Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tech Support

Back in May I blogged about this technology stuff ... well, here we are, 8 months later and I'm going to give you an update. It seems fitting what with all of the press about Apple's iPad launch yesterday, folks are talking about tech...

Since May I have become an official Facebooker, I've gotten an iPhone (I'm a bit of an addict,) I'm blogging, I'm tweeting, I'm texting, I'm working on my Gchatting (there have been some complaints from my peanut gallery that I'm a lousy Gchatter. Can I help it if I leave Gmail open and walk away from my computer a lot, or if I'm not a terrific multi tasker when it comes to the computer!?) I have apps on my iPhone that I actually use...

How did this happen? Well, thank goodness for my tech support! My kids! They're part of the GenY generation, they've been brought up on this stuff!

My kids have been incredibly helpful getting me set up, communicating and sharing various apps I should take a look at, or websites I should check out...I was informed by Stanford that if I wanted to hear news about my upcoming reunion, I needed to join Facebook, because that's how they were going to communicate. My kids tend to text me now, more and more, just with a quick check in. I take loads of pictures, I used to leave them on my computer, just "sitting there", now I actually do something with them, whether it's on Facebook or making a book through Shutterfly or Apple. I took advantage of Apple's personal trainers, a really good deal and those guys are really helpful. I heeded my own advice about tutors and my kids, get the fight out of the kitchen, talk to a neutral party and get's good advice. Everyday things seem to be changing and between my kids, reading various newspapers and periodicals (which I'm doing more and more online or through the kindle) and my "personal trainer" I think I'm doing pretty well for a Baby Boomer. I really want to encourage you to get with the program. Don't dig in your heels on this. Ask your kids for help, hire someone, ask your friends, your work colleagues...just do it!

I must say, this is so much fun! And I am incredibly thankful to my tech support for their patience and help. I think they think they've created a monster though!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

It Takes a Village!

It sure does! That good ol' African proverb sums it right up. Our kids are figuring out more and more that they really need to depend on their "village" or network of family and friends in this rough economy.

I hear more and more stories from friends and associates about their 20 somethings (Gen Y) coming home. They're not coming home necessarily because they want to, it wasn't their first choice, but it's a "have to."

I'm also hearing more and more tales about the connections our friends are offering to our kids. It's good old fashioned networking! I blogged about connections back in June, but what's different now, or at least is more on my radar screen, is that the networking thing seems to have expanded.
What am I talking about? Well, the traditional kind of networking, finding out from your parents who they might know in a particular area of interest, to help introduce you to a potential job or internship...that still is happening and should be happening, but kids that have had jobs for a few years out of college and now find themselves unemployed, they're being forced to re-think things, maybe reinvent themselves.

Kids, ask questions. Sit down and talk to your parents or friends of your parents, or older siblings of your friends... and ask them about how they got to where they are? What was the road they traveled? If they had to do it over would they do the same thing? If not, how would they? What do they know about the qualifications needed in their field of work today? What do they look for? What kind of "credentials?"

I know my kids have had the good fortune of being able to speak to some really wonderful friends and they've learned a lot! They may or may not follow their advice or the same path, but it's been terrific experiences and it's created relationships of their own! (They may have gotten in the door because of my husband or me, but now they can pick up the phone themselves.) Over the years those relationships can prove to be invaluable. Who knows where they might be and what their circumstances will be. Not to mention, kids seem to listen a little sharper to others rather than their mother. :)

Monday, January 11, 2010

I'm a groupie!

Yep, it's true. I'm a groupie of our kids; these Gen Y-ers, these twenty somethings. I'm a little discriminating... but not much, I just love hearing about what these kids are up to, what they're doing with their lives, what choices they're making and if I have the opportunity, I try to follow them. I'm not talking about my own kids, that's a given, but I'm talking about the kids of my friends and family, kids that are friends of my kids...

Well, I have something fun to report...due to my groupie-esque tendency, I was invited to have a cameo in a webisode! A what? OK, I'll back up... a friend's son and daughter in law write and edit for a webisode called "Chaos Theory." When I heard about this I was intrigued and asked, "what the heck is a webisode?" Well for those of you parents or Boomers like me that are new to this term, it's a short episode of a collection of episodes that make up a storyline on the Internet, rather than TV. In this case, it's kind of like a mini soap opera based on the lives' of Gen Yers Jess Fletcher and her friends living in New York City...and all that that entails. Well, I started at the beginning with no expectations and found myself pushing the "next" arrow after each of the episodes. Suddenly, I was hooked. These segments are only about 7-10 minutes long and they're about a fragment of the day in the life of one of these young people. Not only can I personally relate to numerous topics having lived in a city after college myself, but I can relate because I have kids that are doing it now.

A friend of mine has stated, on numerous occasions, that I am a "TV person" and it's true, I am. I like TV. I learn from it, I watch it, I often have it on as company... as background noise. My husband used to tease me when the lamaze instructor told us 26 years ago that our babies in utero would already be used to our voices when they were born because they could hear us, he said, "oh good, my baby will recognize David Hartman's voice (he was on GMA back then), because he's around more than I am!" I have always watched the shows my kids watched, not necessarily because I liked them, often times I did, but because I wanted to know what they were interested in and what they were learning or being influenced by. It's a window into their world. The added benefit to watching television with your kids (this was before TiVo and my knowing how to tape shows on my VHS) was that it prompted all kinds of good conversation. Anyway, I digress.

Back to my webisode... and my cameo ...

What was fun about all of this was the exchange... (I had no idea that my neighbors had mentioned to their son that I had become a fan of the show.)
I'm riding on a chairlift and I get a Facebook message from their son, Jim (and oh btw, we were not friends on Facebook.) How'd I get this message? My iPhone and Facebook app., both of which are a result of the strong influence my kids have on me. (My own personal, "tech support.) Asking if I'd be willing to "play" a "perky flight attendant." And that we could do it over the phone because they were interested in my voice. With no hesitation I responded in text format, "I'm in!" Then Jim responded back in text format, setting the segment up and my lines... I was the voice over the loudspeaker when the plane hit some turbulence. When he recorded this we did it over Gmail's video chat (again, the result of my personal tech support.) It was a kick! He was very professional and very helpful in the debut of my (cough) acting career, and I really enjoyed asking him about this Internet program format and how it was going and how they're paying for it and its' future? A real learning for me.

Well, this hasn't aired yet and for all I know my few sentences may end up on the editing room floor, but nonetheless, I continue to be a groupie and I really appreciated the experience. I learned a lot! Who needs Bridge to ward off Alzheimer's?

*Side note: if you want to "catch up" on the "Chaos Theory" before my cameo voice appearance:


Thursday, January 7, 2010

All under one roof...for the moment

Happy New Year! It's been ages I know. No real excuses except that it's been the holidays, need I say more?

We did it, we had another Christmas with all four kids (Gen Yers) under one roof! Why do I make a big deal about it? Because I can feel the shift's been more than a few years that we've had all four for New Year's...ever since high school the kids have chosen to go elsewhere, (much more fun to be without parents on New Year's Eve, don'tchyaknow) and now that they're older, it's not so much "without parents" it's all about wanting to be with their peers, their significant others...I get that. But's different... With two kids in the real world making decisions about how they spend their paid vacation time, that particular holiday, depending on how it falls in the week, can reak havoc with the "days" off they get and whether or not they can make the trek home, using days off for travel. I know our Christmases as a nuclear family are numbered and that's OK, it's how it's supposed to be, but I treasure the ones that we've had.

You know it's different when it's just your own nuclear family than when you add in grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and I'm told that it's a more significant difference when it's a significant other of one of your kid's. Over the years your family has become accustomed to the various family nuances that grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. have, but with a significant other they come to the table from a whole other family and traditions. Not to mention privacy. There have been many movies made on the subject of going home for the holidays and all that's entailed and I can certainly relate. But I relate to the part of being the "out-law" and what it's like joining another family during a holiday celebration. What's different for me is being that family and having someone joining our celebration. This is going to be an adjustment. Now I don't want to over think this, because it has happened yet. And I'm sure it's going to be fine, but I do know that I have a wee bit of trouble sharing nicely in the sandbox. I love having everyone to my sandbox, I just don't like it when some have to go to other's sandboxes. Do you know what I mean?

A close girlfriend of mine now has a married daughter and this was the first Thanksgiving and Christmas navigating these waters. Well, Thanksgiving the newlyweds went to the bride's family's and Christmas to the groom's. Sounds reasonable, right? Well, after checking in: From my girlfriend's perspective (the Mom perspective, which of course I relate to) Thanksgiving was great because everyone was together plus one (the groom); they had an "early Christmas" with the newlyweds, but the siblings couldn't be there because of school and job. In retrospect that may have been kind of nice...alone time with the newlyweds. But when the actual holiday came, the dynamic was different without their daughter. Oh it was nice and everyone had a good time, but when the phone rang and it was the daughter calling from her was a serious pull to the ol' heartstrings. For both mother and daughter. Everyone kept a stiff upper lip and shared each of their Christmases via the phone... but were a few tears shed after hanging up? Not that everyone's not happy for the newlyweds new life together and all that goes with it, just a little cry over missing times gone by. I know that will be me! I'm going to have to work on this!
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