Why I took a break from social media

facebook-fatigueOne day last month I was driving on I-90. It was snowing and the person in the car next to me was smoking a cigarette and checking his phone. He also wasn’t wearing his seatbelt.

As I watched him steer with his wrists, and balance ash, I started composing a status update in my head. I wanted to capture the right words to explain just what happened — but I needed those words to take up no more than 140 characters. My FB profile is connected to my Twitter account and, ideally, I don’t want people to have to click through to read my thoughts.

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I can’t believe I Googled *that*

Sometimes, there are questions we’re too embarrassed to ask even our closest friends. They may not be the kinds of questions you see on “The Doctors,” but rather inquiries that seem … stupid. (Or that make us realize we’re lacking brain cells when it comes to a certain topic or topics).

I had a lot of these while pregnant. I asked Google why I was drooling at night (sexy, right?) or if that needle-like stabbing in my nethers was “normal.”  Recently, Cindy and I debated where you’re from if you’re Dutch, and if Holland and the Netherlands were the same place.

“Erase your history when you’re done searching,” she said. “We don’t need others knowing we don’t know this.” Continue reading

Is it ever OK to ‘run over’ your child?

tantrumI heard him a good 10 aisles before I saw him. After weaving from the health and beauty section to the vacuum cleaner accessories I met the source of the screams – a towhead of about 3-years-old (maybe a tad younger) slung on his mother’s hip. She balanced the teary-eyed, red-faced youngster while pushing her shopping cart.

He squirmed and she tried uprighting him. My breath quickened, and my chest tightened. I was panicking as if this was my child having a breakdown. I gave the mother what was intended to be a sympathetic look, but what probably came across like fear, or constipation. I walked faster, as if leaving the tantrum in the rearview was somehow going to make it stop. Continue reading

Yes, they said that (and that and that and …)

Little C's hair does that on its own.

Little C’s hair does that on its own.

Little C has some funny hair. Her matchstick-straight, wispy blonde locks always look as if she’s suffering a serious case of static electricity.

Although she’s not. That’s just the way her hair looks, and has looked since her newborn hair fell out.

Strangers — sometimes more than one dozen a day — comment on her hair. They stop us in the grocery store and when we’re out for a walk. They come up to us in parking lots. In the rain. While I’m balancing packages for the post office, an umbrella and a squirming baby.

When we go to one of my favorite home decor stores, the manager says “ohhh, my favorite baby hair is here.” Yes, that’s right. Not my favorite baby, but my favorite baby hair.

Moms tell me their sons/daughters/puppies had the same thing going on when they were fresh and new(ish). A waitress once forgot my order, she said, because she was so focused on C’s at-attention locks.

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Draven Rodriguez, step away from the cat

Those signs people hang in their kitchen that say “kitchen,” white, button-down shirts and senior portraits in the yearbook have this in common: they’re boring, and generic.


Vincent Giordano/Trinacria Photography

Boring and generic is OK for some. Many, actually. Boring and generic often means fitting in, and it’s easy because being boring doesn’t require much effort, thought or creativity.

But there are times when we need to accept what is and realize that getting something is better than nothing at all.

Draven Rodriguez doesn’t live by that motto. 

The Schenectady High School senior created an online petition so a photo of him with his cat could appear in the portrait section of the yearbook. “This is my photo that should be going into the yearbook, but we know how finicky the school systems can be. I’m hoping that with enough signatures, my school simply can’t turn this down” he wrote on the top of the petition. 

Some (including Rodriguez) may call his move preemptive, I call it attention-seeking.  Continue reading

The ‘right’ way to do things

pillow-cases-13We all believe our way is right. My ‘rights’ go something like this:

  • The open sides of the pillowcase must face out.
  • Cookies should be crisp, not chewy.
  • Towels should be folded in thirds.
  • The toilet paper goes over, not under.
  • Calling someone between 5 and 7 p.m. is, in theory, interrupting dinner (and therefore rude).
  • A hand towel is not a sponge, or a rag.
  • Babies should be dressed like babies — meaning no tulle, sequins or other bedazzling.
  • Email responses should take no more than 24 hours. Continue reading

Does he (or she) deserve a tip?

No tipMany, many moons ago I’d get my hair cut at a small place in a strip mall in my hometown. The only two stylists at this joint were the owners — let’s call them Polly and Beatrice.

I’d get my hair cut by Beatrice, for $10. This was the perfect price for a college student in 1999. And, since she was the owner (AKA not paying booth rental fees or turning her earnings over to a salon head), I did not tip.

Suddenly, I’d come home from break and she’d never have availability. This was odd seeing as I would previously get in the same day. I tried a few more times, with the same results. Continue reading

Why the ‘crappy’ tip?

Originally, a portion of the restaurant's address and the diner's signature was visible. I have removed those details.

Originally, a portion of the restaurant’s address and the diner’s signature was visible. I have removed those details.

I got involved in an interesting conversation on Facebook this morning regarding tips. A waiter posted a photo of a receipt where he received $6.54 on an $85.46 bill with the caption “This is not okay people.”

I agree. That’s a lousy tip. And, knowing this particular individual casually, I suspect he’s not one to offer service that warranted a less-than-10-percent gratuity. What perplexed me, though, was how some of the commenters (conversation below) jumped to comment on the financial situation of the diner(s).

Tips are not guaranteed. They are earned. Lousy tips happen for all sorts of reasons — people didn’t like what they chose/ordered or they thought the service out of the kitchen was too slow (both of which aren’t the waitstaff’s fault, but that doesn’t mean some diners won’t blame them). It could be as simple as a personality clash. Perhaps a waiter or waitress reminds the person picking up the tab of someone they don’t like, personally or professionally. Maybe it was matter of a bad day. Continue reading

Snooki: Save the ‘expectant mom’ parking spot for your third trimester

snookiDuring her “Jersey Shore” days, Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi made headlines for drunken debauchery. Today, the mom of one-almost-two has people talking again. This time, for using an expectant mom parking spot at Babies ‘R Us.

Snooki is pregnant, but she’s not pregnant “enough,” according to detractors who got all badooglafied after the former reality star posted a photo of herself on Instagram pulling into the special spot.

They argue she plasters the media  – social and traditional — with talk of her healthy lifestyle, and shares photos of herself lifting tires like she’s a member of CrossFit. That, they say, means she doesn’t “need” a special space. Continue reading