Week in Review: Fab Lab visit, Kickball game, and an Amazing Omelet!

This past week was a unique one in ways which were fun.  On Palm Sunday I visited the C-U Community Fab Lab, which may perhaps fly under the radar as an innovative place to visit and merge technology and your creative side.  It’s a free community place where you can utilize a laser and an open source computer program to create your own key chain, make a magnet, or do more intensive things such as 3D printing and creation of your own designs.  It appeals to various ages, and while the young boy next to me seemed to do slightly better with his project than I did, with the help of three awesome volunteers I was able to solve some issues I was having and emerged victorious with a pretty blue heart key chain with my initial inside that I created.  I even got a pretty purple key ring to go with it!  See my photo below and the website links (including Flickr group for project ideas) if you are interested in learning more about the Fab Lab +/or visiting.

http://cucfablab.org/book/about-us

https://www.flickr.com/groups/1847246@N22/pool

Heart Keychain that I made at the Fab Lab!  (Photo and design by Julie A. Smith)

Heart Key chain that I made at the Fab Lab! (Photo and design by Julie A. Smith)

Next was an amazing omelet that I made heavy on the cheese which turned out good.  I’m not Betty Crocker or Rachel Ray, but that’s ok.  I get excited when I cook something and it turns out well, because my forte is in areas other than cooking.  So I was definitely proud of my omelet!  Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo to illustrate, because I ate the omelet exceedingly fast and was not thinking of photo-journaling.

Finally was the fun kickball game that was competitive and took me back to childhood.  It was between my small group and another small group from my church (note: our huge small group had actually split several months ago into 2 groups due to our size, but we still regularly get together for social outings).  Honestly, I don’t think I have played kickball since grade school, and I found my self asking questions as the game went on, such as “do you have to wait till the ball is kicked before you run from your base?”  However, unfortunately, I got out immediately three times when I kicked.  My balls always seemed to fly high, and the other team were stars at catching them.  My team was great at that, too, but we were vastly outnumbered, and I think that made a difference in our loss.  But fun was had by all it seemed, and I was happy that ONE TIME I ACTUALLY GOT ON BASE!  I DIDN”T EVEN GET OUT UNTIL RUNNING TO THIRD BASE!  I have always appreciated the saying, “it is not whether you win or lose, it is how you play the game.”  It was a ton of fun.  See photos below to illustrate.

Small group Kickball! (My team)

Small group Kickball! Fun times! (My team)

 

Kate and me (Small group Kickball)!

Kate and me (Small group Kickball)!

 

Our tough picture! (Small group Kickball! My team)

Our tough picture! (Small group Kickball! My team)

Finally, while there were some not fun issues to the week (re: multiple doctor’s visits & health issues, etcetera),  but the week was good overall.  Now I’m looking forward to Easter Sunday and my Dad visiting.  We’ll get to attend church together and have quality father-daughter time.  Sweet!

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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

Technological Speed Bumps, Excitement about a day off work, and a prayer request

TECHNOLOGY CAN BE LIKE RIDING A ROLLER COASTER

Technology is amazing.  Technology is progressive.  Technology is cool.  Technology is fun.  Technology is frustrating.  Technology is tricky.  Technology exists in many diverse facets and faces.  Technology can rule your life if you let it.  I must admit, sometimes I have purposefully left my laptop turned off for a weekend in order to get away from the internet when I am burned out on it and when I long for more simple times.  No, I don’t want to be Amish.  But, I do think that simplicity is not always a bad thing.  Argue with me if you will.  Sometimes life can be quite complicated.  Sometimes technology can be quite complicated.  Sometimes there are technological speed bumps when you long for smooth sailing, a beautiful beach, and a glorious sunset.

One thing that I have kept quiet on my blog up until now was regarding a situation that completely upset me, and I was afraid that if I blogged about it in the moment, then my blog would have been one long lament.  Hopefully, that is not the case now.  While I am trying to not be superstitious, it does seem that bad things happen to me around Thanksgiving.  Last year, there was a fire at my church right before Thanksgiving that actually the investigators said appeared to be arson.  From my understanding, someone set the cross behind our church building on fire and threw it through our window.  It was a horrible situation, and resulted in my church being displaced and relocated to a hotel for 4 months.  Then, right after that, my Grandma passed away the Sunday after Thanksgiving of last year.  I missed most of a week of work in order to be with my family and attend my Grandma’s funeral.

This year, I had a nice Thanksgiving and was really looking forward to my new laptop that was soon to be delivered by FedEx.  It was the first time that I had ever actually bought a new laptop on my own, which was a big step for me, especially considering that my first “real” computer I actually bought used after college for a $100 from a girl who used to go to my old church in college (side note: I actually survived college without owning my own computer, but at times I lived in the library and computer labs, and I was exceedingly grateful for friends who would let me borrow their computer).  My current laptop was overheating even while utilizing a cooling mat, and it had been an ongoing ordeal for months, making any writing that I tried to do on my laptop amazingly difficult.  I had argued with HP about it, especially since thousands of batteries had been recalled that were fire hazards.  My battery was actually listed as next in a series of batteries that had been recalled, but HP would not make amends. Thus, I decided that HP would NOT be a brand that I would buy my new laptop from, especially after many wasted hours trying to rectify the situation.  HP advised me to not use my laptop and made it a crisis case, then never contacted me like they said they would.  Finally, I realized that I just needed to invest in a new laptop.  I REALLY want a Macbook Pro, but I am trying not to covet everyone that seems to own MacBooks.  Unfortunately, it seems like MacBooks are just for the wealthy, but I would like to own one in the future.

After researching laptops and searching online for deals, I purchased one online from Wal-mart before Thanksgiving.  I was happy not to have to brave the Black Friday crowds, plus HP seemed to be the major brand with cheap Black Friday sales, and I was unofficially boycotting them.  Anyways, I figured that my laptop would not be delivered while I was out of town, because FedEx could not leave my laptop unsigned for outside of my apartment.  Well, I was wrong.  My expensive laptop cost over $500 was delivered without a signature confirmation.  The next day, when I came home, my laptop was gone.  I can only deduce that it was stolen.  It is a long story, but after hours spent with FedEx, the police,semi-interviewing my neighbors, and even scouring hopefully every apartment in my complex to see if my laptop was accidentally mis-delivered, I finally gave up.  The police said this  happens all the time in my community, and there are people that purposefully go to the wealthy neighborhoods and steal unattended laptops while people are working.  The problem is that you do not have a serial number to prove that the laptop is your laptop, and you have not set up a login password  to make it more secure.  It is  a scary situation.  Plus, there was no way that I could tell that the free shipping that Wal-mart gave me due to the expense of my purchase was would not require a signature confirmation.  It makes me wary to order online anymore, but I may ship site to store or to my workplace in the future, where someone is always available to sign for packages during the day.  Unfortunately, I feel like the whole situation robbed me of my trust in people, many hours of my time, as well as my laptop that I was so excited about.

Since my stolen laptop was such a good deal, of course it was out of stock with Wal-mart, meaning that I could not get it replaced.  One shining thing amidst the sea of horribleness was that Wal-mart gave me a refund without argument.  However, they pointed the finger at FedEx, who had pointed the finger at Wal-mart in terms of responsibility.  Honestly, Wal-mart did NOT require FedEx to get a signature, so they did not.  I want to caution anyone who orders online to be careful of this type of situation, because I would not want this to happen to anyone else.

However, I must note that while it is not the laptop that I really wanted, I did buy a different laptop that was almost $200 cheaper than the laptop that was stolen.  It does not have as much RAM though, but you win some and you lose some.  The really funny part of the situation is that I purchased it from Toys R Us.  Who knew that they sold laptops?  I receive e-mails from Toys R US, since I have shopped there for my niece and nephew, and they had an adult laptop that was $80 off recently, which is the one that I purchased.  I am adjusting to it.  I like it.  It is different because the keys are quite a bit wider than my old laptop, making it harder to type and causing me to make even more typing mistakes than normal, but all is well.  I am just so thankful to have a working laptop again after the long road and long ordeal thatI have been through .  Also, because of Toys R Us having a holiday promotion for people who are in their free rewards program, you can get $10 back on every $100 you spend, so that really is quite beautiful.

logo.

Finally, on a non-related note, I will end by saying that I am really excited about a day off work on Monday.  I have semi-stockpiled my vacation days at my job, and I decided to take a Monday off in order to have a three-day weekend and to catch up on things before the Christmas holiday.  Also, I want to mention a prayer request.  I think it is good to keep the families and friends of those who lost loved ones in the horrible tragedy in Connecticut in prayer.  My heart goes out to the families, and I can only pray that God will comfort them with peace in this time of grief and loss.

Just call me the Starbucks Promotion Girl (a.k.a. Now that’s my kind of Happy Hour, Frappuccino Style)

You can just call me the Starbucks Promotion Girl.  I absolutely LOVE Starbucks.

Here are some of the vast number of ways I am a fan of Starbucks:

1.  I register my Starbucks gift cards.  I love the Starbucks gift card free rewards program, and I am on the green star level currently where added syrups are FREE (If my middle name wasn’t Anne, then I think that it would be free.  LOL).

2.  My family knows that if they buy me a gift card for Christmas or my birthday, then one of the top gift cards is ALWAYS Starbucks.  I recently had a first for me- I reloaded my Starbucks gift card, because over time I had burned through the 3 or 4 gift cards that I had (like I said, everyone knows that I love Starbucks).  I reloaded the gift card with some money that I had gotten back on my tax return.  Strategically budgetted in, of course.  That is my financial situation, honestly, but all is well.

3.  Last week, I went with my friend to this Working Women’s Expo in my city where thousands of women attended.  I was largely going to find out about cool businesses and things in my area…..plus hopefully get some cool free stuff, too.  Beside playing a fun plinko game (that reminded me of the Price is Right), I also played a game at a dental table where you throw the ring toss on the toothbrush.  And, I missed all 3 times.  Very disappointing, but I am so glad that I found a new dentist, which is the reason that I went over to the table.  Anyways, the nice girl took sympathy on me, whipped out a prize, and it was a $5 Starbucks gift card.  That was a beautiful surprise!

Starbucks

Starbucks (Photo credit: Ivana Di Carlo)

4.  When I meet with friends, we often go to Starbucks.  Second, a Starbucks drive-through is close to where I live, which is quite dangerous for me, especially on my way home from work.  Third, at my old job, we used to sometimes have Saturday night Starbucks runs (since Starbucks was right down the street) where we would take employee orders, then one staff member would run out on a break and get all of us Starbucks. It was super fun, all of us were fans of Starbucks, and it made having to work Saturday nights (for the group of us that consistently had to work Saturday nights) much more fun.

5.  One day, I think that it would be cool to own stock in Starbucks.  In the future, when I have more disposeable income, it would be nice to invest in stocks and do more financial stewardship and investment.

6.  When I think of Heaven, one thing that I have pondered is what while Heaven be like?  It is so hard for the human mind to comprehend, you know.  I want to see my name written in the book of life.  I want to meet Jesus, and hear those words of honor “well done, my good and faithful servant.”  And, on a much less spiritual note, I have wondered random things about Heaven, like what we will do when we are not worshipping….i.e. will we do cool stuff, like fly?  I totally want to meet the saints of old, like Esther and Joshua, and I will be honored to meet people that I never got a chance to meet on earth, like Mother Teresa, who I would have loved to have met before she died.  And, I have wondered if we will eat in Heaven.  But, the Bible mentions eating around a table, so I think we will eat in Heaven.  So, one small slice of Heaven for me would be my own little Starbucks where everything is FREE.  Yeah, that would be super cool!

7.  I have the Starbucks app on my semi-new iPhone.  I believe that it is one of only five apps that I have downloaded so far.  It is in a select group of the best of the best of my favorite things.  I find the app quite helpful when you are looking for nutritional content of their drinks and food, when you are travelling and need to know where a Starbucks is, and hours of operation for Starbucks.  They even have this cool feature for the technically hip crowd where you do not have to actually FIND your Starbucks gift card to pay, but where you just scan the code for it.  Kind of cool.  My friend told me about that, and it seems quite convenient.

8.  Thus, as you can see, I LOVE STARBUCKS! !!  They should pay me to do promotion work for them, I would be quite passionate at it.  I find it FUNNY how I think I am going to write a short and sweet blog (for once), and this piece seemed to be the perfect one for that.  But, then somehow short and sweet turns into elaborate and detailed.  🙂

Some Last ThoughtsI would be remiss if I ended this blog and forgot to tell you that Starbucks is having a Half-Price Happy Hour Frappuccino Promotion beginning May 4, 2012 and lasting until May 13, 2012.  It is only from 3-5 pm.  That is definitely my kind of Happy Hour, and the only one that I am intested in, truth be told.  I tried to copy the code from the Starbucks website for their fun and hip video for this spectacular promotion.  The video showed the diversity of their frappuccinos, and it is a fun little clip.  For some reason, their code for the video didn’t work when you copy it, and also if you try to embed it to Word Press, then Starbucks asks for your blog and your password (which seems like a security issue to me, but I have never claimed to be a tech genius….but maybe I am missing something with the whole embed/post videos thing).  Anyways, check out the video on Starbucks official website if you have 30 seconds:

http://www.starbucks.com/

P.S.  Starbucks very recently debuted a new Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino that is quite good.  It has chocolate whipped cream and cookie crumbs.  Today, my thoughtful and cool co-worker, Molly, went on her lunch break and came back with 2 Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccinos.  She bought one for me in order to bless me, which was so sweet.  Neither of us were feeling that great today, so it made the day better and brighter.  Random acts of kindess are cool.  Here is a picture of the new Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino (Courtesy of the Starbucks Official Website):

One final note.

I am excited to be off work on a vacation day tomorrow.  Yay for having a three day weekend!  I have a list of home stuff to catch up on, but I also organized a friend group that is going to see a matinee showing of Marvel’s The Avengers tomorrow.  I have been eagerly waiting to go see The Avengers for months now, and this weekend it is opening in the American movie market.  It is supposed to be THE Blockbuster of the summer, and it has been smashing world records in the overseas market left and right, from what I hear (according to TheWrap.com and other internet sites).  I definitely like superhero movies (and action movies in general), and I am completely inspired by examples of bravery and courage in film and in life.  But, then of course, sometime between 3-5 pm, I plan to go to Starbucks for the Happy Hour.  Woohoo!!!

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words (or is it?)

I posted this blog on my MySpace account yesterday, however I have had 0 views thus far.  Not really surprising if I think about it.  So, I have decided to post this blog here on WordPress, as well.  We all know that we WordPress people like to blog, right?  And, I really want to share this with everyone here, too.  Please note that the word “here” in this blog refers to MySpace, since I originally wrote this piece with solely MySpace in mind, however, I am now posting it in its entirety on WordPress (with some slight editing revisions).  While it is slightly wordy, I want to point out that I was NOT trying to beat 1,000 words due to my title (however, I happen to hit 1,795 words).

A picture is worth a thousand words….hmmmm….is it?  I kind of wanted to test that hypothesis, albeit sociologically speaking, because I had a suspicion about my MySpace profile photo, and it turns out that I was right.  I wanted to test (loosely, with data not quantified for any purpose other than my interest in human nature) to see what would happen when I changed my MySpace profile photo to one that had me with a child in it.  I will tell you about the correlation that I found (which is what I expected), but first I want to back up and give a bit more of a preface, plus another relevent explanation, as well.

So, I was off of MySpace for maybe a year or 2….I used to LOVE MySpace. I mean absolutely love it.  I used to do a lot of music promotion at one season of my life and I was constantly volunteering for a Christian radio station in my area and around the state.  I would even organize radio station volunteers for concerts in my area and often go on stage to speak…I love that kind of thing.  So, what drew me to MySpace was the amazing amount of bands and artists on it, plus many of my college friends and my brother used to be regulars on here.  But then everyone pretty much left for Facebook (all except me), and these days my college friends (for the most part) just have profiles on here they never use, or else they deleted their profile when their boyfriend did…stuff like that.  Unfortunately, Facebook was part of one of the absolute biggest friend hurts a friend has EVER done to me….but that is another story that I don’t really care to blog about.  Anyways, MySpace lost its appeal for me when no one I knew was keeping up with it…but I found one day that I still loved the music on Myspace and kind of missed it, so I made the decision to get back on MySpace.

Which brings me somewhat up to today.  So, when my sister (who is not on Facebook or MySpace, actually, but I think at one point her husband tried to sign her up for Facebook) heard that I was doing MySpace again, she told me, “you know, I heard that MySpace is just ONE BIG BOOTY CALL.” Those are her words, not mine. My sister calls it like she sees it….blunt and all.  Anyways, I hoped SURELY she was mistaken. Surely.  Let me NOT FREAK OUT (definitely NOT the type of girl looking for anything like that, you know)….and I thought I will give it a chance.  Surely that isn’t true.  And, beside, mainly I am “here for the music”, and sometimes I also like to blog about life and write poetry about God and love.  I figure even if I blog and no one reads it….well, all is good, because personally I find writing highly therapeutic, fun, creative, enjoyable, relaxing….the list goes on and on (Side note- although, I must say, it is very nice when people read what you write.  That is so cool).

Actually, I need to back up again and make a very important point.  My MySpace profile used to be private. Friends only access. A lot of that was due to when I worked as a Counselor for around 5 years, and ethically speaking I wanted  a separation between my work life and my personal, private life.  When I was getting my Master’s Degree in Counseling with a Community Concentration, of course they taught us ethics. One of the big ethical mandates was do not DATE your client. I want to say “DUH”, but there are those who do that, and worse. That type of thing is a horrible misuse of the power and authority that you have in your role as a Counselor, in a setting that is all about intimate emotional sharing and trust. It completes violates professional counseling ethics.  Another variation of inappropriate ethics when you are a Counselor is the blending of the work role as a Counselor into also being a social, hanging out friend….you are not supposed to do that either, but I think that happens  often, especially in smaller towns.  Also, I think that sometimes clients may think that Counselors have all the wise answers….or at the very least, that you have it all figured out with relationships….not quite.  Anyways, I decided when I was working as a Counselor to have my MySpace profile private in order to not affect my clients in any adverse ways or to cause any ethical problems or issues.  Although, today, I am no longer working as a Counselor, because the Center that I worked at closed, which resulted in some changes for me and a shift in where I work presently.

So, to get back to my results: I found out that my sister had largely heard RIGHT.  MySpace IS largely a booty call by many people, from my observations.  I make this observation because once I changed my profile to being completely open (in an attempt to be transparent and to expand outside of my “box”), all I can say is that it seemed like the FLOODGATES were open. I somehow probably inadvertently made it worse because (up until recently) for a long time now I have selected as my profile pic a picture that I really liked that was taken a couple of years ago by my friend after she dyed my hair and did my make-up (my friend is actually a Genius with those type of things, actually).  The next thing I know, I was getting CONSTANT friend requests…..from guys, almost NEVER from girls…and also I would get requests from bands, too- that makes sense.  But here is the problem: besides the plethora of friend requests, I would also have things like a guy sending me a private message with a virtual rose, guys proposing inappropriate hook-up requests with me using gross and vulgar language for male and female genitalia, guys asking to instant message me (I don’t even know how to do that, actually)….plus the 18-year-old who asked if I had ever fantasized about being with a younger guy and how young would I go?…or the girl who said I was so pretty and she wanted to get together and that she has been with 2 women previously…and on and on and on.  Seriously, that is NOT why I am on MySpace!!!  It does make me want to, at times, lock the door and change my profile back to private…people can friend me if they are on MySpace and want to be my friend….but, honestly, transparency is a good thing, and sometimes we can “throw the baby out with the bath water.” Sometimes.

I am still thinking about my options, but I have hope that I can be transparent and NOT be sexually hit on in gross ways or feel like I am being looked at as a piece of meat (not cool is the understatement!!!).  Thus, I decided to change my profile picture.  I appreciated that my friend, Tisha, and her guy friend helped get me up to speed with some tech stuff to easily (ok, MORE EASILY) get photos on MySpace and on my laptop (I think that it is fair to say except for a couple of unusual speed bumps that seemed to even slightly surprise Tisha’s friend, a smart techie….side note- I DO need some technology help for me to get up to speed with our technology driven world, but it makes me feel lots better if techie type people tell me that the litany list of problems that I always seem to face tech-wise is NOT JUST ME….sometimes I think technology doesn’t like me…but I know, I know, it is NOT human….that is just my attempt at humor).  But, I am digressing and turning this blog into a longer piece than I meant it to be, and hopefully the few people who may read this are not nodding off waiting for me to get to my point…..so I will cut to the chase.  Once I semi-recently uploaded some recent pictures of my family to MySpace for a new photo album (yay!), I decided that I wanted to update my profile pic to a cute one of me with my nephew, Devin.  He is really hard to get a picture of or even with- he is CONSTANTLY on the run, or he will look away from the camera the second before you take the photo. So, I am really glad to finally have a good picture of me with my little nephew.  Anyways, I kind of wondered at that time if a change like my picture of me with my nephew would cause the MySpace craziness to calm down.

So, here are my results. Yes, the craziness has calmed down. How is that for scientific results?  LOL! I am thrilled to report that, for the most part, guys don’t seem to want to hit on me inappropriately these days.  That may be because they think I have a kid.  Although, one divorced single Dad around my age did propose us meeting up for something serious.  But, the constant messages and friend requests and gross innuendos have stopped. I don’t remember exactly how long it has been since I changed my profile photo- maybe a few weeks at most. But I have only had a few friend requests that I can count on one hand, and one or two of those were bands.  So, I am much happier. However, I do wish people would not use MySpace as one big hook-up….it really mars MySpace and somewhat harms the potential good of MySpace.  Alas, I am just one among a possible small number of people who may think the way that I do….from what I can tell, there are many people who are just looking for a hook-up.   Me, I am off writing poems about regret.

 Peace out. ~ Julie

Semi Random Musings from my World

Hopefully the title to my blog is not a misnomer.  According to my Webster’s New World Dictionary (which is honestly older than some of my friends, with yellowing pages that give it the mark of true character), the word musing comes from the word muse, which means to meditate, or to say or think meditatively.  This blog really will not be meditative, but that type of writing is definitely something that I would enjoy on another day.  So, I’ve been itching to write a new blog for a while, even if my readership is small, but growing, and I have YET to get my first real non-spam comment (SHAMELESS PLUG- real comments are appreciated!!!! Please feel free to comment!!!!  I would greatly appreciate that…..and, unfortunately, none of my close friends are on WordPress yet, thus I am pretty sure that they cannot comment).  Tonight, I had a deep, insightful blog in mind that I was going to write, with a rough working title of “Transparency vs. Privacy, Digitally Speaking”, however I hope I will not disappoint when I say that my mind has been pondering many random musings of late…..none earth shattering, and I’m not trying to win the Pulitzer Prize or anything….but I just feel like sharing musings from my world.  With you.  My much appreciated reader in this new venture of “Julie meets WordPress”.  Please know that when I am able to do justice to weightier topics and ponderings, then I will.

On to the musings, in no particular order of importance.

1.  I talked to my Dad tonight, and I am so excited that he is coming down to visit me this Sunday, because we have tickets for the Illinois vs. Iowa basketball game on 2/26.  I enjoy basketball and I actually used to play in 5th and 7th grade, until I got tired of running suicide drills just to be a bench warmer while all the popular kids got to play.  Too bad, too, because I was just starting to get good at free throws around that time.  I still enjoy a game of horse now and again with my Dad, but we don’t get the opportunity to do that much these days.  But, back to the Illini- I have only seen an Illini basketball game once, when my friend’s brother won free tickets at a bar and she called me to go.  It was really fun.  This time around it will be fun in a different way, because it will be bonding with my Dad, he grew up in Iowa,  and I am now a staff member at the University of Illinois.  I figure now I will relate more, and, to be 100% honest, I used to have issues with the University of Illinois, and I also had some judgments that were not so great.  I admit it.   That was back when I had roommates who went to the University of Illinois, and some of them kind of acted like I wasn’t smart because I had gone to a “lesser” university….I don’t like that kind of thing, that type of elitism.  However, I was personally convicted, and I had to check my attitude, too, with the University of Illinois (although, one valid issue that I do still have today with the University of Illinois is that it caters to the wealthy and privileged students, often leaving the middle- and lower-class students out of the amazing, and yet high-priced education, that is the University of Illinois.  I believe it should be that ALL voices matter and beautiful strength exists in DIVERSITY. This trancends one particular socio-economic class).  But, fast forward to today: now I work at the University of Illinois.  Funny how things work out, isn’t it?  Sometimes life is pretty surprising.

Logo of Illinois Fighting Illini.

Go Fighting Illini! Beat Iowa!

2.  I want to get back into bowling.  I used to love bowling as a child, and I had fun going bowling with a few friends recently on my birthday.  I had no idea though how bowling prices had skyrocketed. Our price for one game of bowling was over $5, plus a couple of dollars for shoes.  Since we played two games, the cost really started to add up. It did get me thinking though about looking into ordering a new pair of bowling shoes.  I had a pair of bowling shoes for many years that I was given as a gift, and they were great.  My budget was a big fan of me having my own shoes, too.  However, the only problem with having your own shoes is that people actually expect you to be good, imagine that.  My bowling scores run a wild gamut, and when I have been out of practice, as I was on my birthday….well, let’s just say too bad it wasn’t bumper bowling.  Also, Wii bowling is NOT the same thing as real bowling, might I add. In case you want to see a picture of my new bowling shoes (currently on order), here they are (Author’s note- these shoes are not my first choice….the super cute pink and purple shoes were discontinued…..what can I say, life is not fair.  This is my attempt at humor, in case you are wondering).

Dexter- Ana. My new bowling shoes. Just don't ask me what I bowled recently!

3.  I think Twitter seems pretty cool.  I am not sure if I am concise enough for Twitter though.  I love elaboration.  I love details.  Twitter seems like a short burst of thought, but I like the stories along with the thoughts.  Still, Twitter is a social media platform that has a vast amount of potential.  I find it interesting the Michelle Obama got on Twitter last month.  And I just read an interesting article about the POPE and Twitter.  Hint: the article involves the Pope, who is more Twitter- hip than I am (yes, I am pretty sure that I did just coin the term “Twitter-hip”).  The article centers around how the Pope is utilizing Twitter to save Lent.  (If you are interested, link to it here: http://news.yahoo.com/pope-takes-twitter-save-lent-142734143.html)

I DO think Twitter has its cautions though, as does everything.  Too many people let social media dictate and invade their lives, rather than let it enrich their lives.  Don’t ask me what I think of Facebook.  That is probably a story for another blog.  (Although I have a feeling that one day I will break down, over all my objections and concerns, and get on Facebook.  It is a social media platform that has some stellar strengths, but yet many perils and also intellectual property concerns).  As far as Twitter though, I think common courtesy is important.  I remember one time a friend of mine (who I am rarely able to hang out with because she is so busy and she has kids) was off in her own world posting pictures to Twitter about the event we were just at, rather than enjoying our precious time together to reconnect.  On second thought, maybe it was Facebook she was posting pictures to, but I am pretty sure she said Twitter.  But she missed out, in my opinion.  Maybe we ALL miss out sometimes, rather than living life and being in the moment, we let it pass us by….sometimes as we are so busy commenting, or “liking” things, or just plain missing  the moment.  Something to think about for us all.

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I have lots more semi random musings, but this post is already longer than I expected with only THREE semi random musings from my world.  Wow, if I do decide to make the plunge and get on Twitter, then that DEFINITELY AND ASSUREDLY will be a challenge for me.  Peace out.