“Shy Boy” (A Poem)

The boy
no one notices
because he
will not cause a scene
or even raise
his hand in class
is sensitive,
thoughtful,
and quieter.
He processes things internally
and is an introvert at heart.
He thinks Clark Kent
is cool,
not just Superman.
He hates public speaking
and big crowds.
He wishes girls would initiate
in the dating realm
and often
talking to girls
makes him nervous.
Being the center of attention
sounds unpleasant to him.                                                                                                                                                                                                It makes him uncomfortable,
and he feels on the spot.

He is a shy boy.

Poet’s notes: I wanted to write a poem about a shy boy.  I know the shy girl perspective, because often I am a shy girl, especially with guys and in classes and large crowds.  I hope this poem accurately reflects things that shy guys feel, and it is a counterpart to my poem “Shy Girl.”

 

I’m going to feel Deprived if my Husband doesn’t Cook

Pot roast

Pot roast (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m going to feel deprived if my husband doesn’t cook.  In my head is this fantasy that I have, and I just laughed as I wrote that, because in this fantasy my (future) husband likes to cook.  Steak.  Mashed potatoes.  Chicken.  Pot roast.  Tacos.  You get my drift.  Oh, but my future husband doesn’t mind baking, either.  Chocolate cake.  Brownies.  Cookies.  Banana nut Muffins.  I laugh to myself again.  You are probably laughing at me, too.  Or, perhaps you are outraged.  Actually, that is kind of the mood I am in.   I feel like pushing the envelope a bit.  I’m not outraged, but actually I just want to set gender expectations on their head.

So I was just eating dinner tonight and thinking about how I feel like a “bad” female, because honestly I don’t really like to cook.  I was always too busy reading to help my Mom in the kitchen, and she would have to push and prod me.  So, I really don’t know how to cook.  That is part of the problem.  Also, I hate dishes.  But, I have a dish washer now, so you ask what is my excuse?  Truth be told, my Mom even recently subscribed me to Rachel Ray’s magazine, but I find myself flipping through it thinking that certain foods look good, but then I stumble at the action point where I need to go out and buy the needed ingredients to make the meal.  My observation is that if you don’t have basic ingredients to start with, then your grocery bill can burst your budget and be a major detriment into your foray into cooking.

I fear my future husband will feel deprived with my lack of domesticity.  Here is what “gets me.”  Women are expected to work full-time.  Be thin (and I must say that the older I become, the harder that is, especially with the genetic predisposition of the women in my family).  Be beautiful.  Be sweet.  Love children.  Do the bulk (if not all) of the cleaning in your home.  And, finally, be a domestic “goddess.”  But what happens when you don’t wear the red polka-dot apron and make an amazing pot roast?

Society likes to play it both ways.  Women need to work outside the home, but they need to shine in the home sphere, too.  If you don’t, then you deprive your husband (thus goes the logic).  Your husband deserves a good home cooked meal.  And why would a woman want to “waste” a college education if she decides she wants to raise her children and stay at home?  Is that not a noble profession, or does she have to be climbing the corporate or academic ladder to get applauded?  I think many women get burned out running from full-time work to PTA meetings to kid’s soccer practice, and trying to be home in time to make a five course meal may be an unfair burden that society places on women.  Women can juggle many things successfully, but I think fairness and equality is a standard to be obtained in both the work and home sphere.  Why can’t husbands cook, too?  While I definitely will not feel deprived if my future husband doesn’t cook (FYI, I was just stirring the pot), I do hope that my husband will at least like to grill out, or he will enjoy cooking with me as we learn to cook together.  A girl can dream.

 

Sad and Interesting is the Order of the Day

Days can be thematic sometimes. Today, sad and interesting appeared to be the order of the day. It was a long day, and I got home after 9 pm. As I was parking, I was inspired by a new song that I heard on the radio on my favorite radio station, Air1. It was by Britt Nicole, who I find very inspiring and talented. (Side note: I actually got to volunteer at her concert with radio promotions for Air1 Radio several years ago when she performed a concert in my area). Well, I loved her new song with Lecrae, and I was inspired to get on Myspace, which I don’t do much at all these days, but I still like it for the music and for reminiscing. Anyways, I was stopped by “the new myspace”, saying not only had myspace changed, but that my current browser was not supported to login. All I wanted to do was add the song to my profile as #1 song, but I had to go through the steps to get a new browser to meet my goal. So, I added Mozilla Firefox as a browser, which truth be told, I should have done ages ago, since I hear it is an excellent browser. Funny how when you can’t do something you want to do that takes “two seconds”, it is quite annoying to be slowed down with technical delays. Anybody else agree?

So, after getting my new browser, I tried to login and got stopped by the “new myspace.” Of course, I had to agree to the privacy policies, video policy, and other various policies before proceeding. I also noticed that it APPEARS that unless you are a MEMBER of myspace (i.e. the NEW myspace, not the classic myspace), you CANNOT listen to music! You can only search for music. Why would anyone want to search for music but not listen to it? Sometimes I used to listen to music in my old myspace player without logging in. This probably sounds funny, but I would listen to my playlist when I didn’t realy care or need to login, and when I didn’t care to be tracked for every song I played. Anyways, so, unless I am missing something, it appears the new myspace is EXCLUSIVE for members ONLY to listen to music, which I find sad and, well, exclusionary. I like music being free and for the people. And, don’t quote me on this without double-checking, but I believe that when I tried to check out Spotify app for music numerous months ago (which my friend raved about), I couldn’t login in because I don’t have a Facebook account. I don’t think that is very fair.

I am a person who does not like to sign something or click accept when I have not read something, especially when terms say that I have read terms, etcetera. Granted, I don’t like reading 40 page terms verbatim, but I try to pay attention to privacy policies and rules. But, I got tired of reading and really ONLY WANTED ONE SONG. It is already late, so I decided to table the new myspace for another day and make sure I am reading when I am less tired. Here is the super sad other thing that I want to comment on- when I was clicking about how the new myspace is different than the classic myspace, it said some things will not carry over in the new experience- things like blogs and comments. That makes me so sad! I always considered my old myspace like a digital record or journal as part of my life- so many happy memories are tied up there, plus blogs that I never saved that were before I was on wordpress. I think I also lost some of my poetry which I may have only had a digital copy of, which of course, I did not save. It is too late now, but I wish I knew more about archiving and stuff that seems taught more in librarian circles. Sometimes it feels like I a babe in the woods, but it is sad once it is too late to do things maybe you should have done, but didn’t think something would be totally taken away from you. I was never warned by myspace by e-mail with the changes, and I knew there was a newer version, but I didn’t use it a ton recently. Still, I don’t think they promoted the switch with a deadline, and I don’t think they publicized what people would lose until it was lost. Maybe I am wrong, and I not trying to speak something untrue, but with so much of our identities wrapped up in the digital realm, I wonder how many people would be upset if their Facebook profile got wiped out, or how would they feel if Linked In pulled the plug? We are all vulnerable.

Once I decided to pass on the new myspace (for tonight anyway), I got on Air1 Radio (www.air1.com) to stream the mixology live. Of course, I got distracted by their home page with “trending now” news headlines. Here is the one that caught my eye. It is about new Lego figurines being more grumpy than in previous years. I think that is interesting, but sort of sad. Here is the article:

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/06/11/18904238-do-legos-need-anger-management-figurines-grumpier-than-ever-study-says?lite

Also, an article I was reading earlier in the day was in the Chronicle of Higher Education about privacy, law, and government. It was highly thought-provoking and troubling. If you are interested in privacy laws, logical arguments, or freedom, then I definitely recommend it. It fits my theme of the day- sad, yet interesting.

http://chronicle.com/article/Why-Privacy-Matters-Even-if/127461/

The Almost Never-ending Story, Literally (Tax Return Lessons 101)

Am  I the only person in the world who has never heard of “Tax Literals” before?  I am a literal person, but I think that title leaves something to be desired.  Here is the chronological breakdown of my tax time saga (a.k.a. Tax Return Lessons 101):

1. I decide to again do my taxes myself this year. Perhaps I am still scarred from my bad experience at H&R Block several years ago, and how they misquoted me the amount that I would pay as a single person with a very easy return.

Form 1040A, 2005

Form 1040A, 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2. I gather my tax forms from the library, do a rough draft of my 1040A form, and get delayed in finding and printing the amount of interest I paid on qualified student loan payments.  I speculate about the IRS updating tax codes to be more fair to the tax payer.  I think it is 100% unfair that the 1098-E is not furnished by mail to individuals if the lender doesn’t receive interest payments of $600 or more in a year.  Plus, why is the Earned Income Credit (EIC) for people who work so vastly different for single people vs. people with children?  A single person doing a 1040A for 2012 must make less than $13, 980 (per 1040A, line 22, adjusted gross income or AGI), but a person having one child living with her or him can make an AGI of less than $36, 920.  (Note: this is actually just step 1 to pass to see if a person qualifies for the Earned Income Credit).  Why the disparity?  It seems the American tax code greatly favors people with children over single people on multiple levels.

3.  I file online using free fillable forms.  They are essentially the electronic version of paper federal tax forms, but they can enable you to get a much faster refund since you electronically file.

4.  I dislike how some of the free fillable forms are counterintuitive.  You can’t actually add your W-2’s when clicking on the upper tab to add forms, because you must click step 2 to do that.  In addition, (from what I can tell), you can’t move to step two by clicking “done with form” at the bottom of your 1040A, you have to click on the top “step 2” to go to step 2.  This seems illogical to me, because if you are done with a form, then you should be able to click “done” and move on to the next step.  Plus, am I the only one who noticed how when a person types in her information on her W-2’s and uses the tab key, then it will jump numbers and not be perfectly chronological around the 12-20 fields?  I don’t like that filling out the W-2 seems to work backwards and out-of-order.

5.  I am happy to have my refund submitted electronically to the IRS after time spent surfing FAQs to answer e-file questions using free fillable forms.

English: Speech balloons. Question and Answer....

English: Speech balloons. Question and Answer. Icon for FAQ or Help. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

6.  What?!!!  My refund was rejected?  I have e-filed my own taxes for around 5 years, and that has never happened.  Here is part of the e-mail to tell me of my refund rejection: “To see a list of the most common reasons for a rejected return go to http://www.irs.gov/uac/Common-Free-File-Fillable-Forms-Problems   You will need to fix the issue in your return and e-file again. If you are unable to fix the issue you will have to print the return and file by mail.” (E-mail from customer_service@freefilefillableforms.com)

7.  Thus begins my search for why my refund was rejected.  I realize how”Tax Literals” seem to be at the root of my rejection problem. Essentially, tax literal problems are caused by putting something into the small grey box areas on the tax return that does not belong. A person has to be instructed to place information in those areas.  Utilizing the link sent to me in my rejection e-mail about common tax problems, I link to the IRS website and find a helpful link, the FAQ document for Tax Literals.  However, I notice this IRONIC line about tax literal information on the official IRS government website.  (Note: editing done to bold typographic error).

“In the example above, the rejection was caused by using an incorrect state abbreviation on Form W2-G and yopu would look on that form to correct the information.” (http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-utl/2012_4f_faqs.pdf)  (Free File Fillabe Forms FAQS and Limitations, February 28, 2013).

8.  I realize that line 7 (wages, etcetera) was where my mistake was made, so I fix the error and re-submit my tax return.

9.  Yay!  My return was accepted!  Is this the never-ending story, or what?  Finally, my tax return saga is over!

The Positivity of Pooh and a Personality Profile

Have you ever wanted to write, various ideas would pop into your head, but then your motivation would lag?  Has your real life ever encroached on your creative side, stifling it with endless “to do” lists and practical matters so your writer’s inspirations get the boot?  Yeah, me too.  In the last 6 weeks, I have had many blog ideas excite me: a post about my enthusiasm for a class that I am taking online in March, a post exploring my musical side by writing a cd review for my favorite new cd, and a blog post about my recent birthday this past Monday.  However, my inspiration did not transfer from pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard.  My rough working title for my birthday reflections post (“Another one bites the dust and Valentine’s Day looms on the horizon”) seemed too negative about my getting another year older (a.k.a. another year bit the dust) and about  facing another Valentine’s Day as a single in a couple’s world.

Which leads me to today.  Some of the blog ideas mentioned above I may write in the future, but for now I am glad to at least be writing something.  Sickness and personal discouragement, as well as an onslaught of problems and financial issues have been my reality these last few months.  Actually, a surprising topic fueled my desire to write and inspired this blog post:  Winnie the Pooh, the classic children’s book and show.  While I am a kid at heart, this inspiration is likely tied to the time that I perused my local library at Christmas time searching for all my favorite Christmas movies.  My favorites were all checked out : “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (animated version), “Rudolph” (I love the island of misfit toys, Rudolph is cute, and it’s important to find your identity and to not be afraid to be different), and “Mickey’s Christmas Carol”.  So, my confession is that I ended up renting “Winnie the Pooh: a Very Merry Pooh Year.”  Please don’t judge me.  Yes, I realize that I may secretly be five-years-old.  Sometimes that idea seems far better than being an adult, in my opinion (re: kids get to play and adults pay bills and deal with car repairs).

A Very Merry Pooh Year

A Very Merry Pooh Year (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why am I writing about Christmas movies in February, you ask?  The peak time for  Christmas related blog posts are over, you say?  Perhaps, but I am leading up to my inspiration.  There is no time limit on inspiration.  My inspiration is the positivity of Pooh.   My mind keeps wandering to three of the primary characters in the Winnie the Pooh books and movies:  Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, and Tigger.  I think most people fall into the personality types that these three main characters represent.

1. Pooh– He is very loyal and stable.  He is the glue that holds things together, a leader, and he has many friends.  Sometimes he can have laser sharp focus (a.k.a. “where is my honey”?), but he is one of the best friends that you can ask for.  His disposition is sunny and positive.  Pooh is who I want to be and who I am most of the time, (although I also have a fondness for Tigger), but sometimes life’s hardships and disappointments can bring out my Eeyore side.

2. Eeyore- He is sad and discouraged.  He sees life in black or shades of gray.  The glass is ALWAYS half-empty for Eeyore.  “Woe is me” could be his motto.  This type of person can take a toll on others that they are around because they are constantly being negative and wallowing in the mud, so to speak. This can be emotonally tiring for their friends and family, and may feeling draining and like a deficit in the relationship. Often Eeyore people are creative souls who are talented with art, theatre, or writing. They can struggle with depression or discouragement, and the darkness and pain of life can be challenging for them to deal with in a positive way.

3. Tigger– He is bouncy and fun!  Tigger loves life and life is full of possibility.  He is the epitome of sunshine and joy.  He is so full of energy that he bounces literally.  People like Tigger are full of vigor, but at times can seem easily distracted or intensely focused.  A Tigger person is very fun to be around.  However, Tigger people can move fast literally, but others who want to walk beside them may find themselves being left behind. Tigger people can also have ideas that are progressive and forward-thnking. While I have elements of Tigger in my personality, and certain friends and activities bring out Tigger’s vitality and the Tigger side of me, I am more like Winnie the Pooh overall.

Which Pooh character are you most like?  Feel free to add your thoughts!  Feedback is appreciated with my unofficial Pooh personality profile.

Also, if you like personality profiles, here is a really FUN synopsis of Dr. Gary Smalley’s and Dr. John Trent’s animal personality profile (Lion-Otter-Golden Retriever-Beaver). My friend Melissa who is in the counseling and ministry field first told me about this personality profile assessment last fall, and it has been enlightening for me personally and with my friendships. Check it out!
http://weirdblog.wordpress.com/2007/02/22/personality-types-lion-beaver-otter-and-golden-retriever/

Here is a second link that is a great in-depth blog about the golden retriever personality type:
http://charactertherapist.blogspot.com/2010/01/t3-golden-retrieverphlegmatic.html

The Tigger Movie, a film based on the Disney a...

The Tigger Movie, a film based on the Disney adaptation of Tigger. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Disney's adaptation of Stephen Slesinger, Inc....

Cover of Winnie the Pooh and Friends

Text Messaging is taking over the world!!!

 Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Text messaging is taking over the world!!!  I did think that honor was unofficially bestowed to Facebook, but text messaging may actually usurp Facebook, which is a high honor, indeed.  Case in point: we all know that we can send text messages to our family and our friends, or get free promo codes by text from companies like Redbox, but now text messaging has gotten a foot in the door in the library and information science field.  This foot in the door phenomenon may revolutionize customer service as we know it.

Tonight I was searching my local public library catalog by utilizing their iPhone app.  I had a question about a library item that I desired.  Thus, I clicked on “contact us” in the library app and saw the normal phone and e-mail contact information for my local library.  However, my interest was piqued when spying “text” as an option to answer my question.  It is important to note that I am a text messaging convert (i.e. I was against text messaging for a few years before I finally gave in, changed my phone service plan, and began text messaging).  Now, I think text messaging is amazing, and I find it quite helpful in a plethora of ways like sending friends encouraging messages, for social planning, for information sharing, and for various functional purposes.  So it may come as no surprise to you that I used text messaging as my happy and instant solution to my library query.  Within minutes a library staff member answered my question, and I was moving forward with my library request.

I must say that this whole experience has made me wonder if text messaging is taking over the world? 

Text a Librarian Booth Artwork

2012 Flashback (a.k.a. Personal Reflections on this Past Year)

How is 2012 quickly drawing to a close?  Yes, it is true what people say: the years go by faster and faster the older you get.  This past year was a mix of hardships and saying good-bye to several friends who left my area, as well as various events and activities that shaped the year for me.  This list is a personal reflection of the past year, rather than a list of current events or a political piece, with dates as close as possible to the real month of occurrence.  I enjoy reflecting on the past before starting a new year.  It is good to have new goals and aspirations.

January

  • I began blogging on WordPress.  Yay!
  • A mild winter in Illinois. That’s awesome because I walked a 1/2 mile each way to work due to the scarcity of close parking at my job.

February

  • My birthday month.  Why does it feel like the last 5 years or so are gone in a blink?
  • I attended my second ever University of Illinois Basketball game.  It was a nice family time with my Dad, and Illinois beat Iowa, so that was exciting.

March

  • It was fun to co-coordinate a faculty/staff service outreach at my job.  We volunteered at the Eastern Illinois Foodbank, a foodbank that helps provide food to hundreds of soup kitchens and food pantries in the central Illinois area.
  • I become the proud owner of a iPhone 4.  It is super cool, but dislikes when I try to use it as a PHONE from my apartment.  However, the apps, being able to easily check and write e-mails, and the camera are all great features.
  • Winter Jam Tour at the Assembly Hall with my friend, Sabrina

April

  • My church purchases our own building after the building we rented was damaged by a fire.  My church had been dislocated to a hotel for around 3-4 months, so the purchase of our own building was exciting.

May

  • My friend Carolina moved to Arizona when her husband graduated and expediently got a great job.

June

  • Summer= swimming (in my attempt at fitness).
  • Around this time (ish), I become a poet who publishes on poemhunter.  I enjoy writing poetry, especially about love, heartache, and God/faith.

July

  • More swimming.  Summer seemed to go by at warp speed.  I did get to go see the New Amazing Spiderman on the Fourth of July.
  • I covered many job duties for my co-worker who was off work for 3 weeks due to an accident.  I also spent around 4 months (off and on)  for my co-worker typing forms, scanning forms, e-mailing people (some out of state, out of country, or no longer with my department), and playing Nancy Drew with solving discrepancies in legal check-outs of equipment loans, mostly for laptop.  This was to get forms for approxiately a few hundred pieces of equipment updated for legal check-out.
  • My co-worker who was my back-up was promoted, so it was challenging during the 6 weeks before her replacement was hired and started.

August

English: Script logo of the Chicago Bears

  • I took a min-vacation to see my family in my hometown area.  We took a one day road trip to see the Chicago Bears training camp at Olivet Nazarene University.
  • My friend Amy moved out-of-state in order to complete her degree in Art.

September

  • I spend around $300 on an oil change and new brakes when I am told that my brakes are 95% gone.  I am glad this was found before winter, but sad to try to figure out how to pay for that in my tight budget.
  • My friend Melissa moves to Champaign for a new job.  I was blessed by that fact, but I also got a $100 rent credit when I referred her to my apartment complex.  Yay!

October

  •  After 2 years and approximately 3 months, I got into a close parking lot by my work building.  If you know the ordeals that I went through before this time, you will know why this was a HUGE positive for me (I even paid around $70/month for a few months for a private gravel lot in order to be able to get a break and actually get to places on time after work).
  • I join Pinterest and become semi-addicted.
  • My first ever 5K!  My friend Melissa encouraged me to do it.  I am not a runner, but I loved walking the 5K.   It was a fantastic experience.
  • I voted for my clerical union contract.  We had been without a contract for 14 or 15 months which was pretty discouraging, in spite of my union’s persistent negotiations.

November

  • I paid off my 5 year loan on my 2006 Ford Taurus!  Woohoo!
  • The Woodfield Mall bus trip that I was attending with my Mom got cancelled, but all was not lost when my Mom visited me and we spent the weekend shopping at a outlet mall and many great local places.
  • My first laptop that I have ever personally ordered was stolen when FedEx left it unsigned for outside of my apartment the day after Thanksgiving.

December

  • Old-Fashioned Christmas at my church.  I got to go on a horse and carriage ride!  It was amazing!
  • I bought a new laptop  after my laptop that I ordered online was stolen.
  • E-mail day of action that I participated in (off work time, of course) since my signed union contract giving all clericals a small raise and pay-back got stalled by my University when there was no real follow-through and months of stalemate.  Justice is important.  I will note that the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) can locate information that can be quite discouraging, such as discovering that “snack bar attendant” and “helper-kitchen” earned more pay than I did, until recently.
  • I reach over 100 likes on my WordPress blog.  Yes, sometimes I am addicted to my Stats!
  • Christmas with my family, after a two-day delay when my car would not start, got jumped twice, and eventually resulted in me paying $420 for a new alternator and serpentine belt.
  • My first ever pedicure, that was at a spa with my Mom, twin sister, and niece,  It was part of my Christmas gift from my Mom.  It was amazing!

Flashback- Me (on left) and my twin sister, Jody (on right), when we were little