To Moms, Aunts, and Grandmas…

grateful heartsIt’s a funny thing, this mom stuff. That connection you make with your child the first time you look into your baby’s eyes never changes. Yes, there are highs and lows, laughter and tears, frustrations.  But that child is a physical and emotional piece of you.  It seems trite to say that time goes so fast, and they grow so fast, we need to cling to each day with them.  I think sometimes we are focusing too much on the speed of them growing that we start worrying too much, hang on too much, and become sad as each phase passes. I remember when my son was growing out of being an adorable baby boy and becoming a bigger boy, I made some comment about being sad about it to my sister.  Her response still sticks with me:  Every stage, every phase, is fun and amazing in its own way.

For most of us, the hardest phase is when it is time for them to start to spread their wings and leave home for school, or work, or whatever comes after high school and beyond. But we work hard on being excited for them, we look forward to what their adult life will hold for them, where they will go and what they will experience, and we pray about a thousand times a day that they will be safe, and that everything we’ve worked so hard to teach them thus far has prepared them to be good, happy, and healthy people, and successful in their own ways.  We try even harder to be cool about being Empty Nesters, in finding our own new grooves, and being ok with texts and calls from afar.  Then at some point, be it a holiday, a life change, whatever reason, they come back to visit. They are once again there to see, to hug, to experience in person, and to say goodnight to before bed.  They are safe, they are home. You can once again look into those same baby’s eyes and see that part of yourself that has been away, and for however brief it may be, the day seems brighter, your breathing is easier, your happiness and peace returns, and all is right with the world.

May you all have grateful moments together as we head into the holiday season.  Enjoy!

Posted in adults, age, celebrations, children, college, events, family, friends, Holidays, home, Kids, life phases, love, Seasons, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Magic 8

Magic8ballI was doing some baking this weekend and it dawned on me that virtually every drop cookie recipe suggests an 8 minute bake time.  Less than that, say 6 minutes, and the cookies are too gooey or fall apart.  More than that, say 12 minutes, and you could end up with burned hockey pucks.  But in 8 minutes, that soft lump of dough turns into a perfect lightly browned soft delicious cookie. It’s kind of magical, really.

This morning I hit my snooze alarm, and rolled back over intending to take advantage of that full standard 9 minutes of more sleep. However my puppy had other plans and woke me again one minute before the alarm went off another time. I had managed 8 more minutes of shut-eye.  Later I got into my car to head to work. I’m spoiled that I work in the same town as my job, very close by.  Eerily knowing my routine, my phone popped up a notice that it would take me 8 minutes to get to the office.  Huh.

There’s something about this time frame. Many believe 8 minutes is the perfect amount of time to hard boil eggs. (I’m aware this is up for debate, there are some hardcore 10-minuters out there).  The average length of time for a person to take a shower is 8 minutes.  The “average” runner can complete a mile in 8 minutes. (I leave this one up to you runners to verify). And, I learned today, it takes 8 minutes for light to reach the Earth from the surface of sun.

Those are all pretty impressive things that can happen in that short an amount of time. What fascinates me is that its not 5 minutes – which is really too short a time period to accomplish much of anything – and it’s not 10, which apparently is too lengthy.  Nope, it’s 8.   There’s a lot of opportunity that lies in 8 minutes.  Just think – we all have approximately 112  8-minute segments in an average waking hours day.

What else could be done in that amount of time?  Would chores feel less overwhelming if we broke them down?  So for example, instead of deciding we need to clean the whole house in two hours, what if we took bite-size chunks – take 8 minutes to clean a couple toilets, or vacuum the floors.  It seems like a more friendly, approachable number.  Need to connect with a colleague about a few topics?  How about asking “Can I have 8 minutes of your time?”   Need to peel a child away from a screen?   Maybe we’d get fewer eye-rolls by saying “hey, come help me for 8 minutes.”   In 8 minutes, we could read a story with a child, sort through and put away the mail, clean out a spice rack, flip through a magazine, call and make an appointment we’ve been putting off, or – how’s this for a wild idea – just sit and look out the window.  I’ll bet having 8 minutes to just sit and breathe will seem a whole lot longer and do wonders for our sanity and blood pressure.

Obviously I’m not advocating that we start breaking our entire days down to 8-minute increments, that would drive us insane. But maybe we’ll start to feel more productive and put less pressure on ourselves if we can appreciate what we can accomplish in small bits. Like we may not have the time and energy for a full-on workout session, but we could squeeze in some sit-ups and squats in 8 minutes.  Hey, if a cookie can look that good in 8 minutes, it should work for us too, right?

Today at lunchtime I did quick trips to get gas and go to the bank (both probably took, you guessed it, 8 minutes).  The bank associate and I were chatting about Thanksgiving, and he said he was at first panicked because he was hosting the meal this year, and initially had 14 people due to arrive to his apartment where he wouldn’t have room for them all. Then he told me due to some cancellations and changes, the group number dropped to 8.  Which would be the exact right fit for his dining table.  I smiled and said “Yes, 8 will be perfect.”

That brings me to one of the many times when an 8 minute accomplishment is not appropriate.  After all of the planning and work that goes into the holiday meal, and family and friends have gathered, please do NOT finish your meal in 8 minutes.  Slow down. Savor the food, saver the company, take time to talk, to be together.  The people who prepared the meal will appreciate your slower pace, as will your stomach.  This is when time fragments don’t matter.  Each moment matters. So let’s all try a bit of slow-mo on Thursday.

You can save the 8 minutes for your next Chinese take-out meal.

 

Posted in achievements, celebrations, Chores, cleaning, events, family, Holidays, meals, preparation, routines, self care, simplifying, stress, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Market Fluctuations

self checkout
Well, I did it. I got up my courage, and I made a change. It’s going to take some getting used to, but the die is cast:  I have made the move to a different supermarket.

Shocking, right?  Come on, admit it, all real women understand that making a change like this is perhaps not quite as dramatic as changing hair stylists or doctors or moving to a new state, but it ruffles our feathers and means a fairly substantial change to our routines.  Sure, those of you who perhaps only buy a few items occasionally at several different markets may not appreciate the magnitude of this type of change.  But any of you who consistently shop weekly for a family at your go-to destination can certainly appreciate the repercussions of this decision which can not be made lightly.

I had been shopping at my usual grocery store for nearly 20 years. In a long-term grocery relationship like that, we RW’s get to know the layout of the store like the back of our hands. We know exactly where products are located – not just aisle number, but shelf level and depth. I would write out my shopping list in the order of the store to save time and back-tracking.  We regulars can direct any wayward newbie or man as to where to find an elusive item.  We recognize sale pricing and special deals, and know the best way to download coupons and wrack up rewards points.  We know best days and times to go for inventory and crowds. We even get to know staff members by name.

So making a move away from that comfortable familiarity takes thoughtful consideration, or at least a high enough frustration level with problems and issues to compel us to go through a G.B.  (Grocery Breakup).  For me it was a combination of irritations, poor management choices of “improvements”, a decline of quality, and quite literally an annoying robot that pushed me over the edge.

Like all divorces and relationship breaks, I tried to adapt and be open minded. I worked hard to accept the narrower aisles, the lack of baggers, the long lines at check out, the decline of quality in the produce department.  I even tried to find the humor in Marty, the beeping robot that follows shoppers around looking for spills and the resulting incessant announcements over the PA that Clean Ups were needed in Aisle 14, or Hazards were Detected in the Produce Area. I had conversations with other shoppers who felt freaked out that Marty was following them.  I attempted to drown out the never ending beeping the machine emitted.  I tried to not be angry that I had to routinely bag my own purchases, scurrying back and forth from the end of the check out lane where I was putting my purchases away, to the front of the lane to keep loading goods onto the conveyor belt.  I was greeted with uncomfortable chuckles from the cashiers when I asked for a discount for doing my own work.

The final straw that broke this RW’s back was when a renovation was completed to install far more Self Check-Out pods than regular, human check out lanes. This also coincided with the reduction of regular parking spaces to make room for call-ahead order pick ups. For a Grocery Store.  Neither “improvement in service” is useful at ALL to a woman shopping for a cart’s worth of groceries for her family.

One day, out of interest and for comparison sake, I went across the street to a different store to which I’d only previously stopped in for quick short purchases.  It felt a bit like putting a shirt on backwards because I had no idea where to find things, and the layout was nothing like what I was used to.  But like any new relationship, it felt exciting and appealing.  Brighter, cleaner, wider aisles, better quality produce and deli, no robots, and – get this – friendly and available baggers.  Real humans. Being helpful.

My decision was made, and it was time for my G.B.  Determined to be a thoughtful soon-to-be-ex, I wrote a letter to the corporate office to let them know of my discontent and my departure.  As expected, I received not a word from the headquarters, and instead received a call from the local manager.  I was asked to reconsider and was given a $20 gift card.  Too bad not all breakups in life could be that painless.

So I’m in the honeymoon phase of my new grocery relationship. Pleasant enough, but it’s also a bit awkward and costly as we get to know each other.  Awkward because I’m still finding my way around and searching for my favorite products and brands and trying to understand their philosophy of why, for example, greeting cards are the next aisle over from To Go foods. Perhaps so a shopper can buy a Thinking of You card with a slice of pizza?   It is costly because my new Grocery Partner is more expensive than my Ex.  Simply an example of “get what you pay for.”  And lastly, it is definitely more time consuming – at least for now – as I serpentine my way around the store, muttering things like “iced tea used to be half-way down aisle 6” and “where the hell do they put spices?”  But the pain of transition is eased every time I have a clear path down a wide aisle, have friendly humans assist me at check out, and each time my husband says “their deli ham is so much better!”

I know that my visits will not always be rosy, and the shine will wear off. After all, I still kind of hate grocery shopping, and I’m already realizing they don’t carry certain products I’m accustomed to purchasing from the old place. But these are clearly First World Problems, and I will courageously adapt to my new surroundings.  And once in a while I may pop back in to see if anything has improved in my old stomping grounds and for reassurance that I did the right thing.

Besides, I’m sure Marty misses me.

marty

 

Posted in assisting, convenience, customer service, DIY, Food, groceries, meals, real women, shopping, Technology, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chasing Walnuts

black-walnut-treeHalloween used to be a fun way to celebrate the Fall season.  Now somehow it is the Ready-Set-Go kick off to the holiday season.

Facebook is full of “60 (or fewer) Days Until Christmas” count downs. The media is warning us there are fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. We are already feeling the panic of “what do you mean you haven’t planned your Thanksgiving meal or done your shopping yet?” The retail shops have had HallowThanksMas décor on the shelves since September.  Today I heard that the Holly channel on Sirius starts up again this Friday. Ugh.

I’ve been so proud of myself over the past couple of months because I finally took the time to slow down and enjoy Fall.  I’ve been on hikes, I’ve visited a few festivals, I’ve taken photos of fall foliage, I’ve had time with friends, gotten in some bike rides, and I’ve taken my puppy on some adventures. I’ve filled my lungs with fresh air, enjoyed views and appreciated the season. For several years, I’ve been “too busy” to do any of this. Autumn flew by, obscured by responsibilities, chores, work, care-giving, mom duties, yard work, whatever else I at the time believed had to take priority. Granted, a few things in my life have shifted this year making it a wee bit easier to adjust my responsibilities, but really, I could have made some adjustments long ago.

But now – BAM! – suddenly I’m feeling the pressure to kick into high gear and rush into holiday prep, hopping on that race track towards a December finish line.  Because we women always seem to be focused on successfully meeting our goals, celebrating our achievements on a high note, and yes, let’s be honest, subtly trying to out-do each other.

Clarity can sometimes come in unexpected ways. We’ve been going through a transition at my church, searching for a new Rector. Our Interim Pastor just finished her time with us this past weekend, and during her last sermon she shared a piece of a poem by the poet Rumi from way back in the 1200’s.  It is the story of a man who climbed a walnut tree:

The waterhole is deep. A thirsty man climbs

a walnut tree growing next to the pool 

and drops walnuts one by one into 

the beautiful place.

He listens carefully 

to the sound as they hit and watches

the bubbles. A more rational man gives advice,

“You’ll regret doing this. You’re so far

from the water that by the time you get down

to gather walnuts, the water will have 

carried them away.”

He replies, “I’m not 

here for walnuts.”

I love this. I love that I can envision the sound and sight of the walnuts plunking into the water. I love that a passing man wants to tell him that he’s doing it wrong, whatever “it” is. Full disclosure, when I first heard/read this poem, my immediate gut reaction was ‘what a waste of good walnuts’.  What can I say, I was raised by an exceedingly practical and realistic mother. But then his response is perfect.  It embodies for me the need for more of us to appreciate the experiences in life, and not be focused completely on the end game.

Yes, it is important to have goals. It is necessary to have plans.  At work, we need to meet our sales budgets or accomplish our strategic initiatives, or whatever it is we strive for.  Personally, we have other ambitions or objectives that we are driven to meet.  For example, pulling off memorable and wonderful holidays with of course perfect food, gifts, and décor.

But what happened to enjoying the process, the journey, just daily life stuff?  When we are children, the anticipation and build up to any event is deliciously mixed with an exuberance and fascination of every day. Why do we lose that so easily in adulthood?   Shouldn’t we more often be like the man that notices a beautiful tree by a pond and decides to take a detour to experience the wonder of nature? (Is it any wonder it is a man in the story, not a woman, because she would have run by the tree on her way to accomplish a dozen different errands.) I’m sure the man was headed somewhere else initially.  He didn’t plan when he got up that morning to climb a tree.  He had no interest, or need, to gather walnuts.

I proved to myself that it was possible to slow down and have a few wonderful experiences this Fall.  I don’t want to lose that capability now.  I love the holidays, I really do. But aren’t there 50-something other potentially amazing days to experience in the meantime?

I’m setting new goals for myself.  They won’t be easy. It comes very naturally to me (like with so many other women)  to get into rush mode, to scurry, to hurry, to worry, to stress over getting things done. I’m actually hoping someone will notice that perhaps I’m going for a walk rather than rushing off to the grocery store, or playing in the snow with my dog instead of cleaning the house, or that it will take me 2 weeks to get the house decorated, and I’ll still be shopping two days before Christmas. I’m hoping that someone will be compelled to point out to me that I’m “not doing it right”, or that I’m “not going to be done in time”.

Because then I can tell them that I’m not in it for the walnuts.

Let them figure it out.

Posted in beauty, changes; hibernation, events, Holidays, moods, preparation, real women, Seasons, simplifying, stress, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Aren’t They All Special?

calendar flipI’m pretty ambivalent about non-holiday special days and months.  I’m not sure why we need one particular day each year to remember to love and respect our mothers, our fathers, our dogs… shouldn’t those be every day?  And then there’s apparently National Singles Awareness Day, National Accordion Month, and National Yo-Yo Day?  Really? Although some of the unique days I can appreciate, like Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, Blueberry Muffin Day, and Garden Meditation Day.  I could get behind all of those with enthusiasm. For the most part though, I let the myriad of proclaimed special days go by with little to no fanfare.

I feel I would be remiss, however, if I let this big Pink Month go by without a post or at least some acknowledgement.  I would need a hundred blog posts to come close to fulfilling my diatribe about all cancers in general.  My passionate hatred of the disease in all forms is profound. I’ve lost far too many loved ones due to some form of the ugly beast.  But for now, I will reign it in and give some focused attention to October’s Breast Cancer Awareness month. Not just because I am a Real Woman who writes for and about all Real Women, but because 1 in 8 women will be affected by the disease.  1 in 8.  Staggering.

Five years ago I was one of the many too many women who find themselves sitting in a doctor’s exam room, receiving the dreaded and immediately terrifying news. As I’ve said so many times since, I was lucky.  It was caught very early thanks to regular and detailed mammograms. It was still condensed into one duct where the evil cells were giving birth to each other. I had a lumpectomy by an extremely skilled surgeon, (my girls no longer point in exactly the same direction, but otherwise they look fairly normal for a middle-aged chick), followed by a pretty easy recuperation. I then had several weeks of radiation, administered by kind and calm women with whom I had frequent shoe conversations. I had the expected side effects of exhaustion and skin reactions, but neither were debilitating. At the end of those weeks, I rang the bell, got my hug and my certificate of completion, went home with my calendula cream and started my five-year relationship with Tamoxifen. That relationship went pretty smoothly too, with the also predicted could-be-real-or-could-be-fake menopausal symptoms. I took my last pill this past May. Which I suppose was a reason to celebrate, but it was also a bit scary. I felt like I was letting go of my invisible shield or my security blanket that was helping protect me from a return visit from the evil monster.  I’ve been extremely healthy since (that sound you hear is me knocking on wood.)  As I said, I was very lucky.

There are SO many women out there who have had, or are now experiencing, far more difficult fights. Not just the famous celebrities who reveal their diagnosis and treatments, but the very real women in all of our lives.  One RW in my life was diagnosed 3 years before me and had a much harder journey that included radiation and the brutality of chemotherapy. She made it through, but still has scar tissue in her lungs from her treatments.  Another had a similar diagnosis as mine, yet dealt with horrible blisters and rashes from the radiation.  One amazing RW in my life had a return of the damn disease and bravely had a double mastectomy. I’d like to say that if I was faced with that situation, it would be a no brainer.  Healthy life vs. boobs, easy decision, right?  I don’t think so, more like excruciating decision.  Like it or not, these things tend to help define who we are.  Some of us nurse our children with them. Some of us choose our styles based on them. They tend to be a symbol of our sex appeal. No matter our relationship with our breasts, they are part of our bodies, and the choice to remove them to live longer and healthier is one that only the strongest can handle.

While the survival rate from breast cancer when caught early is very good, the story is not always of success. I was just speaking with an RW on Sunday who lost her sister to breast cancer, and she now helps annually with fund raisers and awareness campaigns.  That’s the thing about every RW who deals with her version of these stories.  The inner strength they have to cope and keep going is amazing and beautiful.  And every one is different.  We who are part of “the club” can sympathize, encourage, support, and maybe even compare notes and stories. But we can’t completely understand what each woman is going through because every cancer battle has its own challenges.

I’ve read view points on various social media platforms in the past couple of weeks from women who are offended by some of the activities, messages and “celebrations” around breast cancer, as if perhaps it is not being taken seriously.  As I said, everyone is different.  I don’t care if men want to jump on the bandwagon and wear “Save the Tatas” tshirts, or people want to wear fluorescent pink, go for huge fundraising walks, take pictures of their dogs wearing pink balloons strapped to their chests, or tie pink ribbons to their doors.  All I care is that some event, some comment, some photo, some story, causes us all to do two things:

First, take care of yourself. GET YOUR MAMMOGRAMS. Do your self-evaluations.  Make healthy choices.  The one annual appointment I have never put off is with my Ob/Gyn and for my mammograms. No, they are not fun.  But they are vitally important. A few minutes of squeezing and squashing discomfort is worth it to save your life.  It is easy to forget or avoid doing self-exams, I know, I get it.  I often wonder if I’d ever recognize an issue if I felt one, since I didn’t detect it previously.  Plus (here’s where any men still reading this may get more uncomfortable), I, like many women, have dense fiberous breasts. AKA: Lumpy boobs.  Makes it tough to know what I’m feeling.  But hey, I’m willing to do my best and ask questions if anything feels wonky.

Secondly, appreciate every day.  Take nothing for granted. Be kind to yourself, or even better, be kind to someone else. Be supportive. Remember those numbers, 1 in 8.  That means the odds are really, really good that a woman you pass by today is fighting the fight, or is worried about a loved one who is in the middle of it, or is feeling like shit and is pushing herself to carry on her normal day anyway.

I say go ahead and recognize this month anyway you want. With quiet thoughts, prayers, or big and bold events and activities. Don’t just limit yourself to this month. Keep it going. If we can convince any woman to go get an exam and mammogram, then all that pink hoopla is worth it. It means more people can have more healthy days in their lives.

After all, every day is special, isn’t it?

 

Posted in celebrations, communication, death, doctors, family, Health, Helping others, Holidays, love, real women, self care, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Strength Without Glamour

mtmI was 15 years old when the original 9 to 5 Movie released.  I grew up watching the Mary Tyler Moore Show. I was just heading out into the working world after college when the movie Working Girl came out.  I was drawn to the women in each, because they were smart, clever, skilled, and strong, even when faced with a lack of respect.  They dressed up to go to work, where there was a community of other strong women and apparently very wacky and often incapable men.

My mom didn’t work outside the home, but she managed a house and family of six plus many others who flowed in and out of our lives. She did volunteer work, she was a Cub Scout Den mother and a 4-H leader.  She too was smart, clever, skilled and strong. My sister, 7 years my elder, went off to college and never looked back – she charged into the excitement of the fashion industry, traveling the world, and is also, of course, smart, clever, skilled and strong.

In my youth, the thought of combining all of that with the perceived glamour of being a career working world woman had huge appeal.  I didn’t know what I was going to do with my professional adult self.  I knew I wouldn’t be an astronaut like Sally Ride, or a Justice like Sandra Day O’Connor.  My dreams of being a professional cowgirl were dashed when I realized that would mean actually taking care of, and training, the horse.  My dreams of being on Broadway ended with my lack of singing and dancing skills.  My desire to be a Vet dwindled because I hated seeing animals in pain and couldn’t handle blood and guts.  But being one of those dressed up sassy office working women?  I could do that!

Role models were different in those days, and women in the workplace were still struggling in many ways, but to me there was never a doubt in my mind about our abilities and strength. I was going to take on the world in my double-breasted suit and shoulder pads.

In my very early work years doing summer jobs, co-op, and my first real job out of college, I learned how to act professionally. I learned how to get to work on time.  I learned how to deal with older creepy flirting men. I learned how to be respectful and earn respect. I learned how to make mistakes and try to fix them.  I learned what layoffs were.  In those early years, my mom was totally supportive even though I was venturing into a type of lifestyle she hadn’t led. Her no nonsense practical advice was invaluable in any environment.  I remember coming home abruptly mid-morning one day from my first summer job (I inspected microchips for a local factory) because my period had arrived unexpectedly and I had bled through my light summer pants.  I was mortified, I was in tears, I wanted to hide from the rest of the world.  My mother told me to get cleaned up and changed, and to head back to work.  It was the last thing I wanted to do simply because of sheer embarrassment. Then she told me that first of all, very few people probably even noticed. Then she said that every other woman there had been in a similar situation at least once in their lives, and understood. And every man there was thanking God he wasn’t a woman because we woman deal with situations like that and keep going.

As time went on, I did get to wear those “fancy” corporate outfits – suits, dresses, pumps, nylons. I have sat in on big meetings, made presentations, traveled, participated, managed projects and people… all of the things that seemed so exciting in my youth.  I found out it isn’t glamorous, and it is a lot of hard work. It meant early mornings, late nights, and stress and anxiety before I was mature enough to know how to manage stress and anxiety. Yes, there were a whole lot of high points and some amazing life-long friends and associates made, but it never was quite like I had expected back when I was watching Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda, and Melanie Griffith.

Contrary to what I thought I wanted in those early years, I never did become a CEO of a large corporate conglomerate in a skyscraper in a big city.  I instead found jobs and employers, or perhaps they found me, who were better suited for who I am, and who I became.   The irony now is that 30 years after starting my adulting climb up that supposed corporate ladder, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been working for a small company, doing what I love, where we can wear jeans and flats every day.

We go through so many phases in our real women working lives. I see young women like I was, fresh out of college, all energy and eagerness, ready to prove themselves, ready to take on the world, ready to climb to whatever heights they want.  I’ve reached the stage where I’m happy to pass the baton.  Let them learn to be professional, learn how to get to work on time, learn respect, make mistakes and improve on them, let them figure out their paths and find their role models. Some will become CEOs, some will become Broadway stars, some will become stay at home moms, some will be doctors, some may even become astronauts.  If they want to, they will wear suits with shoulder pads, or scrubs, or robes, or jeans.

I’m not saying I’m done learning, working, growing, making mistakes, and finding new paths.  But I’m pretty much done wearing shoulder pads and nylons (unless for special occasions) and feeling like I have to prove I have a brain.  My energy is spent not on climbing a ladder, but putting the most I can into enjoying my days, at work, with co-workers, with family and friends, and in making a difference, no matter how small.

My wish for those “I was them once” women is that their journeys have more ups than downs, that they learn the art of handling stress, they find a bit of glamour, and most of all that they know they are smart, clever, skilled and strong.  Just like Mary Tyler Moore.

 

 

 

Posted in achievements, age, beauty, careers, celebrities, Chores, events, fashion, moods, Professions, real women, Relationships, routines, stress, Uncategorized, work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Organizing a Black Hole

swipe magicSwipe. Swipe. Swipe. Pause. Like. Swipe. Swipe. Swipe. Swipe. Pause. Share. Swipe. Post.

And so goes the great time sucker, Social Media.

As a classic mid-life female and mom, my go-to Social platform is still Facebook.  It is the network in which my 19-year old son has no interest because it is for “old people”, and when I excitedly show him something I saw on there, he glances at it, and with disdain says “yeah, I saw that about a month ago.”  Ok, fine. You go be young & trendy on your own social feeds, leave me to my black hole of never-ending ridiculousness.

The other day when I was swiping through the most recent digital pile of fodder on a couple of different platforms (I do vary from FB occasionally) for the usual only-5-minutes-that-turned-into-20, I realized that I really do spend a lot of time swiping past things I don’t care about.  And I realized that we moms and real women with busy schedules could possibly suggest some organizational changes to the Zuke.  (That’s me being hip calling him by a nickname. Hey, its better than me saying “that nice rich young man in a hoodie”).

What if, besides the existing groups and pages, there was a menu of Categories, and all like-minded posts ran in the appropriate categories?   First up would be the network for those with poor grammatical skills and misspellings.  That would spare those of us who are hyper-sensitive to errors from the agonizing and frustrating impulse to make corrections.  Next up would need to be the category for the Angry and Venting. Oh, so much crankiness.  All the irritated posters can hang out together in their own unhappy world.  Next door to that of course, would be Political Posturing, which is closely related (especially lately) to the Angry sharers.  Other categories to visit, review and post would be:  Animals (for all of those great goat, dog and kitten videos), Nature (for all the budding photographers), Kids (just like the Animals network but human), News (real and fake), Inspirational and Thought Provoking (for all those deep thoughts), Selfie City (for the young ladies who need to show how they look so different right now compared to an hour ago), The Obscure (for those posts that make absolutely no sense to the rest of us), Just Plain Funny (which would be the most likely to be shared content) and, let us not forget, FOOD.  Oh, and please, please, let’s have a separate category for the Ambiguous and Leading… you know, the posts with no detail but plenty of drama like “Such a hard day.”  And “I should have known better.”

Think how great it would be to be able to select which type of posts you feel like viewing at any moment. Someone cut you off in traffic? Swipe to Angry and Venting.  Need a lift?  Click on Inspirational or Just Plain Funny.  Not sure what to make for dinner?  Slide over to Food.  Kind of like Pinterest, but more organized.

Can you imagine if we could categorize other areas in our lives?  How about swipe-selections for driving.  Those in a rush and suffering from road rage?  You drive over in those lanes where there are big soft cushions (like on bumper car courses) to help with all the accidents you’ll cause, and feel free to yell creative obscenities out the windows at each other — no one will be offended because you are all cranky together.   Those of you who are over the age of 70 or enjoy Sunday drives?  We have a lovely country- side view over here in the Slow-Mo lanes.  Mom taxies, here’s your straight-shot-don’t-get-in-my way route.  Confused and Lost drivers?  Head for the lanes with no rotaries, and giant large-type signs with neon arrows.

We could even do this in grocery stores.  Full-scale full-cart shoppers?  Here are your wide aisles with bulk sales and helpful baggers.  Speedy I-just-need-three-things Rushers?  Here’s your race-track aisles free of clutter and extraneous products.  Social Shoppers?  Here are lanes with lounge areas so you can have a seat and chat instead of blocking the center of the aisles.  And let’s be sure to add the section for Confused Men, with helpers to point out the brands their partners have requested, to explain what the heck cardamom is, and where to find dried fruit or cling wrap.

Sure, I get it, as much as we may want to, swiping past certain people and situations in real life is not possible or appropriate.  But you’ve gotta admit that saving some time in the digital world to more easily find what matters to us is appealing.  Pretty soon that “oops, I didn’t mean to spend half an hour looking at celebrity gossip” could be whittled down to “ahh, 4 minutes of a beach-goer saving a sea turtle. I feel better.”

Oh, geez, I just realized I missed a vital category: the Put Your Feet Up and Read Blog Posts network.  Thanks for visiting. You may now commence swiping.

 

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