I went to bed early last night, woke up around three with a memory of a strange dream, went back to sleep and had another dream where I was the mother of a fussy baby boy who slept for a long time in an awkward position and couldn't be soothed when he woke up. Yesterday my youngest daughter was sick so she stayed home from school. She slept for several hours after her sister left for school, woke up, had some tea, and then spent the next couple of hours laying around with a book. She started in my bed, went to her own, and then pulled a quilt off the couch and went to watch TV. Since I had errands I wanted to run I asked if she wanted me to wait, or if she would be okay while I was gone. She said she would be fine, we got a plan for her together so I left.
On my to town I felt fine. By the time I was at my third stop I was irritable and feverish. I bought some new towels and wanted a pack of hand towels to go with them. I had already purchased a two pack, but this one was priced differently and the first cashier I spoke with was so annoying I left and decided to come back. There's a Swedish woman named Theresa that I really like. She helped me figure out what price the towels were supposed to be and I left the store with purchases that I probably wouldn't have bought had I been feeling better. I thought the shower curtain I bought would work in my bathroom which it does, but I don't like how it looks with the towels and I already washed them so I can't take them back and I wouldn't anyways.
I have this thing about buying things online. I just don't like doing it, but I felt so crappy last night that I Googled navy blue shower curtain to see what I could find. That was a mistake since there are literally thousands of shower curtains and I felt overwhelmed and confused instead of glad that I had so many options to choose from. Long ago I figured out that having too many choices stresses me out. I like it when I can go to a smaller store, have fewer choices, and leave if they don't have what I want instead of having to hunt through so many things to see if they might have what I'm looking for if I can just locate it. My sister had a gift card to Bed, Bath, and Beyond which isn't one of my favorite stores, but they do have a plain navy shower curtain that I would like to try.
If I were doing this all over I would do what I should have done in the first place and get a plan together. I wish I would have thought about whether the new towels would go with the shower curtain I have, bought one of the new towels, the bath rug, washcloths, and then taken those home and left them in their packaging to see how these things worked when they were together in my bathroom. I would have examined my checking account, determined a budget for this, and set out to buy things that were planned purchases instead of a bunch of Total Impulse Buys (TIB). Other things that I bought yesterday include four books, a white knitted scarf, and a picture that I'm undecided about. I think it goes, but I'm not sure I really like it so I don't know what to do with it.
The throw that I wanted was gone when I got to the store. I'm sure not feeling well was part of it, but I hate it when I see something, decide not to buy it, come back for it later only to see that it's no longer there. When that happens I try to tell myself that something even better is coming along. That usually helps, but yesterday I was crabby even with myself. I laid on the couch with my new books and read up on how to create a garden using everyday plants. Then I got tired of that so I opened my landscaping book, and put that aside for another book I had bought. I went back to Pillows and Throws, but that takes a lot of concentration so I set that aside too. Last night the girls put in a movie so we spend some time watching that, I went on Twitter which I've neglected recently and remembered why I enjoy going there again.
I tend to get in streaks where I focus on one or two things to the exclusion of others, and I'd like to get better about not dropping everything to start something new although sometimes that's the best way for me to get things done. I have a bunch of dishes sitting out on my counter. I want to sell a set, I really want a new dining room table so I can use the one we have now down in my laundry area, but that will have to wait unless I want to have people sitting on the floor which has a rustic picnic appeal, but isn't a very good long term solution. My sister is giving me my chairs back, but we have to coordinate our schedules and she's busy so I have to be patient. I've been better at making lists, I don't always follow them or look at them after I've written them out, but I feel like it's a good practice and one I'm going to continue.
One of the reasons I love Twitter is I follow a bunch of very interesting people who share things I wouldn't be aware of if I wasn't following them. Today I read an article on the role of women in Japan and how the Japanese Prime Minister has taken steps to make it easier for women to accept roles of leadership in the business world. Access to childcare was addressed, and another thing I hadn't expected was what Japanese women were doing outside of the country in more traditional roles. The push for women as equals backed by action differed from a lot of other campaigns I've seen where there is a desire to implement a certain strategy, but it isn't accompanied by a master plan and a clear goal. The article was encouraging, and uplifting. You can read it here: if you are so inclined.
Like E2, I value Twitter for the mix of personalities and cross sections of culture, race, and interests I come across. One of the most powerful things about social communities to me is the voices that wouldn't be heard otherwise, and as a white woman I've had my eyes opened to challenges that women who are not white face here, and abroad. The problems that my Korean attorney friend has may not be the same as the one that my Nigerian journalist friend deals with, and hers are not the same as the ones my black friend who lives in New England lives with, nor are hers identical to the ones a friend in Florida must overcome. I have a friend who is a black oral surgeon who has shared some insights and the way that she sees things.
In the past, and I think that this is still true to some extent, I think it can be very difficult for women to come together when there isn't a natural context for them unite around. I happen to know these women from being on Twitter. Most of them are not interested in sports which is probably at least fifty percent of what I'm tweeting about, but my Nigerian friend says she has learned things from that world and it's been cool to learn things from my friends that I wouldn't have been exposed to otherwise. I spoke with my oral surgery friend when my brother broke facial bones after getting hit with a softball and I got a very different view of events in Ferguson and on other shootings that have involved the police that I wouldn't have if I didn't know these women.
Another woman I follow tweets about social justice issues as do a couple of the men I know, probably more so than I'm giving credit to here. Sometimes it's a bit much for me, but I'm coming at this from an outsider perspective and I try to remember that while also realizing that I'm on Twitter to escape and these are issues I don't have that are impacting their everyday lives in ways I can't begin to imagine. The cartoons I've seen arise from conversations and events are thought provoking and have made me see that I want to choose inclusivity as opposed to exclusivity. Last night a Southern woman followed me, it's hard for me to not judge others, especially women since they tend to intimidate me.
It's cool that my friend has a list of women who are interested in baseball, and frustrating to hear empty rhetoric about the lack of women in baseball and other sports when I know women who are writing, photographing, blogging, and going to go games. If you can't find a way to get more women involved in baseball and the sports world in general, then I'm questioning whether that's really your goal since I know at least a hundred women who are well qualified for jobs that non-women currently hold. I don't like the idea of saying; we need more black engineers, or we want more women in baseball, that tends to sound prescriptive and I haven't seen that done effectively. Rather I would like to hear people saying; how can we reach the black engineers and/or the women that we know are already in the baseball community?
How come we keep ending up with a bunch of white guys as candidates and employees, not that there's anything wrong with that. I've been very fortunate in that I have been very well treated by the majority of the people I know and follow on Twitter, and am aquainted with here. But sometimes, I think that means I'm playing it too safe and not going far enough. Women do have a unique voice and perspective, but so do men. I don't have answers for a lot of these problems, but I know that when I have a problem, and all I can see are obstacles, I need to reframe it, talk to others, and get better ideas or change my attitude about the problem as I'm currently viewing it.
Some time ago there was a call for women to present at a baseball gathering. I volunteered to speak, sent an email to someone who was coordinating speakers, and was turned down due to a lack of data. I don't have a problem with that, I don't have data to support my idea and that's what they're looking for, but I didn't like it that later on I saw a call go out for speakers who could fill five minutes on a particular subject. The focus of the conference was on data, but I feel like they missed an opportunity by adhering so rigidly to their format. Data is the priority, women were an afterthought. Normally things like that don't bother me, but don't pretend that you are desparate for female speakers and turn down people who are volunteering to speak. Explain that you need data first, and will consider gender separately after that.
The way that I watch baseball is different than the way that most other people are seeing it. When I watch I'm primarily focused on footwear. There is a wealth of untapped data that I believe could be used to screen for injury potential and isn't being captured at all. While I love baseball, I am not immune from its many flaws, and the fact that teams are not measuring players weighs heavily on my conscience. It does not seem to me that MLB teams are using the podiatrists and orthotics people that they have at their disposal wisely, but nobody sees this since there appears to be an assumption that footwear fits and there isn't value in seeing if we can improve fit and comfort.
I get very frustrated when I routinely see players at the highest level their is making footwear mistakes that are costing them. It might be a strike that gets called a ball, it could be a ball that hits a batter instead of missing him, it could be a knee or other injury. A lot of things that are footwear related can be minimized and/or eliminated, but you won't know until you follow the proper protocols. I have credibility as a networker, I was born to network. I'm a great networker, I don't know anyone else who is using Twitter the way that I do to connect others and make the experience better for everyone. I have a book called Push-Ups for People that I started reading. It's simply writen, but much more difficult to implement his strategies.
A lot of the things he suggests and recommends I already do, but other ideas are things I haven't considered. Baseball is a platform for me. I'm not a stats person, I'm nominally affiliated with a team in the state where I live, but I can see how this experience that is being shared is unique to a set of people, and I haven't made real money off of this, but I have definitely been able to capitalize on my efforts. Experts follow me and there is no reason for them to be doing so. Some of that is charisma, some of that is talent, but a lot of it is just me. I don't have a formal social media strategy. I tweet what I want, when I want to and if the people who follow me can't handle me and who I am, they can unfollow me.
Rarely do I go back and follow people that I've unfollowed. I unfollowed them for a reason and I try to trust my instincts there. Two people that I have followed again are a Twins fan and a Rangers fan. The Twins fan said something that made me go back to him. The Rangers fan also said something, but we parted ways for several months before I saw him again. He told me that it was baseball season and he had missed me. I gravitate toward the people who are kind to me since assholes are everywhere and kindness matters to me. I felt like crying after he said that just like I was moved after I received a special message that I had been missed here by someone that I rarely interacted with.
I make people feel special, I make them feel important. I can laugh with people who are happy and offer what support and empathy that I can when they are upset. I try to stay out of arguments and away from trolls and when I get upset, I remember something that The Custodian said long ago, sometimes it's not them, it's me. I need to take a break and step back and remember that we are only seeing a small slice of what someone is really like in any online forum. We are offering a product in the form of a user name and showing people certain things about us that may or may not be related to who and what we really are.
As a sport, I like baseball, but I don't think it's any secret that there are teams that I do not care for, and I don't like admitting this, but I judge people based on team affiliation. There are Cardinals fans that I follow, diehard ones that see their team in a way I do not. I'm less likely to tolerate a Cardinals fan or a Cubs fan saying the same type of thing a Pirates fan or a White Sox fan would and this is something that I'm trying to work on because this is so petty I'm ashamed to be admitting it. But the flip is also true. Sometimes I am more tolerant than I should be of someone who is a fan of a team that I happen to like. Sometimes two fan bases clash as the White Sox and the Royals did the other day. I have friends in both camps and I can see both sides, I don't have a dog in that fight.
I love baseball because I can screen out a lot of the day to day things. For me it isn't even really the game or the stadium, or any of the physical attributes like the food or the paraphenlia. For me, it's the people. Specifically, the sportswriters. These are the people that I am most comfortable and familiar with. Writing makes sense to me. I can sit for hours and write and I've never been a sportswriter, nor do I expect to be, but I can pull up an article and feel the time that preceded it. I view most players are remote and inaccessible and always on as in they are performing although I don't doubt that many of them are genuine and authentic. I like the fans that make me think. I like the power, the control, the decisions, the emotions, and hearing different sides.
Sometimes it gets a little too real for me, like when my brother-in-law and I are watching the Tigers game and my sister flips to another channel since she thinks baseball is boring. I don't care if people think that baseball is boring. I don't think that boredom is a bad thing. Sometimes I am bored and sometimes I can sit at a game and just let myself drift away. Watching baseball games on TV is work for me. It isn't work I mind for the most part, but trying to make an educated guess on whether footwear fits each player, coach, manager, umpire, and bat boy can be exhausting.
For me baseball is a sensual, erotic experience and maybe that's a reason I don't often write about it. I can never find a way to explain how I'm perceiving the game and what it's doing to me on an emotional and physical level. I don't necessarily mean that I find the players to be attractive although that can be a factor, but I'm much more likely to be attracted to someone who I feel that I can connect with on a different level. The other day I had a conversation with an A's fan that ended up with us discussing the upcoming Presidential election. He proposed Joe Biden while my candidate was Condoleezza Rice. That was the kind of conversation that is so rare in my world. It wasn't a political conversation, that was the tail end of it. But that was the conversation that encapsulated what baseball does to me, means to me, and why I keep going back for more.
There are a handful of people who converse like that. They are special, I never know when or where I'm going to find them or what tweet is going to lead down an unexpected path. I love power. It's exciting, it's thrilling, even when I don't have it, I can sit back and watch those who weild it effectively. I don't like Andrew Friedman as a person from the little I know of him, but as a professional, I have a mad crush on him. I thought about writing something about him, but I'm not sure that I should, or even really want to because I like having secrets and he's a secret of mine. Controlled power, transactions that lead to other trades, the strategy, the gamble, the way that it unfolds and becomes a tangible product is beautiful to me even while I despise certain aspects of the billion dollar business that sends Josh Hamilton back to Texas.
I didn't ever think I would respect CJ Wilson, but I appreciated his candor on the Josh Hamilton situation. I've always loved Adrian Beltre, and what he said about Hamilton resonated within me as well. Baseball is a family in my eyes. Families don't always get along or treat each other well, but at the end of the day, there's a closeness that I haven't found from other sports communities although I don't doubt that football and tennis and cricket have this as well since I've seen friends of mine at matches and felt some of the love when they've gotten together. I love women like my friend Jenn who loves her Blue Jays and Raptors even though I can't get behind the We The North campaign. What she's doing is special and I'm glad that others realize this and appreciate her.
The women that I've met in baseball have come to mean a lot to me. It's surprising to me that I find a lot of women who tweet like men and I wonder if people would be able to derive gender given a series of tweets during a game or centering around an event. I would probably unfollow some of the people I do if I could read their minds, thankfully I don't run into very many people who lack class. Class is not the same as position in society. Class is everywhere. In every shape, size, gender, I can find it, revere it, and amplify it. I promote what I love and don't pay a lot of attention to what I don't like. People who follow me have no trouble figuring out who I love and why these people are special to me even if they happen to disagree with my assessment.
Well this turned out to be a lot longer than I had anticipated. I may go back and regret sharing some of this someday, but for today it feels good to get some of that off my chest. I don't think there's anything wrong with watching a sport because you think the guys are hot. That's not why I'm watching, but it's a bonus and we have to take the good in life when it comes because you know that the scales are going to tip the other way at some point in time. I don't think people should be critical of others who are watching a sport for the eye candy because at the end of the day, baseball is a game and it's entertainment. It may be more than that to some, but it shouldn't be so consuming that we forget how to treat our fellow man and woman well, and that's a lesson we can take with us regardless of where we go and what we do in life.
Update: I wrote this earlier, but for some reason either I forgot to post it or didn't post it correctly. I'm watching the tweets on the Camden Yards lock down and whether you're a baseball fan, or not, it's unsettling to think that people can be trapped at a sporting event because a protest became violent. So much for those metal detectors MLB insisted be installed at each stadium...