Two-Lane Livin’ Magazine was one of the fortunate publications in W.Va. to be selected to participate this year in the WVUncovered Program at West Virginia University. The program is led by the university’s School of Journalism, designed to introduce papers to new media.
Our first workshop session was this past week; two days spent learning about digital photography.
Of course, Frank and I both already have digital cameras, but neither of us use them to their full capacity. We spent two days on campus in Morgantown, Thursday evening and nearly all day Friday, learning about digital cameras, photo composition and lighting, photo cataloging and indexing, and photo editing.
This is just the first of many workshops to come.
Visiting Morgantown and WVU campus was an experience. I haven’t been to Morgantown in more than 20 years, and I haven’t been to a metropolitan city in — years.
Traffic was intimidating. It too an hour and twenty minutes to travel 3 miles from the hotel to campus and find a parking space. If I had not had Frank with me, I never would have made it.
Seem lame? Well, there were three other participants who never did make it there on Thursday evening. One never made it on campus, and two others made it to campus, but never found the right building.
I was taken aback by several things.
First, to a lady who is used to parking meters that don’t take quarters, I thought 75 cents per hour for a parking meter was a little stiff. Luckily, we found a meter that didn’t work right, and got more than three hours for $1.50.
I was also a bit surprised at today’s campus fashion. I didn’t know that mini skirts had gotten so “mini.” Now, I’m no prude but, if you sit down and your entire back side comes in contact with the classroom chair — I believe your skirt is too short.
The other thing I found interesting is how every, and I mean EVERY student walked around with a cell phone or ipod ear plugs in their ears. When lost on campus, we considered asking one of the many students walking around for directions. There weren’t any that weren’t ear plugged or in the middle of some phone conversation.
City life is very different from country life. I didn’t realize it had changed so much since I left the city. For one, I’m rather accustomed to greeting the people I pass on the sidewalk. I at least make eye contact and smile, and was prepared to do so as I walked around campus. But, whenever a student came near, they immediately avoided eye contact.
Inside the classroom however, and inside the buildings, folks became friendlier. If greeted, they responded. If you smiled, they smiled back.
All those involved with the WVUncovered program were very friendly. They were genuinely happy to have us there. We felt extremely welcome in the School of Journalism, and look forward to visiting again.
For several weeks, I’ve wondered why my blog was taking so long to load, so I peeked around in the html code. I’d been hacked – and one reason was because I had not updated my version of WordPress. When I did that, although I liked the new workspace and dashboard, the theme I had been using — did not.
So, after three years of the same theme, same thing, I needed an upgrade anyway. I’m hoping to change the way I post as well.
I also have begun using tags in my posts, I hope you find some use for them. If you’re new to tags, the ones that appear in the larger print are tags I’ve used most often.
You can also see my twitter feed in the right column, and as time passes, I hope to add some other neat features.
I hope you like the new look.
Submitted today for later publication on The Hur Herald (www.hurherald.com)
For most of winter and spring, I have beautifully manicured finger and toenails. Itâ€™s a layover vanity from my city-slicker days when I worked as a beautician. Why keep toenails that are hidden beneath wool socks all winter? Because I know what is under those socks.
By spring, my nails have grown to their longest, and look their best for the entire year. Then, planting season arrives.
Even the heaviest coat of nail enamel canâ€™t remain flawless if you use your hands and fingers to work the earth. And the enamel will crack and peel after you scrub and scratch the dirt our from beneath your nails. And toenails? That shiny finish just fades away when your feet slip out of your muddy garden clogs and plop right down in the mud.
By the time the vegetable and flower gardens are planted, any resemblance my hands had to those of my pampered city days are long gone.
I donâ€™t recall my grandmother ever wearing nail polish. When I think of her hands, I picture them peeling an apple with a stone-sharpened paring knife. I picture her hands as she sat stringing beans, rolling out noodle dough, stirring a pot with a wooden spoon, washing and drying dishes. I see hard hands guiding quilt patches through a sewing machine.
The nail polish of those days would never have held up through all that anyway. The time spent in water alone would have just eroded such a finish.
Me? Iâ€™m half gardener, half desk potato. I dislike gloves and love to feel the dirt break and crumble between my hands, but I also need a clean and polished atmosphere around my computer and paperwork. Sometimes it seems that this is the conflict of my life â€“ the need to have my feet, and hands (polished nails and all) in both worlds.
I can walk out of the garden, take off my work clothes, shower, primp and put on a skirt â€“ and manage the transition from dirt to desktop in a business meeting. But my hands will give me away every time. Spotty polish, scratches, even a chip I havenâ€™t filed out yet â€“ these are the signs that Iâ€™m not a polished business woman every day of my life. If it were not for the â€œfast-dryâ€ nail enamels available today, these hints of my secret life â€“ on hands and knees in the dirt cursing weeds and cavorting with vegetables and flowers â€“ would be constantly exposed.
Run into me during delivery week when Iâ€™m also covered head to toe in black ink smudges from handling thousands of issues of Two-Lane Livinâ€™ â€“ and I could look much like a ragamuffin. Black hands, smudged face, blown hair, chipped fingernails, and if itâ€™s raining, muddy shoes. Even our white vehicles are covered in black smudged fingerprints.
Not the perfect picture of a professional, I know.
Thereâ€™s a saying though, â€œAs is the garden, so is the gardener.â€ And right now, our garden is more manicured than my nails. My social presentation might be a bit ragged around the edges, but the lettuce bed is beautiful and the tomatoes are in bloom.
And I am realizing a growing admiration for hands that reflect hard work. My grandmotherâ€™s hands. My full time gardener friendâ€™s hands, with plain nails cut short and toned muscles that run from the fingertips to the shoulder. Dirty hands covered in grease or mud or any other dark sign of manual labor. Calloused hands that have spent a lifetime mastering a trade. Hands that have spent the day manipulating and creating much more than simple words pecked into a keyboard.
I am learning to respect hands that are dirty, just as much as those that are clean.
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Lisa Hayes-Minney is publisher of Two-Lane Livinâ€™ magazine, distributed free monthly – Â in print to readers in 15 counties of the Central WV Region, and online at www.twolanelivin.com. Advertising information available at www.twolanelivin.com/advertise.