Who Does Google Say You Are?

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from mashable.com

This morning I read an article about how some ritzy hotel chains Google their guests prior to arrival so they can customize the guests’ hotel experience in such a pleasant way that the guests will continue to return.

I decided to Google myself and see what people could find out about me. I discovered that there are quite a few Melissa Blakeneys and I appear to be the only African American one. My Facebook profile showed up. But my Twitter page / handle did not. A Blurb picture book I’d created a few years ago surprised me by showing up on the first page of results. Google found my main blog page: the-andrews-family.com; but this one didn’t show up. ūüôā

One thing that concerned me was that pipl.com (never heard of them) listed my name, along with a username that I created in the past. Where on earth did they find that??? Links to public highlights that I saved on my Kindle showed up. radaris.com listed my correct age and various misspellings¬†of my maiden name. It also listed ALL of my immediate family members and their ages, except my brother (he might be in the witness protection program – lol); my spouse was listed too. And it included all of the places I’ve lived – including Lithonia, GA, where I only lived for six months!!

Is this cause for concern? Even if it was, what could I do about it? It’s just another stark reminder that almost nothing about us is private anymore.

[word count: 249]

Time for a change?

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from laapush.org

Though I normally avoid news, a story on CNN today caught my attention. Tomorrow (Wednesday), the Supreme Court will hear arguments about the constitutional validity of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. At first listen, I thought they were saying the Court was going to hear arguments about the validity of the *entire* Act. Just before I went into panic mode, I decided to Google it and see what was going on.

NPR had a good article on the issue, as did the Christian Science Monitor. In my mind, it boils down to a states’ rights issue. Section 5 requires some state and local governments (states which historically were ‘difficult’ about allowing blacks to vote) to obtain federal permission before making changes to local voting procedures.

Voting is still a sticky subject in this country. We have seen that legislations will re-district across political boundaries. Section 5, from my understanding, places no extra burden on the states, and, they can, if they want, remove themselves from the “list” by following certain procedures. Removing Section 5 makes it difficult to challenge irregularities (though they can still be challenged, with more burden on the plaintiff however, under Section 2 of the Act). I hope the SCOTUS decides to leave Section 5 in place. If it needs modification to help make it more “current”, let’s do that. I think we would be naive though, if we think that everyone will adhere to the rules, if the rules aren’t explicitly stated.

[word count: 243]

Don’t Forget!

Dont-Forget

from admissions.vanderbilt.edu

A couple of weeks ago I came across this website – http://www.ohdontforget.com. ¬†The concept? ¬†Give your cell phone number, the date and time you want to be reminded about something, the message you want to be reminded about, and they’ll send you a text message reminding you about it. ¬†And the service is free!

Why would you need this if you have a to-do app on your smartphone that sends reminders when tasks are due? ¬†For me, unfortunately, my to-do app (Priorities) ¬†which I LOVE, is lacking in that it doesn’t make a noise when it sends reminders. ¬†So…if I’m not actually looking at the phone at the time the reminder pops up, I never see it. ¬†But the reason I see others needing it is¬†that you can use it to schedule sending text reminders to¬†other people and not have to remember to do it yourself!!¬† Want to remind your husband to stop at the grocery? ¬†Create the alert, and you don’t have to think about it again. ¬†Want to remind your girlfriends to be on time for dinner? ¬†Schedule the reminder, and OhDontForget will take care of it for you.

Two caveats: ¬†the text messages come “near” the time you specify – sometimes they’re a little late. ¬†But I think that’s a small price to pay for the convenience. ¬†The free version also doesn’t allow you to include phone numbers in your text. ¬†Again – a minor point. ¬†Give it a test run!

[word count: 250]

Book Club = My Social Gathering for Rejuvenation

I love my book club! We’ve been meeting every fourth Sunday for about the past four years. We don’t have any rules (except that we don’t read romance novels), and we’re very low key. For example – you can still come to club meeting if you haven’t read or finished the book. And there have been months when all of us haven’t read or finished the books. [By the way, we generally do read our books!! Usually when folks haven’t finished the book, it’s because we all didn’t like it.]

What keeps me coming back is the diversity and different perspectives these young women bring to the table – and the laughter. Whether we’re getting heated about The New Jim Crow or we’re talking about how we were scared to turn the pages in Patricia Cromwell’s Postmortem, when we’ve moved on from the month’s book and are just discussing random topics [today’s topic was in-laws] – there is lots and lots of laughter.

Some of us are close friends, while others of us only see each other on the one Sunday we meet each month. But we’ve shared and supported each other through illnesses, we’ve given and received advice on children, spouses, jobs, finding workers for odd jobs around the house, hairdressers, and more. Our fearless leader, Sunny D, who’s in several book clubs, calls us her “Sistafriends” book club. I look forward to my get-togethers with these forward-moving, affirming sista-friends of mine. They help keep me going.

[word count: 248]

Google Saves the Day!

On Tuesday night, I went out to help a friend transport some stuff in our van. ¬†We needed extra space, so Vaughn and I jalen-car-seattook the car seats out of the van. ¬†When I got home, I tried pulling into the garage, as I normally do, and was surprised when my progress was blocked. ¬†Yep – I’d been trying to drive over Jalen’s car seat.

Now, Jalen’s seat was already looking a bit worse for the wear – he’s had it since he was about five months old (but it’s a Sunshine Kids Radian 65: supposed to hold him until he’s at least 65 pounds – he’s not near there – or he outgrows the shoulder straps – has one more to go). ¬†However, my attempting to drive over it with my dirty tire didn’t help matters any. ¬†We washed it, but it still was a mess. ¬†Probably a good time to get a new cover, I thought. I went online to look for the seat, but couldn’t find it. ¬†Amazon didn’t have it, and I couldn’t find sunshinekids.com. ¬†What on earth? ¬†Google tells you everything though, and I soon realized that Sunshine Kids had changed their name to Diono. ¬†Unfortunately, they’d discontinued the Radian65. ¬†Now what?

Once again – Google to the rescue. ¬†A post in a random car seat forum suggested that I call Diono and see if they had any Radian65 covers still in stock. ¬†Brilliant! ¬†My new cover (got the same color!) ships soon. ¬†As you can see – we really need it! ¬†ūüôā

(word count:  248)

Dressed Down

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from styles-world.com

Today I learned that there are people (apparently mostly men) who are distracted during praise and worship at our church because of how some of the young ladies on the praise teams are dressed. There was a lengthy discussion about how this should be addressed.

This “issue” has always bothered me. How much responsibility should I take for how my clothing makes men respond? In a Christian context, Romans 14 is thrown about a lot – you should not cause your brother to stumble (my very loose paraphrase). But how do I know what is causing my brother to stumble? And doesn’t my brother have to take some responsibility for himself at some point? Isn’t this an opportunity for him to fight a battle against lust? ūüôā

In For Women Only, Shaunti Feldham makes a strong pitch for modest dressing because, she says, women don’t realize that when they dress like “eye magnets”, the men who see them are picturing them naked. My problem with this is that she also says that men are mostly visual. So aren’t they picturing us naked anyway? Is the solution to wear shapeless, ill-fitting clothes? (But since men are first attracted to us by what they see anyway – as opposed to our character or personality – how will we ever get one of them if we did that?) Sigh.

My suggestion to my sisters is that we search for the happy medium between hoochie-mama and “fuddy duddy”. And let the men fend for themselves.

[Word count: 246; I have lots more to say on this topic, but I had to stick to my limit :-)]

Invisible

I read a devotion for women that quoted T.D. Jakes:  When you become dependable, you become invisible.

The author of the devotion went on to chastise those of us who “do it all”. ¬†We feel taken for granted, she says, but it’s our own fault because “we have convinced everyone that [we] are the only ones who can do what [we] do.”

As a woman who is always doing a million things, I’m not sure how I feel about this. Yes, I understand that were I to die, the world would move on, but what does that mean? That we should do nothing because if we weren’t here, everybody would figure out a way to get things done? That can’t be it.

The way to avoid feeling taken for granted, I think, is to make sure that you’re doing the things you’re doing because YOU want to do them. I think you have to be honest about why you’re doing what you’re doing. If no one were ever to say thank you, would you stop? Are you secretly seeking recognition?

I’m resolving to make sure that the things I’m doing are what I *really* want to do, so that if there’s no recognition, I can be ok with that. I’m going to continue to be dependable. I’m not going to say no just to say no. If that makes me invisible, so be it.

(word count: 233)

Fast Asleep

jalen-asleepIt may appear that I only blog about my boys – I promise I won’t. ūüôā But today was pretty frustrating. ¬†I had a meeting (with my pastor) after prayer meeting, and had the boys in with me. ¬†I asked them to sit quietly on the sofa, while I spoke to the pastor. ¬†You can imagine how well that went – after about five minutes they were giggling and carrying on on the sofa. ¬†And despite my speaking to them on a couple of occasions, they didn’t pipe down. ¬†I finished the meeting as quickly as I could and we left.

I was “extra” mortified about the situation because last year when we went to see our pastor for our annual marriage check up, one thing she counseled us strongly about was making sure we drilled obedience. ¬†Well – she was getting a chance to see exactly how well I was doing at that. ūüė¶

As we drove home, I told them how frustrated and disappointed I was and had them stay quiet the entire way.  I gave Jalen another lecture about his disobedience as I was letting him out of his car seat.  I told him to go upstairs and change his clothes and I would put him to bed after I finished with Joshua.  Imagine my surprise when I got to his room: not only had he changed his clothes, but this boy who delays sleep time as long as possible, had put himself into bed and turned out the light.

(word count:  248)

Dentists and Text Messages

dentist-smsThis morning, I got a text message from my children’s dentist reminding me about their upcoming appointment. ¬†I was really happy about this because for some reason I’d not put it on my calendar. ¬†So the reminder was great. ¬†The dentist’s office wouldn’t know this, but by sending me a text, they ensured that I got the reminder. ¬†I am awful, horrible, ridiculously bad, <insert adjective here> about checking snail mail. ¬†Somehow, it all piles up, and then gets dumped into bags and put in the study for me to go through “later”. ¬†So I most likely would have missed a reminder postcard.

I also was able, recently, to schedule an appointment with a new doctor using an online app the doctor was signed up with called ZocDoc. ¬†It was the easiest thing – I got to see when the doctor was available (all available slots), and pick the time that worked for me. ¬†I was even told that the doctor I initially wanted to see didn’t accept my insurance, and they helpfully provided a list of doctors in the area that did (with ratings). ¬†About 10 minutes after I scheduled the appointment, the office called to verify my information – confirming for me that the appointment actually went there and wasn’t floating in ether-land somewhere.

I am developing an appreciation for vendors who connect with me by making use of technology that I’m already using (and addicted to). ūüôā

(word count: 236)

I Didn’t Think About the iPad

We’ve been taking the boys to swimming classes at Kids First Swim School. Joshua’s in the Mommy & Me class and Jalen just started level 3.

For previous classes, they’ve gone on different days, but for some reason, I thought it would be smart to sign them up for the same day. So off we go – Jalen’s got his class at 6 and Joshua’s is at 6:30 p.m. Should be fine right? Except that once I get there, I realize that Jalen’s going to have to dry and change himself by himself once his class is finished, because I’ll be in the water with Joshua (Mommy & Me – remember?).

Things worked out this evening because Daddy stopped by after work. But for future classes, I’m worrying – not so much about Jalen changing his clothes; I think he’ll figure it out. I’m worried because my iPad is used as entertainment for the boy who is currently not in the water. This means I would have to leave said iPad with a wet Jalen and hope that (1) he won’t drop it (2) he won’t soak it with water or (3) someone won’t swipe it while he’s changing. ¬†Sigh.

Oh well – I have a week to help them understand that we will no longer use the iPad when we’re at swimming class.

That’s right. I’m the mommy and it’s *my* iPad! ūüôā

(word count: 223)