Saturday, February 28, 2009

Guy Reads

Welcome to another installment of Guy Reads. So, what is Guy (my nickname for my husband) reading this week?

Both of us have been following the story of a Centerville High School wrestler accused of stealing at school whose parents went to court to allow him to wrestle in a district meet.

The Dayton Daily News has put all their journalistic power behind this one, using their Bengals reporter (I guess he knows how to cover athletes in trouble), his blog, front page sports stories, and even email alerts. Last night coming home from work, the update on this wrestler's legal status was the TOP STORY on both the radio and promos for the night's newscasts.

Husband and I both have uninformed opinions about this case (as do many, many commenters at the Dayton Daily New Web site) but I see no need to share them here. While Husband sees this as a sports story, I see it as an example of how public opinion can run amok over your reputation--the kid, his family and the school.

As reporter Chick Ludwig said, "Can [this] riveting soap opera finally be put to rest? Well, maybe, maybe not."

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Comma APR

I did it. After taking the prep class, filling out the national application, paying the money, preparing my portfolio, surviving my Readiness Review, spending a weekend studying and finally taking the exam--I am now Accredited in Public Relations through the Public Relations Society of America.

There is a lot of debate in the PR world about the value of this credential. According to PRSA, there were only 195 new APRs in all of 2008. But after going through this rigorous and valuable process, I feel that this credential will become more and more sought after by hiring managers. Unless you work at a PR agency, once you get beyond entry-level PR work, your boss is usually not in PR, they are from marketing or product management if you're lucky, HR if you're not. I could be wrong but I predict that these people (and their recruiters) will start using APR, you have it or you don't, as a simple binary way to separate candidates.

I'm not saying that people without APR aren't top-notch PR professionals or that they won't get jobs, I'm just predicting that APR will be a simple way for people with low familiarity with the profession to be confident they are getting someone who knows their stuff.

Everyone has their opinion about taking the time and effort necessary to earn their APR, but this entire experience has come at the perfect time for me. It was, after all, at the APR introductory meeting that I networked with the person who would help me find my great new job.

And now that I am working in health care, I couldn't find a more appreciative audience for me to showcase the new letters behind my name than people who already have an entire alphabet of credentials after theirs.

I did ask to make sure that "APR" wasn't going to be misconstrued as technical expertise in some horrible medical procedure that I would not want to be pulled in to assist with. I was assured with much certainty that no one was going to mistake me for a health care professional.

So I can relax and add APR to my email signature and my LinkedIn profile and my business cards and my ID badge (maybe I'll have better luck with the photo this time).

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Husband and I escaped to Disney World earlier this month to celebrate his milestone birthday. Call us horrible or call us brilliant--we left our three kids at home.

We stayed at the Caribbean Beach Resort. It gets horrible reviews in the Disney books--something we discovered long after booking. But our experience was positive. We found the resort not too different in quality than other moderate Disney resorts.

Our new FAVORITE ride is the new Toy Story ride at Disney Hollywood Studios. It's a video game and ride all in one.

Our flight left at 8 a.m. on a Saturday. By 12:30 we were having lunch at a table in view of Cinderella's Castle.

Coming off the roller coaster of 2008, this was the perfect way to escape sub-zero Ohio and spend some quality time alone. Also, Husband gamely wore his birthday button the whole day, providing endless amusement for me.

The weekend was a chance for us to reconnect, to complete a conversation without interruption, for him to politely sit through Small, Small World and for me to kick his ass in the Toy Story ride/game (at least on the second time around). We can't wait to go back. Don't tell our kids.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Lost and Found

The next time I update my "Mother of the Decade" award application I'll have a new story to add. I think it will fit nicely after dropped infant face-first on the floor during manicure (x-rays showed no fractures), and right before turned around and saw 18-month-old pull a steak knife out of the dishwasher.

Today's heart-stopping episode took place at Macy's. I try to keep Morgan in the stroller when we shop. Not because she can't walk it but because she tends to wander off. But the stroller was full of newly tried-on clothes and she wanted to walk anyway over to check out.

The clerk was busy removing theft tabs and I was trying to read the fine print on my coupon--and she disappeared.

The first emotion is anger. When that little stinker pops out from behind a rack of clothes, she's really going to get it.

Then comes the fear that has you running up and down the aisle calling her name with increasing intensity. Managers are being called. People are staring.

The whole episode was five-ten minutes but it felt like an eternity. In my head I was already starting to have the worst conversation of my life with my husband. I began fishing around in my purse for a photo. This one will look good on TV. The manager was talking but all I heard was Cooooode Aaaaddddaaaammm.

Then it was over. Around the corner came my baby, smiling and holding hands with her new friend Amy, the clerk in menswear. A manager on a walkie was with them.

My baby hugged me and said I was worried about you Mom. Later she related how she couldn't find the path back to me and looked for a nice lady to help her. I was proud and relieved and thankful.

And like the second-generation gold card Macy's shopper that I am, I completed my transaction. It WAS a damn good coupon.

PROLOGUE: Every mother that's ever been interviewed on 20/20 has said the same thing: I only looked away for a moment. Last fall I received a free Lifelynx USB drive. It contains a program to help you store descriptions and photos of each family member. Tonight I completed it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Benefit Bank

Let me highly recommend that those of us with computer savvy help our friends and family members who have adjusted gross income less than $56,000 with their state and federal tax returns. [State filing available only in Arkansas, Kansas, Mississippi, Ohio, and Pennsylvania]

The Benefit Bank offers free step-by-step online tax preparation support, plus e-filing.

I am a trained volunteer for the Benefit Bank, which also helps low income families apply for state and federal aid programs. It's been a tremendous experience for me to apply my computer skills to directly helping people in need in my community.

Many people are losing their jobs and finding themselves hurting for maybe the first time in their lives. If you know someone who is unsure about their eligibility for aid programs, I encourage you to help them with a "Quick Check" of eligibility at the Benefit Bank Web site.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Pig Ate My Homework

I'm sure that many schools in this country would be hesitant to condone absenteeism due to swine exhibition obligations but fortunately we live in Small Town America, so our son's absence from school to take his pigs to Georgia last month was OK.

Ryan participated in the National Junior Swine Association Southeast Regional show held at the Georgia State Fairgrounds.

He exhibited two Yorkshire gilts with the help of his GrandDad who accompanied him on the trip. He discovered he really likes Waffle House. Ryan made the discovery--GrandDad, who in the great tradition of our forefathers regularly worked until all the normal restaurants are closed, already knew about Waffle House.

This was the first (of many, I'm sure) hog road trip Ryan made without his Dad. He did a great job.

Once again, Ryan brought home multiple awards, including first place with his gilt and sixth place overall among his age group.

And lest anyone accuse us of taking him out of school for some sort of pig vacation, Ryan was tested on his swine farming knowledge. He performed the best he's ever done in this test, called the skillathon.

The last thing we want to do is raise one of those weird kids who have no social skills and wear blue jeans and flannel shirts year round, but we're proud to have a son who wants to learn as much as he can about agriculture.

Someone's got to help the next generation of Friendly Suburban-Dwelling Co-Workers.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Guy Reads

Somehow over the years I started calling my husband Guy. Not a lame-ass French pronunciation like gui. But Guy as in hey, that guy just stole our truck.

Recently, I have been finding a lot of articles online that interest us and I have been printing them off and laying them around the house for my husband. This allows me to continue to monopolize the computer each evening and for Husband to read something beyond the sports page.

Today's printout came from USA Today:
Hopefuls line up for Disney's 'American Idol Experience'

Neither one of us are huge American Idol fans (we don't watch Survivor either, so there) but we were at Disney World the first of this month and the American Idol Experience was experiencing, what I used to call in my technology days, a soft launch. No one seemed too interested. They even stopped us on the street to see if we would like to audition. We thought either this is the lamest Disney attraction ever--or no one had discovered it yet. Turns out, we were there at the beginning.

I guess Husband and I missed our big chance to do our Horse with No Name duet; America will thank us.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Welcome Dayton Area PRSA

Welcome (and thank you) to everyone who read about me in the Dayton Area PRSA newsletter and got curious enough to click over.

Please check out my 100th post for a sampling of some of my best blog material. I'd love to connect on Twitter - see the box on the right to follow me.

Also, check out PRSA's new blog PRSAY. It's just getting started but they have an interesting take on issues affecting our industry.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Agriculture in the News

As a public relations professional, I am always following the media in my industry. I also enjoy following agricultural articles, both by reading the farm magazines that come to my house (some day I'll show you the one that mostly features hog butts) and by reading about how agriculture is covered in the mainstream media.

I highly recommend the The Rural Blog as a great source for agriculture articles from around the country.

This week, who could miss the front-page feral hog story in the Dayton Daily News.

Yikes! We live very close to the Germantown MetroPark but have not encountered any wild boar. A feral pig could really cause some trouble on the farm, including jumping in with our prize State Fair gilt and doing the wild thing.

As the lone agricultural person ever known to many of my Friendly Suburban-Dwelling Co-Workers, I often get questions about ag in the news. I usually take the opportunity to answer thoughtfully and educate them on the issues.

Then I go home and find out from the real farmer that I don't know what I'm talking about. I'm going to have to study the pig butt magazine more often.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Impregnated by Marketing

I've never met him (or her!) but someone at a mail list broker has impregnated me. Yes, call it the Im-mail-culate conception.

Let's be crystal clear: I AM NOT ACTUALLY PREGNANT. But yesterday I received a mailing from Pampers with a handy guide of what to pack for the hospital--complete with a free sample newborn diaper.

I laughed it off as a weird error until today when I received the Enfamil coupon. Oh my God, someone out there thinks I'm pregnant.

I'm not sure what to do. These mailings are not random, they have my full name and proper address. I guess they'll stop in nine months (?)

I'm racking my brain to think of what I could have done out there in the world of market research that would get my name added to the pregnant list. Maybe this is a joke and someone out there will read this post and see that they got me good.

I know lots of women my age are still having kids, but I have a nice scar in my belly button that proves I'm outta commission.

What will be next? Offers from Gerber? Pamphlets from La Leche? Am I going to have a daily piece of junk mail that is completely off the mark. What other lists am I on? Triathlete, scuba diver, stamp collector, hula instructor, perhaps.

When you think about it, these largely unknown list-keepers control a lot of what you know and who reaches you. Think of the power. With a touch of a button they can mark you as old, diseased, gullible, health conscious, rich. Apparently, they can even impregnate you.

Oh Cincy Tree, Oh Cincy Tree

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