What I’ve Learned — Week 13

What I've Learned -- Week 13 -- www.adailypinch.com

This part one of two “what I’ve learned” pieces this week. 

What have I learned this week? It is all over the place. Part of it is about personal recognizance, like looking in the mirror and saying “Oh. I’m a grown-up. Time to act like one.”

1. It doesn’t matter how old you are, you still have an inner brat. We all do and your inner brat will rear her ugly head when you least expect it. Most often you will be overwhelmed and need time to decompress.

2. Dust bunnies are a fact of life. When you build a home and have construction dust settling, they become mutant dust bunnies who run from your Swiffer singing “nani nani boo boo.” Don’t believe me? Come Swiffer my floors every day for the next week.

3. I don’t like clutter. I used to think “oh, it’s okay to leave that stack of papers sitting until I have time to go through them.” Those stacks grow and continue growing while you ignore them and one day, you’ll find yourself crying over a shredder. Don’t be the person who cries over your shredder.

4. My to-do list will never end. Never. Ever. But I will keep making my list and marking things off of it. I even add things to my list I have done that was not on the list, just so I can mark them off. I need those gold stars of accomplishment and it has to be visual. Gretchen Rubin would love knowing she is not alone.

5. Read your service contracts. Make sure said service providers aren’t ignoring your service contract and over charging for you items. Sure the resulting little windfall will be nice, but the headache you will have during the process is immense.

That’s my “What I’ve Learned” for this week. What did you learn?

National Chicken Media Summit — A Brief Overview

2015 Chicken Media Summit

I wrote this on the plane home from the National Chicken Media Summit and am presenting it to you in its original form. 

I’m sitting on the airplane on my way home from the National Chicken Media Summit held in Cambridge, MD. It was truly a privilege to be invited as I continue to dive into this world of food and to be exposed to the creme de la creme of the industry.

I know when I say industry it evokes images of belching smokestacks and gaunt workers heading to another day of drudgery. But it’s not that way. These are people who live, eat, breathe and think chicken 24 hours a day. Not only is it their livelihood, it is an all consuming passion.

Food manufacturing in the U.S. is a heavily legislated process to ensure the safety of our food supply and commercial chicken production is no different. The further I look into the world of food, the more I try and understand the layers and layers of red tape. There are so many it is difficult for the average consumer to even have a cursory understanding. For that alone, I am thankful to have met the people who know every detail these regulations pose and work every day to not only make a better product, but ensure its safety for us.

I admire them.

But I’m sure you want the whole chicken and nothing but the chicken. That starts later this week, as I’m waiting for the images taken on the tour to be made available to share with you. For now, let’s just say, I’ve seen it all, from egg to table, and still eat chicken. As I work on this series, I will answer your questions and if I can’t, I have an entire rolodex of folks who can answer.

Disclosure: This was a press trip. I was not compensated, however my travel expenses were paid for by the National Chicken Council. The opinions expressed herein are mine alone and do not represent the opinions of the National Chicken Council, nor the event attendees. 

Quiet and creativity

IMG_0849.JPG

I work in a very quiet house with nothing on in the background. All I hear is the hum of the refrigerator, and occasionally the train as it rattles by on the tracks behind my house. It has been so very peaceful for so many years, but it has started to unsettle me. 

I’m pretty sure working in solitude and complete silence is actually hindering my ability to work well. That’s difficult when you’re a writer working from home. The silence has created a chasm that pushes me to find other things to do at home when I should be working, like Facebook. 

You know the Facebook time suck I’m talking about.

How bad is it? I don’t even have Facebook on my phone. Only the pages app so I can monitor work accounts. (I also work in marketing.) Yet I am finding myself there more and more to avoid the words in my head. 

 Could it be frustration? I try to keep things at a certain level here and have quite a few topics I don’t write about (religion, etc) as that takes a certain type of skin and I’m still thickening mine. If Tina Fey were sitting here right now, she would tell me “Do your thing and don’t care if they like it.” But, like Gretchen Rubin, I like those gold stars.

Even if I need those gold stars, I can’t rely on them, nor expect them. I should be sitting here and letting this voice out that so many people tell me they adore. However, I’m pretty sure I am going to need a little hand holding through this process. Maybe a lot.

I am pretty much wide open at all times, with a sense of humor as warped as a frying pan left out in the rain. (Like that’s news to you.) To be quite frank with you, I haven’t wanted to offend any of you. That’s unfortunate, because it holds me back. 

I guess what I’m trying to say is, if I am going to do my thing, I need to open my mouth and not be quiet any longer. 

Wednesday thoughts.

I sat at my table yesterday and drafted a super cranky post about social media. This is not that post. However, I have sent it to a friend to edit it so I can share. I have very strong feelings about the message, but want to make sure I inject logic and balance. As you know, unless you are a cucumber cool, it is pretty easy to rant online.

The post I wrote before the cranky one is about my voice. Writing what I want to write. Another piece that needs to sit a few days and marinate. Some would tell me just to click “publish” and be done with it, but it’s not that easy.

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was inspired to write when I was 15 and in Paris. That hasn’t changed. Blogging has changed me. Instead of long, I write short — something I am trying to get away from. My friend April used to tell me to come to her house and fill her brain with hours of mindless chatter. There are days I want to do that here, but I really don’t want you to ride out on your trusty steed and string me up for killing your brain cells.

I also wonder, as I think we all do in the blogging world, is if anyone is actually listening. Is it mindless drivel taking up space on the interwebs byte by byte? Or do people still read blogs? When we started, we blogged for ourselves. Hours at a time. Thousands of words were shared. Many of my old words are still out there, floating around, a nameless existence

Deep thoughts as I sit in a coffee shop that is a bar at night, where Mumford is spinning and coffee comes in a Mason Jar. I’m wearing pink Converse, but feel I should be in flannel and skinny jeans. I am also a carefully crafted blonde, and almost everyone else has hair the color of easter eggs. Never a bad thing, but it makes me miss my youth. I wore flannel and skinny jeans and dyed my pale blonde hair a shocking plum that glowed in the sun.

I think what really hit me this morning about my age was the mid-40’s guy who walked in with a Drivin’ N Cryin’ tee on and the very young girl said “what does your shirt mean?” Oof. We call that a punch in the gut to us 90’s hard/Southern rock listeners who are of a certain age. He wasn’t quite sure what to say and I piped up with “I really feel old right now.”

She had no idea Drivin’ N Cryin’ was a band. None. Nada. Nunca. Zip. Zero. Zilch. I’m pretty sure if I mentioned Cravin’ Melon I might cause folks to go looking for this new fruit they heard about. Or they’d tell me where to buy good melon.

Of course, seeing the high school student wearing a Metallica “Master of Puppets” tee will do that to you as well. Especially when you bought that same t-shirt during the “Master of Puppets” tour and it is archived in your closet.

But that is life. We grow older and since the youths of today aren’t listening to music in the car with their parents thanks to the handy dandy iPod, they are missing an essential part of what helped form previous generations. Thanks to very few TV channels (especially pre-cable) we listened to whatever was around or the radio. There were no streaming or magical devices until the invention of the Walk-Man that would allow you to listen to what you wanted. Even then, it was a lot of work to create that mix–tape. You would pop in and hope it wouldn’t break when you were rewinding, trying to stop it in time so you didn’t go too far back…

Stealth Concealment — Concealing cell phone towers like cheese disguises broccoli

Conceal cell phone towers in your neighborhood with Stealth Concealment

Cell phone towers are everywhere. Have you ever seen a really large flag pole? Or a tree that seems to be a lot taller than the surrounding ones. Chances are you are looking at a cell phone tower. There are roughly 21 cell phone sites for every McDonalds in the United States and if you’ve ever had a dropped call, you will agree when I say we do not have enough. The problem is cell phone towers are ugly. If you’ve ever seen one in the wild, you know what I’m talking about.Stealth_Infographic_piece2

I was happy when Stealth Concealment reached out to me to talk about their company and how they work to conceal cell phone towers. As a new homeowner, I’m concerned about what’s happening visually outside of home — I like sitting on my front porch and watching the grass grow. As a social media marketer, I am also concerned about my mobile phone service and being connected. While I’m not part of the 91% who feel cell phone service is more important than coffee (Who are you people?), I am one of the 7 out of 10 homeowners (albeit a brand new one) who are concerned about the appearance of cell phone towers.

Stealth_Infographic_piece1Stealth_Infographic_piece7

Since I live in an area that looks like Norman Rockwell drew it for the cover of the Saturday Evening Post, making sure a new cell phone tower is camouflaged is very important to me as I don’t want our small community to lose its charm. We would either have to lobby for the cell phone service providers to conceal the towers with something as equally charming, or talk to our community leaders to make sure the tower didn’t detract from our picturesque beauty.Stealth_Infographic_piece4

When I go home to visit in Western, North Carolina, mobile service is poor. I always know when a new cell phone tower has been installed based on how far up I have service when driving north on the rural two lane highway. Many cell towers used to stand out in the open, but now they are so well disguised I can’t pick them out.

Knowing what happened to our beautiful mountains before ridge laws were put into effect, hiding cell phone towers is very important to me. I want it to blend into the landscape and not be an eyesore that takes away from my beautiful state. I’ll just have to remember that we’re not the land of redwoods when I see an abnormally tall longleaf pine.

Stealth_Infographic_piece3

Conceal cell phone towers in your neighborhood with Stealth Concealment

 

Disclosure: I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere has provided me with compensation for this post. I also love broccoli without cheese and with. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.