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21 November 2016 @ 09:25 pm

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Personal and writing journal.

15 April 2013 @ 10:06 am
Growing up with MS-DOS and the new and exciting Windows 95, I never would have dreamed of something like social media. Even in college, when Facebook really started taking off, I was hesitant to get involved. I mean, I'd done the MySpace scene. I didn't need to do it again. It was a fun site for awhile and then I was done with the glittery pages filled with constant noise that my friends insisted was good music. And this Facebook thing was a more basic version, flat white page and nothing except your name and a short bar to put your thoughts in? Please. I was far too verbose for that, which was why I blogged. I didn't blog often, life getting in the way, but it was still a great place to brush up on my skills. What did social media offer?

What did it offer indeed.

Social media now heralds as one of the fastest growing ways to get your brand out there. From Twitter to Facebook and whatever else will come next, it's a new and personal way to interact with followers and fans. It's not just for you and your crazy aunt you don't see except at family reunions - it's for companies, too.

So why am I discussing it?

I'm writing this post today because a lot of people don't think that they belong on social media, for whatever reason. A co-worker who works with media and communications just sort of laughed at the idea of being on Twitter. "What would I say?" she said. "I don't understand any of that sort of stuff. What good will it do me?"

It'll offer a way to see the news in the world in real-time. (Can we talk about Egypt last year? Or Hurricane Sandy updates?) It'll be a way to connect with millions of people around the globe. Social media will introduce diversity in such a common-place way that you'll surprise even yourself. Connect with names you know and want to follow, from the top political leaders all the way down to your favorite B-list celebrity. Social media will offer a way to get connected to what matters to you.

Over the past few months, my job has shown me the invaluable marketing and PR power of social media. And frankly, it's fun. It's a new way of reaching out to people and supplying information that was already there in a consumer-friendly manner. It's a way of interacting with people from around the globe whom you never would've thought of as being interested in a brand or campaign. People can communicate without feeling stifled or not good enough to speak up.

Of course, then you get the ones who hide behind the anonymity of the internet to throw racial, sexist, and other hurtful slurs at you just because they can. It's not ever really at you as an individual, it's the brand/agency/take your pick, but it still feels personal. So social media certainly has its drawbacks.

Yet I still hold that the benefits outweigh the negatives. Whether you're a photo taker or a verbose individual who can't shut up (like someone I know, hmm), there is a social media channel for you. And I can guarantee that you'll get something out of it.

So to my co-worker who thinks she won't belong because she's older and isn't "tech-savvy," I have only this to say: social media isn't for an age group. It's for everyone. Get involved: you won't regret it.
05 November 2012 @ 09:08 am
It's been a while since I've last posted. I can explain my absence, however.

1) New job that involves getting up at 4:15am every morning for the commute so I can reach the office by 7am. Yeah.

2) New house with new roommate. See below.

3) New marital status. See above.

My name isn't even legally changed yet, because Social Security hasn't sent me my new card back. It's been a long, long process with a million and one things that still haven't been done.

I don't know if I'll return to blogging here. I'm still super busy, life isn't calming down, and god help me, the holidays are right around the corner, which is going to involve a LOT of family gatherings. Christmas tree shopping because hey, we have our own place now, and there's things we need. Christmas cards. Holiday things, like recitals, more recitals, performances.

I'm still teaching. I'm still playing the piano. That actually leads me to my next thing:

4) New position as organist at church. Even though I've never played an organ before.

That one I'm not too certain about. We'll see.

If life calms down, I'd love to return. Until then, however, I'll be updating my Twitter more frequently, so if you'd like to follow me, I've changed my name there:

Jean Yoder

Much love to you all. <3

19 June 2012 @ 08:48 pm
Currently, my status should say something to the effect of, "I'm not stressed, in fact I'm so unstressed that I'm not even stressing about being unstressed, I'm just good," when in fact I am exceedingly stressy. Wedding, wedding, wedding, finances, finances, finances. Ne'er the two shall meet in a happy union. Ever.

But I did find a dress! My dress is everything I wanted it to be, it truly is. A vintage, classic, timeless look that makes me oodles of happy with the lace. And a figure: my figure is defined and for the first time since I've gone dress shopping, has actually made me HAPPY about my size. (They're all sized way off and too small: my usual size is a 2 to a 4, and my wedding dress size is a 10. And they're supposed to make the bride feel special? Really?)

Da dum du-dum, all under here...Collapse )

25 years old in less than a week. Goodness gracious: the hell happened to the year? I'll be a quarter of a century old on Monday. I think it's still hard to fathom. We're having a small get together for my birthday on Saturday evening, a cookout with the friends who can and are willing to come. So far, that seems to be possibly one person. *rolls eyes* Everyone else has better things to do, I suppose. Oh well.

*hugs* I've tried to stay as caught up on my f-list as possible, but I don't know how well I've done. If something's happened in your life in the past few weeks, something terrible, something amazing, or just something interesting of the day-to-day variety, tell me?

12 May 2012 @ 02:21 pm
Baseball's sort of on my mind at the moment. It's my favorite sport, hands down: to watch, to play, to be involved in. I grew up near Detroit, with an uncle who was obsessed with the sport. I got cleats as a kid for a birthday gift one year. I honestly couldn't have been more than seven. I had the suit, the glove, the bat, the bag, and a million and one baseballs. More importantly, I had a family who loved playing catch and was willing to let me bat on sunny days at the park.

Baseball season is high and mighty right now, as it should be. Every weekend, there's always a good game to watch. My fiancé's favorite team is the Orioles. It's all right: I'm aware of this flaw and I still love him, regardless. (Actually, they've been doing pretty well so far this season, but he assures me that'll change within a few weeks. They always get everyone's hopes up that this year, they'll make it to the playoffs...only to crash and burn in May and June.) They're not as bad a team as I make them out to be, but it's still fun to pick on him. I have to admit, the recent game between them and the Red Sox...you couldn't have asked for a greater game this season. 17 innings, relief pitchers coming in from the outfield and bases, only for the Orioles to knock the Red Sox out in what will probably become a historic game.

The 26-year-old Davis went on to pitch two shutout innings and center fielder Adam Jones hit a three-run homer in the top of the 17th inning to give the Orioles a 17-inning win over the Red Sox, 9-6, in the second-longest game in Orioles history.
Orioles Vs Red Sox, Washington Post

They swept the series, which I was seriously surprised by. Who'd have thunk it?

My teams, on the other hand, are the Yankees and the Tigers. Both good, solid teams who, unfortunately, aren't completely pulling it right now. They're not doing bad, but they're not hitting straight. I remember going to a Detroit Tigers game when I was a little girl, back when the old stadium was still functioning. Before Chevy's cars lined the edge of the wall, and there wasn't a fountain in the back. No, it was just a solid stadium filled with fans, and I sat with my uncle while he pointed out the players and which positions they were. I'm hoping to visit Comerica Park next week, so I'll hopefully still have a great experience at the new place.

All of this baseball love came up on account of my almost-niece's little league game today, which is the awesome part about baseball: swing and a miss, then a crack of the bat and the ball goes flying out past the shortstop all the way to the green field. Sitting in the bleachers (always metal, guaranteed to make your legs burn as the sun rises) and cheering on the player you're personally connected to. Well, to start. By the end of the game, you've learned the names of ALL the players and you're rooting for them all, no matter what team they're on. The almost-niece is on a machine-pitched level, which is a level up from tee-ball. This is a step that the boy teams don't do: they go straight from tee-ball to team selected players as pitchers. The machine is a foot-lever contraption that launches the ball at the batter. Still, it was a cute setup. The teams don't count points, so everyone's a "winner": the best goal is to get on base. The highest achievement is to make it all the way around to home. Everyone gets a chance at bat, no matter their level of skill. Thus, the parents don't get obnoxious in the way that sports parents can. They're happy to sit and watch both teams and root for good plays.

And then, of course, there's the chanting. The little songs that the teams sing in the dugout that I'd completely forgotten about. At this level, it's not cruel, digging songs at the other team. No, it's rooting for your own team songs, and sitting by the dugout, we learned one of the songs long before the first inning was over. One exuberant team member would start it, and the rest of the team would lead the response:

My name is ____, do you know what I got?
What do you got?
I got a team that's hotter than hot.
How hot is hot?
Grand slams and home runs, too.
Uh huh uh huh!
And I can bat like (person at bat), too!

That's how it went for every single inning. They'd pass it from person to person, telling each other, "Now you sing it!" and it ran until the kids were tired of singing it. Or until they were called up to bat. And as cheesy as it was, it was cute, too. I miss the chanting and the rooting for teams. I miss watching the teams race for the ball, the rapid throw to home. I miss the smell of sunscreen and fresh cut grass. I miss the sound of the ball as it makes impact with the bat. And today, I got all of those, even if for just an hour and a half.

This is what makes baseball, baseball. This is why I love this sport. I'm looking more forward to next week's game with the Tigers than ever before. Hopefully, I'll be able to take my family with me, too. See if my uncle's interested in the new field and a game.

Either way, I'll be in the stands, Tiger cap on and cheering as loud as I can.

07 May 2012 @ 11:09 am
Apparently, when I tell LiveJournal that I want to friend someone, it doesn't do so. It should all be fixed now, though. I'm crossing my fingers.

It has reached my attention at last that I'm getting married. I'm not entirely certain when this happened or how it happened, but it finally struck me yesterday that I'm getting married. It might've been the shopping with the fiance for a vacuum cleaner for him. It may have been the links my friend's been posting on my Facebook wall about neat wedding ideas. Might've had a tiny something to do with my fiance and our mutual friend practicing the Wedding March tune yesterday on their respective instruments for another friend's wedding, which is this weekend. At any rate, I'm getting married.

And apparently, there's a guidebook out there and no one gave me one. I've been bumbling my way through the process and so far, not making a lot of headway. Yes, we've set the date for next year. Yes, we're looking at venues this summer. But apparently, in regards to a lot of things, I've stumbled off the starting line. Like with my bridal party. Apparently, asking the bridal party in a more formal, fun manner besides turning and asking them, "Would you be my bridesmaid?" is how you're supposed to do it, instead of, well, turning and asking them point blank. And there's supposed to be a bridal shower and a wedding shower where I have to have registries available for people in order for gifts to be bought. This isn't good for the woman who literally told her fiance that he could get her a candy bar for her birthday and she'd be fine. Hmm.

The only part of this that I'm succeeding at is, of course, the shopping aspect. I'm doing wonderful in looking at dresses and figuring out what I want. I'm even getting bossy and telling the fiance what HE should wear at the wedding. It's a beach wedding, so I've totaled his dreams of renting an easy tux and being set. Oh no. I'm insisting on a beige or gray suit with a vest, suit jacket optional. It's a BEACH. Black suits do not do well on a BEACH. Especially a beach in May. We're going to look gorgeous, dammit, whether he wants to or not.

My dress ideas are timeless. As in, no modern frills, poofs, and things of a strapless, bodice-y nature. My dress is going to be a simple design hailing from the timeless, vintage period. My dress of inspiration comes from a photoshoot by Yan Photography. A young ballerina getting married has EVERYTHING I could possibly want: the setup for a small wedding. A groom in a gray suit. Her hair, her makeup, her DRESS. The sweetheart neckline, the laced shoulder sleeves, the straight, swell-less dress. Yes, swell-less is a word. Because I said so. There is nothing poofy about this dress. The other brides of the world can have the poofy dresses: all I want is simple and chic. And this dress is it.

As that's the only thing I can focus on - namely since it's the only thing I'm apparently doing correctly - I need some help regarding anything else. To those who have been married, those who have attended weddings, those who were involved in a wedding in ANY fashion, I give to you hence a cry for your immortal wisdom.

Seriously, help me. You're my only hope, Obi-Wan Kenobi. What else should I focus on? What else do I need to do? How do I go about doing it?

This is why brides go bridezilla. Because there's a million and one things to do and, unfortunately, most of it appears to be, "Oh, THIS is how it's properly done," sorts of things. Help me be proper?

01 May 2012 @ 11:14 am
My life for the past few weeks has been a crazy, tumultuous thing. I don't remember ever being this stressed, this crazed, this worried, this nervous, this up in the air. I've been driving the others around me to the same point of crazy, but finally last night, my brain said, "Enough!" and gave me the one answer I need.

I have a family that loves me despite myself and all my failings. They even think I'm awesome. There will always be a place for me in their house, their lives, their hearts.

I have a fiance who thinks the world of me, sometimes at points where I don't know how he can. He is funny and kind and handsome and mine. He's it for me, and I can't express how much in love with him I am. He's mine, and I'm his. (I'm sort of flashing back to Schoolhouse Rock: Pronouns! 'Cause saying all those nouns over and over again really bring you down.) He's promised me a life, a house and home to call my own one day, and a reassurance that no matter what happens in my life, he'll be there.

I have several jobs that, while they don't pay a lot and don't give benefits, still pay enough for me to keep my car in order to drive to those jobs, and pay my parents back a small something to help them. I work with wonderful people and good, sweet kids. I've made good friends from those jobs, friends I'll take with me wherever I go in life. I've made a big sister out of one of them.

I have a car that, while expensive to fill at the gas pump, is all mine. I love my Sammy, and he loves me. I have wonderful friends, both here and in my daily life, that I can talk to, laugh with, cry to, be with. I have my ability to dance and play music so I'll always have my life filled with sound and movement. I had an education that, while sometimes frustrating, were some of the best years of my life. I made friends there that I'll always keep in my heart, learned things I'll never forget and carry with me.

My mom told me yesterday that I hold everyone else at a lower bar than myself: they can accomplish things and I'll be forever grateful, totally thrilled that they did just that much. When they don't even make that bar, I'll make excuses for them. My bar, she said, I've always put above where I could reach, and then I wonder why I can't ever measure up. I joked that she was referring to my height, but the more I thought about it, the more I think I really DO hold myself accountable so much more than I do others. We all do, I think, to a certain extent. I've just got to learn to not do that with myself, to let myself reach a point where I can say, "I'm happy with what I've done." People keep telling me I'm a pretty good, awesome person. I should maybe start believing that.

If I can remember these things, no matter what life throws at me, I can do this. I can handle life. I'll be all right.

16 April 2012 @ 03:28 pm
I discovered the truth of that statement somewhere around the Missouri state line. Which was, unfortunately, about a thousand miles too late to turn around. Not that I would've probably turned around, but the thought was tempting a time or twenty.

Yes, I traveled out to Missouri. I went with the fiance, future brother and sister in law, future nieces, and future in laws. Suffice to say, it was a long trip. It was also a fun trip, with only a few moments here and there making it not so fun. We stopped in multiple places, following the RoadSide app for fun things to do (and reasons to get out of the van). We took a ton of pictures, most of which are on my Facebook page. A great deal more are probably being downloaded by the future family, as it was their iPhone and their beautiful SLR Nikon that the pictures were mostly taken with. Still, it was a lot of fun. And long. Can't forget the long.

The trip went from Almost Middle Of Nowhere, Virginia, to Really Middle of Nowhere, Missouri. We visited the fiance's family, enjoyed home cooked meals, played with planes and horses and 4-wheelers. And in the midst of all this fun, I discovered the very unfun truth: I am a city girl, through and through. I like my warm bed, warm showers, my McDonald's and my paved roads. I like my malls wide and filled with an abundance of shops I can't buy things from because I'm more of a window shopper. I like my grocery stores to be only a few or twenty minutes away, and I like being able to have multiple grocery stores to choose from when prices drive me crazy. I love my internet and being able to write in it, play on it, read on it. City girl status, check.

The only good thing about the country is the people. The fiance's family out west is a demonstration of love, kindness, and smiles. They're also a large demonstration of family drama, but that's every family, a point I've been trying to gently show him. Every family has that. It's how a family reacts that shows their strengths and weaknesses, after all. It made me miss my family and their drama, which I think is pretty telling of how much I don't like the country. No one in their right mind would miss my family's drama.

I won't go into a list of things I didn't like about the country. I will tell you, however, that if you get the chance to head across the country, and you have an iPhone, get the RoadSide app. In Missouri alone we came across Ozarkland (a large tourist store that stocks exactly the type of kitschy stuff you would think a store named Ozarkland would carry) and The Awakening, a huge giant trying to crawl out of the earth right in front of the library.

Gotta love all the help he's getting.

So far, no one's seemed to care about his plight, but that may be on account of their wanting to climb on him. Poor giant.

That did include me, climbing on his toes.

The trip back was almost worst than the trip there. We all wanted to be home. There was crying and wailing and a gnashing of teeth. Until the girls wanted to watch a movie; then the adults had to be quiet. To top off the trip and make it a real adventure, the truck - the one hauling the camper - broke down. We got it fixed, but it limped all the way back through the mountains. I could go on for hours about all of the things that happened on the trip, but it's like showing everyone your vacation photos: unless they're in a cool montage involving stirring music, no one wants to hear about it. Everyone takes photos on their vacation, but no one wants to see your photos. Though if you look at theirs, they might consider returning the favor.

This city girl is leaving you with only two photos. Until the next trip, which will hopefully not be for some time and will not be heading into the country. My vacations will involve cities from here on out. Nice, warm cities.

Or my house. I'm okay with staying at my house and enjoying the warm breeze, too.

27 March 2012 @ 05:50 pm
As I'm sure most of you have heard at this point, a young man by the name of Trayvon Martin was murdered about a month ago. They know who murdered him, they know that Trayvon was 17, and more importantly, that he was unarmed. Trayvon was not aggressive, threatening, or anything suggesting he was dangerous. No, his only crime was that he was wearing a hoodie and talking on the phone to a young woman when he was shot by a man who leads the Neighborhood Patrol, a self-professed crime fighter. The only thing he was armed with was a bag of Skittles and an Arizona iced tea. These were his only crimes.

Oh, and that he was black, too. Because that's why George Zimmerman shot him: he was black, wearing a hoodie, and thus a trouble maker.

Zimmerman is still walking free after murdering a young, innocent, 17 year old. The police have not arrested Zimmerman, and so far as we can see, they will not do so anytime soon. Because Trayvon was black and that's that, so he must have been a trouble maker.

Now, there's a smear campaign running against him, ranging from ridiculous statements such as the classic, "He was wearing a hoodie so thus he was dangerous," from Geraldo Rivera to the, "He was dealing drugs," that has yet to be verified. All of the smear campaigns can be found here. Be warned: they're all disturbing and unfortunately true.

What makes me sick is the gall of all of these reporters, these police, these bloggers that are attempting to play crime lab and figure out a reason why Zimmerman is innocent, therefore making Trayvon guilty. They're trying to tag him with drug possession, aggressive, all sorts of things that are not true, according to friends and family. Even if these things were true, even if, it would not have been enough to condemn Trayvon to death. Yet that is exactly what has happened. Why?

Because of racism. Yes, that thing that no one wants to acknowledge, that everyone wants to believe died with the race riots and Martin Luther King Jr. and I'm here to tell you it never died. If you think it did, you're deluding yourself, or you've been deluded by the society around you. Racism is still alive and real. Just as the attack on women has been revealed to be still alive and well, so too is racism. Basic rules of the Constitution of the United States of America, stating that all men are created equal, is not true. Ignore the women right now, ignore my gender and THAT separate battle the GOP is waging against us for half a second. Focus on the men. All MEN are created equal. That should mean without regard to religion, height, weight, ancestry, age, skin color. This basic, fundamental human right is being blatantly ignored in the Southern USA, just as it always has been. The entire world is guilty of racism, but here in the South especially, racism is alive and flourishing when it shouldn't be.

Zimmerman has yet to be convicted of any crime. He should be charged with not just murder, but with a hate crime as well. He's been arrested before, in three separate cases, but his father is a retired judge. No doubt that influence is keeping him safe now as well. It's wrong. It's unbearable to think that in this day and age, these things are still happening. Police, who took vows to uphold the law, are manipulating evidence and botching the case wherever they can. The law is being broken, humanity is still being poisoned, all for a hate that should never exist in any culture, any society. It's wrong.

In the end, a young man's life was still cut short. No matter what happens with this case, Trayvon Martin will still be dead. Murdered for no reason at all except that Zimmerman suffered from racism. So far, his beliefs are being supported.

My only consolation in all of this, in watching the news updates on the case with a sick stomach and a despairing heart, is that thousands of people are rising up in outrage. Thousands are crying for justice for Trayvon. Thousands of people are standing against this obvious racism and hatred. It won't bring Trayvon back, won't fill the hole in his family as they mourn and beg for justice.

But maybe, just maybe, people will realize how real and how alive racism still is. And how people's attitudes are the only thing that can try to make a difference.

21 March 2012 @ 12:15 pm
Quite a few people on my Facebook have been filling my feed with political posts, generally from some news source. He said this, she did that, and as startling and sad as it the posts are, it's still nothing new. The only president who may or may not have had these problems was the first president, and I'm certain some people took issue with George then. It's hard not to post updates now, with election year here and present, but that's certainly not a problem. Staying up to date is never a bad thing. No, I have a problem with other matters.

To me, politics has become a name calling, poking each other with sticks, and speaking anything the people want to hear campaign. It's the only time that slander is allowed freely and out in the public: it's on the airwaves, your television set, on billboards and emails. The news networks get ugly and say things about their fellow human beings that would make them horrified if the tone and words were thrown back on them. It's sad, it's monstrous, and frankly, I don't see the point to debasing the other side. How does that make you look?

Still, I'll admit to having posted on my timeline a few articles that made me go, "What the ever loving duck?" I've posted, I've commented, I've gotten in on the politics game. I'm an American: the future of our country concerns me, and this campaign is all about whose hands our country will wind up in. The latest craze is Mitt Romney and his spokesman Eric Ferhnstrom who described Romney's campaign as an Etch-A-Sketch, meaning that once Romney clinches the GOP nomination, he can change his stance as quickly as shaking an Etch-A-Sketch to clear it. Which, of course, has led everyone to quickly point out that a man who can so quickly change his views and stance isn't one who's reliable. It's all over my Facebook from my friends. Despite his latest state win, Romney's now under fire, again.

While this is frightening - and a tad bit humorous, considering now all I can see is a guy dressed like an Etch-a-Sketch getting turned upside down and shaken - what concerns me the most is not Romney, or Obama, or Gingrich or Santorum or Paul or any of the other candidates that the GOP may toss in at the convention. No, what concerns me is how the game is played, in particular for the next generation. The kids, the next in line voters, the youth of the nation. Recent studies from the Kaiser foundation show that children ages 8-18 spend, on average, more than 53 hours a week watching media in some fashion. iPad, TV, online, it's all in there. That's more hours than an average work week. And I guarantee you that this stuff about politics is crossing their eyes more than once. This is what they're watching.

Their parents may not talk to them about it, but they still know what politics are, to an extent, from those same parents. One of my students brought up how she doesn't like Obama. When I asked her why, she just shrugged. Her parents said they hate Obama, so naturally she follows in their footsteps. She's a bright girl, thinks for herself, is obnoxious and funny and a sweet kid, but without any real reason, she hates our president, because her parents do. The amount of power that parents hold over their kids is astounding. These kids might not obey all the time, but they do listen, and it's not always in one ear, out the other.

We try to teach our kids not to be mean to other kids, to do right by others, to not bully and pick on and say bad things about others. We try to teach them tolerance, patience, kindness. This isn't just a Golden Rule or the Rule of Three or Karma, either: these values have nothing to do with religion. These rules are fundamental rules we want them to emulate, to carry with them as they go through life. These are basic, "Be a good human being," rules we want them to take to school, to a future job, to a future family. These are important things.

Then the politics and the news stations come on. Romney bashes on Santorum. Santorum says evil things about Obama. Obama disses on Gingrich, and around it goes. These are the things our kids are viewing, these men that hold high levels in our government before they even run for president. These are congressmen, senators, our current president. They slander and bully each other and say the vilest things you can, all to make themselves look better. And what does it teach our generation that's priming to go to the polls?

To be honest, politics has become a 'vote for the lesser evil' for me every time the polls come around. It shouldn't be that way. I understand fully that no man - or woman - is perfect. Obama is not perfect. Romney is not perfect. The people that work for them are certainly not perfect. They do, however, try their best to represent America in a strong fashion. At least, they're supposed to. For their good efforts with America in mind, I thank them. For those who are playing bullies on America's playground, I have nothing but contempt. How am I supposed to respect someone whose prime way to the top is to discredit someone else?

To whomever our next president is, I wish them the best of luck. It's not a position I want. I hope one of your interests is for our next generation, and I hope you lead them by good example, that you show them that you can be better than your ad campaigns have proven. Some of these children will be voters by the next election, and what you say now will make a difference. Your seeds that have been sown will grow.

Until then, I'll keep reading the news feeds and watching the politicians play what essentially boils down to Rock 'Em Sock 'Em robots.