Archives for February 2011

Facebook is Not for Opinions

I am a Libra. This means that I was born in mid-October, that I’m sorta wishy-washy, and that I have extreme peace-keeping sensibilities. I avoid conflict when possible, I stray from getting in the middle of confrontations and I definitely keep VERY VERY QUIET about such things as (shhhhh) religion, politics, and child-rearing techniques.

So, when my expressing dismay at the REPEATED SNOW DAYS on Facebook blew up into a whole ‘nother kind of blizzard, I was shocked.

And… a little disturbed.

And…far more upset than I should have been.

In turn I hammered out a quick update stating that it’s still a little rough in 2011 that women are still tearing other women down for our choices and feelings regarding parenthood, careers and (gasp) snowdays. And then… THAT got a little crazy.

People interpreted those words of mine – that I dislike snowdays – into the fact that I don’t want to be around my children. And I was truly saddened and hurt and yes, even a bit pissed off to see my words twisted that way. UNTIL.

Until I remembered Brene’ Brown’s opening keynote at Blissdom. She told us (this is not a direct quote, but pretty close): There’s a very short list of people whose opinions of me matter – and you are not on that list.

And that is it in a nutshell.

In the land of hundreds of “friends” on Facebook – why would I even care about what someone I haven’t seen in fifteen years thinks of my parenting? I am appalled that based on a Facebook snippet that she’s made an opinion – but… why would her opinion matter to me? It shouldn’t.

And it was then I let it all go up in a poof of smoke.

I may do a lot of things differently than you do. I don’t spank my children, I believe in the healing powers of cookies, I write them notes every morning, sometimes we watch too much television, they know the words to many of Ke$ha’s songs, I let them wear nail polish (even blue! Or purple! Or green!), I sometimes give in when they ask for stuff at the grocery store, we go out for donuts every Friday morning for breakfast, sometimes we raise our voices, sometimes we say “You really hurt my feelings when you did that…”, sometimes I make chocolate french toast for breakfast, sometimes I don’t make them eat their vegetables, I breast fed them but not for that full “recommended year”, we wear seatbelts, we drive the speed limit, sometimes a Happy Meal is lunch.

There are so many ways in which you can take issue with what I do and don’t do as a parent and the hardest part for me is to remember – even if you – the general YOU – have an issue:

Your issue is YOUR issue.

It’s not mine. Unless you’re on my short list, I don’t have time for your complaints. I cannot let it get to my heart because it doesn’t belong there.

Like you, I’m doing the best I can do for my family. Like you, I’m working with the resources I have available to me at this moment. Like you, I’m loving my children and making sure they KNOW IT.

And yeah, I don’t love snow days. I’m pretty sure I’ll never mention that on Facebook again.

I’ll stick to talking about Project Runway and cookies. And that’s fine. If you’re not on my list, that’s all you need to know anyway.

Thursday Ten: All Chaotic and Floopy Edition

1. The above is a reference to the television show “Friends” and if I’m remembering correctly, was something Phoebe said (The “word” “floopy” being the clue there…). Anyway, that’s how I’m feeling these days – chaotic and floopy – came home from Nashville to some pretty heinous weather patterns and am on day two of snow days. I’m trying to catch up with work and mother nature keeps getting in the way!

2. I’m just going to put this right here.
Sarah and Chris Mann

Picture lovingly borrowed from Rachel. Most of us first met Chris Mann at Blissdom 2009 – and so he’s been around the block with dealing with us crazy blog ladies for awhile now – so it was so fun to see him again and chat with him and wrangle him into the Blissdom Flashmob. Not only does he have a phenomenal voice (You’ve heard it right?), and not only is he totally adorable (I mean, really, eyes up on that picture? Yeah. Adorbs)… he’s just a nice guy. So, it’s the trifecta. Love him – always good to see him — and I love that Rachel got this shot. I may frame it. Because that’s not at all creepy.

3.I’ll talk more about Blissdom soon – still coming down from the Bliss and processing and missing my friends like crazy. That part stinks – the part when you realize you have gotten nonstop hugs from your friends for nearly a week and then it’s off til next year. I may need a mid-year retreat.

4. Music I’m listening to these days? I downloaded Crystal Bowersox’s “Mason” after seeing Crystal and her husband sing it in Nashville. Gorgeous.

5. I survived my air travel. Kat survived my air travel (I think? Kat, you still here?). The flight to Nashville was a LITTLE ROUGH. I’m sure frequent travelers don’t even bat an eye at turbulence like that but to me? It was like… I don’t know, something horrible. Hours later, my hands finally stopped shaking from the fear. Fortunately, I have another several months until I have to get on a plane again.

6. I made homemade pretzels with the girls today for something snow day and baking related to do (You won’t believe this but I may be cookie’d out). They were really good. I think they needed cheese. But they were good. {Note: I never think anything needs cheese. But these needed a nice savory parmigiano baked into ’em. Yeah.} Maybe they needed cinnamon sugar.

7. Still working on playing Mat Kearney’s “Nothing Left to Lose” in guitar lessons. I would have the damn song down except… F#m. Stupid, stupid F#m.

8. Can we all agree to do the “no more snow day” dance this evening? It’s nothing like the Chicken Dance or the Macarena. It’s just a free-style mess of ridiculousness. It must be performed in your kitchen and it must be danced like no one else is watching – even if everyone is.

9. I went to get coffee this morning and the dude working the Starbucks counter said, “Your usual?” Seriously – I LOVE not having to order stuff. I like when they remember. And yeah. I over-tip if you remember me.

10. I’ve started getting emails from the girls’ teachers about class Valentines’ parties. Are you PRO Valentines Day, or con?

I Want My Own Personal Zamboni

One of my favorite aspects of Blissdom is the interaction with the brands who sponsor the conference and attend the event to reach out to us – their customers, their potential customers – to teach us about who they are, what they do, and how they may fit into our lives.

I have a marketing degree, remember, so this kind of thing kicks me to my happy place. Especially when it’s done right. I want to learn about products, I want to learn about its features and benefits — getting the personal attention from the brands themselves is amazing from that standpoint — because getting something more personalized than a 30 second spot on television or a full page ad in a national magazine tells me VOLUMES MORE about the product.

I had the opportunity to spend a few hours with the group from iRobot this year. I met Nancy from iRobot last year – and received my first introduction to the Roomba  – y’all know it as the robot vacuum cleaner. This vacuum can basically be PROGRAMMED TO VACUUM YOUR HOME. You don’t even have to be there. Like, whoa? I’m a huge advocate for cleaning that I don’t actually have to do myself.

This year, not only did we get to learn more about the latest versions of the Roomba (oh, how I desire you, Roomba) – we learned a bit more about the Scooba — which, from the ad-spot they showed for us, looked like a little Zamboni, automagically scrubbing up the bathroom floors. The Scooba works on hard floors (kitchen, bath, basically – the noncarpeted stuff), and as a person who HATES SCRUBBING FLOORS, my eyes popped to attention at this sucker. Especially when they described how it works and that, yeah, your floors really DO get clean. As I type this, I’m still a little bummed that I don’t have one. And that my floors look gross.

Drips In the Bucket

Blissdom FlashMob Picture
I’m not ready to write my Blissdom recap yet – seems to close, the moments are still so fresh, and yet… if I write them down, it means it’s all over. I’m not ready for that yet.

This afternoon, Pumpkin came home from school and she said to me, “Mommy, everyone has a bucket. Even dogs have buckets.”

And I was like, “HUH? Buckets whut?” (Translated: “Pumpkin, whatever do you mean by this ‘bucket’ of which you speak?”)

“We all have a bucket. Sometimes people put drips in our bucket, sometimes people take drips out of our bucket. We don’t want our bucket to be empty because that would be sad.”

Ah. Buckets.

My bucket has drips in it. Many drips. Blissdom was big this year – bigger than last year – and while I knew that going in, I didn’t really GRASP the scope of that – just how that increase would translate to numbers of people.

And yet…

So many moments translated to drips in my bucket. The flashmob? Like whoa. That’s maybe ten drips? Or a thousand (let’s face it, drips are small and buckets are big and that flashmob was such an incredible moment). A core group of us “Mobsketeers” had been planning that moment for months – to see it all come together and be such a MOMENT for so many people? It was humbling and awesome. Drip. Drip.

Connecting with friends – in conversation, on the dance floor. Drip.

Meeting new people. Bonding so quickly that my heart hurt to say goodbye. Drip.

Late nights, early mornings and hugs whenever you wanted one? Drip.

Pretty pink drinks (uh, far too many drips) and sitting with an overpriced cappuccino alone on a bench in the “biodome”? Drip. Drip. Drip.

Mat Kearney. Drip. Chris Mann. Drip. Michelle Branch. Crystal Bowersox. Drip. Drip.

Vishnu, our room’s mascot.

Ugly hotel carpet.

Brene’ Brown’s declaration that you just need two friends who will “help you hide a body”.

Drip. Giggle. Drip.

There’s so much more to say. There is. And other people are saying it right now. And in a few days, I’ll have found my words and maybe I’ll add them to the chorus.

But for now? My bucket is full.

Flashmob group picture lovingly borrowed from @Sthrnfairytale

A Love Letter To Yourself

Today is the first day of February – the day when we enter into the shortest month that feels like the longest month. The month where you are bombarded with glitter and hearts  and schmaltzy cards and the expectation that you are to show everyone how much you love them because some corporation said that you should.

I think it’s a scam.

I hate Valentines Day. I can’t remember when I have ever liked it – perhaps, in elementary school when everyone gave everyone cards and there were cupcakes and a party and really no pressure to say or do anything but sign your name on some card adorned with a licensed character’s face and some cheesy Valentine pun.

And while it’s always nice to tell other people that you love them, and how you feel – I’mma change things up this month because like my daughter, sometimes I need to color outside the lines (Okay. Not really. I’m a color-inside-the-line girl – but I’m kicking off my shoes. Just once).

This month, I would love to see you write a love letter.

To yourself.

I know, I know. You’re thinking, “Letters to yourself, that’s been DONE about a million times.” Maybe so. Well. Definitely so. But – how often do we write these letters to ourselves in this moment? Where we are now, how we are now, our experiences and our feelings NOW? When do we take the time to look at ourselves with the same non-judging eye with which we look at our friends and loved ones and see ourselves the way our friends see us? (If you’re like me, the answer is: not often enough).

“But you’re so hypocritical, Sarah!” you’re saying. “You’re not very loving to yourself. You talk down about yourself and you are so critical of what you see and who you are! How dare YOU ask US to do this?”

Well… because I need this just as much as you do.

This month. I’ll join you. I’ll be writing and posting a love letter to myself as well. I have 28 days to do it. You can write your letter in the comments or on your own blog – if you write on your blog, please share the link with me.