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Enter now to win! Books, gift certificates & more!
Click below to read my blog about Balancing Acts and to enter the contest.
OMG! Yes, it’s that time of year already: BACK TO SCHOOL!
If you’re like me, you leave most thing to the last minute. You are not alone!
THEN: BIG BROTHER
NOW: BIG BROTHER
It almost seems impossible over fourteen years have passed since the Y2K frenzy. Remember that? When the world was going to fall apart at midnight? Everything connected to a computer, from air traffic controls to sensory operated toilet flushers was going to crash.
The world was going to come to a standstill.
Well, that moment passed with no more than a few glitches. And here we are in the second decade of the 21st Century.
It’s obvious that we are in the midst of a digitalrevolution.
Why, fourteen years ago, a cell phone was really just a phone. Now making calls is one of the phone’s most archaic functions.
Old fashioned movies are being replaced by those in 3D. Holographic movies are in the making. Someday, our favorite actors will be performing in the middle of our living rooms.
Robots are being developed that will take over household chores such as dusting and sweeping. Maybe even cooking. And hopefully, they can take our place on those nights when we feel a “headache” coming on.
E-readers are becoming more and more popular. It’s inevitable that books will one day go the path of the vinyl record album. The bookstore where you can browse through the aisles with a cup of coffee and an idea of what you may want to purchase will be a thing of the past. Books will be sold in antique shops and of course, on eBay or some other futuristic site. It will be up to the older generation to explain to their grandchildren how readers used to turn the page instead of tapping the screen with their finger.
But what scares me the most about the future is how we will be watched. Because Big Brother has already arrived.
When I search online for information on “spiders,” the next day I’m bombarded with dozens of pop ups, offering miracle products guaranteed to rid my legs of “spider” veins, asking for money to save the endangered Spruce-fir moss “spider,” and information on the entire cast of the Spiderman movies. For days on end, my inbox is crammed with everything and anything to do with insects.
It can only get worse from here.
Someone, somewhere, out there in cyberspace is recording every one of our keystrokes. And that someone has a database from which to pull information that can be used for any number of things. Advertising is just one of them. Perhaps the least harmful. We can ignore them if we want.
What if someday we’re prohibited from going to certain schools or holding a certain job because we prefer roasted chicken over baked? Or because of our blood type? Or because we like to do it doggie-style rather than in the missionary position?
It’s a scary thought. Something I have no control over.
But I do have control over how I act. And if someone, something, somewhere is watching my every move, I better make my life something interesting to watch!
I am unable to attend this year. But here is my Top Ten List of things I learned at the last conference. I hope everyone going has a great time!
10. For several days following the conference you will amble around BlogHerized. Definition: The mindboggling state of sorting through the Who, Where, Why & When of What you experienced at the conference.
9. Some bloggers will look exactly like their online photos. Others will look like older versions of themselves. Some may even resemble the foods, flowers or fetishes they blog about.
8. The words “free” and “food” do not always go well together in a sentence or in one’s digestive system.
7. Speaking of free – all that SWAG could cost almost $100.00 to take home. Note: I hope that nice TSA gentleman with the friendly smile got lucky with his wife for bringing her a bottle of Windex and some Trojan lubricant.
6. During keynote speaker presentations some people will snicker under their breath, while others will find themselves crying. Which only goes to demonstrate the subjectivity of the entire business of blogging. You can’t to appeal to everyone.
5. It’s dangerous to carry a Voices of The Year poster through the hall, up the elevator, and across the lobby. This behavior can only be performed with “real live” friends. Beware- a lasting bound will most definitely be formed.
4. “What’s your Twitter handle?” is to bloggers as “What’s your sign” is to strangers meeting in a bar. Sometimes neither of them make much sense.
3.Sharing a bathroom with an online friend will turn them into someone you hope you get to see again soon.
2. 99.5% of bloggers want to write a book. My advice: Do it. But grow a thick skin. And nurture your patient side. There is no such thing as Instant Gratification in the world of publishing.
And the number one thing I learned is:
You are not your blog. You are not your ranking. Or your SEO. But one woman writing. Writing something you want the world to hear. And if you can give someone an “aha” moment, get them to realize they are not alone, or make them laugh, then you’ve done your job as a blogger.
THEN: HOME ECONOMICS
NOW: HOME PAGE
HOME used to mean a place to eat, sleep & party. Now it means so much more!
Hamburgers. Hot dogs. Fireworks. Parades.
To all of us here in the US, these things symbolize the 4th of July. The day when we adopted The Declaration of Independence and broke away from our mother – cheery old England.
Not that Mom was so bad, but it was time to go out on our own. Start our own customs and laws.
And one of those customs includes shooting off fire crackers and lighting the sky with explosions of color.
I have fond memories of my dad along with the other fathers on our block, lighting ground snakes that sizzled into nothingness, fountains that sprayed higher than our houses and of course, the ever popular sparkler, used to terrorize your sibling and write your name in the air.
But although those celebrations stand out in my mind, nothing can compare to the 4th of July I experienced a few decades ago.
We lived across the street from a college which put on a fireworks show every year. Now, because we did live right across the street, we would gather on the railroad tracks which ran behind our house. From there we could see the fireworks.
Of course, we couldn’t hear the patriotic music or hear any of the freedom speeches. But it was free and we were free to drink the beverage of our choice – an ice cold beer, a glass of wine or in my case, an ice cold martini.
So there we were – kids oohing and ahhing at the exploding sky, dogs cowering in fear under our seats, parents talking and sipping their drinks when suddenly the air seemed to stand still.
Of to my right, I saw something huge. Something that didn’t belong that low in the sky.
My mind jumped to that popular expression: It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s Superman.
Well, in this case, it WAS a plane!
At first I thought it was a huge 747 coming toward us. As it got closer, I realized is was only a small two-seater. But still- a plane? Using our neighborhood congregation as a landing zone.
Utter chaos ensued. I grabbed my daughter, the dog, my drink, my husband (in that order) and amidst shouts and screams ran for cover along with everyone else.
Miraculously, the pilot managed to land safely in the middle of the street.
While the rest of us, were left shaking in our boots, he climbed out, shouting. “Long live the Queen.” Moments later, he was handcuffed and hauled off.
I silently wished he could have been taken to the castle dungeon.
Looney as he was, the pilot left us all unscathed and free to go about our lives, free to watch many more 4th of July fireworks shows.
Most of them have paled in comparison to that evening.
How about you? Any exciting stories to share?
It’s been said that sneezing ten times produces a physical sensation much like an orgasm. Some people go as far as saying it actually causes an orgasm. I don’t see how the involuntary expulsion of something from the nose can be as pleasurable as a climax. But I’m not one to judge what brings others pleasure.
All I can say is that one of the most euphoric inducing activities in my life is kayaking. Yes, an early morning kayak on a clear calm lake is pure bliss. The water, the quiet, the solitude, the connection to Mother Nature. It’s as necessary for my psyche as the Internet connection is for my job. And this connection never shuts down, never needs an upgrade.
All you need is a kayak and a lake.
Unfortunately, I don’t have either in my backyard. But I do have access to both whenever I, a city girl at heart, visit the small town where my sister lives. When I’m up in those mountains, I throw off my city skin and blend into her world.
Which is what I had the opportunity to do just last week. We got up with the sun and after watching it rise over the water, while drinking our necessary caffeine fix, we headed for the dock.
After launching my kayak, I climbed in, pressed my feet against the pedals, grabbed the oars and off I went. And for the next hour it just me, the lake and my thoughts.
My oars lapped against the water. The wind blew through the aspens as the sun rose higher into the cloudless sky.
For those of you who have never experienced this sport, kayaking is a blend of working- out and looking- within. With each pull of the oar, I felt my core strengthening, as I moved across the water. With each deep breath, I felt all my worries fall away. And soon I had a rhythm going that could challenge the best of the Olympiads. Well, okay. I’m not that good but I do have my own style.
Of course, my style does involve going around in circles for a bit, but I once that situation under control I headed for the middle of the lake.
Once there, I dropped my oars and rested my head back. Seeing as how I was on a lake there was no threat of a sea monsters. The only monsters were the ones in my mind and they soon disappeared as I stared at the beauty around me. It’s one of the only places were I am totally in the moment.
No cell phone. No email. No crazy boss. No whining kids. No nagging husband. No worries.
And then I heard my sister, sneezing from across the lake. One, two, three, four, her sneezes carried across the water, interrupting my meditative state.
I had to smile. Was her experience double the pleasure of mine? Like I said, I’m not one to judge. And right then it didn’t really matter.
I closed my eyes. If only moments like this could last forever.
When I was growing up, my father brought in the bacon. All of it. He went to work every morning at 6:00 and came home every evening around 5:30. When he walked in the door after a hard day at the office, my mom handed him a cocktail, the newspaper and a slice of rye bread. (Don’t ask. I’m not sure why he wanted this, unless of course, it was a symbol of being the bread winner.) For the next half hour he would sit and relax while my mom finished making dinner and my sister and I set the table.
I guess you’d say he was a lot like Ward Cleaver or Jim Anderson on “Father Knows Best.” And back then I believed he did know best. After all, he was the man of the house. My father.
This routine lasted for many, many years until my sister and I started high school at which time our mom wanted to go to work. Not so much for the money. But how many times can you change the bedding, scrub the toilets, rearrange the pantry, or play golf in one week?
But Mom going to work wasn’t the only change that took place in our household. Now my father’s daughters were dating. Goodbye Ward Cleaver. Hello Archie Bunker.
My father wasn’t exactly like good old Archie, but when it came to the boys his girls were bringing home, he could be quite judgmental. After all, he had once been a teenage boy and he knew how boys could act toward girls. When their daughters start dating it must be a scary time for fathers. And of course, as a teenage girl, I knew my father did NOT know what was best for me!
Some of my boy friends were definitely “undesirables” in my father’s eyes. In looking back, I can’t say as I blame him. With only two daughters, he had five son-in-laws. So, I guess he had reason to be concerned.
Let’s not forget the time he had to bail me out of jail. (Nothing serious) The many months when he wondered when I was going to get on with my life after I came back from Europe. And what the heck was I doing with my college degree. Of course, I was wondering that same thing myself.
So, eventually I went to find who I was in life, with the security of always knowing where to find my father. In his workshop. Throughout the years he was always building something. From gigantic wall units, to roll-top desks to rocking horses.
Toward the end of his life he turned to small wooden objects such as stamp holders, bagel tongs and boxes with secret openings. Sometimes he actually made me guess what it was that he had created.
But I never had to guess how much he loved me. And of all the things he built, the best was the strong foundation upon which my sister and I lived for many years. Until the time came for us to build lives of our own.
This is my third Father’s Day without him. Yet, in my world, his presence is bigger than ever.
And I’ve since learned one truth: My father really did know best.
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to all the wonderful fathers in our lives.
What I found from reading old love letters written during WWII. And what I will always treasure.
As I get older, the road back to my twenties, grows longer.
A bottle or two of Boone’s Farm Apple Wine or maybe some TJ Swan Easy Nights.\Hanging out with good friends. The Moody Blues playing on the stereo. We were young with dreams that knew no boundaries. We were young, idealistic and so sure the world was going to change.
There would be no more war after Vietnam. After all, aren’t we supposed to learn from our mistakes? Women would definitely earn as much as men. After all, aren’t all humans created equal? We were never going to get stretch marks or wrinkles or need reading glasses. After all, weren’t we always going to take care of ourselves? And we were never, definitely never, going to turn into our parents.
So, I ask you? – Who is that women staring at me from the mirror? The one who works in order to pay the mortgage, who sends e-mails to the troops and who smears anti-aging cream all over face each night hoping to wake up a few years younger each day. In fact, she’s hoping to be in her back in her forties by the end of the year.
Because I swear, it’s not me. She acts, she thinks and she looks just like my mom.
Yes, just as we thought, the world did change, but not exactly how I imagined it would. There are still wars. Everything is not always equal. And some years ago, my idealism was squeezed into a corner, a place I promised myself I’d come to later after the kids were fed, the bills paid and some sort of saving plan was set in motion. Responsibility knocked on the door with a one-way ticket to my future, and I climbed on board.
These days, if I drank a glass of Easy Nights, it would definitely not be followed by a Mellow Day, that’s for sure. But rather with a pounding headache. Today, I’m a more sophisticated drinker, preferring a Ketel One martini or a glass of Pinto Grigio.
But some things have not changed. In some ways I’m still exactly the same as that twenty-something girl. I still love hanging out with friends. Listening to The Moody Blues (now considered an Oldie) on my iPhone. And I still dream. Because to stop dreaming, is to stop living.
So most days when I look at that women in the mirror, I have to admit – she may not be who I was expecting, but I have come to love her.