elected in 2000, he was in 2004).  After the oath, President Obama greeted him warmly and said, “Thank you, Mr. President, and Godspeed.” (I read his lips.) Now that’s class.

4. Was I the only person who thought that Dick Cheney looked like Mr. Potter in that wheelchair?  I was waiting for him to say, “Geeooorrggge Bailey.”

5. President Obama doesn’t know how to dance. I’m sorry. He just doesn’t.

6. Someone joked that the moment the oath was over, John Paul Stevens handed in his resignation from the Supreme Court.

Exciting day.  Made me proud to be an American. Now back to normal life.

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Easy penne with salmon and dill recipe

I made this easy dish for dinner on Sunday night. I wasn’t sure whether the kids would like it, as they’re not crazy about salmon.  (So why did I make it, you ask? Ah, you forget that it’s all about me.)  The good news…everyone loved it.  I had made baked salmon the day before (yes, I like salmon. A lot.) and baked two extra fillets, which I used for this.

Cook 1 lb. of penne according to directions (add some salt to the water). While pasta is cooking, make a bechamel sauce. (The original recipe called for heavy cream, but I prefer to make bechamel, because it’s much lower in fat and therefore, lower in calories and not as filling.) To make bechamel sauce, melt 2 Tbsp. of butter in a sauce pan on medium low heat. Add 1 1/2 Tbsp. of flour and whisk. Cook for 3 minutes over medium-low heat. Gradually stir in 1 1/2 cups of skim milk, stirring constantly.  Keep stirring until sauce thickens. (You have to be patient, as this can take 15-20 minutes.  Don’t give up.) When the sauce starts to thicken, add several cloves of crushed garlic.  Turn off heat and add 1 cup of baby peas (I used frozen peas that I steamed in the microwave for 2 minutes), the left-over salmon, which I “shredded” (or whatever you would call smushing it up with my fingers so it fell apart) and lots of chopped fresh dill, and salt and pepper to taste.  Stir it all together.  Mix with penne pasta and serve. 

I served the pasta with ciabatta bread, which I bought at Jewel and baked.

Easy and delicious.

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Twittering the time away

I still can’t figure out Twitter.  I mean, I know how to use it.  It’s pretty simple.  It’s social instant messaging using a 140 characters or less.  The technical description for it is “micro-blogging”, where people send messages to their “followers”.  You sign up to follow people, and then people sign up to follow you, and then it starts to get weird.  Let me give you an example.  John follows Mary, and Mary follows John.  Susie follows Mary, but not John.  So John sends  a “tweet” to his followers, and since Mary is a follower, she sees his tweet(which Susie doesn’t see, remember, because she doesn’t follow John.) Mary thinks John’s tweet was thought-provoking or hilarious, or both, and she decides to respond to his message with something equally thought-provoking and/or hilarious, and both John and Susie see Mary’s tweet, because they both follow her.  And Susie has NO IDEA WHAT THE HELL MARY IS TALKING ABOUT, because she didn’t see the original tweet. See? I said it was weird.

I  have exactly 150 followers on Twitter, and I follow 178 people.  Which means I get about 1000 tweets a day, of which I maybe read skim 100.  If that.  I send about one tweet a day, usually either in response to something someone else tweeted (thereby causing confusion for the people who follow me, as I illustrated in the example above), or commenting on some random thing in the news or at work. I don’t know how I got 150 followers.  Mostly, it was in response to people who started to follow me.  (This is common courtesy on Twitter. You follow people who follow you, unless they’re spammers or Amway representatives.) I don’t know how 150 people knew I was on Twitter.  But as I said, it’s weird. 

I joined Twitter to see what all the fuss was about.  I started by following experts in social media, but I’m finding that many of them annoy me, because they have huge egos.  Now I find that my favorite “tweeple” (sorry, I meant “people”) to follow are actually journalists.  I like getting my news the moment it happens. 

Speaking of which, an interesting thing happened on Thursday, when the plane crashed into the Hudson River.  I started getting “tweets” about 2 minutes after the crash happened.  Twitter scooped the main-stream media big-time.  People saw the crash from their apartments and started tweeting. And then other members started re-tweeting (re-sending the same message, and crediting the person who originally sent it.)

Now I have no idea what the implications of this are.  Would anything about the crash or the aftermath have been any different if it had taken people 20 minutes to hear about it on CNN Breaking News instead of hearing about it instantly on Twitter? I highly doubt it.  But it was fascinating to watch. 

I haven’t figured out yet whether Twitter is an important tool for recruiting students.  So far, it’s not being used extensively by universities.  And it’s certainly not clear that those that are seeing results from it.  Time will tell.

But it does look like it’s here to stay.  For those interested in learning more, or those who are still at the “I think Twitter is really dumb” stage (which I still revert to periodically), here are the 5 stages of Twitter acceptance.

If you’re on Twitter and you’d like to follow me, I’m @debmaue.  I’ll follow you back.

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