My Scary Mommy essay about how Facebook made my high school reunion more fun and meaningful

fullsizeoutput_14f3In recent years, Facebook has become the go-to scapegoat – or, as I like to call it, “blame piñata” – for nearly all society’s social ills. Our tribalism, our short attention spans, our loneliness.

Occasionally, though, an experience demonstrates how social media can be an honest-to-God blessing, and lay the groundwork for a surprisingly meaningful experience.

Months ago, for instance, I got a Facebook invitation for an unofficial, informal 30th high school reunion – at a bar in my hometown, the night before Thanksgiving – I simultaneously thought “Nope!” and mentally checked my availability.

I mean, my family wasn’t traveling anywhere for the holiday, I currently live only about a half hour away from my Michigan hometown, and that square on my calendar happened to be blank.

But I’d also, in high school, been a pretty forgettable band nerd in a class of more than 400 people, many of whom had chosen to move back and raise their kids in that same town. So I had the sense that a lot of the reunion’s attendees would be the people who saw each other regularly, anyway, and had sustained close friendships with each other over the decades.

I, on the other hand, had re-connected with just a modest handful of high school acquaintances via social media, mostly after attending the one “official” reunion we’ve had since graduation (the 20th, in 2009).

This was partly a function of how not-present I’d been in high school. So consumed was I at the time with boyfriends, grades, and getting into a good college that precious little from my adolescence has endured.

So what could I possibly hope for from attending this slapdash reunion? Wouldn’t it simply reinforce the neurotic sense of invisibility that is my middle-child default setting? READ THE REST HERE

My Metromode story about how Farmington is carefully reopening its downtown

Screen Shot 2019-06-15 at 8.34.51 PMThe process of slowly, safely re-opening up businesses in downtown Farmington has mirrored the gradual arrival of spring.

We’ve had to be patient, but we’ve also reveled in each small sign of change.

Like when Silver Dairy, Farmington’s iconic, seasonal ice cream stand, announced that it would open for drive-through service only, beginning on the first of May, two lanes of cars circled the building for much of opening day.

And when the Farmington Farmers Market (FFM) re-opened on May 16th – as originally scheduled, but with fewer-than-usual vendors and a number of restrictions in place (i.e., only one person per party allowed; social distancing and face masks required; no touching the produce; no personal shopping bags; etc.) – more than 500 attendees cautiously ventured to Sundquist Pavilion.

“Opening the market after its been in cold storage for six months is daunting on its own, even without having to overhaul your model on the basis of a pandemic,” says FFM manager Walt Gajewski, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 near the start of the quarantine. “We studied state guidelines, CDC guidelines, Michigan Department of Agriculture guidelines, Farmers Market Association guidelines – all of that. We scoured the internet for best practices for online pre-ordering and curbside pick-up methods and social distancing, both customer to vendor and customer to customer, and how to mark the space.” READ THE REST HERE