Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A "Departure" from Social Media

As 2017 rolled in with all of its uncertainties, I pledged to back-off of my social media accounts.  Don't get me wrong - I think Twitter is one of the best tools available for professional development and networking; I love keeping in touch with friends (past and present) on Facebook and seeing how their lives are progressing.  Instagram, too.  However, I reached a point that it was just too much - especially Facebook.  Why, when I go to dinner with my wife and kids, or go to an event, it became more important for me to post what I was doing rather than just engage in the moment and enjoy the people I was spending my time with?

So, one month later.... here is how I am doing.   Yes, I LOOK at Facebook.  I have not posted ONE thing in 2017; I have responded to some folks and "Liked" or showed emotion to posts, but my life and times is not all over FB.  When I look at "So and so is with "X" at Starbucks" I think to myself, why do I need to know that?  If I was a thief, I'd find out where that person lives and rob the house when they aren't home!  But seriously, why have we become a society where every action we take has to be broadcast?

I feel so much better not posting. I feel engaged when I am with other people.  Two weeks ago, I had dinner at my parents house with two of my daughters.  We left our phones in the car.  We had a great dinner - fantastic conversation, and then played cards for two hours after.  No phones, no social media.  Quality family time.  Felt great NOT to be attached for a change.

I am a Director of Technology.  I know these social media tools have a purpose - but there's a time and place for them.  I cannot allow them to rule my life.  I need to be present in the moment, because time flies by.  (Not to mention a high percentage of posts are political these days and I'm about to reach my breaking point!)

So, think before you post.  Be in the moment with the ones you love. Enjoy the time we are here and don't have your face buried in your device..... As with alcohol, eating, and other things, use social media in moderation when appropriate.  #lifeisshort

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Proud of My (and all other) "Nasty Women"

For those out there that are so bored that you have actually read any of my blog posts, you'll probably notice that I am not the strongest writer.  I have a lot of thoughts - they often run into each other and aren't always fully articulated.  I also know that the tone of my posts, over the past several months, are political in nature.  While I never intend them to be political, now is the time to be political and stand up for our democracy and rights of everybody.

Last spring and into the summer, I read some articles and somewhat predicted a Trump victory in November.  His disgusting, ugly, and unethical campaign appealed to people who felt they were "victims" of hard times.  I am not discounting the hard times many of my fellow citizens have fallen upon; however using propaganda to appeal to disenchanted folks is not the answer.  The propaganda was riddled with generalizations and lies.  Very uneducated....

One thing Trump understands is that negative press is press.  It's attention.  Even if that attention is negative and more often than not, false, he knows how to con people.  Keith Olbermann, a journalist who I've enjoyed all the way back during his ESPN days, has a great series on GQ, The Resistance.  He has clearly outlined while the new Predator in Chief is scary and unfit.

Madi (far right) with her "nasty" sorority sisters (awesome Ghandi Quote!)
Watching the election results on November 8 made me feel as if I was in the Twilight Zone.  The next day, I felt like crying - not that the Democrats lost (I feel it was wonderful to have a woman candidate - perhaps it was not the right woman) - I was upset because of the ugliness of the campaign and the rhetoric that Trump spewed time and time again - and continues to spew.  The person is a sociopath - a bully who has to always get in the last word.  He is a spoiled brat who was born with a silver spoon and has always gotten his way.  (Historians call Reagan the "teflon President."  You ain't seen NOTHING yet!)

Sarah, Alyssa & Katie - "Nasty Women"  💗
After the election and Friday's very strange inauguration, I was losing hope.  However, yesterday - January 21, 2017 - showed the strength of Americans - particularly women, who are not going to sit idly and let this beast and his billionaire cronies take away their rights.  I am particularly proud of my three daughters who exercised their first amendment (and other) rights; Madi marched with her sorority sisters in Santa Cruz while Sarah and Katie joined family and friends to march on Civic Center in San Francisco.  I am grateful that my daughters know they are equal to anybody - man or woman - and have the right to control their own bodies, choose a profession that makes them happy, and earn the same as a person of the opposite gender.  Their gender is not a detriment - it is a gift and source of unlimited potential. #nastywomen

I spent a lot of time over the last two weeks watching President Obama's "Farewell Tour."  The grace and class he and Michelle (and their daughters) showed brought tears to my eyes.  Barack Obama is the most "human" President that I've experienced in my lifetime.  There is a sincerity and genuine care he puts in to everything.  Watching Ellen DeGeneres salute The Obama's was beyond touching.

While everybody in our country has the right to their opinion and point of view, I will always believe that The Obama's faced racism every step of the way.  Yet they charged ahead and did what they felt was right for ALL Americans.  They are amazing role models.  Many of Obama's critics, and even Obama himself claim that his Presidency "fell short."  Show me a President who has NOT fallen short?  And there's a simple reason for this - partisan politics dominate.  Members of Senate and the House are often more concerned with re-election than they are with doing what is right.   Regardless of what others think, I, too, have the right to my opinion.... Barack Obama is the best President of my life and historians, in the years ahead, will agree that he will go down as one of our best ever.  I appreciate the hope he has instilled in many.  And remember, as Obama stated Friday, "this is not a period; it is a comma in our nation's history."  #stillMYpresident   #thankyouObamas

Keep the resistance going.  Thank you to the Nasty Women for their amazing work yesterday and for all of the others who support them.  We are not done. This is just the beginning.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

"Happy New Year" and other...

The calendar changed the other night - from December 31 to January 1.  As we lunged into the abyss of 2017 and all of its uncertainties, I started thinking.  Why do we say, "Happy New Year" for about five days, and then it's forgotten?  Why is January 1 the "unofficial" landmark / date that we start things new - from diets, to exercise, to other things, such as stopping swearing (I usually last three minutes.)

I am not trying to be a pessimist.  Let's face it, 2016 was a tough year - we experienced the deaths of many well-knowns and also experienced the ugliest and costliest election in our nation's history.  The uncertainty that lies ahead frightens me - not only as an American, but also as a parent and an educator.

As the clock ticked to 12:00 am January 1 and we greeted each other with "Happy New Year," were we really speaking the truth?  Will this be a happy year?  Why do we have to wait until a new year to begin in order to start eating better, spend more responsibly, exercise more, treat each other better?

Along these lines, I was reflecting about my "wants" for my own children.  I just had the opportunity and privilege to spend a week with them in Nuevo Vallarta.  Not having them every day in my life (physically) has been one of the greatest challenges I've experienced as an adult.  I was looking at my oldest daughter, almost 19 and a second year at UC Santa Cruz and I thought, "What do I really want for Madi?"  It's pretty simple (and my commentary in ( ) :

  • I want her to be happy (she appears to be)
  • I want her to be independent (she appears to be)
  • I want her to be confident (she is confident most of the time)
  • I want her to be educated (she values education and is very earnest)
  • I want her to treat others as she wishes to be treated (the golden rule!)
  • I want her to appreciate the opportunities she has (she is always thankful)
  • I want her to have the confidence to express herself and stand up for her beliefs (so far, so good)
  • I want her to choose a career that inspires her and keeps her happy - it's not about the money, it's about fulfillment.
I'm sure this list will grow.... above all, I want my children to know how much they are loved and supported despite any challenges ahead, differences we may experience.  Life is short....let's enjoy it.  Happy New Year.