Monday, January 17, 2011

Grad School: Final Project

Since August 2006, I've been working toward a Master of Arts degree in Emerging Media and Communications (EMAC) at the University of Texas at Dallas. My coursework is completed, but in order to graduate, I must complete one more assignment: a capstone project.

I'm interested in Girl Scout retention so I'm going to produce a series of videos (6-8) featuring real women talking about their experiences as older Girl Scouts. Ideally, I'll feature four HS students or recent HS graduates who completed their Gold Award and 4 adults. Adults don’t have to have completed their Gold Award, but it would be GREAT if they had. The videos will all be about 2 minutes long, so I'm not looking for a major time commitment from anyone.

What sort of commitment would this require?
HS students/recent graduates
  • 1-2 short Q&A style interviews
  • Me shooting video of you working on your Gold Award project and interacting with other Scouts
  • Subject-shot footage (still shots) of you participating in Girl Scout activities
  • 1-2 short Q&A style interviews
  • Me shooting video of you interacting with older Girl Scouts (B-roll)
  • Subject-shot footage (still shots) of you as a Girl Scout 
What do you get out of all this?
  • After editing, I will offer all footage to you for your usage. 
  • If you're interested, I will teach you how to shoot and edit video.
  • I’m also willing to come talk to your troops and about emerging media/ public relations/journalism and/or edit college applications, etc.
Let me know if you are interested, and feel free to share this link with anyone you think might be interested in helping!


Visit to the dentist = partytime??

When did going to the dentist become akin to going to a kid's birthday party? Have kids always left the dentist's office with toothbrushes, balloons and loot bags? (Did I get royally screwed by a cheap dentist as a child?)

Since the Monkey is sprouting teeth faster than her big sister is growing, we recently took both in to get their teeth checked out. It was the Squid's third appointment; the Monkey's first.

After my first experience taking the Squid to the dentist, I put the hubby in charge of dental care. I go to help corral the munchkins, but it's the hubby's show. He's known the doc forever, so I just make sure the appointment's with her and we go from there.

Part of the reason I put him in charge is because the office is set up like a McDonald's, but without the food. The fact that there's an indoor playground in the dentist's office doesn't bother me (I sometimes wish they had one at my dentist's office.), but it can be a bit much when you're stuck in a room with a dozen toddlers and school-aged kids running and screaming at the top of their lungs. Not that I blame them. Going to the dentist doesn't exactly make my top 10 list of things to do. I've never even really had a bad experience, but spending 30-60 minutes staring at the ceiling while someone brushes, flosses and polishes your not-so-perfect teeth is not my idea of a good time.

Anyway, the appointment went well. Both girls have good, healthy teeth - and lots of them. The Monkey's even starting to get a molar!! But then the madness began. You see, the girls equate going to dentist to going to a party. They have to open their mouth for a few minutes and let people examine and clean their teeth, but that's over within minutes and then it's time for loot- lots and lots of loot.

I should say that I'm not anti-lollipop. I have no problem with physicians, dentists, eye docs... giving patients treats after an appointment. If giving a kid (or an adult, for that matter) a sticker or lollipop on the way out the door will make them keep still during an exam, I'm all for it. I have really good memories of getting to select a single toy/piece of candy from the treasure chest at my pediatric dentist's office. Hell, even today, I always look for the free lollipops and snacks when I leave my dentist's office after a cleaning. So I do support bribery. It can be useful, but it does seem to have gotten out of hand.

From this one visit alone we walked out the door with no less than: 2 balloons, 5 toothbrushes, and two goody bags filled with plastic yo-yo's, stickers, fake play glasses..... there was some other stuff in the goody bags but I'm not exactly sure what it is. It's mostly those  plastic toys parents stuff in goody bags to make them look fuller.

I didn't take any of the stuff away from the girls. They love their dentist and she loves them - that's not a relationship I want to challenge. And she and Mark have known each other since she was a teenager, so that probably has something to do with the amount of toys we walked away with. But how much is too much? When does the madness stop? What happened to the day when a kid walked out with a shiny new toothbrush and maybe one small toy?

I'm not going to rant anymore because I adore the girls' dentist and have no plans to go elsewhere. I would recommend her to anyone. But has anyone else experienced this? Does anyone else think that leaving the dentist with enough loot to stage a birthday party is a bit much?

Saturday, January 01, 2011

It's going to be a very cold, white Christmas... just kidding!

Since both Mark’s and my parents are divorced and living in different parts of the country, where we spend Christmas Day varies from year to year. This year was my mom’s, so we headed to Santa Fe to spend the holiday with the Wylie-Holland-Onuf clan. We packed for extreme cold, and as luck would have it, 2010 ended up being one of the warmest Christmases we’ve celebrated in recent years. Go figure that when I don’t pack any lightweight clothes, we need lightweight clothes. I’ll learn – someday. It goes without saying that my mom (Gaga to the girls) knows how to celebrate. We had a three person birthday party our first night there (me, my stepdad and the Monkey were all born between 12/16 and 12/24) and had another party on Christmas Day.

The entire holiday was great, but a few moments stuck out:
  • The Monkey started walking. Not by herself, mind you, but she figured out how to grab hold of a push walker and dash across the house. She also figured out how to climb onto the bottom rung of a stepladder. Getting off the bottom rung is a whole other matter… here's the video.

  • The Squid found just what she asked for under the tree on Christmas morning, plus a personal note from Santa Clause and a stocking full of goodies. She oooed and awed over the wooden train set and managed to take it completely apart within a few minutes. The Monkey helped a bit, but she was too enamored with her own gift from Santa Clause – musical instruments.
  • Despite the cold temps, the Squid treated her GG (my grandma) to several tea parties on the back patio. It was absolutely adorable to see the two of them sitting on the back porch, sipping pretend tea and chatting away about nothing in particular.
  • Date afternoon: So, the one thing I requested for my birthday was a chance to go see a movie with Mark. My dream came true and we saw the latest installment of the Harry Potter franchise. I don’t remember the last time we had an afternoon to ourselves, so to say it was delightful would be an understatement. Many blessings to all grandparents and great-grandparents who are willing, able and excited to give their kids some time to themselves now and again! 
There are quite a lot of us in our blended family and everyone gets a stocking - whether you're at mom and Chris' house or not! GG made all the knitted stockings and has one for the Monkey in the works as we speak!