Facebook and Death

I am wrestling with a dichotomy that, it seems to me anyway, has become very common in the last few months. Like many people, I have created a Facebook account and have “friended” family and friends locally and around the world. It is a great tool for staying in touch, connecting and reconnecting, checking in and touching base, all made easier by a quick Facebook status check.

Facebook pages are full of frivolous updates by generally happy people. Getting my hair done, stopped at the pool for a swim, workout at the gym—status reports that share the little moments of life. Milestones also dot the pages. My daughter’s piano recital, my son’s graduation, my parents anniversary, are shared with joy and illustrated with family photos.

As I scroll through my newsfeed, I feel connected and share a little of the happiness of my friends and family who are broadcasting life’s most precious moments.

In a twist of irony however, Facebook, the social media connector, has become a messenger of sadness and grief.

During the last several months, I have found myself, “liking” the news of a death or serious illness or injury, impacting a friend or family member. At first I found it uncomfortable, even rude to be “liking” the sad news feed, but it is the only option. I want to let the poster know that I have read his or her post and I care. I followed the crowd and even felt it was important to show my support by “liking” the news. I wanted my friend to know that I was checking in, virtually, about the situation or sending prayers over the miles. Of course I often commented as well but the “like” button seems an important part too.

Once again, this weekend, I received the news of the death of a friend’s father via Facebook. I did not know the man and I am not in regular contact with my friend. In fact months may go by before we actually connect in person. Still, via Facebook, I became aware of her grief, almost in real time. Actually, I think that is a good thing. She was able to post and share, and I became aware and could at least reach out.

What is amazing is that we all feel the grief, the sorrow, the sadness and can communicate across the miles at all hours of the day and night. It has changed the way that I relate to some of my friends. The sad truth is that, most of the time, because of the realities of distance and life’s obligations and routines, I would not have been aware of the circumstances affecting my friends and even distant family members. I would not have known of the pain of the loss some are feeling. I might not have known of the fear caused by the sudden illness or injury of a loved one.

Now, for good or bad, Facebook makes it possible to share, not only the frivolous and trivial details of life, the milestones and celebrations but, most important, the pain and sadness that cause us to reach out and touch one another. The very most basic desire of our human heart–the desire to comfort and to be comforted is a little easier because of Facebook.

So, thank you Facebook, I guess.

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Wise Inspiring Women

Wise Inspiring Women

After attending a seminar a couple of weeks ago, Patricia and I came away with an overwhelming amount of information and with our minds whirling with ideas and plans. We were very excited to realize that our book, Wise Irish Women, really is the start of something much bigger. We are convinced that the message of wise women everywhere is something worth sharing.

We started brainstorming and have launched the idea of the Wise Inspiring Women Series and the Wise Inspiring Women Collection of products. We are working on the trademark for the Wise Inspiring Women logo and are mapping out our series of books for the Wise Inspiring Women Series— it should keep us busy for the next several years.

We are collecting information about potential wise women who will be featured in our future books. Thanks to all of you who have reached out and contacted us. If you know someone who has a story to tell and would be willing to share her words, let us know. Contact me at Laura@WiseIrishWomen.com

We are announcing our plans here and sharing our dreams with you.

Introducing the Wise Inspiring Women Series of books:

Wise Irish Women
Wise Texas Women
Wise Hispanic Women
Wise Jewish Women
Wise Girl Scout Women
Wise Bryn Mawr Women
Wise Pink Women
Wise Judicial Women
Wise Political Women
Wise Italian Women
Wise Middle Eastern Women
Wise Academic Women
Wise Teaching Women
Wise Working Women
Wise Non-Working Women
Wise Mature Women
Wise Young Women
Wise Juarez Women
Wise Single Women
Wise Married Women
Wise Divorced Women
Wise Greek Women
Wise Athletic Women
Wise Olympic Women
Wise Professional Women
Wise Blue Collar Women
Wise Amazing Women
Wise Musical Women

Please let us know if you think of any other Wise Women who should be included. Of course we are just starting the process. We are excited about sharing this project with all of you. Check back regularly as we continue planning the details.

Wise Inspiring Women—we all have a story, let’s share and inspire each other.

Laura

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Bryn Mawr College Class of 2012 and Wise Irish Woman Mary Robinson

Guess where we spent last weekend? At Bryn Mawr College for the Commencement ceremony.

The commencement speaker for the Class of 2012 was Mary Robinson, the first female President of Ireland.

Tricia and I had signed up for a business planning seminar that helps authors focus on the business aspect of a project and provides resources and suggestions on every aspect of taking a book project and making it successful. It was scheduled to take place in Philadelphia over May 10-11.

We were both very stressed about taking the time off from work and trying to get to Philadelphia for a two day seminar but we had committed to the time.

While looking at a Bryn Mawr College announcement (my alma mater), I was surprised to see that the class of 2012 had invited Mary Robinson, the first women president of Ireland, to speak at their commencement ceremony. Not only that, but commencement weekend was scheduled to be the same weekend as the seminar. Better yet, commencement has been moved to Saturday which made it perfectly reasonable to extend our trip to include a visit to Bryn Mawr. This was too serendipitous to ignore.

I packaged copies of our book, sent them off with a letter and a prayer that I would have a chance to present President Robinson with a copy.

Once again I was reminded of how truly special Bryn Mawr is and how warmly Bryn Mawr treats its students and alumnae. I received an immediate reply with an invitation to attend commencement and provided with an opportunity to meet President Robinson and give her a copy of our book.

One of my old college friends is working at the college as the College Secretary. (What a very small world this is!!!!) She helped to make my wish come true. We were included in the graduation events and warmly greeted as special guests. It was an amazing and gratifying experience. I was thrilled to hear President Robinson speak. She is an accomplished and inspirational women. She had a moving and thought provoking message. She is truly a wise Irish woman.

The campus looks beautiful–lovely flowers everywhere. The school has planted beautiful landscaping and installed light posts and pathways. The day was a magical spring day with perfect weather.

It was a great experience to be back. We were honored to be treated so specially and grateful to be included in a such a personal way.

Anassa Kata to Bryn Mawr.

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Slainte Mary Higgins Clark and the American Ireland Fund

Slainte Mary Higgins Clark and the American Ireland Fund.

Several days ago, Tricia and I travelled to New York City to host a celebration of the publication of our book. We were humbled and honored to have shared the evening with the incomparable Mary Higgins Clark.

The American Ireland Fund is an organization devoted to the support of Irish Charities and is made up of Americans with an Irish connection. Several of the wise Irish women in our book have a connection to the American Ireland Fund and Tricia reached out to the organization to share our project. Our goal was to share our project and support the goals of the organization.

Serendipitously, the American Ireland Fund is currently focusing on developing a section of Irish Women Leaders—as Tricia mentioned to them, we have started the list with our book, Wise Irish Women.

After several emails back and forth, the American Ireland Fund graciously offered to help coordinate an event to celebrate the launch of our book. One of their most active members is our own wise Irish women, Mary Higgins Clark. With her usual grace and kindness, Mrs. Clark agree to attend our event and speak as a keynote speaker and share her amazing story.

The venue was selected—a lovely small Irish Chocolate shop located just across from Bryant Park in downtown Manhattan— Lily O’Brien’s. Lily O’Brien’s provides delectable authentic, Irish chocolate that is truly delicious. The party was the ultimate in sophistication—chocolate, champagne and good company.

Many wise Irish women, from the New York area attended the party including several of our own featured women. It was a treat to meet them in person. My only regret was that we were not able to spend more time with them. The few minutes I was able to share with them were very gratifying. I am so proud to be associated with such an accomplished group of people. It is very rewarding to be able to say thank you to each of them for being a part of this project.

Naturally the highlight of the evening was hearing Mrs. Clark speak about her life’s experiences. She is so gracious and kind. It is an honor to know her and a gift to have been able to include her in our book. On top of everything, she told us and everyone there that she loved our book. That really makes it all worth while.

Don’t forget that Wise Irish Women will make a wonderful Mother’s Day gift. You still have time to place an order–check out our website http://www.WiseIrishWomen.com.

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Stickers of Steel

I was very excited to bring home my new set of matching canisters to sit on my counter and hold Coffee, Tea and Sugar in lovely decorative containers. They are coordinated to match the “oiled bronze” look of my faucets and kitchen cabinet knobs. I was also pleased that they are designed with lids that seal tightly to assure that the contents will stay fresh. What I did not ever anticipate was the battle that would ensue with the “Stickers of Steel” that were affixed to the outside of the containers.

I noticed the stickers when I purchased the containers….they provided a general description of the items, manufacturer, product name, size and, of course, the ever valuable bar code. Useful, and some might say, necessary.

After I got them home, I washed them, dried them, and then tried to remove the “STICKERS.” At first I tackled them with my ordinary finger nails hoping to raise and edge enough to grab hold and pull them off. Impossible. No way could I get the stickers off.

I recognized that I had to bring out the big gun—Goo Gone—the miracle sticker remover.

I carefully laid the containers on their sides, set them on cardboard and then saturated the “STICKERS” with the Goo Gone. Goo Gone was rolling down the sides of the containers and pooling on the counter but the stickers where unaffected. I decided that I needed to let everything soak a while and went about doing other chores. One thing let to another and it was a couple of hours before I returned. I wiped the containers with a paper towel expecting the sticker to slide off like normally happens with Goo Gone.

Nothing. Not a dent or wrinkle or even a curled edge. I tried the fingernail trick again with no luck.

More Goo Gone—left it sitting overnight—nothing.

Now I was truly frustrated. I wanted to use my containers but, did I really want them “decorated” with the manufacturer’s label? I could always orient them toward the wall but was I going to let the “STICKERS” win?

Dilemma. If I score the stickers, I could break the seal and get the Goo Gone to soak in but I am risking scratching the surface of my new containers. Sighing, I realized that I was now on day two of soaking with no progress.

I carefully got my kitchen scissors and “scored” the surface of the containers. Four hours later, the scoring worked, sort of. I saw progress but was still a long way from success.

Scoring away I criss-crossed the label with multiple slices until finally the label was covered with a series of small scratches. After letting is soak over night, SUCCESS!!!

The labels came off the containers with only a little bit of rubbing.

My question? Now really, do manufacturers need to stick labels on containers that take two days to get off? How is it productive to put something on the side of the container that requires a special product and tools to remove? Don’t most people intend to remove the stickers before they use the containers? (Maybe I am mistaken here and some people like the stickers or just leave them on as decorations.)

In any case, I wish I was not a voice in the wind…..anyone else want stickers that don’t stick forever?

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Spring Break….Vacation or Nightmare?

Spring Break

While traveling on Spring Break, one of the first activities that I have to tackle is the visit to the Grocery Store to stock up on enough food to feed a small army.

I am proud to say that I have a menu stored on my iPad and options for a standard grocery list. In theory, all I should have to do is make a quick dash around the store to stock up for the week. The reality is very different.

If you have never been to a resort town on the weekend before a busy holiday week you have really missed something. “Crowded” takes on a new meaning. People are everywhere and seem to travel in packs. I will admit, that now, after many, many years of Spring Break spent in a vacation town, I am quite intrigued with the people watching aspect of the whole process.

Last Sunday I headed to the local grocery and grabbed my cart. Almost immediately, I ran into a group of three “guys” clearly on a “guys” vacation. They were in the dairy section of the store and I overheard them discussing the importance of milk. One guy mentioned that he loved milk. The other commented with some skepticism, “You really think that you are going to drink all of that?” “Sure.” was guy number 1’s response as he reached into the refrigerator section and grabbed two gallons of milk. “Hey grab one more.” he instructed guy number 1 who complied by grabbing one more gallon of milk.

The interesting thing (other than the idea of a 3 gallon milk fest) is the fact that they grabbed three different types of milk. That’s right. Guy number 1, grabbed whole milk and Guy number 2 picked up 2% and non-fat. I bet they never notice.

I left them grabbing enough frozen entrees to feed a dozen guys for a month.

Next I started watching two women who were shopping and still dressed in ski cloths. I could easily hear their conversation. “Well my family likes orange juice with pulp.” Woman number 1 commented. Woman number 2, emphatically replied, “Little Johnny won’t drink it with pulp.”

“Well should we get both?” Women number 1 asked.

“I guess so.” Johnny’s mother replied.

I watched as they put two half gallons of orange juice in their cart–with and without pulp. Then they started discussing breakfast options. Little Johnny likes frozen waffles, and pancake wrapped sausages on a stick, and yogurt, and cereal, and bacon, and french toast and an assortment of other choices, all for one week. But of course, whatever little Johnny wants, little Johnny gets. Woman number 1 was staring at the pile of breakfast goodies but didn’t say a word.

Woman number 1 placed hamburger patties in the cart. “We will make hamburgers for dinner tonight. We need buns and frozen french fries.”

“Little Johnny doesn’t like hamburgers. Let’s get some frozen chicken nuggets and mac and cheese.” Johnny’s mother informed Woman number1 while reaching for the freezer door.

I left as Woman number 1 watched a whole new collection of dinner items being added to the cart by Johnny’s mom.

We love to have company for spring break and I am happy to report that I have gotten to the point in life that I welcome friends but I no longer struggle to please everyone. I fix dinner–a good, basic menu–if someone does not like it, they can make a sandwich. I always have peanut butter and jelly.

Vacations are one of those things that are supposed to be fun and relaxing but can turn into a nightmare in a flash. Food shopping is a challenge. At the end of the day, if you are the host or hostess, remember, the peanut butter and jelly.

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Google Alerts–Wise Irish Women

Google is amazing. I have a feeling that I do not have any idea about all the options that are available through Google. I am learning more each day.

A friend of mine shared a very useful tip about using Google–Google Alerts. As I have mentioned before, I have been busy checking the web for mentions of Wise Irish Women online. I would check into Google, do a search and scroll through the pages for new posts. It was gratifying every time I found something, but most of the time, I was just revisiting old posts.

A few days ago, someone mentioned that Google offers an option that allows you to ask Google to alert you whenever there is a mention of your search term. So far it is a little broad but does bring up new posts. It is a great tool for tracking a topic or term of interest. I imagine that it has a lot of applications.

“Google”-google alerts and follow the instructions for setting up your own Google Alert.

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