I am telling you a secret.
What makes me stupidly giddy.
I love to connect people.
I love to help.
Now I know you’re thinking…
Everyone wants to help. (Uhhh help themselves Betsy...)
Being Authentic and helpful is so “IN” right now.
Ohhhh Bets, you’ve drunk the Kool-Aide and now practice what you preach.
And I say to you Mes Amis, “Non.”
I am what I am. And I’m a Connector.
You know, admitting you have a problem is the first step so sayeth AA. But if helping people get want they need to succeed, because it makes me feel good. Then hold an intervention peeps, because I am not about to stop.
Sure the theory of “Giver’s Gain” is that by helping or “connecting” people to the solutions they need I am putting myself in a position of connector or a “go-t0″ person. It is also said that by “giving” I am healthier both physically and mentally. But that isn’t why I do it.
I am a news and trend junkie. Call it leveraging my ADD but I love to find new things. And share what I find. Another reason why Theliquidbetsy exists. I am happiest when I share what I find to the world immediately. Another reason why I Tweet. And if I can actively connect people to new ideas and solutions they need for themselves personally or for their businesses- and they thrive as a result? I am in HEAVEN. Again why I am a part of Inquisix. (Ok maybe I am in it for the high!)
So use me. Tweet me. Email me. Comment your needs. If I can help, I will.
Believe me. I get more out of it than you will.
Yesterday I posted about my eldest son. Deeply personal. Cathartic. Almost necessary. The words wrote themselves. After hitting “Publish” I told my husband about the latest LiquidBetsy.
And he gasped.
You see, I married a technologist. With a certain expertise in online security. As his wife, I’ve been completely scared straight on identity theft, online stalking, and cyber-pedophilia to name a few.
So, with respect to my children, I normally don’t:
As my readers may have guessed I’m a pretty much an open-book. I don’t have the patience for being guarded (or the self-discipline really) but there are boundaries. My family is one of them. I tread cautiously, and although yesterday’s post followed the above guidelines for the most part, truth be told I was on the fence whether to post it.
Ethically speaking, was it the right thing to do? Or am I exposing his life, his personal private experiences for my benefit?
What my wise husband (really the man is my touchstone of restraint) pointed out that Mr. Man’s condition was private. Mr. Man’s private. And now that it was posted, tweeted and Facebook’d it was out there for all to double-click on. Even after I offered to delete it I was informed, “On the Internet Hon, there are no do-overs.”
I re-read the piece. I agonized over what I did. Eventually I stood by the post. I celebrated my son’s amazing spirit , the resiliency of a child and further exposed the imperfect existence of being a parent. I felt like it focused less on his physical condition than exposing his metaphysical. I could live with that.
But of course dear readers, it made me ponder the delimma. What rights do a child have to privacy on the Internet? I am no lawyer. Nor profess to be in anyway knowledgeable about the law outside of a few classes on business law I survived in B-School and a few current experiences and best friends that practice. Which essentially means I know nothing. But I always thought children under the age of 18 were pretty much at the mercy of their parent’ss socio-political-economic bent as long as physically they were in no danger. Traipsing around Timbuktu? Sailing the Seven Seas? Home-schooled? Vegan dinners? Subjected to a commune? Catholic school? An Osmond? All fair game.
But are we but a few years away from a lawsuit in which a parent’s Internet post (“Oh… Baby Bobby naked on the bear rug!”) ruins little Bobby’s life? People do stupid things. On the Internet they last forever. So where Mom’s once whipped out humiliation pictures previously, she now posts them on Facebook. Or Gawd forbid Mom does a blog.
What is a child’s right to privacy on the Internet?
What should it be?
P.S. My husband emailed me later today. BTW he loved the post. Meant the world to me.
Today I went to Children’s Hospital Boston with my eldest son, “Mr. Man.”
He’s had chronic constipation from birth, which manifested itself in leaky bladder when he started nursery school. Basically he looks like he’s wet his pants. Kids can be cruel. In nursery school everyone has wet pants. In 4th grade, not so much. So I’ve gone full “Mommy-Lioness protecting cubs” mode, we’re getting to the bottom of this issue ASAP.
So, now Mr. Man is going into the 1st grade, we’ve moved from pediatrician to world-class urology specialist and multiple catheter tests.
You heard me. Multiple. Catheters.
This meant for today’s partial flow dynamics and trip to radiology necessitated Mr. Man to be tubed for almost 3 hours straight. And he was tubed everywhere. I don’t even think I was tubed that much when delivering the twins. And my friends, that’s saying a lot.
What says more is that he didn’t even complain. Not once. In fact, while writing this I think I am complaining for him because I feel that SOMEONE should bitch. Because, dammit, it sucked. Completely and totally.
I should make a HUGE caveat that it was the actual procedures that we’re talking about. Nothing could stop that. What didn’t suck was Children’s Hospital Boston. I can’t wax on enough about Children’s. They do an amazing job. At every turn. Even during a dreaded episode a special “Child Life Specialist” Mary Poppins parachuted in laden with stickers, coloring books, and stuffed animals that made Mr. Man’s twin sister “The Toaster” green with envy.
That’s not all, in past visits we’ve been willingly mugged by roaming band of clowns from Big Apple Circus, or the staff tolerated Mr. Man getting his excess energy out by hopping, jumping, skipping and jumping-jack’d he way around radiology. They have art everywhere. Fish tanks. Videos and DVD’s for every procedure. A giant ball machine/art installation in the lobby that can mesmerize the toughest of customer. And I am barely scratching the surface. Then, of course, there is the world-class facilities and staff.
So back to today. We knew this “test” day was coming. We’ve done quite a few in the past 2 1/2 years at Children’s, including one that is now know as “The Blood Test” in family lore (see “Child Life Specialist” above.) Or at least in Mommy Lore. Since then, I’m prepared to have every other test become a Battle Royal. So with this in mind I prepare. I read the literature, I prep him both physically (they wanted his system cleaned out… enough said.) and mentally by having a heart-to-heart about the procedures. I also am a big believer in “The Carrot” theory of parenting for times like this. Mr. Man loves Star Wars. He loves LEGO. Nothing beats Star Wars LEGO. NOTHING. So off I took Mr. Man on a scouting trip to the local LEGO store. Still I was preparing for the worst. My husband reminded me to think positive and be supportive. Yet, I think I still expected the worst.
And I was shamed at every turn by this amazing little boy.
As the bar is raised, my son raises the bar. In a previous test, he couldn’t be sedated (a mix-up) for the planned 40+ min MRI, yet he was managed to be still as a statue for what ended up being an hour procedure. And this is a kid that runs not walks, whose fearless, zippy zest for life forces lifeguards to pick up and relocate next to him (us) at the beach. So for him to sit still, quiet, barely breathing for almost an hour is like saying he sleeps in. Which he never does. Ever. And after the MRI was over, he hopped off with an “It ain’t no big thang Mama” attitude, loping by his gobsmacked Mom.
Mind Blown. Totally impressed by my 5 year old.
Today was the second time. Visibly uncomfortable, he was stoic. It was so very hard to see my little boy in pain, though necessary for his own long-term benefit. He was beautiful. He was grace under pressure. He cloaked himself in grown-up courage and stiff-upper lipped his way through what fine friend said “what no child should have to go through,” sailing way passed my pre-conceived notions what probably was going to happen.
I was never prouder. Nor in more awe.
And that, my friends, was how my mind was blown a second time by my very own progeny.
I’ve been chatting with a few of my friends lately. Mostly women but a few of my better guy friends. As we approach, encroach and blow past 40, we are all hitting a wall of “Is this my life?” Or more specifically, “Is the “Life” I envisioned 10 years ago? 15? 5?
This may have come to a point sooner, more bluntly, because of the economy. Jobs are tenuous, 401K’s halved, future hazy. If we of an earlier generation, lulled in by job security, a pension or stock-options actually worth something, this introspection might have happened later. But it didn’t. Some of us have or have had the “big job,” perhaps we could even go get the even bigger job. Our careers assured. Then some don’t. We just got downsized. Or it perhaps it just made sense to stay home raising the babies, and we opted out of the workforce for a while. (Uh, that would be TheBetsy.)
End of a day– we all seem to be hitting a wall. Tired of commuting. Business travel. Tired of tenuous jobs that take a pound of our flesh. Coming home too late Weekends of errands. Sunday evening coming too soon.
Also factoring in this is that most of us have children. Young children. They seem to grow in the hours we fret, worry, commute and sleep-in recovering from the week.
When I first started out I wanted to work in Film. In Hollywood. A year or two and I knew I wasn’t made for entertainment when a friend pointed out that the few successful women in Film were generally very unhappy people. Most working off multiple marriages, or coming face-to-face with harsher realities of success, like having your sweet baby call the Nanny was “Mommy.” Of course there are few that make is work, but they are few and very far, far between. Or lying.
A few of us are ready to slow down. Down-size. Work at home for much less. Sell and move into smaller. Take the road lesser travelled. Start our own business, and work harder, but with a goal in mind. Freedom and what can only be described as “Fuck You Money.”
Hell, I’m with Leo and his Zen Habits. Simplify and savor the moments. With my husband, My children. Myself. That’s the goal with TheLiquidBetsy and by working at Inquisix. I’ve decided being if I could be my own boss was the solution to my need for independence and time. Of course both have to be successful. Of course dahling. In fact Leo posted a fabulous piece on “The Get Started-Now Guide to Being Self-Employed.” Read it. It has loads of links to good articles by really great people:
(and that’s why I totally did a cut and pasted job straight from his site.)
I draw inspiration from various sources, some I wish I read 10 years ago. Though perhaps if I had I wouldn’t have appreciated it as I wasn’t evolved. The philosopher Albert Camus teaches one must die, before you live– basically I had to know what I don’t want, before I know (and appreciate) what I do.
I’m still on the journey, but I’ve run across some great book that I highly recommend them if you’re at all thinking along the same lines as me. I’ve really enjoyed the following two books:
First is ONO, Options Not Obligations: Enrich Your Personal Life by Rethinking Your Financial Life By Mark Warnke. Ono, is “Delicious” in Hawaiian, and what Mark does a really good job is putting your desires in clear, sharp focus– basically “too many financial obligations make the juicy things in life harder to have.” You can see more on his site, as the book line to Amazon doesn’t have too much in the way of information.
What I like about Mark is that he is a very accessible, authentic writer. He wants you to do well. He wants you to be happy. You like him because of this earnestness.
The second is The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich. You may have heard about Timothy Ferris. He’s a character. Tango champion (and Guinness World Recorder Holder), Lecturer, Horseback Archer in Japan, MTV break-dancer in Taiwan, National Chinese Kickboxing Champion, to name a few. I kid you not. This guy not only sucks the marrow out of life, he teaches others how to do it as well. In The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, Ferris show you how to set up your life to work for you. With minimal input from you. His writing is very real, very funny and above all inspiring. Nice.
Hey but don’t take my word for it, here’s a what a few others said about him:
“It’s about time this book was written. It is a long-overdue manifesto for the mobile lifestyle, and Tim Ferriss is the ideal ambassador. This will be huge.”
Co-creator of Chicken Soup for the Soul®, 100+ million copies sold
“This is a whole new ball game. Highly recommended.”
–Dr. Stewart D. Friedman
Adviser to Jack Welch and Former Vice President Al Gore on Work/Family Issues
Director of the Work/Life Integration Project, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
“Timothy has packed more lives into his 29 years than Steve Jobs has in his 51.”
Journalist and Publisher of SiliconValleyWatcher.com
“If you want to live life on your own terms, this is your blueprint.”
Co-founder of Motive Communications (IPO to $260M market cap), Founding Executive of Tivoli (sold to IBM for $750M)
“Tim is Indiana Jones for the digital age. I’ve already used his advice to go spearfishing on remote islands and ski the best hidden slopes of Argentina. Simply put, do what he says and you can live like a millionaire.”
Derivatives Trading, UBS World Headquarters
First off, thanks for the positive response to my last post, Bucketful of Wrong.
Personally, I feel like I’m still recovering from it– I don’t know about you, but that image will be seared forever in my brain. Or, at least, for the next few days…
One of TheLiquidBetsy’s readers forward what can only be described as a “Bucketful of Wrong” done, well, done right. And it’s a great “Get.” (A moment of Cheers and gratitude to all that sent me items to post. Thank you.)
I think you’ll agree.
Courtesy of the talented hoodlums at Energy BBDO, I proudly present Canadian Clubs’ “Your Father…. Damn Right He Drank It” ads. This ad grabs you by the Noggins, makes you say “What?!?!! and then goes in for the kill with clever, nostalgic and just plain great copy.
I LOVE the annoyed look on the faces of the Daddy fisherman- like someone asked if he was wearing sunscreen, or tried to stop them before they made a clean getaway. Hysterical.
Hats off to the whole team.
Advertising Agency: Energy BBDO, Chicago, USA
Chief Creative Officer: Marty Orzio
Creative Directors: Derek Sherman, Jason Stanfield
Copywriter: Derek Sherman
Art Director: Jason Stanfield
Designers: Steve Denekas, Jason Hardy
Senior Art Buyer: Liz Miller- Gershfeld
Assistant Art Buyer: Jackie VanWinkle
Print Producer: Linda Dos Santos
Photographer: Robert Whitman
Account Services: Doug Ryan, Marzena Grecki
In doing other, other job, you know…as VP of Marketing at a scrappy, little start-up called Inquisix… I came across a delightful example of just plain WRONG advertising from yesteryear…
Look at it. Read the copy. (I’ll wait.)
That is a whole bucketful of wrong. I can hardly restrain myself from doing a little forensic marketing for this delightful little poly-cotton blend schmatta (drip dry!) So folks I ask this… what the HELL was going on in the 70′s to make THIS OK?
It also points out how far we’ve come baby. BTW, that’s another fave 70′s ad campaign– Virginia Slim’s “You’ve Come Along Way Baby,” where it applauded women’s evolution from housewifery to emphysema and lung cancer (Hooray!)
But in this day and age it would not work now would it?
For one we’ve evolved socially (and can I hear a “Hallelujah!?!”) Now, we are all about the subtle in marketing, being “authentic” and engaging in conversations with customers, both potential and existing. This ad is as subtle as the scuzzy loser at a bar who hits on anything that moves. Surely making an “Impression,” but not a quality impression– not a smart marketing move today, especially in a brutal marketplace with shrinking ad budgets and customers that are more elusive than ever to reach.
Also a misstep like this would be heckled, dissected and properly thrashed via the Internet, blogs, YouTube, Google, Facebook, Twitter. As it rightly should. Brutal, but take a look at it. Daaaaaammn.
There is the added caveat that the One Easy Piece, as a parody, a hysterical contrast to the real ad image/copy, would totally rock.
This is a personal post.
You’ve been warned.
A year ago my very own personal Auntie Mame passed. Carmela Speroni.
It wasn’t a surprise but still shocked me to my core. I, being one of the youngest, born when my parents were older than most, my grandparents passed early. Most gone by 16, all by 22, and the latter not after a long bout of debilitating senility. Throughout all Carmela Speroni, best friends of my paternal grandparents, godmother to both my father and me, became my default surrogate grandmother.
For me, she was the best kind.
She was a character.
She wasn’t really Auntie Mame, but she wasn’t traditional either. She was chic, smart, cultured, loved good food, fine fashion and a really great glass of wine. And she liked to talk. She was pretty damn close to perfect for me.
Raised in San Francisco, she graduated high school at 16, UC Berkeley at 20 all in order to marry my Uncle Charles, her Italian tutor. This was in 1939. As my Uncle Charles (an true character in his own right, the man reminds me of the The Most Interesting Man in The World– you couldn’t help but be drawn in by his charisma) rose to be the Fine Arts chair at UCLA, Carmela was responsible to entertain, fund raise for school. My Aunt Carmela and Uncle Charles was a love affair that lasted until his death in the 80′s. They never had children, and being beloved by many, they accepted guardianship of their friends’ babies and the babies’ babies and watched over these lucky godchildren as if they were their own. I was their only god-daughter.
As I said, Carmela was a character. A Catholic, she was also on the board of Los Angeles’ Planned Parenthood (this in and of itself made her a great god-mother.) She wasn’t afraid to ask pointed questions, she religiously read the New York Times each and every Sunday. Well versed in both culture and pop culture, as well as politics, one had better bone up on current events before they visit. She always managed to surround herself with interesting people: artists, CEO’s. designers and chefs to name a few. Some of my fondest memories (and probably my love of food) comes from going out to eat with her. As I got older we would have boozy nights of great wine, fantastic food and fabulous conversation. She was my one of my first encounters with honest-to-goodness inherent chicness. She bought me my first “grown-up” purse, my first OMG boots and probably my first drink. Always remembered my birthday, usually with a bauble she found on her travels or, even better, a piece of jewelry that was hers (that Charles gave her) that she wanted to pass on to me. Most shop owners knew her by name, and since she didn’t drive (this in LA folks, where everybody drives) the cab company had standing times to pick her up, or called to see if she needed anything.
I was about 8 before I realized that she didn’t own the Bel-Air Hotel (#10 on the Betsy’s top 50- probably because of her.) To this day I would walk over GLASS for a piece of their coconut cake (Paula Deen could have easily stolen the recipe from them. The pictures the same. Really.) She once tried to convince me, while eating luncheon my grandmother, and after finding out that Jane Fonda was dining with her agents at the next room over, to crash and “get discovered.” I didn’t. I totally should have.
She passed away last year around this time. I’ve been slowly going through some of her personal affects that I inherited (most went to UCLA not surprisingly) reminiscing. Hence this post. This past March I stopped by in Westwood, for a graveside chat and some limoncello, a favorite of hers.
My Aunt Carmela wasn’t perfect. By far. No one is.
But, she was perfect for me.
And in my research I found this “gem” — the original “Auntie Mame” trailer. To say it’s a hoot is an understatement… Ohhh to live in the days when Ads were Ads, as unsubtle as a drag-queen’s Sunday Best.