Friday, January 9, 2009

A Very Special Toast for 5:00 Fridays

This is what I had to say one year ago today. Go ahead and click. I'll give you a minute. Know why it's significant?

Because today is my first birthday. Insert fanfare here. No need for party hats and gifts. I take that back, gifts are welcome. I wear a size 6 shoe and am allergic to anything less than 22 karat gold and sterling silver. Don't send dark chocolate or anything with cherries and raisins. While we're having a little soiree, let's have cake too. My favorite is the coconut cake from the Hayes Barton Cafe. No need to splurge on a candle. I think the tradition of blowing spittle and cooties all over a perfectly good cake is disgusting and overrated anyway.

I started Dirt & Noise on a lark. My dear old witty friend Crouton Boy inspired me to start blogging. He's actually funny and writes exactly like he converses in person so when I read his blog I feel like he's right here. I figured if he can do it, so can I. Granted, he's more technically savvy than I am. All I want to do is write. I need a coding/html/techie mumbo jumbo assistant. Let me know if you're interested in the job. It's unpaid, but the bragging rights are cachet are fantastic.

So you see, a while ago I had a short term gig writing beauty product reviews for our local newspaper. I got tons of great feedback on my writing and storytelling (pat on back here, hold the applause). When my gig ended I found I still had a voracious appetite for writing. My fingers dance on the keyboard effortlessly, and writing is a wonderful escape (great therapy at times too). What I wrote in my business world wasn't cutting it. Snarky emails to friends, replete with celebrity gossip and baby stories, and x-rated text messages to Mac Daddy weren't cutting the mustard. I totally don't get that expression, but mustard is my second most favorite condiment. Little known fact so consider yourself in the know. Back to this pet project of mine...

Today marks my 263rd post and my first birthday. I am proud of this little online tome of mine and thankful to Mac Daddy for enduring many a night of my laptop being the third wheel.

So today, let's raise a glass to Dirt & Noise. No need to hold the applause any longer. Make some noise, friends!

On to our cocktail...

Now get yourself a crystal champagne glass. I'll be using the Tiffany glasses my big brother gave me for Christmas one year.

Now pop the cork on a sultry bottle of Veuve Clicquot. It's a lovely champagne that is special occasion-worthy without breaking the bank that is already crippled. Those French sure know a thing or two about the bubbly.

Cheers! Mwah!
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Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Thing About Facebook

My name is Ilina, and I'm a Facebookaholic.

I dream in status updates and live streams. I only recognize people by their avatars. I find my thumb unconsciously rolling the trackball on my Curve to read updates on the Facebook for Blackberry application that I downloaded, natch. I pore over photos and links and silly videos. I join causes and live chat and play Pathwords (damn you, Will, for hooking me!).

What really has me a bit freaked out is this whole connecting with long lost friends. Yeah, shut your pie hole, folks. I know that's precisely the point. It has me feeling slightly out of sorts, like I live in a parallel universe or something. I am a time traveler and don't recall a thing about the long, strange trip I took.

A bit of background, now keep up. My parents split up. I went to boarding school (my choice, not theirs). I changed schools. I changed schools again. All in all, I went to three high schools in four years (clearly couch fodder but seemed perfectly normal at the time). My parents moved out of my home town. I went to college. I moved to the midwest. I went to graduate school. I visited my home town precisely three times in 20 years, most recently just about three years ago.

You see, many of the people I have been reconnecting with on Facebook were boys and girls when I saw them last. Prepubescent. Innocent. Gawky. I myself was a tiny 4'8 peanut with scraggly hair and geeky tendencies. No self esteem, little confidence, lots of cluelessness. My boobs had not reached their full 32 DD. I shook like a spasming pork butt on the flexed arm hang and huffed and puffed my way around the track for the 600 yard dash (dash, my ass!). I was picked last in gym (no wonder) and faced the evil terror of Mr. Benfer, whose mother terrorized me in math class. I tell you, the Benfer family did not get Christmas goodies from this gal. Where was I? Oh, I was an 82 pound nothing with no athletic prowess, mutated social skills, and a nervous giggle, but I could conjugate the hell out of some verbs in Mrs. Robinson's English class.

Now here I am. A woman of 40. Wife. Mother. Business owner. Wannabe writer. Boobs reduced to a perfectly perky and pleasant 32 B. Yet that geeky little girl still shudders inside me and is about one rope climb away from wetting her pants. I thought I shed her since I lost track of all the people who knew her in the flesh rather than in the stories that I tell. And so she is real again. Watching from the inside out, unaccustomed to her usual view of outside looking in.

The boys and girls I knew then are men and women now. They shave. They're bald. They're fat. They're skinny. They make mortgage payments. They don't have a curfew. They've had sex...with mulitiple partners! They're parents, professsionals. They are on the cusp of a midlife crisis, astonishing considering they were on the edge of preteen angst last I saw them! Some moved to the tropics, some stayed in town. Now, they, and I, are people with a past. When we knew each other before we were people with a future.

I rediscovered the kids who came to my house to celebrate my 13th birthday. I reconnected with the guy I shared my music stand with in band (trombone, in case you were wondering). I found, and have been found by, crushes and heartbreakers and jerks. Instead of being in the cast of their tales, I am a voyeur, playing catch up to a life that went on without me.

I love hearing from these old friends and hope to weave them back into my life. There are so many that I've thought of fondly over the years and wondered how to get back in touch without it seeming creepy or stalkery. Facebook has not opened the proverbial Pandora's Box; it has opened doors, and windows in which I can catch a glimpse of my former self and what I've become. What we've become.

There is something special about Facebook. It is a warming, comforting feeling to get a friend request from someone long lost who touched me and shaped me. It's nice to know that I came across their radar, as they came across mine many, many times. And I would be lying if I didn't say I admit to overt joy when the I see the mean girls who aged very, very poorly (not naming names, of course).

So I haven't hit rock bottom yet. I'm going to keep bellying up to the Facebook bar. Now that we're all old enough to drink legally, I do hope my friends will join me.
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Monday, January 5, 2009

911 Needs a Boost

We hammer the numbers 9-1-1 into our children's brains from an early age. Parents, teachers, firemen, police officers, librarians, babysitters. They hear those fateful digits, sometimes couched in fear, sometimes in bravery, sometimes in service. We read hot topic stories about first graders saving their mom from choking on a Cheeto. We see Matt and Meredith interview preschoolers who called the authorities to report a burglar creeping in through the attic window. At my house we even have a sticker on the cordless phone with a picture of an ambulance, firetruck, police car, and giant yellow numbers, 9-1-1.

So in the event that I should fall and not get up, God help me, don't tempt the Fates here, my children will punch the numbers 9-1-1 into the phone.

And I will still lay there motionless. Likely whimpering.


Because simply hitting the 9, 1, and 1 keys on a phone get you nowhere in a hurry. Phones have changed from back in the day. What hasn't changed is how we teach our kids to make a call in an emergency. Teaching our children to call 9-1-1 is no longer adequate, and in fact, could be dangerous. In an emergency, seconds matter. I've been there and can speak from experience.

We need to revamp our old school ways and start teaching kids to dial 9-1-1 TALK. Or the green button. Or whatever key on your phone enables a call. We are failing our kids, and potentially ourselves, by omitting this very key step.

I'm a mom and I'm a marketer. There's nothing I'd like more than to start a campaign to teach kids to dial 9-1-1 TALK. I see a logo in my future. And perhaps an interview with Matt and Meredith.

Cross posted at Deep South Moms.

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