Monday, March 31, 2014

Social Media Etiquette

I read a post the other day on Julie DeNeen's blog that had me nodding my head over and over in agreement.  In this post Julie lists "23 Terrible Social Media Habits You Might Not Realize You're Doing".  I'm not going to sit here and repeat her list but it is well worth checking out so click on the link at the beginning of this paragraph to see how many you agree with and how many you're guilty of.

One point that she makes is that bad habits, unfortunately, spread as easily (if not more) than good habits.  Like when one person puts half a dozen hashtags on their post so the next person not only copies them but feels compelled to top them.  This is a self-perpetuating bad habit that has become a fad.  Personally I get annoyed when I see more than one.

She asked her readers to go to Twitter, Google+ or Facebook and tell her what annoys them on social media using the (ONE!) hashtag #socialmediasmackdown.  Please feel free to join in!

Here is my response:

Over and over again, I am amazed at the things people say to each other on the internet.  People call each other names, insult each other's intelligence and criticize each other's looks/parenting skills/ opinions.  People hiding behind made-up names with pictures that are not their own say things to others that they would never dream of saying to their faces.  Somehow, the fact that those who they are being cruel/rude to are "out there somewhere" makes it okay.

Unfortunately, the internet is the ideal venue for bullies of all ages.  I have even caught myself starting to type things that shock me.  It can be too easy to step over the line when you are secure in your own home talking to a screen, forgetting that it's a human being who will be reading it.  I've taught myself to always re-read everything that I type before I click "enter".  I ask myself, "is this something I would say to that person's face?" and, if the answer is no, I re-do it until it does sound like the real me.  Have I ever ended up typing something that I did regret?  Yes, because I am human and so very imperfect but at least I do make a supreme effort to be somebody whose face/name others are happy to see.

None of this means that I think the internet should be a rose garden where everybody agrees with everybody else and life is all sunshine and rainbows.  It's perfectly okay to disagree with one another and to express that disagreement.  This is how we learn and grow as people.  If only more people stopped to breathe and re-read their words before posting their opinions…..

Thankfully, the majority of people are pretty decent and keep blogging and other social media activities a great experience.  When I do run into those who don't, I just hit "unfollow".


Saturday, March 29, 2014

A step into fiction

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking these days.  What have I been thinking about?  Glad you asked!  As many of you know by now, I am an avid reader.  Reading so many great works of fiction has always made me dream of trying my hand at fiction.  The thought of being a writer has always been an exciting one.

The only impediment to this dream is that, like Winnie-the-Pooh, I have always considered myself to be a bear of very little imagination.  Okay, the quote is actually "very little brain" but I'm showing a "little imagination" by tailoring it to my current needs.  As you can imagine, this lack of confidence in my abilities seriously hampers my drive to even attempt it. 

One of the accounts that I follow on Google+ posts a weekly writing prompt and it has really “prompted” me to seriously consider making an attempt.  I also have a book of writing prompts that I had intended to work with, even keeping an exercise book in my purse, but the idea kind of fizzled.  If I’m not held accountable in some way, this tends to happen to me…..

This is why I’m seriously considering setting up a secondary blog devoted solely to my (possibly feeble) attempts at fiction.  If there is a blog out there waiting for something to be published on it, this may just be the push I need to get serious about writing the fiction that I so dearly love.

It's been suggested to me by a friend, who certainly has more experience than me, that it might be a good idea to create a fiction page on this blog rather than maintaining a second blog.  She's probably right.  The thing is, I have enough fear of failure in this new venture that I don't want to set up a page here that could be defunct in a couple of months.  I enjoy this blog and don't want that staring me in the face every time I come here.  If this fiction blog is something that I come to enjoy and become moderately good at, then I'll consider blending the two blogs into one but, for now, I think that I'd like to keep the two separate.

I took this image one of Mama Kat's (Mama's Losin' It) emails for her weekly blog prompts because I think that this is how I'll start out.  A new blog doesn't have a large readership so I'd basically be writing for myself at first.

If I do it, I’ll tell you about it but I’m not sure that my somewhat fragile self-esteem will let me go on an all-out promotion blitz about it for a while.  Like I said, "write like no one's reading".  I may just take some time to get a feel for it first.  I tend to be pretty hard on myself, like so many of us are, so it might take a while to me to get up the nerve to make this a reality.   Stay tuned……


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Something Fishy

One of Mama Kat’s Writing Prompts for this week is:  your least favourite job you’ve ever had….

This one is SO easy that the post practically writes itself!  I ended up in the worst job when I was twenty years old.  It was at a fish market where my brother-in-law was the manager.  He’s the one that got me the job as a cashier and, I think, felt a little bad for it for many years afterward. 

This place had a frozen and canned good sections as well as a store-wide counter of fresh fish.  Of course, in many cases, I’m using the word “fresh” very loosely.  My co-workers were a cool bunch, including both of my BIL’s.  The person that made this job a little piece of hell-on-earth was the owner of the store. 

He was a volatile bugger!  If you made a mistake, he would literally scream at you right there in the middle of the store in front of your coworkers and customers.  It wasn’t like you could learn what he liked and didn’t like to be able to navigate the minefield either.  You would do things a certain way for a while and then, one day, BOOM, you’re getting yelled at for it.  This guy would even make his own mother cry!  (she worked there a couple of days a week)  Looking back now, I realize that he was nothing but a big bully who desperately needed to get stomped on by somebody bigger and meaner than he was.

He would also screw literally Every. Single. Customer who walked into the store.  Either the numbers being entered into the scale when weighing the fish would be messed with or the fish was half-way bad.  A lot of customers were lucky enough to get both treatments.  Of course, this was back in the days before the scales all went digital with printed labels.  They would throw the fish on, punch in a few numbers and whisk that thing off all so quickly that half the customers had no idea what was happening.  As for the freshness factor…… to this day, I can’t even look as scallops without feeling a little nauseous. 

Being the shy, soft (perhaps a little naïve) young thing that I was at the time, I took his crap for two years before I found the “balls” to quit.  I knocked around in a couple of part-time and temporary gigs for almost two years before I ended up where I am now.  As a matter of fact, the end of May is my twenty year anniversary with this company.  Can you believe that?!  Thankfully, I have a much better boss in this job.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Friday, March 21, 2014

Finish the Sentence Friday #3

I’m done with school but……. 

I still think about it.   

At forty-four, with a full time job and two teenagers, I’m not sure that I really have enough of “me” left over to even contemplate going back to school.  I don’t even know what I would want to study but…… 

I still think about it.  

I think about it after a long day at the office when I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything worthwhile.   

I think about it when I look at my life and wonder what difference I’ve made. 

I know a couple of people through Twitter/Facebook/Blogging who, in their late thirties to mid-forties went back to school to become nurses and they both love their new careers.  The fact that they both had husbands who “have their back” on the home-front (not to mention financially) was certainly a big factor for their successes.  I admire the courage and tenacity that it took for them to go for their dreams.   

I’m not sure that I’d have the guts or drive to do the same.   

I’ve often thought that I’d like to start up something that I could do from home or perhaps do on a freelance basis but I don’t think that my sense of security could take the ups and downs of self-employment.  I REALLY like getting a regular paycheque.   

The idea of starting a new career at my age is a scary one but…… 

I still think about it. 

Besides, what do I want to be when I grow up anyway? 

Finish the Sentence Friday


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Something New

One of Mama Kat’s writing prompts this week is – something new that you are loving.  I splurged on a couple of things over the holiday season but the most practical one was my new chest freezer.  It’s not a big one; I am in an apartment after all but it’s perfect for me. 

I have been in this apartment for nine years now with only an apartment sized fridge/freezer.  This is a challenge when there are three of you to feed and you would really like to take advantage of sales.  I don’t know how many times I must have stood there in the grocery store looking a little spaced out in front of the chicken/pork/beef/etc. on sale, trying to remember how much freezer space I had left and if I could buy that extra package of chicken/pork/beef/etc. 

Now, though, I have the freedom to buy as much as the budget will allow.  Bring on those chicken legs!  Extra pork chops?  Yeah man!  Frozen juice concentrate on sale?  Woo hoo! 

I actually have room in my regular freezer for ice cube trays now.  Gasp! 

I may just go on a baking extravaganza soon and freeze a supply of bread and cookies so that I don’t have to make these things in the July heat.  How exciting is that?!  I actually get to plan ahead now….. 

Mama’s Losin’ It


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Old School Blogging - March Edition

Today I’m linking up for a bit of old-school blogging hosted by Kim at Co-Pilot Mom and Elaine at The Miss Elaine-ous Life.  This is where we are given a list of questions about every day things in our lives and you get to learn something about us.  

What is the last thing you watched on television? Intelligence - he's so darned hot!

When did you last step outside?  What were you doing? Work, doctor appointment, lunch, grocery store.  Those were my outings of the day

What is on the walls of the room you are in? A bulletin board and some decorative plates….. yeah, need to update a bit

If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy? A house; not a big one, just a little something to call mine. 

Tell me something about yourself that most people don’t know?  I'm a total wuss about even mildly scary movies.

Who made the last incoming call on your phone?  My coworker letting me know that our other coworker got out of surgery (he's okay)

If you could change something about your home, without worry about expense or mess, what would you do?  I live in a third floor apartment with a gazillion stairs to climb each day so definitely an elevator! 

What was the last thing you bought? Groceries.  Yeah, go ahead and admire the lifestyle people!

Would you go bungee jumping or sky diving?  You would have to drug me and toss me off the bridge/plane for me to do either.  I like my feet on the ground, thankyouverymuch! 

I you could eat lunch with one famous person, who would it be?  Justin Trudeau; I've seen him interviewed many times and think he would be really interesting to talk to

Which store would you choose to max out your credit card at?  I don’t own a credit card but, if I did, I could do some real damage at Chapters/Indigo or any book store really 

Is the glass half empty or half full? Kind of the fence about that one; feeling some stress lately but trying to be optimistic.

What’s the furthest away place that you’ve been to?  Vancouver, B.C. for my BIL’s wedding a dozen or so years ago. 

What’s under your bed?  Monster dust bunnies that multiply at an alarming rate.  If my cat ever goes missing……. 

What is your favourite time of day?  Early morning on a weekend with my cup of tea and nowhere to go

What inspires you?  A sunny day, good music, my daughter's smile, my son's laugh


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Awesome Things

I recently read a blog post by a young blogger named Gwen that I follow who had just read The Book of Awesome and posted her own list of awesome things.  I thought that was a great idea and told her that she had inspired me to come up with my own list.  I’m sure that I’ve done similar posts in the past but figure that it’s time for an update.  That’s the great thing about “awesome”; it evolves. 

In keeping with the spirit of the book, here is my list of everyday things that are small and seemingly ordinary but awesomely good. 

-my first cup of tea in the morning 

-opening a new book to page one in anticipation of all that is to come 

-reading the last page of a good book, having enjoyed the journey 

-the smell of baking bread 

-watching the snow fall 

-the fact that it’s not dark yet when I’m travelling home after work now 

-lying in bed, listening to the soft snores of my kids in the next room 

-skipping all of the cutting and sectioning of my grapefruit with these great snack cups  

-my co-worker’s squeaky laugh when something amuses her 

-the look The Girl gives me when she knows she’s being goofy 

-homemade ice cream 

-Easter chocolate (yep, tis the season!) 

-the sound of a friend’s voice when you need it most 

-movies with my kids 

-hearing a great song and singing like nobody’s listening 

What would be in your Book of Awesome?