griefMamacita says: When we lose an elderly person to death, expected or unexpected, we are sad, but there is the comfort of knowing that person lived a long life, and we hope he/she had a happy, useful, satisfactory life.  When we lose a young person to unexpected, senseless death, we are as much angry as devastated.  How dare a drunk get behind the wheel and destroy such brightness, such potential, such love and caring. . . .  Does the drunk care about what he did?  Do drunk drivers feel remorse?  I can’t see any difference between a drunk behind the wheel and a thug waving a gun at a birthday party; both are potential murderers and neither are functioning with full brain power.  There are no excuses.  Drunk drivers who kill other people are murderers.  My compassion ceases to be when a deliberately drug-impaired person takes the wheel.  No amount of apologizing or tears will ever make up for what a purposely drug-impaired person did to an innocent person and her family and friends.  Ever.  I’m sad.  And I’m angry, really angry.  But mostly I’m just sad.  But angry.  And sad.

1.  Death leaves a heartache no one can heal; love leaves a memory no one can steal.  –Irish headstone

2.  In the night of death, hope sees a star, and listening love can hear the rustle of a wing.  -Robert Ingersoll

3.  When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.  –Kahlil Gibran

4.  A human life is a story told by God.  –Hans Christian Anderson

5.  To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.  –Thomas Campbell

6.  We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey. –Kenji Miyazawa

7.  While we are mourning the loss of our friend, others are rejoicing to meet him behind the veil.  –John Taylor

8.  He who has gone, so we but cherish his memory, abides with us, more potent, nay, more present than the living man.  –Antoine de Saint-Exupery

9.  Life is eternal, and love is immortal, and death is only a horizon; and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.  –Rossiter Worthington Raymond

10.  It is the will of God and Nature that these mortal bodies be laid aside, when the soul is to enter into real life; ’tis rather an embryo state, a preparation for living; a man is not completely born until he be dead: Why then should we grieve that a new child is born among the immortals?  –Benjamin Franklin

11.  Perhaps they are not the stars, but rather openings in Heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.  –Author Unknown

12.  For death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity.  –William Penn

13.  . . . grief makes one hour ten.  –Shakespeare

14.  I never wanted to go away, and the hard part now is the leaving you all. I’m not afraid, but it seems as if I should be homesick for you even in heaven.  –Louisa May Alcott

15.  Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak whispers the o’er-fraught heart and bids it break.  –Shakespeare

16.  Sorrow makes us all children again – destroys all differences of intellect.  The wisest know nothing.  –Ralph Waldo Emerson

17.  Every evening I turn my worries over to God.  He’s going to be up all night anyway.  –Mary C. Crowley

18.  Love is stronger than death even though it can’t stop death from happening, but no mattter how hard death tries it can’t separate people from love.  It can’t take away our memories either.  In the end, life is stronger than death.  –Unknown

19.  Death is not the greatest loss in life.  The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.  –Norman Cousins

20. Have the courage to live.  Anyone can die.  –Robert Cody

21.  Even death is not unkind when living love is left behind.  –Unknown

22.  Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying.  Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day.  Do it!  I say, Whatever you want to do, do it now!  There are only so many tomorrows.  –Pope Paul VI

23.  The good die young – because they see it’s no use living if you’ve got to be good.  –John Barrymore

24.  Death is not the greatest of evils; it is worse to want to die, and not be able to.  –Sophocles

25.  I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge – myth is more potent than history – dreams are more powerful than facts – hope always triumphs over experience – laughter is the cure for grief – love is stronger than death.  –Robert Fulghum

25.  Death ends a life, not a relationship.  –Robert Benchley

26.  It is a blessing to die for a cause, because you can so easily die for nothing.  –Andrew Young

27.  More people have been slaughtered in the name of religion than for any other single reason.  That, my friends, that is true perversion.  –Harvey Milk

28.  Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell and when you get angry, get good and angry.  Try to be alive.  You will be dead soon enough.  –William Saroyan

29.  While I thought I was learning how to live, I have been learning how to die.  –Leonardo Da Vinci

30.  I am convinced that it is not the fear of death, of our lives ending, that haunts our sleep so much as the fear. . . that as far as the world is concerned, we might as well never have lived.  –Harold Kushner

31.  The question is not whether we will die, but how we will live.  –Joan Borysenko

32.  Since every death diminishes us a little, we grieve – not so much for the death as for ourselves.  –Lynn Caine

33.  No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.  –C.S. Lewis

34.  I still miss those I loved who are no longer with me, but I find I am grateful for having loved them.  The gratitude has finally conquered the loss.  –Rita Mae Brown

35.  Grief can’t be shared.  Everyone carries it alone, his own burden, in his own way.  –Anne Morrow Lindbergh

36.  The caterpillar dies so the butterfly could be born.  And, yet, the caterpillar lives in the butterfly and they are but one.  So, when I die, it will be that I have been transformed from the caterpillar of earth to the butterfly of the universe.  –John Harricharan

37.  It is possible to provide security against other ills, but as far as death is concerned, we men live in a city without walls.  –Epicurus

38.  What soap is for the body, tears are for the soul.  –Jewish proverb

39.  I shall die, but that is all I shall do for Death; I am not on his payroll. –Edna St. Vincent Millay

40.  We miss and need and pine for our dead, but we also are angry at them for having abandoned us.  –Judith Viorst

41.  You don’t really get over it; you get used to it.  –Robert S. Weiss

42.  Memory is more indelible than ink.  –Anita Loos

43.  Preserve your memories.  They’re all that’s left you.  –Paul Simon

44.  How often – will it be for always? – how often will the vast emptiness astonish me like a complete novelty and make me say, “I never realized my loss until this moment.” –C.S. Lewis

45.  Sometimes when someone has died we say, “I feel like they’re still here.”  That’s because they are.  –Marianne Williamson

46.  It’s only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth – and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up – that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.  –Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

47.  To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead.  –Bertrand Russell

48.  If a man hasn’t discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.  –Martin Luther King Jr.

49.  All say, How hard it is that we have to die – a strange complaint to come from the mouths of people who have had to live.  –Mark Twain

50.  Every man must do two things alone; he must do his own believing and his own dying.  –Martin Luther

51.  Dying is a wild night and a new road.  –Emily Dickinson

52.  Live your life, do your work, then take your hat.  –Henry David Thoreau

53.  The final hour when we cease to exist does not itself bring death; it merely of itself completes the death-process.  We reach death at that moment, but we have been a long time on the way.  –Lucius Annaeus Seneca

54.  I want to be all used up when I die.  –George Bernard Shaw

55. There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval.  The dark background which death supplies brings out the tender colors of life in all their purity.  –George Santayana

56.  Once the game is over, the king and the pawn go back into the same box.  –Italian proverb

57.  Good God! How often are we to die before we go quite off this stage?  In every friend we lose a part of ourself, and the best part.  –Alexander Pope

58.  It hath often been said that it is not death but dying that is terrible.  –Henry Fielding

59.  Die when I may, I want it said of me by those who knew me best, that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow.  –Abraham Lincoln

60.  How frighteningly few are the persons whose death would spoil our appetite and make the world seem empty.  –Eric Hoffer

61.  A few can touch the magic string, and noisy fame is proud to win them: Alas for those that never sing, but die with all their music in them!  –Oliver Wendell Holmes

62.  Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, which is the only fact we have.  –James Baldwin

63.  Since the day of my birth, my death began its walk.  It is walking toward me, without hurrying.  –Jean Cocteau

64.  Every man goes down to his death bearing in his hands only that which he has given away.  –Persian proverb

65.  I am ready to meet my Maker, but whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.  –Winston Churchill

66.  Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

‘Funeral Blues’ by W.H. Auden

Education: Step Away From the TV

learning, connections Mamacita says:  Sometimes I feel like several different people when I talk or think about education.  Most of me can’t even begin to comprehend how anyone could not want to learn as much as possible, every passing moment.  Some of me can understand how a person can be too exhausted from the labor and stress of a typical day to even think about thinking.  And all of me wonders how people who hate everything about learning can remember to breathe.  Education is too important.  How can a person be too tired to live properly in the universe?

I write about connections all the time.  Once a person of any age – and it can start in infancy – learns that everything in existence and out of it is connected, the learning will never end.  Things like nursery rhymes (which were not intended for small children, but that’s another topic.) connect to adult literature and history and sociology.  Did you really think Humpty Dumpty was an egg?  I’ve had students who didn’t know a single nursery rhyme, which makes me despise their parents, but that’s another topic, too.  (They were not in the top class, by the way.  Or the average class. Far from it.) Connections.

Fairy tales (also never intended for small children) are also a wonderful connection to modern literature, history, and many other topics. (Not the Disney versions – the real ones.) Connections.

As for mythology. . . . well, connecting the dots from mythology to science to literature to music to poetry to everything else will give you great works of art, not just a hen and chicks, when you stop and take a good close look at the picture you’ve made by connecting.  Almost everything in the night sky is named for a mythological character, as are most of NASA’s spaceships and a great deal of scientific vocabulary.  Oh, and a great deal of every other kind of vocabulary, too.  Connections.

I know there are people who care nothing for learning.  They come home from work and sit in front of the TV and cherish their mindless, effortless evenings.  It’s beyond my comprehension.  I’m so sorry for their children – the children who will come to school with no connectable schema – no prior knowledge.  It’s hard to learn anything without something to tie it to.  Shame on these parents.

Educators owe it to the universe to try harder with these poor neglected children, to give them a base on which they can start making the connections necessary to become a learner – an educated person who is curious about the world and never stops trying to find out “why.”

contented cowsPlacid contentment is a good thing only if you’re a cow.

10 Things I Care Absolutely Nothing For

countdown Mamacita says: 10 things I care absolutely nothing for might seem like a negative topic, but it’s actually quite therapeutic. Almost like a purge.

1. The Kardashians. Honestly, if there was never another word or picture of a Kardashian or anything connected to them, it would make no difference whatsoever to me.  Then again, maybe it would be a tremendous relief.  I pay no attention.  They are talentless tarty gits with a good agent.

2.  Other people’s dinner.  Unless you’re having something really off-the-wall, or your guest left a water bottle on the Downton Abbey mantel, it’s just dinner.

3.  Anything Duck Dynasty. Those guys are disgusting.  I do not care overly much about people who are jerks.

4.  Anything even remotely connected to Honey Boo Boo, and especially not if it has anything to do with her mother or her repulsive sisters.  See above.

5.  Bridezillas.  Seriously?  Why would any self-respecting person be interested in marrying a grown person who behaves like this and drops that kind of money on a dress she’ll wear once?  Dump these idiots before it’s too late.

6.  Jennifer Aniston’s bikini body.  Let the woman alone.

7.  Actually, anybody’s bikini body.  Most bodies are not compatible with a bikini, so don’t try to tell me otherwise.  I’ve seen bodies that are NOT beautiful.  If yours is, congratulations – well done.  I still don’t care.

8.  Celebrity pregnancy.  None of my business.

9.  Anything school-related that doesn’t directly benefit the students.  If you want wall art or a company car or a restaurant meal or expensive carpet, buy it yourself.

10.  I can’t offhand think of a #10, but I don’t care.

Let’s Start School During the Hottest Days of August!

school, education Mamacita says: School has started now for most public school students. If someone could give me a sound, logical reason for starting school during the Dog Days of August, I’d love to hear it. A reason that had nothing whatsoever to do with money, that is.  People used to vacation in August, but now, if they have kids, that’s out of the question unless they’re THOSE parents who pull their kids out of school for trips to Disney World and Cancun and demand lists of “everything you’ll be doing while we’re on the beach.”  But I digress.

School used to start the first Monday after Labor Day, and it was much more sensible.  It was still terribly hot, but the cooler weather was just around the corner instead of a month or more away.

I’ve taught in buildings that had no air conditioning.  Those August days turned classrooms into saunas.  The windows were nailed shut so there was no chance of a cross breeze, and after the second day of school I stopped at K-Mart and bought a box fan.  Positioned kind of cater-cornered, most of the students could sort of feel the air move a little bit.  I’d have bought another fan to aim at me but did I mention that I was a teacher?  I couldn’t justify the expense, and if I had been able to buy another fan I couldn’t have aimed it at myself, anyway.  I would have aimed it at the students. My sweating, panting students who tried their best but just couldn’t concentrate on pronouns when their flesh was melting and slipping off like tomato skin.

Even with air conditioning, crowded classrooms are still too hot and muggy in August.  How many administrators would put up with the working conditions they submit their teachers and students to?  I’ve never been in an administrator’s office that wasn’t cool and uncluttered.

Start of the school year?  I vote for the Monday after Labor Day.  How about you?

And I meant it when I said that if you had a really good, legitimate, logical reason for WANTING to start school on July 28 or August 4, I’d love to hear it.  Convince me.

Then again, my college doesn’t begin until August 25, about which I can only say WELL PLANNED, higher ed.  Now, let’s get lower ed back on track.

P.S.  Dog Days.  Harry Potter.  Whatever could the connection BEEEEE?

Peter Pan and Tinker Bell and Asses: How Cocky!

Mamacita says:  When I was in the third grade, I read “Peter Pan.” It’s not all the sugar-coated cuteness Disney would have you believe, my friends. It’s a wonderful and fascinating and intimate look into the brain and psyche of children of various ages AND their parents. It’s accurate and hilarious and downright scary. It’s a psychological novel about dreams, and the brain.

It’s full of analogies and symbols and beautiful mind-art that permits us to share the fantasies of other people.

It’s a peek into how different good and evil are from one another, and how distressingly alike they can sometimes be, and how one will often present itself as the other.

It’s about children hovering on the “firly brinkmire” of adulthood and feeling their hormones even without understanding what was happening. Well, Tink and the mermaids knew, but Wendy didn’t.  Yet.

Captain Hook stresses good form and lovely manners and the fine points of etiquette even while murdering children.  Yes, he did.  Captain Hook and Smee and all the rest of the pirates hunted down children and murdered them.

Wendy had so looked forward to meeting mermaids, but although the mermaids are Wendy, mean mermaidsbeautiful and their singing is lovely, they are mean, vicious bitches who try to kill Wendy.

The Indians are presented in what would, nowadays, be considered a disgracefully stereotypical way, but Tiger Lily was cool, and unlike many supposedly intelligent adults in these modern times, children still have a sense of the context of the times and can see through it to what it was meant to be.

The thing is, all the Neverland females were hot for Peter Pan, and they recognized, in Wendy, a real rival.

Peter Pan flyingI do not pretend to be a master of Pan interpretation, but I know what I see when I see it myself. I would never presume, unlike many book censors, to say ANYTHING about a book that I had not personally read. (Censors are Satan.)

I bring all of this up to introduce my most vivid memory of this book, in third grade, in Mrs. E’s class. I had to sit by Tommy, who teased unmercifully and who was only inspired further by the usual shrugs and exasperated sighs that I knew how to defend myself with.

Then, inspiration hit me. Tinker Bell, who is a dirty uneducated uncultured servant-fairy, the bottom of the social heap, sooty and ignorant and really quite cruel, had a saying she used whenever she was angry with Peter Pan.  She uses it first when Peter is trying toPeter Pan, Wendy, and the shadow fasten his shadow back on with soap.  I loved the sentiment even while I felt guilty agreeing with Tinker Bell because Peter was, unfortunately, pretty stupid, but she was just so AWFUL.  I felt sure I could use this statement on Tommy with success, so I tried it out.

“You silly ass.”

He ratted on me to the teacher, and she reamed me out but good, in her gentle concerned way, reducing me to tears with but a few words.

I had no idea what I’d done. I had NO IDEA what I’d said that was so horrible that my teacher whom I loved and adored took me out in the hall and told me how disappointed she was in me and that my parents would have to be notified and that she would have to think about my punishment, as no child had ever done what I had done in her room before.

But what was it that I had done? Was quoting Tinker Bell a crime? And if so, why?

My parents did not curse or call names in our home and I had seen the word ‘ass’ only in its context as an animal, one of many at the manger when Our Lord was born. Was there something bad about the ass, too? Should it not have been there with the ox and the lamb? Was it a bad animal, and was that why Tinker Bell used its name when she was angry?

Mrs. E would not explain. She just kept saying that I knew perfectly well what I had done and since I had chosen to do it, I would have to pay for it.

Peter Pan, cockyWhatever she did to me later couldn’t possibly be worse than what she was doing to me right then. I didn’t know what I’d done. I had quoted Tinker Bell. From “Peter Pan.” When Tinker Bell said it in the book, nothing terrible happened. It was her opinion at that moment of whoever was annoying or upsetting her. It seemed to work in the book.

It sure didn’t work in third grade, though.

Of course, I knew, even at the time, that because Tinker Bell was low-class, dirty, unschooled, and that even the other fairies looked down on her for her crudeness, some of what she did and said wasn’t quite what nice fairies or little girls would have done or said, but I still thought that if it were in a book it couldn’t be wrong.

Tommy, you silly ass, why did you have to bother me so that I felt it was necessary to use Tinker Bell against you? If you had just behaved yourself, as I was trying to do, it never would have happened.

But the real silly ass here is Mrs. E. For one thing, she was an elementary teacher, a teacher of small children, a college graduate, but she did not recognize the quote even though it was from a famous novel and had been made into a children’s movie, and for another, she did not believe a good little girl who tried to explain to her the quotation’s source and why it had been used.

All she heard was that a student in HER ROOM had used the word “ass.”

When I went home that day, in tears and in a cold dread of what my non-bad-word-using parents would say, I got a surprise.

Dad laughed until he was almost sick, and Mom, while she didn’t laugh and I suspect didn’t quite understand why Dad was laughing, she at least took my side. Together, they explained that even teachers didn’t always read things they really should keep up on if they were going to teach children who read them, and that some children, like annoying Tommy, didn’t know any other way to get someone’s attention except by pestering them.

I decided on that day that people who pestered for attention weren’t worth bothering with, and that if I were ever a teacher, I would stay up nights if that’s what it took to keep up with what my students were reading.

Two of the few resolutions I have managed to keep.

Surprisingly, Mrs. E. remains one of my favorite teachers. I think maybe that learning to ‘see through her’ so early in the year gave me the ability to understand her a little better. (She was well-meaning but clueless, and it’s really not right when a child can figure that out) Certainly it gave me the courage to stand up for myself. It’s sad, though, when an eight-year-old child feels maternal and protective toward an adult who is supposed to be in charge. All that year (well, until she got pregnant and was forced to quit because if we kids had seen her looking pregnant we would have known for sure that she’d had sex, not that I would have known what that meant either never having even heard of that word yet) I stayed after school and helped her clean the board, clap erasers (I bet some of you don’t know what that means!) and put her files in alphabetical order because (gasp) some of the dimwits in that class didn’t even know how to do that and it was supposed to be done at the end of each day and most of the kids would rather just leave their stuff in a mess for the teacher to put to rights so I just did it for her.

She also used to give me a dollar and send me across the VERY BUSY STREET to the gas station for a carton of Big Red pop twice a week. I loved doing that, especially; my parents never let me go inside when they stopped there for gas because it was ‘rough.’ I didn’t know what they meant by that, but I did know that most of those men in there had read “Peter Pan” because they talked about my teacher’s ass all the time.

If all you know about ‘Peter Pan’ is that insipid Disney movie, please check out the book. It’s NOT just for children. It’s awesome.

Watch out for the bad language, though. That horny slut Tinker Bell will do or say anything to get Peter Pan in her clutches. This includes murdering Wendy. There are also drugs.  Cripes, now I have to re-read this book.  NOW.

Sadly, it also forced me to learn a very important lesson: a college degree doesn’t make someone a teacher.

Thank goodness I didn’t tell Tommy he was being “cocky.”  That’s how Barrie described Peter Pan. Even Peter’s shadow looked cocky.  Wendy’s mom thought so, too.

Imagine.  ”Tommy, you’re a silly, cocky ass.”  I’d still be in reform school today.  Some people don’t appreciate cool words.

Mrs. Darling, Wendy, Michael, JohnMr. and Mrs. Darling would be in there with me, though.  They left those three children home alone while they went out to a party. Nana was a good nanny, mind you, but still, she was a dog.

A dog.

Who’s the silly ass now?


I’m Going To MixWest and You Should, Too

MixWest14Mamacita says:  This summer, I had to choose only one conference, so I chose MixWest. There really wasn’t a lot of thinking involved in this decision; my budget is so low this summer that only one conference was possible, and if I had to choose only one, it would be MixWest.  Hands down.  Without a backward glance.

I’ve done a lot of writing for clients these past ten years, and it’s extremely important to me that I do it exactly right – I want my clients to look at my work and think, “Yes, that’s what I wanted. That’s precisely what I had in mind.”

When I take on a client – or, rather, when a client takes on me – promises are made. My day job is teaching expository writing at a community college, so I promise every client that each and every piece of writing I do for him/her will be grammatically correct, and that every word will be spelled properly. This might sound trivial to some of you, but believe me, it is not trivial. Grammatical mistakes and misspelled words on a business level can be disastrous. I tell my students constantly that if there is a misspelled word or a grammatical error on anything presented to the public, that same public had best COUNT THEIR CHANGE, because errors in the front where all can see them usually mean even worse errors in the back where the public can’t see them.

I believe that everyone in every career path owes it to himself/herself and to those who hired him/her to keep skills updated at all times. This goes for teachers, brain surgeons, fry cooks, opera singers, lawyers, accountants, mechanics, IT, underwriters, undertakers, salespeople. . . . everyone. Much of this updating and upgrading can be done on one’s own, of course, but a conference is an excellent opportunity to learn best practices, new practices, innovations, and experiences from professionals, advisors, and people who do what you do and have therefore “been there, done that.”  At MixWest, you will find people who actually understand what you do for a living!

The conferences I love best are BlogHer, New Media Expo, and MixWest.  I can’t get to BlogHer or New Media Expo this year, but I’ll be there in spirit. However, I’ll be at MixWest in all possible ways: heart, soul, body, spirit, humility, and snark.  It would take an advanced case of leprosy or an active volcano to keep me from MixWest. (Invading aliens could be talked into going to the conference with me.)

I’ve never attended a conference from which I didn’t come away a little smarter (or a lot!), but I go to each one for different reasons.  The skills, networking, and connections I make at BlogHer, or  New Media Expo, for example, are very different from the skills, networking, and connections I make at MixWest.  If all conferences were alike, I would need to go to only one.  No two conferences are ever alike, so savvy people try to get to as many as possible.  We learn different things and we’re exposed to different ideas at each one. For me, MixWest offers the best combination of people and learning opportunities.

MixWest is in two weeks, and I highly recommend that you go to its website RIGHT NOW and register, because MixWest (formerly Blog Indiana) is where I have picked up more useful skills than in all my years of graduate school.  I am not exaggerating.

Social media, marketing, tech, design, writing – if your area of business uses any of these things, you will find much at MixWest that will enhance your business.  That’s a promise.

Oh, and if there is such a thing as a business or institution of any kind that does NOT use social Social media treemedia, marketing, tech, design, or writing, somebody is a big fat liar.  EVERY business needs all of those things, and don’t let anyone ever tell you differently, be that ‘anyone’ an individual or board or rich guy or son-of-the-boss or Les Nessman with his invisible office walls.  Learn to use these things or your business will start circling the drain.  If you personally can’t be arsed to learn or do them, hire someone who can and will. (Hello!)

MixWest is my conferences of choice for summer 2014, but there are many other conferences as well.  Pick a few and start going regularly.  You’ll be surprised at how fast your business will benefit from just a little more savvy in these areas.

Hospitals, schools, stores, companies. . .  EVERY business benefits from social media, marketing, tech, and design.  If a business has these things locked down, there is something seriously wrong somewhere inside the premises.

Most important, in my own experience, are the contacts you will make – people you will see regularly at conferences year after year.  Ultimately, it is people who help people.  I have met many people who have helped me, enriched me, and shoved me through doors that have benefited me in too many ways to list here.  I hope to sit by some of them once again in just a few days.

Maybe YOU could be at our table, too.  That would be bloody awesome.

Two weeks, MixWest.  To quote the Pointer Sisters, “I’m So Excited!”