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Where Has All the Happiness Gone?

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter holiday. Mine was great. I cooked for everyone–as is the new tradition. I give my mother a much needed break from the muss and fuss. My turkey turned out like crap. And I even woke at the bloody crack of daylight to put it on–sautéing carrots, celery, and onion…gently thrusting some garlic and broth in for good measure. Thrusting? Really? All for it to taste like the rear end of something killed on the side of the road, after cooking for almost 7 hours. (not that I would know literally what that would taste like.) But there was a ham to fall back on. Thanks for bringing it, Barbie!

And then there was the panic of the dessert. The pound cake, upon reading the recipe the morning of, was discovered not to be the one I envisioned. Not really sure what the original vision was… So off to the store I went. And bought items for chocolate cream pies. Nope, never made one in my life. I’m just not a pie person. Luckily they turned out well. Made everyone forget about the lousy turkey!

Then there was the egg hunt. Ah, the traditional go-and-find-the-golden-egg hunt. Has anyone met my youngest son? The one who is certain the entire world is against him? Well needless to say, he wasn’t the one who found the golden egg. Instead it was the 13 year old cousin. In which he desperately hates now. And hates the inventor of said traditional egg hunt. And eggs…and easter baskets, and for all I know the air in which we breathe. My mother, of course, told him to come over to her, and she tucked a golden egg inside his hand. Just to inform anyone who isn’t at my home during the annual egg hunt–the golden egg has a $20 bill inside. And now my youngest is happy. Still not liking the cousin, because well, she cheated finding that egg, but he can go on and never spend that money now. That’s right…he finds a million things to want, but letting go of the dough is a whole other story.

So on to the title of my post. I was just visiting Facebook. Don’t do it, it’s a trap. You can get sucked in quite quickly. The next thing you know, it’s past your bedtime and now you know what everyone’s doing, done, or going to save as a recipe and never make in their life. But you know, they’re sharing it so it saves on their feed. Ok. Anyway, tonight I got so much more than that. I got a play-by-play of an elderly man getting gunned down on Easter day, a video of one of the innocent children dying from the chemical bomb Syria suffered a few weeks ago, and a baby girl left in a locked van while police knocked out a window to get to her. Ahhhhh……. where is all the happy? I’ll gladly take pictures of what Aunt Noreen’s dinner plate looked like tonight. No matter how disgusting that cabbage looked. And cousin Rita’s feet as she takes a crooked picture of her pool water. Enough with the reality. It’s too depressing. I had to scroll faster than ever tonight, just to get the images out of my mind.

Find your happy place, people! Stop polluting the airways with the horrors of reality. Show a shimmer of kindness. Show some little furry animal getting rescued, a baby trying peas for the first time, a flower growing from an abandoned old pot. Whatever. Just please stop posting the bad and ugly signs of our times. That was a bit unlike me, wasn’t it? So demanding. Maybe I’m just tired. Or my wrist is absolutely killing me. I think I have a pinched nerve. Yeah, blame my plea for happiness on the pinched nerve. What’s come over me with all my ranting?

Well, happy thoughts for now. I’m going to ice a wrist. Have a great week!

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#fCancer

tumblr_o6vs8ziyob1r8gyj4o1_400Last night before I went to sleep, I was on Facebook and read the most horrible news. My classmate from high school died the previous day from cancer. I was speechless. I lay there on my bed, phone in hand, completely and utterly without words. Without emotion. I think a lot of it had to do with reading a series of posts from him throughout the month of October how he was surviving the new findings of a tumor. He’d survived brain surgery this summer and he knew he had this licked, too. In fact, he made everyone feel very much at ease and confident this surgery would prove no different. He even posted the day he returned to work. It was a productive day, he reported. Then he posted a picture of his little boy sleeping on the bed and how happy he was to be his dad. For crying out loud, he even posted Tuesday. The day before he died. Everything was fine. What happened????? What happened in 24 hours? I wasn’t in his close circle, so I’m not sure what could’ve gone wrong and there’s no way to politely inquire. It was out of the blue. He was out of time. Why? Why did I feel as if someone had come into my bedroom and grabbed me by the scruff of my neck and forced me to sit on a chair and look around at my own mortality? People die every day. And quite honestly I hadn’t seen this guy in 20 years. I can only imagine it was striking me so tenderly for 2 reasons.

  1. Cancer is very real and very on the prowl. I find that sometimes I’m just waiting to get it. As though my number will come up soon. And how I’ll handle it. Where will mine strike exactly? Lungs…I don’t smoke, but neither did my grandfather who died a miserable death of lung cancer. Breast? I’m been checked yearly, but are the tests fool-proof? I certainly don’t want to be a worrier, and I’m not. It’s not like I truly sit around waiting, but it does enter my mind on occasion when I read about all the people suffering from it. Wondering how I’m eluding it. Is it because I occasionally eat broccoli? Don’t live next to power lines? Use deodorant without aluminum? Why exactly am I okay? Am I okay?
  2. This wasn’t news of a family member, or someone on the news I don’t personally know. This was someone my age…someone I went to school with…someone I knew with a child the same age as mine. And within a day of posting he was fine…he was gone. Completely and utterly gone. Weird. Scary.

I hate cancer.

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Not in a Long Time

SONY DSC

…have I been to a concert. And boy, was this one different! Warning: my age is going to show through in this blog post! I took my newly turned teenage daughter to see a concert Friday night. Things have certainly changed since the last concert I went to. Granted, this was a “boy” band. The one I last saw was Motley Crue. (no comment on long ago that must’ve been, please). The audience in last night’s arena were mostly wide-eyed girlies. Motley Crue brought out the wilder crowd. Still, there were more differences I noted. By the way, have concert tee shirts always been priced higher than the concert tickets? Ouch.
I had forgotten how deafening it could get. Seriously, I couldn’t hear right for about 10 minutes after we left. Both me and my daughter laughed at how our voices sounded like we’d just inhaled helium. Every time one of the band members said something, it sounded like Charlie Brown’s mother. I couldn’t understand a thing! But all the little chippies would go wild and yell even louder. Yes, I was the one who casually held one finger in my ear, just so I could salvage some hearing later on. I put it down when my girl would turn to look at me, making sure I was digging it just as much as she was. I didn’t want to look like a total dork. What was a little hearing impairment when it came to looking cool?
Speaking of cool, it was amazing seeing the message that is being sent out to young people. Not really cool at all, actually. I saw shirts that read, ‘I’m a Loser’, and other ones that said, ‘I’m just a reject’. Who makes these to sell? Where has all the good messages in the world gone? Shouldn’t we be building self esteem? Not printing belittling labels for young girls to buy and wear! Crazy.
Then there was the time when the band was still setting up and a song began to play. Everyone in the audience began going crazy and there was a sudden uniformity as everyone began singing. ‘I’m just a teenage dirtbag’ was the lyrics. Everyone seemed to know all the words. Wow. Just wow. Dirt bag? Really?
Instead of lighters, everyone swayed in unison with their smart phone flashlight apps. It was a tremendous sea of white lights. I took a video. Which I wasn’t the only one. That’s all you saw–everyone with their cameras out, recording the whole thing. I guess they’ll go home and upload it to their account. There were even some girls wearing signs on their backs, asking people to follow them on Twitter and Facebook. Sign of the times!
It was a good time had by all. My daughter soaked it all up. I’m so happy to have been a part of that memory with her. Although I didn’t know one song anyone played, I enjoyed watching her sing to each of them. Which was the most different thing about it. This band has no songs out on the radio. Seems you can get a YouTube account, record some songs on it, and gain yourself a fan base that stretches across the country. Today’s technology is going to squeeze out some of the more traditional ways of how it’s been done in the past. And I’m happy because of it. There is some real talent out in the world, and YouTube, The Voice, American Idol, and even self-publishing is letting those naturals shine through the cracks! 🙂
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Just What the World Needs…

tech…a new way to converse with one another.

I looked at my children the other night, standing around in the kitchen–each one of them had their heads hung, looking at a device. For my smallest, it was a 3DS; my daughter, her IPOD; my two boys, phones. Even my husband was swinging his neck to look at his phone screen. I exclaimed how they all looked–ridiculous. Granted, I do it too…but it’s crazy. It’s too much. Do you know my two youngest boys have withdrawal if they don’t have a device in their hands all the time? And can you imagine the number it’s doing on your vertebrae?

So I was talking to my fourth son in birth order. He was telling on his sister about typing something on Snapchat. Snapchat? What? What is this and how does she have an account? I’m not an old fogey, but I do like to have a say on what social media she’s on. There are too many predators out there to think it’s all innocent–which is what young girls believe it is, and should be. Anyway, he continues to say that Snapchat is an outlet in which once the person views the message, it vanishes. Hmm….okay. So let’s recap; Instagram is for pictures– Facebook is to proclaim what type of mood you’re in or kind of day you’re having, or what you’re eating–Pinterest is for pinning special photos to boards you want to keep–Twitter is to advertise (let’s face it, no one does much more than this)–and now Snapchat is to correspond with people and then have it disappear. Kind of like a secret message that self-destructs. Interesting. How many others ways can they dream up to communicate with one another that doesn’t involve physical human interaction? Hearing someone’s voice is almost obsolete anymore.

I suppose speed is the new thing. And the internet, of course is the highway for it all. After all, it’s how I’m communicating now. But why can’t you just not tell the world every single detail of your life? Every second of the day? Why can’t you hold it all in, for say a week, and then give a person a call and have a good talk on the phone. Like we used to. I feel the world is getting to be a bit too much in your business. Don’t get me wrong, I stalk Facebook to see what everyone is doing. Doesn’t mean it isn’t a sad pastime. It’s sort of funny because if I see Facebook people out on the street, I feel like it’s a weird celebrity sighting. As if you’re following their life through the media and now they’re there in the flesh. Like ‘hey, I saw you the other night at that restaurant eating spaghetti. I was happy to read the doctor’s visit checked out great!’. But it’s not always a good thing. You see their status and you feel like you’ve checked in with them. You don’t need to give them a call to connect personally…you know what they’re up to already. You’ve checked the ‘like’ button and all is up to date.

They say Snapchat is going to trump the other social media icons by having 150 million users. 150 million!!! People want speed and direct ability to chat with a single person, then have it go away. Hey, here’s a notion…wait until something earth-shattering happens to you, then call them! I would be shocked to know how many relationships rely more on technology than person-to-person. It makes me happy I dated in the phone age. Where I heard the voice of the other person, and gushed on the one side of the telephone connection–staying up all night, talking about everything. And I didn’t have to guess their tone. Have you ever read a message from someone and wondered what the whole capitalization was for? Let’s face it, capital letters show tone. Was it an accident they typed ‘VERY tired’? Does that mean they don’t want to text now? And why didn’t he/she comment on that last text? Did they not get it? When in fact, they didn’t, but you assume they didn’t like your comment and now it was up to you to backtrack. Yep, I’m grateful I had use of the phone during my dating years. Well, kind of. I remember a few times it would’ve been nice to send a Snapchat for an easy break-up! 🙂

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So much to do…

busyI can’t remember the last time I was this busy! It’s fun in a way, but overwhelming in another. I’ve had to make up a notebook to store all the things I have to do. (That was the best part! I added stickers to it; I’m such a sticker lover).

A recap if I may: Last year I spent my time writing books and editing them. I also began this blog, got a Twitter account, and an Author Facebook page. Little, baby things to prepare for when everything got released into the big world of readers!

I knew this year was coming…my debut release, my second book in the wings. But, I never knew it would come at warp speed. I have a feeling this year is going to fly by for me. Let’s not forget that I have a son graduating from high school. I’m trying to soak up the normality of life as I’ve known it for the last eighteen years. Everyone at home, everyone in the same car, at the same dinner table. Pretty soon it will all change. *wipes a tear from her eye.

This month is all about change. I’ve recently decided to fly solo on my first book release. I’m delving into the unknown–marking myself as an Indie. I’ve been inundated with information. How to promote, where to promote, who to talk to about this and who not to use for that! I’m realizing how different the business side of being an author is from the writing side. I can see how distracting it can be. I just hope I do it right. Well, at least the majority of it, correctly. We can’t learn unless we make a few mistakes, right?

Currently, I’m in the beginning of it all. Getting the final proof read, sending it off for format/print, finding reviewers, seeking promotion, finding where my child’s socks are. Oh yeah, I’ve got to do laundry, too. And that job I have as a bookkeeper? Sure, I’ll get there tomorrow some time in the morning. Can’t let people wonder where their tax forms have gone. Dinner? No problem, at all. We’ll eat tacos again. That way we get protein, vegetables, fruit (didn’t you know about tomatoes), and some dairy; I love sour cream on mine. For dessert: Twinkie a la mode. Then I’ll make certain to sign all the report cards and make sure the freezer packs are returned to the freezer. Eventually, I will get to bed. Sleeping is another story. I’ll probably lay in bed and remember everything else I forgot to do!

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File it Under Memories

MEMORIESI read something on Facebook yesterday from one of my childhood friends that wished he could go back and live in the days when he was young. I suppose the memories of this time appealed to him; made him long for the simpler times. Problem is, we all learn in reverse. When we’re young, we don’t realize how good we’ve got it. We always want to grow up. Ha! Sure, there are perks, but if only we could savor the younger moments; times when we got called for dinner, showed up and ate and then scampered off to hours of play before bed. And we could actually sleep without any problems going through our minds. Okay, maybe we were concocting silly problems, like what if I have to go grocery shopping with Mom, or even bigger, why do I have to get a hair cut Saturday? Let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to visit those times?

Isn’t it nice that we can think back on wonderful memories? Times that make us smile while staring out to space. Images that appear faded in our mind, sometimes sketchy at best, but, they’re all there. It amazes me that our brain stores these moments. Today I have the privilege to write a bit before going to work. I’ve turned on Northern Exposure for background noise, and instantly I’m at ease. Comfortable with my surroundings. You see, after I graduated from school I’d watch this show every day before lunch. It was such an easy time for me. I was going part-time to college and working as a nanny. Life was sweet. The biggest obligation I had was to change a diaper, feed a baby, and do a term paper. The world was happy, or so I believed because I was.

It’s great being able to surround ourselves with memories. My best friend sometimes sits and closes her eyes with a huge smile on her face. I ask, where are you? She sighs and tells me. Sometimes it’s Florida on a beach, sometimes it’s on her trampoline outside her childhood house. She finds peace with these memories. Today I find peace with Northern Exposure at 11:00!

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A Little Privacy … Please

BIG BROTHERHave you ever clicked on a site and shopped around for something. Maybe a piece of artwork or a new watch? Then a day later, you’re scrolling through your mail account, on a totally unrelated venue, and all of a sudden there pops up the images you’d shopped the day before. The lady on the riverbank, posing with her umbrella, priced a hundred dollars too high. Or, that watch with the diamonds and mother of pearl face, coupled with five other ones people like you looked at when deciding which one to purchase. I know furniture salesman that aren’t that pushy. Talk about invasion of privacy.

You can’t do much now that doesn’t signal to the “internet police” so they can haunt you for the next few weeks with suggestions bases on searches. Or, how about when you want to log into a site and they suggest just logging into Facebook or Titter. That’ll do the trick. Then, like magic, your information appears before your eyes for the best time to get your puppy groomed at Petsmart. It’s a little creepy, if you ask me. My mother-in-law puts a piece of tape over her computer camera. She’s convinced someone’s watching her. I laughed at first. But, who knows, it’s turning out to be like something you used to see in movies. As far-fetched ideas. Only these are coming true.

And crime? Now, the first thing investigators do is check someone’s Facebook account. That seems to shed more light on what the person was doing and the sites they were visiting, than just to interrogate neighbors and friends.

The Amish way of life is becoming a little appealing as of late. Granted, there will be less shopping, but at least among the simpler order, without technology, no one can see your thoughts. But, just give America a little time, they might have the computer chip already designed to insert in you. You think your baby is going off to get bathed right after birth, but really it’s getting chipped for constant, future surveillance.  And you? When you went in for that “routine” teeth cleaning, they slapped the device just far enough back in your throat that you can’t see it when you brush your teeth. Just sayin’.

P.S. If I disappear after writing this, alert no one. “They”, already, are aware:)