Month: February 2013 (Page 1 of 2)

Social media cleansing

Periodically I like to go through Twitter, Facebook, and Google Reader and just … delete. Minimize. Cleanse. Today I did precisely that, and it led to some observations (mostly centered around Facebook):

  • Seriously, I got rid of about 10% of my friends just by deleting inactive accounts. (Which brings to mind the question: Hey Facebook, WHY are you listing inactive accounts??) Part of me wonders why each person deactivated; part of me envies/admires them for it.
  • I don’t even recognize the names of like half the people I’m connected to. Not because we aren’t friends anymore. Mostly because lots of ladies got married. (Sidebar: I won’t be changing my name.) Also, some people just like using ridiculous pseudonyms and/or making themselves hard to find for professional reasons.
  • It was kind of fun to reminisce about the different periods of my life from whence these people came. Especially the 2 groups of freshman that I was Resident Assistant for. I miss those kids and their hijinks.
  • It was really sad to see “Memorial Page” next to one girl’s name. We’re too young for that.
  • There are wedding and baby pics everywhere. We’re too young for that too! (Okay not really, but it still feels like it sometimes.)
  • Dang, Facebook is glitchy.
  • If I have to add you to a “restricted” list, we probably shouldn’t be friends anyway.
  • There really ought to be a way to filter political posts out of one’s news feed. I can be friends with people who think differently from me, but that doesn’t mean I want to read all their snarky status updates.

This latest cleanse was partly spurred by the peace I felt while on vacation, when I was mostly disconnected from the internet. Natalia Sylvester (who, ironically, I met through social media) said it perfectly in her latest post, “In the Vastness of Memory”:

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with social networking lately. I love the people it’s helped me connect to. I hate the co-dependency that constantly being plugged in has fostered.

I’m not saying let’s all be done with it. I’m just saying I want the control back. I want to share the occasional moment and be at peace with keeping some for myself.

Me too. And that’s something I’m going to strive toward in the days and weeks to come.

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Paris in photos

If you’re friends with me on Instagram, then you probably know that I spent last week in Paris. (And this post will be entirely familiar to you, sorry!) The trip was Andy’s xmas present to his mother, and for some reason I got to tag along. (Yay!) Here are a few highlights of what we saw (and ate), including a brief foray into London:

Hello, gorgeous. The one and only.
The incomparable Orsay. Day 1 #macarons.
Obligatory Louvre photo. Obligatory Sacre Coeur photo.
Excellent first courses at La Maison de Verlaine. Obligatory Eiffel Tower photo.
My first time at Versailles. Tomb of the unknown soldier.
Ferris wheel at the Tuileries. French onion soup, beef carpaccio, & black truffle risotto at Le Castiglione.
"Big Ben," but not really, because Big Ben is actually a bell you can't see. Obligatory London Eye photo.
Tower Bridge, which is NOT London Bridge, but IS the most iconic bridge of London. Escaped the biting winds with hot chocolate and fish and chips at Rock and Sole Plaice.
On the banks of the Seine. Luxembourg gardens.
Epic final meal with my family. Clockwise: foie gras pâté, mozzarella and sun-dried tomatoes, duck confit, beef tartare, lamb with flaming rosemary (!!), and white fish. "Yum" doesn't quite do this justice. All good things must come to an end. Macarons for the flight home. Au revoir, Paris. We had a lovely and delicious time.

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Why our 20s (the “New Adult” years) matter

I recently read this line in WILD by Cheryl Strayed, and it strikes me that this is exactly why our 20s matter, why they are not “wasted” years as some skeptics have argued:

“I never got to be in the driver’s seat of my own life,” she’d wept to me once, in the days after she learned she was going to die. “I always did what someone else wanted me to do. I’ve always been someone’s daughter or mother or wife. I’ve never just been me.”

I never could have articulated it quite like that until now, but yes, that’s it. That’s what our 20s are. A chance to just be us. A moment of suspension, of midair flight/freefall, after we’ve let go of one vine (our parents) and before we’ve grabbed hold of the next (becoming husbands/wives/parents).

(And yes, I know not everyone will get married or have kids. I’m speaking broadly here.)

Previous generations didn’t necessarily get that chance. I think we’re lucky that we do. Maybe it seems like we’re not making the best use of it, sometimes… But maybe that’s the whole point.

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Stuff worth reading: Valentine’s edition

“Newsletter: Month One Hundred and Eight” by Heather Armstrong (Dooce)

“Even if this hand right here grows to be as big as a house, it will still be a perfect hand.”

You giggled and shook your head. “I won’t be able to pick up a spoon and eat cereal if my hand is THAT big.”

“Well then, I’ll get you a bigger spoon,” I said.

“MY BRAIN IS A JERK: a post about writing with (and in spite of) perfectionism” by Laini Taylor

It’s so weird that the same marvelous instrument that brings us imagination and wordplay, narrative instinct, memory, detail, and other amazing things, is the same son of a bitch that whams us with indecision and doubt and self-loathing and creative paralysis every chance it gets. Brains can be jerks. Mine is.

“Big Dreams vs. Realistic Expectations” by Rachelle Gardner

Don’t let the difficulty of the path convince you that you shouldn’t have BIG dreams and BIG expectations. But also, don’t let the difficulty turn you into a bitter person.

“The Way I Am Around You” by Chelsea Fagan

With you, I am generous. I want to be this way because I understand it’s the right thing and I have learned to extract more joy from the act of giving than of receiving. Few things make me happier than seeing your face light up with something I have done for you — a surprise, a gift, a kind word when it is needed most.

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Gran Teatre del Liceu

10-24 Liceu 002

Red velvet. Gold trim. House lights. Orchestra pit. We’re in the middle of Las Ramblas, but we may as well be in a whole other world. Outside, the streets of Barcelona swell with warm voices, warm bodies — but that’s all on the other side of these walls. In here, it’s hushed conversation and cool elegance.

Suddenly the lights dim. The music swells. We take our seats. Eyes rivet to the stage. The Man of La Mancha galumphs out from behind the curtain. Dulcinea glides out on pale pink slippers, sweet and light and twirling like cotton candy.

In the dark, I finally allow myself a few tears. Frustration ebbs from invisible wounds, making room for something else besides sorrow and self-pity. The holes inside me fill with wonder — at the moment, at the dance. We are Americans in a famous Spanish theater, watching Americans dance a famous Spanish story. We are so privileged, and so alive.

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