Tag Archives: social media

“Is this the hill you want to die on?”

9 Aug

Earlier in this year, I got into an argument with a friend of a friend on Facebook. As you do.

Mind you, I try not to do such things. I’ve even gone as far as to take the subject at hand, and post about it on my own page so not to start a fight on a friend’s page.

But this day, I didn’t.


The friend of my friend started making up a new “tard” word. As in “this person’s so retarded that we have to come up with a new “tard” word to show just how stupid they are.” (please note – all conversation is paraphrased from memory)

I was all “Yeah, “tard” words aren’t cool, stop it.”

Friend of friend. “I can say anything I want.”

Me – “Well, as someone who has a daughter who is, to use the more outdated medical terminology, mentally retarded, I am telling you that “tard” words aren’t cool.”

Friend of friend – “OMG, I can’t believe you used the phrase “mentally retarded”, I am a teacher and we don’t use such language. I have never used the phrase “mentally retarded” in all my years of teaching!”

Me – “Da fuq?”

Yes, dudebro called me out for using “mentally retarded” after defending his use of his made up “tard” word, trying to paint me as the insensitive one. So I said something snippy and brilliant and kinda mean that I don’t recall because it’s been months. But I’ll own that I was being snippy and rude at that point.

Our friend steps in…my friend who has proclaimed their love of my daughter, who has always been super supportive, who has always shared what I written…and my friend told us to cut it out, and me basically to shut up.

My friend told me to shut up.

I may have seen a wall of white hot fire. I don’t take well to being told to shut up like that.

I was all “You have got to be kidding me.”

My friend was all “It’s my wall, people can say what they want, I won’t censor them.”

I was all “Seriously, are you kidding me?”

My friend said “Is this the hill you want our friendship to die on?”

Hmmm…let’s contemplate that hill. That hill that’s built on a slur for people with my daughter’s disability? The slur that I have been vocal about not using? That’s sort of been my platform? That I’ve written blog posts about and you have shared? Is this the hill I want to die on? Want to sacrifice our friendship on?

My first thought was “Do you not know me?”

My second thought was “No. Honestly, I will not unfriend you over this. You are my friend.” And I said this.

One or both of us may be having a bad day. I was definitely now viewing the post through a red haze of anger. The friend of a friend was at that point, offering to not use “tard” words on our friend’s page.

But as it turns out, the damage was done.

I steered clear of commenting on my friend’s social media, partially because I was angry and obviously posting in anger wasn’t working out. Then it looked like my friend took a break from social media. Summer came along and I got busy with things.

But last week, my friend posted something on Instagram. And I commented with a long-standing running joke between us.

Today, I realized that my friend has blocked me on Instagram. We are also no longer friends on Facebook.

So here I am, alone on this hill that one of us was apparently willing to let our friendship die on. I stood my ground. They walked away.

If I could go back to that day with that post, would I choose to stay silent?


Who would I be, as a mother, to allow people to use slurs based on my daughter’s disability? How is using a disability slur any different than using a racial slur or slurs against LGBTQ+? In my world there is no difference.

So yes, I guess in the long run, it’s a hill I’d die on.



Photo – me with my kids. on a hill. in Ireland. 2011





How to excel at social media

29 Jun

So you want to be a social media guru? Get that blog you’ve started out into the wider world of interwebs? Well, grab a cup of coffee and let’s get going!


1 – Get online

2 – write brilliant post. make sure you’re interrupted at least 73 times while writing

3 – have crappy but expensive internet service that claims to be high speed randomly stop working

4 – curse, reset router, curse some more, sacrifice chicken, get internet working again, hit “publish” on blog post

4.5 – get interrupted because your magical finding powers are needed to find something

5 – realize that some of your social media connections aren’t right, so the post isn’t publishing where it should. Fix issue. Realize the fix didn’t take. Fix again. Realize again that the fix didn’t take.

6 – Choose to manually share to all your social media outlets.

6.5 – get interrupted again by family, forget to share places

7 – Share other people’s social media stuff. Only to find out that since changing your passwords three months ago, nothing is connected correctly and you have to enter the password to share other people’s stuff to your Twitter account.

7.5 – get interrupted for requests for juice, money, or input on something

8 – Get locked out of Twitter after X amount of failed attempts because you can’t remember what your new password is

8.5- wonder once again why writing down your passwords is considered bad

10 – realize your coffee’s gone cold and consider blogging about it. re-rea

11 – repeat steps 1-10, including getting so distracted that you don’t realize there’s no #9.

There! Now you’re using social media to its fullest!


art credit – Mike Mitchell


I survived my conference!

2 May

I’m back from almost four straight days of socializing. Of leaving my comfort zone in the hotel room and actually introducing myself to people. My brain is still sort of spinning.

To back up a little, for those unable to keep up with my leap-frogging brain…

Last fall, I decided to sign up for a big deal blogging conference called Mom 2.0 Summit. I had read about it the year before, and how it seemed to be geared towards all sorts of bloggers, and that it wasn’t as huge as the other big blogging conference that shall go unnamed right now, and smaller seemed better. I decided I was going to take blog writing more seriously and to do so, I signed up for this conference.

Then I spent the next six months stressing about if I should really go. Luckily, my cute travel agent made all the arrangements at the same time as I bought the ticket, so there was no “forgetting” to buy a plane ticket or book a hotel. He also threatened to put me on the plan himself if need be.

The conference had a Facebook group for those of us going to chat beforehand. In my “go big or go home” style, I put myself out there, all over the page, with a “If you’re new and alone, FIND ME! I know no one either and am friendly!”

Go figure, that worked. Except I play it really cool sometimes, so when the one group of ladies passed by me in the lobby, I looked all calm and confident while scrolling through Facebook on my phone. But after walking by me, they doubled back. “Are you Phoebe?” And I made my new conference friends, and we three made sure that we constantly met up again for meals and the awards.

Quickly, I figured out I had chosen well for my first foray into the bigger blog world, because everyone was friendly. All I had to do was be friendly back. Or as my husband kept saying “Just be yourself. You’re awesome.” (He’s also been hired as my PR guy btw.) But still, I fought feeling self-conscious at times. It’s my MO. Didn’t help that I was in the land of the Beautiful People in California, and I am the antithesis of the California Woman (but damn if I don’t blend really well in Italy, so, you know, it’s cool.) And the more confident, successful ones of the conference were not the ones blending into the woodwork, but standing out proudly with their uniqueness – so by Friday, I was wearing my Ampersand Cat shirt proudly, and dancing in my Doc Martens at the awards show.

By Thursday afternoon (first full day of the conference) I could feel myself getting overwhelmed. So I walked down to the beach, stuck my toes in the sand, got my jeans wet with ocean water, picked up a couple rocks and just allowed it to calm me enough to get through the afternoon. But once down time hit again that night, I realized, I was done. I went to my room (even though I was invited out) and ate pizza and watched Netflix. My brain tried to tell me how this was all too much, and I tried to ignore it.

The next morning, I got up and babystepped my way through getting dressed and ready. I was not mentally ready, but I forced myself out of the room to breakfast. I stood at the buffet and this lovely woman looks at me and goes “You look stressed. Are you stressed?”

I said “Well, my prozac hasn’t kicked in and I haven’t had coffee yet.” Because I’m honest. Or filterless. Whichever.

“Would a hug help?” the lovely woman named Karen said.


And we hugged. Because you know what? When a person is stressed or flustered or whatever – reaching out to them and being a nice person is always helpful. Later on, I realized I was hugged and helped out by Karen of Chookooloonks. I am totally following her now.

After that, I found my groove. I went to a few sessions and suddenly I’m ready to podcast and write a memoir and then I made art with addyeB – aka A’Driane, the ONE blogger I was hoping to meet at this conference as we chat a lot on line. And wow, she is a beautiful soul, in writing and in person.

Yet after having a fantastic day, I went back to my room and suddenly the anxiety rushed me. I wondered, should I even bother going to the awards? But last year, they pulled out Andrew McCarthey to help out, and I am just too damn curious for my own good, so the lure of the surprise guest got me moving again.

Of course, this led to my near death experience because I slipped climbing into the shower, caught my leg on the very tall wall of the tub, and am now sporting a bruise the size of my hand on my calf. It also explained why the fancy schmancy Ritz had a bathtub mat rolled up, waiting to be used. Because damn, their tubs are slippery!

But I didn’t die in the shower of the Ritz-Carlton hotel room and taped my top on securely like a Kardashian, and made my way down to the awards, where I met another lovely person as we chatted about our barely name-brand outfits and avoiding the photo shoot on the red carpet. Yes. There was a red carpet. Where they took photos. We avoided that…but not the free champagne being handed out. And my two conference buddies found me, and we three made our way into the awards ceremony.

Where the emcee was Alfonso Ribeiro – I got to see Carlton do The Carlton! And halfway through the awards, he called for a dance break, Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” came on, and I got on my chair and danced, not caring who was watching. Because when that song comes on, dammit, you get yourself on a chair and dance! Anything else would be untrue to myself.

(BTW, Alfonso’s wife, Angela, also blogs. There’s you’re fun fact of the day.)

Yes, going to the awards show was totally worth it. As was the party afterwards, if only for the conversation with the Lego Dude who is a fellow South Side Chicagoan. He looked at me and said “Cubs or White Sox?”

I said “There’s only one right answer to that – White Sox.”

And we high fived and talked about how which Chicago baseball team has won a World’s Series (NOT THE CUBS) and the Sears Tower will always be the Sears Tower, and how even though they have passed away, my grandparents still vote Democrat in Chicago elections. Because Chicago.

And then it was all over but the taxi ride to the airport. Which was eventful for me when I opened my wallet and found that the hotel coffee shop must have mistook my $50 bill for a $20 because they gave me change for a twenty. Which meant in splitting the cab fair to the airport with three other ladies I totally just met, I was short a few dollars. And these women instantly were all “Don’t worry! We got it! This happens!”

And for a moment, I wanted to be horrified, because being short on cash is one of my anxieties. But I let it go. Because you know, I would be the first to offer to cover someone else who was short. I would have reacted just like they did if the role was reversed. So I promised to pay their kindness forward – because that I can do. That I shall always do.

Eventually, I arrived back into Seattle, where traffic had me cussing within five minutes. I pulled up to my house, and saw the curtains part. Maura was there, then she was flinging the door open. “MOM! YOU’RE HOME!!!!”

She ran out, the tiny dog ran out, the big dog ran out, the teens ran out to grab the dogs, and I herded my cats back into their pen, where Maura and I snuggled and watched cartoons for the rest of the day.

And so, I survived. I may have even thrived. I got through my anxieties and made some new friends and connections. I danced on a chair and ate two slices of really good cake. Because sometimes, that is what life is all about. Other times, it’s all about eating Chipolte on the sofa with your awesome kid as you watch Penguins.



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