about this sitesee Meranda's resumesee clips and work sampleskeep in touch

Archive for the 'Family' Category


Monday, December 25th, 2006

The cutest thing happened last night/this morning.

I got up to go to the bathroom at about 5 a.m. I walked past my nephews’ room and noticed the light was on. I chuckled but walked on. Then, my 11-year-old nephew (who claims to be too big to believe in Santa) cracks the door and in the cutest, most innocent voice goes: “Santa?!” It was adorable.

Apparently, he and my 7-year-old nephew had both been up since 3 a.m. Now, my little brother used to wake every one of us kids up bright and early on Christmas, but we usually at least waited until dawn.

As a side note, it doesn’t even feel like Christmas when there’s no snow on the ground. This is Ohio. Where’s the snow? The weather gods couldn’t even humor me enough to have snowflakes fall and melt on impact. Nope, it’s just any other dreary December day outside. I may be the only person, but I happen to like the snow. So this is a major bummer.

My nephews, who both received shiny new bikes this morning, would probably disagree. Most years, when you get a bike for Christmas, you have to wait four months to use it. Not today. Within half an hour they were out riding around. (That was before they lost interest in it and moved on to another new toy.)

As for me, I have a few gift cards and several new books. I now have at least two dozen books waiting to be read. (Mostly they were from this semester when I bought them but didn’t have time to read anything, but I’ve added at least half a dozen in the last week.) Oh, and one of those gift cards is to Borders, where I’m sure I’ll promptly add more books to my queue.

Merry Christmas.

I thought my family was big

Saturday, December 23rd, 2006

In today’s Beacon, there’s a column about a family with 16 children and how they deal with the holidays. Can you imagine how crazy that would be?

I thought my family — seven kids… five older sisters and one younger brother — was too big to manage. I can’t even imagine being one of 16.

Interesting job postings

Thursday, December 21st, 2006

So, being that I am “unemployed” currently — as my sister Brandiann has pointed out, “After you graduate, you’re not on winter break. You’re just unemployed.” Thanks, sis. — I spend a lot of time looking at job postings.

Although, I am currently putting the search on hold until after Christmas/maybe New Years because nobody’s around at the papers; I’m hoping to hear from places I’ve already applied/interviewed; and most importantly, I need to sleep. As much fun as I had rushing through in three and a half years, and as much as I learned working at the Stater and going to an insane amount of classes, the truth is college exhausted me. I need to take a week to recoup my strength and energy. Plus, I figure, I deserve a week off.

Anyway, as far as job postings go, some of the pitches are pretty fun. I just came across this one for a Florida paper. The subject caught my eye, “Give your J-School degree a good home.” I clicked (aside: mom, if you read this, I’m not moving to Florida, so please don’t call me crying about how you will never see me again)…

We offer a relaxed atmosphere, reasonably competitive pay, a dress code that doesn’t include socks or ties, the opportunity to mix with fifth generation fishing guides, third generation politicians and a few first generation celebrities and pirates…

I can’t tell which is my favorite part, the dress code or the pirates. Either way, it’s a different way to attract job candidates.

And, this posting for a Connecticut paper, knows how to grab people by their egos. Although the ad itself isn’t as interesting as the previous was, the subject will get people to click: “Become a statewide name.” I mean, who doesn’t want that to happen?

Finally, this post to work for Bob Woodward, which I saw last week, made me laugh out loud. I’m sure it’s an AMAZING opportunity, but I totally get The Devil Wears Prada visions dancing in my head after reading the description. Plus, they don’t want me:

To be blunt, we are probably NOT looking for someone 24-25 years old, two or three years out of college, looking to move on from his or her first job.

Although, this seems to entirely dismiss new graduates by just skipping them over. Their loss, I’m sure. Though, I do know a number of people who would die for the opportunity to work for him. :shrug: But it’s not for me, not now at least. I have other arenas to conquer.

Those are just a sampling of the odd ads I come across.

There’s also a whole other post in the things editors like to play up when talking about their papers to you. For example, at a paper I was talking to earlier in the semester every exchange, even voicemail and e-mail, between myself and the ME included some mention of the weather. Yes the weather is different in the Midwest than on the West Coast. Yes, it’s nice that it’s “sunny” or “beautiful” or 70 degrees in November, but is that really the best selling point you have for the paper/area? That doesn’t bode well for someone like me who really does prefer having definite seasons. :shrug: There are other examples, but as I said, another post someday.

How young is too young for a cell phone

Sunday, December 17th, 2006

I got my first cell phone at 15. I wasn’t the first kid with one, but I certainly was in the minority at that time. My brother got his when he was 14, even younger than me. My sister Brandiann had a pager in middle school. (Wow, remember when pagers were the cool thing to do?!)

At the time, having a cell phone in school was a very definite “don’t,” and teachers regularly confiscated them from students. My cell phone only ever rang in class one time. AP Calculus senior year. I remember diving at my bag and grabbing it to hit ignore so fast that I almost fell out of my seat.

Today, high school and college students are almost expected to have cell phones. I don’t know anyone in college who doesn’t have one. I also don’t know anyone in college who has a landline. It’s just a cultural thing.

But still, when my sister bought my 11-year-old nephew a cell phone for his birthday in June, I raised my eyebrows. Certainly 11 is too young for a cell phone. But then my sister told me recently, she thinks she’s going to get a family plan and put both my nephews on it with her. My nephews are 11 and 7. What 7 year old needs a cell phone?!

I was reminded of this when I read David Giffel’s column in the Beacon. He brings up the current/possible cell phone ban the Akron Public Schools is considering:

… this is also an opportunity to teach a larger and more basic lesson: What you want is not the same as what you need.

Children want cell phones. In order to keep them during the school day, they will try to convince grown-ups that they need cell phones. Most adults can see through this argument, and most adults understand that children can’t have everything they want.

If you are climbing the Alps, you need a cell phone.

If you are in fourth-period algebra, you do not need a cell phone.

If you are driving cross-country, you need a cell phone.

If you are having lunch in the cafeteria, you do not need a cell phone.

If you are an embedded reporter in Iraq, you need a cell phone.

If you are making a pit stop at your locker, you do not need a cell phone.

Grown-ups know this. They went to school in the 20th century, when children somehow managed to get through six hours of classes without a constant wireless connection to the outside world. They talked to the people around them without interrupting the conversation to talk to someone else who was not in the room.

It’s true though. There is a huge difference between wanting and needing a cell phone. And I can say from experience, cell phones are distracting, and high school students really don’t need any more distractions (what with hormones, college, parents, work, friends, life… to keep them perpetually occupied). Plus, there is the concern over cheating/passing answers to each other. If the instructor is diligent and pays 10 seconds of attention, he’ll notice a kid looking under his/her desk at a phone or heaven forbid the more obvious taking a picture of the test with his phone.

I never had a problem with cell phones or pagers being confiscated in class. They are distracting and unnecessary in class. But let high school students have cell phones. Why not in the hall ways or cafeteria at lunch? Who cares if you choose to talk to someone else then? You’re not distracting from education. As long as you get to class on time, put the ringer on silent and pay attention, who cares who you talked to between classes/at lunch?

There was mention of the cell phone ban issue in Al’s Morning Meeting, including a story from The Milwalkee Journal Sentinal about students cheating with cell phones.

What it really comes down to is this, ban them or don’t it won’t matter. As the MJS story says, “it is obvious to anyone around a high school or middle school — and sometimes even elementaries — that a vast majority of students carry them and use them frequently.” The trick will be balancing the students desire to carry them with their need to stay focused on the task at hand. Making them a forbidden fruit is not going to achieve the desired outcome.

Things worth noting

Saturday, December 16th, 2006

Today was a random day. So, this is a random post of things worth noting. (In list format for easy digestion.)

  • To all those who have asked (and consequently scolded me), no I did not attend my graduation this morning. I’m sure it was lovely, and I’m sure Gaston gave a great speech. However, I wasn’t there. I was running around after screaming kids at approximately the same time my name would have been being called. I don’t regret it yet. Give me a decade, maybe I’ll wish I’d gone then.
  • Today I had to laugh at a cashier. He dropped an item as he was ringing it up and it fell near my foot. I picked it up and handed it back to him and said, “It’s OK. You’re fine.” And he replied, “Oooh, I know.” I couldn’t not laugh at the 17-year-old guy in the anime character T-shirt when he said that.
  • My creative writing grade has been posted: A! This brings my overall GPA back up to exactly 3.77. It will of course go down once my piano grade is posted. My social problems grade is also MIA, but that will be at the least an A-, so I’m not concerned.
  • I need to download some more podcasts for my travels this week. I’ll probably grab some more from NPR (even though my sister Brandiann keeps telling me everytime I use a word with multiple syllables or listen to NPR that I’m a “quasi-republican-linqust,” which of course means nothing except that she thinks I’m weird). I’m taking in some new cities and even finding time to stop in and visit some family I haven’t seen in far too long. Brandiann tried to make it seem more fun than it actually is, “It’s almost like traveling, right?” Haha. Almost, but very much not quite.
  • I received an e-mail from myself this morning. It was a total surprise. I wrote it about a year or so ago at futureme.org, which allows you to postdate an e-mail to be sent to your inbox in the future. I had completely forgotten about the letter to myself on my graduation. The e-mail was interesting, a few highlights:
    • I wanted to be shipping out with the Peace Corps by now (that plan, though I went as far as the interview, is on indefinite hold as I gain experience in the real world first)
    • My job search is looking far better than my internship search did at that time…
    • My biggest concern at that moment was whether my grades would be A’s or A-‘s.
    • My list of things I hoped to have achieved by now included: just wrapping up my term as editor-in-chief (which happened), an amazing internship (well, it was a good experience), having completed an honors thesis (which never came anywhere near happening), still having a sense of humor, and most importantly, “I still have a passion and love for journalism” (which is only more true now than it was then).
    • All in all, however, much of it has come true. As I said in my e-mail, “I hope I become who I have set out to be.” I definitely think I have.

Finally, a day off

Saturday, December 16th, 2006

I think this is the first day “off” I’ve had in at least a year. At least.

Technically this summer I had two days off a week. But they were hardly off when you consider that being off just meant having time to drive two and a half hours back to Akron/Kent for meetings, birthdays, etc. or spending all day working on and planning the fall Stater. Plus, I didn’t even take breathing room between the Stater and the Courier. I literally finished the Stater, took exams (and to add to the craziness, we published two extra editions of the Stater during exam week), moved my stuff to Findlay and started that following Monday. I came back from Findlay with one week to prepare the office and get everything settled before my staff returned and we started putting out the paper.

Even when I was off, I was never really off. I just wasn’t at work doing my “job.”

This fall, I did take a “breather” every Saturday. I made it a point to take my dog to the park (the metro parks, not just down the street to a swingset) on a walk for an hour or so each weekend. I needed the time to refresh from a hectic schedule and break the weeks up. But she needed it as much as I did. My mom doesn’t have the time or energy to take her out on daily walks. But Shadow’s a very hyper and active dog (shepherd & lab mix), and she misses me terribly when I’m away (which is most of the time) — so much so that when I walk in the door she literally leaps into my arms and refuses to get down until I’ve held her like a baby for a minute or two. I am not joking. It’s the cutest thing ever.

But even on those Saturday walks I’d still be “on.” I remember recently I was at the park for maybe an hour and received no fewer than three calls about the Stater. Mostly they were just, “I sent you a brief for the Web, when can you get it up?” or “So, thus&so happened, but so&so won’t talk to me, what should I do…” Even on Thanksgiving and throughout that weekend, I had stories to upload and comments to approve. I guess I could have ignored the calls and e-mails. But I’d still have to deal with them anyway. And thus, I was never really off. I was just out of the office and away from campus.

But today? Well, I am no longer responsible for the Stater. So, although I wouldn’t, if someone called and asked me for advice, to post their stories or to do them a favor, I could legitimately tell them to call Seth, Rachel or Ryan instead. I’m not planning next semester and trying to arrange schedules and training week speakers, as I was doing at this time last year, when I was M.E., and this past summer, when I was editor. I’m not even worried about getting a headstart on research for my next story or about how Monday’s budget and layouts are shaping up. I don’t even have that nagging, “exams are coming up” or “I should work on that project due Tuesday” feeling. I’m not worried about work or school or any of that. I’m off. Completely off.

So on my first day off in as long as I can remember, I’m going to take my nephews, who sadly haven’t as much of me the last year or so as they’d like, out to lunch and then have them tag along with Shadow and me on our weekly walk. Then, I’m going to unpack a few boxes, sort out everything I’ve accumulated the last three and a half years and probably kick back and read one of the 20+ books I’ve bought but not had time to read in the last year.

Mostly, I’m going to relax. For now at least.

A different perspective on reading online

Friday, December 15th, 2006

My younger cousin was at my graduation party tonight. We usually discuss technology, cell phones, cameras, computers, etc. I think I’m the only other person he knows who is really interested and passionate about new technology. Usually it involves us gushing about the latest items on CNET or talking about the pros and cons of Mac vs. PC.

Tonight, perhaps because my family kept asking me about what job I am looking for, we ended up talking about the future of journalism.

My cousin said he had wanted to join his H.S. newspaper staff but that now “it’s stupid!” I asked why, and he said, “It’s only on the Web.” So, I asked him what was wrong with that, printing a newspaper is expensive and is the biggest expense for a paper. And he said something that is a disconnect for anyone in our generation but especially for someone so interested in the Internet and technology, “I don’t know, I just prefer to read something on paper. Reading on the computer is annoying.”

This from a 16-year-old, self-proclaimed computer geek. Definitely an interesting/different perspective than we’re used to hearing.