Life Skills

We are in a “cabin” in the Smokeys for a week. And by cabin, I mean there is hot/cold running water, full kitchen, air conditioning , hot tub and four TVs (don’t get me started in the plethora of TVs and no books) But we are hiking and fishing, grilling and playing board games as a family at night. Not totally unplugged but more so than at home.

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It has given me a chance to finish my book, How to Raise an Adult by Julie Lythcott-Haims. It has been a good read for me for a few reasons. First, I feel like it supports the hands off parenting I have been working hard to embrace for the last three years. It has not always been a popular choice in my network. (You are letting him to WHAT? Alone?)

Secondly, it has helped me to refocus on these last two years of high school. What do I really want to teach him, make sure he understands? How to change a car tire? Advanced math? How to write a cover letter? Don’t get me wrong, the child could survive, but I also feel I do a lot of the things he needs to learn because my OCD self just finds it easier to do myself.

It also has been mind blowing to read the examples of parents who didn’t let go, who tried to micro manage the next step and the results. For instance, the man who lost his job because his mother complained to his boss about the long hours the twenty something man was working in his job in NYC. Yikes!!

Gail suggested the book to me and I think summed it up best. “It’s a great pep talk about doing what’s best for your kid even when it pushes you outside of your comfort zone or societal expectations. There will be parts that will feel uncomfortable and make you rethink the way you do things, but I think that’s healthy.”

 

Flowers

Went to a visitation yesterday and funeral today. I have never seen so many flower arrangements for one service. There had to be between 30-40. All sizes, all flowers, all colors. Cut. Live. Artificial. Lovely notes; very thoughtful. And yet I couldn’t help but reflect back when my mother died and after the visitation and the service, giving the eulogy and the after food (does that have a name?!) I had to go back to the funeral home to collect the pictures and mementos that we had displayed to reflect all the different aspects of her life… and the very kind director asked me what I wanted to do with the flowers. I was a deer in headlights. They were pretty and thoughtful and lovely. But I wanted the day over. I didn’t want a live plant that I was going to kill in 6 weeks and feel guilty about that death. I was overwhelmed by the scent. She gently told me that she could make sure they were enjoyed by others if I wanted. I said, let’s let them be enjoyed by others, thank you.

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When I was selling my house prior to this one, I would buy fresh flowers for the showings. I promised myself that if the house ever sold… I would buy them for myself, for no special occasion but for me. And I do. And it makes me smile. Life is too short to not have pretty flowers around. You should probably go and buy yourself some flowers today, you deserve them.

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Anne Frank is quoted to having said, “dead people receive more flowers than the living ones because regret is stronger than gratitude.” I saw that quote for the first time today… and it stuck with me. When you are buying yourself some flowers, maybe pick some up for someone who needs a day brightened… random acts of kindness will change the world.

Don’t eat chicken broth with a fork

Facebook and LinkedIn are two different social networking tools. They both have their strengths and weaknesses for both personal use and in a professional environment, but I don’t think of them as interchangeable.

LinkedIn provides more of an individual resource and job network. Connections are formed based on (hopefully) prior knowledge of a person’s strengths with work related talents. Personally, I try to never connect to someone I would not recommend IRL for a job or support their claims in their professional field. I use this resource as quality over quantity; however I am not sure that everyone has that same standard.  Getting ready to enter a new career field, I can very much see the benefit in stretching my network beyond my current connections.

Facebook is a fascinating platform. It can informative and an easy to use marketing tool for businesses. They can list everything from daily specials, to hours of operation, to upcoming events. This makes it a very attractive network for libraries and even special library programs. Personally, it can be a quagmire of relationship ties and past lives. (Uh no Facebook, I’d rather NOT be friends with my ex-boyfriend’s sister who tried to poison my milkshake in high school… I’ve sort of moved on, but thanks for asking) The advertisements make it a bit less appealing for a broad audience but normally the ads are not questionable.

My new school, IUPUI (go Jaguars!) uses Facebook well. They update frequently but not too frequently. Information is timely and well presented. Topics they post are mostly neutral and reflect what is happening at the school.

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With any social networking, it is important to know your audience, know your platforms strengths and weaknesses and to maintain your site so that it is fresh and appealing and user friendly.

Do I have a Tumbler?

I asked the 17 year old. He sighed. Yes, yes you do. You have used it once.

I’m not a newbie to the web (though I have been known to jokingly call it Those Newfangled Interwebs). I belong to a very specific discussion board and have been on that board since 2006. No, it is not people who own three toed sloths and wear only green socks, but close. I have had a Facebook account and got rid of a Facebook account. I don’t Tweet. I never MySpaced. I Google+ when the mood hits me and have never Instragramed. At least, I don’t think I have an Instagram. I will own up to being a bit of a Pinterest junkie. My board of Food I Like to Pretend I Will Make, is quite a cornucopia of taste delights.  There are probably at least 27 different social networks that I have never even heard of, much less used.

And I am ok with the “not using” them. I’d like to see them, understand them, see why they appeal to this group or that, but I have reached the saturation point with social networks. As with my IRL friendships, I’d rather have a handful of really good ones I can count on, that help me balance as a person and bring different parts into my life, than a giant overwhelming flood of exhausting maintenance and information.

You kids should probably get off my lawn now, while I go and try to find my Tumbler.