Saturday, April 30, 2011

Being 40: Oh To Be A Princess!

She woke up that morning, just a girl from a town outside of London. Throngs of people lined the streets to catch a glimpse and perhaps a wave from her as she rode past them on her way to church. Then the world watched as she floated down a red carpet in a lacy white gown and diamond tiara, escorted by her father and surrounded by a sea of hat-wearing admirers, to marry her prince.

"You look beautiful," said the handsome prince as she took her place beside him. She smiled.

She went to sleep that night, a princess.

The coverage of the royal wedding has been exhausting for some but inspiring for many. We may not all marry princes. In fact that may not be the goal for most of us. But the idea that you can wake up one day as just a girl and be a princess by the time your head hits the pillow is no longer just a fairy tale. It can happen. It did. Yesterday.

Who did you wake up as today? And who will you be when you go to sleep tonight?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

What Makes Cardinal Fans the Best in Baseball

For years, Cardinal fans have been called the best fans in baseball. The title was bestowed upon us not because we consistently cheer for our team but because, overall, we have a knowledge base that exceeds the fans in other cities. We appreciate good baseball. We recognize history in the making and acknowledge the impact that the past has on our present.

St. Louis is notorious for applauding good plays by players on other teams and for welcoming home guys who have moved on to other teams with standing ovations. We are smart fans. We love it when our coach defends his players in the face of a bad call. We get caught up in the emotion of a close game or a bench clearing brawl. We feel like WE win when our team wins and we feel like WE lose when they lose. Those are some of the things that make us the best fans in baseball.

St. Louis fans are also set apart from other fans because we show up. We fill the stands. We sit in the rain and the cold and the heat of July. We arrive at the ballpark early and we stay until the last pitch of the last inning. We endure losing streaks because we believe our team will turn it around. At least that's how it used to be. We do not boo our own team like they do in other cities. We do not applaud bad play but we show our displeasure by not being an active and vocal part of the game. We save our booing for the umpires and the protests of our opponents.

Yesterday, one of our guys voiced his displeasure with the St. Louis fans who booed him. I submit that ten years ago, fans would not have done that. I would also suggest that we have forgotten what makes Cardinal fans the best fans in baseball. We are not Yankees fans who regularly boo their own team. We are not Braves fans who don't even show up during the playoffs. We are not Reds fans who only show up for the playoffs. We are not Dodger fans who arrive by the 3rd and leave in the 7th. We are Cardinal nation. We are embarrassed by bad fan behavior. We feel an obligation to be there for our team, to be a part of the sea of red, to wear our Cardinal pride on our sleeve. We are loyal and true. We understand that the definition of a  fan is quite simply "an enthusiastic devotee" or an "ardent admirer" and that doesn't mean "only if they play well."

Being a St. Louis Cardinal alone does not entitle you to cheering. Wearing the birds on the bat is not enough to endear throngs of fans. It is not enough to win them over. There is a high level of expectation that comes with the uniform. The Cardinals have a long history of not only good baseball but also personal pride in efforts on the field, a love for the city for whom they play and a determination to succeed, whatever it takes.

Although there is a high level of expectations for our team and we expect effort that goes above and beyond our competition, being a St. Louis Cardinal fan does not give you the right to boo your team. It does not require that you cheer either. We might believe that giving 100% on the field honors the players that came before you and that a city that loves it's team as much as St. Louis does deserves nothing less than the best; however, we cannot expect to receive anything more than we are willing to give.

Call me crazy. Or delusional. (And many of you have already done so...) But I think it's time to get back to our roots and to remember what makes us the best fans in baseball.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Being 40: A Letter to Parents: The Internet is the Future

Dear Parents,

Do you remember the first time you heard someone say "the internet is the future?"  I'm not sure when I heard it first but I know I've heard it often. And in the last 30 years the technological advances I've witnessed have exceeded extraordinary.

When I was a kid, we didn't have the internet. In fact, we didn't have computers until I was nearly through elementary school and even then, it wasn't a fully interactive experience. Back in those days, there was no immediacy online. We couldn't gain information instantly. We couldn't play games with people on the other side of the world. We couldn't express ourselves online twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Whoever predicted that the internet is the future was right.

I submit, however, that the internet is also your child's future. And how they handle it now should be closely and carefully monitored by you. The advances made in the last 30 years will pale in comparison to the changes we see in the next 30 years. And right now, your children are creating a lasting impression online that can and will have an effect on their futures. Schools are monitoring social media activity to reach out to prospective students. They are also checking in on that activity when deciding whether or not to admit those students. Prospective employers look in on hiring candidates as well. Social media activity can hinder job acquisition. Social networking creates an environment where birds of a feather can more easily flock together too. What kind of people are your children attracting and with whom do they surround themselves on these social platforms?

Parents, I implore you: if you have children who are active online, ask yourselves the following questions:

Do I know the social platforms on which my child is active? (Social media is much further reaching than Facebook. For example, the 12-17 & 18-24 year old segments are the fastest growing groups on Twitter.)

Do I know who my child is talking to online? And who is talking to him or her? (This is not limited to chat rooms. That's old school. Who are they playing games with or getting tweets from on twitter? Whose blogs do they read?)

What kind of language does your child use online or what kind of pictures are tagged with your child's name?

Is your child "checking in" to various locations online? (Now the whole world can know where you are and when you are there? Do you want the "whole world" knowing the whereabouts of your child?)

Educate yourselves. Do the research. And participate in social media WITH your kids. Then it won't feel so much like spying. And you won't get a surprise text from Aunt Michele telling you that your kid's been dropping the F-bomb on Facebook left and right.

The internet was and still is the future.


Someone who wishes she knew then what she knows now.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Being 40: I am me

It seems like every other day random samplings of my Facebook friends are posting the same sayings or phrases or paragraphs in their status. Sometimes the statuses thank a wonderful husband. Other statuses recognize amazing children or a rewarding relationship with a parent. I am always tempted to write my own that says something like "if you've never been married to a wonderful man or had amazing kids but your single sassy and satisfied, repost this as your status." There are moments when I feel a little left out of the sharing. Being 40 and single, without a family of my own, is really hard some days.

But today, many of my friends were posting this: "I'm not beautiful or gorgeous. I haven't got an amazing figure or a flat stomach. I'm far from being considered model material~but I'm me. I eat junk food and love to wear my PJ's and no make-up around the house. I'm random and crazy. And I don't pretend to be someone I'm not. I am who I am, love me or not. I can't change ME!" And I thought, "Finally a status that is almost me!" Almost... Not quite exactly right... And it might vary from today to tomorrow to next Friday... But I think now I'd rewrite this  REPOST-THIS-IF-YOU-RELATE status to say:

I am beautiful though it may not be obvious to you. I am gorgeous inside and out. I might not have an amazing figure but I have a sexy attitude and a beautiful mind. I'm far from being considered model material because I'd never give up ice cream or french fries or peace of mind to show my stuff on the catwalk. I like to wear my sweats and sometimes I can't wait to take my make up off but I also love to get all dolled up. I get my hands dirty and I work hard. But I play hard too. I am random and crazy and spontaneous and adventurous. I don't pretend to be someone I'm not. I am who I am. Love me or not. I won't change me. Not for just anyone. I am me.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Being 40: My Cell Phone is Everything to Me!

How many times have you heard someone say, "my whole life is in there" when talking about a cell phone or pda? I'm guilty. I've said it many times. God love the inventors of the iPhone for making me more dependent on a small electronic device than any human being should be.

It houses the contact information of hundreds of people including the guy who fixes my car, the gal who does my hair, a great psychic and my gynecologist. It maintains my schedule without which I wouldn't know if I was supposed to be at a baseball game tonight or in class or picking up razor blades and dark chocolate at Target. It tells me when I'm ovulating, alerts me when the Cardinals win (which is rare these days) and keeps me abreast of the latest changes in the St. Louis weather. It occupies my time when I'm bored, helps me stay overly involved in the lives of people I have "friended" on various social media platforms and tells me when the New Kids on the Block have scheduled another concert. I am very fond of my phone. I might even love it. A little bit... It could be said on occasion that my cell phone is everything to me.

But once a year, I have made it a practice to clean out my phone. I've written about my spring cleaning rituals in the past so this is not a surprise. However, in this older and wiser frame of mind, I am thinking I may have been a little quick to pull the trigger in some cases. If indeed my whole life is in my phone, perhaps I should consider that piece of my life before I carelessly erase it from memory.

Recently, I've received a few phone calls and text messages from numbers I didn't recognize because... I had deleted those people from my phone. Frantically, I searched to see if there was any way to figure out who had contacted me. What if it's that guy that I said I never wanted to see again even though that wasn't completely true and I've kind of been hoping he'd eventually come back around? Or what if it's that old friend I haven't heard from in years who is too prideful to apologize even though she knows I'm right and she finally wants to say she's sorry? (GASP!) I may have altered the path of my life forever by deleting part of my WHOLE LIFE from that silly phone.

The advent of instant contact has provided so many conveniences in life. It's amazing how connected we all are. To think there was a time when a man rode a horse across the country to deliver messages written on paper with a feather blows my mind. All I have to do is press a button to reach someone now. Yet all of this technology has also made it easier for us to dismiss people from our lives. We can unfriend them or delete them in the click of a button.

While there are a few folks who I will not name that have been deservedly deleted from my phone and therefore from my whole life, there are others who may have been dismissed too soon. I joked today at work that I sometimes struggle to know whether a moment calls for a hug or backhand. In some respects though, that might ring a bit true. I guess the moral of the story is that we should take a little time before deciding to permanently wipe people out of our phones and out of our lives for good. And we should ALWAYS leave a message after the tone just in case we are the ones who have been deleted.