Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ohio University Pride

I have always been proud of my roots with my alma mater Ohio University. I am not talking about Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. I am talking about Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Two different colleges. Ohio State has about 70,000+ students. Ohio University has 18,000+ students.

Ohio State is like a city. Ohio University is referred to as the Harvard on the Hocking. It is nestled in the foothills and beauty of southeast Ohio along the Hocking River. The college makes the town for the most part. The campus is big but overall the school feels small.

I fell in love with the place the instant we crested the hill on highway 33 and there before me lie the campus along the river. The beautiful buildings, hills, river and greenery! It was a sight.

I often brag to my husband of my incredible professors and their history before becoming a professor at OU. My very first college class ever was Visual Communications Overview. It was to be taught by 5 different professors. Each teaching their speciality for 2 weeks of the 10 week quarter. The first professor I encountered in my college career was a former National Geograpic photographer who told us a story of a photography lighting invention back in the day and ended with "Does anyone know who invented that technique? [no answer] Well, he is standing right here in front of you about to teach this class for the next two weeks." I was proud!

My college advisor assigned to me for the next four years spent 20 years as a Media Buyer for Kraft Foods - and she was black. Which means a lot since her career with Kraft started in the early 70s. She was forerunner as a black woman and in her industry. She bestowed upon me four years of advice and wisdom I still treasure today. Even treated me like her own daughter. She would tell me to stop curling my hair when I talked to her. She would tell me to sit up straight! She was a great friend. She had me over for dinner like many of her other students and advisees. Both times she made a feast and we shared life stories. She even invited my dad one time when he was picking me up before holiday break. Those two ate and drank wine and laughed a lot. It was nice to watch. And for graduation she gave me a brand new mattress set. I had been telling her about my search for an inexpensive mattress set since I had landed a job and was getting my own apartment. She told me to swing by her house with the UHaul on my way out of town. I did. And out from her house came a queen mattress set still in the plastic that she said she bought on a whim one day. To this day I wonder how true that story is?

I can't remember all their names and what all they accomplished. But I know many a professor I was taught by had a great history and life experience to share with us. To a naive midwestern girl from Toledo Ohio that meant the world to me. I absorbed it all!

And sometimes it is not until now when I read the OU Alumni magazine that I learn about a professor I had and what they did prior to teaching me. Amazing.

This morning over coffee I was reading my summer 2009 issue of Ohio Today, a magazine for Alumni. I always amazed at what I learn about my alma mater and it's students or alumni when I read this magazine.

Today I learned two new things that made me stop and note to my husband sitting nearby and smile with pride!

First, I was reading about a professor of graphic design I had for one of my early graphic design classes. There was a photo of her from back in the day standing with 3 little girls - one of whom was Sarah Jessica Parker who was born and raised in the area. If you attended OU you were usually aware of any tie to fame the school or area had. I was not aware of this one.

Second, I recently found a blog that I just love and think is funny and clever. I have even posted links to blog posts for this blog on Facebook because I felt they were worth sharing. Lo and behold I flip the page of my OU mag and there is an article about Jessica Hagy, highly-acclaimed blog owner of [More pride!]

Other ties with fame that I am aware of:
1. Piper Parebo (who actually attended OU during my 4 years there - Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Cheaper by the Dozen, Coyote Ugly)
2. Matt Lauer (Today Show)
3. Richard Dean Anderson (MacGyver)

Ohio University didn't cost me a fortune to attend. But it gave me a fortune of experience and knowledge to take with me for the rest of my life. It was the best choice I ever made and there isn't any part of those 4 years that I would take back!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A day in the life post

Nothing specific to write about so going to talk about yesterday in general.

It was hot. But not the kind of hot we had earlier in the week. I actually wore jean crop pants and didn't feel like I was suffocating.

I had to drive across Lake Pontchartrain for a meeting in the city. It was beautiful and such a relaxing drive.

My GPS so far has been pretty accurate getting me around New Orleans. Had to use it to get to my meeting.

Got off at Claiborne and while driving west I saw all kinds of men sitting in the neutral ground under the oaks in their lawn chairs. Trying to stay cool but such a peculiar place in my opinion. For those who don't know what the neutral ground is it is what some refer to as the median. A large grassy area dividing the road. This one was particulary wide with lots of shade trees, but still an unusual site for me.

I was late to my meeting and worried about the client being angry. He was so kind and calm. I had to remind myself I am in the south.

I had a second meeting at The Bean Gallery in Mid-City. Been there before to meet the same person. I was early for this meeting. I love the architecture in that area and the college feel to the coffee house. I ate my panini and did a little people watching. Such a different crowd from where I live but it brought back memories of college and living that lifestyle. Except not everyone was college age. Still those who live that life as adults. I so wanted to join them.

Headed home and was in traffic on 10. Shot out of the traffic via the Bonnebel exit. Wanted to hit Macy's on the way home. But a quick change of mind and I stopped by my client Mary, owner of Old Town Praline & Gift Shop. I love to stop by her shop. I knew it was after closing time but thought she and her daughter might still be there. I was right.

Mary's daughter left and Mary and I sat on her church bench behind the counter and caught up. I love talking to her. She is such a neat and very intelligent person. She told me about selling her house, buying a condo and her mother. She also told me about the health problems she was experiencing lately. I got the feeling she felt like talking. Maybe it was because I was someone else that she doesn't talk to on a regular basis and not part of her family which surrounds her daily. I just listened and offered a comment or question on occasion. I wished I could have stayed longer, but had to run home for dinner. Mary sent me out the door with chocolate of course! I ate it on the way home! And I skipped Macy's.

On the way home hubby asked me to stop by the store and get bread and ice. Ice, a staple in our house.

I arrived home to the kids just sitting down to BLT sandwiches. Their first ever and they loved them! Hubby used the bread I brought home to make us each one too.

There you have it folks. A day in the life.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Frugal = Fix it yourself & Get it for free

My hubby is not what you would call a "handyman" or well, he wasn't. Until Lately. He didn't grow up with a dad like I had. In fact, my parents bought him his first set of screwdrivers for Christmas the first year we were dating per my request as he didn't have a screwdriver one time when I was at his house and we needed to fix something.

Just to give you an idea of his upbringing . . . we were staying with hubby's parents when they had power go out in one room in the house. I asked his father where the breaker box was. He had no idea. They had owned the house 8 years!

But, when times are tough one can get resourceful. I am becoming the queen of getting things for free. Friends and are my biggest resources. My hubby is becoming the greatest handyman around. He is using the internet a lot to figure out how to fix everything.

Couple of examples:
1. I got a replacement stainless steel sink and faucet from a friend who was upgrading. Well, her old one was an upgrade for me!

2. I have several friends with sons who graciously give me tons of clothes and toys for my son. Have barely bought that kid a thing since birth.

3. Have a great friend in Boston who passes all her daughter's clothes down to me. Her closets are jam packed!

4. We needed a new mower. I saw a garage sale ad that said mower was going to be for sale. Sent hubby to see. He came back with a FREE unworking mower. He got online and found out it just needed a new $5 air filter. Works like a charm!

5. Our microwave broke. It was 26 years old. Got on and posted exactly what I need. A 36 inch over the range microwave with brackets to hang. Got almost the identical microwave I had from some nice woman. Same make. Same color, Same size, Same buttons. Only difference is that it is only 16 years old. Works like a charm!

6. I had been wanting something for the living room to store DVDs. Someone on was giving away one of those black wood benches with the wicker storage baskets underneath. I snagged that one and it fits into my decor perfectly and holds all our DVDs nicely. Serves as an art table for the kids too!

7. My blender broke and the same lady who had the black bench also had a brand new Oster Blender! I don't think she ever used the thing. Still smelled new. No box or instructions but who cares. It was so shiny and clean! Works too!

8. Needed a booster car seat for my girl. A great friend lent me hers to use.

9. Hubby's LCD screen on his laptop broke. He researched online and found a replacement for only $99 and found step by step picture instructions on how to replace it himself rather than pay a computer repair shop $70. Took him 5 minutes and voila! A new working screen!

10. My printer/scanner/fax/copier broke (do you get the sense that everything is breaking lately?) I was working at my son's preschool one day just helping out and telling the director of my dilemma. She took me to a closet, opened it up and handed me a printer. Said, "Hold this at your house until I need it again." It was older and only printed, nothing else. But what a surprise to find out it took the exact ink my old one did and I had extra to use up at home!

11. I waited patiently and finally someone posted on that they had a scanner to give away. It is the back of my Yukon. Picked it up last weekend. Soon I shall hook it up!

12. Our dishwasher broke. We weren't sure what happened. Something in the control panel. Hubby called repair guys. $85 just to come out and take a look! Phew. That's steep. He got online and found out it was most likely a fuse. He drove 20 minutes to an appliance part store and paid $20 for the part. Followed the detailed instructions he found online for replacing the fuse and Voila! It is fixed!

So I wonder if hubby is handy enough to replace his own rotors on his car? Eh. That might be pushing it . . .