Monday, July 21, 2014

If I believed in the Devil, his name would be "Technology"...

I would like, first, to admit that the title of this blog sounds completely inappropriate considering that I'm, y'know, "blogging" right now, which would be using technology to share my thoughts with those I love, as well as any strangers who may happen upon my little technological ranting site...Kinda makes me hypocritical, don't you think, calling technology "The Devil" and all??? I don't give a rip. Call me a hypocrite. The issue isn't really "technology" anyway. The issue is people. Humans. Flawed. Easily distracted. Clueless. Selfish. Idiotic. Discourteous. (I sound like a Star Trek episode, don't I? Some alien species describing the human race...Well, I'm not gonna lie. These days, I feel like the human race is not always something I"d LIKE to be part of!)

Anyway, as usual, I digress. See "easily distracted", above. 

I hate Facebook! Sorry, Facebook. I know you went public and all, but you suck. There might have been a time when I could have come to love Facebook, if someone could have taught me how to get ONLY the information I really want to see from it, instead of pages and pages and pages of bullshit, which is most of what I used to see on there when I had an account. Which I shut down, after going on a computer-free diet for a little while and realizing how much time I was wasting in cyberspace...Surveys, what people had for dinner, changes to people's "status", and other crap that is truly of no interest to anyone other than the person posting it. I liked some of it....I liked the pictures of people's families, but most of it was just garbage. I don't want to spend my time scrolling through the garbage to get to the good stuff. If there is truly "good stuff" and the person posting it is an important person in my life, then I should already know about it. I shouldn't have to hear about it when the rest of the world does, by randomly checking my Facebook page!!!

So, if you have ever read any of my blog, you know that my social life consists of occasional nights out with the girls, rare dates with my husband, and....yeah, that's the extent of it. (Does "work" count as a "social life"??? No? Yeah, that's the extent of it, then.) But, last week, I spontaneously invited a couple of old friends I hardly ever see over for wine on my back porch. Miraculously, they both came! One showed up first, and here's (roughly) how the conversation went:

"You weren't at so-and-so's fundraiser."
"I wasn't invited."
"Oh, it was on Facebook." 
"I'm not on Facebook." 
"Oh. Do you know what's going on with her business?"
"No, I haven't heard from her." 
"Oh my gosh, there is so much going on....."

This turned into a long conversation about the incredible challenges that had been going on in my friend's work life...NONE of which I knew about, because it's all been posted on Facebook!

There. That's the problem, in a nutshell. I understand, if you're doing a fundraiser for your business, you might want to put it on Facebook to get lots and lots of folks at your event. BUT, if its important to you that your friends attend, you MIGHT want to invite them, personally, via a phone call, or email, or even a text. That's a helluva lot more personal than just posting it on Facebook and calling it good. Why is it that, who-knows-how-many-people know about the intimate details of the struggles my friend is having, but I haven't heard a word? 

This sparked a conversation about Facebook, in which my friend (a wonderful, creative, intelligent woman, who is in NO WAY being disparaged here -- Just a difference in opinion, and quite a few years in age difference, which might have something to do with it...She incorporates technology in a whole different way than I do) said that you basically just need to embrace it, if you want to be connected, 'cuz that's the way the world is. Hmmmm...

All due respect, I 100% disagree! (Which could be the reason I don't have much of a social life, but so be it.) Because, here's the thing. Having lost my Mom to a horrible battle with pancreatic cancer what feels like yesterday, but is actually over a year, my priorities are very different than they used to be. I don't want to spend time with people just to kill time and be around "people", y'know? I want to spend the limited time I have with people who really matter to me. AND, I want to spend time with people to whom I matter, as well. So, if you care enough about me to want me at your event -- I should get a phone call or a text or an email, personally inviting me, and you can expect the same from me. If you just throw it out into Facebook cyberspace and cross your fingers that I'll get the message -- I'm not important enough to you. That's how I see it. I think that Facebook has created a culture of laziness. A culture in which people don't take the time to make that truly personal connection with someone who's important. There are multiple times I have missed fairly major events in "friends" lives, because I didn't happen to check their Facebook page. Sorry, but that's a load of crap. I shouldn't have to spend 2 hours online, scrolling through Facebook pages, to find out that someone I thought was a "friend" got divorced, or married, or had a 15th wedding anniversary, or got diagnosed with breast cancer, or was throwing a party... If I'm important enough to you, you'll take the time to let me know. If I'm not...then it's a cold, harsh dose of reality for me, and a humbling message that I'm not nearly as important to you as I thought I was. But, I'm not willing to accept this new reality so many people have enthusiastically adopted...People have said, "Well, if you really cared about staying in touch with your friends, you'd get on Facebook." That's just more crap!!! It's not healthy, it's not personal, it's not the way I want to live my life...

That's how I see it. So, my message to my boys is this...Stay connected with the people you care about. In person. Take the short amount of extra time it takes to let people know they mean more to you than their 200 other Facebook "friends." At least send a personal email or a text. Better yet, make the time to call them and hear their voice, or stop by to let them know you care. Because the future I see is a grim one. A future in which people don't really take the time to personally connect with anyone. They'll just put all their business out into cyberspace and consider that good. Friends who are truly just strangers on the other end of a computer network. Not a future I want for my precious boys. Not a future I want for myself. And, if I am the ostrich hiding my head in the sand, then call me an ostrich!

Ultimately, I may miss out on lots of social opportunities. But, if I wasn't important enough to invite in person, than I probably shouldn't have been there anyway. 


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Men Really Are From Mars....

So, the other day, my hubby and I were going out on a very rare event -- A real "date", babysitter and everything. I spent extra time getting ready, which is unusual for me, and I have to admit that I thought I was looking pretty good. The hair was doing what it's supposed to do, which is pretty rare these days, as it's in the process of growing out from a very short haircut and is in that stage where it's not short, not long, and going every different direction. Anyhoo....The hair was looking good, I had managed NOT to smear my mascara this time, and I was rocking' a black dress with just the right bra to create a little interest, if you know what I mean...And, I got no response from hubby. None. I walked out of the back room thinking I'd at least get a big smile and an appreciative once-over, but nada, zippo, zilch. He just said, "Are you ready to go?" The sitter told me I looked great. The sitter! 
And, he still didn't say anything...

But, just now, I walked out into the kitchen after working out on the exercise bike, wearing my old scummy workout shorts and a pit-stained t-shirt, face bright red from the ride, hair plastered back with sweat, and hubby starts grinning at me from the table where he's playing Pokemon with Foster. 

"What?" I say.
"Nothing," he says, still with a big, fat grin on his face. 

"What?!!!" I say again. "Why are you looking at me like that?" 

"You just look really good right now, that's all."

Seriously? THAT'S when he tells me I look good? Men are so weird...



Thursday, July 3, 2014

Words of Wisdom for My 10-Year-Old

Ten! Ten years old today. How did that happen so fast? A decade has gone by already? Ten years ago today, after an unsuccessful labor and a truly terrifying emergency C-Section ("Don't cut yet! I can still feel my feet, I can still feel my feet!!!"), our skinny little 6 pound 5 ounce, 27" long son made us a family of 3. Now, he's in double digits. Wow! And, what an amazing person he is becoming. A natural scientist and mathematician, with a brain that is constantly analyzing, theorizing, and operating much, much faster than my own, or my husband's, for that matter. A skinny, wiry little body that can run amazingly fast, but isn't too coordinated on any sports field. (He gets that from me, I'm afraid.) Constantly distracted, incredibly messy, and a total packrat, whose room always looks like a tornado blew threw it, even AFTER he's cleaned it up. Sigh. A cartoonist and passionate writer, with multiple fantasy/science fiction/spy sagas already under his belt, who would probably rather read a book than do anything else in life except eat chocolate. A Calvin and Hobbes fan and Trekkie, currently obsessed with The Next Generation, who spends a great deal of time drawing complex, detailed pictures of The U.S.S. Enterprise, as well as his own starship designs. A sensitive boy, who worries too much about what others think of him, and who shies away from expressing difficult emotions, such as sadness, loneliness, and fear, unless it's to me, when we're all alone, usually late at night. Never the most touchy-feely kid, yet in the early morning hours, when he's just awoken, loves "snuggles" and tells me that I'm the best Mom in the world. He is, quite simply, wonderful. I feel so fortunate to be his Mom.

Recently, at a celebration for our outgoing 8th grade class, my principal asked me to speak to the students and to offer them advice. I realized that the advice I gave to my 8th graders is no different than the advice I offer to my boys, so I am including it here, as I think about helping Spencer navigate through his childhood and into adulthood. 

For what it's worth...

2014 8th Grade Celebration Speech

Our Principal, my boss, asked me to come on at the end and to say something “inspirational.” That’s a little hard for me, because my advice has always been less on the inspirational side and more on the practical side.

I say things like: 
  • “You only control yourself, so quit worrying so much about what everybody else is doing or thinking” 
  • “If you want more people to like you, quit being such a jerk.”
  • “When the seagull of life poops on your head, brush it off, and keep going.” 
  • “Don’t date in middle school. “
Things like that….

So, I thought about a few things I’d like to say to you as you head out of middle school, and then I got online and looked up the words of people who are far more inspirational than I am to help me say it.

The world doesn’t owe you anything. Work hard: 
  • “The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.” Vidal Sassoon
  • “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”  Will Rogers
  • “If you think your teacher is tough, wait ‘til you get a boss.”  Bill Gates
When you make a mistake, don’t give up. Learn from it and keep going
  • “Success is often the result of taking a misstep in the right direction.”  Al Bernstein
  • “Mistakes are painful when they happen. But years later, a series of mistakes is called experience, and that’s what leads to success.”  Anurag Prakash Ray
  • “You’re going to fall down, but the world doesn’t care how many times you fall down, as long as it’s one fewer than the number of times you get back up.” Aaron Sorkin
Choose your friends wisely -- they can either lift you up or drag you down:
  • “A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person.” Dave Barry
  • “Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.”  Oprah Winfrey
Attitude is everything. Be appreciative, optimistic, open-minded, and believe in yourself:
  • “The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best things…they simply appreciate the things they have.”  Warren Buffett
  • Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” Henry Ford
  • “Minds are like parachutes – they only function when open.” Thomas Dewar
  • “It’s all about the ‘tude, dude.”  Spencer Bacon
  • Put away the phone or the ipod or the laptop, take a look around you, and really appreciate the moment. 
  • Make eye contact and smile at someone, instead of typing an emoticon. 
  • Really experience the world around you, instead of just taking a selfie and posting it online.
  • You’ll be happier for it. 

And, in the immortal, and very inspirational, words of Dr. Seuss:  “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”  Good luck!

So, to my 10-year-old boy, I offer the same words. And, my unconditional love! Forever. Happy Birthday, peanut! Thanks for everything you bring to my life. It is infinitely richer, because you're in it.