Friday, February 28, 2014

I'm search-engine optimized!

I googled myself yesterday looking for a good picture (you'd think I would just have one but I needed a respectable business picture and turns out I just like to look ridiculous anytime someone points a camera in my direction). 

As you know I have been off Facebook for the month. Today is officially the last day of my face-battical.  And as excited as I am to get back to the world of knowing what is going on with everyone I even remotely know in down to the minute details...  Here's what I noticed when I googled myself:

Without Facebook, I'm search engine optimized!

If I were to apply for a job or something (which I'm not!) or be googled by anyone who wished to bestow upon me any kind of opportunity, endeavor or otherwise, they would find, after googling me that I'm a sexuality educator, I work at IndependenceFirst,  I received a 40 under 40 award last year, and various places they could have seen me do a workshop/presentation on sexuality education.

Once you throw facebook in the mix, it's a lot less about my professional accomplishments and a lot lot lot more silly pictures.

It's very interesting.  It gives me pause. 

Oh my gosh....I'm so sorry. I couldn't resist.

But it makes me wonder..just about the way something like Facebook can clog things up. 

Well, at any rate, I'll likely be back on come Monday.  It's been a nice sabbatical though.  I thought about nothing but what was currently happening and about who I was currently with.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Be what you are.

Be what you are.
This was written on a post-it note on our bathroom mirror this morning.  I know Tad wrote it for himself.  Because it's hard to be who you are and be a teacher at the same time. There are so many roles you have to play.  But then again, it's hard to be who you are and be anything else at the same time.
There are so many roles you have to play.
The other day, Coen was talking to us about the social stratospheres of his classroom. It's starting.  He's in a class with 4th through 6th graders and he is aware of who is "popular". 
"Oh, Coen" Tad had said, "Popular just means that everyone knows you.  Everyone can know you for good reasons and bad reasons. It isn't something you need to try and be."
"Oh, I know." Said Coen.  "Me and my friends are kind of the weirdoes."
"And the weirdoes have the most fun." Tad said.
Coen smiled.
He said that when he sat down at a table to work, all the girls who were sitting there got up and moved.  My face fell when he said this, but Coen smiled.
"Oh don't worry, Mommy." He said. "I didn't mind. Then there was room for my friends to come sit!"
Coen really doesn't seem to mind. And Tad tells me not to worry.  His experience sounds so much like the one I had in 4th grade. I was a weirdo. People moved to another seat when I sat at their table.  But, oh, how I minded.  But you know, Tad and I just affirm to Coen that he is a wonderful person and that this time of life is hard and going to get harder before it gets easier. But that we love who and what he is.  We're all weirdoes in our family. 
So we'll just keep teaching our kids: BE WHAT YOU ARE.  That's all you need to do.  Oh. And be kind.
-Elliot Rosewater's Baptismal Speech (Kurt Vonnegut, 1965)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Don't we all want to connect?  I mean isn't that the one thing, we, as the human race absolutely positively have in common?

You'd think we could use that to our advantage.

I just saw the movie Her. 

I thought it would re-affirm my feelings about my facebattical.  That I would think about our dependence on our devices for constant stimulation and immediate answers to all our questions.  I thought I would leave the movie and think. Yep.  Good thing I left Facebook for a while.

But no.  After that movie was over (I went to see it alone) I sat in the dark and music of the credits and I thought, first, of Tad.  I thought about my connection to him and the way it feels to be in love with someone in such a way that your bodies are immaterial.  How it feels to connect with someone right down to their soul.  If I were to loose all five senses except the sixth (that I believe we all have--not like we can predict the future or see ghosts--that we can feel people's energy around them and really know them if both are open to that), if I were to loose those senses, I would KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt, if Tad walked into the room with me, that it was HE who was there.  I know the way he feels in the air around me. 

So Her was about love, really. About how we connect with people or we don't connect with people or we start and then stop.  But we all want this connection...every single one of us. 

Today I was visiting the senators and representatives of Wisconsin for work. Lobbying for the rights of people with disabilities in the arenas of long term care, mental health and transportation (among other things) and I noticed that in the appointments where we were all reaching out to one another, no matter whether our political affiliations were the same or different) we had really positive communications.  And the two appointments where the person was closed to us, nothing was accomplished at all.  It was as if nothing was said and nothing was heard  How sad.  My own Representative Evan Goyke, he just spent three weeks going to each and every member of the republican party (not his own party) to connect and talk through issues.  What an amazing thing.  Because even when we're ideologically opposed to something, maybe if we talk long enough, we can agree that we're trying to do something good.

When I was in between appointments, I noticed a staff person in the building dropped a pile of papers and mail.  I smiled at him and knelt down to help gather the things.
"I don't want help." He said in a clipped voice.
"You don't? I asked.
How closed he was!  And I'm not trying to be critical.  Maybe he was having a bad day or just received hard news...but he was so closed. And I kept thinking, what if he'd smiled back and let me help. And what if we started talking and found a common ground or a shared interest.  What if we became friends or had a relative in common....what a story that could have been. 
"Open your heart!" I wanted to say to him.
But I smiled and walked away.

One quote in the movie Her was this: "Love is just a socially acceptable form of insanity"

What if we just opened ourselves up?  What if we just opened up, all of us, and tried to connect? What if?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

You do the hokey pokey

My parents once told me how funny they think it is when the picnic tables at the park are all lined up in a standing row.
"It's so funny!" My mom laughed "Dad says it looks like they're doing the hokey pokey! It really does!"  She laughed some more.  She does that.
So I looked for the standing picnic tables next time I drove past the park and saw them.
I didn't think it looked like they were doing the hokey pokey at all. 
Uh oh, I thought, am I losing my sense of humor? Why do my parents see the humor in the picnic table line?  Where is this hokey pokey they see?

I was concerned.

In fact, in concerned me for two winters as I drove past the standing line of picnic tables and tried to see what they were seeing.  And then finally one day, I saw something. The picnic tables looked like they were doing a conga line.

I laughed right out loud.

And then I called my mom.

"Mom!" I said, "You know the winter picnic tables, doing the hokey pokey? Well, when you did the hokey pokey, did you stand in a circle?"
"No." My mom said. "We stood in a line"


"Oh!" I said, laughing, "No wonder I didn't get it.  We did the hokey pokey in a circle, so I never saw what you saw. But today it looked like a conga line to me and I started laughing."
My mom started laughing.  She laughed for a while.

I felt so much better. I hadn't lost my sense of humor at all. The hokey pokey, to me, looks like this:

But to my parents, the hokey pokey looks like this:
So you see, we all have our senses of humor quite in tact.  The picnic tables at the park ARE doing the hokey pokey. Or a conga line! However you like to see it. Here's me dancing with the picnic tables:

Everything is still hilarious, thank goodness.