I recently had a conversation with a Millennial about the need to look people in the eye when speaking to them. She had express frustration over an incident with her parents where during the course of a conversation they had asked that she put her phone down and listen to them. She replied that she was listening and continued with what she was doing on her phone. This miscommunication was fraught with frustration on both sides. The parents felt disrespected and ignored while the Millennial couldn’t understand why her parents were angry. She could multi-task and was, in fact, listening to her parents while at the same time carrying on a Twitter dialogue, checking facebook, and posting on Instagram. In an attempt to answer the question of why her parents were angry, I came to the realization that, to borrow from respected author John Gray, parents are from Earth and children are from Pluto.

My foray into the Twittersphere was about as successful as one could expect from a fifty-something grandmother. I am sure there are those of my generation who Tweet happily all day long, but I am not one of those. I signed up for a Twitter account about two years ago and never used it until recently, and was unaware that I could use it from my home computer, believing that it was a smartphone app only.

When a class assignment required me to use Twitter I was excited, I would finally figure out how to use it. Instead, I found Twitter to be inexplicable and daunting. I spent weeks monitoring every Twitter notification that came across my phone. Confusion grew as I tried in vain to discover the lure of this social media site. None of the tweets shook my world or made me want to make a difference. The amazing thing was the number of tweets one person could tweet in one day. What do these people do that allows them to tweet almost constantly? I attempted to tweet myself but received no responses, or twitterings, or likes, or whatever it is that is supposed to happen when you tweet.

Three months into the semester and I had nothing to show for my Twitter research except frustration and an aversion to tweeting. Sitting with one of my sons at a local eating establishment, I asked him what I was doing wrong. Was my tweet broken? Was I a dysfunctional tweeter? Maybe I had a tweet disorder?  Why wasn’t anyone responding to my Twitterings?

“Twitterings?” my son laughed. “Tweets Mom, they are called tweets.” My sons asked what I was hashtagging.

“Hashtagging?” I asked.

“Mom, you have to use a hashtag at the end of your tweet. Find something popular that is related to your tweet and use that hashtag.”

“Hashtag?” I again queried.

“What do you want to tweet?”

“I don’t know.”

My son sighed, “What have you tweeted?”

“I tweeted a picture of the dog when we adopted her.”

“Okay, so what did you hashtag?”

I just shook my head, the child was, after all, talking gibberish.

“Mom,” he sighed. “Give me your phone.” I handed over my phone feeling like a disobedient child in front of the principal. My son looked at my Twitter account and then at me, and then repeated that a few more time all the while shaking his head.

“Mom, you have two followers and one is a bot.”

“A bot?” I questioned. Great, I had been reduced to two syllable sentences.

“ A bot Mom, they are not real. You know, like spam. No one sees your tweets because you aren’t using hashtags. Give it a try, I will walk you through it.”

So I took a picture of my dessert and tweeted it, adding what I felt were appropriate hashtags, as my son took me step by step through it. I handed my phone back to my son, feeling quite proud of myself.

My son looked at my tweet. I swear, if he rolled his eyes any harder they might stay that way. He was quickly becoming my least favorite offspring.

“Mom, maybe Twitter isn’t for you. You should stick to facebook and taking silly selfies with Snapchat, you are good at that.” This was said with all seriousness.

“What’s wrong with what I tweeted?” I asked.

“Well, it’s your use of hashtags mom. You don’t punctuate them, it’s all one word like hashtag sweet treat with no spaces. It’s ok, really. You don’t have to use every social media site you know.”

“It’s for a class” I replied, feeling like a complete and utter social media failure. “Hey, maybe you could follow me and I will follow you, and I can write something about that!” The idea had merit, I could do something with this. My son was less than enthusiastic,“Yeah, I don’t think so Mom, no offense but, well we spend a lot of time together now you know, and I kind of like a bit of well, privacy I guess. You can look at my account, I don’t have anything on there to be ashamed of but well, these are my friends. You understand, don’t you? Hey, at least we are friends on facebook. That’s a good thing, right?”

As I said at the beginning, parents are from Earth and children are from Pluto. When it comes to using this social media technology, our children are the masters. We adults can facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, enough to get by but we will never, ever, be able to carry on multiple conversations while walking across the street, and checking our various social media sites without doing a faceplant or quite possibly being hit by a bus. Let’s face it, most of us can’t even rub our tummies while patting our heads. So in regards to social media and multitasking, don’t do it, and if you have to do it then I wish you Happy Twittering.

Pup’s Life

Just over 14 years ago we brought a new member into our family. Sunny Days Domino was an 8 week old Jack Russell Terrorist. She was so small she fit into the palm of my hand. I bought her for my sons for their 12th birthday but as often happens she became my dog. My sons grew up and left home to start their own lives but Dom stayed with me. Every night when I arrived home she was sitting in the livingroom window watching for the car. When the boys would visit she would be overjoyed to have her boys home. As she got older and her sight started to go and her hearing was nothing more than a memory, she knew exactly what time I was due home and was waiting in the window. When she started having problems getting onto the bed at night I put a box down to ease the transition from floor to mattress. This summer Dom was diagnosed with cancer and it was not treatable. Regardless of her illness Dom did her happy dance whenever I got home even if I was only gone a short time.  No matter which room of the house I was in Dom was there with me. We have spent most of our time in recent years in my home office where I studied and did homework. Dom had a blanket on the floor by the door but would manage to get it pulled over by my chair or under the desk by my feet. If I got up to get coffee Dom got up and followed me to the kitchen and then back to her spot on the floor. She never let me get far.

Our vet told me that my pup would let me know when it was time to bring her in and told me she did. Over the last few days Dom has gone to the front door repeatedly and waited for me open it for her. She only goes out that door to go to the vet. Last night she was having trouble breathing and spent most of the night pacing. I put in a call this morning to the vet and asked that they call but it seemed Dom had other ideas about the time table. My son called to tell me she had fallen and I needed to get back home. So another call to the vet to tell them I was bringing her in and then we made a quick trip over the mountain to see her favorite doctors. She rode on my lap for the trip over and was “bright eyed and bushy tailed” as my Grandmother used to say, she enjoyed the passing scenery and every once in a while would bump noses with me and give me a kiss on the cheek. Once at the clinic she barked at a couple of dogs to show who was boss and then headed back to the exam room like she owned the place. She greeted the staff and allowed the assistant to give her a shot in the butt, she wasn’t thrilled with that shot but she was well behaved. I wrapped my arms around my best girl and held her until she drifted off to sleep. I thanked her for all the years of companionship she gave me and told her how much she was loved. Our wonderful vet came in when Dom was asleep and gently gave her another shot, before it was completely administered Dom was gone. I am grateful for the care this clinic gave my girl, they are amazing. I am happy she is in a better place. I am sad for me as I will miss my girl.

Magic in the Air

I have lived in Montana most of my life. That being said, I hate the cold.

I don’t think you understand, I really really really hate the cold!

So why do I live here?

First, it is incredibly beautiful. I love the mountains and the blue skies. Second, there are no people here. No rush, no traffic, no crowding. Got to love that.The cold is a fair trade for the peace and quiet.

And then there are days like today. I was working upstairs in my home office. I started down the stairs to get a coffee refill and glanced out the window on my landing.  It had been a cold night, really cold… below 0 cold! We had a hard frost over night and everything had a coating of heavy frost. It is like icing on a cake. But besides the beautiful frost there were ice crystals.  Drifting in the air.  Generally with really cold temperatures we get sunshine. No cloud cover to keep the temps warm. Sunshine + ice crystals = winter wonderland. It was incredible. This wasn’t snow and it didn’t just fall from the sky it drifted, danced and cavorted. It twinkled and shined like tiny diamonds. Coffee forgotten, all I could do was stand at the window and watch “Old Man Winter” strut his stuff.

I didn’t shop the Black Friday sales, as a matter of fact I didn’t leave my home until early evening when the frantic masses had exhausted themselves and gone home. I made my trek through a very quiet Wal-mart and headed back home. The moon was rising over the east ridge, almost full. I stopped and grabbed a cup a joe, found a place to park and just enjoyed the moon rise.

This is why I live in Montana.

Winters Coming

Winter descended on us rather quickly. One day it was a beautiful fall day and then POW! we had snow. We got a substantial amount of snow over a couple of days. I am not a fan of cold but I must admit that I enjoy the beauty that comes with the frost and the fresh snowfall.

Yesterday I went out to stay with my grandmother for a bit. I headed down early so that my Mom could go to Mass. The day was clear and cold. The snow had that thin crust over it that comes from a hard frost. With the sun rising over the east ridge it looked like someone had tossed diamonds over the landscape. Sitting in the valley like we do it was a stunning view against the blue velvet backdrop of the mountains.

Many people think that our little burg is ugly. I have lived here off and on for over 40 years. I know every street, every building and yet I find something new all the time. There are days, and many I have captured in photos, that the beauty of this little town takes my breath away. My favorite time to observe my town is early in the morning from the college campus. It offers a wonderful view of the entire city and the mountains that surround us. I am looking forward to experiencing the beauty of this winter.

Write…. Write! Write?

November is the month for NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month. It has been my intention to join other writers in taking this challenge for the last few years. You know what they say about intentions… This year I decided to start smaller and post on my blog if not everyday then every couple of days. Today is the 4th day of the month and I am just now posting. Procrastinators unite!

I believe I have mention before that I am getting a degree in Professional and Technical Communication part of which is writing. It seems the only thing I write anymore are class papers. After 7 semesters of this I shudder when I sit down at my computer to write anything. I can’t even write my name without flash backs to very badly written papers. Regardless, I do love to write and am hoping to get my mojo back.

I am working on a project for school that may be the basis for my senior thesis. I have an interest in the women of the 1940’s and 1950’s. I have been pondering how these women made the transition from housewife to factory worker and then back to housewife. The advertising during this period is very interesting. Images of Rosie the Riveter and these beefy women in men’s factory uniforms offered to women the idea that they could be something other than a delicate and demure fixture in the kitchen. At the close of the war these images went away and were replaced with the images of the delicate and demure fixture in the kitchen. I realize that my depiction is a bit harsh and I take nothing away from the women who raised us. We as women understand that we have never been what advertisers portray us as. I think about how the home is supposed to be a man’s castle. If this is true, then what did that make the home for women? Women for many years, century’s really, were the force to be reckoned with in the home. Anyway it’s just a thought that I am noodling around.

So Much for Blogging

Well it seems I forgot about my blog site. Honestly I didn’t forget I just put other things ahead of my blogging. It has been just shy of a year since I began this blog site and I haven’t written anything since. I could blame it on my work load at school after all I am entering into the final stage of my undergraduate studies. I could blame it on the fact that when I am not on the computer for school I am on it for work so I don’t want to be on it at home. I could do that. Truth is I just haven’t made it a priority. That’s ironic since I am a communications major.

So what’s been happening? The college thing has turned out to be a 5 year under taking. Good news is I only have a year left. For the undergraduate degree that is. I am getting my ducks in a row to apply for grad school. Education is addictive. I have enjoyed my time in school very much. I am curious if other students feel the excitement when everything starts to come together. Many of the classes I have taken I wondered what I was taking them for. They weren’t what I wanted to do when I got out of college. It seemed they were kind of random. This semester I have experienced many of these classes starting to gel together. I have moments of insight or what most people call “ah ha!” moments. I think to myself “Hey I know how this fits now”. I could do a happy dance. I guess the old adage is not true, you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Another Semester Ends

In my first post I might have mentioned that I am a college student, a non-traditional college student. I have just completed my 5th semester and am ready for a bit of a break. Each semester is getting more challenging which is as it should be. The saying that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is so not true, this old dog learns new tricks everyday.

My degree field is Technical Communication which means I work with a great deal of technology. Last semester I was trying to learn Photoshop. The last time I used Photoshop was about 13 years ago and it has changed a lot. I was bemoaning the fact that I was never going to get it when I landed a job working with Photoshop. I was pretty sure that position wasn’t going to last due to my lack of skills. Six months later I still have the position and I have some crazy Photoshop skills. Old dog, new tricks.

This whole journey started in 2011. My children were grown and gone and I was on my own for the first time in over 20 years. My days were fairly routine, work and then home. While sitting and watching t.v. one evening I thought there has to be more than this. I wasn’t unhappy just bored. I thought about taking an adult ed. course, maybe art or pottery, something new. That idea quickly became the idea to go back to college and finish my degree. So in the fall of 2012 I became a college student again. The last time I was in college was in 1992, it has changed a bit since then. Many classes are online and for several that are in the classroom the homework is done on computers, no paper. Go figure.

For me going back to school wasn’t done to necessarily find a better job. It was to learn new things, to expand my knowledge base and to give me something to do. I don’t regret my decision, I love being in school. People should never stop learning. I enjoy the interaction with my professors and with my fellow students. It is a stimulating environment while at same time very relaxing. Well relaxing maybe the wrong word, happy is good word. Being back in school has made me happy. Being on campus is my zen, there is no stress. Until finals! I have yet to find a way to have no stress during finals week. But it is all a learning process and so I don’t complain. Another semester ends and in a few weeks another one will begin. I will start my sixth semester bright eyed and bushy tailed. But for right now I am going to enjoy my break and rest up for the next challenge.

New Blog Posts

I had originally planned to start this blog site after the first year but due to needing a site for an application, I started it early. In all honesty I am not prepared. So a sneak peak of things to come? I am a non-traditional college student. Don’t know what that means? It means I am older than God and have decided to go back to school, not your traditional 18 year old. I am currently half way through my junior year on the 5 year plan. The plan is to follow that up with a master degree. Whew! At any rate I will be happy to share my triumphs and my failures in the collegiate world.

My other project is to go through my book shelves (fair warning, I never throw out books) and do a weekly or bi weekly review of my favorite authors or what I am currently reading. And as technology is part of my degree field I will drop in a comment or two on the software and hardware that I find helpful and not so helpful. Other musings as they occur will make an appearance.

Why Such and Nonsense?

Greetings and welcome to my blog of wonder. This is my first official blog post and as such decided I should explain the title. You are going to find “such” a plethora of random “nonsense” that it will leave you reeling! Seriously, I had an older friend who when confronted with technology she couldn’t grasp would throw her hands in the air and say, “This is just such and nonsense!”. It kind of stuck with me.

I want to use this blog to work on my writing skills and to that end I hope that I can make you laugh and maybe cry. I am an avid reader so look here for book reviews (I am partial to sci fi and fantasy). To paraphrase Rachel Carson, everyone should retain the sense of wonder that one has as a child…

Welcome to my world, enjoy!