I could’ve danced talked all night

wpid-wp-1440692157183.jpgThe universe works in mysterious ways.

There’s a reason for cliches such as this.  In ways unexplained, people and circumstances are drawn together.  In an affinity, a warm, glowing feeling that spreads with seemingly no foundation, conversations click, relationships made, journeys continued before we’d even realized they’d begun.

One such journey began in 2012, though I was not yet aware.  As I typed the first tentative strokes birthing my blog in January of that year, Charlotte of Momaste went about her business a few mere miles down the road.  One day seven months later, in a burst of breastfeeding genius, her blog was born.  About a year later, I discovered the light and love and unabashed truth of her blog when its SPOT-ON post, Touched Out, was Freshly Pressed.  She gave voice to the heretofore dysfunctional and guilt-inducing tendencies I’d been seeing in myself as a mother.  I’d found a kindred spirit.

Depression – postpartum and otherwise.  Anxiety.  Mindfulness.  Breastfeeding.  Trying to balance selfhood with motherhood.  Yoga.  Puns.  Writing.  So many connections.

And then she posted a picture of the view from the end of her street.  And I saw the same bay I could see out the window of the house I’d started my family in and just recently vacated; the same one, admittedly, I had an imperfect view of, too, but still reveled in mentioning.  Not only were we from the same state, we been living in nearly the same zip code.

I felt even more of a kinship.  I had a scaffold in which to place her ruminations and observations; a visual schema her scenes unfolded against, even if I wasn’t on the exact street.

We bandied about the idea of meeting for quite some time.  Fellow bloggers can attest to the feelings of friendship engendered by genuine, heartfelt comments and the uncanny ability to pin pieces of your own gray matter on their own sites.  Still, with our young families, no concrete sense of who each other was, and both suffering from anxiety and possible cases of social awkwardness, the time never presented itself, nor was never found, to meet.

Then I registered for a conference in Boston for survivors of postpartum depression.  The excitement leading up to the real-time introductions at the conference led to whole lots of conferring online beforehand.  If strangers were becoming friends for that, why not my other ppmad peeps?  I reached out to Charlotte and floated the idea of traveling to Boston for the conference.  That plan didn’t hash out either, but it created a real impetus for our meeting irl, as they say, which finally happened yesterday.

The thoughts going through my head as I drove to meet her were akin to what I’d imagine if I were in an episode of Catfish.  My ten year-old daughter, in an annoying yet pride-provoking manner, had pointed out that there are dangerous people on the internet, you know.  My mother relayed the message that my grandmother was very nervous and didn’t want me to go.  I said I highly doubted this woman would turn out to be a 47 year-old male axe-murderer – not for the sake of a blog meet-up.  Charlotte and I did do the awkward blind date eye-contact, avoidance, cut through the coffee house, then back out onto the deck greeting.  She affirmed that yes, she was not a man and no, she did not think a 47 year-old axe-murdered would go to so much trouble writing blog posts to lure in a victim – particularly ones about breastfeeding.

That was the first of many laughs on this my first blind date with my first online friend meeting in the flesh.

We swapped stories about our kids, our spouses, our writing, our work, our struggles, disappointments, triumphs, and joys.  Most rewardingly, we shared the same space – psychically and emotionally.  The whole simpatico thing worked in person as well as it did online.  While our stories differed in their twists and turns, we got it.  There are as many differences as similarities, but we respect the journey each of us is on and support each other.

When Charlotte checked whether it was time to pick up her daughter, I realized I’d lost all track of it.  While nearly two hours had spooled away, it felt as if we’d just started our conversation.  I experienced almost the same feelings I’ve had when I realize I haven’t caught a friend up on the crush of things that’ve happened since our last visit – even though we face the stretch of time before our next one.  And we had to get caught up from the beginning!

But there’s always the next cup of tea – or chai in this case (to which I will have to add copious amounts of milk if we visit the same place as it was mighty strong).  There’s time for friendships to grow – online and in real time.  And there’s the universe – that has already proven it’s got our backs in bringing us together.

Momaste, Charlotte: the mom in me so bows to the mom – and lovely human – in you.

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Goodbye Flip Phone, Hello Moto

The technology in our house is undergoing a transformation.

My husband, who works for a communications company, has always had his finger on the pulse of new: new product, newest update, latest gadgets. I, however, knowing he’s doing enough worrying about it for the two of us, have gotten progressively further out of the loop with each subsequent year past college. With the exception of my blog and attendant accounts, I haven’t added any new technology ammo to my arsenal.

When my husband was issued an iPhone for his job, I inherited his personal ruggedized flip phone. It did the job. It stored important numbers. It texted – after you hit the same alpha-numeric button a kajillion times for one character. It took grainy photos. I actually impressed my husband with the amount of functionality I squeezed out of that embarrassingly outdated piece of equipment.

Only, its days were numbered.

He sent me a text one day that read, “I love you ??” I countered with, “What, you don’t know?” He explained it was supposed to be some cute emoji blowing me a kiss, but our antiquated tech couldn’t decipher it. I still thought it was rather suspect. He thought it was one more reason to get a new phone.

Then, due to restructuring at work, his iPhone would no longer be standard issue. He began shopping for two brand-spanking new smartphones for us. He told me I’d like them so much better. I vacillated between not caring and not wanting one.

I liked the ability to go incommunicado when I left the house. I enjoyed not having Hal summoning me throughout the day and night. I liked not having a technological tether.

And then he forced me to set it up and play with it.

My head nearly exploded the first time I swiped down and a list of updates from all my social media accounts appeared on one screen. I could comment on my blog in real-time. I could find out who that new follower on Twitter was instantaneously. I could add new events to my calendar without deleting two others because the memory was full. Hell, I could even ask Moto what song was playing on the closing credits of the movie that just ended.

The ability to synch and stream and search does make life a lot easier. In a world where everyone else is ‘smart’, it does give me an edge – or at least a fighting chance. It will help me build my platform and online presence with a sense of immediacy that taking a photo with my flip phone, emailing it to myself, and posting it five hours later simply can’t.

There are, however, drawbacks.

To write this, is the first time I’ve opened my laptop in five days. Sure, swiping my smartphone can make me a Twitter phenom, but it ain’t gonna get any writing done.

There are other ways it could hurt my writing, too. Grammar. Syntax. Spelling. Holy God. I already feel myself getting dumber. When I have to stuff my fat thumbs onto those tiny little virtual squares, the least amount of tapping is optimal, but my grammar dander is up big time. I don’t think I’ve tapped a complete sentence yet. With texting, this isn’t as much of an issue, but when you can access email as well, there is a significant drop in quality of communications. I feel like I need to prostrate myself in front of my junior high English teachers.

Smartphones also rob us of another basic language skill: alphabetical order. When my husband imported some contacts for me, I wondered why they were alphabetized by first name or prefix (ie Uncle Josephat). I was going to lambaste him for his shoddy abc order, when I realized new additions filed the same way. When I questioned him on the reason for this, he agreed it was strange, but that didn’t stop me from a lengthy diatribe on how this little feature was killing the skill-set of the next generation. (Yes, tech gurus, I understand you’ve studied the metrics of keystrokes and all that crap, but you’re killing our linguistic scaffolds!)

Last, but certainly not least, smartphones rob us of life. Designed to save precious moments, they steal many others from us. I, myself, in short order became a rampant offender – of that crime of staring into the tiny screen rather than the expanse in front of me. Of running to the notification beep like Pavlov’s drooling dog. In our desire of being up-to-the-minute, in-the-know, we don’t do any of the living ourselves. How stupidly sad.

In an ironic twist of fate, as I prepared to flip my phone shut for the last time, this news broke:

anna wintnor

Anna Wintour and her flip phone

Proof that if you hold onto something long enough, it will come back around again.  Maybe I shouldn’t have been so hasty to kick my flip phone to the curb.  But then, I never would’ve known my flip phone was still in vogue if it hadn’t trended on my husband’s smartphone.

It’s the Most Wonderful Team. . .Member Readership Award

In the spirit of delayed recognition of awards I’m perhaps non-deserving of, I would like to thank Patty Mitchell for nominating me for The Most Wonderful Team Member Readership Award.  Whew.  What a mouthful!

award

I think this award follows the WordPress Family Award nicely.  Having an on-line community of readers and writers who thoughtfully approach your work and share their ideas, questions, and challenges in a constructive way is tantamount to making this thing worthwhile!  Many of the people in ‘mi familia’ would be on this team.  There are also bloggers, readers who consistently check in to see what’s been posted on my site, take the time to like a post, or make a comment.  I am truly grateful for their time, effort, and thoughtful attention.

Word of the day: thoughtful.  I know I use it a lot, but that’s the best way to describe the comments and dialogue these family and team members give to me.  It’s not off-the-cuff, by-the-way, putting something down just to do so.  I value the give and take that occurs and the time you spend with me.

Thank you so much to all my friends, family, acquaintances who take the time to check in here on a regular basis and support my writing efforts.  You truly are the most wonderful . . .

And the nominees are (it just never gets old) . . .

The names above are not necessarily the titles of each respective blog.  They are the names I know them by, the ones that pop up when they lay their wisdom on me 😉

I cheated and added a few more nominees than was originally prescribed, but due to the late nature of my entry, does that count like interest on a loan?  Also, my wonderful nominees, do not feel obligated to do anything other than enjoy this honor – it is I who am indebted to you.

Keep Calm and – well, you know

I guess I want to be George Takei.

When he first exploded on the internet with his clever and quirky posts, I thought, who died and made him king of our on-line kingdom?  How did Sulu earn the clout to be our trendsetter and meme-maker?  There were two things that let me rationalize enjoying his posts: the fact that many were freakin’ hilarious and that, well, he’s Captain Sulu.

Then the other day, feeling incredibly down and tired, I opened my blank book hoping to release whatever funk was plaguing me.  I stared at the blank pages, too tired to form thoughts and too tired to get up and shut off the radio that was also distracting me.  Then this song came on:

In that weird way that the universe seems to speak to us from time to time, the lyrics of this song said exactly what I needed to hear.  That we’ve all been in that funk and need to keep going until we pull out of it.  One of those great realizations that make us feel alive again.  And I thought, how wonderful it would be to share this feeling.

Enter blogging.  Facebook.  Twitter.  What have you.

The perfect platform to share favorite quotes, songs, photos, jokes.  All those clever and quirky things that bang around in our heads and until social media didn’t have anyplace to go – except the backs of notebooks, bottoms of scribbled notes, and countless collages that littered my bulletin board or inside of my locker growing up.

Maybe I was snarky about George Takei’s meteoric rise to fame because I envied it.  We all have a little Sulu inside us, I guess.  Now, engage, and carry on!

Incommunicado

Being unavailable, unreachable, isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Tomorrow afternoon marks a week we’ll have been in our new home.  Only three people know our new phone number.  Only two bill collectors have found us.  I’ve been on Facebook once and haven’t logged onto WordPress at all – let alone post!

Today as I walked home from retrieving the girls at their new bus stop, I felt that my necessary reentry to the world was coming.  Inevitable.  I can only use the boxes around me as an excuse for so long.  Though I still do not have anything hanging in my closet because I don’t feel I’ve sufficiently de-furballed it (their special cat friend left me many presents).  I still do not have things packed into the bathroom cabinets because I haven’t disinfected them yet.  I still don’t have routines and patterns and familiar places to put things.

But the world does not care.  The world will not let me milk this life-change for all it is worth like the sleepy, hazy period that is life with a newborn.  Eventually I’ll have to answer the phone.  Eventually the beep of a text message will wake me from my reverie.  Eventually I will while away an entire evening checking for updates, statuses, and pictures of cute kids.

And while I’m dead-tired and sick of putting the kids to bed and starting another round of housecleaning, I haven’t missed checking multiple e-mail accounts and social media accounts and staying in constant contact.  I got a lovely snail mail correspondence from a dear friend.  Two wonderful friends of mine brought a ‘housewarming’ lunch.  And legions of family and friends trooped in to help us set up our new home.

Funny how we seemed to survive before we were attached to technology.

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