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!
RANDOM TOPIC 1: THE INCONVENIENCE OF FRIENDS WHO AREN'T ON FACEBOOK
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.)
RANDOM TOPIC 2: SILENT PARTICIPATION
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!)
RANDOM TOPIC 3: THE JOY OF ALCOHOL
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."****
MAN, THIS GOT LONG!
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.)