Online Living

Online Living Image

Hello everyone! I hope you’ve had a nice Thursday so far. Since I wrote this post a few years back (I think I was still teaching then) I left Facebook and have been off for almost year. It’s been very refreshing, but I do miss kind, consistent communication with people because I’m all about the kind, consistent communication.

When I left Facebook, I started sending out a personalish newsletter via email. It basically covers some of the day-to-day goings on in my life, the type of things folks sometimes post to Facebook.

Even though I’m working more online now from home, I’m spending less time on social media and more time in real life. I still really enjoy connecting online but technology can feel intrusive and I like to keep it at arm’s length.

Take care and have a great December evening!

~ Lori

Etch a SketchLast week I took a 24-hour break from social media. Now for me, this is pretty big. I actively post on three sites and a few others less often.

I dream about posting; I dream about having my Facebook page liked or unliked; I dream about gaining Twitter followers. Surely during the nighttime hours of sleep my mind could occupy itself with sweeter images than these. And yet…

Often I get up from watching a good TV show or reading an excellent book in order to compulsively check my email, look at my notifications and to post something new. I fear I may be a social media addict. That’s why I took a day to dry out.

Listen to me read this post:

It was hard. Initially, I felt at loose ends, like I should have something to do, somewhere to go. After a bit, I began to relax into my time off, and my mind became freer and clearer, less cluttered. I thought the virtual world revolved around me but when I checked-in the following morning, I was horrified to discover that I was not missed. Not even a little! The virtual world did not spin off its axis in my absence. I felt happy and sad, relieved and dejected.

Eye PadIn a sense, social media is real. The people behind the posts are certainly real, and there’s a responsibility to be respectful and kind when online. Hurt feelings are hurt feelings, online or off. Being blocked or banned or having the door slammed in your face feel the same. Losing a friend is losing a friend.

But social media is restricted by the fact that it is virtual. If I need an egg or a cup of sugar, I go next door or across the street. If I get stuck in the alley after a heavy snowfall, I’m glad that Bob is not my Facebook friend but instead is my real neighbour and will give me a push. I know my 10, 500 Twitter followers won’t be crammed into the community hall the day of my funeral.

Social media builds bridges. Lots of times I’ll receive kind post comments from neighbours I rarely see or talk to – people who live in a 20 kilometre radius of me. I “like” their comments, but I don’t phone them or invite them over for coffee, for tea, or for something with a bit more of a kick. It’s sad. I crave company, but instead of making an effort and seeking it out, I sit in front of this computer screen.

CalculatorI know, I know. I see the irony, as well. You don’t have to point it out. When I’m done writing this, recording it, and reading it over a couple times, I’ll post it online for you to see. Without this virtual connection, you would never know the things I think about and how I view the world. For this and for the connections I’ve made online, I am grateful to social media.

During the upcoming week I’ll take another day off from social media – probably Tuesday again. Maybe I’ll make a phone call or watch an entire TV show or venture out for coffee. For one day I’ll try not to forsake real life for a life lived online. Wish me luck.

Getting Older

 

 

 

 

Free from Facebook

nd-3-3361b-telephone-switchboard-operators-alberta-government-telephones-edmonton-alberta-10009-102-ave-1926
Telephone switchboard operators, Alberta Government Telephones, Edmonton, Alberta, 1926

I published this post for the first time back in April. I’m still not on Facebook.

Hey, fellow Albertans, remember AGT (Alberta Government Telephones) and how we all hated that regulated organization back in the day? Well, maybe not everyone hated the communication service, but as a kid the only comments I remember from my seniors about it were negative. Mostly it was all about the cost of long distance calling and the occasional service fee price hike. “Costs so damn much to make a call anymore…”

Remembering AGT made me consider Facebook. That corporation allegedly reads our personal messages and sells the information therein to make money. And we are pretty much cool with that. Imagine if AGT would’ve pulled a stunt like that, eavesdropping on our private conversations and selling anything useful they heard to an interested third party. We would’ve burned telephone effigies in front of our local AGT offices.

Listen to me read this post:

 

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AGT office in Delburne, Alberta; photo from albertahistoricplaces.wordpress.com

So why aren’t we terribly offended when we hear that Facebook could be eavesdropping on all of us, scanning for juicy information it can profit from? Because Facebook is free and it will always be. The service provided by AGT cost money.

However, the biggest obstacle to Facebook ever changing its devious ways is not Facebook’s legal department, but rather, public apathy. It seems most people just don’t care that their private information is being read, recorded and sold to companies. “So what?” people ask. “I have nothing to hide, so why should I worry?”  ~ Rebecca Savastio, The Guardian, 2014

Like LUSH Cosmetics’ advertisements, my unpaid ad posts were choked off from my audience, the 1073 folks who had liked my Facebook page. I was asked to pay for advertising. Even when I did, the reach was pretty pathetic. So for me and what I needed it for, Facebook was not free.

facebook not for meI still enjoy being off Facebook. Time away has really freed up my mind. I didn’t realize how much time I spent considering what to post and then creating those posts. I craved the likes and wanted the attention. Facebook depended on the fact that I was seeking attention. My content helped drive their machine.

I do miss interactions with several people who don’t communicate with me outside of Facebook. I get it. Facebook is convenient and the feedback from it, negative or positive, is immediate. There’s satisfaction in that along with a sweet little dopamine hit. I liked it too, the attention and the rush, but what I like more is being free from Facebook.

Thanks for being here with me today. If you want to stay connected even though I’m not on Facebook, follow me here on WordPress. That would be great.

Take care and enjoy life.

~ Lori

 

Jack Taylor and Rocks on the Road

Jack Taylor: my latest Netflix recommendation

 

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Iain Glen as Jack Taylor. Photo from thebritishtvplace.com

This was so good! This murder mystery series contains nine, hour-and-a-half episodes. Each one is based on a novel from the Jack Taylor series written by Ken Bruen. Each one stands alone as if it’s a movie, but the main characters mostly remain the same and every story is set in Jack Taylor’s hometown of Galway, Ireland.

It is shockingly violent in places and perhaps would appeal more to the guys than the gals in the crowd as it is a bit on the macho side. Nevertheless I really enjoyed it. I especially like the actor who plays Jack Taylor, Iain Glen. Now ladies, he might be your reason to watch. Those of you who follow Game of Thrones will recognize this Scottish actor. Because the Jack Taylor episodes are shot over several years, Mr. Glen ages noticeably over the course of production but, like fine wine, he also improves with time.

Listen to me read this post:

I appreciated how the TV series capably and gracefully weaves Ireland’s history and folklore into its stories, probably just as Ken Bruen does in his books. Very interesting and I didn’t feel as if the writers were explaining Ireland to me. The historical and cultural details are perfectly and carefully placed to give the stories colour and context. The actors even speak a little Gaelic here and there.

I finished watching this show last week and there’s still a hole in my viewer’s heart that it left and is yet to be filled. Have a suggestion? I’d love to hear it!

Why not join me on MeWe?

MeWe is a social media platform like Facebook except it doesn’t spy on you and then sell your information. Isn’t that considerate? If we follow each other there, I can share with you like I used to on Facebook. I’d really like that.

MeWe-logo

My personal MeWe link is www.mewe.com/i/loriknutson1.

Art rocks on the road.

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A hand-painted rock from alongside the road I walk.

My creative neighbour paints rocks and leaves them as treasures for people to discover as they walk the road I walk. Today I found a gorgeous rock. I put it in my pocket and brought it home because I didn’t have my camera with me. I took a picture of it to share with you here, and the next time I go for a walk, I’ll place it somewhere else along the road for someone else to find.

Small acts of generosity like this brighten the world and soften its dark edges. Thank you, Heather!

Want to write your memoir?

So Many Stories

It’s a big project and it isn’t cheap, but recording your life’s stories may be one of the most worthwhile things you’ll ever do. A life comes and goes in the blink of an eye, moments passing and disappearing. Consider capturing a few of your life’s highlights to share with the ones you love.

My passion is storytelling, and I really like writing about history around which I can weave a colourful narrative. Recently, I’ve helped clients preserve their family stories in digital text form

and in the form of audio interviews. I’d love to hear about your project idea.

I can take you through the processes of both writing and of publishing. It would be my pleasure and in the end, you’d have a book about your life. How great is that?

Please get in touch and let’s talk about how we can work together to make your words shine!

Thanks for joining me here today! I hope you have a great week. Keep well and keep in touch.

~ Lori

“How long will it take till you open up your eyes? I’ve been gone for years, you never even realized.” ~ How Long by Blue Rodeo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Four Life Hacks from an Unlikely Life-hacker

 

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Plastic produce containers are perfect for organizing your drawers!

Marie Kondo would be proud! After watching some of Ms. Kondo’s Netflix episodes, we trekked off to the Dollar Store and bought all shapes and sizes of containers for organizing the stuff in our lives. This was great but I went at the organizing task with so much enthusiasm that soon I’d run out of the little plastic boxes we’d purchased.

 

Listen to me read this post:

1. Use recycled containers to help you organize your life.

It was then I remembered all the plastic boxes that had once held grocery store produce and that were now neatly washed and stacked downstairs in the cold room. This is an old teacher habit, washing and keeping plastic containers in case they become handy in the classroom. Usually they do. I still teach enough that I’m reluctant yet to let go of this particular recycling habit.

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My makeup in a recycled plastic bin – neat and tidy!

 

These recycled produce bins come in different sizes, lengths, and depths. They are very adaptable! My favourite change I made was chucking out my ancient makeup bag. Every day I’d lug it out of its drawer and onto the bathroom vanity’s countertop. Then I’d dig around in it, peering into the old makeup bag’s dark and mysterious interior until, like an archeologist, I’d exhume my treasure. When I found a shallow square box that used to hold strawberries, I unceremoniously dumped the contents of the makeup bag, placed only what I use in the plastic container, and happily threw away the old bag I bought at least twenty years ago.

Such a small thing made such a big improvement! In the re-used container, my makeup is easily accessed, tidier, and just cleaner.

2. Swiffer your walls.

I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: Swiffer your walls. It’s fast and easy, and it effectively removes cobwebs and dust you didn’t even know was there. I was reminded of how great this works when I Swiffered the basement walls yesterday. Yuck. That could have been done sooner.

My father’s scheduled visit at the end of this week has inspired some of this frantic basement cleaning. There’s nothing like company to get us cleaning. A friend of mine once surmised, “I wonder why we do that? Scramble around and clean before guests arrive?” She then went on to answer her own question. “I suppose we want people to believe we live better than we do.” Next she laughed out loud. I love that friend.

3. Use a mop to clean your large tub.

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Nice and clean with the help of a mop.

I also love our huge Jacuzzi bathtub but I used to hate cleaning it. Now gather around nice and close, dear readers. I’m going to tell you a secret: I’m not that tall. This fact makes it especially awkward to clean that big tub. I simply don’t have the reach.

I remember, back in the day, taking off my shoes and socks, rolling up my pant legs, and getting into the tub with my sponge and wearing my rubber gloves. It was tedious and not that elegant. I don’t know what made me think of it but recently while I cleaned the bathroom, an idea popped into my head, “Hey, why don’t I use the mop with its super-long handle to clean this sucker?”

And that’s what I did. If you’re not tall (like me) and have a big bathtub, this is a very good way to clean it.

4. Make more time for living by being less clicky.

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I used to post a lot of crap on Facebook.

Since I left Facebook, I spend way less time scrolling through social media feeds. I don’t miss clicking and liking (although I do quite a lot of this on Twitter still @lori_knutson) and my mind, like my newly-organized kitchen drawers, feels less cluttered. I do miss casual contact with a lot of people and again I urge those people to come find me. I’m virtually all over the place – just not on Facebook.

What has replaced the time spent being so clicky online? I’ve been lucky to be in more email contact with folks, writing longer letters, and receiving them, too. Yes. They take a while to read and some effort to respond to, and this makes them meaningful. I’m not writing then to win popularity but instead to forge relationships.

About a month ago, I finally acquired a cell phone that I can easily text from. I really like it! I’m new to texting, though, and sometimes clumsy. As a result, I accidentally phoned a childhood friend the other day instead of sending a text message. It was delightful! There are times when I’m so glad I don’t know what the heck I’m doing. This, as it turns out, is quite a lot of the time.

Thanks for spending this time with me today. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch or to follow me here on WordPress. If you want to post this blog to your own social media feed, I would appreciate it! It can be lonely outside of Facebook’s warm and invasive embrace.

Take care and happy May Day!

~ Lori

Here’s what the weather’s like today in my neck of the woods:

 

Free from Facebook

nd-3-3361b-telephone-switchboard-operators-alberta-government-telephones-edmonton-alberta-10009-102-ave-1926
Telephone switchboard operators, Alberta Government Telephones, Edmonton, Alberta, 1926

Hey, fellow Albertans, remember AGT (Alberta Government Telephones) and how we all hated that regulated organization back in the day? Well, maybe not everyone hated the communication service, but as a kid the only comments I remember from my seniors about it were negative. Mostly it was all about the cost of long distance calling and the occasional service fee price hike. “Costs so damn much to make a call anymore…”

Remembering AGT made me consider Facebook. That corporation allegedly reads our personal messages and sells the information therein to make money. And we are pretty much cool with that. Imagine if AGT would’ve pulled a stunt like that, eavesdropping on our private conversations and selling anything useful they heard to an interested third party. We would’ve burned telephone effigies in front of our local AGT offices.

Listen to me read this post:

 

delburne-agt-building-mhr
AGT office in Delburne, Alberta; photo from albertahistoricplaces.wordpress.com

So why aren’t we terribly offended when we hear that Facebook could be eavesdropping on all of us, scanning for juicy information it can profit from? Because Facebook is free and it will always be. The service provided by AGT cost money.

However, the biggest obstacle to Facebook ever changing its devious ways is not Facebook’s legal department, but rather, public apathy. It seems most people just don’t care that their private information is being read, recorded and sold to companies. “So what?” people ask. “I have nothing to hide, so why should I worry?”  ~ Rebecca Savastio, The Guardian, 2014

Like LUSH Cosmetics’ advertisements, my unpaid ad posts were choked off from my audience, the 1073 folks who had liked my Facebook page. I was asked to pay for advertising. Even when I did, the reach was pretty pathetic. So for me and what I needed it for, Facebook was not free.

facebook not for meI still enjoy being off Facebook. Time away has really freed up my mind. I didn’t realize how much time I spent considering what to post and then creating those posts. I craved the likes and wanted the attention. Facebook depended on the fact that I was seeking attention. My content helped drive their machine.

I do miss interactions with several people who don’t communicate with me outside of Facebook. I get it. Facebook is convenient and the feedback from it, negative or positive, is immediate. There’s satisfaction in that along with a sweet little dopamine hit. I liked it too, the attention and the rush, but what I like more is being free from Facebook.

Thanks for being here with me today. If you want to stay connected even though I’m not on Facebook, follow me here on WordPress. That would be great.

Take care and enjoy life.

~ Lori

 

Renewed Perspectives

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Here’s a spring picture I took a few years ago.

For the first time in about three years, I got a new pair of glasses. I was astounded at how the world looked when the clerk polished the lenses and sat that plastic frame on the bridge of my nose. Everything was suddenly so bright and so crisp! I didn’t realize how outdated my old vision prescription was. My prescription hadn’t changed that dramatically, but apparently a small change can make a big difference.

 

Small changes making a big difference have been the theme of my life over the last few weeks since I finished up a short teaching contract and started focusing on other things. This morning I went for the first warm walk I’ve taken this spring. Under the bright blue prairie sky I marveled at the clear view of the landscape I got through my new glasses. And they’re cute, too! Having new eyewear isn’t as good as not having to wear glasses, but it’s pretty close.

Listen to me read this post here:

 

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These trees are gone now.

As I walked up the hill and my view expanded, I felt a sharp pang of sadness. I get these a lot lately, more often and more acutely than before. The sadness was the result of seeing what had been a little stand of trees that surrounded a quiet pond that was now transformed into a tidy brush pile waiting to be burned. Brushing is a common practice on agricultural land, and small stands of trees are routinely removed from arable land. Family members who used to live here and come back to visit, comment on the starkness of the farmland bare of trees. It’s different than they remember.

 

Ever Swiffered your walls?

 Spring has encouraged me to do some organizing and cleaning around this little house of ours. The other day, I was working at my office desk. I glanced up and noticed a cobweb wafting gently back and forth. Truth is that I’d noticed several cobwebs here and there in the high corners of the office and the master bedroom. I just ignored them and I was satisfied to do this for quite a long time.

But this spring seems to be my spring for extra cleaning. I’m not very tall and so the best tool to use to reach those corners is my Swiffer floor duster. It removed those cobwebs like a dream so I kept right on going and Swiffered the walls. It was fascinating! There was a surprisingly thick layer of dust there that I hadn’t detected. Got ten free minutes? Try it. You’ll see.

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Finally the weather’s warm enough for me to safely daydream about canoeing.

Facebook wasn’t the problem.

For a while I was pretty disgusted with Facebook. I wanted that social media platform to be something else, I suppose. I wanted a kinder place in which I could really connect with people. My relationship with Facebook reminded of relationships I’d had with men when I was (much) younger. I pictured how things would be great if I could change this and that small thing about the way my partner and I interacted. This dissatisfaction would inevitably lead us to break up and, when we did, the disappointment disappeared.

It was the same when I ended it with Facebook. I spent too long wanting it to be something it just couldn’t be, something it never wanted to be. Facebook wasn’t the problem. My expectations of it were the problem. When my dissatisfaction caused us to break up, my disappointment in the platform disappeared. Sometimes late at night when I’m all alone and have an item to sell, I still think about its reach and advertising potential, but most of the time, I don’t miss Facebook that much.

Speaking of Facebook, if you like what you read here, please feel free to share it to your Facebook feed or any of your other social media networks. That would be great. And if you’re not following me here on WordPress, please consider making that small change in your life.

You can cut and paste this link to my blog into Facebook:

https://wordpress.com/post/loriknutson.com/2729

Thanks for dropping by and spending some time with me! Get in touch anytime and please let me know if you Swiffer your walls. Strangely, I’d love to hear about it!

~ Lori

“I wanna get lost in your rock’n’roll and drift away.” ~ Dobie Gray

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sun is Shining and the Water’s Running

Finally it’s springtime. And we’re not experiencing one of those raging spring blizzards…yet. We will, but today the sun is strong and the water’s running in the ditches and along the curbs. The world feels brand new and I almost do, too.

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Here’s a photo I took early this afternoon during my sunny walk.

I have to say, I really enjoyed the response I got from my last post. Several people emailed me, and we had a chance to catch up a little. Upon leaving my 1400 friends on Facebook, one of my aspirations was to cultivate more meaningful connections, something deeper than a click or a like. Clicks and likes are nice, and they’ve been strategically created to keep us wanting more, but what I want is to feel less isolated in this big old world. So thanks for getting in touch! I appreciate it.

I especially like longer-form communication, letter-length emails. It’s a treat to take the time to read them and to take the time to write back. This kind of communication is worthwhile, deeply meaningful. So if you’re looking to fill 20 minutes one evening, drop me a note. It would be so nice to hear from you!

A few more of you have started following my blog and another few have also been posting my links to Facebook. Facebook’s reach remains broad and many device-users access it for most of their information and communication. It’s quick and easy, so when my posts can be found there, they get more readers.

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Another picture from along the road.

I finally broke down and bought a cell phone that I can easily text from. Because I relied on the free service provided by Facebook Messenger, when I left Facebook, I needed a new way to send short notes to friends and family. My phone is user-friendly and intuitive. I’m happy with it and quickly building my contact list.

I hope you’ve had a great Wednesday and that you’ve enjoyed this first glorious day of spring!

Take good care,

Lori