Friday, November 25, 2011

What's the big deal?

I officiated a wedding last week. It was a beautiful wedding for two women who plan to have a family in the future.  Jen and I never really hesitated about having a family and so far haven't experienced any issues as a same-sex married couple with a child in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I'm sure it would be different in some other parts of the country.

Up to now no one has said anything to Nate about not having a dad or any other weird comments.  He's only 3, he's not in pre-school, his almost 4-year old cousin is used to our family so doesn't think anything of it.

But I have noticed that about a year ago, when Nate was playing with toy animals that could be paired up into families, it was Mommy lion, Momma lion and Baby lion. That made sense; Nate calls me Mommy and Jen Momma.  But then he started watching television.  Caillou, Little Bear, Dino Dan, etc.  Most of the shows he watches with kids have one mom and one dad (Dino Dan seems to have just his mom and in the episodes I've seen, no mention is made of a dad and Max and Ruby don't seem to have parents...).  And slowly he started to make families with Mommy lion, Daddy lion and Baby lion.  Except for one time I noticed, he's always doing Mommy, Daddy, baby.  (That one time, he decided his 4 stuffed sheep were Mommy, Daddy, Momma and baby).

It would be nice if there were some children's cartoons where the child(ren) had two same-sex parents.  There are two very sweet (non-agenda) board books for toddlers with two moms or two dads called Mommy, Mama and Me and Daddy, Papa and Me that are sweet little books with sing-song text like "Mommy lifts me up up up, Mama puts juice in my cup" and Nate likes that one a lot.  There are a few books like that though mostly meant for older kids and teaching about different types of families.  I don't want a show or book with a lesson. I just want a show or a book where there happen to be two moms or two dads.  Why does it always have to be a big deal?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Related to my last post, it dawned on me today that I don't talk to people the way I used to. I don't mean face-to-face. I still converse and interact with physical people the same way I always have.  I mean long-distance people.

With FB and email and texting, I don't pick up the phone and talk to people the way I used to.

Geeze, in high school I was on the phone all the time.  And we only had one cordless phone! If I was on the kitchen phone, which had a very long cord, I used to drive my mom crazy by walking back and forth past the table in the breakfast room and then into the kitchen and towards the hall to the diningroom, back towards the sink and then back into the breakfast room.  On the cordless phone I used to walk in circles around the living room couches and then around the dining room table in a figure 8.  Or I'd be on the phone while doing homework.  And not always strictly conversing.  Sometimes we were independently doing homework, or sometimes we were working on something together.  Or sometimes we were gossiping or talking about the most recent high school drama. Thank goodness for call waiting!

College was a little different.  We emailed a bit but it was still somewhat new so we also talked on the (still-not-wireless) telephones.

In grad school I walked a lot around town so I talked to people on my cell phone (once I finally got one in 2003) as I was going from home to class or between classes, etc.

When I got engaged I telephoned everyone to let them know.

When I got pregnant the first time, I phoned some people and emailed the rest.

When I had a miscarriage, I emailed everyone (but received phone calls in return).

When I got pregnant the second time I emailed everyone.

When Nate was born I posted it on myspace and facebook and emailed (and called my mom and brother).

Now I kind of assume people are reading it on Facebook or Google+.

And also there's texting.

Today I wanted to talk to one of my high school friends.  Like with my voice on the phone. We've arranged a time to chat on Monday.  Remember when we used to just call people at random?  I think it's combination of becoming "adults" and parents and a combination of the new forms of communication that have developed.  I wonder if people felt like this when telegraph and telephone started to become more widely used when before it had been a letter or nothing.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


So a good number of my friends on Facebook have recently been leaving for one reason or another.

One woman recognized that she had connected with many people from high school and even had connected with a previously unknown relative.  However, she also found herself checking FB on her phone rather constantly and felt like those moments waiting with her daughter for her son at practice could have been better spent speaking with her daughter instead of seeing if anyone has posted any new tidbit of their life.

Another person who didn't use it frequently anyway and only posted photographs of her family decided to simply start a web album for her son and shared with all of us before she deleted her account.

And then there are a number of my coworkers who have left FB to devote all of their energy to Google+.

I understand all of those points.  I definitely find that I'm curious to see what response I've gotten to my recent status update or photo or link and that I check my phone or online sometimes when I could be spending time with my family and also find myself staying up later than necessary at night because I want to "catch up" on FB or Google+ or the blogs I read.

One time recently, I found myself scanning quickly past many of the updates in my stream just after glancing at the name and then passing by without reading the update.  So I decided to hide everyone that I didn't care to read.  I figured if I missed them, I could unhide them.  Which is exactly what I did.  It's definitely fun to reconnect with people from high school and to stay in touch with relatives and friends but do I really need 531 friends? I think the next step will be to unfriend many (not all) of the people I had previously hidden.

I really don't think I'll delete my account because I do appreciate the connection I have with people.  And I do miss reading the updates from the first woman I mentioned.  But she does have a blog, which I read when she posts updates.  I also have a blog ... um, you're reading it.  :)

Somehow, I don't yet have the same reaction to Google+.  Maybe because I have more control over exactly who I share with and it doesn't have to be the same people whose status I read. Yes, I know Facebook now has similar features but it doesn't seem intuitive.  Okay, yeah, I may possibly have a bias since I work for Google and have been using it internally for awhile now, but I think it's more that I don't feel like taking the time to to customize it when there are already too many things to do online.

I think more than just social networks the problem is not being able to disconnect.

I recently half disconnected (from work stuff) when I went on vacation for 5 days.  Today is my last day on vacation and I managed to not read my work email (or internal Google+) for 4 whole days.  It was fun. However, last year when we went up to Maine for a week, we unintentionally went off the grid when the house that had had wireless the previous year we stayed there, did not have it.  Our phones also were not an option as we were so close to the Canadian border that we were frequently roaming (and don't get reception out on Quoddy Head anyway).   We didn't like it. This past vacation in Malibu, we did have wireless in the house we rented and spent a reasonable amount of time using it.  It didn't take over family activities.

I also really enjoy the new side-effect of working at Google and having initially circled so many of my coworkers and reading their personal updates (and sharing mine) instead of just work-related things internally.  I feel like I'm getting to know my coworkers better and discovering aspects of their lives and personalities that make me want to be friends with them.  Of course, there's also the aspect of sharing my personal life with my coworkers which sometimes makes me leave them out of some of my updates. Sorry, guys. :)

I think, being online and keeping up with social networks is, as with anything, about moderation.

Maybe I just need to go back to my last job.  I had so much down time that I did all my computer stuff at work and had more free time at home. But that wouldn't be as much fun as my current job. :)