Nearly Wordless Wednesday: Pest Control

We found ants in our kitchen. We’ve tried everything to get rid of them. Finally, I set up a Facebook account for the queen ant. If social networking is going to lead to the end of our society, maybe it will take care of theirs, too. I may have gone too far. But there are no longer ants in our kitchen. I think they’re all updating their timelines.

Obviously, she is a party ant.

I Will Rule The World!

You may already know how I feel about Pinterest. And I can help you understand Facebook. I don’t have a cell phone, so I guess I can’t use Instagram. Which of course means that I now really WANT to. But I’ve discovered a new thing that I want make a part of my life. Klout.

Ever since I started on Twitter, I’ve seen mysterious tweets “So-and-so earned +K for pants-zipping (I’m pretty sure, but it might have been for blogging or dog-walking)! ” And I think “Yay for pants-zipping! And potassium!” Imagine my surprise when I discovered that +K has nothing to do with eating bananas, though there might be a category in there somewhere for best banana bread maker. It all has to do with influence. On the internet. Count. Me. In.

I discovered today that not only can a numerical score tell everyone around me (who follows likes klouts on me, or whatever it is you do) how very important I am, I can also get free stuff! Who wouldn’t want that? I can get stuff like this:

Person of Interest SCREEN WIPES! Person of interest here! SO interested! Is that a TV show?

And oh, my gosh!

Who wouldn't need these? Yes, it might slow down the consumption of my food, but they are FREE! And free is awesome!

I looked around, and there are some folks with a lot of Klout.

I want to be as important as these people! And with Klout, I can at least look like I am!

But it does make me a little sad that Lil Twist barely has enough Klout for those plate-toppers. Poor guy! Or girl. I have never heard of him/her, but there they are on Klout! And I am happy to live in a world where Cher packs as much klout as Bill Gates!

Influence is important, and it must be used with great care. How should I influence the masses? Pants-zipping is already taken. What is left for me?

Lost in Translation: Facebook Edition

Needs no translation. Tiny snowman is angry because he is at the mercy of the thermometer. Bummer.

A little guide to the new Facebook. As you know, I am a born interpreter.

Find Friends: People with whom you have much in common and should probably add. They are friends of friends, pets of friends, play an app that you deleted, went to the same school as someone you once met, answered similarly when taking a “Do you like soap?” quiz,  or they, like you, are breathing. See? You are practically twins. Add them, or you will die alone.

Share: Click the button, you selfish pig. Everyone wants to know that you have leveled up/unlocked a treasure/poked a pet. Everyone. Who do you think you are, the Queen of England? Like you’ve got secrets to keep.

“Overall Protection Is Low”: We don’t have enough information about you to completely wreck  your life when we sell it. We only pretend to care about your security question. What we really want is your mobile number. So we can call you on your birthday. We promise not to share it with anyone. Pinky swear. At least not until the next update. And if you could go ahead and provide samples of your hair and blood, that would be just super.

Privacy Settings: This has nothing to do with actual privacy. If it helps, think of it more as a video game. Just like you aren’t growing actual vegetables on Farmville. But it’s fun, right?

Ticker: A running list of every single thing that your friends are doing that you forgot to unsubscribe to. You now have the ability to make fun of your friends because you know how many times they have listened to “You Give Love a Bad Name” today. As important as it is to have friends, you have our permission to unfriend those who admit to listening to anything by Justin Bieber. It’s our one exception.

Like: Ambiguous and sometimes creepy, it’s a great way to let someone know that you have read their post without actually commenting. And it always keeps them guessing! When you see someone “likes” your post that your dog has mange and is undergoing experimental treatment, do they mean “I hate your dog because he poops on my lawn.  Go, mange!” or do they mean “I’m so glad that a brand new treatment is now available?” That’s part of the fun.  You decide! After all, Facebook is about giving you control and enhancing your relationships!

Recent Stories: A bunch of stuff you used to read. We prioritized it for you because deciding what should be important to you is what we do. It’s pretty much the same stuff you’ve already seen in your news feed. It’s basically a reminder that we’re collecting data on everything you do and will either sell it or use it against you in the future. You’re welcome.

Tags: Easy way to invade someone else’s privacy. Have an embarrassing photo of someone? Awesome! Post it and tag ’em. Not only will it go to all of your friends, but it goes to all of theirs as well. And their minister. And maybe their kindergarten teacher. We’re not totally sure.



Pin Me!

Maybe I’m trying to keep up with the Jones’. Maybe I’m tired of being left in the dark ages. Perhaps I’m looking for new vehicles to share my work. Or possibly a combination of the three. Either way, a site has recently appeared on my radar. I am naturally curious, but also a bit hesitant.But then a friend mentioned that the site is addictive. New internet addiction? That sounds like it’s exactly what I need in my life! Sign me up for Pinterest!

But it’s not that easy. You don’t just sign up. You have to request an invite. I requested one, sure that it was a formality. I entirely expected my invitation to appear in my inbox instantaneously. I hit “request an invitation” with more than a trace of smugness and waited for my email counter to go up. It was, indeed, instantaneous, but I was in for a surprise. It doesn’t contain a password or any sort of information to log in. It said “Thanks for joining the waiting list.” I’m not “in.”

And I wait. The email says that I can follow them on Twitter. Right. I spent my whole youth on the periphery, watching the cool kids but unable to join in. I don’t need that now. I will ignore them until they want me. And I know that they will! Times have changed. I’m no longer that awkward fourteen year old. I’m cool, right? Maybe I’ll just peek. For a minute.

I wonder if they’ll just send me information to log in, or if I will have to prove my worthiness. Will they run my undergarments up a flag pole? With me in them? Or make me push pennies down the hall with my nose? Or give me a swirlie in a filthy toilet?  Doesn’t matter. I’ll do it. I need in.

I must pin. I want to create a virtual bulletin board more than I ever thought I would. It’s more than that. I need in. Everyone else is in there pinning and creating. And laughing at me because I am not there with them.

Why haven’t I heard? What if I am not Pinterest material? I’m expecting to find a note pinned to my board that says “Sorry. You are so last-Tuesday. Go to Friendster. They are more your speed.” You might as well just stuff me in a locker and leave me there.

Wait. My email counter just went up. And there it is, a message that says “You’ve been invited to join Pinterest.” Really, guys? I just requested my invite exactly ten minutes ago, and you’re already letting me in? How desperate can you get? Ten minutes, and you’re already begging me to join?  Never mind. I’m going back to Subjot. That’s where the cool kids are.


Attitude of Gratitude

I am tired this morning. Not the “Looking forward to a nap” tired. More like the “Wait, why am I wearing my socks in the shower?” kind of tired. I worked back-to-back overnight programs and got very little sleep. It was a long weekend, but I know that I am a lucky girl.

My first group this weekend was a school that visits us every year. I’ve worked with them many times, and without a doubt, they are my favorite group. Not only do they look forward to learning what we have to teach, these eight-year-olds delight in teaching us. The first few weeks of school is spent on zoo stuff. Every subject builds them up for their visit. In Science, they research animals. In Language Arts, they write up the report. Math has them adding and subtracting bananas to feed the monkeys. In Reading, they focus on animal-themed stories. One year, they memorized “Wild About Books” and performed it for us at bedtime. And after their visit, they write the most wonderful thank-you notes. Every student. Did I mention that their teachers are creative? The school is at the top of their state in test scores, and it’s easy to see why.

These kids are a joy. Every single year, they are well-behaved, eager to learn, and greet each opportunity with enthusiasm. The school is tiny, and the teachers know and love each child like they are their own. They aren’t afraid to mete out discipline if necessary, but it rarely is. There’s a level of respect that isn’t often seen in schools these days. The kids behave often because they don’t want to disappoint their teacher.

One more thing I should mention about the school. A sponsor in their community makes it possible for the kids to come for their Overnight, as 60% of them or more live below the poverty level. And some of them live way below. Like, the teachers worry that school lunch on Friday will be the last thing they get to eat until they come to school on Monday morning. Many of their thank-you notes voice appreciation for the food we provide. They are poor, but here’s the beauty of it. None of them know it. In their world, they have a loving adult at home, teachers who adore them, a community who supports them, a sponsor who cares enough to give them a once-in-a-lifetime experience. To their minds, they are rich. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

So if a kid who has so little in the way of material possessions can feel so full in spirit, what about me? Today, my post is about being grateful for what I have.

This weekend, I earned some extra Christmas money.

My sweet husband wrangled the toddler yesterday afternoon so that I could relax and read a book. 

I have enough food in my cabinet to feed my family for a couple of weeks.

The temperature dropped significantly this weekend. I flipped a switch, and I have heat. 

I have an amazing church and church family, and great things are happening. 

I have friends. People I can count on if I need them. I am not alone in the world. 

My littlest one just interrupted my work again. To hug me.  

My daughter, whom I typically have to drag into thrift stores, asked me yesterday if I would take her shopping. At thrift stores. And afterwards, she uttered the words “Thrift stores are great!” I may have wept with joy. 

We found enough modest long-sleeved shirts and sweaters for fall and winter for under $25. Way under. And one of them was “Nightmare Before Christmas.” 

Our 16 year-old cat is still with us, and she has gained some weight since her oral surgery.

My husband helped our middle son clean out and rearrange his room. It looks so great!

I have shelves of good books to read, and blankets to curl up under to read them.

My son still lets me dress him like this: 

Made the wand himself and yes, that's a Gryffindor crest on his shirt!

And what about you? What are you grateful for? Share with me. In your blog, on Twitter, on Facebook, in my comments, anywhere. That’s your challenge, should you choose to accept it. And I hope you do.




The Sorted Details

The Official Logo. Courtesy of Pottermore,com

I am cool. I have an early invitation to Pottermore. A friend signed me up a couple of months ago. You wish you had friends like that. Actually, you should. She’s awesome. Here’s the fun part. Early admittance didn’t actually mean we could get into the site early. We still had to wait for our letter to arrive (via email, not owl) in order to fully access all the features. But mine arrived this morning. I got in early. The site isn’t open to everyone until October, which is, um Saturday. . So I guess that means I rock, but only a little more than the average person. Having received notification that I am just to the right of ordinary, I logged in. Or I tried to.

Now, I’m not here to offer any spoilers or anything. I am pretty sure there were Terms of Service that I agreed to. I know I must have promised not to tell anyone anything cool about the site. Since I’m in the cool-kid club and got in early and all. If I violate the terms, a mountain troll will probably poop on my lawn. So call me the secret keeper. I say nothing about what I see. Except this:

They’re beta-testing the site, and I hope someone over there is taking notes. I can’t get in. Once I’m in, I can’t stay in. And if I stay in, I am not sure how to get where I am going. And once I am there, it takes me forever to figure out how to get where I have been. Nothing makes sense. Kind of like Facebook. Pottermore is the new social network for geeks.

I have no idea what I am doing, and I can’t find a tutorial. Not sure how to see the stuff I want to see. I know people have been sorted into houses because I have been subjected to them via my Twitter feed for the last two weeks. But how do I get there? I want to be sorted, too, but every time I think I have moved a bit forward, I get kicked off the site. The servers can’t handle the volume of users without suddenly shutting people out. I have not been able to stay on for longer than a minute and a half yet, and it’s only open to a million people so far.

It’s a total time-suck. The precious hour I wasted messing about on the site getting absolutely nowhere was time I need to spend writing. Or cleaning. Or eating. Or all three. I spent significantly more time trying to log in than I actually did exploring. I found the whole mess to be tedious and frustrating. I may actually have yelled at my computer once. Okay, twice. An entire hour of my life I will never get back.

So my user name is WolfsbaneNight8. I’ll be back on again the moment I can. Look me up, and we can be friends! Yes, I know. I have a problem. You don’t need to point it out, but thanks.

I Got Dumped

photo courtesy of Because I don't take pictures of my trash

I don’t know what happened. Yesterday you were a part of my life, pretty as you please. And today, poof, you are gone. Vanished from my life completely like a thief in the night. And it hurts. Is it me? I’ll never know. Because you dumped me, severed our tenuous connection. That’s right. You quit following me on Twitter.

I’ve been learning all about social media recently as an effort to promote the things that I am doing. I avoided Twitter for a long time, mostly because of the lingo. Hashtags don’t sound like something a Christian should be involved with. I gathered my courage and jumped in this week, and this is the thanks I get. I was so proud of building some followers, and then I got up this morning and discovered you were gone. I am devastated. I wish I knew which one you were.

Were you the girl who added me under my old user name (cheapthrills03) thinking that I might enjoy reading about your drunken, drug-addled romp with your married boss? Actually, such a parting might not be bad for either of us, as we obviously have different interests. But what if it wasn’t you? And what if you actually read this. Should I just go ahead and say goodbye now? Do I send a card?

Were you the guy who tweets about the fabulous software that you have created. That no one has ever heard of? Or the girl who was looking for a good time? I am a fun person. We could play Monopoly, or even watch Harry Potter! Or are you the one who wants to sell me penis enlargement pills? Don’t let my lack of such an appendage come between us. We can work it out!

Or are you the lady that I was following myself. The one who found me in the bushes outside her house? I am so very, very sorry about that. I am really new to Twitter, and I got a little confused. I now know the difference between “following” and “stalking.” My bad. Please accept my apologies and a new azalea to replace the one I squashed. And the private investigator will no longer be parked outside your place of business. Restraining orders are handy little things, no?

Anyway. If you are out there, my long, lost cyber-soul mate, please look me up. I miss you. And I’ve got a telemarketer friend you might really like, too. She’ll be calling in a couple of hours. We can all hang out and go get our nails done or something. Follow me!