Life as it arrives and dreams as they happen

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Stop in for a byte and stay for a cookie

cookie byte
Electronics and technology have all but taken the juice out of traditional holidays, charging even further into the future, and sadly…the memories lost can’t ever be plugged into place again.

During hurricane Sandy a dear friend of mine lost a great deal from her home. She commented to me, that all her holiday decorating and years of raising her now adult children was gone. We lamented over all the years we had each made costumes, baked and creatively strung everything from pearls to popcorn, but still smiled through the memories. After we talked, I remember looking through old photos of my family…so many that are now gone, making them a gift in themselves. I also noticed gaps, where pictures stopped…along with traditions we once photographed, because they were either digital or emailed.

Evolution of intelligence is inevitable…or no one could read what I wouldn’t be able to write. It is also applauded, having made medical care, security and in many ways life in general better. However, if you are at least 30, you will know that there was a sacrifice in the process, and family life is not what you once knew.

I realize it isn’t just the computerization of our lives that has changed.  Family structure, divorce and single parenting have also played a hand in it all, along with the aging Baby Boomers like myself, who remember and alone, now hurtfully wish we could find it again.

Those like Martha Stewart, who continue to craft and bake, along with the help of television and magazine coverage still get the overall effect. However, the full impact is lost, just like a drop of water in the ocean, because there is no domino effect giving life to the celebration.

Looking at the Halloween decorations on my front window…which, as anyone who knows me will tell you, should be up all year. I noticed there are no pumpkins carved on my steps and the sewing machine sits idle along with sequins, feathers and glue. That aside, I did get a Jib-Jab to the ribs with a mini Halloween production, and daily, my Facebook page offers images and greetings to remind me of the holiday today, with pictures of Halloween costumes I won’t see in person, next to a bowl of candy, which unfortunately I will know up close and personal.


As Christmas approaches, we are also reminded by the increased cost of postage, that an email, image or electronic card is the more sensible way to reach out, and thanks to Amazon, Target and Wal-Mart boxes of anything can be ordered and dropped on the doorstep with a Drone and not a groan. We’ve forgotten the bemoaning as we carried in holiday goodies from the car, selecting and dreaming through each one and the magic they made to those we loved.

Even most treasured Christmas pageants at church are gone, replaced by choir music and basic scripture, all of which can be downloaded…no need to wait for a midnight service or the impish faced angel that held a glittery box by a nativity. Somehow I see a pathetic Charlie Brown special in all of it, from the empty mailbox to Linus and his blanket, both knowing the truth.

I remember in business when we were able to first screen calls. Placing on hold those we wished would go away, taking instead the ones vital to the moment that were enabled. We knew we would be wasting less time and getting more done. Now, however, we see our calls through a screen, and Skype memories or watch short video clips from a phone, soon to be forgotten once they are no longer vital. The traditions we are making now are what need to be placed on hold, and stepping back in time, when we actual made time…that is what should be the business at hand.


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It is really heart to be a good actor these days

acting hearts
I’ve always loved the imagery of the old motto put your money where your mouth is. Whenever I hear it, I see celebrities and cartoon characters with cash shoved into their mouths, and faces oddly distorted to prove the point. Indeed, don’t just run around saying you will do something unless you plan to back it up. I guess politics and the media never will fully catch on …if they ever intended to that is.

Nevertheless, years since that phrase, it got a new spin in the infamous WWJD or What would Jesus Do…same concept, just a new way to point out the obvious, with a bible belt to the backside if you failed to measure up. It is, however, even sadder when that pledge falls to the wayside…so much promise…. and well…just that.

Commitment of any kind anymore seems to be nothing more than a visual account of the moment, and walking into a church is no different. Anyone can read the words or listen to a sermon, but if you don’t honestly hold the value and yes, WWJD in your daily life, then you are no different than the cartoon with a mouthful of coins, and frankly, I would prefer the obvious variety, since it is only deals with actions and not humanity. The pain that can be inflicted through such fake compassion to another person’s state of mind is reprehensible.

It is tragic to hear people describe someone they don’t really know, as big-hearted, committed to a church or a cause, when in fact, it is nothing more than a facade for themselves, those watching and a few unknowing friends along the way. To quote another well-known phrase, Charity begins at home, and it is also where these out of touch egos need to redirect their WWJD attitudes. Someone who does not value the heart and soul of their own family, their emotional or spiritual needs, has no business waving any type of banner…just to look good.

Ask yourself in complete honesty today, who are you really? Have you succeeded only because of your own efforts and determination? Was there once a village that helped to guide and applauded you, moving you to where you now stand? Now, be honest and see where you have put them in your life and how you honestly treat them….then, put your money where your mouth is.

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Class is over and YOU have been dismissed!

paperEducation…years ago a commercial reminded us that the mind was a terrible thing to waste and not to be outdone, later showed us the over-easy fried version…if, we wanted to plug-in and drink a little Kool-aid on an acid trip. Whichever process your thoughts may have been drawn to, having knowledge in this day and age is unfortunately, unquantifiable…unless, however, it is worth the paper it is credited to – no matter how outdated that may be.

In order to be taken seriously, someone like me, over a certain age is still documented for irrelevant book smarts. Simply put, to get a job anymore, you must have graduated high school ( a given back then), and later, have received a college degree…from a time when woofers and tweeters were the end all to music, and the only apple in anyone’s eye, was the one my Dad said I was. If you can compute that level of necessary albeit stagnant knowledge, and slap it on a resume, then you’ll get dust and a bag of chips, none of which are of the nano variety. Why does inapplicable study still matter?

After I left school, like Annie and most girls of my era, I took hard knock life classes. I raised three children, balanced and unbalanced finances, budgets and relationships. I also watched the world change from a corner store to a corner office to a corner on the market, and maintained an ongoing bank of knowledge, that had more deposits than most IRA accounts. I stayed relevant, followed the news and the changes in business, went into media, public relations, professional sports and marketing, along with a few other odd experiences along the way from WordStar to XP, and taught my daughters to do the same. All in all, I educated myself every day of my life, and still do…never having a problem fitting in, holding a conversation or making a sound decision.

However…life doesn’t give you a diploma…it only gives you the boot, and very few of them are kinky enough to make it worth my while.

I am truly over the hypocrisy of a piece of outdated paper. I have stood by through birth to hospice, fought medical professionals and rules for healthcare, in situations most would find disgusting and unimaginable, and done it well, making sure my patients were loved…to the end in many cases. However, because they were family, there was no license or degree awarded to my efforts. In the real world it didn’t count…even though I would gladly and competently match my skills with any first year medical student or CNA!

I have also put marketing plans and programs into place, which saved and raised thousands of dollars for my employers, for no other reason, than I have a keen eye for business and common sense that most forget to use. However, no need to deposit any such sense because it’s not worth the paper it isn’t written on to get a job now.

Years ago, a friend was in line for a promotion in law enforcement, and even with years of service and excellent skills, he was overlooked and the job went to someone with a 20 year old degree in physical education. Seriously…someone who knew how to play kick ball 20 years ago was more relevant than someone fresh with top skills, dedication and hands on value? Something stinks…then and now and it isn’t gym socks.

I have decided the everyday business world is now divided into two camps – one where people flock like a country club, needing to be seen and feel important, looking as if they are doing a great job, and the other, almost so task oriented it is frightening, with work being done by people who stop only to go home, so they can return and do it all again the next day. There is no vision, ethics or imagination in the workplace anymore…it is who you know and who you can get past to make more money.

Real value, experience, talent and dedication are meaningless because they are a threat to the machine. Why take a chance and listen to the squeaking wheel, since it just might make the cart move faster with or without a horse, and as a much younger supervisor, you might not look as good as that crisp diploma on your wall.

Paper and what is written upon it will probably outlive us, especially since it now has paperwhite value and electronic retention. However, the value of experience does have a shelf life  if it is not taken advantage of, so  after a while, the time and the machine will have nothing but Morlocks looking brainlessly at one another until the day is done. We learn not just from our mistakes, but the drawing boards that brought more than one new frontier into existence…so why not profit from someone who was there?

The true value in a person isn’t what someone wrote down or said they could be given credit for having. Eventually those like me with experience, ideas and ability will just stop trying and fade away, like so many of those diplomas that were once all that mattered, no different than tablets, which once needed a pen for ideas and meetings when you looked at each other in the same room. Artificial intelligence is more than a buzzword or robotic possibility…it is becoming the world we live in, and even more tragic is that after the truth is finally realized, it will be too late to recycle us.