Friday, September 6, 2013

Day 98: A Splash o' This, a Dab o' That

(re: today's image: I Googled "random tidbits" and was enchanted by this odd little picture, which took me forever to interpret; I kept trying to make the middle word "killed." Owen kylt Meera? Hmm.)

Sometimes I see something in the paper or a magazine and think, "Ooh, I should blog about that," so I dutifully tear it out and put it by my computer . . . where it sits. And begins to form a pile. Once in a while I go through the pile, read something, say "What on earth was I thinking?" and pitch it, but mostly the pile just grows.

This week I am a girl on a mission: finish all those projects that have been piling up! Which will also help with my general feeling of overwhelmedness, which I always have for the first month the children are back in school. Forms to fill out! Supplies to purchase! Calendar to update! New life rhythms to adjust to!

(This week's sticker shock: Mimosa needs a graphing calculator for algebra, which costs over a hundred bucks!!! It seems insane to me that a school can require this! But Husband points out that we're buying a good one and she can use it throughout college [where I fully expect her to major in something like Liberal Arts, so I'm sure her graphing calculator will be used 24/7], and then I also remembered that we can resell it for a goodly amount, so I'm a little calmer. But still annoyed, make no mistake.)

September is simply a lost month for parents with kids in school, I realized that long ago. (And May is as well, because of all the end-of-the-year stuff.) Unfortunately, it's also a busy time for my other life commitments; I teach my first fall OWL class this Sunday, the Leadership Development Committee I co-chair meets this Monday, and I'm helping Kind Tina with the first sermons (what we call Time for All Ages — the children-focused portion of the worship service) — lots on my plate!

So getting some of these big projects and piles dealt with this week, when I have no editing work for the most part, is a Very Good Thing. I mentioned that I did all my thank-you notes and letters — check! Yesterday, I finished my Betsy-Tacy 2012 Convention diary/scrapbook — check! And today I will address all these random bloggy things, outline my OWL lesson, draft the agenda for Monday's meeting, pay my Discover bill, and get a mammogram — whee!


The story, "An Old-School Unfriending," appeared in the back page of the Boston Globe Magazine back in March, and I read it with mounting horror. The author had just been scolded by a friend of 30 years who was hurt that the author never called, e-mailed, or made an effort to see her, yet spent hours on Facebook talking to people she doesn't even know. The author was suprised and hurt but also felt justified by her choices — "40-minute phone calls," she writes, "who has time for such a luxury?"

Her friend Amy agrees, saying, "It sounds like your friend hasn't made the technological leap that you have. She's living in another time." Amy then shared a story about a niece who wants Grandpa to use Skype, though Grandpa bristles at the idea. The niece is hurt, Grandpa is annoyed. Why can't she just call him in the regular way? he wonders. Why doesn't Grandpa love her kids? she wonders.

The author concludes by noting that she shared her tale of woe on Facebook, and 37 friends responded with words of encouragement, which "felt pretty darned good."

And . . . here's me going, Seriously? You can't find the time to e-mail a friend of 30 years, though you can find time to post on Facebook — which is an almost identical action?? I understand the long phone call thing — I don't talk on the phone much either, and long phone calls are reserved solely for Mom. But writing an e-mail and posting on Facebook — I don't get why one is so cumbersome and one is so easy. Can't you just copy and paste?

But I know it must be cumbersome because I, the friend who's not on Facebook, am frequently the last to be invited to parties or to hear about my friend's major life events. Mrs. Cynicletary turned 50 and had a big bash, her husband Handsome D posted the invite and details on Facebook . . . and I was in the dark for weeks, wondering why I wasn't hearing anything. Arty Jenny spends an hour or so each morning "doing Facebook," but I had to hear from a friend that she's just been diagnosed with myasthenia gravis.

No one has actually said the words, "Lady C, you make it difficult to be friends with you by refusing to be on Facebook," but I definitely feel it.

(And I don't want to do Skype either! Feel free to call me a Luddite — as I sit here blogging on my computer, cell phone at my side. Yeah, sure, I hate and fear technology, whatever.)


Elizabeth Berg, one of my favorite authors, wrote "The Case for Face: Are You 'Friending' or Hiding?", published in the April Good Housekeeping, which opened with a friend chiding her for not updating her blog. She says, "This man is one of my dearest friends. Anytime he wants to...he can call or e-mail me. . . . So why is he reading my blog?"

Her larger point was that we shouldn't let electronic communication replace in-person get-togethers with our friends, which I generally agree with — though if your friends live 3,000 miles away, what are you to do? But she actually took me in another reflective direction, namely: I know that anywhere from 10 to 40 people read my blog posts on any given day, because Blogger keeps those statistics. But I certainly never get anywhere near that many comments! Why do so many of my friends read what I've written and not comment on it?

And I'm guilty of this myself, of course. I read a number of blogs faithfully but rarely comment. And I'm not talking about The Bloggess or The Pioneer Woman, who get thousands of comments — I'm talking about the blogs of people I consider friends. What stops me from commenting, when I know how much I enjoy getting comments?

And this led me to reflect on a conversation I had with a small group of people from the Betsy-Tacy e-list regarding our annual Christmas Ornament Exchange. I noted that I'm surprised when people who rarely or never post to the list sign up to participate in the exchange; to me, this is the equivalent of a complete stranger asking me to buy her a present. (I hasten to add: I do not express this opinion to said stranger! I am the soul of kindness on the List itself.) But it led to an interesting discussion about what it means to "participate" in an online discussion of any kind, particularly if you are a shy or introverted person. If you read and absorb the words, laugh at the humor, pray for the writer, empathize with her pain . . . are you not "participating," albeit silently?

I am still mulling this over. It was definitely food for thought.

Anyway — I'm grateful for all my readers, whether or not you leave comments. But it is nice to have some tangible evidence that you're there, I will say that.

(And I am likewise cross with Elizabeth Berg, who no longer updates her blog at all; she has gone over to Facebook. I feel your friend's pain, Elizabeth Berg!)


The Boston Globe had an interesting article about women and drinking — apparently, more and more women are becoming alcoholics without realizing it. As I read, I'm thinking, "Oh, those poor deluded women" (or something like that) — and then I got to the section titled "Getting Help: How to Identify Warning Signs":
  • "How often [do you] think about alcohol? Is it the thing you're looking forward to on your way home from work? If you're looking forward to a drink more than you're looking forward to seeing your kids or partner, that's a warning sign.*
  • "People tend to downplay how much they drink. Most people will say, 'Oh, I'm a social drinker' ... which can mean that you ... have three drinks each night.**
  • "People think, 'I did a good job today, and the best way to unwind is to have wine.'***
  • "[You make a deal with yourself]: I'll only drink every other day; I'll only drink on weekends. People who don't have a problem don't need to make deals."****
Crap! I am screwed.


Well, I guess that explains why I put off writing about this stuff — I knew it would take some time. But now it's done, and my pile is teensy! Check!!

It's also turned cold here — autumn has arrived, at least for the day. Perfect weather for a long sweaty walk or some hedge-clipping! We'll see which wins out. (Hmm, am I making a deal? You can bet that there will be some end-of-day wine as a reward!)

TGIF, my peeps! Wish me a happy mammo. And l'shanah tovah to all who are celebrating a new year!
 —Lady C, of the happy mammories

* Dude, I've been married 20 years. I'm happy to see him, believe me, but I've kinda gotten used to the joy.

** Wait — am I at a party in this scenario? Is three drinks . . . bad? Crap.

*** Seriously? Are there really people who say "And the best way to unwind is to have broccoli! I'll reward myself with some sit-ups!"?

**** I make deals with myself for everything. (I'll count to 20, then I'll get up! I'll clean the catbox as soon as I finish this chapter!) Clearly I am riddled with problems!

(Screwed. Totally screwed.)


  1. Ok, I'll take your dare & raise you some more social media or whatever. Excellent take on several issues, let's explore:

    I love FB for keeping in touch with friends because it makes it so easy. I am in touch with people I have not seen in years, but now "see" quite often. This may be perceived as shallow by some, but I am willing to take what connection I can get. I dislike phone calls & put off writing letters due to an inherited procrastination/perfectionism issue, so I take what I can where I can.

    Dear Lady Chardonnay, I didn't realize you are not on FB since I follow your blog. This keeps me informed & up-to-date on your lively life. However, I realize you are woefully ignorant of the scintillating life I lead. Your loss, ma'am.

    I am the Queen of Silent Participation - especially on Maud-l. When I was a regular lurker, I might send a private message to someone but heaven forbid I post to the entire list. See the above ongoing procrastination/perfectionism issue for explanation.

    Finally, Alcohol - let's just not go there and say we did :-) Isn't it 5 o'clock somewhere?

    Keep up the great blog. Your industry and perseverance continue to amaze & inspire me. Thank you!

    1. Well, now I'm all bummed that I don't get to hear about your life. And I used to be able to picture you puttering happily around your cute house or greater Deep Valley, but now you've moved, I have no mental picture! I'm doubly sad. Look at me! :(

      But thank you for commenting! Your words are PERFECT and so timely! Excellent work, my procrastinating perfectionist friend! (miss you!)

  2. Hey there. I've got to address two of your random topics. I was also not on Facebook, missing all the news and invitations. Sigh. So I got on, and mostly lurk. At least this way I find out when somebody's child looses a tooth or graduates college or goes in for surgery. Yes, I do need to wade through numerous posts of cute animal pix and my brother's incomprehensible musical choices, but at least I do hear from those folks. And then I have a drink! (ok, that's all three)

    1. You are hilarious. Hey, did I meet your brother? Younger and blonde, right? (A picture immediately flashed into my mind at the word "brother." Is his name David? Why do I know this?) Yep, I suspect my FB avoidance is not forever — I am just missing too much. I am so afraid of the giant time suck to come!!!!

      Lovely to hear from you! Give Ann a big hug from me!

    2. You must have met him, 'cause that's him to a tee. Except when his hair is blue or pink. Not so much of that lately, since he got a job in "Giant Retail Establishment of America" as he puts it.

      I'll certainly give Ann a hug from you. BTW, she starts a new job Monday as a children's librarian. She is relieved to get off the sinking ship that is her current (till 3pm today) job.

  3. I love this. I do not often comment as it seems to be a pain in the a to get them to believe I am who I am.
    I came to terms with the drinking issue when I used to think on a bad day: I need a drink tonight, I shall have one when I get home. Most nights I would forget about it and remember as I went to bed that I forgot to have a drink.
    If I said I will have a candy bar tonight on the way home, it never ever left my brain. It is sugar, not alcohol, that does me in!

    1. Hee! We all have our particular bugaboos (or whatever word I want). I remember a book written by a fat girl who claimed that alcohol was not a fat girl's problem, we'd all rather eat our calories than drink them, and I thought, "Speak for yourself, John!" Yes, I like cheese and chocolate, but I also consider wine an important food group.

      You send me lots of private comments - that counts as a comment! No worries.

  4. My comment was just published as unknown. See what I mean? Kathy Baxter

  5. Letter, phone, Skype, email, blog, or FB? I guess I see it less as a battle of technologies and more like typical friends. Some live next door, some you have to travel to go see. Some you can meet up with in a bar and others in church. If you don't travel, go to bars, or go to church then there may be many friends you don't see. But if you spend all of your time traveling to bars and church, then...? Umm, somewhere along the way I lost the thread of this analogy. Time for a drink. To Friendship!

    1. Absolutely! You are wise and brilliant. There are next-door friends (I always you remember describing one friend as the person who cares that you went to the bank today - remember that?) and see-once-a-decade friends and school-mom friends and church friends and drinking-buddy friends, yada yada. I certainly have all of those. My blog, for me, functions a little like Facebook, I guess, as I'm now in closer touch with far-flung pallies - which is awesome!

  6. I read my blogs in an RSS reader in odd moments. Like right now when I'm waiting for my son to painfully get through the next sentence of his "Me Bag" 5th grade homework. Any moment the whine of "I have nothing else to say!" will come floating into the room. But that's why I generally don't comment. I'm often reading blogs on my phone while waiting for soccer practice to end. Or Hebrew school. Or viola lessons. You get the idea. Commenting on a phone is painful and I never remember to follow up later with whatever brilliant point I have. But that doesn't mean I'm not reading. And enjoying. And wishing I could follow up with you in person one of these days (you know, I'm a great walker!). And...
    Oops. There's the whine. Gotta go help. Ta ta!

    1. Jenny - your first comment! So exciting to see your name here!!! I completely understand re: commenting on the phone (I have a friend whose blog I can only comment on if I happen to be viewing it in Safari, which I almost never am, I'm usually in Firefox - and I never remember to go back in Safari and leave a comment... ah, technology). I would adore to follow up in person one of these days - perhaps the next time I'm walking near your 'hood, I'll knock on your door. (And if you're not free for a walk, I'll march in place on your porch while we catch up. Ha!)

  7. Hey! I commented yesterday and I don't see it! Also, when you comment here you must first sign in, then correctly interpret the numbers and letters to prove you're not a robot, and maybe you have to do that more than once... So, posting takes several determined steps. And I really did post yesterday and I do not see it!
    Mrs. Cynicletary

    1. Honeybunny, I'm at a loss. Your comment isn't hiding in Spam, it's not "awaiting moderation" — it has vanished into the ozone. So sorry! But I took steps re: the rest of what you said, and the robot-test is no more. Who loves ya, baby?

  8. A blog I read (Mis Papelicos) says that word verification is not necessary and it hinders commenting. She says you should omit that and you will not get spam if you simply do not accept anonymous comments. I don't know - I don't have a blog.
    But some times I do not comment because you seem so BUSY or because I don't want to look like a creepy stalker. :)

    1. NEVER too busy for you, my most favorite creepy stalker! I hear and obey - the word verification is no more. We'll see what happens. Will my poor blog be overrun with robots??

  9. Hey - no word verification. That was fast! :)