Thursday, April 29, 2010

Facebook is sucking the identity out of you! Quick, change all your settings!

If you believe the hype, and the posts on Facebook, and the media, Facebook has taken over the world and nothing you post is private. For example, this circulated recently:

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg doesn't believe in privacy

My response: Why should he believe in privacy?

He's running a business. A business you (we) opted to partake in that's totally built on us voluntarily sharing information. When did we all start believing that ANYTHING is for free? There is always a price. And for all of us (like hundreds of millions of us!) to be able to post pictures, share links, create events and invitations, share thoughts and take up server space do you really think that comes at no cost?

How many of us heard over the years "don't sent personal information through email, especially at work." You know why? You don't own it. If you use the channel to send it, you lose rights to it.

So the smart thing to do is try to take some control back. READ YOUR AGREEMENTS with these social network sites. If that's too boring, at least explore the Accounts area of your "page" and set it at the level you feel comfortable with - and don't panic - Facebook really isn't going to do much more than try to serve up a bunch of targeted ads to you. I'd actually love more targeted ads. I don't need a Russian bride, thanks - but I could use a cute pair of summer shoes! Who's having a sale?

More importantly, if your kids are on Facebook, check out their settings too.  Until they're 21 (ok, 18), I say you login and see what they have going on in there and set it to Friends Only.  Oh, and you may want to check out their 647 closest friends, too. I can barely manage 150. Is that 47 year old man from Detroit really a friend? Ick.

The point is, if you put information up on a web site then businesses and their creators have a right to try and make a buck. I mean, what is the world, really, without a few more computer geek gazillionaires walking the planet? 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Spring, glorious spring

By far my favorite time of the year! Welcome spring. I feel like I've been waiting your arrival forever.

Hanging around near the White House on April vacation

Trees in full bloom for the first family

 View from our front porch

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Marriage argument

A friend, and devout Catholic, posted this on her Facebook profile yesterday:

"So, Larry King is getting his 8th divorce, and Elizabeth Taylor is possibly getting married for a 9th time. Jesse James and Tiger Woods are, well... you know... Even Newt Gingrich is on his 3rd marriage. Yet the idea of same-sex marriage is what is going to destroy the institution of marriage? REALLY?!?"

Bravo. It got me thinking (although I already knew how I felt about this and I'm right there with her) and I'm baffled that something as simple as a legal commitment based on love and support could ever be denied another human being. Stay out of my bedroom and I'll stay out of yours...doesn't matter who you love, it's just the fact that you do that should matter.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

13 years ago

We'd meet up after work almost every night. Ok, every other night. Ok, whenever.

We'd see each other in the office 5 days a week and laugh. And work. And laugh.

We'd run off to Eatzi's, Baja Fresh or Tara Thai for lunch. YUM.

We'd move each other from one apartment to another, or from one condo to a first home.

We had baby showers, wedding showers and birthday parties.

We formed a friendship in 36 short months that has lasted over ten years.

Thanks to my Mid-Atlantic friends for a wonderful reunion and making me feel 28 again :)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Disconnect to reconnect?

I've been following the Phoebe Prince story with a heavy heart for a while. That poor, scared 14 year old girl in South Hadley felt she could never escape the torment of her peers so she took her own life. So incredibly tragic.

Now I'm reading that the accusers are receiving death threats. I'm also reading comments by people saying "Good. Give them a taste of their own medicine. Now they know how she felt."  What?? What?? What??

We are talking about CHILDREN.  Children who may or may not have know the consequences of their actions. Children who may have been bullied themselves into participating in this horrible ordeal. Children who need the support of family and the community to help right this wrong.  I don't believe this is a time for "an eye for an eye".  I don't think bullies should be able to walk away, but counseling, discussion and support seems like a better idea to me. Just sayin'.

Then another argument started to bubble up that really caught my attention.  What are the parents on all sides of the issue doing?  They are screaming for resignations. They are showing aggression and teaching their children that it is okay to shout and point fingers and BULLY the administration. Are they coming up with solutions or just trying to be sure they can place blame?

Then, the kicker...Are parents so disconnected from their kids that they don't actually see, hear or know what is going on and maybe they need to be held more accountable?  And can that lack of connection be blamed, to a large extent, on technology?

When I was young, the only distraction my parents had when we were out in the car was the radio.  No phone calls. No twitter. No email. No internet-on-the-go.  When we went out to dinner no one whipped out their cell phone to check-in to foursquare to tout their location and win fake badges.  No laptops came on vacation, or to the park, or to the beach. It didn't mean every time the 4 of us were together we had a kumbaya session, but the distractions were a minimum in comparison to today's society.

Were we more connected as a family because of fewer interruptions? I'm not sure, but boy that connection argument got me thinking.  When do I disconnect? And should I do it more often to be sure I am connected to the most important job I have and that is to raise respectable, kind, compassionate kids who value human life above most other things?

I also heard a quote recently that smart phones have led to a new technology addiction. He compared it to a slot machine for a gambling addict - will the news/tweets/email/call on my phone be good or bad? The only way to find out is hit the button to find out. Let 'em roll...

Thinking....thinking hard about it all....

See you all next week!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Driving Miss Crazy

I am the perfect driver.

Not according to my husband and my children who have recently started to critique my skills, but according to the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

No speeding tickets. No warnings, in fact. I was hit once from behind in Richmond, VA but barely a dent.  Since November 1985 I have been a conscientious and safe driver.

If it says No Turn On Red, I obey.  If I come to a Stop sign, I stop. I don't run red lights and ALWAYS use my turn signal. No joke; humongous pet peeve of mine - it's strategically placed on the steering column - how hard is it to flip up and down??

I will admit, I do not drive the speed limit and will often text at red lights. Fault me for that, but catch me if you can.

Now, let's all knock on some wood. Thanks.

I don't boast about my 25 yr driving record because I think I'm the epitome of the perfect driver, I simply bring it up because it scares the crap out of me who is on the road these days. 

Take the nut case this morning who got completely flustered when he heard sirens, sort of ran a red light, changed his mind, backed up a little bit but not enough to get out of the middle of the intersection, and then left his car in reverse waiting for the green light.  We all saw his little white lights and KNEW as soon as the light turned green he'd be jetting backwards. We were right.

Luckily, I was two cars away and as soon as he felt his car going in the wrong direction he fixed it, but seriously dude. What were you thinking?

So I propose that not only the elderly, but ever driver get retested ever 10 years. Yup. Even me. Heck, we can make it an online thing or simulated test and the real deal every 20 years.

If you get your license at age 17, you go back at 27, 37, 47, 57, etc.  Imagine how many drunks and drug addicts we could get off the road with this method - and trust me they are out there - I read the Police Logs.

Charlie shows up for his test after a nice, late night at the local tavern reeking of the $1 draft special. Suspended, dude - thanks for playing. Or the heroin addict that comes in with the shakes and sees hallucinations while parallel parking. Buh-bye. Get off my roads.

I know, I know. You're thinking, "It costs money. It'll back up the system. People will skip the tests. It'll do blah, blah, blah". Step up people. Be responsible and quit complaining every time the rules-as-you-know-them change. Don't throw the "I have a right" bologna this way - I have a right to be safe on the roads without wondering if you know what the hell you're doing behind the wheel. Prove you're a good driver, if you think you are one. (Feels like a Bobby Flay style driving challenge)

Remember, as with pregnancy, it only takes ONE positive test to get a license.  After that, you are on your own.

That is my random sampling of one - but just wanted to share. And I'll be on hiatus for a few days as we reconnect with some friends we haven't seen in years. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Surrounded by miracles

Recently, I posted this about a woman I knew who was in a horrible horseback riding accident. We had reconnected via email and were planning to get together.

What I never blogged about, however, was my other girlfriend who was in a terrible car accident right before Christmas. She was pulling out of a parking lot and was hit straight on by a police cruiser going at a high rate of speed.

The pictures from the accident on the front page of our local paper were horrific. She, thankfully, drove a car they say saved her life that afternoon, but to see it all mangled with the roof cut off and a picture of her being air lifted to a Boston hospital really shook me. In fact, my husband was stuck in the traffic caused by the accident but unaware it was Angela.

I've never asked her for details, but I do know she said she had stopped to let him go by and for some reason she remembers him coming straight at her on the drivers side. He was checked out and released. My girlfriend wasn't so lucky. [No, he never called or stopped by to check in on her, in case you were wondering.]

She is really one of the most giving people I know and the accident happened 3 days before Christmas, her absolute favorite holiday. The irony was sickening and I knew she'd be laying in a hospital on her most cherished family day.

Now the good part of these stories.

Kerri, who was thrown from the horse, met a girlfriend and I for some appetizers and drinks (she has to pass on the alcohol now) and she looked FANTASTIC!

The only way you'd ever know she is recovering from a traumatic brain injury is because her speech is slightly slurred, but she has most of her memory back, is walking on her own, can drive again and is DETERMINED to wear high heels to a friend's wedding in June.

To say she is a miracle is an understatement. She explained to us that she technically died after being thrown from the horse and a passerby in a car saw the commotion and stopped - that passerby just happened to be an ER nurse from Brigham and Women's Hospital (where Kerri was later air lifted to, ironically!) and she performed CPR on the spot which saved Kerri's life.

Yes, they do stay in touch. Yes, you should learn CPR. Yes, I believe nurses and teachers are out most under appreciated professionals on the planet.

She also explained she was kicked straight to the front of her head by the horse so she no longer has a sense of smell or taste. She has to remind herself to eat every 3 hours because without smell and taste she doesn't know when she's hungry. Crazy weight loss method, I know! Those senses will never come back. She actually laughs about it.

She's still in Physical Therapy to regain simple motions like raising her right hand up above her head (and the balance thing, hence her determination to learn how to walk in heels) and she told hysterical stories about how that area of the brain also controls aggression so she was saying some nasty things as she was recovering. Hard to imagine given her demeanor. A miracle.

As for Angela, the impact of the car crash had broken her pelvis in a couple of places and had broken her neck. She endured a few surgeries to put in pins and rods in her pelvic area. She was unable to sleep on her side because of a neck brace she had to wear to bed to keep her neck straight, and because of the pain. She was moved to a rehab facility around the new year and then home 6 weeks later because insurance refused to let her stay longer - I won't get on my healthcare soapbox, I promise, but seriously??

I visited her at her home in February and she was in a wheel chair. She was thankful to be out of the neck brace and miraculously she wasn't paralyzed. She remembers everything about her accident. She looked weak when I visited, but she was so determined to get better.

Well, get better she did. Last Tuesday Angela walked into my house, on her own, no cane or walker, and all put back together with a smile and a hug. She's slowly returning back to work as a real estate agent (highly recommended as she found us our current house) and she's getting back behind the wheel. She's a bit nervous about the driving part and has been practicing in her neighborhood - I can't imagine the scars from an accident like that - but is confident she'll be cruising in her new car in no time.

It's a miracle she's alive, let alone getting back to life as she knew it before the accident. It will be a while before she has full motion in her neck, but she's not letting that stop her. She insists her 5 year old grandson is the reason she survived - she wants nothing more than to see him do great things and she wasn't ready to miss out on any of it.

Now, whenever I'm feeling sorry for myself I have two miracles I can think of to remind me that I have it pretty damn good. I should stop complaining; stop whining; stop acting like I have it so hard and move forward. I have inspiration to draw from - two very strong women. How lucky am I?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Whose job is this anyway?

On a recent ride home, the kids started discussing work and jobs and how things were divided between men and women. It was all based on pure observation of how our household runs and I found it quite enlightening.

For example, men don't plant. Women do. Why? Because Daddy never plants anything but Mommy does. Huh?

Girls can do anything that boys do except play hockey and football. Boys can do anything girls can do except have babies. Interesting. Almost true.

In our house, chores are divided between two working parents. Mom is in charge of cooking, shopping (food and clothes), landscaping/gardening, majority of the cleaning/tidying around the house and decorating/redecorating (what? that's a chore!).

Dad is in charge of dishes, laundry (kids and adults), some cleaning (particularly the kitty litter - yuck), mowing the grass/raking and as Alex calls it "Mr. Fix-it stuff".

We all share in cleaning the table after dinner, feeding the dog and cat, letting the dog out, chasing the cat after she gets out, and *some* cleaning up after ourselves; coats on the hangers, clothes in the hamper, toys put away, shoes on the mats.

This topic came up again recently after I slammed my finger in the steel door leading to the garage - uhm, yeah it hurt a lot - and Abby offered to help cook dinner while I tried to keep the obscenities from leaving my mouth.  Alex quickly realized he wanted to contribute, too, so he asked to do the dishes.  He knew this was one of the "Daddy tasks" and he was ready to prepare for his role in life...good man.

How do you divide the jobs in your house? Should you? Or did it just come about naturally, like ours did?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Morning runner

You'd never know it by my blog or my schedule, but I did manage to complete the first week of C25K training and I discovered something very important about myself - I can't run at night.

Squeezing in a piddly 3 days at the gym last week was almost impossible.  Power outages. Holidays. Weather. You name it, it all seemed to get in my way.  But I did manage to do it and the day of the power outage I realized I should never, ever run at the end of my day.

By the time I hit the gym at 8:00 p.m. on April Fools (what a joke!) I was tired, full, and not at all in the mind set to try and walk/jog/walk/jog/walk/jog.  About 10 minutes in I was ready to shout obsenities and jump off the treadmill.

Then I realized something else, I don't follow directions very well.

Where does it say "increase your incline" in the C25K book? No where. So why did I do it that night?  Don't know.

I think because I've been doing the elliptical for so long at a higher Level, and when I did incorporate "speed walking" to my routine I always increased the incline to feel a better burn, I figured it was all the same with this program...but this jogging thing is a whole new adventure and pushing the button to a 3 incline was stupid.

So on day 3 of week 1 I kept the incline at the lowest possible option.  I felt in control. I jogged more than I walked. I jogged longer than the suggested 20 minutes. I jogged at a pace of 5.0! It was also in the morning and apparently my tired, over 40 year old legs like that much better than trying to jog so close to my old lady bed time.

Tomorrow - day 1 of week 2!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Thank you for 75 degrees, Easter Bunny!

Not sure where you were for Easter but we hope you had a wonderful day.  We were home in the morning opening the bunny loot then off to the coast of Maine in the the the early April...SCORE!

Baskets were filled!

Jelly Bean hunt inside (Easter Bunny is always worried about critters and bad weather to do hunts outside - and apparently my son isn't quite awake yet. Nice face. Or bad photographer.)

Check every crevice

Strolling the Atlantic leaving footprints in the sand

She really wishes she had her bathing suit

Sandy toes to end a great day

Friday, April 2, 2010

Off the beaten path

Today I was reminded how incredibly boring my daily commutes are.

A couple of days a week, in the morning, I drive less than a mile to the gym, hit the donut shop drive thru for my super sized Diet Coke, then home.

I sit at my computer all day and then drive 2 miles to the after school building to pick up the kids. Then we drive the 2 miles home.

Depending on my day, I may take a right instead of a left to head home and swing by Super Stop & Shop to grab a few items - but only if I think the kids will withstand the 10 mins without meltdowns in the chip aisle.

At lunch I sometimes hit Target, again another couple of miles back and forth.

And then there are my bi-monthly visits to my PR firm which is no more than 5 miles down the road.

Boring and basic, wouldn't you say?

Well, today you would have thought I took the kids on a safari adventure.  I forgot I promised them a treat on the way home from after school so I took a quick left down the first side street I saw so I could turn around and my son screams out, "Oh man! Cooool!!  I didn't know you could that!"

I asked him, "Do what?"

He said, "Go down this street. It's like we live some place new. Awesome!"

After executing my 3 point turn I realized, I gotta spice up our commutes more.  Maybe next week I'll bang a U-turn and see what they do...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I'm not laughing

Joke's on me.

I woke up a little early today for two specific reasons:

1. To check email because the big boss in the UK was going to have a meeting this morning but as of last night I hadn't heard what time. And with my luck, he'd pick 7:00 a.m. ET and I'd miss it and hear about it for days.

2. Today was my planned day two of C25K training. I'm actually excited to do this running thing.

What happened?  Oh, at 6:48 a.m. ET big boss decided he needed to go to London and canceled the meeting, and after getting myself all pumped up to get to the gym for day two, I cross the bridge to the other side of town and there is no power.

No working traffic lights. No gas stations open.  No gym open. Funny, the donut/coffee shop was still serving food and super sized lattes without power. Nothing stops that guy from waking people up on the way to work.

So, I turned back around and here I sit. It's going to be a fun April 1, I can just tell!!! If only I had the nerve (and a stop watch) to try running out on the pavement. Shivers.