It’s Time for a Give-Away!

This September is overflowing with happy things and I’m about to pass it on to you!

It was not enough that I spent my big bad birthday lounging in a spa oasis, sipping lemon water and covered in red mud. Nor was it adequate that kid number five finally got his driving permit and can use his mended ankle enough to get himself to school – as a senior. Woot! Pumpkin Spice Everything is finally here. My nails are painted a fabulous combination of orchid and metallic glitter that we dubbed “Unicorn Farts”.

Life is good.

But wait. There’s more.

Yep, we are about to depart for our 30th Anniversary Trip to Italy. Meaning, of course, that I’ve got my five items packed and Hubby is still wondering whether four suitcases will be adequate for himself. It’s fun to watch.

But here’s the best news: you, my Blog Tribe, are coming along for the ride. You know who you are. Those of you who invite me into your email-box and sit for a chat and a cuppa. You won’t fit into my little suitcase, so we are going to switch up our blog game for the next couple of months.

Everyone listening?

Here’s how it works: If you follow me on Instagram and/or Facebook, you will see some photos coming through while we are tramping around the thigh-high stiletto boot of the Mediterranean, complete with witty hashtags (unless the jet lag wins, in which case you get what you get and don’t throw a fit). #italyplayshackysackwithsicily

Meanwhile, if you are one of the Tribe members who actually Subscribe to my blog (I love you so much), you are going to get the good stuff. After I return from galavanting, I shall sit myself down and blog all the adventures for you…and I am NOT going to post them onto Facebook, per usual. The photos are only a tease. #boohoo

Nope, only those of you with the secret insider club VIP super special Tribe status are going to Italy!

Yes, lovely friends, I am requesting that you stop everything right now and click in the little box up here with your email and Subscribe to the blog. You will love it. We have a secret handshake and everything. Only Subscribers will be getting the travel blogs and the posts will continue through October and November. Facebook will be hearing crickets. Nada. Zilch. #zippo

You important Tribe Members will also receive additional photos, recipes, and insider tips that no travel book will ever tell you! Where to go, what to see, which app on your phone most let you down….what Hubby might do if there’s no backseat driving available on the trains….

I will be tossing euros into the air and making it rain on the ruins of ancient civilization and you are coming with me.

They say Italian food in America is nothing compared to actual Italian food. Only one way to find out…

Your new Subscription goes into a drawing for a Prize From Actual Italy!

I will be scouring the duomos, canals, vineyards and metros for just the right thing. Don’t get crazy. I can’t fit a gondola in my carry-on. Or can I? There’s only one way to find out: Subscribe with an email address and start singing “O Sole` Mio” in the shower.

Don’t miss this limited time opportunity! Subscribe now! Even if you already Subscribe! Many of you have updated your email addresses without updating them in our blog Subscription list. Put another email into the box. Surprise your mom and sign her up. She always wanted to be in a Tribe. One she didn’t have to wash dishes in.

Now that’s a good Tribe.

If you are already in our Tribe, post a Comment below about the one thing you would love to see in Italy and I will add your name to the Drawing as well. Prize awarded in next blog (around October 6th)

Dear Facebook

Dear Facebook,

Our relationship began with the simple idea that I could keep in touch (“KIT” is written all over my high school senior yearbook, right next to the phrase “Stay as sweet as you are”) with people that – wait for it – I have trouble keeping in touch with.

My mother, for example.

But she, bless her heart, doesn’t have a computer, much less a Facebook page.

In return, you’ve been dragging me along on the vacations and gender reveal parties and hospital trips of whoever you randomly decide I need to hear about.

I’ve been following the ongoing saga of a puppy just adopted in Toledo, Ohio, and it’s right on the edge whether their cockatoo is going to accept the little fluffy guy or torture him with various renditions of “Heeeeeere, kitty, kitty, kitty!”

The day of his vet check-up, I paced the house, scrolling every few minutes to make sure he passed.

Now, I’ll admit to using you for my own ulterior motives. You’re welcome, Facebook, that I haven’t been posting fake news or selling product or demand you leave one word on my wall about where we first met.

Instead, I send you my blog and you share it with perhaps 1% of my friends, because you are protecting the rest from possible death by witty sarcasm. Now suddenly, you are unable to accept my posts at all. You aren’t returning my phone calls. You’re telling my friends that I’ve moved on to other, better, puppy-adopting friends, and popping me out of their feeds.

I don’t understand. I’ve accepted every friend suggestion you send me. Everybody needs a friend. But I would rather be in charge of losing them, thank you.

The doubts that I’ve harbored, deep in my heart, about your integrity were fully realized yesterday when I stumbled across this headline:

“Facebook Confirms Data Sharing with China Companies”

You shared our relationship secrets? Oh, Facebook.

Breaking news today, as confirmation of yet another data-sharing snafu comes to light for our beloved and beleaguered Facebook.

Facebook representatives divulged at a press conference that – although admitting to sharing with other countries for an undisclosed amount – China in particular had not paid for the personal information of millions world-wide.

This was disputed by a long list of “Comments” below the fold:

Dear Facebook,

If you didn’t share my data with China, how do you explain the fortune in my cookie yesterday? “You will lose your 401K if you continue to invest in wild parties in Vegas”

Dear Facebook,

I had Chinese take-out last night. My fortune cookie demanded that I “start paying my alimony or misfortune of the worst kind would befall me in bed”.

Dear Facebook,

My ten year old is always saving her fortune cookie fortunes and sticking them onto her bedroom mirror. The last three include the name of our dog, our collective family income, and an admonition to stop being friends with the neighbors to our left.

Facebook representatives do not appear forthcoming with an answer to these details but the Chinese government is working on a rebuttal that – while not admitting to a monetary exchange – seems to include a reference to workers in a particular fortune cookie factory south of Beijing.

Details to follow.

Just so you know, I lied to you about my birthday.

Mark, you’d better be enjoying the baijiu.

emoti-con-founded

Something fantabulous happened to my girlfriend.

I don’t even know what it is.

I know she’s been on hold in more than one life strata, so regardless of whatever just went through, I’m super excited for her.

She sent out a brief little message with a handful of words and a bucket of emoticons, to which other girlfriends are replying with additional flurries of little symbols and stickers, and all I could manage was a word (“Congratulations!”) followed with a colon (:) and a right-hand parenthesis ()).

That makes a pathetic little smiley face.

But I feel in the loop.

Hip.

Happenin’.

Oh, who am I kidding?

I never took a crash course in ESL (Emoticons as a Second Language) but I should have, as my own kids (the under 20s but not my over 20s) are fluent.

They can have entire conversations in texting that contain zero actual words.

And rule the world thereby, I assume.

My phone gives me a selection of pre-made “smileys”.

Next to each one is a helpful hint as to what each one conveys.

;^) is “winking”. Simple enough.

But if I put my “foot in mouth” :-! over a “kissing” :-* incident and need to have “my lips sealed”, :-X, these little guys are here to help.

I am both o_O and :-[.

Frankly, parents, you should have seen the “new math” coming.

I’ve had my Mac Air for a year now. I have wanted to throw it out the window more than once because it doesn’t behave the way my old PC did. Like every piece of technology over the last ten years, by the time I figured out the basics, it was time to ‘upgrade’ to a new unknown.

It’s like I went to do the dishes one night, and when I got back to my desk, I could no longer use disks to back-up the photos made from film that I scanned into my laptop files that were no longer compatible with my photo program and now Great Aunt Bessie’s wedding photo is as six-feet-under as she is.

Oh, it’s in there somewhere.

We’ll just never be able to see it.

My gravy, life’s too short.

I watch everyone emailing and Facebooking all the day long and smothering their words with little thumbs-up and saxophones and puppies and cakes and hands-in-the-air-like-they-just-don’t-care.

And, ya’all…some of them are animated.

I have emoticon envy.

But from my barcalounger.

I wonder what happened to my girlfriend?

I could ask my 14 year old to interpret, but that’s just wrong.

I could call her by actual telephone and hold an actual conversation.

I presume she still speaks the mother tongue.

But we all know, no one uses that archaic device.

I could order flowers over the internet. I’m sure there’s an app for that.

I’ll attach a virtual card that says,

“!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Making it Lighter Today

Good morning to my beautiful friends and family!

Only those of you who have subscribed to my blog will get this post today.

I want to thank you personally for investing your five minutes of free time in my little corner of the world.

I love our time together and that you put up with my crazy!

Today is my birthday, although Facebook is set at January 1st. When I started my blog I was warned to stay as strictly confidential as possible. Not to ever name names. To be as James Bond as possible, a “need to know only” under-the-radar type of operation.

Ha.

It took me over a year to be brave enough to post a photo of myself.

Now, everyone who actually knows me knows exactly who I’m talking about.

And they know when my actual birthday is.

I have to admit, it’s pretty wonderful to get all of the Facebook birthday wishes, though; makes for a great start to the new year.

But the rest of you are on to me.

I even got ‘Happy Birthday’ emails from my dentist and my home-owners insurance company.

My mom called.

Yes, I answered.

I’m leaving Facebook and the media alone today.

It’s not my fault something terrible occurred on this date and I won’t allow it fill my head with the images of a day I will certainly never forget and that still makes me cry.

But, today is also the solution to the atrocities of the world and my own personal life.

We are always so distracted by the darkness.

Nothing will happen, though, unless we stand up and turn on the light.

Today is my birthday. I can make that matter.

I am still here. And so are you.

Just a couple of little glowing armies…of one.

So, I chose to go to the beach today and walk on the hot sand and watch the bright foaming waves crash over and over, ribbons of seaweed winding around my ankles.

I breathed in the salty air and remembered Who turned on the light that First Day.

And that it was good.

And I’m thankful for another year.

And I’m thankful for every single person sharing it with me.