An open letter to my Tweeple ….

This past weekend, I was talking with a friend and repeating to her the story of a funny Twitter exchange I had been a part of earlier in the week.  She found the tale amusing, but asked how I knew the person that I had been talking with.  Apparently, in my joy I had failed to mention to her that this was a "friend" from Twitter.  Now she has heard me mention Twitter before, how could she not have. I extol its virtues to anyone that I can get to half listen.  The explanation that this conversation had been held with someone I have never met in person, yet feel that I know,  prompted additional questions from her about the people I encounter on Twitter and their place in my life.

My conversation with this RL friend initiated some in depth thinking about the people I interact with on Twitter.   I realized that there are those who I enjoy following for their insight.  Others for the business information/advice they provide.  There are those who amuse me with their witty banter.  Common interests tie some of us together  And there are others who I have been drawn to call my friends because of their personalities.   My friend asked me how I could possibly consider someone that I have never met a a "friend".   I explained to her that while my on-line friends may not the be same as my real life friends.   We may not "hang out" in person, but we do "hang out" on Twitter.  My conversations with my Tweeples are as poignant, emotional, intellectual, charming and cheerful as those I have sitting next my RL friends on my couch or at a restaurant table.  

SO I examine the relationships I have built on Twitter and the things that Twitter has brought into my life.

I have received and continue to receive an education more varied than I could possibly receive anywhere else.  I encounter people who are brilliant and who astonish me on a regular basis with their knowledge, skills and ability, as well as their willingness to openly share their nuggets of wisdom with the rest of the Twitter world.

There are some of the people I follow that I can guarantee will always bring a smile to my face.  There are those days, when things are just plain wonky and I know that all I have to do is log in to Twitter and scroll down to see the silly new avatars or the tweets from my favorite Twitter comedians.

Those Twitterites who share my interests are always there with a new problem, solution or perspective on our various topics of interest.

And there is everyone else who are part of my follow/following circle.  Some of them I just find interesting.  The rest are not only smart, funny and interesting but are people with whom I have come to share a bond, consider my friends and am honored to say that I know.  We have been drawn together by an interest in each other, our lives, our families.  I feel  privileged that they have chosen me to be among the ones that they share their joys, tears, happiness and fears.  The joy of watching their children learn and grow.  The triumphs of their businesses, as well as their insecurities along the way.  Their relationships, health, exploits, struggles and their achievements.  These people have brought feeling and attitudes into my realm that add extra dimension to my life.  The wonderful thing is that these people have shown the depth of their characters by being there for moral support and amusement when I need those things brought into my life.

So to all of my Tweeples, THANK YOU.  I am appreciative of the opportunity you have given me to share with you.
And Twitter, THANK YOU for making it possible for me to find a world beyond my own that contains such wonderful people.

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Ok, you can call me un-American….

And I know that many of you will.  Baseball is so ingrained in our culture as "America's sport" that what I am about to say will upset someone, probably a lot of someones, I am sure of that. I apologize in advance and kindly, with a smile, remind you of the 1st Amendment.

I want this to be clearly understood, I respect our government.  I consider myself a very patriotic American. I cry at the sight of the flag, the sound of the National Anthem or a soldier in uniform.  I may not always agree with our government and I definitely don't believe that it is flawless, but I firmly believe that we have the best system in the world.   But seriously folks…..

What is Congress doing with these hearings into steroids in baseball? I get that it is a problem.  I get that there are people who may have lied and cheated their way into record books, fame and fortune.  I get that some of the substances that are alleged to have been used may be illegal.  I also understand that there are business implications.
But I am infuriated by the waste of time, energy and resources to have multiple members of Congress, their aides, court reporters, security, all the trappings and expense of Congressional hearings being spent on an issue that centers around a kids' game.   Now I love baseball and I am just as distressed as anyone else by hearing that some of my heroes, my sons' heroes may have found ways to enhance their performance, essentially cheating their way into our hearts.  But the reality is, there are issues that are so much larger, so much more urgent, so much more important – the war, poverty, education, healthcare.  Pick one or any one of dozens of others.  They all warrant the full attention of our legislators.  So why are our legislators spending all of this time and money looking for answers that they are not likely to find.  Even if those answers are found, what will come of them?  How likely is it that there will be any true repercussions other than embarrassment for anyone who was involved?  A perfect example, is anyone naive enough to really believe the owners and managers were unaware?  That they could sit back and watch the physical and performance changes in their players and not at least suspect something.  Why are they not being held more accountable?  To be honest, I don't care.  If these grown up little boys have chosen to ruin their lives and their bodies with these foolish decisions, whatever the consequences are, they deserve them. 

I do have a problem with these athletes and the amount of influence they have had on our youth. The impression they are instilling that it is ok to go to any lengths to be better than anyone else.  My hope is that somewhere in all of the face-time with the press and the finger-wagging that this is the message our Congressmen are trying to send.  But there are better ways.  Hey baseball owners, step up, take responsibility for your part in this.  If you were to make the right gesture, the right step to fixing this situation, maybe our legislators could get back to their real jobs.

Oh, and owners and players, if you want some suggestions.  Take some from the mom of 2 boys.   How about all of you putting together a fund, a substantial fund out of all of those ridiculous profits and salaries, to start better education and outreach programs.  Get public service announcements out there, get some of the players, good & bad into the schools, in front of these kids with the realities of what this poison can do to their lives.  Put some pop-up ads on their video games – get in their face.  Just "step up to the plate" and start making a difference.  Turn this very negative situation into something positive. 

And maybe, just maybe, if you are really serious about fixing your internal problems, they won't have to be addressed externally.  Then I can have my government back.  Back doing the things that matter, the things they were elected to do.  Because I know, I didn't elect them to pay more attention to a bunch of baseball players than to the our soldiers, our kids and our poor.

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Getting in touch with our inner children

I was fortunate enough to recently spend 3 days on a cruise to the Bahamas with about 50 of the people I went to high school with. First you need to know something about my high school.  Zama High School was located on Camp Zama army base in Japan.  We had a mix of army & navy brats and the children of civilians who worked for the military.  We were a diverse group, born in all corners of the world.  As is typical for schools on military bases it was very small, I think there was about 300 people in the entire school (9th through 12th grade) the year I graduated.  Since Zama's graduating classes are small and we are spread all over the world, how do you have a high school reunion?  Simple, our alumni association holds a "whole school" reunion every 2 years.  This reunion is for anyone who every attended the school, graduate or not.  The reunions are held as 3 day weekends in different places all over the US.   From those reunions grew our annual 1980's decade mini-reunions. Think about it, when you were in high school, did you only have friends in your class?  No, we all had friends younger & older.  We have the perfect way to stay in touch with all of them.  Which is what brought us all to Jan 25-28, 2008 and the cruise ship Carnival Fascination. Alumni, some spouses and significant others, some families,  we gathered together to share a few days of reliving our childhoods.

So what happens when you take a bunch of teenagers who have all grown up with similar backgrounds and put them in a small environment in a foreign country.  You end with some very unique relationships.  Intense & deep run the emotions that form the base for these interactions.   Then take these relationships and tear them up and down on a regular basis – such is the life of a military family.   You have taken people at vulnerable steps in their formation as adults and entrenched in them the ability to love deeper than most and the ability to hold onto those emotions despite separations and disappointments.  These are the amazing people who result from that kind of background.

Now fast forward a few years.  There are ones who have stayed in close contact and others who are just finding the alumni association and their old friends.  The one thing that is consistent is the affection we feel for one another.  Any of the old high school acrimony seems to melt away as soon as those old familiar faces are in view. 
The memories become happy.  The teenage heartaches that we thought would kill us then are now fodder for sweet laughter. Old friendships are strengthened, high school acquaintances become new friendships and occasionally high school crushes are resurrected.  For 3 days (or more when we can manage it), we are our young selves again, older & a little wiser, but in so many ways still the wonder filled teenagers we were in the 1980's.  In those 3 days, which are generally filled with great food, much alcohol and inevitably a karaoke machine, we apply another layer of emotional cement to the relationships that started so many years ago.   We rediscover all of the things that were so good and right about us and the people we care about.   Most often being with these people brings out the best in us once more.   Now I can never say for sure if it is nostalgia, selective memories or just an alcoholic haze, but it is as if all of the promise those days held is one again laid out before us, we are invincible and as long as we are together, all will always be right with the world.      So, world be prepared, we will all be back together in New Orleans in July…..

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