Present Tense

My so-called virtual life….bah!

I’m trying to figure out when I abandoned my real life for my virtual life.  I’m pretty sure that I crossed over after I opened my Facebook account.  Several friends were urging me to sign up in the same way that I encouraged some of my high school friends to start drinking.  “Come on, what can it hurt?  If you don’t like it, you can stop.  Beside, everyone is on Facebook….”

So as a strong, productive, successful middle-aged woman, I bowed to peer pressure and quickly became a Facebook addict.  With my predilection for things that spark the pleasure centers of my cerebral cortex, I should have seen it coming.  You can lurk and spy and surf your friends’ photos and statuses, all while sitting on the couch in your PJs,  drinking hot chocolate (or wine….you know who you are).  It’s creepy and voyeuristic and a hell of a lot of fun, particularly when you live in a very small town, with long, cold winters.

And of course, being the addict that I am, I couldn’t stop with one; I opened a second Facebook account for my radio show. That meant more friends for me to spy on and chat with.  The vast majority of them are complete strangers, for all intents and purposes, but I happily inject myself into their threads; kinda weird for a self-proclaimed social retard.

Next up, a Twitter account to publicize my blog of course, but I never tweet.  I lurk, reading other people’s 140 character masterpieces.  I’ll be honest, though;  I really don’t ‘get’ Twitter.  Maybe it’s because I have a radio show, where I ‘tweet’ everything that’s on my mind for 4 hours a day.  My brilliance is on display every morning on Mix 100 Denver, so I don’t have a burning desire to share every thought once my microphone is off.  It seems like other media types are smitten with Twitter; maybe they just have bigger egos than I do.   Or they don’t have a blog…..

What really kicked my virtual life into turbo-charged, high gear was the adding an iPad to my arsenal.  Even thought it’s an awesome device, the iPad is a digital crackpipe.  I do nothing useful on it.  It’s hard to type on, so I don’t write or create; instead I creep and I surf.  I’m surprised that I haven’t drooled all over it as I robotically mouth-breathe around the ‘net for hours.  Add in a Blackberry and I’m in the grip of some major league time wasters.

I read a blog this past week that eloquently expressed my subconscious discomfort with all of the time I waste on Facebook.  Amy Taylor writes about people beginning to turn off the bells and whistles of their smart phones and ignore their social media connections.  She calls it “The Return to Real Life”.

Well, I’m stealing that concept and I’m returning to real life.  For a week, anyway.  My the goal is to spend less time on the mindless surfing that causes my brain to flat-line and commit to spend more time in the present; reading, writing, walking, talking, eating, thinking, watching, feeling; I need to awaken from my digital semi-coma.

You’ll know it’s working, if I post an update within the week; if not, I’ve fallen off the wagon.  Logging out……

September 22, 2011 Posted by | Musings | , , , | 4 Comments

Dog spelled backwards…..

JuniorOur dog Junior turns 1 year-old on Sunday.  My husband and I are throwing him a little party, mostly so that we can have an excuse for dessert, but there’s another reason:  I want to celebrate his spirit.  Junior has a zest for life.

We’ve had a lot of dogs over the years and like people, they’ve all had distinct personalities.  Skelo was all business, Kodiak liked to wander, Samson worried, Chili is a pleaser and then there was Feta.  She was a 12-pound,  black and white Jack Russell Terrier with a massive personality.  There was no dog too big to challenge, no person that she couldn’t charm, no hole too deep for her to explore and no naughty trick that she wouldn’t try.

Feta was one of those dogs that you never forget and never get over losing.  She was fierce with the local wildlife, but so sweet with kids and if you were sick, she nestled in next to you and wouldn’t leave until you were well.   The most important part of Feta’s life was fun; she wanted to have it and there was no consequence too severe to curb her high jinks.  Whether she was swatted, yelled at, chased with a broom, or banished to her crate, she’d come right back, look you in the eye and do exactly what she wanted to do.

She died a little over 4 years ago at the age of 15 and I’ve written about my regret at letting her linger too long.  The last year of her life contained very little in the way of fun or even pleasure.  She wasted away, which is the last thing her little soul would have wanted.  I think about her everyday and so when my friend sent me a photo of a little black and white male Jack Russell from her latest litter, I was smitten.

He looked so much like Feta in the photos that we started calling him “Feta, Junior”.  When he came home with us, he was christened Junior.  Although he physically resembles his namesake, he is much sweeter than Feta and lacks her snarkiness around other dogs, but he has her sense of humor and fun.  My husband and I like to say that Junior is “Feta without the f**k you attitude.”

Junior is our ‘free spirit’  dog.  He will suddenly zoom around the yard in circles, with a canine grin on his face.  He’s always busy; dragging a log, digging a hole, shredding tissue, flipping a stick in the air, taunting his housemate, Chili.  Junior loves to swim so much that we bought him a kiddie pool that he’ll splash in for hours.

During a recent trip to Michigan, while we sat on the dock at a friend’s lake house, Junior ran in circles, detoured into the water, paddled around, ran out of the water, spied the tetherball court, punched the ball with his nose until it wound around the poll, then he unwound the ball, ran back into the water, and on and on for an hour.  If it looks fun, he does it.

That’s what I love about him; it’s what I envy about him. Junior has no internal editor saying “don’t do that, you’ll look silly”.  He just does.  He lives completely in the moment.  Aside from his habit of murdering rodents, he could be a pretty good Buddhist.  I want to be Junior; he’s my zen, hippie hero.

We haven’t had a birthday celebration for a dog since Feta’s first birthday.  We just didn’t figure any of them would ‘get it’.  Happy Birthday, Junior.  Feta would approve….and then she’d steal your cake.

September 16, 2011 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , | 12 Comments


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