Privacy ≠ Anonymity

19 07 2017

We have surely surrendered our privacy to the ether by our wide-open-armed embrace of the always-connected, always-on, virtual omnipotence that is the Internet.

So what?

Someone recently remarked that “we’ve lost our anonymity because of the total breech of any semblance of privacy.”

I disagree.

Sure, our tastes, habits, and interests are available to anyone who cares to Google us (and the people who own/pay Google.)  That’s losing privacy, but I believe it actually deepens our anonymity.  We are public, but we are mass-public . No matter the volume of data collected by LarrySergeyZuckerBezos, those tech giants will never know me.  They don’t want to know me and that is the beauty of everyone having no privacy – there are just too many of us to appear as unique individuals to these massive entities. 

In the face of all this all-access age, we, as individuals, are increasingly anonymous in many ways. While a lot more people know our names and our shopping habits, fewer and fewer folks would be able to identify us face-to-face. Many would point to this as a negative change in our social fabric.

I disagree.

Technology has enabled me to be casually social with lots of peripherally interesting folks while curating my circle of true friends to a group whose company I truly enjoy, whose counsel I respect, and whose ethics reflect my own.

Thank you, Internet, for making my life an open book and loading the shelves with so many other open books that only the few truly interested in knowing who I am will bother to turn a page or two.

Dear Diary, you are now obsolete. Love, Paula





Summer Daze

12 07 2017

Folks, I gotta admit it; I am running on fumes, this week.  Nothing in the tank.

With that full disclosure, being totally transparent, coming forward with the evidence (which you’d deduce for yourselves anyway), I offer you a little light mid-summer Top Ten List.

Top Ten Reasons I Respect Craft Show Exhibitors (and why I don’t do craft shows!)

10.  They accept the uncertainty of income stream that being self-employed embodies.

9.    They are dedicated to following their true nature; they were born to create beauty and they do what it takes to make it happen.

8.   They are eternally optimistic, never doubting that their hard work will pay dividends – and they are willing to do the hard work.

7.  They put their souls on display in fold-up store fronts that fit into the backs of Chrysler minivans.

Carol Heisler’s “Before” photo.

6.  They answer the same dumb questions from non-buying gawkers every day of every weekend of show season and never bite anyone.

5.  They can sleep on any horizontal-ish surface available to them when traveling for shows.

4.  They can go for two days, three hours, and forty-two minutes without a bathroom break, if a show’s good.

3.  They are the “postmen” of the art world, braving wind, rain, sweltering heat, toe-numbing cold, and managing to engage people about their craft.

2.  They produce some of the most magnificent works of fine art and fine craft anyone could imagine.

1.  They are some of my very best friends.

Tomorrow, I will visit a few of my fantastic friends who’ll fill the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts http://arts-festival.com/artists  and the People’s Choice Festival  http://peopleschoicefestival.com/  and I am sure my soul will be as full as my wallet will be empty.  I give my arty friends all a Top Ten!

 

One more admission – I “borrowed” these photos from these wonderful women’s Facebook pages. Hoping that forgiveness will be granted, since I did not ask their permission.

Pam Cummings Pottery See her at Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts. (Note the shopper wielding the umbrella.)

Carol Heisler’s “Not your grandmother’s” Quilts will be at Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts. BTW, Carol’s managing all the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen shows this year. Check http://www.pacrafts.org for them!

Kalpana Lehman’s Fine Soaps She’ll be at People’s Choice Festival.

Art by Clare Miller She’ll be at People’s Choice Festival.

 





Time Flies

5 10 2016

Have you been married for a L-O-N-G time? 

Do you ever wonder whether or not there is any capital-L Love still burning or whether it’s merely inertia that keeps the two of you together?

After years of youthful spats, mortgage, kids, in-laws, illnesses, and lawn mowers, it’s easy to believe that we’re just in the habit of being married.

Here’s something that proves just how wrong that idea can be:

On the occasion of their 35th wedding anniversary, my brother-in-law shared a lovingly curated group of photographs with this message to my sister:

Beautiful Bride, Loving Wife, Mother of my Children, Trusted Partner, and Loyal Friend. These are the words I think of when I think of you. I have loved you for over 35 years and I look forward to another 35 years with you.

189532_1003686488869_8646_n    14520389_10209712839954190_300220784660003828_n

This is pretty spectacular evidence that the middle chapter of a real-life love story is as wonderful as the opening paragraph.  Keep turning the pages; it just gets better and better.





Who Would You Miss?

12 03 2014

I awoke to this nugget from NBC News.

Facebook’s headquarters was locked down late Tuesday after authorities received a threat against the company.

Perhaps, Miss Muse was receiving signals from the Universe; this one’s been in the works for a few days.

If Facebook were to go away, who would you miss?

Facebook has enabled me to “meet” a lot of folks I’d likely never even have known about; much less have shared any exchange of ideas, recipes, or –critically important – jokes and cartoons.

Just as we don’t want to be best friends with every kid in camp; don’t want to invite the entire congregation to our son’s wedding; would not want to have every member of our gym come over for a dip in our backyard pool; we surely have many arm’s-length, but interesting Facebook “friendships.”

But, aren’t there some who you’d miss if they weren’t trundling around your Newsfeed; a few who you’d meet for lunch or a game of Scrabble, if they lived nearby?  I have come to know a few folks through Facebook who have added real value to my life. They inspire me. They teach me. They lift my spirits. They challenge my brain.  I like them; I really like them.

But, if Facebook were to disappear, so might some of them.

I do not lose sleep over the fate of Mr. Zuckerberg’s baby, but I am happy to have had this awakening, this awareness raised, this consciousness that there are folks within my Facebook circle who are important to me – important enough for me to take steps to assure they are not lost to me, in the event of some internet hissy-fit. It’s a simple back-up plan – an old-fashioned one, for sure, but it will work. Starting now, I am going to keep a (gasp!) physical record of the names, websites, and contact information of the few Facebook folks whose words or work or wisdom or wit make my life richer.

Surely, I will never need it, but the act of putting pen to paper to create this list will be a worthy one, if for no other reason than to remind me of how lucky I am; how much richer is my life because I know about these wonderful people.





Surprise!

30 01 2013

Don’t you just love it when you get something unexpected and good in the mail?

The last few weeks have been punctuated with happy little moments. I’ve received several beautiful birthday cards.  A care package filled with bud-laden branches waiting to be forced into blush-pink blooms arrived at my front door.  My mailbox has been graced with beautiful little works of art, sent to me from artisan colleagues who I admire and adore.

Isn’t that amazing?

Yes, but it shouldn’t be. Why do we sell our friends short?  Every day, we do little nice things for the people we love and respect.  How dare we be surprised that they are as kind and generous as we are???

Aha! I think I figured it out.  It’s amazing that others find us worthy of these gestures of friendship and affection.  Okay, go back and read the post “Mirror, Mirror” from two weeks ago, then wrap your head around the fact that you’re a damn fine person who deserves the cool friends you have.

Erica's gift

You’re welcome.





Tell Me What You Need

23 01 2013

I have lots of life experience – I’m old.

I’ve been here long enough to know some things; an important one is that to get what you need, it is important to be specific with those from whom you need whatever it is.

We have no trouble being specific about what we would like from the drive-thru window. We rarely hesitate to verbalize our desire for one sports team to beat another. We have no problem declaring “paper or plastic?” We do, however, expect our spouses and friends to divine from our vague complaints or tearful tirades what kind of support we are really asking them to provide.

I’ve figured out that, when I am bemoaning some circumstance (or hollering wildly about something), I’m looking for one of two types of response. I either want direction or I want sympathy. Sometimes, I want advice; often, I want allegiance. It is not fair to ask the person who’s on the hearing end of a tale of woe to guess which one it is.

Some days I need a coach, but some days, I need a cheerleader.  The least I can do is hand you the pom poms.





Mirror, Mirror

16 01 2013

Over the last few years, I believe (sincerely hope) I have become more patient, understanding, and kinder to others. I see, upon reflection, I have not extended that courtesy to me.

How about you?  Do you talk to yourself in a language you would never dream of speaking to your spouse, co-worker, pet?  When you set goals, do you set yourself up for failure? Do you just keep raising the bar without even so much as a “Good job, Me,” for clearing the last height?

Two weeks into 2013, some of us are still trying to maintain our New Year’s resolutions. I made only one, which is simply to be better to people – including myself.  You should join me. You would not like it if someone were nasty to your friends, so be nice to theirs.

Now, go say something nice to yourself. I’d suggest you start with something like

Self, you are so nice to read Scorched Eyebrow Studio’s blog posts. She appreciates so much having someone as smart as Self give her that precious time.

I really do appreciate it.