Dear Diary: Musings From My 21 Day Social Media Fast (Pt 3 of 3)

sunshine

Day 15

Zoe left today for 6 days in Arizona with her Grandma. Packing her suitcase filled with swimsuits and shorts was strange.

The weather here is pretty gloomy and it made me think I need to be creating a little sunshine in my life. There are a few ways I like to do this-

  1. Buy a pineapple. There’s nothing like a pineapple to remind me of sunshine, summer, tropical places.
  2. Music. Make a playlist of songs that remind me of a warm vacation or a summer day. This is, of course, very personal. My playlist probably wouldn’t work for anyone but me. Songs that transport me mentally to warmer locales are songs that were popular around the time I went on my first trip to Hawaii in the early 80’s. “Let the Music Play” by Shannon, “Africa” by Toto, anything from Lionel Richie’s “Can’t Slow Down” album, and a lot of Hall and Oates. I know it’s weird, that’s why I said it’s a personal thing. General tropical or reggae music works too- Bruddah IZ, Inner Circle, Bob Marley. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaGUr6wzyT8
  3. Get some flowers. No roses- they need to be tropical. Here in the Seattle area we have the Hawaii General Store, and they sell freshly made plumeria and pikake leis. Sometimes I will make the 30 minute drive just to buy one to keep in my fridge. When I am feeling down or stressed, I open the fridge, pull out the plastic container and take a giant whiff of heaven. I also will grab a hyacinth if they are in season. Occasionally you can find mini pineapple plants at the grocery store. They don’t have flowers, but they make everything feel more exotic. Jasmine always smells yummy. 
  4. Another sensory thing I like to do is put on perfume or lotion that reminds me of the tropics. Kai perfume, Maui Rain perfume, ginger, plumeria, pikake, mango or coconut lotions. When you close your eyes and take a whiff it’s like for that moment you’re in an island paradise. Candles work too.
  5. My local frozen yogurt shop has limited edition sorbets that come and go on a rotating basis. Currently they have POG (passion orange guava, also available at the store in juice form) but my favorite is the Dole pineapple whip like you can get at the Dole Plantation in Hawaii or at the Tiki room at Disneyland. I also like to mix coconut froyo in with my chocolate to give it a summery taste. My husband calls that “ruining it,” but he’s wrong. it’s amazing.

imagePOG Sorbet

6. Movies/TV. “50 first dates,” “Just go with it,” “Honeymoon in Vegas,” “Lilo and Stitch” are some films with tropical themes. As with my music playlist, I have always connected “The Thorn Birds” with Hawaii because it came out around the time we went for my first trip. And of course, for TV shows,” Hawaii 5-0” and “Magnum PI” are two of my favorites. HGTV and National Geographic each have travel shows. A summery read can help you mentally escape also.

7. Bring color into my home. There’s nothing that gets me out of a mid-winter funk like bright colors. I think I may go hang out at the Tommy Bahama store for a while and just pretend I’m somewhere else, and then bring home a couple new throw pillows. Last year I painted a giant picture of a Caribbean waterfront scene.

8. Plan a vacation. ‘Nuff said.

Day 16

Sydney made curry again today, this time when she showed up at lunchtime with three of her friends. I was still in my pajamas. (Don’t ask me why I was still in my pajamas at noon.) I’ve noticed that even after the pans have been thoroughly cleaned, when I set an empty pan on the burner to heat up, the smell of curry comes wafting up again. Don’t get me wrong- I love that she’s teaching herself to cook, and that she’s experimenting with interesting foods. But I think I’m ready for her to move on to something other than curry.

I went in search of a new trash can today for my kitchen. I have had my current cans (I have a second for recycling) for 10 years now, and they are definitely in need of replacement, but I’m having a tough time letting go. You see, the trash cans I have are 18 gallon trash cans. They are tall, slim and rectangular, and they fit perfectly up against my kitchen island. But they don’t make 18 gallon cans anymore, and it’s getting harder and harder to find the trash bags that fit them.

The standard kitchen trash can is 13 gallons. Many are round or oval, which won’t sit flush against my cabinets. Plus, that extra 5 gallons of trash space means that’s how much less the trash needs to be taken out. I’ve resigned myself to the reality I will never find another 18 gallon can, but I refuse to spend $130 for a stupid trash can. Unless it takes itself out, I don’t see how they can justify charging that much. I didn’t see any today that I can live with. The search continues…

Meanwhile, my maturity level doesn’t seem to be improving on this hiatus.

Parker: Hey! You already had a cookie!

Me: So? Mind your own beeswax.

Parker: Well, that kinda means I can have another one too.

Me: No, it doesn’t mean that. I made ‘em. I can eat as many as I want.

Sometimes it feels good to use the phrase “mind your own beeswax.”  I think I will do it more often.

Day 17

I scheduled myself a massage for today. Before you start thinking that I’m some pampered housewife, you should know that I go to Massage Envy, which is like the Target of massage places. It’s typically found in strip-malls and for the bargain price of 39$ you can get a decent one hour massage. I originally became a member when we lived in Huntington Beach. After trying several different people, I finally found the perfect masseuse. About 2 months later we moved.

Since we relocated up here in Washington, I have gone through a variety and have yet to find the one I want to commit to. I went to see one guy for quite a while, but he liked to talk religion and politics and I always came out of my massages more stressed than I went in.

The next guy was amaaaazing. I think at one point during a massage he had a foot up on the wall for leverage. He did something to the base of my skull that was pure ecstasy. About 2 weeks after my first appointment with him, I called to make another, and was told he had transferred. I went into a period of mourning.

I did the masseuse merry-go-round for another several months, and ended up with a young muscle-headed guy who worked at a body building supplement store when he wasn’t giving massages. He liked to talk football and conspiracy theories. At one point, he tried to tell me that he found out through genealogy that he was related to King David. You know, David. Bathsheba. Goliath. That David. Sometimes I would make up conspiracies and say “have you heard about…” just to hear what he would say.

I took a break from Massage Envy for over a year while I was in physical therapy from my car accident, so this was my first massage there in quite a while. As a matter of fact, they looked me up in the system and found that I had 16 massages saved up (you get one per month with a membership.)

When I called to make the appointment, the first person they offered was the religion/politics guy. I said, “Uh, who else do you have available?” The said another name, which I didn’t recognize. I thought unknown was better than the “Why did you stop seeing me?” conversation I would have to have with the other guy. Besides, I really needed to be able to relax.

I will say the new guy gave a decent massage. He’s got some strange affected whispery breathy voice that I’m not a fan of, but I’m willing to give him another chance. When he whispered, “How do you feel about me working your abs?” I almost bolted. He didn’t smell like smoke or his lunch, which is always a plus, and he didn’t talk except to ask about pressure. The sound of his hands slurping together as he oiled them up was a little off-putting, and they were sort of cold at first, but they warmed up.  Since I have so many saved up, I’m going back in a week. Fingers crossed that I have got a keeper!

massage

 

Day 18

Have you seen the movie “About Time” with Rachel McAdams? If not, I highly recommend it. It’s a beautiful movie, and it probably didn’t get the attention it deserved from the general public. The premise is that a young man, Tim, is called into his father’s library to be told that the men in their family are able to travel back in time. They cannot travel forward, except back to the time they had come from, and they cannot travel beyond their own lives.

His initial goal is to use it to help him find a girlfriend. He does. And they create a beautiful life together. As time goes on he realizes the consequences of making changes in his choices. He has to be willing to let some bad events remain because in undoing the bad, sometimes it can undo the good in his life as well. We like to isolate incidents, but so much is connected, part of the progression of life. Like the domino effect.

It sounds like a silly movie, but in reality, it teaches a great lesson. After all that he experiences over the course of several years with this amazing ability, he says, “And in the end I think I’ve learned the final lesson from my travels in time; and I’ve even gone one step further than my father did: The truth is I now don’t travel back at all, not even for the day, I just try to live every day as if I’ve deliberately come back to this one day, to enjoy it, as if it was the full final day of my extraordinary, ordinary life.”

I, of course, had tears streaming down my face by this time. I feel as though that’s the point of this whole endeavor I have undertaken these past three weeks. I want to be present in my own life, to experience it fully, not just in pieces. I want to really see the people standing in front of me, I want to appreciate the small details, expand my horizons and live in joy.

Day 19

Well, this morning when I got on my phone, I discovered that my Facebook app was open. Either someone has figured out my password and was looking at my account, or I did it in my sleep. At this point, I’d say either is a possibility. Are there many documented cases of Sleep-Facebooking?

facebook bed fbed2

If there ever was a day I wish I could be on Facebook, it’s today. The best part of Facebook is being able to share experiences with people near and far, and today I want to be cheering on my Seahawks with all my friends.

I bought a new jersey to wear- a Marshawn Lynch. They are so tough to come by I ended up with a youth XL. That a youth-sized shirt fits is great for my ego. That it has a giant patch on the front that says “XL,” not so much.

We are headed in a bit to the neighbors’ to watch the game. I went to the grocery store to grab stuff to make bean dip and it was a surreal experience. Except for two 49’er fans, every single person I saw had some sort of Seahawks gear on. There’s a palpable buzz in the air, everyone looking at each other with nervous smiles. Since the very last game of last season, we’ve all sensed this could be it. That finally, after all these years of disappointment, the refs gifting the Steelers a win in our only Super bowl appearance, this is our year.

Even Sydney is putting on a Seahawks shirt and heading to the church to watch the game on the giant screen.

________________________________________________________________

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I can’t believe it. We won. We’re actually going to the Super Bowl.

I don’t know that I have ever watched a more stressful, aggravating, exciting game in my life.

I went from nervous eating to feeling nauseated.

I was sitting hunched forward. I was standing. I was up, I was down.

Parker had no clue what was happening, but when the other boys lost their minds with excitement, so did he.

When that ball tipped into the hands of Malcolm Smith it took me a moment to understand what it meant. My husband ran over to give me the double high fives and said “we’re going to the super bowl!” It was over. We won. There was screaming and hugging. I believe I launched myself awkwardly into the arms of one of my neighbors.

It was blissful, euphoric. A feeling relatively unknown to Seattle sports fans. And I savored every moment.

There’s been a lot of talk about Richard Sherman’s comments in his post-game interview. I have no intention of going into any long dissertation on the topic. It’s been talked about to death. I will only say, Richard Sherman is an intelligent, passionate player. He is a good man who gives back to this community and the one in which he grew up. I am proud that he is a Seattle Seahawk.

The end.

65676_10152148843024089_1913281331_n Me with Richard Sherman’s brother Branton

 

Day 20

Martin_Luther_King_Day2013_freecomputerdesktopwallpaper_1280

Today, we honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King jr.

Today, I am reading, Twitter is afire with racist tweets.

Sickening.

There’s a common misperception that racial hate always stems from ignorance. If only that were true.

It’s probably because when someone spews racial epithets, they sound ignorant. Stupid. Moronic.

Many times their sentences are riddled with grammatical errors.

Often, their posts on Facebook and Twitter are filled with misspellings. 

Unfortunately, if ignorance was the root cause, it could be solved with education.

However, when major university fraternities are hosting racially offensive theme parties, you start to realize it’s not just about ignorance.

Racists run the gamut from the least educated in our society to the elites.

The way I grew up, the environment in which I was raised didn’t prepare me for dealing with people who proudly, publicly post disgusting racially charged words for the whole world to read.

I continue to be shocked and horrified, and my black friends continue to be surprised at my shock and horror. Much to the contrary of the claims that people are constantly trying to cry racism even where none is intended, most of the racism that happens every day goes unreported. It’s just a part of life. It’s expected.

The outrage is reserved for naïve whites like me.

Somewhere along the way a contingent of our country decided that we live in a “post-racial” America. That we are so far removed from our past of slavery, segregation, institutional racism, that our having elected a biracial president means racism has ended.

It hasn’t. We’ve just gotten better at disguising it.

I hear people say they’re tired of this conversation on race. “Get over it already.” “It’s in the past.”

And then I see those who feel emboldened in their tweets, their Facebook postings, their interviews on international news channels.

I was going to post some examples, but I don’t want to give a forum to those people.

I don’t have far-reaching impact on the world around me. But I do have impact on my kids, and I realized a few years ago that it’s not enough to just not set a bad example for my kids, it’s imperative I set a good example. Not one based on platitudes, but one based on my deeply held beliefs regarding the value of all human beings.

I asked Parker if he knew why we celebrate Dr. King’s birthday. He said he couldn’t remember.

I tried to think of something that would help him understand, that he wouldn’t zone out while I was explaining.

“So, you know London’s parents?”

“Yes.”

“There used to be a time when it was against the law for them to be married. Because of the color of their skin.”

“You mean because his dad is brown?”

“Yes. And people would be mean to those who had brown skin. They forced them to do things they didn’t want to do. They didn’t let them live where they wanted to live, or work where they wanted to work. And you and London- people wouldn’t be okay with you being friends with each other. Just because his skin is darker than yours. That’s what Martin Luther King fought against. He fought for you to be able to be friends with London.”

His eyes got big.

He got it.

A couple of weeks ago, Zoe said ” I know what the N word is now.”

(Last year she came home from school saying that a kid in her class had told her there was such a thing, and she wanted to know if it was true. I said yes, but that we never use that word, and I didn’t feel she needed to know what it was.)

“Tell me what happened.”

“Well, I had a black crayon, and my friend was looking at it. Under the word black it had another word. She said, ‘that’s the N word.'”

“Well. No. Negro is Spanish for the color black. Pronounced differently, it’s the term that people used to use when referring to the people who are black. No one really uses it anymore, it’s outdated and offensive. But it’s not the N word. The N word comes from that word though.”

“Oh. ”

I have to admit, I was relieved. She’s gonna hear it eventually, but I’m glad to know that time hasn’t come yet. Until she understands the history of that word, until she understands why it’s not ok, how it’s been used, it is meaningless.

I kind of like that the word has no power in her mind. I’d like to keep it that way for as long as possible.

 

Day 21

Well, this is it- my last full day off of Facebook. I’m a little apprehensive, to tell the truth. I don’t know what exactly to expect.

I picked Zoe up from the airport this morning. I’m happy to have her home following her week in Arizona with her grandma. I took her to lunch and she told me funny stories about her adventures.

Afterwards we headed to the pet store to pick out a fish to keep Angel company. Now we have a new goldfish named Juicy, and Zoe has renamed Angel “Bruno.” She also got herself a beta fish that she has named “Cali.”

imageimage

A few people have asked me what I have learned about myself over the past three weeks. I wish I could say that I had this amazing life-transformative experience. It turns out I’m the same person I was 3 weeks ago. I have found that if I want to disconnect or mentally escape, I’ll find a way. I’d probably have to get stranded on a desert island without electronics in order to truly break myself of these habits I have created.

I did make more of an effort to connect face to face with people, and I have tried to really listen to the people who are talking to me. I have spent more time watching my kids, and engaging them in conversations than I have in quite a while. Most of Parker’s conversations have to do with video games or toys or something he saw on a show or a video game. But instead of just nodding my head absently and saying, “oh really?” (they have all caught on that I have been doing that when I am not really listening) I have tried to ask follow up questions. I’ve gotten insight into how they think and how they view things around them.

I’ve also noticed how much OTHER people use their phones and tablets to disconnect. I think that has been eye-opening, viewing others through the lens that I’m sure people have often seen me.

I’m not making promises about the future. I haven’t cured myself of my social media addiction. I do think I have learned to manage it a bit better.

I guess time will tell.

I’m excited to see what everyone has been up to. And what they’ve been eating.

Thanks for your patience during this experiment… And hopefully I didn’t lose you guys in the meantime.

It’s 11:55… Maybe I’ll just take a peek. What’s 5 minutes anyways?

 

2 thoughts on “Dear Diary: Musings From My 21 Day Social Media Fast (Pt 3 of 3)”

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