Cross Your Thumbtack

2011/09/13

Thumbtacks are a basic item. We don’t normally think about them unless asked. So when the Let’s Blog Off topic of thumbtacks was announced, I struggled. For some strange reason, I reflected upon my travels and remembered an incident at the Greenville, SC (GSP) airport. Aha! Let the blogging begin.

While working as an engineer for a Texaco joint venture, I travelled to a supplier in Greenville, SC. It was March 2002, a few months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks so airports were still trying to deal with new security procedures.

As I was going through security at GSP to return home, the metal detector went off like it was New Year’s Eve on Times Square. Female police officers swarmed around me and pulled me aside. I opened my carry-on & purse for inspection. One officer pulled out the wand to inspect these items. Silence. She asked me to raise my arms and waved the wand around my upper body. Noise city. The officer asked me if I had an underwire in my bra. I did not think this was a serious question, so I ignored her. She asked me the question two more times before I realized she was serious. My response: “I have a set of 36Ds on my chest. What do you think?” She laughed and cleared me.

Thumbtacks are similar in nature. They support various business operations. From phone directories to basic equations, thumbtacks are used to sustain documents with valuable information. Walk into any cubicle or office. Better yet, think about your own work space. Get my drift?

Another similarity between bras and thumbtacks is that they hurt like heck when they poke you. Five years ago, the underwire in the above-mentioned bra broke. After a few months, this became annoying. I walked into the Victoria’s Secret on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia and bought a new bra. The salesperson was surprised that I was such an easy sell. I did not care; I just wanted a bra with the underwire in its proper place.

Thumbtacks are the same way. Try stepping on thumbtacks that fell on the floor or poke a finger with one while multi-tasking. It hurts.

I am certain this post offends some people. To these people, I challenge you to use your critical thinking skills. Hopefully you will see the analysis. To the rest of you, I hope this post gave you some joy. Until next time, support each other and stay safe.


Step Up

2011/08/02

I grew up in the quintessential American family: Mom, Dad, and two kids. Since my family was small, a large home was not necessary. We had a typical one-story brick ranch that many families had in the ‘70s. Where am I headed? It is none other than Let’s Blog Off, where participants are asked to name what they wanted as a child.

There were many items I wanted growing up. As I sifted through childhood memories, I kept coming back to one thing: a house with stairs. I know that sounds silly, but it is the truth.

My four cousins always had a two-story home, simply because they had a larger family. We would play in the stairwell. When Cousin Meg and I did not want to clean, we would place items on the stairs instead of putting them away properly. Meg and Jake taught me how to slide down the banister. (See picture below for the culprits.) Of course, we would get in trouble, but we had so much fun.

I pretended my bedroom had stairs by setting up sofa cushions next to Mom’s card table. I climbed up and down until my mother caught me sitting on top of the card table. She asked me what I was doing. I told her I wanted a house with stairs like Meg and Jake. Mom was not impressed with my engineering marvel because she proceeded to demolish my stairwell and spank me. I was forbidden from the card table for a long time afterwards.

Recently we were all together again. Meg and I shared childhood memories. I told her I was jealous of her because she had a house with stairs. She laughed at me. She said that she like my house because the bathroom was never very far away. I guess this proves the old saying, “The grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence.”

Becky & David’s Wedding – June 2006

From L to R: Chris, Meg, Me, Becky, David G., David D., Jess, Leslie, Jake


Englewood, 45322

2011/06/07

This edition of Let’s Blog Off asks participants to name their favorite show on television (TV). Since the quality of TV shows has declined with the craze known as reality TV, I watch mostly reruns of old sitcoms & news channels. My favorite show is no longer on the air, but nonetheless, it is my favorite.

It was Fall 1990, and I was in high school. A new network called Fox was to air a ground-breaking TV show that centered on teenagers. The show was the brain child of the legendary Aaron Spelling, who created another favorite show of mine, The Love Boat. As an avid TV fan and teenager, I made sure to tune in.

Beverly Hills, 90210 was not an instant hit when it first aired on 4 October 1990. The original premise of the show was about a wholesome midwestern family, The Walshes, relocating to posh Beverly Hills. The show focused on twins Brandon & Brenda Walsh adjusting to their new environment. The show later morphed into more of a teen drama/soap opera and became a smash hit.

When the show originally aired, it was my favorite for a few reasons. First and foremost is that it focused on the teenagers, and not the interaction of the teens with their parents, like so many other TV shows on the air. The main characters were facing many of the same issues that I was facing at the time. As I went to college, they went to college. Another reason is new episodes were aired during the summer, unlike other shows in which reruns were aired. I also tuned in to see the latest hair & fashion styles.

Today I enjoy Beverly Hills, 90210 for different reasons. Mainly, I love the memories of my college years it brings back. My friends and I would tune in religiously to see the latest Brandon/Kelly/Dylan/Valerie drama. (We came up with some interesting drinking games in the process, too.) I also like the fact that I can escape reality for awhile.

Yes, the show is somewhat unrealistic. It is quite unusual for a group of high school friends to end up at the same college. No parents would move overseas and leave the house to their college-aged son. Ask yourself this: what TV show isn’t unrealistic?

The purposes of television are to entertain and allow people to escape. Beverly Hills, 90210 does both. So while the rest of the world is watching reality TV, I will stick with a classic.


Truth v. Fact

2011/05/10

This edition of Let’s Blog Off is a rather philosophical one. Asking people to discern between truth & fact is similar to asking, “What came first? The chicken or the egg?” Everyone’s posts should be interesting, to say the least.

To begin my quest, I started to look up the definition of each word. I thought that would be too obvious. I went back to the drawing board and hit upon an idea. I let the words “speak” to me and decided to use their connotation.

Fact. The word is short and hard. When I hear the word fact, I think of science and other cut-and-dry areas. It is something that can not be argued. No questions allowed.

Truth. The word is short, but soft. It involves emotion. There is room for debate in a truth.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe fact & truth go hand-in-hand. A truth a body of facts. A fact is an actual occurrence.

After writing this post, I did look up the meaning of each word on Merriam-Webster’s website to see how far off-base I was. It turns out my definition of fact (an actual occurrence) is M-W’s definition 4b.


Not All People Are Bad

2011/04/26

This week’s version of Let’s Blog Off is about where we get ideas.  A question was posed about what was our real fear. Being the analytical person that I am, I have decided to take this question literally and answer this question for my post.

Straight up, my true fear is being alone.  I know this sounds strange coming from someone who lives alone and paid her own way through college, but it is true.  While I enjoy my independence, I sometimes find myself missing the element of human interaction.  I miss talking to people.  Twitter & Facebook suffice, but it is not the same as sharing ideas over a meal with someone.  There is a difference.

Due to prior experiences, I am not exactly the easiest person to get to know.  I do not trust people very easily, and I am a control freak. Ironically, Twitter has taught me that not all people are bad.  I just wish that some of you lived closer, so we could chat.

Am I looking for Mr. Right?  No.  If it happens, it happens.  I could care less.  All I want is someone to bounce ideas off of, someone who will listen, and someone who will talk back to me.  My cat can only do the first two.


Storytelling

2011/03/18

A while back, one of the Let’s Blog Off topics was storytelling and what makes a good story.  I chose not to participate because I did not really know how to answer this question.  After a few weeks of stewing on the topic, I think I have stumbled upon my answer.

Having spent the majority of my adult life in college, I am used to writing.  Granted, I am not too great at it, but at least I try my best.  College term papers & essay exams are analytical by nature – e.g. compare & contrast, list the x number of qualities, etc.  They don’t really focus on storytelling.  (English & literature majors may have a different experience, but I am not familiar with it.  I avoided those classes like the plague.)

Storytelling, I believe, is like letter writing.  It is a dying art.  Many people are more focused on facts and figures than on creating a narrative.  I wish schools would focus more on storytelling.  Maybe society would be more relaxed.  Who doesn’t love a good tale?  I know I do.


We’re Not Paying for It

2011/03/15

Most of us think of advice as words of wisdom.  Advice should be more than words, it should be something that is meaningful and sticks with you for the rest of your life.  The best advice I received wasn’t advice per say, but it taught me a life lesson.

I was 19 years old and wanted to be a civil engineer.  At the time, Miami did not have a true engineering school, so I applied to the University of Kentucky (UK).  When I received my acceptance letter to UK, my parents could not understand what I was saying because I was running around like a maniac.  After becoming coherent, I showed my mother the acceptance letter.  She told me this: “It’s not Miami, so we’re not paying for it.”

I was devastated.  How could my parents do this to me?  How could they crush my dream of becoming the greatest female civil engineer?  I mean, isn’t it the parents’ responsibility to pay for their child’s education?

Since I am a tad strong-willed, I decided that I wasn’t going to let my parents stop me.  Come hell or high water, I was going to find a way to pay for the exorbitant out-of-state tuition.  I legally declared independence from my parents, which made me eligible for a great deal of financial aid.

Later that year, UK announced that it was raising out-of-state tuition by $1000.  I could no longer afford to attend the school, so I transferred to my family’s beloved Miami and became a paper science & engineering major.  I thought my parents would pay my tuition since it was Miami.  They didn’t.  I was jealous of my friends because they didn’t have to worry about money.  All they had to do was call Mommy & Daddy.  I did not have that luxury.

Nearly 20 years later, I can honestly say that was the best thing my mother could have ever done for me.  I was forced to fend for myself without the safety net known as Mom & Dad.  Being on my own at such an early age taught me responsibility.  I learned I could support myself without anyone’s help and live to tell about it.

Advice.  We all give it; we all receive it.  I am glad I decided to be on the receiving end of Mom’s advice.