Technology means I’m Old?

Why can I not understand what a six year old can? I have explained to my teenager that part of the chasm in techno-comprehension has to do with what a person has grown up with. This conversation generally takes place after he affectionately insists I try some “game” or other only to find (for the millionth time) that I cannot manipulate a controller so as to actually accomplish anything; too many things at once. So as I explain, for instance, your current six year old finds i-pods and controllers completely normal. I find my i-pod to be alien. My teenager totally understands his cell phone, and that it is really more than a cell phone. I do not undersand this, I cling to the belief that my cell phone is just that, a cell phone. The problem is that it is just a cell phone, but cell phones do a wide variety of things that telephones did not. This whole “generational” explanation does not explain away those folks that just intuitively understand everything about computers. There are blogs, pings, bits, gigs, downloads, uploads, friend requests, permalinks and what have you. I struggle like crazy to learn about this stuff and then, when someone explains it, it seems so simple – til I try to do it by myself. So this reflection leads me to think……..I must be getting old? I am not acculturated properly to the new technology? True, and I still listen to the Grateful Dead.

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Families are Weird

Although it is still the season of miracles, it is also, without question, the season of difficult family relations. When you are young you have to see all your strange cousins and have your cheeks, etc., pinched by various aunts and uncles. As you get older there is the “bring home the laundry” holiday. When you get married there is the “whose family do we see for this one” holiday. When you have children there is always the “which grandparents get to see the babies” holiday. Because we no longer live in stable long term communities with multi-generational families; because we travel far and wide for college and there meet our mates; for lots of reasons in this global time, the holidays can become very divisive and contentious. And that’s before you actual see any of your relatives. Families are weird. You tolerate behaviors in your family members that you would never tolerate in any other house guest; you actually invite them back! You permit them to abuse your home, your spouse, your children and your good will and you love them anyway. Families are full of secrets. It is where we learn to gossip! Things are told to this one or that one, but kept from others for all kinds of reasons. This behavior is generally not accepted in most other adult groups, like workplaces, for instance. In your adult life you may have a friend or two that you tell your “secrets” to, expecting your confidence will be kept without a warning not to tell any particular other person. In families, you cannot expect your confidence to be kept, you must post a warning and identfy to whom it applies. Your family feels free to tell you all kinds of things, under the guise of love (geniune I’m sure). They can tell you that you are fat, pig headed, ignorant, unhealthy, etc., all for loving reasons. Would you continue a relationship with anyone else who told you these things regularly…..I think not.

The Vote

In this season’s bizarre, frantic presidential race, pundits, talking heads and pollsters talk about the “women’s vote” as if we were fungible, all the same, and inclined to vote in a clump. This is yet another manifestation of the invisibility syndrome. Although polls themselves show differences, depending on how the poll is created, or where it is taken, commentators still make this mistake regularly. If men were polled the same way, the same differences would appear. Nobody talks about the “men’s vote” as a discrete group. I happen to live these days in an area where “Bush Women” bumper stickers abound, and evangelism is central to the culture. Women of color, in my community, are unlikely to turn out in high numbers and are largely unmotivated so far as I can see. My largely uninformed perception is that the pundits have, in the past, loosely categorized the “women’s vote” as being a force for the democrats or for liberalism in some way if it could be mobilized. We are as various as the grains of sand. It is tempting to make kind generalizations about women being more peace loving or more eco friendly or whatever I would like us to be, but none of it is right. Generalizations are dangerous and lead us to stop listening to each other. We do it all the time, but that is a subject for another day. I vote, you should too.

Point of View

Having a public point of view is an interesting thing. Although I assume there are other women out there who share many of my feelings, I can only speak for myself. That is what this whole blog thing is about; speaking for myself. Even if someone agrees with some part of my point of view, I am sure that as many people as there are out there, there are points of view; including many that differ from mine. Of course, I hope that women will respond, comment, post on this blog spot if any of what I write is thought provoking. It is very liberating to have a forum to say whatever I feel without concern for the views of others. It would be more fun if it was a dialogue, not a monologue. It has long been my view that there are way too many public figures who are in a position to have a public opinion, and sway the opinion of others, who are not expert or even remotely knowledgeable in what they are propounding. In many cases it is entirely unclear to me how they became public figures or why their opinion matters sufficiently to pay them to propose it on television (the venue of the worst offenders). This is the country in which a blog of someone’s daily to do lists are being published as a book; someone paid for it? At least in this, the blog world, nobody thinks I am an expert nor do I say I am an expert (and I don’t get paid to pretend to be an expert). I am an expert at many things but here, I just have an opinion and, for today, I am not a public figure, just a woman with a point of view.

Miracles and Wonders

This is the time of miracles and wonders… Chanukah is all about miracles. Christmas is all about faith, which is all about miracles. When all the children we knew were little, we asked them “why do you light the menorah in the window”? And they all had learned the answer – “because you can”. The greatest miracle is that we live in a place and time where the freedom to worship is writ in stone. The most frightening is that the stone seems more eroded every day. Every day in e-mails spewing hate about muslims and their disregard for human life. Every day in political commentary that “evangelicals” are afraid of a Mormon becoming president because they aren’t “christian”. Every day when increasingly in this country the debate is not about who has the experience, knowledge, intelligence and compassion to run our out of control government but about who has the right faith, or enough faith to be an acceptable president. I am afraid that John Kennedy’s firm belief in the absolute separation of church and state is no longer possible. Sometimes it seems that the popular belief, and that of many of the candidates, is that faith is the only credential. I am afraid that here, as in France, anti-semitism will naturally arise as we become so centered in fundamentalist christianity that we become afraid of and hostile to everything else. So as I light my menorah in the window, I wonder for how many more holidays I will feel unafraid to do so. I wonder if my son will feel unafraid to light his in his future window, and if he is afraid, whether he willl have the courage to do it anyway. And so, in this time of miracles and wonders, the miracle I most pray for is that tolerance and acceptance flourish and that peace on earth prevails.

Useful Links

As noted in my e-book, there are sites that are helpful in various ways if you are trying to “green” your house.
Some sites that might offer solutions to the recycling bin issue are:

http://www.containerstore.com/
http://www.lowes.com/
http://www.amazon.com/

A site with a great review of recycling generally is
http://www.eartheasy.com/

Some good green cleaning product solutions are:

Mrs. Meyers Clean Day products have the greatest scents, your whole house will smell wonderful. I use their geranium in my dishwasher and every time you open it you get a floral blast. They are available at: (besides health food markets)

http://www.mrsmeyers.com/
http://www.williams-sonoma.com/

Cost Plus World Market (some of the products, not all at all stores)

Seventh Generation products are extremely effective and are are available at:

Publix supermarkets (and some others regionally)
http://www.seventhgeneration.com/

Method products are available at various stores including:

Target and http://www.target.com/
http://www.methodhome.com/

This is by no means an exhaustive list but I will continue to add to it. As I talk about in my e-book, I prefer to list those items that are very easily available. There are many products that are eco-friendly; some more effective, some less. Many of them are available only in specialty stores, generally health food. If you live in a small or rural area, these may be harder to find. The purpose here is to make it easy enough to inspire.