I’m a little fish in a big sea. And that’s okay. I’ve read Buttercup enough I Think I Can-esque stories to know that every little bit helps. And my recent foray into Eisley Jacob’s world of Born to Be a Dragon in which two ten-year-olds learn how important their contributions are to the world around them, I’m proud to offer my piece of the internet for the good of a family I have never met.
I blogged recently about The Julian Project, a Facebook group that was formed in honor of five-year-old Julian, who’s family is dealing with a mountain of medical bills after his untimely passing. Buttercup and I attended a local fundraiser but I felt I wanted to do more. And my online friends are stepping up to do  what they can to make this effort a success.

Originally, the plan was to offer a a chance at single gift basket with a variety of items by way of purchasing a virtual raffle ticket and then selecting the winner with a random number generator. The new plan is only slightly different: instead of a single basket, I have decided to offer each item individually in an effort to individually showcase the creative efforts and generosity of those donating, as well as to hopefully allow for more time and more interest with each new raffle post published on the blog.

I’m starting things off with a fantastic pair of earrings from my favorite middle grade author, Eisley Jacobs.

Please note: the soon-to-be-famous-because-i-said-so author would like for the world to know that her I’ve never met her but figure I’m safe to assume sweet and talented mother is the artist.

In order to try to win this pair of earrings, you need to click on this link and make a minimum donation of $5 (In honor of Julian’s age when he died)  and then come back here and leave a comment on the post indicating that you have donated. I repeat: Donate. Comment. Done.

Entries will be accepted through Wednesday, September 7, at midnight EST. At the point, I will draw one winner randomly from the comments and transfer over any and all funds raised to The Julian Project while simultaneously starting the new raffle for a different item.

And if you don’t win these earrings from Eisley Jacobs, don’t worry. I have two more pair of Feathered Awesomeness to offer up soon.

Eisley, thank you and your mama for your time, effort, and generosity. And thank you, readers, for every little bit of support you can offer.

Aug 292011
 

I’m in love with Gaiam. That much is probably obvious.

It was one thing when I discovered Gaiam’s incredible selection of exercise DVDs, but the fascination and total admiration jumped to an entirely new level when I discovered Gaiam also has yoga DVDs for kids! Buttercup spends a lot of time indoors due to a severe mesquite allergy, so anything I can get my hands on to encourage indoor activity is a plus in my book.

Today I’m sharing Buttercup singing along to the Namaste song on the Yogakids DVD. And if you missed it, check out my recent post where I talk about a few of the little things that keep me motivated.

*This post originally appeared on Bookieboo, a site dedicated to motivating and supporting moms and their families on their journeys to better health.

 

 

She looked away from the monitor to hang up on the incoming call. After setting her phone on silent, she lost herself with faceless friends.

***

 

This post was written in response to the Red Writing Hood  weekly writing meme on Write On Edge. This week, writers were asked to write a short story using Twitter as our Muse and 140 characters as our character limit.

 

I dug this one up from the archives because, well, it needs to be said. Until the day Twitter takes away the PLEASE STAB ME IN THE EYE WITH A SPOON annoying Auto-DM feature, those of us in the We Hate Them camp need to stand strong and get some T-shirts made.

***

It’s no secret.

I spend a hell of a lot of time on Twitter.

It’s fun. It’s random. And I love being able to connect with writers and moms just by pulling my blackberry out of my bra and sending a tweet.

But ya know what I don’t love?

Auto DMs (or automatic direct messages, for the uninitiated).

Here’s my take on the situation: If you send them, you look like an A-hole. A fake, smiling, chipper telemarketer hoping that the person you just called won’t hang up before you finish your pitch. I don’t care how famous you are or how many followers you have or how impossible it is to keep up with all the tweets coming your way. Be real or sit down and shut up. I know when I’m being patronized. And you know what happens when I get “Thanks for following me! Please check out my INSERT URL HERE and I can’t wait to get to know you!” in my direct message  inbox?

An automatic unfollow.

Same goes for the crazy Facebook games some of Those People with Time to Spare that end up with your results in my direct message inbox.  Because really? I don’t need to take a quiz to figure out which real crazy writer I am like. I can save a lot of headache by just looking in the fucking mirror.

I don’t care if you have 2 followers or 2 million. I don’t care if I followed you because I thought you were interesting until the DM showed up in my inbox. Sometimes it hurts to cut the chord. But if you’re too busy to sincerely acknowledge or ignore me, I doubt you’re going to notice you’re down a follower.

Here’s the thing, people. I know that some perfectly wonderful and nice bloggers/tweeps use auto DMs. I’ve grimaced every time I’ve gotten one…and admit that I have had to swallow my own words and ignore my own policy every now and then, especially if a relationship had already developed outside of/or prior to Twitter. I want to tell these people that for a brief moment, I stopped thinking they are wonderful and nice and instead thought they were about as real and sincere as The Popular Kid in elementary school who was forced to invite all the kids in his/her class to their birthday parties. Smile big and pretty for the camera…but let’s forget we this ever happened after the flash dies away, okay?

Am I being melodramatic? Probably.

I know that most people who set up auto-dm’s probably think it’s a nice way to welcome their new followers instead of making them wait for acknowledgment. But after my recent informal twitter poll, I confirmed that I’m not the only one with a bug up my bum about this whole thing.

What started this whole drama? A real direct message. One that thanked me for a follow that was very obviously written by the person who sent it and was very obviously intended for me. I was in shock.

So I tweeted this:

wow, i just got a realm sincere, thanks for the follow DM. take note people, i’d rather be sincerely ignored than falsely welcomed.

And the “Sing it, sister!” responses started coming in, so I started a very unscientific and unofficial Twitter Poll.

Responses to my “Love auto DMs or Hate ‘em” tweet included the words “annoying,” “hate,” insincere,” unfollow,” and “why?”

Not one person jumped up and admitted to using them. Not one person called me out for calling them out.A few people did say that they are only mildly annoyed by them. Some just ignore the auto-dm’s and others have even found magical and mystifying ways to block them completely. I’m not that talented, nor do I believe I need to go out of my way to avoid your social media fuax-paux, so I’ll just bitch about them here because I can.

But ya know what? Not one person jumped up and said that they loved receiving auto dm’s or that they make the receiver feel like they just got hugged by a rainbow.

Or a unicorn.

So here’s my plan to take over Twitter and make it safe to play in the sandbox again: I think that those of us on Team Pauline should join together and form Tweeps Against Auto Direct Messages (TAADM.) I’ll be president. Karen Quah can be vice-president.

I even have a slogan, which Karen already approved after too many martinis.

Friends don’t let friends auto-dm. Respond or ignore sincerely. It could save a follow.

Our first meeting will take place in the community center, room 4A, right after the Twitter Anonymous (TA) meeting lets out. Don’t forget the punch and cookies this time.

 

This is the second to last picture of my daughter with her grandfather.

 

It’s the day before my father will die. He’s in a hospital bed in the intensive care unit, hooked up to machines monitoring his vitals, with a light so bright hanging directly over him that I must force myself to think of things other than tunnels and what lies at the end of them.

My mother-in-law is sitting behind me on the bed. She watches with me as my father blinks, opens his eyes, and focuses them above us both. His eyes meet mine and he opens his mouth to speak a single word. But his mouth is dry and he cannot vocalize, leaving me to guess what he is trying to tell me. I offer him water, ask him if he’s cold, are the lights too bright? He closes his eyes in frustration and weakly shakes his head no. Then he raises his right arm as high as he can and points to the light above the very bed we will all stand around as a family tomorrow night when he leaves us much sooner than any of us had ever anticipated.

“So the light is too bright, isn’t it?” I ask again. He shakes his head no and points again, silently speaking the same word over and over, his mouth forming around the tubes going down his throat. My mother-in-law suggests I ask the night nurse for a pen and a notebook, so I leave and return, pen and paper in hand, only to discover he is too weak to write.

“We should go,” says my mother-in-law.

I kiss him. I tell him I love him. I tell him that I will see him tomorrow. I don’t realize that he won’t know we are there beside him. I don’t know that my father is pointing to the spirit of my grandmother floating above him. I don’t understand that he is trying to tell me she is waiting for him; that it’s time. And I should. He’s the only one who believed me when I told him she smiled at me when I kissed her cold cheek that day I thought she was sleeping when I was only six. She watches over us both, he has told me more than once. Her only son and her first grandchild. So many late night conversations about the spirit that bound us together, always grateful that he believed me when I told him she smiled at me that day. And yet, I leave, unaware that I should have stayed with him.

I don’t know that my mother-in-law suspected what he was trying to say. Or  that she sent me out of the room on purpose. And I don’t know that he nodded his head that yes, someone we couldn’t see was waiting for him or that this good-bye will be the last.

So we leave. I climb into bed with my six-month-old daughter and my husband. And I sleep a dreamless sleep.

This post was written in response to a writing prompt on Write On Edge. This week, writers were asked to write about their worst memory. Mine is not knowing what tomorrow would bring.

 

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