Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

St. Patrick

Hello everyone! Here’s a St. Paddy’s Day repost. I hope it makes you smile. (I love the song by Rawlins Cross posted at the end.)

Take care of yourselves and each other. – Lori

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! This day always reminds me of when I taught Grade 3 at St. Patrick’s School in Grande Prairie, Alberta. It was big celebration and, at night, there was at least one Celtic band playing somewhere in town. That was in the late 1990s when Celtic music blended with rock was popular. We’d go out and drink and dance and be happy that, maybe, just maybe, spring might come to that bleak northern landscape. I loved those days.

This St. Paddy’s Day, I’m celebrating again, although this time there’s no drinking and dancing (but the day is young…). I’m rejoicing because my nine-week full-time temporary teaching contract is done.

Challenging and Humbling

This teaching stint was a challenging and often humbling experience. Funny, I thought I knew something about being an educator and then I tackled that same job within a completely new context. I soon found out that in teaching, there’s always something to learn, and those students were my best teachers. I tripped and fell every day, and I staggered to my feet and kept on going.

I taught every grade in the school and I worked one-on-one with a number of students, too. It was busy and varied. I had to switch mental gears constantly to interact with the different ages and abilities of all the students. No wonder I’m exhausted! It was a very worthwhile assignment and this old dog learned a lot of new tricks. So I guess that saying flies out the window, at least in my case.

Fleeing Facebook

During this time, I left Facebook. As you likely know, I’d been considering this for a while for a whole bunch of good reasons. The reason that finally caused me to leave was a message I received criticizing my actions in the classroom. It was three o’clock in the morning and I was having trouble sleeping because of the very challenging day I’d had previously. Stupidly, I opened Facebook on my tablet and found the message. Stupidly, I read it. I felt like I’d been kicked in the stomach.

Celtic Shamrock

On Facebook, there was always someone to let me know when I failed in case I missed it. I hadn’t missed it, of course, but there’s pleasure for some in pointing out others’ shortcomings. It’s a sweet treat to correct and criticize, to feel that moral high ground beneath one’s feet. I’m sure I’ve felt that solid footing once or twice myself, that firm certainty.

Keep on posting, peon!

Because I posted frequently, and had several friends and followers, Facebook would automatically nag me each day with notifications reminding me to keep creating content for the company: 1073 people that like Lori Knutson haven’t heard from you in a while. And yet, when I left Facebook, I did not receive 1073 concerned phone calls or emails. I guess my posts weren’t as urgently needed as Facebook thought.

St Patrick and MedusaI do miss a lot of my friendly interactions on Facebook and I do feel a bit disconnected. On the other hand, my mind is clearer and I feel less distracted, less jittery. There used to be an anxious social media knot in my stomach. When I’d relax for a moment with a cup of tea and a book, I felt like I should be posting, should be “liking” and clicking. Now the knot is gone. While I miss some friends, I don’t miss Facebook. I feel like I’ve taken back a part of myself that I’d given too freely, and that feels good.

Have a happy Sunday, dear readers, and please consider following my WordPress blog. I’d really like to keep in touch and this is a good way to do it! And if you’d like to help me get around Facebook, please share my posts on that forum. Facebook still remains one of the best ways to promote content and sell a lawnmower.

Take good care and spread a little sunshine. This rock’n’roll song with bagpipes is too awesome not to share! Take a listen in Canada’s own Rawlins Cross.

~ Lori

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:

 

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

 

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

IMG_3821
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:

 

IMG_4832
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.

IMG_3974
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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

St. PatrickHappy St. Patrick’s Day! This day always reminds me of when I taught Grade 3 at St. Patrick’s School in Grande Prairie, Alberta. It was big celebration and, at night, there was at least one Celtic band playing somewhere in town. That was in the late 1990s when Celtic music blended with rock was popular. We’d go out and drink and dance and be happy that, maybe, just maybe, spring might come to that bleak northern landscape. I loved those days.

This St. Paddy’s Day, I’m celebrating again, although this time there’s no drinking and dancing (but the day is young…). I’m rejoicing because my nine-week full-time temporary teaching contract is done.

Challenging and Humbling

This teaching stint was a challenging and often humbling experience. Funny, I thought I knew something about being an educator and then I tackled that same job within a completely new context. I soon found out that in teaching, there’s always something to learn, and those students were my best teachers. I tripped and fell every day, and I staggered to my feet and kept on going.

I taught every grade in the school and I worked one-on-one with a number of students, too. It was busy and varied. I had to switch mental gears constantly to interact with the different ages and abilities of all the students. No wonder I’m exhausted! It was a very worthwhile assignment and this old dog learned a lot of new tricks. So I guess that saying flies out the window, at least in my case.

Fleeing Facebook

During this time, I left Facebook. As you likely know, I’d been considering this for a while for a whole bunch of good reasons. The reason that finally caused me to leave was a message I received criticizing my actions in the classroom. It was three o’clock in the morning and I was having trouble sleeping because of the very challenging day I’d had previously. Stupidly, I opened Facebook on my tablet and found the message. Stupidly, I read it. I felt like I’d been kicked in the stomach.

Celtic Shamrock

On Facebook, there was always someone to let me know when I failed in case I missed it. I hadn’t missed it, of course, but there’s pleasure for some in pointing out others’ shortcomings. It’s a sweet treat to correct and criticize, to feel that moral high ground beneath one’s feet. I’m sure I’ve felt that solid footing once or twice myself, that firm certainty.

Keep on posting, peon!

Because I posted frequently, and had several friends and followers, Facebook would automatically nag me each day with notifications reminding me to keep creating content for the company: 1073 people that like Lori Knutson haven’t heard from you in a while. And yet, when I left Facebook, I did not receive 1073 concerned phone calls or emails. I guess my posts weren’t as urgently needed as Facebook thought.

St Patrick and MedusaI do miss a lot of my friendly interactions on Facebook and I do feel a bit disconnected. On the other hand, my mind is clearer and I feel less distracted, less jittery. There used to be an anxious social media knot in my stomach. When I’d relax for a moment with a cup of tea and a book, I felt like I should be posting, should be “liking” and clicking. Now the knot is gone. While I miss some friends, I don’t miss Facebook. I feel like I’ve taken back a part of myself that I’d given too freely, and that feels good.

Have a happy Sunday, dear readers, and please consider following my WordPress blog. I’d really like to keep in touch and this is a good way to do it! And if you’d like to help me get around Facebook, please share my posts on that forum. Facebook still remains one of the best ways to promote content and sell a lawnmower.

Take good care and spread a little sunshine. This rock’n’roll song with bagpipes is too awesome not to share! Take a listen in Canada’s own Rawlins Cross.

~ Lori

When We Were Vikings

Vikings 2006
This handsome young Mountie agreed to pose with us. We weren’t displeased.

Last night I went to my auntie’s house for supper. We were celebrating my great uncle’s 92nd birthday. After supper when the supper dishes had been cleared from the long table in the dining room, and with the coffee cups and dessert plates pushed out of the way, together we looked at old photographs.

There was one picture I’d never received a copy of. That was the one of my auntie and I all dressed up for Hughenden’s 2006 History Book Release parade. She wore a traditional Norwegian outfit borrowed from a local traditional Norwegian. Thinking that authentic sheep horns attached to a hardhat would make a great costume, that’s what I wore. The silver duct tape was awesome in that it made the hardhat look like a metal helmet.

I thought old sheep horns would be dried up and light. They were not. At dinner last night, I told the other guests, “Before that day, I was actually five feet, seven inches tall. That helmet was so heavy that it compressed me down permanently to five feet!”

Vikings aren’t often on Facebook

While I really miss the connections I had on Facebook, I don’t miss the pressure I got from the social media service to constantly post new content. I’d read that the content that users post to Facebook then belongs to Facebook.

Viking Ship Hughenden Parade
My auntie and I in my old canoe decked-out as a Viking ship. (Vikings never actually wore these heavy helmets. I understand why.)

At first, I didn’t plan to completely leave Facebook. I thought I could get a fresh start by deleting my older posts and by deleting Messenger. After deleting my old posts one by one only to have the social media site restore them not once, not once, but three times, I understood that this really wasn’t my content to delete. Facebook could do what it wanted with content I’d shared to keep its audience engaged. I worked for Facebook.

I also discovered that it’s not possible to delete Messenger once a user has signed on. You can delete the app and you can block selected people from messaging you. But when I clicked around Facebook’s help section and finally found the link to the instructions for removing Messenger, I found out that particular help page was no longer available.

So how do you like me now?

Since you can’t find me on Facebook, how do you “like” and share my work? Well, you can still share my posts to Facebook. I can’t, but if you do, I’ll get more readers. Because of the huge number of people that use the network, Facebook remains one of the best vehicles to drive website traffic. (The corporation really limited how I could do that through my author page near the end, though.)

IMG_6727
I still have this lutefisk bumper sticker that was mounted to the rear of the quad that towed our ship float. (I don’t love lutefisk.)

To show your support, you can also follow me here on WordPress. If you have a WordPress account, simply follow me. If you don’t, follow me by email. That way, my new posts will pop right into your email’s inbox. And if you like what you read, please like it and comment on it, just like you would on Facebook.

Thanks for spending this time with me today. I hope you have a nice Sunday evening. Please keep in touch. You can contact me through my website and I’ll get back to you. I’d still love to chat!  ~ Lori

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