Monthly Archives: December 2009

It takes a village to raise a mom

My Christmas letter this year is a thank you to all of the people responsible for supporting me in my journey to this place in my life right here, right now. All those people without whom it’s doubtful that I would have my health, my sanity and my sense of humor:

1. For my big, wonderful  family, immediate and extended, who loves me unconditionally, especially my dad, whom I carry in my heart, and who taught me to see the humor in everyday life, and for my mom, who continues to show me how to find joy in the little things in life. And for my wonderful siblings, who make it impossible to take myself too seriously.

2. For my healthy, happy, wonderful kids, who fill my heart with joy, make me laugh, teach me new things every day, and give my life meaning.

3. For all my wonderful friends who love me despite my many flaws, including all the people I’ve reconnected with and/or stay connected with on Facebook and off Facebook, the bunco girls, the book club girls, my amazingly supportive neighbors, the SAHS Pals, my college friends, and Geraldine and Bill, who are each in a category of their own.

4. For the people who love and teach my children, especially Joan, Jorie, Frances, and Anna.

5. For Paris  and the people of St. Christophers, and all the other people who support my faith journey, even when I don’t feel up for the journey.

6. For Ed and Tim, the other people in this world who love my children as much as I do, and who give them a different perspective on life, and teach them things that I can’t.

7. For my colleagues at DePaul, who challenge me in new ways every day, who put up with me on good days and bad, and who don’t expect me to be there by 9:00 every day.

8. For my cleaning woman Todja, who knows where all the bodies are buried.

9. For my piano teacher Perry and my choir director Richard, who make me a better musician (even though I sometimes whine about it.)

10. For the people who read my blog and comment on it, or tell me they like it. I think just about everyone in this group is already covered in one of the above groups, but I just wanted to make sure.

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate. Happy Winter Solstice to those who don’t. And Happy New Year to everyone.

Deb, Emma, David, and Margaret



Filed under Gratitude

A room full of tweets

I’ve been thinking about Twitter. Specifically, about the use of Twitter at conferences.  And then I read this post by Joseph Jaffe, in which he states his strong opinion that Twitter should be banned at conferences.  I couldn’t agree more. But I think he misses a few important points.

A little background.  I recently spoke at a conference where there was a lot of tweeting going on. This wasn’t surprising, as it was a social media-related conference.  To be fair, there were no horribly negative experiences, like this this one.  People were respectful, and were complimentary of my presentation in their tweets. But still, I came away with the very strong opinion that conference organizers should respectfully ask the attendees not to Twitter during presentations, and that the organizers should not facilitate the use of Twitter. I want to say emphatically that I am not criticizing the organizers of the conference I attended.  And I’m not even criticizing the conference attendees who were tweeting. Twitter is still relatively new, and everyone is still experimenting with what works. Further, conference organizers are under a lot of pressure to incorporate social media elements into conferences. I also have to confess that I sent a few tweets myself during the conference. Not a lot. But a few.

But having seen twitter in action (and having had the experience of presenting while people were tweeting), here’s my list of why Twitter should not be used during conferences:

1.  It’s rude.  When people go to the trouble to prepare a presentation for a conference, the audience should have the courtesy to pay attention. And when you have your head in your laptop or your Blackberry, you’re not paying attention. It’s really frustrating to look at your audience and see the tops of people’s heads.

2. It’s disrespectful. It’s too easy to be mean on Twitter.  To type something that crosses the line of funny into snarky. And makes the presenter look foolish. While she’s presenting. So as the presenter, you get paranoid wondering what people are tweeting about you.  And worst-case, if people are tweeting nasty things, the presenter can lose control of the audience. (See above example.)

3. It doesn’t add any value. I understand that the idea of the “backchannel” created by Twitter is to allow people who aren’t in attendance to share in the learnings of the conference, and for conference attendees to build on the ideas presented at the conference. But at the conference I attended, the overwhelming majority of tweets were one-line quotes that the presenter said.  And without the context of the rest of the presentation, I don’t see how that’s going to be of any value to anyone not in the room.  And even if there are nuggets of information, how many people are actually going to wade through hundreds or thousands of tweets to get them? And as for the people in the room, they’re hearing it live, so why would they want to read it again on Twitter?

4. It’s a circle-jerk. (Pardon the expression.) So think about it.  You have people sitting in a presentation tweeting. And the majority of the people who are reading the twitter feed are other people who are sitting in the same room. If anyone outside the room was really that interested, they’d be attending the conference, instead of trying to get snippets of information from the Twitter feed.   So the group is in effect tweeting crap to itself. What is the point of that? Why doesn’t everyone just pay attention instead?

5. It will make conferences less valuable in the long run. Because people who have valuable things to say will stop presenting at conferences because it won’t be worth the risk of humiliation.

And those are my 5 reasons to stop the use of Twitter at conferences.


Filed under Social Media Observations

Holiday Preparations…

6:30 a.m. conversation with David:

David:  Look, Mom! Here’s a pretty ornnament.

Me: Be very careful with that one, David. It looks breakable.

David: I’ll be very careful.


David (in a sing-song voice): Well, you were right!  It was breakable!

Overheard on the el this morning:

“So I said to Brad, ‘Why don’t we get them movie tickets?’ And he said, ‘You know, I don’t know if they go to the movies all that much as a family.’  And I said, ‘You know what…at this point I don’t even care.’ ”

Merry Christmas to you too….

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Filed under Funny Things, Parenting

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

I don’t have much time to write this, as I’m kinda rushing from one thing to the next this weekend.  So forgive the typos (you should see my handwriting if you think my typing is bad.)

I’ve been a very good girl all year. Well, maybe 8 on a 10-point scale. Some days a 5.  But I always usually had the best of intentions. Oh never mind. Judge for yourself. Let’s move on.

Here are the things I’d like for Christmas this year:

1. One more week between Thanksgiving and Christmas. If this is too much to ask (I know it’s December 13 already, so it might be hard to swing), an extra weekend would be okay. Or even an hour. Anything you can do will be fine.

2. An extra dose of patience as David asks me for the tenth time in an hour if it’s time to put the lights on the tree yet. (Seriously, what about “we have to wait for the branches to settle” is so hard for a 6-year-old to understand?)

3.  An automatic gift-wrapping machine. This is my least favorite part.  Christmas cards used to be my least favorite part, but I stopped sending them. So now wrapping is my least favorite part.

4. Good weather on December 26 for our road-trip to PA. I really hate to drive in bad weather. Or any hint of bad weather. Or rain. Or fog.

5. Coffee. Or a glass of wine. Coffee and a glass of wine.

I think I should end the list there. I don’t want to appear greedy.

No need to wrap any of this. I know you and the elves are busy.  And I can only imagine what Mrs. Claus is going through, with all she has to do to get the house ready for Christmas. (I’m guessing you’re not much help with the tree and such, since you’re on the road so much in December. I’d be willing to bet that that’s kind of a sore subject around the Claus house. )

Thanks in advance, Santa!



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Filed under Funny Things, Parenting