Samara O'Shea

Archive for February, 2012

Happy Leap Day

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Congratulations! You have been given an extra 24 hours this year. Doing anything big? I’m planning to get my roots done, but you never know. I might just walk up to a man and ask him to marry me. Apparently, this is permitted on Leap Day. Whatever you do, enjoy!

Daytimer 2012: Better Late than Never

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Back in October 2010, I was so on top of the New Year I bought my 2011 Daytimer
well before the holidays. Lightning didn’t strike twice. This year I was way behind and hadn’t purchased one by mid-January. I kept reminding myself to buy one NOW–it’ll be cheaper. Finally yesterday, I bought my Daytimer at Barnes & Noble. It was not less expensive, however, because the Daytimer dates are from March 2012 – August 2013. How amusing that people sat down and expected procrastinators, like yours truly, to not buy their calendars until the end of February.

In any case, I have it and I am happy with it. Daytimers are like journals for me. I write so many notes and random thoughts that they are worth holding onto when the year is complete.



I Don’t Want Crumbs from a Life

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

Our new friend Limner left a great comment a few days ago, and I’d like to respond in depth.

She said: “I gave Facebook up months ago and haven’t looked back. I don’t want crumbs from a life. I’d rather have a letter or even a phone call. I can live with long silences, too, ’cause I can always imagine how a friend is doing. Or I can wonder, send warm thoughts and go on. I hope you succeed in giving it up.

I am not Catholic so I don’t get the way Lent is observed. I thought it meant giving up something for good. It makes no sense to give up a bad habit then take it up again after Lent. It’s a head scratcher for me.”

Your first paragraph is lovely and amusing. If Facebook isn’t for you–by all means leave it in the cyber dust! Your second paragraph makes me realize that I’ve been assuming everyone knows what Lent is. That was wrong of me. I’ll try to explain.

Before beginning his public ministry, Jesus went into the wilderness for forty days to fast and pray. This is where the forty days of Lent originate. During this time, Christians give up something to act in symbolic solidarity with Jesus. We don’t give up a bad habit but rather something we enjoy or something that is difficult to give up. The point not being to give it up forever, but to enact self-disciplined for a significant period of time. Now, if someone did want to give up a bad habit–like smoking–then Lent would be a good time to try. But like you said, taking it back up on the other side wouldn’t do much good.

Some Christians don’t give anything up but rather add something to daily life that also constitutes a sacrifice. Getting up early every morning to run or writing a letter a day could be add-ons during Lent. And if you continue with them after Lent, more power to you.

I gave up Facebook because I knew it would be difficult. I have a love/hate relationship with it. I love having easy access to old friends and being able to connect with new friends. But I don’t like the comparing and criticizing that automatically comes with it (the crumbs). Even if I don’t mean to do either of those, sometimes they just happen. I also don’t like knowing that people (some more than others) are putting on a show of how great their lives are. Sadly, I can’t absolve myself entirely of this behavior. I am giving it up as a personal challenge and using this time to reflect on my own social networking behavior (conscious and subconscious)–ideally being in a better place when I return.

I am not Catholic either. I am a member of the Episcopal Church (known in England as the Anglican Church). Ritualistically it is very much like Catholicism (hence we both observe Lent). Fundamentally it is very different. For example, in the Episcopal Church women are allowed to be priests and priests are allowed to get married. The Episcopal Church has also ordained openly gay bishops. I am a proud Episcopalian for all of the above reasons.

First Two Days Sans Facebook

Friday, February 24th, 2012

There have been two incidents so far:

1. I haven’t been tagged in a photo (by someone other than myself) on Facebook all year (remember it’s only February) , and what do I get on Ash Wednesday? An e-mail saying I’ve been tagged. I thought What f I sign in real quick and just look at it. I’ll keep the tag or un-tag and then I’ll be gone. I stopped myself because that would be giving in on day one! Instead, I called my mother. She said, “Is everything okay?” because I don’t usually call her in the middle of the work day. I said yes and I explained that she had to log into FB immediately and look at my page. She thought this was hilarious, and she dutifully did as I asked.

She said she saw no new photos on my page. I’m hoping this means that FB needs my permission before displaying a tagged photo. But I’m not sure that’s what it means. It could mean my mother was looking in the wrong spot. Her FB knowledge and experience are limited. It’s unnerving isn’t it? Someone tells you they have a photo of you and you can’t look at it. . .

2. Today Lisa Ling posted this on Twitter: “Look what came in the mail today! Thanks to my awesome hubby.

I didn’t look closely at the link I just clicked. It does say “fb” which gives away where it’ll take you. I panicked. Oh no I’m on FB! But I only saw her photo. I would have had to sign in to officially be on FB, so I think I can let that one slide.


Forty Days and Forty Nights Without Facebook

Monday, February 20th, 2012

I’m giving up Facebook for Lent. I wanted to do this last year, but it was right before Modern Love Rejects went live and I needed Facebook to promote it. This year, I have another project waiting in the wings and I hesitate, once again, to give up FB. But you’re not supposed to give up something for Lent when it’s convenient, rather when it’s inconvenient. Therefore, I’m sticking to it this time.

My infatuation with FB has faded. I no longer check it every day like I once did. I can easily go two or three days without it. However, around day four I will start to get antsy. I will wonder what so and so is up to. Did he post photos from Thailand yet? Something might remind me of someone, and I’ll want to look up that person. Has an old friend gotten in touch? Has a new friend tried to “friend” me? I will wonder these things and therein lies the challenge of giving up the ultimate social network.

Here’s what I am looking forward to giving up: reading things about people that I don’t care to read, critical comparisons, and subconscious judging. There is something about social networks that bring our very human bad habits front and center. There was an article in The Times about this last week called Don’t Tell Me, I Don’t Want to Know.

One of the article’s more disturbing facts:

“A study published last month in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking found that the more time people spent on Facebook, the happier they perceived their friends to be and the sadder they felt as a consequence.”

Please don’t let yourself think this way. Looking at people on FB is like reading an article about your favorite actor–you are only getting a small, airbrushed portion of the story. In any case, I hope my ability to give up FB for forty days will enable me to take it even less seriously when I return.

Wisconsin Public Radio

Friday, February 17th, 2012

This morning I’ll be on WPR’s The Veronica Rueckert Show from 10 – 11 a.m. (Wisconsin time) / 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. (Philly time). You can listen live online. The show will also be archived. Update: The show has been archived. Click on the above link and hit the little play button on the right. Have a great weekend!

Odds and Ends

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

First, there’s this: Love Letters Digitized: The ‘Triumphant Happiness’ of Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning

Next, I’m featured on the Crane & Co. blog today.

Finally, we had a visitor here on Valentine’s Day, and I’d like to call your attention to her beautiful blog: Oh Write Me!