Friday, December 9, 2011

Ellen McCarthy's rules for tree decorating

Every year the family gathers around our plastic evergreen to engage in the American ritual of tree decorating.

One by one we pull ornaments out of the box and unwrap them from the crumbled tissue paper intended to protect them from someone's (my) clumsiness. It's amazing how ornaments collect over the years. We always go into some vacationtown gift shop and come out with some trinket resembling our week's stay. As if a little santa wearing a hawaiian shirt and flip-flops could explain a trip to the beach, or an elf holding a maple leaf flag could explain our trip up north.  Some ornaments we pull out take quite a bit of brain-dusting before we remember where the hell they came from ("Thanks for the Disney Princess ornament Ex-Boyfriend's mom!"). Other ornaments induce laughter immediately, followed by some smart-ass anecdote glittered with nostalgia.

In tree-decorating, we all work well as a team.  My brother and I fluff the pieces. My mom strings lights. My dad sits and watches, brilliantly advising us every step of the way. Once that is finished my mom sits over the boxes of bulbs, unwraps them from their tissue-paper placenta and hands them to Sean and me for our savvy execution of ornament hanging. My father continues his brilliant advising.

My mom is quite particular about the way ornaments hang:
The Rules:
1. Plain bulbs go on the inside. Something she read in some decorating magazine about matching bulbs and how they bring the tree together.
"Erin, 1978. or is it 1998?
not sure.. the paint job looks
 like hell." thanks, Mom
2. Big, heavy ornaments go near the bottom. I suppose this is logical taking weight distribution and balancing the tree into account.
3. Free ornaments you get at a Hardee's don't make the cut. Even though we never hang them, we never throw them out either. Just put them back into the box to go through the same "WTF is this piece-o-crap doing in here" next year. mmmm, tradition.
4. Crappy homemade ornaments go on the back. Remember that little Rudolph you pasted together at a second grade girlscout's meeting? Your little hands put so much effort into making sure that little red pompom was pasted just so. And shoot, remember the considerable time it took you to glue on those antlers made out of sticks you found on the ground? Yeah, well, it looks like shit so put it on the back of the tree where no one can see it.

My brother and I think we're really funny when we put the ugly SundaySchool-crafted ornaments on the front. The best of these includes an ornament my brother made as a fifth grade ceramics project, literally just a brown and black chunk of clay. We called this our Christmas poo long before Mr. Hankey ever came about. 

It's funny how ADD my family gets about tree decorating; it's funny how ADD my family gets about everything, really. After the laughter dies down, somebody will leave the room, even just to go to the bathroom or something, and then one by one we'll get distracted, leaving Ellen McCarthy left to make her final touches. She probably likes it this way as our snarkiness can often be quite a distraction, and now she can make it actually look nice.
Magician ornament in loving memory of my grandpa, Donald McCarthy. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

So You're a Townie, eh?: Journalism Multimedia project

I'm from Columbus, Ohio. Despite being the home of The Ohio State University, we've got a million other things, so of course I would not consider myself a "Townie" to Ohio State. Athens, however, is a little different. It's a college town. The city's economy is centered around the University. To be a townie is to be someone from a college town.

Setting a few british terminologies aside, a townie on was loosely defined as someone from a college town who didn't attend the university, and many might consider this the case in Athens. OU Students sometimes come here and never meet anyone from the area. They see Southeast Ohioans in the newspaper, they interact with some at Wal-Mart, but that's where the interaction stops.

Ohio University provides the children of all faculty and staff with waivers to obtain free tuition at the school. This has provided many families of the area with opportunities to go to school free of this financial burden. Because of this, thousands of Athens natives have been able to attend college who wouldn't otherwise.

I have had quite an opportunity to explore the world of townie-dom. Athens County Young Life has allowed me to actually befriend some of these mythical-to-some beings. Believe it or not, they're kind of normal.

I got a chance to interview some of the towniest townies in the whole townieverse:

I suppose leading YoungLife at Nelsonville-York High School has got me to "get in touch with my inner townie", but more importantly, I've been able to get involved in the community, and my heart for Athens has extended beyond Ohio University. There are many opportunities to get involved in the community, and I would recommend students take advantage of these whenever they get the chance.

Some ways to get involved in the community are located on this map, as well as some of the places Athens natives recommended, places that weren't always so busy with students, but rather hidden gems around the county--food, parks, etc.,: (Click the icons to get thoughts and videos about each location)

View Townie favorites in a larger map

Other ways to get involved,

Sunday, November 20, 2011

21 things i've learned in the last year.

Last year for my birthday I created a blogpost titled "twenty things I've learned in twenty years" and I've found that in only one year, I've learned a ton. This has literally been a crazy year. I've made a lot of mistakes, but I've realized a lot of things about myself, my faith, and about others. Ladies and Gentlemen, I bring you TwentyONE things:

1. Grapefruit and Sweet Potatoes sucked when I was little. Now they're two of my favorite things ever. Perhaps this  is some sort of greater analogy for life itself. Perhaps it's not.
2. Complaining is a waste of energy. 
3. It's okay to not know.
4. Take responsibility. Pointing fingers is a waste of time and energy. I realize that if I look at a situation, chances are, somehow something is my fault. And even if it isn't, whatever happened, it already happened. So there's only moving forward and making it better.
5. Punctuality is fricken important. I find lateness to be a huge indicator of a million other things. One in particular is arriving on time to somewhere shows those relying on you that you care about them and whatever work is to be accomplished. I take someone's lateness personally.
6. I need to burn that list of pet peaves It's irrelevant and stupid-long.
7.  There is no reason to sit around and point out things people do wrong. I may have burned that pet peave list, but that's because this is the only thing on it. It's annoying, and I lose respect for you. You have no right to point out other peoples flaws. What good comes from that? What progress can be made? You can sit there and make fun of someones horrible use of a barbell, or you can teach them how to do a beautiful squat. That's a metaphor.
8. "I'm not good with names" is synonymous with "I don't give a shit" I am a strong believer in the importance of remembering names. I am very good with names, but it's not because I was born that way. It takes a TON of work, but it's worth it. I remember names because I take the time to remember names. I think people deserve the common courtesy of you remembering their name.
9. Anger is a waste of energy. Think about it. The fact that we sit there stirring about something someone did, or complaining about them to others.. that does more harm to us. The person we're mad at usually has no idea. Just forgive and let live. It's more for your sake than anything.
10. Don't settle. My boyfriend since Junior year of high school and I mutually ended last December for completely practical and meaningful reasons: we lived 1200 miles away; we were 20 years old. Despite being mutual, it was hard. It then took me a year to realize that guys who don't care about their grades or their health or others or their faith are not guys of interest. Especially because these mediocre men will never understand why someone would spend so much of their time devoted to their schoolwork or their volunteer time. Not settling also applies to far greater than just relationships. Seriously.
11. College is about thinking in new ways. My humor writing professor made a great point the other day about how students often complain "why do I need to take this course?" and "I am never going to use this course in my life" but that it's not about remembering the stuff you know, but rather learning how to make your mind more flexible and think in new ways.
12. Do something everyday that makes you uncomfortable. Do something that scares you.
13. Family gets more important the older I get. Every year, I start to appreciate Christmas and Thanksgiving more for reasons unrelated to presents and mashed potatoes (though still both quite enjoyable) It's a chance to hang out with my awesome family. When I was a teenager, I used to roll my eyes at the things that my family would do, and if I was given the choice between going out with my friends or staying in with my parents, friends would trump every time. Now, it's completely reversed. Most of the time that I go home, I neglect telling anyone because frankly I'd rather just hang out with my family and dogs.
14. Monotony sucks. Unless it's cheesecake, then by all means monotony rocks.
15. Old friends = nostalgia. There were things that happened that seemed to matter so much in high school and middle school. They seemed so betraying, so awful, and they ended some really good friendships. Now that we're over that absurdity, I've been able to reconnect with some of these friends, and it's such a blessing.
16. My parents are still incredible. My parents are so cool. Honest to blog.
17. The only place you can find what you're looking for is in yourself. 
18. Worse things have happened. Sometimes I stress about some of the most trivial things. Then I put it into perspective and it's like good god I'm a sissy.
19. Go outside. I love fresh air and hiking and camping and being outside. I would pick a backpacking trip through Tennessee over a resort on an island every single time. and It's soo good for you.
20. It always gets better. Even when everything feels like shit, I've found that I come out loving life more when I get through.
21. I am by no means wise; I am by every mean still learning. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

look what i did.

messing around with tagclouds. not sure where to put it yet..working on some links.. but iiiiiit's preeeeeetty.

Get Adobe Flash player

Sunday, November 13, 2011

i love stop motion!

Stop motion video is one of my favorite things (besides for dogs).. here's a couple that I REALLY love.

My friend Zoe Davis created this as one of her final projects before graduating in 2010. It's the story of her life. The song is Mumford & Sons, Roll Away Your Stone.

Change from Zoe Davis on Vimeo.

This is a great song I found on reddit.. they used stop motion for their music video..

Hudson - Against The Grain from Dropbear on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Bobcat Recap

For my final project in Humor Writing I created a fake newsletter called The Bobcat Recap. It included fake articles based on stories I found in the ThePost, University Compass, events I witness this quarter, and I enjoyed just mocking college life in general. I've included the images, but to see the bigger layout, click here and zoom. They're kind of hard to read in this format.

people observation #23: my dog ate my jump drive

It's always easy to tell the difference between a good and a bad excuse.

Keep in mind, by good excuse I mean one of those rare, but real ones. "Sorry I didn't make it to work, but my car broke down and I had no means to get there" is a good excuse; life has given you lemons and you're trying your best to make lemonade.

By bad excuse, I mean the excuses that people come up with so they can take the blame off of themselves. (The psychological world calls this a defense mechanism.. and wikipedia calls it a psychological projection).

There's the projecting of blame to inanimate objects: "My alarm didn't go off"

Then there's something that's a blatant lie:"Sorry I don't have the assignment..insert something about your dog eating your homework here"..along those lines, there's also the dead relative bit. This one is frustrating because nobody with half of a heart is going to want to question the legitimacy of such an event. That being said, one's grandmother can only die so many times.

Chances are it's probably your fault. Most of the time you're late because you didn't allocate yourself enough time to get there. Your work is half-assed or incomplete because you're lazy, and the office plant's critical condition isn't because the room temperature is set to Antarctica, it's because you forgot to water it.

One day, I woke up way too late for work. Somewhere in the jumble of brushing my teeth, packing things into my purse, and sniffing the armpits of my Lifetime Fitness uniform then deciding the stench will do, I left the lock off of my pepper spray, and got it all over my hands. During my fifteen minute commute, I  went to unknowingly wipe my (still sleepy) eyes and the burn began. I pulled into a neighborhood nearby and proceeded to pour what was left in my Nalgene all over my face.

Looking at the scenario, one would probably take this as a horrible chain of events. I, however, found myself slightly optimistic at the time. I now had an excuse for my lateness to work. I called my boss in my state of panic screaming "Suzanne!I'llbeacoupleminuteslateI'vejustpeppersprayedmyself!" I felt bad. I told my boss that I had gotten mace in my eye, when really, I'd have been late either way.

I'm not saying that there aren't greater forces sometimes at work. Sometimes stuff happens that we can't control. Mace in the eyes happens. Shit happens, and I smell what you're stepping in. I'd suggest just watch for the times when our excuses are cheap.

I would invite you to take a look at the excuses you've been making lately and really dive in to which ones are legitimately beyond your control and which ones are phony.

In the words of Chamillionaire: "Stop making excuses... If women take his money, he gonna tell ya he slipped off his sleeve, whatever your weakness, stop making excuses please. You should not be in couch or in house, you should be in route." Poetic.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

you are what you eat, and you aren't what you don't

Being healthy physically involves that balance between sleeping enough, exercising enough, and eating enough of what you should be eating.

I never realized how little people cared about their physical health until I came to college.

People come up with excuses like they don't have enough time, or taking care of themselves is too expensive, when the irony is that getting sick and not being healthy takes a toll on your time and your wallet far greater than keeping up with yourself.

Why is taking care of ourselves not a priority?
     Example, dumb example, but example nonetheless: I also did not realize until I came to college that some people didn't wear seat belts. Like, here is this free piece of fabric that could save your life in the incident of a car accident, but if that car accident doesn't happen it doesn't bother you.
     And yet, people still don't click it. (unless I'm driving..then you better be buckled up before the car even starts) Two options: Wear the seatbelt or don't wear the seatbelt.
      Pros of not wearing your seatbelt: none/ Cons: YOU COULD DIE.
      Pros of wearing your seatbelt: You could live, you feel safer, if you don't get in a wreck, it's hardly        noticeable that it's even there/ Cons: There are no cons.
     See what I'm saying? I don't CARE that the law doesn't require people in the back seat not to wear a seatbelt. The law doesn't require me to wash my hands when I'm done dropping a duece but you hope to God that I do. For the sake of your health right?

Taking care of yourself should be a priority. If you were told that your food was poisoned every time that you were about to take a bite out of it, you'd stop yourself right? But that's the thing, by putting a bunch of crap into your body, you are poisoning yourself. With every bite. Our bodies have to work that much harder to fight the disease we're already fighting, as well as the crap it's trying to digest.

I made scrambled eggs for lunch today with peppers and spinach and salsa. A friend of mine walks in and tells me that my meal "grossed him out." (This is the same person who refers to my organic cuisine as "dirty hippy food.") The thing is that he literally eats nothing but absolutely unhealthy things. Who knows the last time he had a VEGETABLE! That's what grosses me out! I am absolutely disgusted every time he brings some 5.99 combo meal into my living room and procedes to wash it down with a Diet Coke (oh, how healthy of you). The fact that his body is FIGHTING to get rid of the toxins he's putting into it every time he's thirsty or hungry, that's what grosses me out.

And sure, I can take a hit every now and then. He doesn't understand the importance of being healthy. I get it. But why not? Why is that not a priority in everyone's life?

And what grosses me out more is that America is SICK with this disease. Instead of thinking of McDonald's as a treat, as something we can enjoy every now and then, it is a daily option for every meal. (FoodMatters: watch)

I have yet to come up with a conclusion to this problem. How do I get people to care about themselves? How do I get people to realize that there is a direct correlation between the fact that they are dehydrated, malnourished, sleep-deprived, and out of shape and the fact that they feel like shit. Treat yourself like crap, and that's exactly how you're going to feel.

Friday, October 28, 2011

people observation #22: There is no reason I don't like Halloween. I just don't.

This is my Halloween Post. God, I'm festive. The only problem is that I hate Halloween. Love pumpkins. Love cider. Love dressing up as some cultural reference for the sake of sarcastically making fun. Hate, however, Halloween. Why? I'm not quite sure. Because I used to love it a lot, and that might be the thing. I love Halloween age 2-12, not age 17-now. (OU Halloween information from thePost.)

When your crafty mother can make your fifth grade Christopher Columbus project into the most life-like paper doll in history using just a glue gun and some felt, Halloween is just another time to exemplify her arts and crafts expertise. Growing up, I had the MOST original and homemade costumes. At age three I was a cow with a fever for more cowbell. My brother was a robot made out of spraypainted cardboard and those silver tubes you find behind the dryer. I was a cat with ridiculously lifelike features. My brother was a homemade ninja turtle (like most five year olds circa 1992) with big felt feet and a half-shell backpack. Our jack-o-lanterns weren't just triangle-eyed simpletons; they were perfectly carved and beautifully glowing Bert and Ernies (gotta tip my hat to my equally-creative pops on this one).
I'm a mouse, duh.

So Halloween was really fun. It was the ultimate nostalgia. The way it should be. Costumes should be homemade. Jack-o-lanterns should be carved without using a stupid stencil.

But then we get older and all of a sudden Halloween is an excuse for boys to dress like penises and women to dress like the occupation they want to be if that occupation's uniform made drastic changes, i.e., Cops who've seem to have lost their pants, nurses with stethoscopes stuck in their cleavage, or a referee wearing knee-highs and heels.
My roommate Sarah and
her twin sister Liz ca.1995

Erin, Erin, Erin, the boys say, why are you so against this beautiful display of the female population?

Really boys, I'm all for sluttin' around (sarcasm), but I think it's because I liked Halloween when I was a little kid. Maybe I just feel betrayed.

I've seemed to have found a Halloween kid in the decorations and excited eyes of my roommate Sarah. She comes from a family of crafty nostalgics as well, I suppose she's just taken the hold on to that nostalgia route rather than be a cynic. I could learn a lesson or two from her.

Me, pumpkin, with some Green Monkeys, and my
friend Lizzy, Spongebob, on Halloween 2009.
And I will say that OU Halloween is unique in its block party, and the fact that homemade and creative costumes are very much celebrated. Some of my favorites from years past include the characters from UP, a LEGO man, and the Green Monkeys from Legends of the Hidden Temple.

Nevertheless, people will still buy their costumes from some overpriced website, and they'll still be made out of a cheep fabric. Dorothy is still going to turn into a huge slut in ruby red slippers, and some dude will go as a Dick in a Box, very creative bro. People will still crowd court street, maybe holding on to the Halloween from their childhood's (of course with a little more beer and a  little less candy). I, however, will be working a double.

On a lighter and less-bitter note, and in spirit of the holiday, I love this show:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

reader-writer communication in journalism, who's taking advantage of the technology?

We spend a great deal of time in my journalism classes talking about citizen journalism and interactivity and what publications are doing to get their readers involved in the process of creating media.

Back in the day, the letter to the editor was really the only way to get any reader feedback in the newspaper (what's that?). Now thousands of comments are posted online with almost every article.

I found a piece in the Times today that has the readers literally writing the article themselves. It involves an interactive graph of different reader feelings about the economy. I can't explain it very well because it's unique. Take a look at it for yourselves:

It's all about being able to provide more information to readers, and the new things that we can do with journalism provide just that.

Here's a tweet conversation I had yesterday about when a publication finds themselves stuck in the nineties internet era:
(sidenote: suhlmann12 gives great Bobcat Sports tweets.)
The publication he's referring to

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Location Journalism

For my Location-based Journalism project, I created a map with the Crime Reports of 2011. Comparatively, Athens is a pretty safe campus, but over the year, I did notice a trend of location of Sexual Imposition within these Crime Reports. Getting a visual of just how close these crimes occur to each other can best be done with a Google Map which can be found here (or be seen below). The map also shows specific locations of Emergency Call Box locations on campus relative to the trend of these crime reports. Sexual Imposition and Rape is very serious, and unfortunately it is not reported more often than in it is. In most cases, victims know their attackers, and reporting the crime does not occur. Unfortunately, there is no way to show how often and location to where unreported crimes occur.

View Ohio University Campus Crime Reports 2011 in a larger map
  • Red Markers indicate Campus Crimes and are titled by their Crime
  • Yellow Officers feature location of Campus and Athens Police Departments
  • Blue Markers indicate locations of Blue Light Emergency Call Box systems on Campus. Phones are also found at entrances of every dormitory. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

start your engines

Over the course of the next couple weeks I'm going to start a series on health; I'll be looking at the different aspects of our lives where we can all stand to give ourselves and each other a little more tender lovin' care. 

The different segments I'll be focusing on include:
  • physical
  • emotional
  • spiritual
  • social
  • helping others
  • mental
I'm no expert in any of these fields, so there will be a lot more going to the people who know what they're talking about. For the time being, these are great sites:

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Homecoming, 2011

My attempt at a picture of the alumni band
I went to the 2011 Homecoming parade today for the first time since being at school. (simply because I haven't been able to wake up in time for it the previous two years.)

{A ten year old fell and seriously squished an ankle in front of us. I felt bad for her, but wondered more why they felt it important to crowd around her in the middle of the street as the parade carried on. Eventually they realized she was in the way and literally dragged her across the bricks. She was crying, but I think more out of embarrassment than real pain.}

We went to the football game today, and although I'm a big Bobcat Football fan, the band, as always, is what had my attention. Marching 110 has such a tradition, which was evident when the alumni band came out and danced. This year has been especially cool for them since their Party Rock Anthem dance on YouTube went viral.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Goodbye Bologna; the story of a steak-loving woman, and her venture into vegetarianism

It all began the summer after my sophomore year of high school. It was my first summer as a nanny. One rainy day we decided to go to the cinema down the street, where they were playing a free screening of Charlotte's Web, not the cartoon one, the real-life people one with an innocent Dakota Fanning (pre-Twilight, post-War of the Worlds) and animal voices played by Oprah, Reba and Julia Roberts. Everyone knows the story: Dakota's character, named Fern, forms a bond with a special pig named Wilbur who forms a bond with a spider who forms a bond with her webbing to bond together letters and the whole town bonds with the curly-tailed snout face. Call me eccentric, but I, too, bonded with the babe. I made a decision to never touch pork again. And with the exception of a quick relapse Spring quarter, 2010 (a piglet Dark Age), and a mild surrender to the temptation of the Nacho-Flavored Slim Jim, I have not eaten it since.

So the sixteen year old Erin did her research and learned a lot about the Pork industry. Pigs are actually intelligent animals. They rank up in the brain department with Apes and Dolphins, and have learned how to get out of their gates, because they actually understand their future and its nonexistence.
We can now get the hog-hugging hippie moment out of the way, and make room for the more rational Erin to explain where she went from here. I swear it's legitimate.

I started realizing exactly what I wasn't realizing at the time: I wasn't aware of the food that I was feeding myself with. When the "I'm hungry" thought came into my mind, I was satisfying it with whatever I was craving instead of being cognitive of the different food groups and nutrients I was getting.

To be more aware of the things I was putting into my body, I made a priority in adding vegetables and fruits to every meal. I realized how great I felt when I drank enough water. To take it a step further, I stopped including meat by looking to other sources of protein like beans, and if I did have meat with my meal, I didn't make it my main dish. "Okay, now I'm eating a vegetable, now I'm adding a fruit to my meal..."

If there's one thing you should know it is that I absolutely love meat. I was never a lean-meat kind of girl, I didn't enjoy low in fat meat like grilled chicken and deli-turkey. I liked bacon. I loved beef jerky. My mouth watered at the thought of filet mignon. I mean, you know what they say: "There's nothing like a big, juicy hot dog to ease your troubles after a bad break-up."
What do I miss most of all? Plain white bread with a piece of bologna on it.

To start, I designated two days a week as "meat days" where I could include it in my meal. This was especially helpful for days when someone was cooking for me, or going out to eat, because i didn't have to be that girl that needed the special dish. I didn't want to seem picky or needy or high-maintenance.

Eating meat twice a week provided me with thinking out-of-the-deli with the food that was on my plate. Variety was the key. I knew I wanted my plate to have color; fruits, legumes, and vegetables were the place to get it. (Here are some great Vegetarian Recipes.)

Eventually, I no longer craved meat. It became easier and easier to omit it from my plate. And eventually, I started to feel good. Really good. I had more energy, my workouts proved more successful, and I wasn't sick nearly as much. My brother and I once stumbled across Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead on Netflix, a documentary that tells the story of a man who was eating nothing but junk and started on an all-natural juice diet. He was amazed with the way he felt.

The last time I had meat was Christmas dinner in a last hoorah before I endeavored into what would be my New Year's Resolution: no meat for one year. It was filet mignon and it was delicious. I thought it would be hard to go for a year without eating meat, but I have really enjoyed it, and I'm pretty sure I will keep at a vegetarian diet.

"But Erin, you're just one person. How do you think you will ever make a difference?" Vegetarianism is becoming so widespread that it is actually starting to make an impact on the industries it fights against. I am constantly finding more arguments towards a vegetarian or semi-vegetarian diet. It's much better for the environment, for the world population, and for YOU when done right. I'm not telling you to go vegetarian, but I am encouraging you to be more conscious of what you're putting into your body. Hell, I could be a vegetarian and eat nothing but cheese pizza and fries. That defeats the purpose. Don't focus on what meat is the main dish, focus on colors, variety, fruits and vegetables.. I promise you'll feel better.

If you decide feeling good or eating healthy or not being bloated all the time isn't "your thing" then I encourage you to have a little more respect for us vegetarians. Most of us don't do it just because we believe "animals are people too". Most of us enjoy taking care of our bodies. I first started out being afraid to be high-maintenance when it came to my diet. But eventually I got over that. I am allowed to be picky when it comes to taking care of myself.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Social Media Storify Project

For my Online Journalism Social Media project, I created a story on to explain a typical day in the life of Athens County Young Life and the 40+ leaders that it comprises of.

I created a Twitter account for ACYL and asked leaders to tweet at it, or hashtag #acYL throughout their days. Sundays are typically very productive days for a YoungLife leader. This is when teams often meet to plan events and hang out together, but the rest of the week is where the true work takes place, which is why I'm excited to see what every member of the group does with this twitter account for the rest of the week.

Storify allowed me to put together different twitter comments and photos posted over the course of one day and even post a map of the "hotspots" YoungLife finds itself all over Athens County using Google Maps. I could also take posts that were made within YoungLife's Facebook group. Sometimes someone mentioned ACYL in a post on Twitter expressing their support or excitement about the group. I also put that on the Storify. They all seemed to come together very well. This is a project I am planning on continuing the rest of the year; something that will be very helpful to my student organization.

You can look at the story here!

Saturday, October 1, 2011


Went to see Joseph Gordon Levitt and Seth Rogen's new movie 50/50 last night where Levitt plays a 27-year-old named Adam who finds himself with spinal cancer. Rogen plays the part of Adam's best friend Kyle, who ends up being a key part of Adam's survival and an amazing friend.

The movie is actually quite funny. It makes a serious life situation something that everyone can relate to, and it was quite refreshing to watch.

The story is based on the true story Will Reiser (producer of HBO series Da Ali G Show).

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

athens county young life

As I've mentioned before, I am involved in an organization called YoungLife; it is an outreach ministry to high school students. I lead YoungLife about twenty minutes away from campus at Nelsonville York High School. Sometimes it's hard to explain to others exactly what we do, but I saw this video and it literally explained everything so well.

We lead bible studies, game nights and hangouts, spend time in the community, and get involved with the kids as much as we can. I encourage everyone to get involved in Athens County as much as they can. This is an amazing community.

Here's a couple places you could get involved :

Saturday, September 24, 2011

utilize your observation skills and start an awesome blog.

Joe Finney and Brian Kassouf, OU Junior and Senior respectively started a blog called Scooter365. They noticed a checkered scooter out by South Green and decided to take a picture of it every day for an entire year. I got an interview with em last week, shown on Day 36. I may have also been the talent for Day 23.

Check out the interview:

Also, if you're ever feeling bored, I've uploaded some links to some pretty cool blogs/sites on my Inspiration section.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

people observation #21: I'm a birthday cynic, and your birthday doesn't matter.

Today is September 21, and it's also my 21st people observation.
My big 21st birthday is coming up in November... and it doesn't matter.

I've always been a cynic when it comes to birthdays, getting colder to the idea of them the older I get.

Look, there are 365 days in a year, a number far less than the amount of people in this world. Chances are a birthday is going to fall on the same date as someone else's birthday. Or perhaps, your birthday may fall on the same day as an event, or a moment in history. Why in the world do people think that this is significant?.. at all? My favorite is when a date is brought up at a meeting or some other date-bringing-up occasion, and someone from the back of the room finds it necessary to yell, "that's my cousin's daughter's boyfriend's sister's birthday!" wtf.

People expect special treatment on their birthdays. Like, because it's my birthday the world needs to completely cater to me? No! Because it's my birthday, I shouldn't have to work. I shouldn't have to wake up and be on time to class. I shouldn't have to help out these people who are currently depending on me.

I have a friend Joe who doesn't like the idea of one designated day to tell someone we care about them. Why don't we tell people we care about them all the time? I make a point to tell him often that I'm glad he's alive. Not just on his birthday, but the other 364.25 days in the year. Or things like "belated" birthdays. Just tell the person you care about them. I shouldn't have to apologize for forgetting to post on your Facebook wall on your birthday. How about I post on your wall and keep in touch with you all other days out of the year? Better yet, let's have a conversation in person.

Jimmy Johns has always done such a great job at providing my eyes with activity as I enjoy my #6Vegetarian. Signs cover the walls. My favorite is "free smells."

But the other day I saw a sign that gave a list of 16 life lessons. Number six reads, "Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance." Number 14 reads, "Your friends love you anyway." And number eleven says, "There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your birthday. That time is age 11."

Saturday, September 17, 2011

tweeting twitter tweeters twit a tweet.

There's a scene in one of my hardly-embarassingly favorite movies Mean Girls where protagonist Kady asks Regina, the clique's bitchy-yet-forwhateverreason-loveable ring leader if she would be receiving a candy cane for the school's "candy gram" fundraiser. Regina replies to Kady that she doesn't send candy canes; she just gets them.

Folks, this is my outlook on Twitter.

Call me a snob, but I use Twitter in the way it was intended. You earn the right to be followed on Twitter; I don't want to be clogging up my feed with updates on your opinions of the weather every five minutes. I don't want to have to read your conversation with @personIdon'tKnow that adds nothing to my well-being. You make me laugh, you update me on the status of a Jackets game- I'll follow you.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

people observation #20: customer service, please serve us.

I am currently sitting in the health center getting a check-up, and experiencing the inevitable frustration with the system that is the campus clinic.

Clinic: we all know the connotation associated with this word. In the same way the word moist just seethes off the tongue if you're a girl, the word clinic really makes us cringe. We could go for a more appropriately-connotated word, like "health center" to be more politically correct or we could say "infirmary" if this were Hogwarts, but regardless of what you call it, when you're at college, going to see a doctor is a nightmare to say the least. It's on my top-five places I'd least want to be in Athens (probably somewhere between the back of an OUPD squad car and the bottom of the Hocking.)

It's as if clinics were designed for inefficiency. That's another blogpost, though, for another day. I do, however, give OU props for the changes they seem to be making to their health services. (Unless it's like the Pennsylvania turnpike, of course, and it's never actually finished with construction).

I sit here and listen to the nurses and technicians discussing something to be of great importance (gossip), and from below me the sounds of hammering vaguely make out the rhythm to Katy Perry's Firework as it plays on radio 105.5. There's some Japanese kids engaging in what I think is bickering somewhere close outside.

Because the first floor is getting new carpet or something, the clinic has been "temporarily" squished onto the second floor. Sidenote: The waiting room is divided with signs separating the sick people from the healthy. Like a smoking section in a restaurant, the flu-infected runny-nosed Sophomore won't affect you because you're sitting on the far east "healthy" corner of the room. Viruses can read too, you know.

So I have just passed through level one of the appointment.
Are you a Smoker? No.
Are you allergic to anything? No.
How tall are you? 5'5'' if I'm not slouching.
Your blood pressure reading is outstanding. I'm a bad ass.

Now I am sitting in the 2nd waiting period, as if the first awkward calling of the names isn't painful enough. Alright, Erin, Phase One complete. Why am I nervous? I feel like I'm sitting outside an audition. Boy, I sure hope I made the cut!

Because they're making renovations to the main entrance, people enter through whatever sidedoors and cracks in the walls they can find. I find myself sitting on an arbitrarily-placed bench in the hallway where I'm stuck between a green-faced girl in the fetal position on my left and a desk of nurses doing paperwork on my right. After memorizing the eye chart placed on the wall in front of me, and being informed that I can do my part in preventing the flu from the hand-washing PSA next to it, my mind starts to wander, and the eavesdropping begins.

Nurses' conversation seems to be dominated by the topic of several patients' confusion as they walk in side doors and attempt to find the waiting room with few, if any signs. Being in the position of these disoriented patients earlier that hour, I found myself empathetic to their situations. A student would walk up, give some rendition of the "is this where I check in?" and the nurses would explain to them that it was further down the hall. After each student would leave, the nurses would gripe about how irritated they were at the students for not knowing where to go. I began to lose patience, pardon my pun.

I started thinking about how many times this happens to us as people. We are in a different position than others, and forget that their experiences do not mirror ours. So when a student walks in to the clinic, already in a state of feeling thrilled to be there, they aren't necessarily going to know the remodeling situation let alone where they are suppose to go, even if there's an 8.5x11 Scotch-taped up to the door.

I see a student, stomach in hands, walk up to the desk and ask a nurse with stethoscope-wearing cats on her scrubs where she can find the check-in desk. Folks, don't be fooled by the cuddly sea-foam green felines on her attire. This lady snapped back with total sarcasm and cruelty to someone who was clearly a freshman (lanyard) and clearly ill, "you're in the wrong place!" She my as well had laughed in the patient's colorlessly clammy face and called them an a hole.

What happened here was the nurse failed to recognize that although several other patients had come in and asked similar questions, this particular bewildered student did not know those other kids. The nurses could have easily fixed this problem and put a sign up that said "check-in" with an arrow on it, but instead they proceeded to get ruder and ruder with every passerby. Instead, they chose to question the college kids' intelligence.

The thing is that this happens all the time. Everywhere. When you call the gym and ask if their hours will be cut short for the national holiday coming up, you don't know the other people calling in to ask similar forms of that question. When you walk up to the host's station at Red Lobster to ask how long their Saturday night wait is, you don't know that the seventeen-year old hostess had just answered that same question for a middle-aged man holding a screaming toddler just two minutes prior. When you ask the TWA officer at DFW whether or not it's alright to bring your ak-47 on board, who were you to know that there was just a recent ban on assault rifles on airlines?

My point is, when in the shoes of the gym representative (probably sneakers) or the hostess (probably dress shoes) or the nurse (crocs?), every person that comes to ask a question does not have the knowledge that you do, hence, the whole purpose of asking questions: in hopes for an answer. In a customer service position, one is to understand that they are providing exactly this, service to their customers.

I don't care if you are seventeen or seventy. I don't care if it's just a part time job you picked up for a couple extra bones. I don't care if you're stuck working this job for the rest of your life and you're miserable.

The ability to understand things from the perspective of other people is crucial to literally everything. What I learned today in the clinic is that when people keep coming up asking some form of the same question, realize the only thing that can be done is flash that million-dollar customer-service smile and answer their questions. I also learned that washing your hands is important. Do that too.

Eventually, I made it passed the check point and into phase two of my appointment. I sat on the cold crinkly paper rolled out over the table. The doctor had me take deep breaths as she listened to my heart and lungs.

"Are you allergic to anything?" She asked.
"No," I replied, shaking my head in disappointment. Stupid doctor. Doesn't she know I already answered that to somebody else?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

should old acquaintance be forgot, and never thought upon

WUDDDUP READERS! We're back! eleemccarthy decided to take the month of August off. Nobody really likes August anyways. (those of you saying, 'my birthday is in august' can shove it.) Why don't I like it you ask? Well, it is a dirty combination of boredom mixed with lotsofthingstodo,butnotenoughenergytodoit. So apologies that the world has been complete chaos. Let's brush off these cobwebs, grab some coffee, and have a chat.

So in the last week I've been working hard on my new house- you know, christening the place, establishing pet peaves with the 'mates, telling the boys sleeping on my couch to get the eff out. I deep cleaned the entire downstairs and accomplished my goal that everything I sniffed for the next three days would smell like bleach. With the priority of a clean floor, comes the temporary ceasing of all things blog. (Let's be real though, it's hard to blog when the best of Will Ferrel is on your roommate's Wii Netflix account.)

At first, I thought I could dedicate this first blogpost of the year to the incoming freshmen, and how much I enjoy watching them. Their love of lanyard-swinging, their love of walking in massive groups, the look on all 1200 of their faces- a unique concoction when excitement meets fear meets optimism one can only find in a freshman. I found that trite, however, and freshmen deserve a breathe of air. They might be attempting to establish bearings in a new world, and thus amusing to watch, but they are adults, and apparently have enough brains to get into college. I thought I'd cut them some slack.

Then, I thought I could dedicate this first blogpost of the year to my three new roommates and how freaking pumped I am to be living with them. They all have different personalities, but appreciate my sarcasm, organic recipes, and loud spontaneous noises. But then I found that somewhat unnecessary. They aren't that cute.

I thought I could blog about my brother Sean, today being his birthday, and he being totally awesome. He is twenty four today, and I am probably more freaked out about that than him. He's always been my hero, ever since I was little and any thunderstorm was an excuse to get to hang out with him. I'm not very sensitive for a twenty year old girl, but I do have a soft spot for my big bro. Over the summer, I got to hang out with Sean a lot, and I owe him credit to my love for sports, music, comedy, and rational thinking. Come to think of it, I also blame him for the fact that no member of the male population has yet to measure up to the significantly high bar which my brother has set for me to expect from a guy.

Perhaps I could make this blog a recap of my summer. The topic ranging from the wonderful kids I was blessed to spend my 9 to 5 with to some sort of position in the political spaghetti I had time to slurp up every morning. I took a week to hike across Maryland on the Appalachian Trail, and got to visit my best friend Lucas Gilfillan a few times in Cincy.

There's the possibility this blog could be dedicated to the wonderful people at YoungLife, and the high school students at Nelsonville York, where I will be spending countless hours hanging out with some really cool kids.

I suppose this post just makes for a medium by which I can share my excitement for a new year. Being in Athens is great. Being in class is great. Being a Junior.. somewhat great, with a little bit of sad I'm halfway done with undergrad.

It might not be January, but it is a New Year, and I'd like to make a toast as we ring it in at Ohio University. First, let this play in the background for dramatic effect: thanks Mariah.. With quickly filling-up schedules and even-more quickly-emptying pockets, let us make it another good one, folks! May 2011-2012 be as amazing as the last, and thank you to all who have made this true. This one's for you! Cheers!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

people observation #19: kids these daze.

I work too much. But with the way I eat spicy salmon rolls and the way my car eats gas, not having a job has always been out of the question. So I am currently spending my summer as a daily babysitter for a family in Lewis Center who I absolutely luuuuurve. I'm in my fourth year, and watching the kids play reminds me a lot of when I was a kid.

From age three to age seven I had a super cool babysitter named Sarah Pinkerton. (She drove a white Honda and sang Backstreet Boys with me and brought over her Care Bears and played the guitar and went to Ohio State). Sarah would let us play outside all day with the 324 other kids that lived in our neighborhood. I was always the youngest- always trailing behind with my training wheels and streamered-up handlebars as the other kids rode ahead on their big bikes with breaks and gears and pedal-backwards abilities.

For some reason in the middle of suburban golf community, behind my neighbors' yard and through a grove of trees, there used to be an old trailer (double-wide actually). It was a faded gray color, had once been white, and the yard was dirt with random dying foliage scattered here and there. What I remember most clearly was the massive pile of godknowswhat that my friends and I dubbed Trash Mountain. (cue epic music). One day out of mild curiosity, but mostly boredom, we decided to climb trash mountain. Forget its likely maggot infestation or the imminent tetanus we were signing ourselves up for, Trash Mountain had sat in our backyard for too long without being pioneered.

We climbed for a good time (which was really probably only like five minutes, but in kid time..the entire day) and then one of my friends got this brilliant idea to throw rocks at the house. I, always being the voice of reason, opted out of this experience and sat on top of Trash Mountain arms crossed while my three neighbor friends one by one picked up stones and threw them at the gray-white siding of the trailer, as if it wasn't already one thunderstorm away from completely falling off altogether.

Naturally, the owner of the house came out all like WTF and chased us out of her yard. And naturally, we ran like hell.

I have a vivid memory of her red and curly, Annie-esque hair style.

I also have a vivid memory of her holding a shot gun.
Who knows if she actually had a shot gun. Perhaps it was a metaphorical one my little kindergarten mind invented to hyperbolize the situation, but I'm pretty sure it was a real-life, something-gage, doom capability-having shot gun.

We ran as fast as we could to Matt's who lived farthest away (aka three houses down). Trying to catch our breath, we made the unanimous decision that we had just barely escaped death that day.
And just like that, four minutes later you could find us eating popsicles on the curb outside the cul-de-sac.

The thing is my days were filled with crap like this. My brother and I spent many hours riding down the stairs head first in sleeping bags and jumping off of our loft and onto the couch below. I cannot physically imagine what it would have been like to grow up without a sibling or neighbors, and if you fit into that category of readership I'd like to apologize on behalf of the amazing childhood like mine you missed out on.
Back to 2011, my parents have just (nearly) finished remodeling their kitchen. They knocked down the irrationally low 1980-style ceilings and redid the whole mofo with pretty new cabinetry and counters. Of course along with this new kitchen came enough boxes to recreate a Hooverville (too soon?). My parents, swimming in cardboard, asked the neighbor kids (roughly seven-years-old, but my age-guessing has been pretty off lately) across the street if they wanted to have the boxes to idunnobuildafortinorsomething?. They declined.



I found myself heartbroken. Not just for the hours of pure childhood joy they were completely and voluntarily missing out on, but for all things children in America, 2011. I found my head spinning through memories of massive cardboard forts and tunnels and haunted houses and playhouses and Barbie houses and best friends and slides and sleds and furniture and suits of armor and helmets and swords and shields and crowns and treasure maps and pirate ships and planks to be walked and mazes to be built.

And just then I found myself shaking my head in dissappointment and repeating my grandfather with three words I once swore I'd never say. "Kids these days."

Now I'm no parenting expert, but I do believe very strongly in the power of play- kids need those hours of being well, a kid. Getting into trouble, getting bruises, that kind of stuff is important to childhood- it teaches kids social skills (which seem to be lacking lately), keeps them active, and also important, it helps them with problem solving, so they'll know how to deal when they come across real problems later in life.

Since age 16, I've worked part-time at the Child Center at Lifetime Fitness. The Child Center is built on the fundamentals of play; it gives kids free reign of the entire facilities: sweet gymnasium, tons of balls, Mac Pro lab, outside turf area, giant indoor jungle gym, etc.

A kid's entire life is completely scheduled. But Lifetime gives kids the opportunity to come in and work with other kids and organize their own games and make up their own rules. It's amazing the things they'll come up with when given the opportunity to actually, get this, use their imaginations. And I love seeing the kind of craziness they come up with.

So some kids these days are complete social idiots. You try and hold a conversation with them and they just melt into a pile of goo on the floor. You try and offer them your breathtaking collection of cardboard boxes, just oozing with potential playtime, and they'd prefer to spend their days inside pushing buttons on one of those gaming machines.

I do seem to have found an outlier in the kids that I babysit. They spend the entirety of days outside in the yard with the neighborhood kids, and they come up with the most interesting of games. The other day the basement was filled with a solid ten neighborhood kids playing a game called "teenagers." I don't know exactly what the game entailed, but I do know that it involved Bruno Mars and lockers and a controlling mom who grounded you for ''stepping out of line.'' If all kids were like these, I'd say the whole children being the future thing was looking optimistic. Unfortunately, unless we get kids playing I don't find that to be the case.

Of course, I guess I'm not completely done cookin yet, so it's no telling how I've turned out. Maybe all the playing I did when I was little has made me crazy. Maybe it's made me a product of a perfectly executed childhood. But I'm not sick, and I'm not stealing from or killing anyone, and I'm not addicted to anything (coffee perhaps). I'd say so far so good.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

brother gets mad at me for talking during commercials.

My father is in the television advertising business. This means I have grown up understanding things like Nielsen ratings and target audiences. I saw Michael's role with Hanes to be just as relevant as his place on the Bulls. It means I've gotten to reap benefits of free tickets and promotional stuffed animal Pillsbury doughboys and bobble head Lucky the Leprechauns. It even means I've gotten to be in a handful of local commercials myself. Unfortunately though, because of this, I can no longer enjoy television.

Since age 4, watching TV with my family means analyzing the balls off of every piece of sponsorship, product placement, and 30-second-spot on this Green earth. Since preschool, I could vomit out slogans and jingles on cue, and car trips involved games like making up cheesy jingles for local billboards we'd pass on the interstate. Someone tell me this is all normal.
Every morning I'd decide if I wanted Reese's for breakfast or one of Champions and my parents would drink their coffee that was good til the last drop. I remember At school, conversations were often initiated with something about "did you see the commercial where...?" and they'd go nowhere because (unless it was the morning after the Super Bowl) nobody else cared to the least about what was advertised. While some kids were busy answering questions that didn't matter like when Columbus sailed the ocean blue, I was pondering over how many licks it took to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop and What I would do for a Klondike Bar. Hell, I could keep going and going and going...

In my family of four, I am in the 3rd place spot for best remote user (though subject to change as my mother, 4th place, slowly but surely begins to understand the DVR), and I'm in first place for most talkative during a program. This latter ranking was not my fault, but my brother's.

In addition to the above two bullshit rankings, my brother has given me the superlative of "worst question answerer in the world."
I might have to plead guilty on that one. Look, I'm not the kind of person to beat around the bush in conversation. So to save time, I'll sometimes imply the true question one was intending to ask me and answer that, leaving the question-asker 1. confused and 2. not even receiving the information that they initially wanted. Here's an example: Last weekend, my parents went camping (sidenote: when you're going in an RV, and you have running water and electricity and mirrors and beds and a refrigerator, it really isn't camping anymore.) My brother was going to meet them at the campground later that night and texted me while I was at work when I'd be coming home. What I assumed is that he was wondering if I was also interested in meeting our parents at the campsite, so I replied that I was not going camping. In reality he just wanted to know when I was getting home.

My brother has an entire catalogue of examples similar to this one, and he seems to believe I should be getting 25 to life for them too.

So I've got this going against me. Tack on the fact that I'm too talkative to watch TV, I'm nearly blind and deaf and can't read any of the guide information, and that my remote control skills are wishy-washy if existent at all, and you've got yourself one hell of a person to watch TV with.

So after a long day at the office (aka my summer nannying job), I come home exhausted and hungry, and I begin to ask my brother a question. Actually, the question I was attempting to ask was inquiring what it was that he was watching. Apparently though, he was on his third attempt at rewinding a commercial to show my mom, and as if that's not weird in itself -the whole Mom!Get dooooowwn here!you've gotta see this commercial!thing- the next five minutes get even more irrational, from both parties. I get yelled at for talking while he's watching something, and out come the torches and pitchforks.

Tell me I'm not in the wrong for getting upset after a long day of work and wanting to ask my brother a question only to be punched in the stomach for it. Of course, I may have had a few too many words for him.

The funny thing is that arguing in my family is rare, and when it does happen it becomes a big joke (just like everything else). So after our thirty seconds of shouting at each other we realized how ridiculous we were being and just started laughing and making fun of ourselves.

I guess either I need to work on my question-answering skills and just learn to answer a question as it's asked, or I need to work on my future-telling skills because most of the time I'm wrong with my attempts at being helpful. I guess I just have a gift at talking and answering questions at the most inconvenient times. Maybe I'm born with it, maybe it's Maybelline.

*meanness of brother subject to overdramatization.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

people observation #18: too cocky for his caliber.

First I'm going to clarify that being cocky is never cool. I don't care if you just graduated from the first grade. I don't care if you just graduated first in your class at Harvard law after winning the Nobel Prize for your finding a solution to world hunger all while (very much so) enjoying your first season with the Boston Bruins. It is never justified. It's just annoying.

That being said, I'm going to begin with a little background.

I come from a suburb of Columbus, Ohio. It is a great place to grow up: very safe, education is important, we're healthy, we're cute, it's the midwest.

I had an awesome childhood where our parents would let us maniacally jaunt the neighborhood all day. The scariest person we would ever come in contact with was the ice cream man, and he was giving us ice cream for gods sake (he'd yell at you if you didn't put your buck-fifty into his scraped-up knuckley hands).

Somewhere around middle school though, the words of our first grade guidance counselor begin to snowball in our minds.

"You are special. You are unique. You are special. special special SPECIAL!"

and just like that my hometown became a breeding ground for all things douche.

I have no animosity towards the methodology of the parents and teachers in my hometown; most of us go to college, most of us don't end up working a corner. That being said there is a trend among my classmates that I've never neglected to notice, a sort of cocky way of carrying oneself like he or she is the most beautiful, brilliant, and brawny thing on the planet- but here's the catch- he or she is not.

And that's where my observation comes into play, too cocky for his caliber.

The irony is that I believe cockiness comes from insecurity. Whether it is the understanding of our own mediocrity, the fear that other people will realize our humanity, or a combination of the two, I find the tooting of one's horn to be an echo of such emotion.


The "I'm going to intimidate this person with my puffed out chest before they can intimidate me" philosophy.

The only thing I have to say about this is that it's stupid. There is no other word to describe it. It is stupid.

Nothing is accomplished, nothing is better in this world because of one's cockiness.

And I'm not saying don't hold your head high. Because confidence can and will be the difference between your success and failure. But do it in humility. And be willing to listen to others. Because everyone is smarter than you or better at you or more experienced than you in

And I'm not saying don't be proud of your accomplishments, it's okay to take a step back when you're finished with a project and just admire your hard work. But again, do it in humility.

So I came to college from a town where people seemed to be put into the arrogance machine and popping out at record speeds. But then I realized that every town seemed to have an arrogance machine. And there were citizens of the too-cocky-for-his-caliber nation everywhere. And I realize there always will be.

So what am I to do?

Sure, I can take advice of my first grade guidance counselor's purple puppet and don't forget that I'm special. (Finding your unique qualities is what is going to make you stand out in whatever competitive field you're working with.)

But I can also not let myself be intimidated or felt small by another's presumptuousness. They are too cocky for their caliber. They are the manager at a business in Columbus, Ohio.
They were the captain of the Division 3 high school baseball team. They got an A once. I'm over it. The cocky individual hasn't anything to even back up his or her self-love, yet he or she wants everyone to kiss their ass. And I'm not puckering.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

PROJECT C: get on and vote!

I wanted to let you guys know about an awesome project in Athens, Clicking Creates Change, or Project C. For the next seven days, you have the opportunity to vote two times a day for one of four nonprofits in Southeast Ohio you want to to support. These include Habitat for Humanity, Good Works, the Jethro Project, or Community Food Initiatives. At the end of the voting period, funds will be divided and given to each organization accordingly.

and check out Project C on:

Saturday, May 21, 2011

people observation #17: GET A LIFE!

It's week nine, and I am starting to catch my breathe after the marathon of a spring quarter I have had. Seriously. My day: wake up. run to breakfast. run to class. run to, well, to run. quick shower. quick meal. run to meeting. run to next meeting. work on a paper. run to work. read achapter. collapse in my bed. have a weird dream about running to so many places. wake up. do the whole thing all over again. Why do I involve myself in so much stuff? Well, the truth is, that I actually enjoy doing what I do, Imagine that.

So I'm sitting here trying to think about a time, even before college, that I was not so busy, that running from place to place was not my life. What does that feel like?

I find myself in my memories of the sixth grade. This was the year I decided I was going to save the world. I was dancing for two hours a day, four days a week, and spending my nights I had off in metropolitan Columbus for doubleheaders on my travel softball team. Because I was going to save the world, however, this meant that it was necessary to run for a position as a sixth
grade student council representative. Oh, the things I would do, the changes I would make!

I ran with the campaign slogan a breath of fresh Erin (get it?) and taped little slips of paper with my witty words to Lifesavers and star mints. We were suppose to give special speeches to the class at lunch one day, and instead of coming with a long list of why the students should elect me, I stood in front of them, took a good hard look at their big twelve-year-old eyes and said, "Erin McCarthy. Remember the name."

I think back to long before that, and find myself still a busy beaver. When I was in second grade, my parents had to have a long conference with my teacher because I was too crazy. I was hiding in the fire truck on the playground when everyone else went inside. I didn't want to sit in the classroom and learn about why it was wrong to call Emily a teacher's pet (she totally was). I didn't want to sit in the classroom at all. I didn't want to get yelled at for "yawning too loudly." People weren't meant to sit still. I wanted to do. So they put me in classrooms where I filled out those logic puzzles where you used process of elimination to figure out what sibling played on which team with what color uniform, tell me you guys know what
I'm talking about. This still wasn't enough. I wanted to do.

And there's my point. Long before I knew what a resume was, I wanted to do. I have always been a DOER.

It's important to not let ourselves be comfortable with things the way they are. There's always a change that can be made for the better. One of my favorite quotations by Howard Thurman says, "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it because what the world needs is people who have come alive."

My parents always encouraged me in whatever I wanted to do with my life, and I thank them for that. Building my resume wasn't the reason they showed up to my field hockey games to watch me chew my mouth guard on the bench, and it wasn't the reason they helped me make campaign posters for my election at 11o'clock on a school night (back when being up at eleven was an abomination). What they were doing was helping me figure out the things that I was passionate about. When it turned out that I wasn't willing to sacrifice my love of music for field hockey, they supported me when I stopped playing.

I find my passion in a number of things, and I realize that everyone's is a different thing. I find that beautiful. In sixth grade, when I won the sixth grade spot on the Student Council, I found myself getting to be involved in a part of my school that I wouldn't have otherwise, and it's all because I went out and looked.

When I'm running from place to place, I get to know some pretty cool people with a variety of stories. And I get to learn about all different kinds of things. Sometimes people tell me, "Erin you need to take some time off! You need to get a life!"

My response to them is this is my life. This is what I love. This is what makes me come alive.