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Monthly Archives: October 2012

DELETE ME… Please!

In case some people didn’t get the memo… Facebook is a social networking site. It is a place where people can choose their friends based on shared interests, backgrounds and real life relationships. A social networking site allows users to share interests, ideas, events and yes, even what they ate for dinner. You can join groups, follow artists and businesses and make connections in ways that would otherwise be nearly impossible for most people. It is not a site for censorship. It is a site for shared experiences.

FRIEND as defined by Merriam-Webster

1 a : one attached to another by affection or esteem

b : acquaintance

2 a : one that is not hostile

b : one that is of the same nation, party, or group

3 : one that favors or promotes something (as a charity)

4 : a favored companion

The other day a friend bitched at me about one of my posts on Facebook.

Seriously? Do you really think your 500 ‘cute kitty’ posts don’t annoy anyone?

Honestly, I don’t really care. It is what it is. You can post whatever you what, whenever you want… and you can post it as many times as you want. It doesn’t affect me. I can choose to read it, ‘hide’ it, ‘LIKE’ it and if I really agree or disagree with you– I can comment on it and we might actually have a social engagement, once referred to as a conversation about it. But– I’m not going to try and censor you and you shouldn’t try and censor me. Our society has an increasing difficulty communicating these days. If you don’t want to engage your friends is conversation, sharing your thoughts and ideas, or to be engaged– why are you on Facebook?

The last time I checked, we still have freedom of speech in this country. People are going to talk about current events, politics, things that make them laugh and things that make them sad. If you are going to use social networking sites: Deal with it! Yes, during the presidential debates, Hurricane Sandy, the playoffs… the News Feed is going to be clogged with posts by people who are engaged by these activities and events. There’s a reason there are settings and controls that allow you to adjust what and how you view content. If you continually get annoyed and are not computer literate enough to know how to adjust your settings: Maybe social networking isn’t for you.

There’s another option. It’s called the DELETE button.

Don’t like what I have to say? Delete Me. Do I post too much? Delete Me. Are you incapable of entertaining a viewpoint that is different from your own or so intolerant that what I say makes your blood boil? Delete Me. Please.

If you only want to engage with people that look like you, sound like you, talk like you and think like you… You might want to invest in a cocoon. ‘Cause, baby– there ain’t no one else in the world like you. You are unique. We all are. Social networking gives us the opportunity to share our unique perspectives with people all around the world.

Think about it– it’s pretty amazing. What I’m talking about in Elgin, Illinois might actually have some relevance to someone in New York City, London or Zambia. You or I might actually have something to say that can impact someone’s life on the opposite side of the globe.

But not if you hit DELETE, and not if you live in a cocoon.

That’s just my opinion.

There’s No ‘I’ In Teamwork… Or Is There?

How many times have you heard the phrase, “There’s no ‘I’ in team“? The sentiment is certainly effective but is it, or should it be the case?

As one of those obsessive people that fully commits to a project, I’ve realized that I still have to set perimeters. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve felt used or taken advantage of in the end. I tend to give too much physically, emotionally and sometimes financially. At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself, “Was it really worth it?”

The last thing you want to hear when you join a team or project is: “It’s only _____ (a game, a concert, a school dance)”… meaning that whatever it is, doesn’t require a strong commitment or dedicated effort. I have never understood why anyone would commit to do anything, if not to do it the best they can in that situation.

I’ve found students especially guilty of this, over committing themselves either to feel self important or out of the feeling of obligation. I still live by the adage, If it’s worth doing… it’s worth doing well (or right). Why commit to something you know you aren’t passionate about, or have no intentions of fully supporting?

This afternoon we will have our first production meeting for the 2013 Spring Musical at Bartlett High School. I’m excited to be stage directing for the second year in a row and extremely proud and honored to be a part of such and amazing, passionate team of professionals. It is bittersweet because this will be the last year we will be working together. This is the our fourteenth year together for three of us… the last year for my two partners in crime.

Over the years our team and program have grown and evolved. One original member retired several years ago and we gained a very talented younger member of our team four years ago. We’ve had our share of ups and downs, laughter and tears and beyond everything else, we’ve become a family. So, seeing them go on to new endeavors as the curtain falls on the final show this coming April will no doubt be an emotional time.

I could probably write a whole book about what I’ve learned and experienced through this collaborative experience but the most important thing I’ve learned, is this: Sometimes there must be an ‘I’ in team. I know this somewhat contradicts the very definition but when a team of individuals is strong and in tune with one another, it is possible to put yourself first, when you have to and still have all the pieces come together flawlessly.

Teamwork can take many forms. Individuals can have their own responsibilities that are pooled together in the end for the final result or it can be completely collaborative from the beginning. Usually, its a combination of the two. Teamwork doesn’t rely solely on the efforts of one individual but instead takes the combined knowledge and experience of all the members to successfully reach its goal. Two people can have two different visions going in to a project and together they can create a third new, entirely different one.

A solid team is built on trust and understanding. In the case of our musical team, we can usually predict how the others will react in a specific circumstance because we know each other so well. Sometimes we surprise each other but in most cases we know where our buttons and triggers are.

Here’s where the ‘I’ comes in. Sometimes you have to know when to step up or step back. You have to be able and willing to say, “I can’t…” or “I don’t have it to give…” and know that it will be okay. A good team is intuitive and can often anticipate when they may need to step up and help another team member succeed. You can’t forget that everyone has a life beyond whatever project it is you are trying to create. Sometimes your focus needs to be elsewhere… and a good team can compensate for that.

I think that one of the biggest issues in team building and probably the biggest struggle in establishing roles is trust. Young teams take time to build that trust and to understand everyone’s process. Without that knowledge, the ‘I’ can come across as selfish and uncaring, when in reality it’s nothing more than self preservation. You have to be empathic to everyone’s needs.

In the past few years, there have been more than one occasion when our team has needed to adjust our roles to help each other out. We have been able to do this successfully, not only because of the trust we’ve built but also the knowledge that we all give selflessly. Sometimes the person needing to say ‘I’, doesn’t. If you are intuitive enough, you may have to do it for them.

Of course, some people are just incapable of being part of a team because they are unwilling to try. In most cases though, with a little time and experience, people can learn to work together with great results. What everyone has to remember is that where there is negativity or resistance… there is a reason for it. It might not be obvious either. A good team will work through any issue and realize the importance of ‘I’ only makes them stronger as a whole.

Fifty Blog Posts: howdoyoumeasure525600minutes

My last blog post marked my 50th since I started blogging at the beginning of the year. My original daily blog goal was pretty unreasonable with my schedule… and frankly, do I really have that much to say that people want to read? Of course, I’m probably editing my ideas and thoughts much more drastically than I need to– but the last thing I want is to become one of those “This is what I ate for dinner…” bloggers. Oops! Too Late! (See last blog post.)

I started this blog because I do think I have a voice with some important things to say. I also wanted to write and give some insight on my life and my perspective. The biggest problem I face is publicly expressing my feelings on topics that either might offend others or possibly have a negative affect on someone or something. Some issues are easy to write about, others are much more difficult. I feel passionately enough about some things to accept the consequences, others… not so much. Plus, though I think good writing has to be fueled by passion– writing when that passion is driven primarily by anger is not necessarily a good thing. So I bite my tongue.

If there’s anything anyone would like to hear me write about– let me know! I’m always looking for topics.

To mark the occasion of my 50th post, I thought I’d share some of the statistics I’ve accumulated so far.

Number of Blog Visitors To Date: over 3,000

Number of Countries From Which Visitors View My Posts: 53

Top Five Countries Visiting (Beyond the US) : Canada, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, India

Number of Registered Blog Followers: 19

Busiest Day: January 13, 2012 – 223 Views

Total Comments: 54

Total Categories: 16

Total Tags: 254

Number of Shares: 201

Number of Attempted Spam: 444

Most referred links: Facebook

Most Read Post: HATE is alive and well in Bartlett, Illinois 345 (This probably isn’t an accurate number as the Home Page received 630 direct views.

I’d love to have more blog followers. I know a lot of people follow and read most of my posts through Facebook… but if you don’t want to risk missing one, sign up! This goes for comments too. Many people comment on the Facebook link but not on the blog itself. Don’t be afraid to comment here! You might have some insight that can help someone else that reads the blog! Speak up and Speak out!

Pizza Cheat Day

If you told me I had to pick only one thing to eat the rest of my life it would be pizza hands down. Thin, double crust, stuffed, New York or Chicago style, even frozen— it doesn’t matter, pizza is my favorite food. I can’t resist a hot steaming slice, dripping with melted cheese and loaded with spicy goodness. Well, at least until now.

Since Michael and I began our journey towards healthier living four months ago, we haven’t had pizza– not that pizza is bad for you– but it carries a lot of the carbs we are trying to avoid in our current stage of eating reform. This is where Cheat Day comes in. Cheat Day is something we invented when we were on a strict diet several years ago as a way of rewarding our progress and in an attempt to not get too bored with the dietary regime. It’s not a pig out day where it’s okay to eat everything in sight. It’s just an opportunity to eat something that doesn’t fit with the current plan.. a cheat. Of course, I realize now this is how I should always eat, making rich foods and desserts a luxury, not a staple.

Last May I bought a Groupon certificate for a local pizza joint, didn’t use it right away, started the low carb diet and found we were faced with the coupon expiration. So Michael suggested a cheat day (our first since June). I was working Monday night and when I got off, I drove across town in the pouring rain to pick up our order on the way home.

I’d been looking forward to this all day. I mean, it’s PIZZA! Mention it and my ears perk up like a dog hearing the words special treat.

So I called to place the order from my car, figuring it should be ready by the time I got there… and when I mentioned Groupon, like a sign from God (“Thou shalt NOT consume carbs in the form of pizza.“) — the drama started.

The restaurant wasn’t going to accept the Groupon.

This isn’t the first time this has happened. Apparently, Groupon routinely oversells, extends contracts and generally fails to completely inform its clients about the details of the services they provide. Anyway, in this case, the restaurant was under new management and I was told they would give me the same deal but I would have to pay for it and get a refund for the certificate from Groupon. This should have been a red flag… skip the cheat day and move on. But, since we’d already made this our plan for dinner, I agreed and placed the order.

I picked it up, they were very nice and apologetic and drove home. When I got there, Michael was just finishing blowing leaves– yes, in the dark and in the rain– and we were both starving. My mouth was watering from the aroma alone.

To make a long story even longer… I mean, short… the pizza was good. We filled up quickly, actually left a few slices… and then the pain set in. Going from less than 20 carbs a day to at least quadruple that amount in one sitting is not a great idea. I went to bed feeling bloated and sluggish regretting our decision.

I tossed and turned for a few hours and finally gave up on sleep. I got up, cleaned the kitchen, had an extremely engaging political discussion with a former student on Facebook and headed to the gym to work off my cheat meal.

Was it a good idea? In theory, yes; reality, no. I think next time I’ll go for a delicious, loaded salad. Perhaps my new favorite food.

My Weight Loss Update: 10/24/12:

Started: End of June

Goal Date: Mid-December

Starting Weight: 245 lbs.

Goal Weight: 185 lbs.  (which I haven’t been since my 20′s)

Current Weight (after 10 weeks): 197 lbs.

Total Weight Loss So Far: 48lbs.

Weight Left To Lose: 17 lbs.


A Walk In The Woods: A Fall Photo Essay

One of the things my Dad and I have in common is our love for the color changes in autumn. This year seems like an extraordinary year for fall foliage in Illinois, so I decided to take a walk with my camera and try to capture the magic. This is for you Dad.

All photos were shot October 9, 2012 with a Canon Powershot SX40, minor editing in iPhoto.

Property of Jeff Linamen.