Tag Archives: Facebook

Under Construction

I’m desperately trying to finish a first draft of the novel I’m working on.

Which is why I thought I’d skip the blog this week.

I’m also avoiding Facebook and Twitter.

Maybe I’ll actually finish this damn thing!

Wish me luck….

photo by marellaluca (flickr)

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Trying to Stay Away from Facebook, Not Doing a Very Good Job…

I recently found two people who are not on Facebook.

Like, how is that possible? I cried.

And yet, here they were. Walking amongst us. Two decent, hardworking, ordinary folk who manage to get through the day without proclaiming their status, checking out their status, or worrying about their lack of status.

They are not spying on their children. Nor are they perusing photos of their highschool sweethearts. They are not trading fake eggs from fake chickens. Or trolling their friend’s friends list in search of yet another connection.

They even communicate by email.

I dedicate the following (which I, of course, found on Facebook. Thanks, Jill) to them. I won’t print their names. I won’t embarrass them any further.

But they know who they are.

Facebook

photo by hddod (flickr)

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Facebook Reconnect

facebook-reconnectI had my first Facebook face to face reconnect last week.

On Friday I met a friend from high school that I hadn’t seen in, oh my gosh, way too many years to mention here. And though I didn’t know him all that well at school it was very easy to recognize him. Of course his worried look and hesitant ‘Nina?’ helped too.

He is doing an MBA (his second) on environmental sustainability and was in town on a program to hear from British big cheeses about their thoughts on the issue.

After the rueful counting of the years–Can it have been that long? Oh, yes, it can–we spent the time wandering around the British Museum ignoring the multi-century-old treasures and catching up. Discovering what happened in our lives to date. And to anybody else that we knew about.

We are at a time when we are–OK, not at the end of life–but fully in it. A time when things have happened. We’ve made serious decisions and are living their consequences. People have stories: loss of loved ones, careers derailed, accidents, life.

And yet we lucky ones are still here, trying our best to make something of this life we’ve been given.

Mark is interesting because he is planning on changing careers. After 20 odd  years of sales he’s looking to explore new avenues, making me wonder that if we meet again in twenty years what stories he will have then.

On a personal level I was curious to see how it’s been to be an American in the States for the last eight years. Not easy, he admitted. And though there is still lots of work to be done, there is now for many a sense that the moral nightmare is over. Although an economic one is in full brew.

After wandering around Bloomsbury and over to Covent Garden—yup, a far cry from halls of high school—we said good bye. A hug. And a great feeling that time and distance can fade away in such an increasingly small world.

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Breastfeeding

By Crispita

By Crispita

All this Facebook ruckus reminds me of my breastfeeding days. When I took a breastfeeding course before the birth of my daughter, I spent most of the time chortling in the back row. The idea that I would ever put a babe to my half-pint breasts was ludicrous. My husband, I’m afraid to say, found it particularly funny. But when I finally did give birth and offered my virgin nipples to my daughter, I wasn’t laughing. And poor Lara squealed with frustration and hunger.

I tried the experts but they all seemed to have memorized the same mantra: drink more liquids and rest. Well, I was drinking enough liquids to flood London Central and hadn’t budged from the couch in so long I had begun color-coordinating my clothes with it.

I had hoped to breast feed for about twelve months (any longer and I worried the kid would walk up to me, grab a breast with a sticky hand and flip it into her mouth like a petrol pump). But I didn’t last past four. The day I finally gave up and switched to bottles, Lara fairly had a party to celebrate.

So when I gave birth to Ben three years later in Singapore (my husband was on sabbatical) I wasn’t in the most optimistic of moods. But I hadn’t bargained on the Chinese and their reliance on cuisine for disaster remedy. The Chinese are real apothecaries when it comes to ingredients, most of which you can either get fresh at the markets or dried and curled obscenely in large clear jars at the Chinese medicine stores. Cooking becomes prescribing. Clogged arteries? Try a tablespoon of black vinegar. Windy? Have a bite of ginger. Nasty complexion? Treat yourself to some dried scallops. I could go on. Sesame oil promotes blood circulation. Fish enriches milk glands. Squid will improve mental energy.

In short, food delivers. It’s an idea most Chinese have taken to heart and they are quite vocal about it. Taxi drivers driving me to my pre-natal check-ups swore by bean curd for a baby’s smooth complexion. One restaurateur warned me away from crab, saying my baby would be born too mischievous. And the teacher at my daughter’s Singaporean nursery declared that an expectant mother should always eat what she craves otherwise her baby would never stop drooling.

So after the first dissatisfied yowl from Ben shook our apartment block, my Chinese neighbors were ready. They gathered around me at our communal playground to peer down at my son’s pinched face. They shook their heads and told me exactly what to eat. Stewed fish maw, they said. Stewed hairy marrow, kidneys stir-fried with wood fungus, pig’s trotters with ginger and vinegar. I see, I said and dashed home to my diet of peanut butter, cheddar cheese and gallons of ice cream. Motherhood had made me do a lot of things I’d never in my most horrific dreams seen myself doing–like giving birth for example–but it was not going to make me eat trotters, pigs’ or otherwise.
Plus, I didn’t believe a word of it.

My neighbors were insistent. One arrived at my doorstep with a bowl of pig trotters floating in a clear soup studded with small red dates. Eat, she urged. Oh, yes, soon, I murmured and placed the gift far in the back of my refrigerator.

Finally, Elena, my Filipina maid (yes, I know, I just lost the sympathy vote, but I don’t have her now. I’m back in London and do my own laundry, cooking, cleaning and baby bottom wiping, thank you very much,) unable to watch my poor child’s distress, decided to cook me a milk producing soup from her village; chicken with green papaya. Her mother drank it and practically drowned her children. “Of course, she had big breasts,” Elena remarked staring at mine, unimpressed.

She went off to shop and returned with arms filled with green papaya and bunches of pepper leaves. She simmered and sprinkled like a witch and then sat me down with a firm “eat.” It tasted rather bland but felt warmly nourishing. I downed two bowls full and sat back skeptically.

The next morning was complete and glorious havoc. My breasts ballooned and opened like taps. They leaked everywhere. My baby gulped and dribbled and then fell back, rolling his eyes upward in ecstasy. I drank that soup on and off for the next four months and never again had any trouble. I ended up breastfeeding for fourteen months. It almost makes me wish I had tried the pig trotters sooner.

Almost.

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Brave New World

Technically this has been quite a year for me. I learned to text. I posted my first blog. And I joined Facebook.
Facebook. Wow. Talk about falling down the hole in Wonderland. I’d been asked to join by a couple of friends for a while but didn’t really know what it was about and didn’t think I had the time to learn. But I finally took the plunge and yes, it is a real time eater. Three days will go by and I’ll suddenly look up to find two hungry children and a disgruntled husband. But it’s fun. I’ve gotten in touch with several people I had lost contact with. (Of course, maybe that was their plan and I’ve ruined it) All these people that I’ve known from different phases of my life. They are all now just a click away.
And it reminds me how the world is changing and existing less on a physical plane and more in the cyber cloud above our heads.
The thing I worry about, though, is the amount of info some people put in their files. I cringe for them. I mean, on their birthday I could just drive up to their house, knock on their door, invite myself in, quote their favorite sayings, put on their favorite CD, call their kids and their dog by their names, and make a date to see them at their place of work. Now in theory only ‘friends’ can see this info. But, I don’t know, maybe over the years our ‘friends’ have changed. And don’t get me started about what the big marketing honchos might use it for.
But I guess I’m just a wee bit paranoid.
Hey, it’s a brave new world out there. Requiring brave new people.

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