p.s. if you read in chronologically forward fashion on this page, you won’t be able to see the videos. in order to capture something you like, figure out what month you’re reading about and then go to the home base and click on the month in question. i hope you enjoy the narrative as much as i enjoyed living the narrative. although, to be fair, sometimes i was scared, tired, frantic, worried, stressed, exhilerated, or worried.
face to facebook
my new year’s resolution is to meet every facebook friend i have. some are friends from college (gulp, thirty years ago) that probably don’t remember me. some are folks i’ve never met at all–including several people i am certain i don’t know at all. some are people in my hometown that i see every day–yeah, that’s you, lisa. i will have to travel to wales, mumbai, vietnam, korea, and mexico city. i hope federico will make me pizza in sienna. i want to snow mobile with christy in alaska. i want azanthiel moon to play music for me. i will face foster siblings, former employees, old boyfriends, two former girlfriends of my ex, and then there’s all the friends of my kids who have asked me to be their facebook friend without realizing the consequences. . . . .
how many of your facebook friends do you see on a regular basis? isn’t it weird to find out that someone’s relationship is “complicated”, that they had fish tacos for dinner or that they really like Justin Bieber–and then realize that you know a lot about someone you don’t really know at all?
mark zuckerberg promised me popularity and privacy. i’m not sure i got either–but he also said i have friends, he said all of us have friends, he said he’d keep me in touch with my friends. now i’m going to go one step further–and meet my friends.
This entry was posted on Thursday, December 30th, 2010 at 3:31 pm.
the face to facebook project stats 1.0
I have 323 facebook friends. Two of them are my boys–Joseph and Eastman–and I’m not allowed to comment when they are tagged passed out on someone’s sofa with a bottle of Beam. One of them is my stepdaughter who is the coolest mom ever. My father Justin and my sister K.C. are friends. I have no idea who InDa Loop is–nor do I recall how I became friends with Robert Thater, Aubrey Yates or Brian Brethauer. I have several celebrity facebook friends–Elmore Leonard, Gilbert Gottfried, Libby Hellman, Alex Beh, MC Kato, Vince P. and news anchors Joan Esposito and Steve Sanders. One of my friends has been dead for more than a century, but somehow, we communicate just fine. Most of my facebook friends are in the Midwest but I’m going to have to do some traveling to Mumbai, the Philipines, Wales, Italy, and Lebanon. On a personal note, Reggie Gholston, please don’t go back to Baghdad. I don’t want to have to visit you there.
p.s. it’s actually 324 friends. Welcome, Nabil!
the face to facebook stats 2.0
There are five hundred million facebook users and the average number of friends any user has is 130. Fifty percent of active users log in every day and I do it before I brush my teeth or even get out of bed. I don’t know how many friends Mark Zuckerberg has but his facebook page lists 2,381,043 people who like him.
Oprah Winfrey says that many people want to ride in the limousine with you, but a true friend will take the bus with you when the limousine breaks down. And it is the playwright Plautus who said that nothing is better than heaven itself than a true friend. This is the year I will meet every one of them.
This entry was posted on Friday, December 31st, 2010 at 2:10 pm
the face to facebook project is underway!
it’s january first and i have just 365 days to meet 324 friends! i sure hope reggie gholston does not get redeployed to baghdad! i hope i can get over my natural aversion to aeroflot airlines!
step one: index cards. i’m a big believer in them. i’ve been going through my friends and each friend gets an index card. i’m trying to organize them by geography so i can consolidate. some surprises: jeffrey cokefair has apparently disappeared off the face of the earth and steve ware has moved to brooklyn. also, i’m friends with two newspapers–the winnetka current and the winnetka talk–as well as phototronics*. i’m not sure how to have some quality time with those last three friends.
step two: set up an itinerary! i already have a grand midwestern tour in mind. a stepdaughter, a bartender, my son joseph’s best friend from high school, a guy who writes operas, my best friend from high school and his wife, and a curious couple from kankakee. it will take three days minimum for the road trip. one of the reasons why i think this project is good for me is that i’m agoraphobic. i don’t like to leave the house and can sometimes go for days without actually talking or interacting in an “actual” way with anyone. i can sometimes go several weeks without actually crossing the borders of my town. i wonder if facebook allows agoraphobics to give in to their natural impulses but at the same time think of themselves as very social. it’s certainly done that for me!
*facebook told me that phototronics is having a birthday today. i wonder if i’m supposed to send an e-card to a photo processing store!
This entry was posted on Saturday, January 1st, 2011 at 3:15 pm
face to facebook new year’s resolution–
in order to make good on the new year’s resolution to have an in person interaction with every one of my facebook friends, i have to learn to use (sigh!) more technology–so i made and posted my first ever video to facebook. so far, nobody has defriended me. i actually have been rather frightened of that.
This entry was posted on Saturday, January 1st, 2011 at 4:36 pm
face to facebook challenge 324 friends plus one
this morning i received a facebook request from julianne couch who lives in laramie, wyoming. she is friends with the inimitable and quite dead Mr. Clark (don’t tell him he’s dead, it just makes him fret). in any event, i asked her if she understood that i’d have to meet her this year if we became friends. she agreed and allowed as how she might be moving to iowa to make seeing her easier. what a sweetheart!
1. working out with winston chang–this west point grad is show this old lady how to make good on the new year’s resolutions (those five pounds) that i’ve never managed when they were really my resolutions.
2. my hair done by rena leonard. she’s a barista at caribou and i get my coffee there every morning. . . but i’ve never spent any time with her at all.
3. running with lisa jarvis. i see her every morning at the winnetka community house fitness center. but maybe we should really be friends.
and i’m mapping out the grand midwestern tour. . . . i leave in a week and a half. what happens if i don’t recognize people because i haven’t seen them in so long? i think i have to develop a nice, vague pretense of being farsighted.
This entry was posted on Sunday, January 2nd, 2011 at 10:14 pm
face to facebook methodology
the index cards are piling up. each card represents a friend and each stack of cards represents a road trip.
but while index cards are low tech, there’s an aspect of this that has been intimidating: buying a flip camera at best buy, figuring out how to upload and download things. i have so much to learn!
and one of the things i learned is that i’m not really friends with elmore leonard. i thought i was but his facebook page is administered by his research assistant greg sutter. does that mean i’m really friends with greg sutter?
This entry was posted on Monday, January 3rd, 2011 at 6:46 pm
my first and favorite face to facebook friend*
eastman returns to oberlin. he is my first and favorite facebook friend. i bought him two cartons of marlboro reds and a lighter for christmas.
when i started using facebook, i sometimes went through his friends list to make sure there were no sexual predators stalking him. after he hit a thousand friends this became impossible. i am not allowed to post on his page even when i see him tagged doing odd things. like being passed out on someone’s sofa with a bottle in his hand.
now i will totally mortify him. . .
*tied with joseph, his brother. there are five great loves of my life and joseph and eastman are two of them.
here is the third try–i am not very good at making videos. . .
next up: rena tortures my hair!!!! and she blames mark zuckerberg for the demise of her marriage. . .
This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 4th, 2011 at 10:11 pm
mark zuckerberg and rena’s marriage: a face to facebook cautionary tale
i wake up to rena leonard every morning. she sees me without makeup. she knows exactly how i like my morning caffeine drip. that’s more than i can say about anybody else amongst my friends.
rena works at the caribou three blocks from my house. i pick up my coffee, i go lift weights, i come back home and turn on the computer. so i can go several days in which i don’t really have any personal contact with anybody besides rena. oh, and lisa from where i lift weights.
but i don’t know much about rena outside of seeing her at caribou. . . and being facebook friends with her. so yesterday, we spent a few hours together. she did my hair because she’s a hairdresser with her own salon in the city. there were some surprises–
43,869,800 people changed their relationship status to single during the year while 3,025,791 changed it to “it’s complicated.” Another 28,460,516 changed their status to in a relationship, 5,974,574 to engaged and 36,774,801 to married. Rena doesn’t list herself as any of the above.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 5th, 2011 at 6:29 pm
face to facebook friendship requests
mike castagna came over to the house yesterday. he saw the index card system i’ve devised to keep track of my face to facebook new year’s resolution. he had one piece of advice: do not accept any new facebook friendship requests. but i couldn’t help myself.
darrell’s style shop in kearney, missouri is my newest friend–i wrote a history of kearney, missouri which is where jesse james was born and where he was buried. and reburied. and reburied again. . . . still, i’m sorry, mike–i want the free manicure/pedicure that i’m sure to get when i visit kearney!
so there are 327 facebook friends, mike being number three. when i first joined facebook, i automatically confirmed every request because i assumed that the person knew me and i would be rude to refuse a hand held out in friendship. like somewhere there’s a kindergarten teacher who’s prepared to lecture me that we don’t want people to feel left out!
This entry was posted on Thursday, January 6th, 2011 at 8:52 pm
face to facebook kicks my butt!
facebook friend number four winston chang was a freshman at west point in september of 2001. when disaster struck, the campus was locked down and the stakes were suddenly very high–every student understood that they were being trained for a war. winston ended up leaving the army after graduation and he is now building a career as a rap musician. i met him when he performed in a play i wrote.*
all women, it is presumed, lie about their age and their weight. here are the incontrovertible facts: i’m fifty years old and yesterday morning i weighed 136.8 pounds. i want to be staggeringly beautiful and strong enough to fend off age.
the workout winston devised relied on three elements: lower body strength, upper body strength, and neural strength. all of it in eight sets of three reps. i was surprised that it was only a half hour, expecting to have to be locked into the gym for two hours. it was followed by sprints in the parking lot.
winston has an alter ego mc kato and i will “meet” him on february first. i have at least one other friend–steve quick slash stu fast–who has an alternate identity. i wonder how many people do that.
click on the word workout to see how winston devised a workout based on the master fitness class of west point!
*to see more about the play winston was in, go to http://perfectlylegalproductions.com
my first trip starts next friday! i will meet my stepdaughter, my best friend from high school, a couple from kankakee, a bartender i’ve only met once, and my son joseph’s very good friend chris redmond!
This entry was posted on Friday, January 7th, 2011 at 5:56 pm
face to facebook stats 3.0–missing persons
this year, i will visit 327 facebook friends. i will visit them in their home countries of italy, india, korea, burkina faso, canada, taiwan, mexico, nicaragua, russia, the united arab emirates, and england. i will visit them in states as far west as hawaii, north to alaska, east to providence rhode island.
i’m missing some friends and while i’ve already sent messages to them, if you know anything about where these friends are, please tell me. aawagdy hakim, azanthiel moon, claudia close, janet mccauley, jeffrey jon smith, karl thelen, kristan schmidt, lisa menzel, liza roche, lori ray, lynn nguyen, mark bjerknes, rodger gerberding, samuel scruggs, and tamme perdue.
how often does this happen? you meet a neighbor or a friend of a friend at a party and a day or two later you have a facebook request? most of the times, when this happens, i click confirm and that’s sort of the last i ever hear of the person, except in news feeds about what they ate for dinner and links to articles in the wall street journal online edition.
i met kenny at a holiday party and we exchanged business cards. and i got a facebook request from him soon after. when i realized i didn’t have the hostess’ email address to send her a thank you note, i used facebook to email him and get her address. when he heard about this face to facebook project, he stopped by to say hi before i hit the road. i asked him to do a short video about pesticides because he is a sales representative for black flag pesticides.
but we sat down to chat and then three hours went by. it was three hours unimpeded (nor aided) by the distractions of a menu, waiters, other people, atmosphere, calls, emails or texts. we gossiped a bit, to be fair, but i learned about a man who has weathered some personal turmoil in a courageous fashion.
kenny says that friendship, whever it is found–on facebook, in the workplace, at a party–is like a box you choose to open. i think i have to get another recycling bin because i’m going to have a lot of boxes when i open up all these friendships. here’s face to facebook friend #5:
This entry was posted on Saturday, January 8th, 2011 at 1:50 pm
face to facebook resolution: the learning curve
i’m still not quite sure what this project is, but i think it’s a diary. an interactive diary because everybody who participates in this ends up being in the diary and it’s an open diary (no lock with a precious key) because everybody gets to see it. this might be too a guest book although that makes it sound a little like i’m a hotel.
and i’m not a hotel. i’m a gal who wants to meet all my facebook friends, even the ones i have never met. maybe particularly those friends. last week, i did something new–
and then i returned to not quite what i was when i got started. which is sort of how i assume this project will turn out. by the way, my usual new years resolutions are to lose weight, stop drinking, get organized and be nicer to mr. radnor. this past week i accomplished the last of those . . . briefly.
This entry was posted on Monday, January 10th, 2011 at 6:24 pm
selective mutism: a f2fb meeting number 6
on friday, i leave to visit the princess of champaign and the princess of bloomington. i have a trip planned for tallahassee and another for new york before i get to st. petersburg on the tenth of march. but first. . .
i sat at mirani’s with an idea that i knew who i was meeting: chris castino. i was positive that my older son joseph went to middle school with her son, that she was mutual friends with tiffanie sarineen and that she had dark hair. the restaurant was closed but the owners kaven and madelaine didn’t mind me staying and christopher the waiter had brought me a stella while i waited. then a woman entered the restaurant, pulled back the hood from her face, and . . . i had no idea who she was. she was definitely chris castino, it’s just i hadn’t seen her in so long that i had gotten her confused with someone else. although i had read and responded with sympathy to the facebook posts that her family suffered two deaths over the christmas holiday season.
it was a bit of an awkward lunch until i realized that one of her daughters had been friends with joseph. ah, now i know where i know her from. . . but while i might know a little about her daughter i knew nothing about chris. i asked her what she was doing these days. her face glowed and she said “selective mutism”. uh, okay, but what the heck is that?
her daughter had a friend in kindergarten at Northfield’s Middlefork School. The girl did not speak at school, instead only talking at home. . . .and with chris–in soft whispers up against chris’ ear–whenever the two girls had playdates. the girls drifted apart as they were assigned to different classrooms in first, second and third grade. but when they were in fourth grade, chris discovered that the girl still was not speaking. her heart went out to her and, with the blessings of the parents and of the northfield school superintendent, chris went to lunch every day at the school and became a verbal intermediary, eating at the lunch table with the fourth grade girls. but let chris tell you about it. . .
sometimes chris neglected her own daughters when she was devoting more and more time to being this girl’s verbal intermediary and advocate. but the castino daughters were very very supportive and today the girl doesn’t need chris as a verbal intermediary but she still needs the love and friendship of this great mom. i left lunch realizing that i have some facebook friends out there who are doing great things–and i have to do a better job of keeping up with them so i can recognize them when i see them!
if you’d like to learn more about the subject, go to email@example.com
This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 11th, 2011 at 2:28 pm
lock myself in the basement day
i spent most of the day in bed today, texting “migraine” when anybody called. but really, just being scared. i had a “lock myself in the basement” day.
i was born in 1960 to aleta and justin leiber. they lived in chicago with justin’s parents fritz and jonquil leiber. here’s the cheesecake picture (it was given to me by justin when i met him when i was twenty five)
at some point, justin and aleta put me up for adoption through the children’s home and aid society of chicago. i went to the patrick family of western springs, illinois. here’s a picture of me after i had been adopted–it was the day i was baptised into the patrick’s methodist faith which was important to them. i’m the one on the left.
very soon after this picture was taken, mrs. patrick had some kind of reaction to the world and to me. it must have been overwhelming to be a new mom to a kid who wanted to go back to wherever she came from. mrs. patrick was frantic about keeping order. my most common transgression was to steal candy from mr. patrick’s desk or cookies from the treat drawer in the kitchen.
she would lock me in the basement.
i might sentenced to a day. morning until bedtime. if longer than a day, i would, upon waking, go back to the basement. oddly, she always let me take a book with me.
sometimes she thought the basement wasn’t punishment enough, because i was so stubborn i wouldn’t cry, and so she would make me take off all my clothes or she would mark out parts of basement where i could sit and other parts where i couldn’t. but if i had a book, i didn’t care where i was. sure, i did other things than read. i devised a series of number games played on my fingers. i can, if we meet, show you those games. kind of like solitaire but no cards. almost everything i know comes from the world book encyclopedia for young adults, volumes 1-20, which the patricks owned and i kick butt on the caribou coffee trivia question every day because of that series. i would take one volume each day into the basement.
the punishments the world gives us make us stronger, but only stronger at taking that particular punishment. i’m great at being locked up but i want to be good at being unleashed. i want to go out into the world this year to meet every friend, to charge across streets in a city i’ve never been, to get lost on a highway, to find out somebody’s passion for their lives*, to have the whole horizon out in front of me, to not know what’s going to happen next, to accept that the world is way more chaotic than the first two steps of the basement stairewell where nothing changes and the only sound is the furnace firing up and the comforting world is printed on a page.
tomorrow i pack for the first leg of the journey. i am commuting my own sentence. if you’re one of my facebook friends, help me do this.
*i mean, jeez, how much better can it get than chris castino’s passion for voluntary mutism? and i haven’t even uploaded facebook friend peter lind’s account of reopening hospitals in new orleans after katrina.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 12th, 2011 at 7:52 am
i meet a real writer–libby fischer hellmann
i used to write novels. romance novels specifically, and most of them are under the name vivian leiber. but i can’t tell you the number of times that people have used the words “real writer” with me. as in “oh, you write romances? i thought you were a real writer” or “when are you going to be a real writer?” and then there was the lady who told me that i wasn’t a real writer but she was because she was taking journaling classes at the university of iowa. i would like to believe we’re all real writers because whether it’s a thank you note to grandma for those wool socks or a twenty volume history of the peloponnesian wars, we’re putting ourselves out there.
BUT i was having dinner with libby fischer hellman (f2fb#7)… and she’s a REAL writer. or at least what i think of as a real writer. i knew her only slightly because her daughter went to school with my older son. and i harbored an odd feeling towards her. i’m not sure if it was envy or admiration–and those two emotions might just be the same thing.
she writes mystery novels and when i met her for dinner, i hoped she was going to tell me how to write a mystery. in other words, how to be a real writer. and i also wanted her to tell me how to get elmore leonard, our mutual facebook friend, to pay attention when i ask him to meet me.
instead, i was surprised to find out that she gets that “real writer” stuff all the time too. and she’s a very very cool chick and when we parted i realized i still had that envy/admiration thing going but it wasn’t because she’s a “real” writer–it’s because she’s a cool chick!
p.s. tomorrow–stripper lessons and packing for the first trip–maybe chris redmond will teach me basketball, the princesses of urbana and bloomington will host me, i’ll learn about railroads from a facebook friend i’ve only met once in my life.
p.p.s. visit libby’s website at libbyhellmann.com and tell her i sent you!
disaster!!!! and then. . .
i was getting ready for seeing facebook friend janet sussman. and for the trip. i thought i was good at packing a bag. chargers, black t-shirt, another black t-shirt. i did spend some time flapping my wings worrying about getting a two day trip in the chiaruggi bag. . . and then i freaked!!
i don’t know janet very well. we have mutual friends who are in theater. she’s in “chorus line” in march and i hope she comments on this post to tell us all about how to buy tickets! but this was an emergency-and i started the cancellation calls. . . i am such a damn failure.
so i called janet and said i have lost my wallet and i’m doomed. can’t do the ahem, provocative dance class that i promised to attend. . . and this gal showed up with chocolate, strawberries, a bottle of wine and great attitude.
here is the result of fifteen minutes of getting the janet sussman incredible love:
i admire her. i’m glad she’s my friend. i always think that being by myself is going to be the best thing when i’m in a bad mood. maybe being with a friend is better. the evening ended with facebook friend charlie seymour coming over and the two of them sang show tunes at the piano. charlie’s dog cuddled up with me on the couch. i felt like i was at a going away party hosted by my face to facebook friend #8!
p.s. i’m an idiot is acknowledged. i wonder if there’s a freudian aspect–like i wanted to stay home. . . ?
p.p.s. i had been at a lunch earlier in the day with stephen–my ex–and chris nelson, the director of parent relations at oberlin. stephen had been kind enough to drive me back home. i had dropped the wallet in the car. stephen was kind enough to drive up from the city and drop off the wallet around midnight.
thank you stephen! thank you janet! and thank you charlie and eddie!
this morning, i’m off adventuring!
This entry was posted on Friday, January 14th, 2011 at 5:54 am
face to facebook modest victory!
there was enough drama that i thought i wouldn’t get out the door, but i own the first leg of the f2fb short trip! i drove down to the target superstore in bourbounnais, illinois. heather tyler is my facebook friend–she’s the wife of eric who is friends with john lafond. heather is 38, adorable, and when she smiles you just can’t have a bad day! we had lunch and shopped for a present for the princessa of champaign-urbana.
heather doesn’t always want to work at a target store although she’s great at what she does-and she spends a lot of time when she’s not at working playing on facebook: mafia wars, farmville, etc. she wants to do something in art history. i thought maybe she could contact the head of nearby kankakee’s historical society and see if she could work in their museum as a volunteer just to get her feet wet. heather and i both struggle with internal monologues that are sometimes rather dire.
i nearly cried, right there in the middle of the target food court, because the heather internal voice is strikingly like my own: you’re a failure, you’re incompetent, you drink too much, you haven’t done anything with your life, you’re fat, you’re not all that. in fact, i believe that heather and i might actually be hearing from the same entity. we agreed we have to say “SHUT UP!”
here’s a picture of her just after we ate lunch.
i’m very lucky to have heather for a facebook friend and i’m glad we got to see each other. unfortunately, her husband eric was at the food pantry and missed me as i sailed off for champaign urbana. i’ll get to see heather later because i’ll be coming back to kankakee to see eric!
next, it was on to champaign urbana to see the princessa colleen who curtsied when she saw me because she recognizes a fellow princessa! colleen is a great favorite with the paparazzi and so she knows how to take a good picture. here’s one that was taken by the star magazine:
the princessa’s parents are john and alice lafond. john and i went to school together and when i left the patricks when i was a young teen, he hid me in the lafond family garage. the lafonds are approaching their ten year anniversary. congratulations to a wonderful royal couple!!!
john and i play scrabble on facebook. he beats me nearly every time. and jonathan boyd, his friend, DOES beat me every time. John also plays Mafia Wars, Farmville, and Sorority Sisters. I asked “why Sororority Sisters”? and he said it’s basically the same thing as Mafia Wars just with prettier dresses. facebook is a hobby.
tomorrow it’s onward to indiana! i’m doing this! i’m really doing this!!! i have 332 friends, including one cat and a guy who’s been dead for over a century–sorry mike i added a few friends, but i have visited with nine of them this year. this is right around the time that most people give up on a new years resolution–but i had that moment last night.
This entry was posted on Friday, January 14th, 2011 at 11:29 pm
a face to facebook puzzle
when i finally made it to andrew pearce’s house, i was so glad i recognized him. i had only seen him once–as the bartender of the marriot in bloomington where i stayed just once. but he smiles like nobody’s business and that’s how you know it’s andrew. he invited me in for a cup of tea to brace ourselves for the afternoon’s business–a photo shoot at a trainyard. in his kitchen i found this. . .
later today, i will post the pictures from the tracks, a video of me drawing fishnets on the cutest gal in all of bloomington indiana and then . . . one more mystery facebook friend experience!
This entry was posted on Sunday, January 16th, 2011 at 3:21 pm
it had to happen–i am defriended!
poor, poor, pitiful me! i have been defriended and facebook don’t make it easy to figure out who defriends you. it’s like they’re a teenaged girl from the cool clique who is trying to spare your feelings but isn’t really doing such a good job. i checked the facebook friend who had been with my husband when we first separated–no, she’s still my facebook friend. ditto the guy i wouldn’t date whose posts are so fun and vulgar that i would despair if they didn’t pop up every once in a while–he’s still my friend. so is that guy i went out with in college and the rapper inda loop. and alex beh who used to babysit my kid and now dates jennifer love hewitt. i don’t blame anybody for defriending me–i might defriend myself given a chance.
but before i defriend myself–victory! i made it back to my cozy home and if i can do a small trip i can do every trip required by the face to facebook new years’ resolution! i can meet every one of my remaining 331 facebook friends before december 31, 2011. this is all said in hubris.
the trip began with kankakee where i saw heather for lunch at her job at target. she’s not always going to work there–in fact, i think she’s “work at a museum” material. i can’t wait to watch that develop! then onto champaign-urbana to see john and alice lafond! they were such fine hosts and the next morning i woke quite refreshed and ready for adventure.
and i got it! i was lost several times while trying to find the home of andrew pearce. andrew is a transplanted brit who worked in the railway industry for twenty years. his passions are photography and trains so this is the result of our visit:
and p.s. the train engine was running. my butt got really cold. andrew makes pickled eggs and declined to give me the recipe but i smelled it and decided it could be used as a diet aid as well. in exchange for those eggs, he gets free beer for life from the local brewery. i’d like that deal.
then a sweeping tour of bloomington and i am having dinner with my stepdaughter elisabeth and her husband steve. elisabeth was seven when i married her father. her brother was eleven. i was pregnant with joseph. i was a wretched stepmom. i never beat her or locked her up in the basement, but i wasn’t too keen on making school lunches five days in a row and i never celebrated her successes as much as i should have. nonetheless, she has forgiven me. partly that’s because of grace–being a new mom really makes one appreciate the stresses of your own mom (or stepmom) much better. here’s some important information on how to make fishnet stocking if you’re a princess and you have to dress in rugged conditions.
i spent the night at the indiana union and got a call from chris redmond, joseph’s childhood friend. i remember him as a loud, hyperactive, mischievous boy. the guy who showed up the next morning to work out was a tall, gentlemanly man. his parents have done all right by him. he has agreed to be my necessary bodyguard for the asian leg of the face to facebook new years resolution tour and if anybody wants to apply for any other legs of the trip, sign up now! here, he demonstrates how to train to be a bodyguard:
one thing i’ve learned is that i know some friends who have purpose and meaning in their lives, whether their purpose is trains, raising grace, Jesus Christ, or even just knowing they will have a purpose one day. i hope to find my purpose. i hope to find my way. with my face to facebook friends, i am learning. 331 friends, 319 to go!
This entry was posted on Monday, January 17th, 2011 at 5:09 pm
face to facebook teammates
nothing worth doing does not at first appear to be impossible and meeting 332 people in one year seems impossible. unless i could somehow persuade all of them to meet me at mirani’s for lunch on successive days. otherwise, i have to travel to see them! and today paige grant (face to facebook friend number 15) volunteered to do some of the traveling for me. particularly the england-italy-istanbul-mumbai junket.
paige is a friend of eastman’s and is an adventuress–i am looking to her for courage and perserverence. we aren’t sure why we’re friends on facebook. she’s taking a gap year and most of her friends are from new trier high school. we related over common facebook experiences. this was filmed by lori who is joining the team as well:
nothing happens without a team. i’m starting to see a team come together.
which reminds me. . . i met with peter lind, face to facebook friend 16. he was in the winnetka northfield rotary club with me but within a few days of katrina, he disappeared. he was charged with the task of reopening the hospitals of new orleans and he left his family to do that task. he didn’t return for two and a half years. his wife, oh so adorable, once saw me in the carpool line at new trier. i was crying. i figure you cry in your car nobody can hear you. i was wrong. she got out of her car, walked over to mine, banged on the driver’s side window and demanded to give me a hug. peter is so humble that he wouldn’t let me take his picture, much less video him. but he told me many stories about what new orleans was like just after the hurricane blew through town. he had these thoughts about our own emergency preparedness:
1. always have in your house three days of water and food.
2. in your car, twenty four hours of food and water (the food probably should be in the form of dried fruit, nuts, slim jims) and a blanket.
i would add to that a proviso that if you can’t muster up those provisions, just stockpile champagne, firewood, cigarettes, and cocktail napkins. a black market will develop.
peter and his wife live across town but he is the designated community emergency response training dude for his block. in an emergency, he has said i’m an honorary member of his block. yippee!!! i’m gonna be okay!!
This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 18th, 2011 at 10:08 pm
okay, mike castagna, i promise!
mike castagna, facebook friend #3, has devised an ingenius map which is just the sort that indiana jones would carry in his back pocket. it has thumb tacks and every thumb tack represents a facebook friend. fortunately, the thumb tacks are imaginary.
and now i have a problem that is the opposite of defriending–i’ve sworn a blood oath to mike that i won’t add on any new facebook friends, except of course for steve gondorcin my ups guy because he sends all the care packages to reggie, joseph and eastman. and of course lorraine hara yolles who has been so sweet to invite me to her home for parties. in winnetka, most people don’t invite single, divorced or widowed women into their homes. it’s considered bad luck. so if lorraine and steve are so nice to me, how can i not say yes when they want to be my friend?
my two best friends of my life are not on facebook and, in fact, are dead. dick and vivian eastman were in their mid sixties when they met the teenager me. they shared their family with me, which is the greatest gift of friendship. they both passed within the last several years and i still miss them.
when the grant family says that paige can travel with me on some of my face to facebook trips, they are sharing their most important treasure. and i’m very grateful. if anybody else wants to travel with me on any of the legs of the journey, the sign up sheets are posted now. . . .
This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 19th, 2011 at 8:25 pm
connie yonan, f2fb#17, saving the world one hundred butterflies at a time!
the day connie yonan decides to become a hostess for qvc, i want to be her agent. because fifteeen percent of connie yonan’s enthusiasm is quite enough to keep me in pretty dresses and champagn.
part of her charm is that she has found something she is completely passionate about. watch her talk about it herself:
the passion she brings to raising butterflies translates into every aspect of what she does: she’s on a fundraising board of the winnetka community house with me and every time she discusses a new project, her eyes light up, her voice rises just a bit, the smiles are quick and bright. i have known connie for nearly ten years and i’m not sure i’ve ever seen her feeling down. . . . i want to learn her secret, but i don’t think i want to raise butterflies.
This entry was posted on Thursday, January 20th, 2011 at 7:51 pm
my defriended facebook friend
when i first joined facebook, there were three status choices: single, married, it’s complicated. i was separated from stephen and i picked single because it seemed the most sensible. i didn’t know you had an option to not have a status. and when more choices were offered, i didn’t know how to change my status. it was easier to just get divorced. . . .
when stephen joined facebook, it seemed the civilized thing to do to friend each other. but that didn’t work out at all. deeply uncivilized, we made an agreement:
stephen and i were married for over twenty years. he was married before to carole smith, who lives about six blocks away from my house. she’s my facebook friend. occasionally carole, her partner, elisabeth, elisabeth’s husband, grace (she of the fishnets), joseph, eastman and i will get together for holidays. i think it’s very important for joseph and eastman to have good relationships with stephen’s children — david and elisabeth — from the marriage to carole. a good enough relationship so that when i’m dead, they’ll have somebody to call to bail them out of the pokey.
next: a dinner party with three (!) facebook friends including a curious story of a facebook obsession.
This entry was posted on Saturday, January 22nd, 2011 at 1:31 pm
face to facebook friends #18, 19, and 20
i don’t know why i dread dinner parties. i get an anxiety attack when i first get the invitation, another when i’m at the front door hitting the doorbell. and then i enjoy myself so much that i have to be shoved out the door by a hostess who has subtly changed into her pajamas and bathrobe and is yawning quite loudly.
susan grooters (#18) spent yesterday making mushroom soup, pork roast, green beans and sweet potatoes, and a lemon parfait. with home made cookies! she prepared and served the feast at the home of her beau (#19) steve sanders. i became facebook friends with susan and steve because of (#20) charlie, with whom i have written two books. charlie and susan are neighbors and steve is in the same band as charlie–and all three work on the same community theater show every year. added to the mix were mike and cathy leonard, noelle and dan and steve’s neighbor cecilia milot was living proof that french women look glamorous just by waking up. noelle and dan walsh are world travelers and gave me plenty of trips about the coming year–as in, don’t go to the philippines until after september!
we talked a bit about facebook. steve is a newscaster at WGN and allowed as how the station encourages him to have a facebook page and tells him a lot about how he’s supposed to “connect” with his fans using facebook. this sometimes has unintended consequences, as in stalkers.
mike and cathy are a particularly adorable couple. he works as a correspondent for the today show. he said that when he was younger and still working at construction jobs, he knew he wanted to be creative but he knew he couldn’t write, sing, dance, or paint pictures like picasso. but creativity was a home for him, and if you’re trying to get home, you don’t regard any obstacle as insurmountable–the flat tire, the wrong turn, the horrible traffic. so with the money the couple had saved up to be married, he bought a movie camera. this was in 1966 and it wasn’t as simple as going to best buy and telling the nerd in the blue shirt that you want a flip camera. he made short movies of everything he saw and went to television stations, took the artwork off the walls and projected his films. saying “hire me”. he didn’t care about rejection, because it was of no more import than a wrong turn on the highway that required him to backtrack a bit. after ten years of making films, he found a pbs station that would let him do a few pieces. his career was made.
he didn’t want to be a star, he didn’t want to do any particular kind of film, he just wanted to be creative. i think mike leonard made it home.
last week, when i met my friends in southern illinois and indiana, one of the things i noticed was that the happiest of my friends are those who have purpose or meaning. maybe it’s not so important whether you’ve succeeded or whether you’ve made it home. but what’s more important is that you know what that “home” will be–whether it’s the desire to help people, to be creative, to save the planet, to be a good parent.
the party received a surprise visit from steve sanders’ colleague allison payne, an intern, and a huge dog named bear. at last, this cinderella had to go home. steve and susan are natural, easygoing, welcoming hosts. and i’m very glad i didn’t have to do the dishes!
i got to talk about what facebook has done for susan while she was in the kitchen. here’s what she had to say–what’s so incredible is that she can multitask so well.
next up: i have some very committed football fans for friends and i get a chance to understand the biblical admonishment to “love foolishly”
This entry was posted on Sunday, January 23rd, 2011 at 5:16 pm
face to facebook family friends–
so oprah announces today that she has a half sister that she never knew about–when she was nine, her mother gave birth and immediately put the baby up for adoption. patricia, oprah’s half sister, bounced around some foster homes before being adopted at age seven. the reunion of half-sisters is enough to get the tears flowing, but what’s going to happen after the cameras are turned off?
i always knew i had been adopted by the patricks–i even have memory of going on “home visits” with a social worker before the papers were signed. i hired a private detective when i was twenty four in order to find my natural family. i was studying to take the bar exam and i thought he was one of the most inept detectives because every week i’d ask him about his progress and he would confess that he wasn’t getting any further along in the process. on the night i was finished with the two day exam, he called me and told me that he had found my father two months before. he hadn’t wanted me to be distracted from studying for the bar so he had kept it a secret from me.
“you’re the granddaughter of a very famous writer,” he said.
i thought james michener. as it happens, it was fritz leiber, which drew a “who?” from me. fritz was a science fiction and fantasy writer. his son justin is a writer and philosophy professor. justin is my father and came to visit me within the week. i went down to houston, where he lived with his wife and newly born daughter, for thanksgiving. i believe it was something of a shock to both justin and his wife. my sister casey is an actress in new york. justin and casey are both my facebook friends.
i met my mother aleta a few months after meeting justin, but that situation was less congenial–she was a public defender in washington, d.c, and not making enough money to get by. she asked for assistance right from the start and at one point when i didn’t come through she cut off relations. i have no idea where she is now. i met her sister (from whom she was estranged at the time) and blanche was very sweet to me–until the day their mother (my grandmother) made contact with me. the three sisters–blanche, aleta, and michelle–have no relationship with my grandmother alyce. alyce is now in a nursing home in seaford, delaware and i have some facebook friends to visit when i go there this spring.
good luck to oprah and her sister patricia. they have to make a decision about whether they want to have a family relationship or whether they are going to be friends who happen to share some genetic material. somehow i don’t think they’re going to walk away from each other.
in other news, i met facebook friends #21 bruce burdick and #22 paulibus shumann yesterday at a go bears! party–facebook friend #20 charles seymour was having a bad hair day and it turns out he’s thought every day was a bad hair day. here’s what happened when they went outside for a few minutes during half time. instead of mourning the poor bears, they talked hair. what’s fun about them is that these three guys have been friends since they were in nursery school.
This entry was posted on Monday, January 24th, 2011 at 5:14 pm
face to facebook challenge–i’m going to win ten thousand dollars!
i’m having a wonderful time meeting friends from my facebook profile. janie rah rah gibson has the most impossibly glamorous profile picture EVER!!! and she met me at a luncheon today where i tried to palm off northfield and winnetka history books on unsuspecting diners. after the luncheon, she and i talked about how i’m going to win ten thousand dollars finding a bride for an actuarial sweetpea:
janie was impossibly chic, in a vintage sweater dress she stole from her mother’s closet. i hadn’t realized it was through children’s theater that janie met my two sons. we talked about friendship . . .
janie explained something i had never understood: that when two galpals announce they are engaged or married to each other, it’s sometimes a signal that they are not attached. also, that there’s a hierarchy of relationships: going out, really going out, announcing it on facebook, and then i guess there’s marriage after that. . . . i’ve never changed my relationship status and don’t think i would unless it were legal in all fifty states. as for it’s complicated, that apparently is what you say when you’re about to break up. . .
her mother has an interesting idea about how friendship works. i thought about this. there are friends i don’t see for months at a time but i know it’s tight and there’s no apologies for absences. i know there are friends who are every day and it don’t matter. i have some friends that are from when i was in high school, some from when i was raising my children, and some i’ve only recently met.
i really like janie’s perspective, except i also think i want to lose forty pounds and steal clothes from her mother’s closet. also, i’m going to find a bride for tom. i want that ten thousand dollars!
a special thanks to kaveh, madeleine, connie, chief lustig, janie, charlie, gina, kevin, sean, libby, bill and paddy!
next up: i open a bottle of champagne with a sabre under the instruction of a sommelier-ette!
This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 25th, 2011 at 10:17 pm
“bistro!” and how to open a champagne bottle like a cossack
gretchen miller neuman’s love affair with wine began when she was fifteen on a field trip to france. she developed into an oenophile although that didn’t prevent her from enjoying the bottle of cold duck her grandparents gave her for her sweet sixteen birthday!
gretchen manages good grapes in winnetka where one can get a fantastic bottle of something. whenever i’ve gone in, she’s offered me a sample and we’ve sat down to talk. mosty about raising kids. she has two, i have two, and we have pretty much come to the conclusion that one is always giving you trouble and the other is doing okay, but they switch positions all the time so that it’s a little like a seesaw. but i have never seen gretchen outside the store until yesterday evening.
gretchen wanted to demonstrate how the russian soldiers reacted when they stormed through france (i couldn’t tell you which war but i’m assuming after napolean sort of lost interest in taking over moscow, deciding it was way too cold and josephine was out with other guys in paris). they were pretty keen on that champagne. . . .
in order to do it up right, you should probably yell “bistro” while whacking the cork because bistro means “fast” or “hurry” which is what russians would say when they wanted their food in a little more timely fashion than the french would allow. now i know where the word “bistro” comes from. it’s fast food for france.
gretchen and her family have gone through their difficulties, just like all of us. and it’s made her reconsider her original career as an urban planner. she now sells wine, but she also uses that urban planning background to make maps of the american vitacultural areas. you might ask what is a vitawhateveryoujustcalledit area–it’s a place where there are wineyards. when this girl develops an app for this, we’re all going on a road trip with gretchen! she’s a resilient woman who has taken what she’s learned, what she loves and what she’s good at–and it’s coming together in an interesting career for her!
here’s how i did on my tutorial with a cheap bottle of the bubbly stuff and a sciabola del sommelier (aka a saber)
somehow i don’t think i’ll be doing this at the next dinner party i host! too alarming! but a lot of fun!
since that post, i’ve had some questions about how to saber your champagne bottle. i’ll try to be concise:
1. hold the bottle with your thumb in the indentation at the bottom of the bottle at a forty five degree angle. point the bottle towards a pretty fair expanse and yell “fore!”
2. slide the blade from the middle of the bottle down the stem in a long, steady, forceful manner. you’re not hitting it, you’re sliding it.
3. do as i say not as i did: don’t act so surprised when you’re a success. assume the air of one who is bored by life, because then you will feel most french! yelling “bistro!” is always good because nobody except us knows why you’re doing it, so somebody’s bound to ask you to expound.
4. pour generously. then repeat as necessary!
This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 26th, 2011 at 3:23 pm
max, a milestone and mc kato
i met with face to facebook friend #25 max henderson today. i first met max when he and joseph were four years old. they quickly became best friends. his father colvin developed mesothelioma when joseph and max were in fifth grade. on the day that colvin passed, max came over for a playdate with joseph and we planted hostas in the front yard. i became a rotarian because colvin, seeing what was ahead, asked me to join the club. i promised him i would never resign.
max and i talked about some serious issues, in part because max is doing a class in comparative religions and he is required to interview a catholic. i’m not a great catholic, in fact i would rank myself as pretty awful. but i converted to catholicism because stephen wanted to convert from judaism to catholicism and it was important to me that the family all be the same religion. joseph, eastman, stephen and i were all baptized in the same mass by father mark. he later left the priesthood and i’ve often wondered why and what he’s doing now.
max is somebody who makes me pretty relaxed. i’m glad he’s majoring in psychology because i think he’d be better at it than at being an assassin.
now, a milestone! i have booked my first airline ticket of my adult life. i used expedia. i’m heading for tallahassee, but i’m hoping to see face to facebook friends in palm harbor, huntsville, savannah and atlanta. i am fifty years old and have never figured out how to buy a plane ticket!
to celebrate that milestone and to kick off the world tour to follow, the rapper mc kato has agreed to give a free, private concert in my home on tuesday. email me for details. if you’re reading this, you’re invited!!!
This entry was posted on Thursday, January 27th, 2011 at 12:56 am
f2fb ann silberman and the facebook art nouveau
there are people who are spiritually evolved and then there are people like me. not evolved. when i met with ann silberman yesterday i was hungry for the spiritual. .. . but when she said she wanted to color, i said “uh, what??”
ann has everything–she looks and talks exactly like what kathleen turner would look like if kathleen turner’s life hadn’t had a few wrong turns. she has three wonderful children, the oldest of which is an indigo (which is a term i have never heard before but let’s just say genius doesn’t even begin to describe leah) and ann has business in new york, hollywood, all the glamorous places. ann and peter have been married for twenty seven years and when annsays she’s totally in love with her husband, you want to smack her. . . . until you realize that she’s absolutely telling the truth. she’ll tell you bluntly that sometimes her aura is so outsized that it bumps up against people.
you can’t envy ann all this, you can only adore her and feel that every color in the room, every scent in the air is deeper because of her. she has been a life coach and spiritual healer and i’d like her to do some of that for me, but she decided that i needed to do some coloring instead.
so, coloring. ann sometimes likes to buy djeco brand coloring kits. yesterday, she showed me the atelier art nouveau design kit with a series a prints by elene usdin.
i used to get into all sorts of trouble in kindergarten because my coloring was all over the place. and i’d bet ann was the same way. but she taught me yesterday that sometimes it’s nice to stay inside the lines. when you want to.
This entry was posted on Friday, January 28th, 2011 at 1:58 pm
f2fb rough times
two weeks ago, i came to the kankakee-bourbonnaise-bradley area to visit with eric and heather who are facebook friends of mine. eric is friends with some of the people i went to college with (although he never went to north central with me) and he has played online scrabble with me a lot. i won’t do mafia wars, sorority sisters, or farmville with him–he’s way too good. heather is his wife. she and i had lunch at the target two weeks ago and for some reason eric and i couldn’t get our schedules coordinated.
yesterday, i came back to kankakee to see eric (f2fb #27) but in the intervening two weeks, tragedy had struck the couple once again–heather had been fired from target. being fired is no fun because you feel like a failure. but it’s also no fun because there’s a lot of work to be done to guarantee food on the table and your health insurance covered. their car had been repo-ed so me coming down was actually an unintentional blessing.
the first place the three of us visited was the food pantry. people who needed food congregated in the lobby of the church of the nazarene. eric got a slip of paper with the number 65 on it. the food, mostly canned goods and dried pasta, was laid out on conference tables. a woman started calling out the numbers, beginning with the number one. we looked at the food available, at the people surrounding us. eric suggested that i take heather to the grocery store to get the fresh food that they’d need for the week and i was really happy to do that. when heather and i returned, the pantry was helping the fifty fifth person. eric said he was going to turn in his number. i was puzzled, but he explained that since you can’t use this particular food pantry more than once every two months, the paltry selection wasn’t worth it. he’d rather reserve his option to come to the pantry next month. as we left, an older gentleman was loading up his car with items he had gotten from the nazarene food pantry. eric helped him by sharing information about other food pantries in the area and their schedules.
i have had rough times in my life, but nothing such as this since i left college. i will be checking in with eric and heather a lot this year, and not just in a facebook way. although, of course, facebook has helped make it possible for me and the couple to contact each other.
in other news, be careful driving in the kankakee-bourbonnaise-bradley area. the residents seem to take it as a point of pride to never look in the direction they are driving. i believe they think to do so would suggest weakness. they all own pick up trucks and are truly astonished when other vehicles present themselves in their path. i am a wary driver.
This entry was posted on Saturday, January 29th, 2011 at 7:44 pm
f2fb #28 brings strange consequences
tom evans is a member, as i am, of the winnetka northfield rotary club. he marks out his office at the caribou coffee every morning along with three other regulars. he does something related to health benefits and, after he lost his position at northwestern university here in chicago, he took a job at loras college in dubuque. he spent the weekdays in iowa and then drove home for the weekend–but always managed to be in the “office” on saturday and sunday mornings when i came in for coffee.
you know how you ALWAYS know when one of your friends sells avon or amway or is doing a walkathon for irritable bowel syndrome? oddly, i didn’t find out that tom is a reliv representative until very recently. and yet, it is something he’s very passionate about. so there are now three cans of powdered formula that are in my kitchen right now–the “classic”, the “innergize” and the “fiberstore”. i’m to take a little of each, put it in a glass and stir it up with water. tom said i could use vodka instead but didn’t recommend it.
theodore kalagaris (the dude who devised the reliv system) was told by his parents to “be ashamed to die before you score a victory for mankind” and he devoted himself to serving others, mostly through medicine. i wish i were as selfless. and i wish i weren’t so shameless that when tom described the variety of medical woes that could be fixed with reliv i didn’t really focus until he got to weight loss. if i am five pounds lighter at the end of the month–well, let’s just say i’m ready for filming the infomercial!!!
in other news, after the face to facebook concert tomorrow night by mc kato (yes, you’re invited! just email me for details if you don’t remember) i swing out of chicago and begin an arduous journey to . . . warm, sunny florida. nobody said this job was going to be easy!
my father justin is there and my half sister casey is coming down as well. it’s a little unnerving because it will be the first time i have gone to see him since. .. . ever.
This entry was posted on Monday, January 31st, 2011 at 4:28 pm
f2fb #29 MC KATO and i go blind
today is the release of MC KATO’s new album glissando. he will be performing at my house at a face to facebook launch party! seven o’clock and yes, you are invited! you can also pick up or download his songs on itunes today. yippee!
i have made airline reservations with expedia for my trip to tallahassee. i don’t see my dad very often, mostly when he goes to his class reunions for the lab school here in chicago. so i was really surprised when he asked me to visit. then i found out he’s been having a bit of a dust up with his wife barbara. yesterday, he called to give me the entire play by play over the course of an hour. he wants me to “observe” the situation. i’m thinking the most placid part of the weekend will be driving up to huntsville alabama to have dinner with jonathan boyd and his family.
my reaction to justin’s call was to go blind in my right eye. this happens about once a year and is the opening volley for a full on migraine. i start off by saying “oh, this has happened before, i know what it is” and twenty minutes later i’m crying and thinking i’m having a stroke. sometimes i get so overwrought that i call an ambulance, but yesterday i decided that if i was going to die it would be preferable to the embarrassment of e.m.t.s reassuring me that everything was going to be all right while jabbing me with needles–besides, there was ice on the front steps and one of them was bound to take a fall.
so i practiced self-medication: two ativan, six ibuprofen, and six pepcids. repeat as necessary. the purpose is not to restore my sight but to make me so relaxed i don’t care.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 1st, 2011 at 2:40 pm
darn it! friendship, deactivation and the MC KATO concert
every winter, there comes a time when weather prognosticators get their groove on. and an outpouring of forecasts, each more apocalyptic than the other, scares the bejesus out of chicagoans. today, the general consensus is that the upcoming snowstorm will be worse than, ahem, the snowstorm of 1967. the winnetka community house has already announced it will be closed. ohare airport, out of which i was to fly off to tallahassee, is on full ground stop for tomorrow. and mc kato has been forced to postpone the concert he was to do at my house. his dj and the rest of his posse are going to try again later this month. it will be the “welcome back for a little while” concert for my face to facebook project. sometimes i am reminded that friendship requires flexibility. especially in the face of the elements.
i thought this past weekend that a friend had defriended me. and further, when i tried to email her, i thought i was being blocked. i felt awful. a little rejected. a little concerned about whatever i had done to have her not want to count me as a friend anymore. then i did something totally retro–i called her. she said that no, she was still my friend and i wasn’t being blocked but that she had deactivated her account for a while. the reasons are not for discussion here, but i hadn’t known you can deactivate and then reactivate and then presumably redeactivate again. i learned from f2fb #4 winston chang that many people on active duty in the military deactivate their accounts so that if they are, say, held hostage, their captors can’t use information gleaned from their page in order to harm them or their families.
and this is not to say that i haven’t been defriended because i have been by one person since this enterprise got started.
regardless of the weather, i’m fighting my way onto the first flight out of chicago to tallahassee so that i can see my facebook friend justin leiber, who is also my father.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 1st, 2011 at 6:05 pm
a snow day outing
tao zhang and i had an appointment i was determined i would not miss! so out i went into the tundra, meeting pam koster along the way and she agreed to take this video:
later today, tao will send me the photos he took and i’ll post them here! along with a video of him talking about how he turned disaster into great happiness!
This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011 at 5:30 pm
f2fb early valentine pictures
i met tao zhang about ten years ago when we were both working on a pta benefit. at the time, tao was just starting to explore the notion of being a photographer. today, he’s one of the most sought after photographers for weddings, christenings, graduations, and other important occasions. he has a particular whimsical and personal style that exactly matches whoever and whatever he’s photographing. i was talking to him about the strange journey he has made from being a radio announcer in china to a gentleman of the north shore.
and he’s happy! really happy with the career that he’s developed. but we couldn’t just talk–that would be a waste of a perfectly talented photographer!
we went to the stairwell of his building and took a few shots. i’m wearing my carharts which are absolutely essential for this weather! tao also does photography for many north shore magazines. he’s a real treasure!
you can see more of his work or even book a special occasion picture (how about an early valentine?) by going to http://lensworkstudio.com!
This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011 at 10:18 pm
f2fb #30 my actual dad justin
john wayne said that courage was being scared to death but saddling up anyway. i guess today was my john wayne day.
i am afraid of flying. i’m not sure whether i’m more scared of dying in a flaming aluminum tube of destruction or of having a panic attack so furious that i end up as a lead on fox news. but if i’m going to make my new years resolution and meet every single facebook friend i have, i will need to get on a plane. to seoul. to taipei. to mumbai. to istanbul. to mexico city. and to homer, alaska.
i figured i’d start small. tallahassee. my facebook friend is justin, who is my dad. he has been having some cancer issues and he asked me to see him. that’s unusual in itself. but this morning i went to o’hare, stepped on a plane to charlotte north carolina and got on a plane from charlotte to tallahassee to see justin. i didn’t panic when the kid seated behind me kicked my back. i looked out of the window sometimes. i raced across the charlotte airport and found my gate. i know these are the things that everybody does every day. the proof is that the airports were packed.
but now i’ve done it too! i’m starting my journey.
justin is not feeling well at all. the cancer has metastasized. we talked tonight about a lot of things, including our bucket lists. here’s his:
This entry was posted on Friday, February 4th, 2011 at 4:40 am
cruelty: i’ve got it and i’m paying for it
i came down to tallahassee all self-congratulatory. i got through tsa, i got on the plane, i didn’t squeal during take off, i sprinted across charlotte airport to make my connecting flight, i said “i’m a world traveler” and then i swaggered into tallahassee.
justin picked me up in his white volkswagon beetle. he got lost on the way back to his condo. several times the sort of lost where he wandered into the left turn lane without a signal and then sort of stopped and announced “no, i want to turn right”. . . . i wanted to call either of the pilots of the day and say “excuse me, could you drive?”
and then i listened. and listened. i timed last night a forty minute monologue which was only terminated with me saying “yes” in response to a question. i started the stop watch again. twenty three minutes. but then i had to go to the bathroom. today, we took a tour of the campus. we went to his office. he told me again and again that the pictures a man keeps in his office explain the man: and he walked me through almost every photograph before i excused myself to cry in the bathroom. then i returned. and he told me that he wanted to tell me about other photographs. i returned to the bathroom.
chomsky. linguistics. scuba diving. particulars of french civilization. things he had discovered about sex when he was sixteen years old. medical advances. his teaching assistants. television shows he had watched. dreams he had had. if i interrupted with a question or an aside, he would either tell me that it was his turn to talk or that he would get to my question later. i finally gave up. we got lost on the campus of the college where he teaches. we returned to the condo. i went to cry in the guest bedroom. he’s lost his wallet and he’s got some physical problems that are troubling. i asked him if he talks nonstop with barbara, his wife who is now in orlando, or with his daughter casey and he said no, but that he trusts me with vital information about himself. all in all, he clocked nine and a half hours before i did something so cruel i am quite astonished with myself. i interrupted him with an announcement that i had stage four cancer and that both joseph and eastman had been dead for three weeks. i pray that i have not tempted fates. i confessed my lie. he simply took up where i had interrupted him. he lasted eleven hours before i announced i had to go to bed. i locked the bedroom door. he stood outside and talked for a while longer. i put in ear plugs and went to sleep.
This entry was posted on Friday, February 4th, 2011 at 9:29 pm
f2fb might be the stupidest idea yet
my new years resolution is to have “face time” with every facebook friend i have. including the facebook friends i’ve met only once. including the facebook friends i play scrabble with online and have never had an expectation of meeting. including the facebook friends i accepted friendship requests from because i wanted to be polite and i have no idea who they are. including the facebook friend who is my dad. … .
my father and mother put me up for adoption when i was three years old. the children’s home and aid society of chicago placed me with the patrick family. that didn’t work out very well and i left that family for some foster homes before i simply ended up dropping out of high school and starting at the first college that would accept me without a diploma. i tracked down my father when i was twenty five. he lives in tallahassee with his wife barbara. i have a half sister casey. she was born just a few months before i met barbara and justin. she is now an actress in new york.
during january i did a great job with my resolution–staying on target, knowing that there will be some trips overseas that will eat up a lot of time, like mumbai, seoul, taipei, italy. but i have looked forward to it all because i’m fifty years old and my kids are out of the house and this might be the last time i’m free to do this.
but this is february, when most people give up on their resolutions. i came to tallahassee thinking i would see justin (face to facebook friend #30) and casey (#31) is to join us. i was going to rent a car and meet up with dale morgan, the smart philosophy student i went to college with and have never seen since graduation. with jonathan boyd, whom i have never met but play online scrabble with. with sammie scruggs, who saw my picture and sent a request and i said yes, thinking “uh, who are you?” and with sarah roberts who sang at a wedding and we had a really nice conversation and we promised to keep in touch and we friended each other and then. .. . ignored each other. i have had to cancel all these trips because my father is not in a position that i can leave him on his own. barbara is out of town. casey is just getting into town.
and i have gained five pounds. so i can’t even say that i’m doing a good job with the new years eve resolutions i’ve made before.
was this a stupid idea? to think i could meet over three hundred friends in the course of a year? or do all things worth doing have to appear to be impossible? i have worn a bracelet most of my adult life. it is inscribed with the legson kayira motto “i will try”. i have to decide whether i will now.
This entry was posted on Saturday, February 5th, 2011 at 1:34 pm
f2fb #31 a sister can be a very good friend
i hit a wall yesterday. justin wore me out. there’s some sort of drug interaction going on. he calls it “academititis” insofar as he says that he has been trained to keep talking for a full hour for classes so he is unable to help himself except by talking in one hour chunks. yesterday, in a moment of unbelievable cruelty, i said i had stage four cancer and that my sons had been dead for three weeks. just to get him to stop talking for a minute. i really feel like a jerk for doing that. and besides, it didn’t work.
finally i told him to be quiet for five minutes and let me talk. i did. and then he got furious because i was talking about emotional issues. so we agreed that he would stay quiet for five minutes if i chose a topic that was of suitable academic interest. i chose the tudor regime. catherine of aragon, the seymour brothers being beheaded, lady jane grey–i lasted three minutes. but to his credit he stayed pretty quiet. he asked one question about the chronology of anne boelyn’s beheading and jane seymour’s engagement announcement.
casey (oh, gosh, facebook friend #31) came into town and we are both worried about justin. i am surprised at how patient she is with him, how wonderful she manages him, and how much real affection i feel for her.
last night and this morning i got a lot of encouraging messages saying keep going. . . i am reminded that my facebook friend william clark, who has been dead for quite some time, undertook a road trip with merriweather lewis. and he didn’t know what all stuff he was going to face and overcome. and i need to buck up because one day this year i’m going to be kidnapped by pirates while jetskiing from korea (to see john choie) to the phillipines (to see mark bitango rosario and his family). i can’t be a crybaby now.
This entry was posted on Saturday, February 5th, 2011 at 7:59 pm
thank you f2fb #32 captain reggie!
applications for the captain reggie gholston fan club are being accepted now!
i met captain reggie through f2fb friend #4 winston chang. winston and reggie went to west point together. reggie is 28 years old, has served in baghdad twice, and was part of the 82nd airborne division. i say thank you to reggie every day because what he does ensures that we are safe.
i had cancelled every facebook friend visit because my father justin is really having a rough time. he can’t stop talking. in fact, as i am writing this, justin is standing over me telling me about the history of catholicism, graham greene, bimbos, early greek thinking about homosexuality, wittgenstein, and his method of teaching. he says he wants to make a final confession to me. it’s as if his brain was laid open and splattered onto his tongue: he must give voice to every thought as it drops.
reggie had planned to fly in from savannah, georgia where he’s stationed and we were going to drive up to huntsville and then over to atlanta. in the airport, as i picked him up, i quickly explained that there was a change of plans. . . .
reggie is exactly the man you want to have with you in an emergency. he’s brave, quiet, steady, and steadying to everyone around him. the four of us went to lunch, walked through the tallahassee cemetery and we’re going to watch the super bowl together.
reggie leaves tomorrow and i am grateful to him. he didn’t want to do a video today because he said he wants to do something else with me: he’s going to take me parachuting! of course, he’s had lots of experiences (twenty) with the 82d airborne. he said that when they do jumps, the army gives you a small bag in case you want to throw up. otherwise, the etiquette rule is that you open your jumpsuit, and throw up into your left shoulder. then zip yourself back up again.
jeez, if i can go up in an airplane and then jump out, i can do anything–and i trust reggie to show me how.
so sometime later this year, we’re going to take facebook friend sammie scruggs (reggie’s cousin) up in an airplane and fly! sammie goes first, of course. i’ll be the one gripping reggie’s hand so hard that his metacarpals break!
This entry was posted on Sunday, February 6th, 2011 at 8:45 pm
f2fb learning a new trick
captain reggie and i headed for the airport. he had a flight to savannah. i had a flight to chicago via charlotte but it’s for tuesday. i can’t get the w hotel to give me an extension on either reggie or my room. and the double tree is full. a dentists’ convention coming into town. or maybe they don’t like me. . . .
the ticket i bought to come down to tallahassee was the first one i had ever bought on my own. and now i’m about to do something new–change an airline ticket.
travel means flexibility. and i am learning flexibility from reggie! wish me luck on getting out of here because i don’t know where else to go but home.
This entry was posted on Monday, February 7th, 2011 at 6:09 pm
what fresh hell?
travel is flexibility. life is flexibility. strength only comes with flexibility. these are lessons i need to give myself to.
i didn’t have much luck at the ticket counter of us airways in tallahassee. in fact, there was only one dude behind the counter and he said “you gotta call the airlines, i don’t handle this stuff” and wasn’t the slightest bit interested in my quivering lip and my tale of family emergencies.
then i called while reggie said “hey, you gotta be flexible. i spent my twenty first birthday stuck in an airport”
reggie was right–got a us airways rep on the line and you would have thought i was asking to have us airways provide me with a parade of elephants to escort me back to chicago. i came back to the apartment in defeat. but also, i came back because i had accidentally left with the apartment spare key.
barbara left to take casey to the airport around twelve thirty and from there, barbara went to her office. i am here with justin until barbara’s expected return at seven thirty. he has been on the phone for the past hour with his research assistant. he is explaining to him as i write that i am an example of what plato meant when he said “if you want to catch a thief you have to use a thief”. . . i will not correct him that it is calimachus who said “being a thief myself i recognize the tracks of a thief” which is really what he wants to say.
tomorrow i will aim to get back to chicago. i am seeing facebook friend robbie thapa on wednesday afternoon, suzanne timble on thursday and on friday i travel to springfield to see melissa coulter and steve rahn. then i return to indianapolis on sunday to see jay schwandt. i am learning so much about packing too–go lite!
and i’m also figuring out that i have some real good friends. even the ones i don’t see that much! i had only seen reggie once before in person–hey, when somebody is deployed to baghdad it’s not like you get to take them to lunch and shopping all that often!
This entry was posted on Monday, February 7th, 2011 at 9:42 pm
escape from stalag talahassee
this morning woke up with the plan that i would pack and slip out of the guest room. unfortunately, barbara has left for work. justin is drinking a beer to calm himself down and he has been talking for the last hour and a half. i’m waiting for his research assistant to pick him up. justin really liked the computer camera and talked for forty five minutes but i don’t think you want to see the whole thing and i can’t figure out how to download a one minute clip that is really quite poignant.
i am so close to escape. . . . and i’m not scared of airplanes. they get you the hell out of situations.
p.s. i was making my escape because he was getting a bit hostile, and in fact, the sweetest thing then happened: the building manager ursula said “hey, just let me drive you to the airport” when i asked her how to get a cab. she went to get her car. justin came down to the lobby, in full fury. he declared that he had finally figured out what i am–a superconman and that he has become a superconman detector. he then started trying to shove me against the wall. ursula showed up in her car and we went outside. he tried to get her to agree to help him against this superconman. she was completely baffled but hustled me into the car. we left him shaking his fist at us. it was very very sweet for her to drive me to the airport. sometimes the kindness of strangers is very very very important. thank you ursula!!! now i just have four hours of reading the national enquirer, ok, life and style, people and the globe before i can get on a plane. . . . . .
This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 8th, 2011 at 3:26 pm
face to facebook safely home!
i am home safe!!!! i nearly kissed the ground when i reached chicago but there was a fair chance that my mouth would end up frozen and, just like the referee in the 1967 championship game between the packers and the cowboys, i’d rip my lip apart trying to get back up.
today i’m learning conversational nepalese from my friend robbie thapa. and i’m reflecting on the face to facebook friends trip to tallahassee. here is one minute out of a forty five minute talk that i taped of justin, my father. i think it’s very poignant. it will be what i try to remember instead of the chaotic last ten minutes when he declared me to be a super conman.
i am so grateful to be home.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 9th, 2011 at 5:07 pm
damn, f2fb #33 friend writes out my tramp stamp!
mike castagna (face to facebook friend #3) says about a particular, ahem, mutual lady friend that a new species would have to be developed in the event that they were the only two humans left because he would never do it with her. there are a few gentlemen who make me think that the chimpanzees would have to take over the world if we were the only two humans left after skynet’s forces crush john connor’s resistance. . . i’m sure there’s a few guys that look at me and think “could donkeys create a bicameral government or is it going to have to be dolphins?”
my friend robbie thapa says that if he ever decides to make love to a woman, it’s gotta be me, gwen stefani or lady gaga. in the meantime, he’s making a vow that he won’t be having any serious relationships for five years. he’s devoting himself to his career, to having fun, to being about himself. he’s a very happy dude. i love seeing that!
nepal is a place i think i’d like to go to if i were completely brave. he showed me pictures that make me think it’s the most beautiful place on earth.
he also talked about the very tragic story of crown prince dipendra killing his father, mother and seven other members of his family in 2001. dipendra was upset that he was not allowed to marry the woman he loved. the woman he loved, devyani rana, was considered too common. one of robbie’s relatives was the ambassador to india who was charged with the painful task of questioning devyani when she fled to india after the massacre. devyani married a member of a royal indian family.
robbie has been in the united states as a resident since he was nineteen and he works as an interior designer. he showed me what i’m going to get as my tramp stamp although i’ve always been a little nervous about this tattoo thing. .. i’ve always thought my first tattoo would be the longitude and latitude of where joseph and eastman were born. .. just like one of angelina’s tats.
so i have to ask you. .. .
This entry was posted on Thursday, February 10th, 2011 at 2:00 am
how to stay out of the police blotter from my f2fb friend winnetka current
today i had lunch with the woman i consider my mom. she didn’t raise me. she didn’t birth me. she is far too young to be my mom. but i still think of her that way, much as i considered vivian eastman my mom. face to facebook friend #34 suzanne timble and i talked about my tallahassee trip and some things going on in her life and we were so engrossed that i didn’t even remember to take out the camera.
but. . . .
laura michaels from the winnetka currents newspaper came to the house to interview me about the face to facebook project. i explained that my new years resolution is to meet every single one of my facebook friends and get to know them a little better. then we made a startling discovery: i’m actually friends with the winnetka current newspaper. how can you have a satisfying and meaningful friendship with a newspaper? can you ask it to lunch? can you get its opinion on that no good low down boyfriend of yours?
then i decided to go all barbara walters on laura michaels, who is all i’ve seen besides newsprint of f2fb friend #35 and she has some really interesting things to tell us about, including how to stay out of that police blotter!
tomorrow, i’m just like willie nelson. .. . on the road again! for an agoraphobic i sure do get around! i would love a day in bed with a “migraine” and hulu.com but instead. . ..
This entry was posted on Thursday, February 10th, 2011 at 9:52 pm
my apology to federico cenci and a horseshoe!
i owe facebook friend federico cenci an apology, although to be fair he owes me dinner when i go to siena. fede showed up in winnetka because he wanted to spend three weeks working on his dissertation about fritz leiber, my grandfather. three weeks is a long time to hang around my house so one day i suggested that he think of someplace he’d like to go for a day trip.
“how about niagra falls?” he suggested. “can we go there this afternoon?”
“fede, america’s a lot bigger than you think. niagra falls would be a good three hours by plane and. .. oh, fede, don’t worry. we’ll go someplace else. what’s your second choice?”
oh, dear. i finally suggested that if we were going to someplace for the day he should choose something in illinois.
“springfield,” he said, in a hushed tone.
we started off at six in the morning, got there by midafternoon. and saw the following sign:
he wanted to stand on the overpass and have me drive under it and take the picture. i thought he was insane. i couldn’t understand his fascination with our state capital until we saw a dunkin’ donuts. he cried out “homer simpson!”
“fede, you understand that this is NOT the springfield of the simpsons,” i said. ”every state has got a springfield.”
he looked at me–i had just revealed that there was no santa claus, no tooth fairy, no easter bunny. i had forever destroyed an essential innocence. sure, he was thirty two but it was a blow.
i offer up this photograph, taken just a half hour ago, as part of this mea culpa. i was informed by face to facebook friend #37 steve rahn that this is indeed THE springfield. in fact, look at the high school:
i drove to springfield to meet melissa coulter, f2fb friend #36. she works at the illinois institute of continuing legal education. three years ago, she helped me with a one time production of a play i wrote. we lost touch, but i wish we were neighbors because she’s unbelievably cool. we were at the westwinds lounge in springfield, a den of incredible taxidermy.
she told me that one must order the horseshoe.
a horseshoe is a burger with bread, meat, cheese and on top of that, french fries. every restaurant in springfield has its own version and there’s not a piece of parsley or lettuce or any other green stuff to be found. luckily, the westwind lounge where we dined was just four blocks from the memorial hospital which bills itself as “first in cardiac care”. i’m feeling a bit, ahem, oversized.
melissa was planning an evening with her husband–ethan, their four year old, is spending the night at his aunt’s house. my recipe for a date night:
1. a trip to victoria’s secret
2. a package of pepperidge farm mint milano cookies
3. a bottle of champagne
next up: i might have a recipe for a date night, but steve rahn’s got a recipe for a perfect horseshoe with bechamel sauce! and what he’s taught me about surviving reversals of fortune. . . .
This entry was posted on Friday, February 11th, 2011 at 8:55 pm
f2fb#37 steve rahn and the recipes for horseshoes and fortitude
i met steve rahn three years ago when my business partner todd parkhurst and i were writing and producing plays to teach ethics to lawyers. ha! you might say–there is no way to teach ethics to lawyers. i didn’t say it was a great idea, just that’s what we were doing. f2fb#37 steve rahn worked for the illinois institute for continuing legal education (where f2fb#36 melissa still works) and i was so impressed with his sense of humor, his calm, his professionalism.
it wasn’t until we were driving through springfield this weekend that he said, in passing, “over there is where my son is buried”. i cannot imagine the kind of strength necessary to go on from such a thing: i believe if something happened to joseph or eastman, my life would be over. and for him never to have given a hint of his personal grief before is a real testament to his professionalism. which he is bringing into his next incarnation in private practice as a lawyer. it’s hard to remake oneself as we get to the midcentury mark. steve rahn, i truly admire you!
but you can’t get out of springfield without horseshoes and he shared a bit of its history. the horseshoe was created by the head chef at springfield’s leland hotel in 1928 and the original form employed hamsteak instead of beef. a half horseshoe is called a ponyshoe and, as it turns out, i had a ponyshoe when i dined with melissa at the westwinds lounge (if you go there be prepared to see all sorts of taxidermy hung from the walls, the ceiling, crawling on the baseboard, floating in your glass. . . . )
steve said he would have to kill me if he shared his secrets but that’s when i bailed out of the car.
steve rahn’s horseshoe
place a piece of bread on each plate, put a piece of cooked ham steak (thinly sliced) on bread. add a generous dollop of bechamel cheese sauce (see below). top with a garnish of crispy cooked ore-ida french fries. in order to make this a healthy treat, wave a lettuce leaf over the top before serving (discard lettuce leaf)
melt 1/2 stick butter in a pan and stir in 1/4 cup flour. when you have a nice roue, not lumpy at all, add two cups whole milk (or cream if you are courageous). after stirring up the mixture, add 2 cups kraft blended preshredded cheddar, american and monterey jack cheese. a dash of tabasco sauce and a bit of pepper.
so i gotta know:
i have the new york trip scheduled for the twenty fourth of february and am just laying down tracks for a trip to mexico city and to the eastern seaboard. i am so happy and so excited and so scared all at the same time! and the mc kato concert has been rescheduled for february 22. please come!
This entry was posted on Saturday, February 12th, 2011 at 7:09 pm.
all we need is love!
on valentine’s day here is a love story: f2fb#38 jay schwandt and his husband john have been married for five years, which in gay and hollywood years means they are celebrating the diamond anniversary. they used to live in chicago and jay worked at winnetka’s book stall. which means i saw him a couple of times a week. our conversations were really deep and meaningful:
“what a nice dress! where’d you get it?”
“isn’t the weather awful?”
“did you see that latest jennifer aniston movie?”
jay moved for love to indianapolis. his husband is a talented actor who rules the indianapolis stage and is considering a second move to new york where he will take over broadway. i drove to indianapolis sunday morning feeling a little weighed down from those horseshoes i ate in springfield. jay and i walked through the indianapolis museum of art. i was surprised by the collection, which i didn’t expect to be so incredible. and i hadn’t realized the museum would be so busy with folks who looked at the art in an appreciative way–no social climbing at this place. the chicagoan thinks that indianapolis can’t possibly have the cultural delights of theater and art, and this chicagoan is wrong.
jay had something to say about growing up and moving out of his own “winnetka” small town. . . .
i’m glad there’s facebook because jay is one of those friends who would be a memory as in “remember that guy that used to work at the book stall? whatever happened to him?” instead, i’d like to apply for the position of extra sister to him. on valentine’s day, i admire the love he gives to others, including the robert indiana love magnet for my refrigerator that he bought me at the gift shop!
when i told jay i was coming into indianapolis he replied that it was wonderful, but that please don’t cry in the bathroom!!! i didn’t, although i got a little teary hearing about his commitment ceremony because it sounded just so damn wonderful!
This entry was posted on Monday, February 14th, 2011 at 3:59 pm
face to facebook–i really didn’t jack the car!
i spent valentine’s day lunch with f2fb#39 anne six knight who is the mom of allan knight who was, for several years, eastman’s best friend. anne is friends with f2fb#26 ann silberman and with f2fb#8 janet sussman. anne works from home and she agrees with me that it’s easy to end up not leaving the house, or at least the village, for weeks at a time.
yesterday i also talked to my sister casey who is my facebook friend as well. i was worried about our dad justin who seemed to have some sort of paranoia when i went down to tallahassee. i was supposed to meet up with facebook friends from huntsville, atlanta, savannah, and palm harbor. instead, i ended up keeping watch over justin and cancelling every sidetrip. while throughout the trip there was an undercurrent of hostility to me, the full blown attack came in the final moments.
anne is a lawyer who works with home foreclosures. i asked her what someone who can’t make a mortgage payment should do. she said run, don’t walk to your bank!
This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 15th, 2011 at 3:19 pm
f2fb preparations for being tossed from a plane
i have long thought it ill-advised to trust that a 485 ton aluminum tube should be able to soar several miles into the air and shoot off to exotic locales like pittsburgh, milan or saigon. most of my adult life i have sided with caution in the gravity vs. aeronautics debate–my son joseph went to boston university and i didn’t visit him, not once, while he was there. i feel awful about that. i could make myself have an anxiety attack just thinking about flying. i could look up at the sky on a summer day and get the shakes watching a jet streak towards the horizon.
and yet, i fly now. i get on planes. i get off of planes. you want to avoid sitting next to me because i fidget during take off and i have to sit on the window seat. but i do it. i owe the change in my perspective to facebook friend power hypnosis. his first name isn’t power and his last name isn’t hypnosis. he’s marc st. camille, which is such a hollywood ready name that i’d put an andrew jackson down on the table that it’s a hypnotism name. did you know all the best hypnotists change their names when they get in the business?
so i’m going skydiving with facebook friends reggie and his cousin sammie in huntsville alabama. i am going in to see mr. hypnosis on friday. i will record the sesion. he has a lot to say about relaxation. and i’ll definitely need to relax when i’m being shot out into the air with nothing but a parachute–the 485 ton aluminum tube is feeling awfully safe in comparison!
yesterday, i went to lunch with two facebook friends who are coworkers who are more like sisters. debra chuk and lynn aldape work at the winnetka community house and sometimes their social life bleeds into their work life–this past friday they invited me to seul’s and then to bingo night at the house and while i didn’t get to go i’m making arrangements to do that soon with them. deb is one of the first winnetkans i ever met. i admire both gals because as we talked i realized what incredible responsibilities they carry on their shoulders–stuff outside of the workplace that i never hear about. i think one thing i’m learning about my friends is that everybody has stuff they don’t talk about and everybody tries their best!
every world tour deserves a kick off concert and mine got cancelled because of the horrific snowstorm–it’s rescheduled for tuesday the twenty second around seven o’clock. email me for details! it’s an excellent way for me to say goodbye as i head off to new york where i’ll visit the museum of sex, staten island, and meet with william clark, who has been dead over a hundred years but that doesn’t stop him. not one little bit!
This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 16th, 2011 at 2:04 pm
through facebook, a royal wedding invitation pour moi!!
sometimes i feel like such an insider! i get the chance to spill the beans on the upcoming programs at the winnetka northfield library AND i get my invitation to the royal wedding! but first. .. .
when i was growing up in the patrick family, mrs. patrick allowed me one pleasure that saved me: she let me go to the library once a week and pick out all the books i wanted. i had no friends. i was allowed no friends. i was not often given the chance to watch television. i spent far too much time in “timeout” in the basement. but i could read and the books i brought home from the library let me see a world and be raised in a world that had order and principle and a beginning, middle and end.
later, mrs. patrick would develop a paranoia that i was, among other things, jewish. this led her to forbid me from reading any books about jews, israel, most of world war 2 history, etc. the paranoia began spreading until, of all things, i was in sixth grade confined to reading sports biographies. i have forgotten more than most people know about babe didrickson, stan mikita and lou gehrig.
my facebook friends erin maassen and bronwyn parhad have dream jobs. mrs. parhad runs the children’s library and i cannot bring myself to call her bronwyn too easily because mrs. parhad is what i told my sons they had to call her. she is in charge of mommy and me reading circles and crafts programs, chess clubs and book adventures. today she was reading to the two year olds about butterflies!
erin maassen has a background in marketing and she thought she’d end up in advertising or public relations–and she puts together the catalog for the library’s programs. she gave me a sneak peek!!! so on my calendar i have added:
1. a mini-golf tournament at the northfield location from six to eight p.m. how cool to play a few holes throughout the library the day after the masters tournament! i’ve already registered, and you have to as well if you want to get a tee time.
2. a green spa day on april 16th to create your own natural, eco-friendly spa products. i’m going to find someone to go in my place, make the products and give them to me. i wonder what friends i have that are so selfless?
and my favorite, a royal invitation:
3. a royal wedding street party at three p.m. on saturday april 30. we’ll be making royal wedding hats, read a story and toast the happy couple! the catalog says that it’s a family event. i wonder where i’m going to rent one of those–just a few kids would do, i imagine. and now i have to find an appropriate hat and frock!
i am booking the mexico city and houston trip and new york is up next week. this is such a wonderful adventure. easy for me to say because i’m not presently being thrown from a plane with a flimsy piece of nylon!
This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 16th, 2011 at 10:05 pm
he’s not my facebook friend, but thank you mr. biddle
sam biddle writes for the website gizmodo.com and he heard about my new years resolution to meet all my facebook friends. i want to catch up with people i haven’t seen in a long time. i want to meet people in person with whom i have only a virtual relationship. i want to figure out which of my friends are the sort i can rely on and which are the ones who are the most fun at a party. i will have to travel and that’s sort of scary to me because i’m a homebody–with my laptop and my cellphone i hardly notice that i don’t leave the house much. i have seen forty three of my friends so far this year and i’m meeting today with a facebook friend who is a hypnotist–i need his help because i’m going skydiving as part of meeting facebook friends sammy scruggs and reggie gholston.
but mr. biddle noticed my resolution and he wrote about it yesterday in gizmodo. he said that the mere three hundred and thirty five friends i have is pathetic. and maybe it is. he suggested to his readers that they become my friend. i have nine hundred ninety nine new friend requests. some of the requests were accompanied by sweet and encouraging notes. i have a message box full of notes from people i’ve never heard of. i will be responding to all of this later this morning. in the meantime, i want to thank sam biddle. he saw someone who he believed didn’t have enough friends and he found some for her.
sam, if you ever want to be my friend, i would very happily say yes!
This entry was posted on Friday, February 18th, 2011 at 1:27 pm
with a little bit of practice, i’m ready for skydiving!
i am a recovering scaredy cat. heights, elevators, flying, spiders, snakes, dinner parties, driving at night, anaphylactic shock, cats, dogs, roller coasters, anything. just anything.
it’s okay to be scared of some things. but my fear of flying kept me from doing a lot i wanted with my life. i would have to drink myself completely silly to get on a plane. and then it would wear off and i’d still be scared. i never visited my son joseph when he was at boston university and that’s just a four hour trip. pills didn’t help. neither did distractions like magazines. and it was taking more cocktails to get my courage up.
then i decided on hypnosis. i don’t believe in hypnosis. i think it’s ridiculous. i think it’s sort of a party trick or something that people do on television. often while wearing a dark cape. but my son joseph had entered a film he made into a film festival and i really really wanted to go. i went to marc st. camille, who is my f2fb friend #44. he hypnotized me for a little more than an hour. i didn’t feel any different about flying. he gave me a cd to listen to. i didn’t feel any different about flying. i listened to it and i just thought “what a waste of perfectly good dead presidents!”
and then the morning of the flight, i just got up and got on the plane. no drama. no tears. no alcohol. even when there was an aborted landing.
i came back to marc because i’ve promised f2fb #32 reggie that i’ll go skydiving with him. preferably with his cousin sammie who is also my facebook friend but i’m open to suggestions. reggie, formerly with the 82d airborne, just wants the chance to jump. me, i had to go in for a refresher session–i don’t feel any different about skydiving, i don’t think, but we’ll find out. . .. marc also tried to reinforce some of the previous lessons he had given me through hypnosis. namely courage and serenity. these are not traits i naturally possess.
in the meantime, here’s what marc had to say about how to overcome fears and bad habits all on your own. . . .
of course, if you want to see marc himself, just go to his facebook page — power hypnosis — or at firstname.lastname@example.org!
the new york trip itinerary is quickly filling up: a visit to the museum of sex, a trip to princeton to visit william clark (you remember him–he went on that long trip out west with merriweather lewis) and three other facebook friends. i can’t wait!
This entry was posted on Saturday, February 19th, 2011 at 12:12 am
olá! meus amigos novos do facebook!
olá! a meus amigos em Brasil! eu tenho quis sempre jogar na praia e ver o teatro da ópera de manaus e talvez pescá-lo para pirhanas e visitar lotes das esmeraldas de Salvatore, de Baía e de compra (se eu tive o dinheiro) dos fazendeiros de meu estado de origem de illinois estão agora em Brasil. minha primeira prioridade é visitar e ser com os amigos que eu tive janeiro em 1 do facebook, 2011.
prossiga por favor com meus viagem e quando eu terminei acima com os três cem e trinta e cinco amigos que eu comecei o ano com, mim partying no sao Paolo! e perdoe por favor meu não muito bom português! amor e abraços!
for my english speaking friends (or brazilians who think my portuguese is truly wretched), i am so excited by the encouragement i’m getting from south america!!
in the meantime, my facebook friend mc kato sent me some music he will be playing at the world tour kick off party on tuesday!
http://widget.tunecore.com/swf/tc_run_h_v2.swf?widget_id=55335“>mc kato’s glissando cd
This entry was posted on Saturday, February 19th, 2011 at 3:11 pm
ole brasil! new friends, old friends, silver and gold!!!
boy, i was momentarily scared by the mention at gizmodo.com and at globo.com. i felt a little overwhelmed, even a little made fun of. i assumed that i would get lots of snarky, sort of snide messages. but no, i have been stunned. new friends are just as wonderful and supportive as older (not in age, just in longevity) friends.
i’m naturally a stay at home sort. i have been trying to personally respond to every friendship request and every message and i’m not doing a particularly good job, but i’m doing my best. three hundred and thirty five friends, three hundred and sixty five days–i’m at forty four and although i got a little stranded by two people i was supposed to see over the weekend, i’m still on target. . .
i head for new york on thursday. a plane–scary! an itinerary of friends starting with richard “mop” furniss at the museum of sex. sex??? i’m fifty years old, there’s no sex at fifty years old. and friends–they are new and old, silver and gold!!!
This entry was posted on Monday, February 21st, 2011 at 12:24 am
mc kato concert tuesday night
a few weeks ago, my friend mc kato promised to perform a concert in my home to kick off the face to facebook year of meeting new friends. then chicago got stuck with the worst snowstorm in years–i had a lot of champagne and appetizers i was forced to consume on my lonesome. tomorrow kato’s going to give it another try and his new album glissando is going to be premiered. . . . but if you click below, you can have the same experience. just make sure you pour yourself a nice drink and settle back in a comfortable chair first. .. . .
i head for new york on thursday and my first stop will be to see richard “mop” furniss at the museum of sex. i have considered the idea of having an “open” time to meet new facebook friends, say at a coffee shop in times square. what would you think of that?
This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011 at 12:09 am
fritz and me
a lot of my facebook friends have entered my life because of my grandfather fritz leiber who was a great science fiction writer. he was the guy who had a story in every sci fi magazine, who put out a series of fafhrd and gray mouser as well as a lot of wonderful horror and fantasy books. federico cenci, who is getting his doctorate in literature about fritz, can tell you more. fede is my facebook friend from italy. he’s going to make me dinner one night.
because i was put up for adoption when i was three years old, i didn’t meet my natural family until i was twenty five. i met fritz at thanksgiving dinner in houston where my father justin lived in 1985.
i think fritz enjoyed having great-grandchildren. he fell ill in chicago on his way back to his home in san francisco from a science fiction convention in canada. i remember fritz holding eastman as if this baby was a treasure of untold value while my husband and i considered what to do in the hotel room fritz had booked himself into. margo, his new bride, wouldn’t fly in a plane. two fans were in attendance and they were flat broke. the hotel concierge was concerned. we sent margo, his wife, home to san francisco. i gave the fans two hundred bucks and said “watch over her”. i called justin, my father, from houston and stephen helped me put fritz in northwestern hospital in chicago. justin escorted fritz home in a plane to san francisco where fritz would later die.
and while we supposed adults–my husband, me, margo, two sci fi fans–worked it all out in the hotel room, joseph, four years old, explained to fritz how eastman worked: his sleep cycle, the things he liked to eat, his ear infection, how you could get eastman to smile. . . . fritz was mesmerized. i was supposed to be sort of in charge of the moment but i was the one who was not paying attention to the most beautiful part of things–fritz was.
a lot of my friends on facebook are from knowing fritz and then knowing me. i’m grateful.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011 at 5:10 am
f2fb party and some thoughts on love, fame and money
last night there was a lovely party! facebook friends, nonfacebook friends, people i was introduced to, musicians, creative types, financial sorts as well. mc kato played his music in the living room and afterwards we had a light dinner in the dining room.
several facebook friends became friends with each other and what was the topic of discussion? love, fame, and money–the things that matter most. maximilian tam is a facebook friend that i had met only a few times. but he opened up last night:
meanwhile, f2fb friend #46 rebecca chang told me about what inspires her to be a good wife. i admire her so much in how she supports her husband winston who is trying to make his career as a rapper under the name mc kato. i am divorced and i have spent (and continue to spend) a lot of time feeling like a failure. but rebecca has some wise words about married love–
of course, marion and gerald scully weighed in on what they believe makes a good marriage. they are a wonderful couple–i’ve known them both for years. . . .
after the concert, mc kato took a moment to talk about what inspires him. it wasn’t until very late that the party broke up–my gratitude to fernando ereneta who hosted the concert!
tomorrow i head out to new york for more friends–i’m thinking that i’d like to meet newer facebook friends. if i set aside a few hours on saturday at a starbucks in manhattan would you come see me?
This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011 at 11:38 pm
just getting ready to board the plane. . . .
i’m at the airport waiting for my flight, freaking out a bit, no a lot. but i have my lucky flight plan, my two lucky rosaries and i have a lot of good memories of the mc kato concert at my house when every friend gave me their best wishes. one of those friends was ron o’neal. i went to college with ron and we lost touch after graduation–
after some of the guests had left, ron remained to talk with norm eliaser. norm i met only once before, at a rotary lunch. norm is an observant jew who taught me a few things about his views on the religion. my ex was raised as a jew. i used to regard the term shiksa as pretty harmless–now i’m not so sure. . ..
as norm and ron left a little after midnight, i thought “i hope they become good friends because of this party!”
the party was a lot of fun, but there was a serious aspect as well. rich lalley spoke to me about a project close to his heart and one that deserves our attention. jason glaser, you’re in nicaragua–you can appreciate what our winnetka-northfield rotary club is doing!
you know, i’ve been sitting here in o’hare airport thinking about whether i should remind the pilots to fly extra safely because it’s raining. i’ve been thinking this project is pretty dumb and i should just go home. i’ve been thinking that i don’t want a tsa agent to run their hands all over me not one more time. i’ve concluded that there is no way that a tube of aluminum can defy the laws of gravity. especially since i’ve packed on five pounds since january 1–it’s that extra avoir du pois that’s going to take us all down.
but now i’ve calmed down a little thinking about my facebook friends and just how wonderful everybody has been. i’ve met and introduced you to 52 friends since january first. it’s time to go to new york–visit a sex museum, see jue and ruby, and have adventures!
This entry was posted on Thursday, February 24th, 2011 at 2:44 pm
the museum of sex . . . and an invitation
the museum of sex. THE MUSEUM OF SEX!!!! how much better could it be? i got off the plane at laguardia and told the cab driver “museum of sex” which, as it happens is at the corner of twenty seventh street and fifth avenue. my friend richard “mop” furniss works there. he and i once worked on a music video and he got his nickname from having just a wonderful set of hair. we haven’t seen each other in forever. the museum had a lot of latex. lots of videos of women moaning. clamps. plyers. pictures.
as we toured the four floors of the museum, i realized that i was on complete overload. too much information, too much sensory stuff. made me think all fifteen year old boys should be required to work at the museum because it would certainly keep them a lot calmer for the next ten years. some of the stuff was weird, some of it was gross, some of it was kinda fun, and some of it was oddly beautiful.
mop shows me an installation
mop says he’s got a gig on the norwegian cruise line for a little bit and he’s going to start his own internet television station. i’m excited for him. he works a lot of freelance jobs.
we went to the gift shop and i bought a set of hearts that i thought were stick on tattoos but are made of something more substantial. like velvet. i’m not sure what i’m supposed to do with them. there were a lot of condoms in different containers and lubricants both silicon and non-silicon. plus some vibrators but i’m certainly not going to buy a vibrator in mop’s presence. i felt like everybody in the world is having a lot more sex than i am or could ever hope to have.
on the other hand. .. . mop revealed that he knows my mysterious facebook friend inda loop. she’s a black female rapper from manhattan. she has huge breasts, great smile, fantastic braids. i have no idea how i ended up being her facebook friend. i get to meet her tomorrow. . . i’m going to an actual, real, no doubt about it new york nightclub. i might have to take a nap first to stay up that late. . . .
This entry was posted on Friday, February 25th, 2011 at 1:03 am
gilbert gottfried, we’re supposed to be friends!
gilbert gottfried you’re supposed to be my friend. we bonded on facebook, didn’t we? well, i’m in new york and you’re in new york and for some reason we ain’t connecting. i think it’s because you’re a celebrity. you too, glen thater. but i did discover something about one of my celebrity friends, the rap artist inda loop. . . . it was while i was with mop after viewing the museum of sex–
people play with facebook and play with gadgets in order to express themselves. and it’s changed lots of people’s lives in unexpected ways. i used to write books, mostly romance novels, and now i’m not sure what i do because books are different. one of the first to see that books would be different is my friend richard curtis. he’s an agent in new york and continues to sell my grandfather’s works even though my grandfather fritz has been dead for almost twenty years. when i first met richard he told me about books that wouldn’t be printed on paper. i thought he was really crazy.
i walked from one end of manhattan to the other yesterday because i didn’t realize just how big of a place it was. i wish that richard curtis could create books that communicate smell–you’re walking down the street and the most expensive perfume mixes with rotting garbage and exhaust. i met one man and bought his grocery cart and all his glass and cans. then i gave them back to him because i ain’t never getting on a plane with ‘em.
and i talked with some dudes from nigeria who were protesting in front of the consulate. i really hope the naija boys are not involved in this stuff because i do love their music.
i saw a lot of hair salons, like every third store–if everybody in new york were like me the place would go broke. i haven’t gotten my hair cut in four years. at the end of the day i went to ted baker just a mere forty four blocks from the hotel where i’m staying. i wanted to see baba. baba (f2fb#56) used to be in winnetka, he’s originally from japan, and he has a job in retail and is finishing up a stint at starbucks. i was a little tired. . . .
i find new york overwhelming. it’s about as organized as a city can be if it was originally created by handing a kindergarten classroom a book on urban planning and a box of crayons. i am hoping to see my favorite facebook friend and one of the five great loves of my life joseph presser later today. it’s about the only thing that can get me to leave my hotel room which i have now decided is “safe”.
in the meantime, gilbert gottfried, would you please get in touch?
This entry was posted on Saturday, February 26th, 2011 at 2:59 pm
i could have been on tmz.com!
i love reading about celebrities on tmz, radaronline, and perezhilton. and i got this great invitation to a party with real celebrities. including vincent peters–
i woke up this morning with the worst anxiety attack i’ve had in forever. worse than airplanes. probably worse than whenever i will skydive with f2fb friend reggie gholston. i couldn’t leave the hotel room. i was that scared. new york is scaring me, it’s just too overwhelming. i would have spent the entire day under the covers but i was meeting my son joseph. he’s my older boy, one of the five great loves of my life. and he’s having a rough time of things since returning from russia–he’s having girlfriend problems and physical problems. i think you can never be any happier than your kids are miserable.
so i went to bryant park and watched the ice skaters waiting for joseph. he didn’t want to be filmed because he’s physically so beat up. we shared lunch and i wanted to buy him new clothes and a blanket. but first we met up with f2fb #57 vince peters. google him, he’s a real celebrity and he invited me to a party this evening.
i didn’t go. i wanted, no i needed, to spend more time with joseph. and the anxiety attack wasn’t wearing off. i put joseph in a cab to go home and get some sleep. and i came back to my hotel and i feel like a failure because i didn’t follow through on something that would have been a lot of fun. vince is an extraordinary gentleman. and he would have been very kind to take a somewhat bedraggled middle aged gal to a party full of the swank and beautiful.
i fail about half the time at things i try. and i consider not pushing myself this year to be a failure. i failed the minute i said no to this party.
so i just have to ask . . . vince would you promise to invite me to another party? and if you’re mentioned on tmz.com will you still be my friend?
tomorrow, flash friends party at eleven o’clock at cafe europa on the corner of 46th and sixth avenue. i want to meet new york facebook friends i haven’t had a chance to see. this is assuming of course that i don’t wake up completely scared out of my wits!
This entry was posted on Sunday, February 27th, 2011 at 2:41 am
good morning, new york!
on december 30, 2010 a lot of people were making new year’s resolutions. me, too! mine in previous years have generally included losing weight and not drinking and getting better organized. this year, i decided i would meet every facebook friend i have. at the time it was a little more than three hundred.
i work at home, my kids are out of the house. i’ve always had trouble with strange and unfamiliar places. always had trouble with anxiety attacks, particularly when i’m away from home. i would probably turn out to be a gal with sixteen cats and nobody finds my body until three weeks after i’m dead.
i picked meeting my facebook friends because it was a big enough project that it seems impossible (and believe me, every morning i wake up and think this is impossible) and because it would be a public humiliation to give up. i’m meeting facebook friend number 58 john r. douglas later this morning. i’m in new york. i’m doing it. but i can’t say i’m doing it very well.
some of you who have read this blog remember that my trip to tallahassee to visit my father justin (who is f2fb #30) was a disaster because he suffered from a prescription drug induced psychosis. i had to cancel seeing jonathan boyd, dale morgan, sarah loeffel roberts, and sammie scruggs in order to try to care for him. f2fb#32 reggie came and stayed at my father’s apartment to help. at the end, as i was leaving for the airport my father’s paranoia turned towards me. he attacked, i fled, and hours later he was institutionalized for four days.
i will be very happy to be at home soon. i will feel safer. don’t get me wrong. new yorkers are fun. new york friends are great. but i’m wickedly nervous. maybe some coffee at cafe europa will help.i have been so lucky to get messages, notes, posts, emails, phone calls from friends this week–i really couldn’t do this at all on my own.
This entry was posted on Sunday, February 27th, 2011 at 2:08 pm
yes, i won an oscar, it’s true!
This entry was posted on Monday, February 28th, 2011 at 1:33 am
a shakespeare, an oscar, new york is full of surprises!
i believe that every city that i visit in this year long tour will have treasures of incomparable worth. for instance yesterday i saw what’s called a first folio. it is one of the earliest complete sets of shakespeare’s works.
it is housed at the j. pierpont morgan museum, which is basically the former home of the donald trump of his time. he liked to collect books, although with as many as i saw, i highly doubt he read every one of them. and he had this first folio. which is probably worth about seven million dollars. i reminded the staff that one should never display works of this antiquity (1601, so that makes it four hundred and ten years old give or take a few months) on an angle. doing so causes the paper to ever so slowly pull away from the binding. the staff said if it was such a problem for me, i could take the damn thing home with me. i said i’d have to check it in my baggage and i would prefer them to mail it to me. besides, i couldn’t lug it across town for the oscars presentation. yes, yes, most oscars were handed out in los angeles. but in grand central station in new york, a very special one was reserved for me.
i thanked the academy, of course, but i reserved my special thanks for my facebook friends.
View This Poll
survey softwarea real new yorker is somebody who knows stuff that’s not in the guidebooks. like the fact that the granite lions outside the public library are called patience and fortitude. (something i could use this year) like the fact that there’s a spot in grand central station where you can stand forty five feet from each other and through a quirk in acoustics, you can hear each other’s whisper. like the fact that the algonquin hotel is where all the greatest writers of the first part of the twentieth century dined.
f2fb friend #58 john r. douglas is a real new yorker. he works for richard curtis and he had a lot to talk about with me. it was the first time we had met in person. we spent a delightful four hours touring the city.
he had a lot to say about america and how it is corrupt and occasionally a mess. but he can say that, in part because he’s canadian.
today, i leave new york and head for princeton new jersey where i will meet two facebook friends, one of them alive and one of them very very dead. i wonder how the meeting with the dead friend will work out? tomorrow i will wake up on the 60th day of the year i will know i have met with 60 facebook friends. which is good because there’s three hundred and thirty five. if there’s three hundred and thirty six, that means i have some time left over to meet brazilians, japanese, and a host of other friends i never expected to have!
This entry was posted on Monday, February 28th, 2011 at 2:06 pm
i’m engaged! post your best wishes here!
i never would have thought it. i never would have believed i had any desire to marry again. but i have fallen hopelessly in love . . . and at first sight with f2fb friend #60. he’s dashing, an adventurer and he hopes to join me on my remaining travels! he has been married twice before, but this, well, this is truest love.
but first i should mention facebook friend number 59 lanny jones. lanny is best known for being the managing editor of both people and money magazines. he also coined the term baby boomers which is used to describe americans who were born after world war 2 and well before i was. we talked about charlie sheen’s recent troubles and how magazines have changed. there’s a lot more online and it’s all driven by celebrities and their publicists. he has his own wikipedia entry. so does gilbert gottfried, my weasely facebook friend who never showed up or even returned an email. which tells you that lanny has better manners than gilbert gottfried.
lanny lives at princeton, new jersey which is just an hour outside new york. we had a lovely lunch at the princeton faculty club. even though lanny is not actually a faculty member of princeton. i will still call him professor.
he is also famous for writing the book william clark and the shaping of the west. william clark explored the western united states with merriweather lewis in the early 1800s after president thomas jefferson purchased the land from the french (commonly called the louisiana purchase). that’s enough history for one blog.
lanny seems to think that william clark is a bit of blowhard, maybe even a jerk. he confided this to me in the foyer outside the faculty dining room. and i have the video to prove it but i’m having technical difficulties uploading lanny’s video. argh!
it’s on my facebook page so you’ll have to switch over there for more of the story.
but i do have the poem that lanny told me i must remember when i am on my journey. it’s by c.p. cavafy–
As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.
Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors seen for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.
Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 1st, 2011 at 2:37 pm
my technical problems resolved, i may have to change my facebook status
i was at lunch yesterday with lanny jones (f2fb #59) to be sure. but we were joined by f2fb #60 the elusive and devastatingly handsome william clark. he is a shy adventurer who went on his own version of my new years resolution to meet all my facebook friends–he joined up with merriweather lewis to go from what was in his time the western border of the united states of america all the way to the western coast. the duo was helped, in part, by a native american woman called sacajawea.
mr. clark is of another time and very courtly. he wooed me quite properly and then, realizing that i am on a year long mission, asked me to consider a proposal. i accepted with the proviso that i could not, of course, be wed this year. i have more pressing matters. yet, i am so very charmed. .. . and in love.
he most definitely did put a ring on it!
lanny jones is mr. clark’s biographer, with the book william clark and the shaping of the west. lanny created william clark’s facebook page.
i was very chagrined by the lag time between my announcement of my engagement and my putting up this post. wordpress screwed up their system for uploading videos (it’s also known as “upgraded”) and i couldn’t figure out a way around it. i was interviewed this morning on wciu television in chicago. i didn’t realize i was on television. i was in my bathrobe and my teeth were as yet unbrushed. but jeanne and melissa called me on the phone from a show called “morning and me”. and then i had to run off to see facebook friend #61, my son joseph, who has deleted his facebook account as has his ex-girlfriend. deleting an account is a more severe form of deactivating an account and he’ll explain his revolt against the zuckerberg system in my next posting. for the moment, i’m in laguardia airport hoping to get on an earlier plane and make it home. sweet home.
if i’m engaged to mr. clark, do i necessarily need to change my facebook status? or should i just say it’s complicated?
This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 1st, 2011 at 10:04 pm
new york new year f2fb stats and . . .
i thought i couldn’t do it–getting to new york, visiting friends, even making a side trip to new jersey–and you know what? i didn’t do it! not at all. sure, it was me on the plane and in the sex museum and at the algonquin and the faculty club of princeton university, sitting with baba at ted baker and almost going to a party of celebrities with vince p.
but it wouldn’t have happened without friends. friends who called me the morning i left for new york and said you can do this. you can get on that plane. friends who texted me, messaged me, emailed me, posted encouraging words on my wall or even the friends i met in new york who said “get out of your damn shell and let’s go see the city!” friends i’ve known forever, friends i’ve only recently met, friends i haven’t even met at all! the experience has made me think i will remember next time i have a friend who needs some bucking up that i will do it. i’ll be the one to call, to text, to message, to give hugs.
now, i have a video to share with you of f2fb #61 my son joseph but wordpress isn’t cooperating so i thought i’d share the news that on friday i’ll signing books at the book stall in winnetka at six o’clock. the book stall is on the 700 block of elm street in winnetka.
and here’s the early spring tally on my new years resolution:
61: the day of the year, 304 remaining
61: the number of facebook friends i have met, 274 remaining
1698: the number of facebook friends i now have
1363: the number of facebook friends i will try to meet outside of this project (viva brasil! viva japan!)
9: the number of friends i met in new york city
2: the number of facebook friends in new york city who did not respond to emails, messages, or wall posts (gillbert gottfried and glen thater)
3: the number of friends who deactivated their accounts while i was in new york (explanation in future post)
so i have to ask you
and p.s. this problem with uploading videos is driving me nuts!
This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011 at 3:25 pm
de-leting, de-activating, de-lightful!
somewhere over lake michigan on the flight home, i grabbed the hand of the lady sitting beside me. i was that scared. she didn’t react well. but this is a risk one takes, the unexpected intimacy, during travel.
still, the aluminum tube, all every how many tons of it, was guided safely to a terminal at o’hare airport and i turned my phone back on to discover a strange message. but first. . .
while i was in new york, i was supposed to take the ferry to staten island to meet my older son joseph (f2fb #61) his girlfriend who would have been, should have been, could have been f2fb #62. instead they broke up this weekend.
they have a lot of mutual friends. friends who are on facebook. friends who are updating, posting, commenting, liking and–if facebook had this option–disliking. so they made a pact to delete their accounts. deleting is a little more permanent than deactivating. there is a two week window within which either of them can reclaim their posts, their friends, their photos, their feed. i think it’s a wonderful cleansing thing to do. although i wondered. . . .
when i got my messages in chicago, i got a message from a facebook friend who said “just want you to know i’m deactivating my account”. i called him. he is a wonderful man. handsome. smart. great job. early thirties. single. everything coming together for him. and he was always on facebook–posting pictures, i.m.ing, commenting. but he had a rough valentine’s day watching all the posts from all the ladies posting pictures of the great time they had on valentine’s day and all the small slights and hurts that come from facebook.
now for delightful. . . .i am signing copies of my book about the history of northfield and my history of winnetka at the book stall in winnetka on friday at six p.m. and then there’s the grand march through michigan! i will meet with the beautiful and talented donna leonard and linda glaser and i hope to ride a horse (which will surely result in my ass hitting the ground with a thump!) and watch a movie that stars my son eastman!
This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011 at 9:31 pm
i am outwitted by f2fb #62 and the unbearable darkness of cool
it is exactly the sort of thing that facebook is intended for: i was having dinner with a friend from law school i hadn’t seen in, yes, dare i say it?, twenty five years! there was a lot of life to catch up on. he lives in san francisco, is married, has twins who are eight years old, and a law practice that seems to make him happy. all lawyers are desperately unhappy, i was one and can say this with confidence, but he seemed pretty cool with it all.
and i had my life to tell him about: the rumanian prince, that bungled heist in monte carlo, clothes i loaned lady gaga.
and then i realized there could be no pictures, no video.
not because he’s famous and his bodyguards would have to kill me. not because he’s debiliatated in some way that wouldn’t make for a good blog. but because it was so damn dark.
the violet hour is in a building that looks from the outside like a boarded up warehouse. the cab driver who deposited me at its steps was so nervous he first walked in, cased the place and came out to escort me into the restaurant. and i use the term restaurant lightly because it seemed to me to be just a lot of rooms with black curtains and candles (fire department alert!). drinks were made with droppers and food was an artistic endeavor. but i got to see michael lieberman, f2fb #62. or at least someone who claimed he was michael.
but i couldn’t take a picture because everything i tried turned out the same: black. somehow i think michael picked the place for that very reason.
so instead of unloading on his shocking gossip, i’ll pass along this–i’ll be signing books at the book stall this evening at six o’clock. on elm street in winnetka. can’t miss the place. hope to see you there!
i’ll be there tonight. i hope you can make it. there’s sure to be lights!
This entry was posted on Friday, March 4th, 2011 at 4:12 pm
f2fb friend roberta rubin plays online scrabble too! i bet she’d kick my butt!
it’s gray outside, snowing, cold. seven a.m. on a saturday morning–the perfect time to roll over, pull the covers up, and go back to sleep. will i? but i have to be in saugatuck michigan in slightly more than four hours to meet f2fb friend #64 donna leonard whom i have only met once, last summer, when she hosted a house party to which i was invited. and from there i strike north to grand rapids to spend the evening with f2fb friend #65 linda glaser whose son once directed eastman in a movie. nothing against these two wonderful gal pals, but i really would like to sleep in!
yesterday it rained hideously, and again, i wanted to stay in, but i had to attend a joint winnetka and northfield chamber of commerce event–i have written a history of winnetka and another of northfield. chamber members, some of them my friends and all of them friends of the two villages, came together in the book stall. the book stall is owned by roberta rubin. i have had a house account there since i first moved to winnetka nineteen years ago, it is one of the last independent book stores and yes, jay, i told everybody you said hi from indianapolis. i was thinking about richard curtis and his conviction that books made out of mashed wood pulp were a historical oddity. roberta had some interesting thoughts:
i was taking a friend with me on this michigan leg of the trip. it was to be an experiment in being on a roadtrip together. we had plans of possibly going together on the more challenging legs of the trip that would include the phillipines (hey, mark and azanthiel!), korea (hi, john!), homer alaska (hey, miss sweetpea!), taiwan (warner, you could just move back to chicago) and hawaii (hey, sherry!). but this friend’s parents realized this project has a high prospect of failure, that things i do don’t necessarily turn out well, and that having a job at twenty two should be the focus. further, the parents are concerned that the traditional family vacation will be disrupted. if i succeed at this project, maybe this friend will travel with me–i hope so. for the moment, until i prove myself, i am on my own. and maybe that’s a good thing but it means i can’t sleep in the car.
okay, if you promise you won’t tell anybody, how about if i just take a half hour snooze? shhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This entry was posted on Saturday, March 5th, 2011 at 1:48 pm
f2fb #64 gives me a lesson in painting
i had heard about donna leonard’s late summer house party. a three day frat party on the eastern shore of lake michigan. the late nights. the raucous meals. the carousing. when i got the invitation last year, i knew i had to go. it was exactly worth it although my bathing suit top slipped off while i was swimming in the lake on saturday afternoon. i had to remain in the water until nearly ten o’clock before sneaking back to the house!
donna is 65 and has a life we all can envy . . . because she is doing exactly what her passion dictates. her passion is for art and for animals. she has nine cats, three dogs, one parrot, a horse named tiny and i’m convinced that she was just lowballing those figures. tiny kissed me, so did a few of the dogs and my lips swelled up like i had visited a hollywood plastic surgeon’s office. donna had to give me a benadryl.
she has an exuberant style of painting and she has an exuberant style of life. she paints and draws constantly, and her studio was full of books of her work. when you like to do something, you do a lot of it and you get better and better at it. whatever that thing is you should make it your life’s work. today, when i drove to saugatuck michigan to see her, she showed me how she is painting a piece commissioned for a horse dealer.
i noticed donna’s paintings had some paw prints on it. a pet raccoon. donna doesn’t stress about that–she incorporates an apparent imperfection into the painting. when i left her studio i think i might have left the smallest footprint as well. i’m now a part of her artwork.
she’s invited me back to the late summer party–but she’s also said come back anytime which is particularly touching because before today i was a friend of a cousin. now i’m a friend! i think i have a hideout for when i decide the world is too much.
from saugatuck i headed northeast for grand rapids where i am to stay with the glaser family. linda and richard glaser’s son jason directed my youngest son eastman in a teen exploitation movie about grandpa-cide called “grandpa’s gotta go”. the glasers hosted thirty film students in their home and allowed their house to be used as the backdrop of the film. it was a longer version of a donna leonard house party. but with tangible evidence.
at donna’s parties, what happens in saugatuck is really supposed to stay in saugatuck. including my bathing suit top.
This entry was posted on Sunday, March 6th, 2011 at 5:06 am
maple syrup, grandpa’s gotta go, and a one hundred dollar offer for you!
quick, take out a sheet of paper and write down the name of every person you saw on a daily basis ten years ago. the guy behind the counter at the grocery store. the cute girl in class who let you look at her answers but said no to going to the prom. the mother of the kid your kid was best friends with. the crossing guard. the members of your hockey team.
these people were really important to you but if you’re anything like me, some of the people you deal with today were with you ten years ago but some of them. . . you can’t even remember their name and wouldn’t have a clue how to locate them. except for facebook, with a little detective work.
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Market Researchten years ago, my beloved f2fb #1 younger son eastman was in a movie directed by f2fb jason glaser. linda glaser (f2fb #65) welcomed over thirty film students into her home for three weeks of filming. oh, and she paid for the movie. i was eastman’s personal assistant, er, mom slash chaperone. there to make sure that nobody would share their drugs with him. i was very tight with the group. i knew everybody’s name, from the key grip to the director’s girlfriend. or at least i did at the time.
i still know the star (balbinka, a facebook friend), jason (another facebook friend), steve ware (ditto), and grzegorz who would never open a facebook account even if you promised he would win mafia wars.
i hadn’t seen linda glaser in years even though we had shared a very intense experience in the making of her son’s film. but i drove into ada, michigan which is suburb of cascade, michigan which is, in turn, a suburb of grand rapids, michigan and returned to the place where eastman and jason filmed “grandpa’s gotta go”. a heart warming movie about grandparents and their grandchildren, who ask veternarians to put them to sleep.
in any event, it was as if i had never left. we talked way into the night, two new friends arrived and suddenly it was a party. the glaser family is like that, always inviting people into their lives.
the next morning, linda made french toast.
and the syrup was smoky and warm and i said, “hey, is this aunt jemima syrup?” and she said no, it’s the last of the syrup we made last spring. that’s when i figured out that the glasers could, if necessary, survive in the event of a nuclear holocaust. after all, they have a stocked wine cellar, a lot of cocktail napkins, and a bit of the farmer’s instinct in them.
now, the hundred dollars. one copy of the movie “grandpa’s gotta go”. no questions asked. we both looked for it last night. linda doesn’t have a copy. i don’t have a copy. somebody’s gotta have a copy.
later today, i get my portrait made in zanzibar!
This entry was posted on Monday, March 7th, 2011 at 2:13 pm
thank you mr. clark (or maybe mr. jones)
as many of you know, i am betrothed to mr. william clark, originally born in caroline county, virginia. but some of you might not know that my fiance has been dead since 1838. he’s buried in st. louis. please don’t tell him. it would break his heart.
he was a farmer, a soldier, a part-time botanist, zoologist, astronomer and cartographer. he was appointed governor of the missouri territory and he most famous for traveling with merriweather lewis across the vast united states after president thomas jefferson purchased the land from the french. you can read about his adventures in my facebook friend lanny jones’ book “william clark and the shaping of the west”.
i met william (i can call my fiance by his first name although most people refer to him as mr. clark) in person when i was in new york. new york was a scary trip for me. i was getting phone calls from my father every few hours–he is convinced his wife barbara is trying to commit him and indeed he was institutionalized very briefly after my visit to tallahassee. i was swindled out of some money on thursday evening of the trip by a member of the harvard club (an ex-member, but still, you’d think harvard people would be better than that) and i had an anxiety attack nearly every minute of every day. but i loved seeing the museum of sex, touring the city with john r. douglas, meeting vince p. and nearly meeting a passel of celebrities.
when i travel, i bring talismans. lucky charms and not in the form of cereal. i have a lucky flight plan of a long ago trip that keeps planes aloft so long as i am on them. i have several rosaries, gifts from my sons. and i now have a diminutive replica of my fiance when he was just an explorer. thank you, mr. clark, i shall travel with him always in my little medicine bag.
btw, william clark actually has his own facebook page. that’s how we met!
my next major trip, well, the one after the western illinois, is to mexico city. i understand i will need my inhaler and a desire for adventure. it will be the first time i’ve been in a country where the primary language is not english. ciudad de mexico, un que lugar hermosa!!!
thank you mr. clark, i will travel always with this reminder that i am officially a member of the club of adventurers! unless your biographer mr. jones sent it, in which case i will still take it with me!
This entry was posted on Monday, March 7th, 2011 at 8:08 pm
the origin of the world and other paintings. . ..
i think this project would make a beautiful movable museum exhibit, with each facebook friend celebrated and presented in their incredible unique way. fadel haowat-halliwell, f2fb #66 already has his materials ready. from the outside, he looks like the perfectly average chicago twentysomething: he works at a lincoln park coffee shop, he just switched his major from chemistry to math, he lives with his parents and sister and pet parrot, and he carries his life in his backpack.
but fadel is also a seeker. of faith. of love. of love and sexual fulfillment together in one special person. he is an artist and a feminist in a way that i have never experienced a man to be.
yesterday he showed me a series of pictures that i think must be seen by the world. i must find a curator for him.
at first i thought the picture above was a watermelon, but it is not. it is a picture of the source of life. it reminds me of “the origin of the world” by gustave courbet. fadel calls the picture “fertility”.
the second picture he showed me is called “the economy” and you have to look closely to realize it’s really about how the world makes money off of women and enslaves women. the skycrapers are decidedly male, with penises at their core. the only escape, within his vision, is a pirate ship.
the last in his series on women is religion. fadel was raised greek orthodox and briefly committed himself to being a muslim. but he has yet to find the true peace of faith fulfilled. in this picture, he emphasizes how religion has trod on women but he makes a larger point about the dynamics of different religions. you can’t see it but this is an artist who does not complete his work at the end of the canvas–instead the painting continues around the canvas. it’s really remarkable and a picture does it scarce justice.
i was startled that he had prepared for me a portrait. this is me having coffee with a vagina at the artopolis coffee shop. it is now on my living room mantle directly under a portrait of queen victoria.
fadel is a seeker and so am i. we’ve made plans to visit a few services together and to continue the discussion of faith and what’s important. i also hope one day to see his paintings in a museum. perhaps the museum of sex in new york.
next up: i meet a real hero, facebook friend jeffrey weber
This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 8th, 2011 at 4:14 pm
slap some old spice on this man and tell isiah mustafa he’s out of a job!
this new years eve i made a resolution to meet all of my facebook friends by the end of the year. it means i’m meeting friends i haven’t seen in forever. meeting friends i see every day but never really am mindful of in a way a friend should be. and it means i’m always being surprised. f2fb #67 jeffrey weber is a surprise. i mean, he’s forty three. forty three with a body of a twentysomething. a twentysomething in spectacular shape. which, given jeffrey’s smarts, is the exact combination you want in a firefighter for the chicago fire department. somebody gonna come save me from a burning building or use those jaws of life to drag my sorry ass out of a crunched up car, i want it to be jeff.
jeff works a twenty four hour on, two days off schedule at the firehouse downtown. he is part of a company that works two trucks that are prepared for advanced rescue. someone drowning in lake michigan or the chicago river. a window washer on the skyscraper who’s suddenly a whimpering, tangled mess. the car that’s been smashed to bits but there’s someone stuck inside. he’s seen everything. absolutely nothing phases him. it might be because he’s an ex-marine. also, he teaches both martial arts AND motorcycle riding. imet him five years ago when my younger son eastman was rehearsing for a play down the street from where jeff works at a fitness center. i would work out every time eastman rehearsed. which was every day for six weeks. i haven’t seen much of jeff since, but man, slap some old spice on this man and poor isiah mustafa won’t be in those commercials anymore! and if i wasn’t engaged to the very dead but still charming mr. clark. . . ..
surprisingly, jeff taught me a lesson about the need for organization. the two trucks used for his job are “a place for everything and everything in their place” trucks.
the chicago fire department’s motto is “we’re here when you need us” and i’m so glad they’re here. there. everywhere.
and firefighters are always heroes. just think of those famous vivian leiber books “safety of his arms” and “the 6’2″ 200 lb. challenge”!!!
of course, there was something that puzzled me. why would firemen who are so compulsive about keeping everything ready for emergencies be so lacksadaisical as to throw their pants and boots on the ground and their jacket up over an open car door.
jeff explained that the boots are carefully inserted into the pant legs and the coat is ready so that all he has to do is put both feet into the boots, pull up his jumpsuit., thrown on the coat and head for trouble!
Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)
This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 9th, 2011 at 12:58 pm
find your place in the f2fb new years resolution
my f2fb friend #12 andrew pearce put together a map of all the places i will travel in the coming year. at least to see the 335 friends i had as of december 31 when i started this project. it’s a lot less imposing when he puts it together. thank you andrew!
however, there are some “lost” friends where we don’t know their location. so andrew put them in the lost lake in tallahassee.
speaking of tallahassee, i have been dragged back into the drama of f2fb #30 my personal father justin leiber. when i went down there he became paranoid that i had disabled his car. he accused me of being a “super conman”. he was rambling and a bit incoherent. a few hours after i left he was involuntarily committed for four days. he is afraid that he will be committed again, against his will. he has asked for my help. i am unsure what i can do.
over the weekend, i hope to see robin and alyce, as well as bonnie bradlee whom i haven’t seen in over thirty years. i will dine chez finnegan and remeet college buddies tim crawford and john finnegan. and i hope to visit the graves of my two best friends. a busy set of travels but i am glad that andrew pearce can keep track of it all. shhh! don’t tell him that i don’t really have to go to burkani faso!
This entry was posted on Thursday, March 10th, 2011 at 6:52 pm
my facebook friends are sometimes united by a desire to do good things
so for my japanese facebook friends and then a one hundred dollar challenge:
すべての私の日本のfacebookの友人に、私は安全、健康であることを望む! 私の祈りはあなたの安全のためである! 多くの愛、arlynn
i joined rotary because of colvin henderson, father to f2fb friend #25 max henderson. colvin was dying of mesothelioma and he wanted me to join the winnetka northfield rotary club to sort of “take his place”. i’ve taken the responsibility seriously and will be a rotarian for life. at one time, i even served as president of the club.
rotarians take seriously the idea of doing good for others. i’m not a particularly good person on my own but with a club of rotarians i inadvertently do good things. my friend gina di sando (f2fb #69) is part of a committee of rotarians who are hosting an event on april 16 to pack meals to be sent to the citizens of “the dump” in manaus, nicaragua.
in addition to needing volunteers on that day, gina needs to raise money to help pay for the food that will be packed. she’s selling one hundred dollar raffle tickets, with the prize being five thousand dollars. i bought one ticket. if you buy a ticket, i promise to buy a SECOND ticket and you and i will share the proceeds raised. just go to wnrotary.org and look for the kids against hunger program. or contact me either here or on facebook!
sometimes people become better people because of the clubs they join:
our club has been hosting a japanese student named hideki who is from a suburb of tokyo. we have been able to establish that his family is all right. i know our club will do something for the victims of the earthquake. そして当然私達は日本のために祈る
This entry was posted on Friday, March 11th, 2011 at 7:37 pm
f2fb strength and purpose
i am amazed at the stories i hear of incredible courage, endurance, determination–and it’s always from people who look from the outside like they just coast through life. robin ladybird strong-robinson (f2fb #68) and alyce kingsley (f2fb #70) work at the zengeler dry cleaners in winnetka. phyllis vega used to work at zengeler but, in order to get out of a bad relationship, she moved to mendota recently (excuse me, facebook friends, no moving without my written permission! warner sills, i mean, taiwan?????)
we had lunch today, including hector who doesn’t have a facebook account and after we exchanged stories about facebook, i think he considers himself lucky. robin told me an inspiring story. she is sober since 2000, having overcome everything with the help of God as she knows him and the twelve step program. robin even had trouble describing the transition, more than ten years ago, from a woman addicted to alcohol and drugs and certain she was headed for Hell to that of a woman who is sure of the love of her God. i was awed. not just by her story but by the way her face, her smile, her eyes brighten with the story. she is a brave woman.
it is a story her coworkers are well aware of. while robin has worked at zengeler’s for eleven years, alyce has worked there for thirty two years. it is a good place to work because people stay. alyce, by the way, is the “oldest” child and she is the “cool” aunt in her family, as she is to the zengeler family. she is very generous with the gum and candy that she lets me have whenever i stop in. and she watches out for her coworkers, as she does here when robin starts talking hair which is what all women do eventually when they get together. notice how hector reacts. . .
f2fb friend #12 andrew has put together a grid that makes it possible to visit all my facebook friends outside of the united states in one blow out 21 day trip. i find his proposal intimidating. and intriguing. exciting and scary. i think maybe i should break up the trips a little bit. but under his plan i would actually travel around the world. . . with time to stop in japan. and time to swing into brazil late in the year. on the other hand, the risks are enormous. don’t you think people in india will be completely freaked out by my panic attacks???
This entry was posted on Saturday, March 12th, 2011 at 2:19 pm
thirty one years ago i did something awful, but now i’m forgiven by my facebook friend #71
meeting every facebook friend means i get surprised sometimes, by an unexpected hobby or talent, by a challenge someone faces with courage and grace, by a secret heretofore unknown. yesterday, i was surprised by something awful i did thirty one years ago. something i have only recently been forgiven for.
i went to naperville north high school and was friends with bonnie bradlee. bonnie was funny, bright, and we “got” each other. she also didn’t seem to mind the strictures mrs. patrick put on my life–i couldn’t see friends outside of school. bonnie and i shared books, ideas, and we both had dreams. bonnie wanted to join the army. i was a princess who had been put up for adoption to shield me from enemies of the throne and one day i wanted to reclaim that country, whatever it was. i sure hoped it was an english speaking country, because i wasn’t doing very well in french class.
at the end of our sophomore year, things came to a boil in the patrick household. i ran away from home. i dropped out of high school. i was briefly in a juvenile detention center and was also briefly in a psyche ward full of other runaways. i ended up dropping out of high school and studied at north central college. that journey is a long one but the story here is about bonnie.
she finished high school. was rejected by the army–from all the branches of the military–because she has poor hearing in one ear. she was crushed. her life was spiraling. she even contemplated suicide. she asked me for help. i was nineteen and unsure of what was the best thing, but i knew dr. schwarz, the psychiatrist from the psyche ward i had spent two months in. i took her to see schwarz. schwarz immediately advised hospitalization, saying he was sure that her depression was a life threatening matter. i helped bonnie get admitted to the hospital. then she gave me her apartment key and told me to clean up her stuff. especially anything drug related, as her father was a police officer.
but my idea of cleaning was to basically to get rid of just about anything. a full apartment became a few garbage bags of stuff.
bonnie got out of the hospital at some point. i don’t really remember anything about our interactions then–in particular she recalls our last meeting as being very tense and i don’t remember it at all. i graduated college and moved to chicago. she worked at a variety of jobs and cared for her parents. five years ago she came to christ. or perhaps christ came to her. she is a happy, beautiful, settled woman who celebrates everyday the gift of salvation. she has also forgiven me. until yesterday when i saw her, i didn’t realize that i needed her forgiveness. i am grateful for that.
although she was upset with me, she was surprised herself by the fact that her hospitalization had a benefit that came to others. a few years ago, she was at a christian retreat. she was taking a few moments to dance in the rain, a celebration of her love for christ. as she finished dancing she noticed that she was being observed by a woman who was in obvious distress. the woman explained she had just gotten out of a hospital where she had been treated for addiction. her life was a mess because her husband was still a user. bonnie was able to use the experience of having been in a psyche hospital to relate to this woman. bonnie got help for her. it was a turn around for the woman, indirectly made possible by bonnie’s life experiences, directly made possible by bonnie’s generous nature.
i know i’m going to be surprised again, sometimes in ways that will make me feel bad about myself. for a few hours after i saw bonnie, i had a case of the guilts. did that hospitalization do more harm than good? was my scorched earth policy on her apartment a bad thing? had i caused bonnie to get off course in her life? this morning i’m trying to forgive myself. that might take a while.
make sure to meet bonnie yourself at menjesus.wordpress.com!!!!
This entry was posted on Sunday, March 13th, 2011 at 2:26 pm
f2fb #72 john finnegan
when i went to the finnegan’s house on sunday morning, i was still feeling pretty low, thinking about how i let down f2fb #71 bonnie bradlee. i wake up every morning thinking this is a ridiculous and unmanageable and ultimately doomed to failure project, but now i was really ready to go straight home, get into bed, pull those covers up over the head.
the finnegans live in a quiet naperville neighborhood with emphasis on the word quiet. when john finnegan and i went to college, naperville had a population of 35,000 and there were corn and soybean fields surrounding the downtown. now there are over 150,000 people and it is as if God told noah to build an ark and put inside it one of every chain–applebee’s, olive garden, walmart, target, baker’s square. . . somehow the finnegans found the one place that isn’t staked out for a corporate parking space.
leigh finnegan welcomed me into the house and introduced me to their three children: grant, anna and stewart. grant is a natural wit, anna has a beautiful smile and stewart is a dead ringer for john when he was younger. john asked me what i wanted with my pancakes: syrup, butter, cheese.
john’s favorite dish is not pancakes with cheese but rather, waffles with cheese. toaster waffles to be precise. the finnegan freezer is full of them. and the refrigerator has enough cheese that, well, john says he can eat eight or ten waffle and cheese sandwiches at a time. try it sometime! and then tell me about it.
john and i were friends when we were at north central college back in the late seventies. the very first time we met, i invited him to a movie. he thought it was a date. until he realized i was asking another guy as well. i was a pretty clueless teenager. then i told him about my experience with bonnie and how it was clear i hadn’t been a good friend to her. he begged to differ and then told the story of how the finnegan children exist because of me being clueless. . . .
as i drove away, i wanted to be adopted, maybe as a cherished aunt. john really is the luckiest of my friends!
next up: tim crawford is retired navy, teaches navy rotc at one of bloom trail high school in chicago heights (one of the toughest urban schools there is), coaches track and field. so what does he want to do on a sunday afternoon?
and . . . . i’ ¡m ya apenas un poco nervioso sobre ir a Ciudad de México! ¡pero será una aventura!
This entry was posted on Monday, March 14th, 2011 at 1:41 pm
every sunday is your sunday! advice from f2fb #73 tim crawford
when i meet my facebook friends i want to do what they want to do, what they enjoy, what expresses themselves–so i figured tim crawford would want to tear apart a lion with his bare hands or throw boulders across the dupage river.
tim crawford is a big man. i’d guess him to be six four, maybe six five. he was an athlete at north central college where we met. he joined the navy right after college and has fought and served his country ever since. these days he teaches navy rotc at one of the toughest urban schools in the country and he also coaches track and field. he’s big, he’s tough, he’s strong.
and you know what? he’s reached an age, my age, where he doesn’t give a damn what people think of him. he’s proved himself. which means he can do what he pleases and he had some advice to give me on that score.
from his house, we drove twenty miles out to romeoville to a strip mall nail salon that didn’t look any different from any other nail salon. but the ladies knew him. and we had pedicures together. and not just a “file ‘em down, put some polish on ‘em” pedicures. there was hot bubbling water with bath salts. exfoliating. razoring calluses. massaging the calves. encasing the feet in hot liquid wax. i admit that last part made me cry and tim said pretty much “would you just take it like a man????” tim doesn’t get polish but he picked out a nice neutral silver shade for me.
i felt wonderful as we left the salon. and not just because my feet really felt different. i felt different. i felt pampered and taken care of and really quite free of anxiety and all my little demons. that’s when tim, who’s a pretty quiet guy, spoke up.
“i take care of myself,” he began as i pulled the car out into traffic. “i work six days a week. and hard work. have all my life. so one day a week, i completely devote to myself. manicure. pedicure. massage. getting my eyebrows waxed. haircut. take care of my car. my house. every sunday is tim crawford day. turn here.”
“isn’t your house back that way?”
“we’re getting chocolate.”
so we went into downtown naperville to a chocolate emporium. i did what every woman does. considered the smallest possible piece of something. because otherwise, i would end up regretting it when i got on the scale, right? but there was this cheesecake, with chocolate and caramel. i shook my head. tim gave me a look. again, he’s a big “don’t mess with me” guy. so i ended up sitting in front of the biggest plate of cheesecake. do i regret it? no.
some might initially think it’s a little sacrilegious to call sunday tim crawford day. or to call sunday their own day. but remember that first corinthians 6:19-20 tells us that our bodies are God’s temple. st. paul admonishes (he’s always admonishing–he really should have lightened up a little) that we should honor God with our bodies. that’s exactly what tim’s doing. and maybe that would be a good thing for me–if i honored my body the way tim honors his, perhaps i wouldn’t do the self-destructive fix-ups like anxiety attacks, withdrawing from the world, eating and drinking too much. if i knew that one day a week was my day, maybe i could do what needs to be done with the remaining six.
and so i ended up late. i missed the third naperville friend. and didn’t get to mendota. i fell behind the schedule because i took time to enjoy tim crawford day. that means i have to come back to naperville and from there, drive to mendota. tim says he gets a pedicure about once every three or four weeks. see you then, tim!
tim’s final comment:
a coda: my very best friends in the world, dick and vivian eastman, needed their friends, especially as they reached their nineties. i would come out some weekends just to say hi. one time, i asked tim crawford to stop by the house just to tell dick eastman what a great professor he had been when he was at north central college. tim is a wonderful friend!
This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 15th, 2011 at 5:18 am
face to facebook friend gilbert gottfried
my new years resolution as of december 31 was to meet every facebook friend i had and that’s a considerable new years resolution. obviously not as difficult as losing five pounds (my usual resolution). but still. it’s day 74 of the year and last night i posted about tim crawford (73).
i’ve learned a lot about friendship and loyalty. i have on speed dial exactly who i’d call at two o’clock in the morning from the winnetka police department. i know who i’d party with if i won the lottery and who would be willing to party with me if i didn’t. but i don’t think i have a friend quite like gilbert gottfried.
gilbert is a comedian. never known for any sensitivity. known mostly for his braying voice, whether as the parrot named iago in disney’s aladdin or the duck in aflac supplemental insurance commercials. when he first opened a facebook account, he sent out friendship requests. i’m not sure why i got one, but i did and i happily accepted. but when i went to new york, i had nearly a dozen friends to meet. everyone was so helpful, from richard “mop” furniss (friend #53) who took me on a tour of the museum of sex to william clark (#60) who proposed. #58 john r. douglas took me to the morgan museum where i saw an actual shakespeare first folio. vince p. (#57) invited me to a party with real celebrities.
but gilbert never responded to my messages, emails, nothing. and then there’s this:
he tweeted some jokes like “the japanese are so advanced. they don’t go down to the beach. the beach comes to them” and “i just split up with my girlfriend. but like the japanese say, there’ll be another one floating by any minute” he has since been fired by aflac which gets a considerable share of its revenue from the japanese market and he’s dutifully issued the “i’m sorry if anybody was offended by what i said” apology which places the responsibility to say “oh, no, it’s okay, i’m just too sensitive” on everyone else. he’ll recover. he’ll have his defenders. he’ll do some charitable venture that will make up for it all. he will be, as charlie sheen says, winning.
i don’t take defriending lightly. it might be just facebook. but the real question for me isn’t whether he can make a bad joke or not. it’s whether he’s a friend. and he’s not. there is no part of him that is friend to me. there is no part of him i want to be friends with. so with deep regret, i must defriend him.
therefore, goodbye f2fb friend number zero mr. gottfried. i wish you all the commercial, professional and personal success in the world. just not on my facebook page.
in other news, i have new friends from israel–my story was featured on an israeli magazine site. also, tomorrow i am being interviewed for america in the morning by tom delach! but the most wonderful news is that i will spend some time with the artist loraine yolles (f2fb #74)
This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 15th, 2011 at 9:56 pm
stu fast, steve quick, kate moulton. . . why YOU could end up with an alias
steve quick was one of my first friends ever in winnetka. he worked at the front desk of the winnetka community house, signing up kids for karate, ballet, summer camp. we hung out while my kids took classes. we worked at the haunted house together–both of us, given the proper costume, can reduce a stone cold nine year old suburban child to tears with just a glance. steve and i even worked on the antiques and modernism shows that provided funds for the community house–both of us, given the proper costume, can reduce a stone cold dealer in french chinoiserie prints to tears with just a lift of an eyebrow.
steve is a survivor. of a tough childhood. wrenching marriage. and a bout with cancer.
steve quick — 1
cancer — 0
but a survivor of these circumstances sometimes needs to adventure and needs a soul mate. kate moulton is just such a gal. she is a survivor of three bypass surgeries in her young years. she occasionally is troubled by artial fibulation. which is to say that she has battled a rough spot.
the two of them struck out west to colorado a few years ago. for steve, it was a big change because he had worked behind the desk at the community house for eighteen years. for kate, who had been in wilmette illinois all her life, it was a leap of faith. the two of them have done well for themselves. times are tough–steve sometimes picks up day laboring jobs. kate works as a bartender. but they have found their eden, in fort collins, colorado. i am so so so happy for them. . . .
there’s stu fast. well, what happened is this: steve quit his job at the community house and wanted to access his facebook account. but the account was from an email address tied to the community house. therefore, facebook wouldn’t recognize him so he has had to change his identity to stu fast.
when he would sign for fedex and ups packages at the community house he would sometimes use the alias stu fast, as a take on steve quick. now that nickname comes in handy. but let him explain. . .
This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 16th, 2011 at 11:21 pm
thank you to facebook friend azusa watanabe
but a message also that expresses that many of us outside of japan are concerned and are thinking and worrying about the nation:
if you feel the same it’s okay to post a comment in any language. i believe we all want and hope for the same things. . .
thank you azusa for correcting and helping my grammar!!!
This entry was posted on Thursday, March 17th, 2011 at 1:27 am
f2fb friend #77 might have to kill me!
ton kambich is a tough guy, served in world war 2 and jumped out of planes into dangerous places. later, he let his softy side flourish. he and his wife carolyn opened a montessori school in northfield just outside of winnetka (not to say winnetka is a dangerous place). the couple was instrumental in the opening of the victoria montessori school in entebbe, uganda.
so i had to ask him about my trip to mexico city. about which i have been stressing. and about skydiving which is what captain reggie wants to do later in the month.
i don’t know. i’d love to have a rumor that i’m part of the c.i.a.
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online surveysi pack and leave tomorrow. viva ciudad de mexico!!!! and from there, to facebook friends in houston. then memphis. then home. . . for a day and a half and then cleveland, ohio. i’m getting some wear on these treads.
tony says it’s fine about if the two releases don’t work. the third thing you do is clutch yourself in a particular manner and kiss your ass goodbye. please don’t tell me this is how the adventure will end!
This entry was posted on Thursday, March 17th, 2011 at 7:37 pm
packing for the fraidy cat traveler–hello mexico city and yoshi maeshiro!!!!!!
i’m going to mexico city to see facebook friends yoshi maeshiro and enrique celis. i am scared out of my wits because it’s the first time i have been in a country where the dominant language is not english and also because the state department says ixnay to spring break in mexico and what else is this but a fifty year old woman’s spring break? also, if i get offered the job of police chief of mexico city, i will have to decline.
a person who doesn’t like to leave the house isn’t generally a good packer. but i am. when stephen and i separated, we agreed that we didn’t want our sons joseph and eastman to be put through the “go to mom’s house, go to dad’s house” custody schedule. so stephen took an apartment and he stayed there some of the time and some of the time, he came back to the house and i would switch over to the apartment. instead of my kids packing their stuff i was doing the packing. and i learned a lot of tricks.
1. zip lock bags for everything
2. wear your clothes in the shower and wash them every night you’re away
3. baby wipes for everything–make up removal, shining your shoes, that spot where your fork slipped stuff onto the front of your dress. . . .
4. black clothes match everything
my facebook friend loraine yolles is an artist. she took some time to come over to help me pack. but also to tell me this trip is going to be okay. . . .
i’m scared of flying, socializing, snakes, thunderstorms, crowds, heights, rejection, darkness, spiders, big box stores, dentists. . . . should i go on? but i have my lucky talismans, including william clark, my fiance, as well as rosaries and a lucky flight plan from a successful airplane trip.
i have to get on the plane. ¡parada siguiente, Ciudad de México!
This entry was posted on Friday, March 18th, 2011 at 12:34 am
Viva Ciudad de Mexico!!!
mexico city is quite dangerous, what with kidnapping and murders by drug entrepreneurs and the police. reggie was told ixnay, that u.s. army personnel were most definitely not to go to mexico city and especially not to escort fifty year old matrons to international travel. I am glad he didn’t tell me that until the last night. how he changed the mind of his commanding officer is his own business but I believe that my breathtaking stupidity and the possibility of my causing grave embarrassment to the government was a factor.
reggie sent me a text the morning of the flight to houston, where we were scheduled to meet. No jewelry, no nice clothes, no heels, and could I visit a tanning salon? i was cool with everything but the last one. I get claustrophobic in those booths. we made the trip from houston to ciudad de mexico with no trouble at all. well, except for figuring out how to get out of the airport.
mexico city is built on the inside of a crater, surrounded by mountains. It holds within the bowl all the smog and pollution imaginable, as well as the hopes and aspirations of twenty million mexicans. I saw the first of three types of mexicans when we arrived at the hotel melieta. women were dressed in evening gowns and wrapped themselves in furs though it couldn’t have been more than sixty degrees. men wore tuxedos or dark black suits. i thought “mexico is a pretty wealthy country” and felt pretty silly in my black running suit from target. then reggie told me we were at the wrong hotel. a short taxi cab ride and we were at our hotel. reggie fell asleep immediately. i stared at the moon and could just make out the mountains in the distance.
i woke up and i thought it was ten o’clock. after all, that’s what the clock on the building across the street said. so i forced reggie to get up. he told me the first rule: that since my passport stuck out of my fanny pack just a little, i was to let him carry my passport.
we went to a second mexico city. In this mexico city, blue tarp tents lined the streets. families cooked tortillas, sausages, waffles, chickens. mothers with toddlers on their laps sold candy and cigarettes. old men sold sunglasses, cellphone covers, bootleg cd’s (I nearly bought the entire last season of Glee) . I saw an old man laying out a blanket and offering for sale a pair of red shoes with the heels ground down and a selection of car parts. boys in nascar-like jumpsuits sold newspapers to the cars stopped at the intersections—pink for excelsior paper, green for the guardian. women washed windows of stopped cars. the police were everywhere. the smell of urine, feces, overcooked meet and sweat–sometimes the smell of food was good and sometimes i thought i would throw up. reggie told me the second rule: i was not allowed to point at something, i was not allowed to look at something or someone for more than three seconds unless I was wearing my sunglasses. there were not many people who would outright say “can you spare some change?” but everybody had a business.
we stopped to have breakfast at macdonald’s. because reggie said I wasn’t going to eat out of a truck until we were ready to leave because he didn’t want to be around when there were consequences. in the ladies’ room, the toilet paper dispenser was held together with scotch tape. I broke it apart without meaning to. i went to wash my hands and i took apart the faucet. i decided the safest thing to do was sit down to ask reggie about his strategies. . .
we found a beautiful church dedicated to the carmelite nuns. i wanted to find a rosary to wear on my neck, it was the one thing I hoped to find in mexico city but i spent so much time marveling at people, at buildings, at strange things that i didn’t have time to shop. but i did have time to ask the blessing of st. teresita of the nina jesus.
and then it was time to meet yoshi maeshiro and enrique celis, the whole point of this operation . . . .
This entry was posted on Sunday, March 20th, 2011 at 9:01 pm
if you want to invade mexico city. ..
mexico city is a low lying valley, a crater really, surrounded by mountains. it holds smog and pollution and i felt the heaviness in my chest from the moment i left the airport. i sucked on my inhaler like dennis hopper in blue velvet and considered that if aliens from mars wanted to take over, the city was pretty much indefensible. and if the dudes from mars prefer carbon emissions to oxygen, it’s a natural. . . .
at the hotel, after a morning walk of well over three hours, reggie and i had a drink while we waited for yoshi. we had both heard that in mexico, everyone’s a little relaxed about time. while we waited, reggie explained that the whole time we had been walking around, he had been very aware of who was looking at us, who was a potential problem. he said i should be doing the same thing. and never look at something for more than three seconds. count to three. look at something else. count to three.
then yoshi arrived. it was awkward and funny and reggie got the whole thing:
yoshi is an actor who has worked primarily in performing plays for schools. he is working as a director of “life is a dream” (la vida es suena) first published by pedro caldron de la barca in the early seventeenth century. yoshi hopes to have the play touring by april. he is a fan of science fiction and most particularly of my grandfather fritz leiber. he found me on facebook because of being fritz’s fan. it was our first time meeting in person although we have corresponded for several years. yoshi had worked in the area of town where we were and he wanted to take us in the opposite direction from where we had been in the morning. we passed a protest march but yoshi’s explanation of what their beef was confused me. So we just figured it was a shout out to the madison, wisconsin protesters who, by the way, i hope to see next monday thanks to my facebook friend cory!
we also had a meal at a very famous café:
so us revolutionaries had a meal together. reggie ordered a margarita and it was hideous, which was a decisive factor in what happened later. . . .
after lunch we wandered around the park across from the palace of the arts. there were hundreds of booths and vendors. homemade ice cream in flavors like rose, burnt milk, cactus. handmade jewelry (alas, no rosaries). embroidered smocks. we saw a lesbian rights parade. we saw kids crunking in a gazebo. a police officer came into the gazebo and i wondered if i was going to end up in a mexican jail with these kids–but he had brought bottles of water for the kids.
reggie bought roasted corn mixed with chilis, chopped onions, mayonaise–all in a styrofoam cup.
i said in the previous post that i thought there were three mexicos. the night before, i had glimpsed the very wealthy mexico–blessed with jewels and fine clothing. in the morning, i was lucky enough to have reggie with me to watch over me–so i could see the mexico that was the most poor, the mexico that rises early to scrape out a living. but this mexico in the park was the families out walking and enjoying themselves–the vibe was one of celebration and the people were more comfortable with themselves. they had nice clothes and i suspect some money in their pockets. but my feet hurt and my inhaler had been getting a workout. as the sun started to dip behind the mountains, it was time to let this cinderella and her blister inducing slippers go home. i asked this dude for a ride to the hotel. he said no.
but it was a fun day with yoshi maeshiro, facebook friend number #79! but, alas, we discovered that we both had tried to track down enrique celis, my other facebook friend in mexico city. he was yoshi’s acting teacher and had once facebook friended me in order to invite me to a play he was directing. enrique is now officially invited to chicago for the f2fb new years resolution, but yoshi has an invitation whenever he wants!
This entry was posted on Monday, March 21st, 2011 at 3:19 pm
once in mexico city, it proves impossible to leave. . . . and not for lack of trying!
i felt kind of bad for reggie. most of the trip he was worried i’d get kidnapped or murdered or robbed.
and remember that horrible margarita?? his horrible encounter with a margarita weighed upon me.
i figured a guy who’s flown out from savannah georgia should at least get a good margarita and dance with a pretty girl. but reggie being the captain of the operation said that seven a.m. we were clearing out.
at four o’clock in the morning, he woke me up to tell me that he couldn’t sleep and was going out for a bit. i remember telling him the business center was on the second floor in case he wanted to catch up with his facebook buddies and play farmville.
i woke up in a panic at seven twenty. his backpack was on the floor. his flip flops. his watch was on the nightstand. but there was no reggie. i called him and said “exactly where are you?”
“i’m at a salsa club,” he shouted.
okay, he got his margarita. and he broke some hearts in mexico city–we heard the cries as we cabbed it to the airport: “reggie, reggie, you’ ¡re tan hermoso, te quiero, quiero a sus niños!” i figured okay, i have to enjoy the flexibility of travel. that was quite an adventure. but there was much more to come. the cab driver dropped us at the wrong terminal and we had to double back in a train. at the boarding gate, i was told i didn’t have a necessary customs form. as the plane was boarding, i was sprinting across the terminal to the mexican immigration department so i could get the form. i ran back to the gate. suddenly, the boarding gate official was disdainful: the form was of no interest to him. i downed three ativans to quel an anxiety attack.
touching down in houston, i was picked up at the airport by f2fb friend #80 george yates who drove me into pearland where he and his wife (f2fb #81) derrellyn live with her mother, their son, their son’s best friend, their son’s best friend’s brother, and a few four legged species members. the yates family has been through some difficult times. but they have a strong faith system. i put the one souvenir from mexico city next to some of their icons. i figure the play-doh virgin mary in a bottle had found its home.
derrellyn and george really didn’t want their pictures taken but when we went out to dinner with andy (their son will’s friend who lives with them) and nikka (andy’s girlfriend) i got an age old question answered
i wanted to get will on camera. he wasn’t able to come to dinner with us because he was at work. unfortunately, the flip camera was giving me trouble. the yates have weathered some tough times and it’s not completely clear sailing for them, but they surround themselves with a lot of positive energy and they open their home and give that positive energy back to the world.
i flew home through memphis airport. i was and am exhausted. today is definitely a stay under the covers day. but my son eastman says i’m a warrior. i think that’s a compliment.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011 at 1:25 pm
some stats and facts about my f2fb friends and me
in january 2010, i made a new years’ resolution to lose five pounds. this year, 2011, i made a resolution to visit the 335 facebook friends i had when i toddled off to a new year’s eve party. how’s it going so far? and am i any better at losing weight?
weight on january 1, 2010: 138
friends on facebook january 2011: 335
day of the year as of march 23: 82
facebook friends i have visited with so far: 81
catfish moment*: discovering that f2fb #54 inda loop was not a young black female rapper living in new york city but was in fact f2fb #53 richard “mop” furniss
thing one i have learned: people try really hard to do the right thing and they hide a lot of pain and stress and worry. our facebook personas are more upbeat than our real selves.
number of flights i have taken this year: 11
number of flights i took in the previous decade: 8
scariest moment on plane: pilot on flight from memphis to chicago announces that the cabin doors have been locked, we’re cleared for take off and will be arriving in atlanta in less than an hour and a half
scariest moment just before getting on a plane: mexico city when officials wouldn’t let me board a plane to return to the states because i was missing a form from the mexican immigration service
number of ativan i took before boarding the plane from mexico: 3
thing two i have learned: never wear an underwire bra if you’re going through security at an airport
number of new facebook friends i want to visit: 1351
countries for which i have developed a special fondness: brazil and japan, and somehow i will visit those countries too!
this is a picture of me and my first friend in the world sandra patrick. she was my sister, eight years older than me, and the most glamorous woman i knew at the time. even if she was just fourteen.
thing three i have learned: i have spent a lot of my life scared of the world. admittedly, it’s a pretty damn scary place. but if i don’t engage in the world now, i never will.
number of friends who have told me that they or their spouse has gone through the twelve step program for drugs and/or alcohol: 17
number of friends who have asked me to not identify them as such: 6
number of friends who have told me that they have an expired vehicle license sticker: 1
number of friends who have asked me to not identify them as such: 1
number of friends who have deactivated their accounts since january 1, 2011: 4
number of friends who have reactivated their accounts: 3
number of friends who have defriended me: 1
number of friends i have defriended: 1 gilbert gottfried, i’m sorry, but friendship is a two way street
weight as of january 1, 2011: 138
thing four i have learned: sometimes i have thought of myself as being more social than i am because i have facebook friends. facebook is good at connecting but i have to make sure that i engage in the world as it is. using facebook as a tool not as a substitute for maintaining friendships.
mornings i have woke up and thought this was the stupidest new years’ resolution and i will fail: 82
people who have told me this is the stupidest new years’ resolution and i will fail: 3
people who have said “go for it!”: countless and i’m grateful!
country i have most trepidation about visiting but will anyway: burkina faso
city in the united states i have most trepidation about visiting but will anyway: homer, alaska (there’s gotta be polar bears and woolly mammoths)
adventures that are soon to happen: tomorrow a road trip to cleveland, sunday a visit to unity church, monday a visit to the protesters in madison, tuesday a culver burger in beaver dam, a boxing match (yes, i will don gloves), skydiving, roller derby, and chapel hill. that’s just this month.
mornings i wake up and think this is the funnest new year’s resolution and i will succeed: 82
weight as of march 23, 2011: 138
*catfish is a movie about a woman who created a web of facebook personas in order to engage in an online virtual romance with a young filmmaker.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011 at 5:24 pm
two things a man should never do with his penis
sometimes it doesn’t matter how long it’s been since you sat down with a friend because you’re so simpatico that it’s as if you were talking yesterday. and that’s how it was with f2fb #82 janet mccauley. we’ve known each other for fifteen years. she grew up in winnetka and northfield and raised her children here, including her daughter who is just a year younger than my older son joseph. i hadn’t seen janet around town for most of the fall but had heard she had moved in with a boyfriend in chicago. he was the jealous type.
talk about password protection! in any event, i had wondered why janet was messaging some strange stuff. now i knew:
who i would do if i switched teams? well, that’s always an interesting “what if?” game. robbie thapa, f2fb #33, has always said i’d be tops on his list.
yeah, and i have their phone numbers on speed dial just in case i get in the mood
i’ve already tried. and switched. and switched again.
it’s a nice heuristic device nothing more
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Market Researchlater, janet told me the most egregious things this boyfriend did. but a funny thing was this, which i’ve decided is one of two things a man should never do with his penis . . . . and a camera.
janet has known great love. and it was with a man we both know. he lives in new orleans now and i wonder if he has been one of the great loves of her life and if there’s hope for them to get back together. on the other hand, he too has done something a man should never ever do with his penis.
catching up with janet was funny, tearful, poignant, awe-inspiring, gossipy, and we’re repeating the process again when i get back from my trip to ohio (which starts in six hours), my trip to madison wisconsin where facebook friend cory russ rickerson has snagged us an invite to a meeting with the peripatetic jesse jackson and then to beaver dam to have a culver burger with taylor jordan. janet, you’ve gone through a lot in the last several months, but you’re back! welcome home!
This entry was posted on Friday, March 25th, 2011 at 9:11 am
eighty miles per hour on the turnpike–
yesterday somebody told me that for an agoraphobic* i get around. and this year, i have. yesterday i drove 337 miles to oberlin ohio to retrieve f2fb friend #1 eastman and i made it back home in less than twelve hours. talk about a kinetic military operation! unfortunately, i failed in my mission to see facebook friend bob garrity. . . .
this project is getting me out of the house, but i have anxiety attacks every time i step foot outside my comfort zone. an anxiety attack makes my heart squeeze tight, my skin break out in hives, and my brain go into hyperdrive–is it a heart attack? am i having anaphylactic shock? is it the moment when my body will spontaneously combust and i’ll be hurtled into the depths of hell?
quite possibly yes to all three. but why am i like this? why do i get so afraid of things that the average person finds perfectly harmless? i started off life pretty normal. my parents justin (f2fb #30) and aleta leiber were a young married couple studying at the university of chicago. i’ve since been told by justin that i was a colicky, difficult baby. sometime after i turned two, they decided to put me up for adoption. i don’t remember them or my life with them, but i remember the process of meeting the patrick family. here is me sitting between mrs. patrick and my new sister sandra (who had been adopted by the patricks as an infant).
mr. patrick worked at the united states post office in labor relations. he was away from home a lot. he kept bags of candy in the top right hand drawer of his desk in his study at home. i would steal candy and always got caught. often, my punishment was to be put in the basement to consider my wrongdoing. oddly, i really think this made me think of the basement as both someplace i dreaded and a place of safety. i read books, i made up numbers games, i daydreamed.
i adored sandra. i thought everything she did was perfect. she protected me from mrs. patrick’s anger sometimes. she often ironed in the basement when i was being punished and we would listen to rock and roll music on the radio. rock and roll was considered very dangerous back then. when sandra moved out of the house, mrs. patrick focused more on me. she decided that i was wicked, a partner with satan. she started having some hallucinations–it was hard as a kid to be able to figure out what were the things she saw and what things were really there. i started to worry that she would kill me.
i first ran away from home when i was thirteen. i had two friends in high school who helped me. petrarch was the older brother of my friend jean–his real name is john lafond and he is f2fb #10.
when the state got involved, i was put into a bunch of different placements. i was in a psychiatric hospital because a psychiatrist declared me to be depressed (i have since come to the conclusion that every teenager is depressed). i stayed for four months in a detention center where i was put in a cell at night and during the day all the residents studied together in a common area and ate meals in a cafeteria. i think these places again were like the basement–someplace i dreaded but which made me feel safe.
i think all anybody needs to succeed is one person who really believes that you are great. usually, it’s your mom or dad. in my case it was a social worker who said “you’re never going to finish high school but i think you could do well in college”. she helped me get into north central college where i met the eastmans. here are the eastmans with petrarch.
so i was in college. i had friends. i had survived. you would think i’d be just great. but i wasn’t. that’s when i started having anxiety attacks. the first occurred in a grocery store. i told a clerk i was having a heart attack. the paramedics were called. i was taken to the emergency room. i was given some antihistamines by a doctor who said he thought i was just having some problems with allergies. i never went near the grocery store again because it made me think i might have another attack. the rest of my life became a mapping of safe and unsafe places–every time i was in a “safe” place and had an attack, it became an “unsafe” place. unsafe places filled up the world like ink spreading across a piece of paper.
i work at home and i wonder if i have fooled myself that i have friends when i have a virtual connection to them. facebook can help me delude myself. but maybe facebook can also help me ask friends to help me reclaim safe places. . . . . like yoshi and reggie making mexico city safe, like john r. douglas and my new york friends showing me that new york is safe, like eastman yesterday showing me that the broad swath of america between my home and ohio is perfectly safe.
well, maybe not the ohio turnpike.
on monday, eastman and i strike north for madison where i’ll see f2fb friend cory russ rickerson and we’re going to a meeting with the rev. jesse jackson with the protesters. then i’ll head for beaver dam to take taylor jordan out for a culver burger. then i return to pick up eastman and possibly meet with liza roche. yep, for an agoraphobic, i sure get around. . . .
*i don’t make light of agoraphobia. it’s a scary problem. and it can disable you and close you off from experiences and people. i’m happy to hear about your experiences if you think you are like me–you can message me at facebook but also you can email me directly at email@example.com
This entry was posted on Saturday, March 26th, 2011 at 1:29 pm
f2fb #83 and the gift he received from his first wife’s mother
my regular religious service consists of reading facebook friend mike coglan’s emailed sermons (today’s was about the 1962 world series), barging into catholic churches to light candles for my boys, and begging the Lord’s foriveness for everything when i’m having an anxiety attack or when the plane is taxiing down the runway. i think of myself as a seeker but i haven’t put enough concerted effort into it. f2fb #83 larry barkley has always struck me as having followed a path of his own design.
larry and i were first introduced through his second wife suzanne who was a rotarian. after they broke up and suzanne moved to colorado, i didn’t see as much of larry. but whenever i do, he has a good smile and kind words. he’s either got peace of mind or really great drugs!
he was raised catholic, flirted with baptists, and was introduced to the principles of the unity church by the mother of his first wife. usually, mother in law’s aren’t noted for the joy they bring into a man’s life. but larry was open to the gift. and he is now a member of the unity church. i was supposed to go to a sunday service with him and with f2fb #66 fadel haowat-halliwell who has also been a seeker. we were going to meet at the church at 9:15.
i was getting some caffeine at caribou when i saw f2fb #28 tom evans and i invited him to join us. tom is ordinarily a congregationalist but something today urged him to accept adventure. we drove downtown to the unity church at 1925 west thorne avenue. larry and tom had seen each other in winnetka but had never been introduced:
in a room off the main sanctuary was an exhibit of pictures of hearts created by the artist arianne vota smeets. the exhibit, called aorta transformata, was deeply moving. i saw three pictures that i think were directly about me.
it has been said that sunday morning is the most segregated time in america–and that’s supposed to be a comment about how congregations are often of the same race, the same orientation. but this church was clearly welcoming to all races, genders, orientations. and the service was one of joy and love.
one time my facebook friend mike coglan asked me to imagine how i would feel, how i would think, how i would be different, if i truly believed that God loved me exactly as i am, even with every fault and weakness considered charming or essential or forgivable. i could only sustain that feeling for a few seconds before crying. and that’s how i felt in this church.
afterwards i found out that the heart pictures are for sale and can be purchased–go to votasmeets.com to see more of them. also, if you want more information on the church, go to their website at UnityChicago.org and they believe they are a church of light, love and laughter.
larry has found a special place to worship. his fiancee ramona is part of the congregation as well and i hope that i will be invited to the friday night services which sound like the services of the nineteenth century shakers.
larry, thank you friend for sharing this part of you with me! and sorry, fadel. i turned my cell phone on after i entered the church and forgot to turn it back on until i got home!
This entry was posted on Sunday, March 27th, 2011 at 6:19 pm
i’m in beaver dam and i can’t stop crying and i don’t know why. . .
this evening, i will take f2fb friend #85 taylor jordan out to dinner. that’s not why i’m crying. then i have to drive back to madison, wisconsin to pick up eastman from his two nights of debauchery with friends. but that’s not why i’m crying.
i cried in the parking lot of beaver dam’s macdonald’s. then i moved operations to the payless where i bought a pair of espadrilles that i thought would make me feel better but that didn’t work. because i started crying in that parking lot. so i checked in early at the super 8 motel and cried in their parking lot for a while. i’m a pretty equal opportunity sobster.
i’m not even sure why i’m so upset.
last night, i was in madison, wisconsin visiting f2fb friend #84 cory russ rickerson. i met cory at her mother’s memorial service. cory’s mother was married to one of my facebook friends, was a stepmother to three of my facebook friends, and was the mother to two other facebook friends.
cory’s mother terri russ had a troubled life and wanted to end it with a bottle of tylenol. she went into liver failure and was rushed to the hospital. her children and mother were with her. terri was conscious and given the option of having a liver transplant and kidney dialysis to continue her life. but she declined.–although there’s some ambiguity about whether she understood the consequences of what she was refusing. she seemed later to change her mind–she wanted to get better. when she was told by her daughters that there was nothing more that could be done–that the window period within which to save her liver and kidney had slammed shut–she closed her eyes for several minutes before accepting her circumstances. and then she went about the business of being good to her children. she hung in–the human spirit is very strong–for several days and then died. i never met terri.
cory’s parents were divorced when cory was just a very little kid and there was a flurry of marriages and remarriages, custody arrangements and rearrangements, stepsiblings and halfsiblings. cory related to me what i can describe most delicately as “inappropriate situations” which arose from when she was ten years old until she was able to strike out on her own. i was horrified. but she has come to forgive. and there have some who have come to her for forgiveness. she is a very strong gal.
she is a teacher in the public school system in madison, wisconsin and i thought we would spend our time together at the capitol building with the protesters. instead, we talked until it was this little traveler’s time to go to bed! what a nice guest room!!!
this morning, cory went to work before i woke up–i drove to beaver dam and for some reason felt very weepy as i considered cory’s story. i’m not quite sure why it resonates so much with me but i have to get this pulled together before i pick up taylor jordan for dinner. game face, baby! that’s what it’s all about!
This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 29th, 2011 at 5:45 pm
f2fb #85 and 85 and a half!
taylor jordan (f2fb #85) is a senior at wayland academy and her friend marshall is now f2fb #85 and a half. the two gals went out to dinner with me after track practice. i wanted to ask taylor about married life.
taylor and marshall are both seniors with a lot of plans. marshall wants to become a lawyer and will start at university of wisconsin in milwaukee in the fall. taylor has already been accepted at columbia college in chicago and is going to be an artist.
taylor’s not really married. it’s just something she’s put on her facebook profile. i’ve noticed lots of girls who are not married are married on facebook. particularly to other girls. i think it’s a way of saying “i’m not going out with anybody right now”. this is the exact opposite of married guys putting “single” or “it’s complicated” as their status.
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customer surveyswayland is incredibly strict and has a points system for getting yourself suspended or kicked out entirely. taylor and marshall didn’t want to risk a single point–and i wouldn’t want to be responsible for any mishap. so we scurried over to campus, while marshall tried to teach both me and taylor the wayland song of triumph–
taylor and marshall, yep, i want to come to graduation!
This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 30th, 2011 at 10:58 am
f2fb #86 the warrior shopper
there are things my f2fb friend #86 fran fruit can do that i just can’t–one of them being to grocery shop. but that’s because i have a horrible, disgusting, debilitating, shameful secret. i haven’t even read about this in any woman’s magazine.
i sleep eat.
some people snore, walk, talk and mumble in their sleep. i probably do all that but i also go downstairs to the kitchen and eat food. with no memory of having done so. last night i ate a banana, half a package of baby swiss cheese, two hamburger buns, potato chips, spinach dip and an entire solid milk chocolate easter bunny. the only evidence i have of doing this is the crumbs on the bed, the empty packages and peels on the floor around the bed, and that i stepped on cheese when i got out of bed this morning. it’s a wonder i don’t weigh four hundred pounds. so i hope that eastman will not think me a bad parent when i write that i look forward to him going back to school after spring break but only because it will allow me to return the refrigerator to its intended use: to store perfume, nail polish, no more tangles spray, and diet coke.
my friend fran fruit–and her name really is fran fruit–is talented in so many different directions. she’s a photographer and computer genius (although she’s going to email me a correction saying she is opposed to the word genius in this context). she is also a professional taste tester. who better with whom to shop at a grocery store?
fran took me on a very limited portion of her friday schedule. we started at a grocery store in niles. not only does fran bring her own shopping bags, but she also brings her own produce bags. this was not a grocery store for kraft macaroni & cheese, wonder bread, and kellogg’s cornflakes upon which i raised my children. no, this was the united nations of grocery store. and i wanted so much to buy dragon fruit, yamas, cactus, burnt octopus, and burdock. but i wasn’t sure what i would do with them. i don’t speak any other language than english and for this alone i might have stood out. on the other hand, i noticed a gentleman ambling behind me for several aisles. he finally spoke and told me i looked very beautiful. i thanked him and then he said something to another man in a language i didn’t recognize and i think he might have been laughing at me. ah, well, i bought replacement milk chocolate easter bunnies (which i will give away before i sleep) and two prayer candles.
fran had a cartful of stuff but she was quick to say that some things were better purchased elsewhere. we went to two other grocery stores–at one of them i could have bought a live octopus AND gotten eyelash extensions! i wanted pink so bad. she has been married an astonishing forty years and she is the shopper in the family, as well she should be–she is a warrior. i know i can’t ask her to come make me dinner at two o’clock in the morning!
This entry was posted on Friday, April 1st, 2011 at 6:41 pm
the days ahead on f2fb!
am starting to think about the eastern seaboard adventure for f2fb! i have to send out missives to friends lon kieffer, rita bowman, bob garrity, gail marlow, todd stiles, laura resnick, gwen patton, jeff barnes, vince p., and ken kaissar that i’ll be showing up between april 26 and may 4! also, have booked a flight into raleigh for the weekend of april 15 to see facebook friends julie, susan and mike.
but a question: there are plenty of friends i have who are new friends–made since january 1. if i made arrangements to meet them if they are in the same city, would it work? if you’re a facebook friend, particularly a new one, give me a heads up!
This entry was posted on Saturday, April 2nd, 2011 at 11:00 pm
danger girl! i am now packing heat
i don’t like the idea of carrying a gun. as clumsy as i am, it’s going to go off at the wrong moment and will be aimed in the wrong direction. as in middle of church services and me. pepper spray? my eyes still well up at the memory. but, still, i am now packing heat. i figure i’m traveling a lot–something untoward will perforce happen.
i have placed in my purse a wooden board. it’s roughly the size of my laptop. inch thick. and i’m utterly deadly with it. stand back. be afraid. be very afraid.
i’ve known f2fb friend #87 ron stein for roughly 18 years. that’s because i signed up my older son joseph for karate lessons. i thought being comfortable about defending one’s self is always useful–especially in the mean playgrounds and candy stores of winnetka. ron teaches karate at the community house with frank crzysnowski. both joseph and eastman trained for years with the duo. ron now also provides private lessons to anybody who wants to feel confident about their safety. and he was kind enough to come to the house to give me a private lesson, having expressed some concern that this year, i’m sure to run into some questionable circumstances.
ron knew he couldn’t get me up to bruce lee standards, but he could tell me the most important things a woman should know.
first, be conscious of your surroundings. a lot of times i’m pretty ditzy but when i pay attention i have good instincts about when something is not quite right. not that i act on that instinct, although that brings me to . . . .
second, ron says once you have made the decision that you are in danger. then, strike fast and without any part of you holding back. do so for the purpose of gaining an escape route. in order to emphasize his point, he said this:
i’m hideous at making the decision to cut off the ladylike behavior. to breach the social compact. to say “i don’t care if i hurt your feelings.” there is a moment when i should strike, and in the next several seconds, as the miscreant is reacting in surprise, i should make my escape.
ron said that every female he has taught has been able to slice up a board on the first try. the pressure was on. but what this exercise would teach me is just how much power i can bring to a situation. he had me focus on the exhalation, breathing out at the moment i strike. putting my whole self into that impact.
allrightee!!!!* oddly, i didn’t even break a nail! in fact, my only injury was a splinter i got from jumping around screaming “i did it!” while brandishing the two pieces of wood.
if i can strike like this at an aggressor’s chin or neck or eyes, i have just given myself enough time to either flee or to follow up with a damn good knee to the groin, the latter of which ron seemed to hesitant to have me demonstrate. this showed me, though, how much power the weaker person has in any situation if they make the decision to forget appeasement, negotiation, charm, etc.
of course, i never learn the intended lesson. instead, i have put a board in my purse and if ever anybody threatens me, i will just pull the board and say “hold this”
ron has spent a lot of time in japan and like me wants his japanese friends to know 私達は覚えていてあなたおよび私達がであることをあなたのために考え、祈る!
*special thanks to f2fb #28 tom evans ace camera dude!
This entry was posted on Sunday, April 3rd, 2011 at 8:36 pm
space for a new friend? f2fb friend #88 and 89. .. . but 89 shows up!
i was a little stymied by f2fb friend #88. s/he required complete anonymity. s/he only agreed to meet if i promised to not record or memorialize any part of the experience. so . . . there’s a blank spot at 88. an open slot as it were. i have to ask you to trust me that i actually met with the friend.
it’s weird because i respect all privacy issues. if i meet with a friend and we spend four hours together gossiping, chopping wood blocks, pedicuring, braiding, touring the city, or popping open a champagne bottle with a saber sword–and then the pal says “hey, this is what i don’t want shared” that’s so chill with me. don’t want your picture taken? okay, whatever. no video? sure, but i did just get the flip camera and am so proud of myself for knowing how to use it.
this project is not about creating the record. it’s about having the experience. i started the year as somebody who couldn’t look up at a jet flying overhead without feeling a twinge of fear that i might ever have to venture out of winnetka.
but i have this empty space at 88. is there anybody who wouldn’t mind filling in?
after lunch (whoops, i have indicated the activity i shared with f2fb friend #88!) i played facebook matchmaker. f2fb friend #78 loraine hara yolles invited me and f2fb friend #89 sally stearns mcquillen to her home. i’ve known sally for close to ten years. she is a way cool jeweler–redesigning vintage pieces into stuff that looks great with a t-shirt and jeans or with an evening gown (still waiting on an invitation somewhere so i can WEAR a gown)
loraine has a stash of costume jewelry which has been designed for us gals of the new millennium and me? how wonderful she chose me to be her first spokesmodel!!!! except i have to remember to keep my eyes open when the photographer says “think of chanel!!!!”
This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 5th, 2011 at 2:54 am
it wasn’t at all like the movie “my dinner with andre”. ..
no, this had been billed to me as like “million dollar baby” but without the c-1 and c-2 neck injuries. and there would be a dwarf. i was very concerned about boxing with a dwarf. made me think about that rule about hitting below the belt.
i ended up boxing with andre, a ukrainian dude who probably was a bit baffled at being asked to train me and another, ahem, woman of a certain age. here’s my f2fb friend #90 sally
doesn’t she look like she’s having fun?
in any event, andre gave us quite a workout. i’m beginning to think boxing might actually require a) some quick physical and mental reflexes and b) incredible courage. neither of which i particularly have. okay, the dwarf. i’ll get to the dwarf.
andre worked us for twenty minutes–jump ropes, punching, running, hopping–and i was quite ready to say “thank you very much” and head out for a latte and a light pastry. instead, we were just beginning. here’s my first title match in the ring.
look at me go all fast and furious on him!
okay, the dwarf. i’m getting there. what i noticed is that i work out every day. i run or walk, or weights. i can do an hour on a stairmaster reading magazines that keep me up to date on reality television stars that i don’t even know–like, who the hell is leah messer? why is she having problems with her baby daddy? working out has not made one bit of difference in keeping the weight off or in making me all sleek and buff. but damn, twenty minutes with andre and a bit of ring time. . . .
and sally was pretty damn good too!
okay, the dwarf.
sally has a son david who is a dwarf. having a child always has an element of surprise to it and sally describes her experience as a little like getting on a plane bound for ciampino airport in rome and finding yourself landing in amsterdam. i first met sally when david was still in high school–i organized a birthday party at rotary for him and i didn’t actually get to go to it. but he got his first job from one of the rotary members at the party who was head of the park district. david kept score at youth basketball games. but now he works as security at ultimate fitness boxing club–he was guarding the front desk while us gals were tearing up the joint.
sally is more than just a tough athlete. she told me to remember that having the map is not the same as knowing the terrain. i don’t think she was just talking about the fact that i got lost on my way to the boxing club! thank you sally!
This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 5th, 2011 at 9:58 pm
f2fb gets a new friend . . . . all the way from ireland
i was so excited to wake up at one thirty in the morning so i could talk to my friend hector! however, i couldn’t get back to sleep. until just before noon. i’m too old for this sort of thing.
but i need my beauty rest tonight. i’m bringing together two facebook friends tomorrow at roller derby at the uic pavilion! just think–nine more friends and i’ll be meeting friend 100. if i had used this sort of determination at losing weight, i’d be a supermodel!
This entry was posted on Saturday, April 9th, 2011 at 2:02 am
fb stands for foxy balboa!
the most wonderful thing about this project is bringing two friends together! my friend lisa jarvis (okay, put a number on her and it’s 91) is a regular at derby lite–an oak park roller derby squad that is the feeder system for the windy city rollers derby team. i thought, hey, why not get her together with jeffrey weber (f2fb #67) who trains many of the girls on the four squad teams (hell’s belles, manic attackers, double crossers and the fury). oddly, the rollers recruited me about five years ago. i declined. they do not carry broken fingernail insurance.
we met at the uic pavilion. jeff was wearing his hell’s belles t-shirt because that’s the squad that the majority of his gals train with. jeff and lisa might make a really good trainer-athlete team. lisa has the name foxy balboa as her game name. you can find her on http://www.facebook.com/pages/Foxy-Balboa/142329419156989?ref=ts
and she suggested that i take the athlete name scarlett o’scara. i’m on it.
tomorrow! me belly dancing? i want to HIDE the video of that. . . l
for more on the windy city gals, go to windycityrollers.com
This entry was posted on Sunday, April 10th, 2011 at 11:52 pm
i get sucker punched by f2fb friend #92
there are two incontrovertible truths i learned this morning: one, never allow yourself to be taken in by a sweet old lady saying “we’re just a bunch of seniors trying to get a bit of exercise.” second, i dance like a white chick. a white like the underbelly of a fish.
jo caylor is a very sweet gal who lives a few blocks from me. we move in some of the same circles so i might see her and her husband at a party. we might chat or we might exchange a bit of gossip. on facebook, jo often has a saucy comment or a question about why everyone is lol-ing or lmao-ing. but i don’t spend a lot of time with her or really get to know her. that doesn’t happen on facebook or at somebody’s kasimir pulaski day party.
she said she wanted to take me to a zumba class. zumba is a latin dance exercise program created by alberto perez who was once a choreographer for shakira. jo said it wouldn’t be too tough because this class was just for seniors. jo is a lifelong dancer, having performed on the paul whiteman television show out of philadelphia. parts of her life sound like hairspray but without baltimore or a drag queen for a mom.
she had a contract with the rockettes when she was fifteen, but alas, she was too short and never quite grew to the minimum five foot six inches required of a rockette. i should have known better than to step into the ring–oh, i mean dance floor.
the class was taught by a perky blonde with no tits and a six pack. it was hate at first sight–but only because she was so damn nice and perfect. argh. i tried to film some of this but it was impossible to hold a camera–i flopped about like i had been pulled from the lake and couldn’t figure out how to stand up in the boat. here’s the aftermath:
well, that taught me something!
jo had a story she wanted to share with me and anybody who can sucker punch me with such elan should be listened to: she said her father was dining at a rooftop restaurant in karachi, india one afternoon. he had ordered a beer and a sandwich. the only other diner was a solitary, unremarkable looking man seated nearby. the beer and the sandwich were delivered. jo’s father reached for the beer. as he took a good long pull, a vulture swept through the dining room, taking both halves of his sandwich in its claws and then alighting out a window. while bemoaning the loss of his sandwich, jo’s father noticed the other diner had placed his napkin over his plate.
“you have to be quick,” the man said.
and that was part of jo’s advice to me this year. be quick and expect vultures to steal your sandwiches. or perhaps, what she really meant was to expect surprises.
and i do!
This entry was posted on Monday, April 11th, 2011 at 6:22 pm
i get some girl on girl action and my father justin makes a surprise announcement
i was ready for a spiritual moment and that was what f2fb friend #93 dee dee chesley promised me: hot yoga at namiya. a mat, ninety degrees, a few “om’s” and maybe a “namaste” and i could get a nap in. what could possibly be more spiritual? i was going to be just like madonna or julia roberts. self-actualized, well rested, serene, and hot.
instead the instructor dorrie guided us through an hour and a half game of twister. at one point, she asked us to do what she described as what would happen if a headstand and a handstand fell in love and had a baby. i had to move my mat away from everybody else because i kept falling over and women were quite rightly worried about their safety. and of course there was the show off yoga gal who was doing things that nature did not intend to be done with the human body. however, dee dee is very cool. i just need to learn photoshop so i can put my head on her body and then you’d think i was pretty damn talented.
dee dee has two sons as i do and our paths have crossed a lot over the years. she is starting a new career in early childhood education. she is a cancer survivor and somebody who has learned how to start over.
speaking of starting over, my father justin possibly regrets having put me up for adoption when i was three years old. but today, he called me to say that he’s considering moving in with me for a while as a way of starting our relationship over. this was a bit of a surprise to me–but he said that he wanted to get to know me and he felt like he never did that when he had the chance, that is twenty five years ago when i tracked him down with the help of a private detective. i’m not sure how i feel about this development since the last time i saw him was in the lobby of his apartment building when he was accusing me of being a “super conman” who had disabled his car and had brought f2fb #32 reggie gholston into his life. he claimed that reggie was not, in fact, a captain in the united states army but rather a male prostitute.
so i decided to go out with diana tucker for a walk and a talk. she is one of my closest friends and it was an afterthought that she is also my facebook friend. i guess she’s number #94–we can talk about anything but she doesn’t like to have her picture taken. oddly, she also doesn’t like to have a fuss made over her birthday. i’[m still furious that winnetka doesn't have a parade for my birthday.
tallulah, on the other hand, is a bit of an attention seeker. unfortunately, i'm allergic to dogs and now have a blister on my mouth. if i don't die of anaphylactic shock i'll be seeing a very special friend who has a message for eastman's birthday tomorrow.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 12th, 2011 at 9:11 pm
my day begins with a kiss from nipper castino!
i had the best birthday surprise planned out for eastman (f2fb #1) who is far away in oberlin, ohio–i was driving to gurnee to meet with facebook friend julie halpern who was his sixth grade teacher. unlike these friends of mine who put me through physical torture, she wanted to eat waffles and sing happy birthday on a video to be posted for the within hours nineteen year old.
also, if i met with her AND with nipper castino in one day, my trip to chapel hill tomorrow would result in one of the eastman daughters being f2fb friend #100! what a milestone! i’ve stuck with this new year’s resolution to meet every facebook friend! next year, i can make a resolution to lose five pounds!
then i started the car.
well, actually, that’s the point. i didn’t start the car. my car is in the garage doing a perfect imitation of a working vehicle–instead, it is more like an objet d’art to be admired, viewed, photographed and it ain’t going to take me places. my car’s battery was dead.
then i got the bright idea to make eastman a video of ME singing happy birthday. surely he would like it almost as much as julie singing and with the benjamin franklin playing card i sent him he’d be bound to get all gushy with sentiment. that’s when i found out that my flip camera wasn’t working. oh, and my phone wasn’t either.
then i did what any reasonable girl would do–i said that’s it, i give up, i’ll take a day off from the world. i remembered i had an appointment with nipper. nipper castino lives about twenty minutes away. if you have a car.
i decided i have to choose between thinking of this project as an “oh gosh this is silly” project and “damnit, this is going to get done” project. i put on my walking shoes. i had a very nice chat with myself with a lot of positive affirmations, like “i’m positive i’m a jerk” and “i’m positive that every other person on the planet knows how to organize their lives better than i do” and “i’m positive that this project is a disaster and stupid to boot”.
nipper lives with the castino family which includes f2fb friend #6 chris castino who has been one of the early “you can do it” galpals. nipper’s cat siblings are lexy (who declined to meet me) and mini (who wanted that catnip). there are three castino daughters, one of whom–michelle–gets a photo credit here. she is the administrator of nipper’s facebook page. another of my friends–elmore leonard–has an administrator for his page. i do my own work.
we had a bonding moment. i was utterly distracted from myself. and while i was at the castino home i got a call from bob banks of the knauz dealership that sold me the mini. my little car is going to the dealership hospital. i’m working out all the kinks in my technologies. . . .
i am having a wonderful day. it just started a little later than i figured. it started with a kiss from a friend!
and here’s this for you, eastman–
This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 13th, 2011 at 11:58 pm
i’d always like to believe i’m more competent than i am, but there are limits. i have a car with a dead battery in the knauz dealership hospital. i have a flip camera that is acting quite temperamental. i have a phone that keeps telling me that i have a sm card problem.
but here’s the thing: i made a new year’s resolution to meet and spend time with every one of my facebook friends. i am acting on that resolution every day–i am writing from chapel hill where i am with the eastman daughters julie and susan as well as julie’s husband mike.
the eastman family is very special to me. i ran away from home when i was fifteen and i ended up in some unsavory circumstances. but when i came out of that hellishness, i ended up going to north central college in naperville. i met dick eastman, who was chairman of the english department, and his wife vivian. the couple invited me into their lives as friends. it was a friendship that only ended a few years ago with their deaths. their daughters have been kind enough to open their lives to me as sisters.
i have been awake for nineteen hours. i’m tired. i feel like a failure because there’s no video to share, no pictures i can post. but i did what i was supposed to do, which is i got on the plane, i got off the plane, i made it to chapel hill. i have come very far since i made the resolution–and i have a very long way to go!
and one last time–happy birthday to my son and facebook friend eastman!
This entry was posted on Friday, April 15th, 2011 at 1:09 am
a valentine’s day for f2fb friend #96 susan eastman
oh, wait, it’s not valentine’s day! but okay, maybe it’s valentine’s day in chapel hill!
i was surprised by the new joy in susan eastman’s life–i guess when i was nineteen i assumed that love, particularly romantic love, couldn’t come into one’s life when one was so boldly prime time as sixty years old. in fact, i thought everything became quite settled. placid. dull.
wow, am i wrong! every facebook friend i meet is the star of their own reality show and not some bit player in a family drama. susan met gene last august but didn’t go on a first date until january–and since then, well, susan, how old are you two?
there are billions of us on earth, and 700 million on facebook and sometimes it’s a little overwhelming. but also very beautiful. i don’t think there’s any galpal more beautiful than susan eastman right now!
This entry was posted on Friday, April 15th, 2011 at 8:27 pm
i have heard you can’t pick your family. . .
and home is where they have to take you when you have no place else to go. i don’t think i’m unusual in sometimes getting myself locked out of home or that just like dodgeball in gym class, i’m not going to get picked until the teacher says somebody’s gotta take me.
1. biological mother aleta misel leiber clayton. put me up for adoption when i was three years old. i found her when i was twenty five. she was a part-time public defender in d.c. she hated me because i didn’t give her enough money. i have no idea where she is or whether she’s alive.
2. adoptive mother jewell houchen patrick. probably schizophrenic. decided i was a partner with satan in the destruction of the world. she had a hysterectomy when she was seventeen. i think that affected her. here she is in what was probably the early fifties. i have no idea where she is but since she’d be ninety five years old, i would suspect the odds of any sort of reconciliation are remote.
3. foster moms. well, several of them. but most notably irene patton. more about her later.
4. vivian eastman who was never an actual mom, but might as well have been. when i was twenty, she found out i had spent christmas alone, as was my custom. she said never do that again. and until the deaths of both her and her husband, i have spent my christmases with them.
1. biological father justin leiber, f2fb friend #30, married at one time to aleta. put me up for adoption when i was three years old. divorced aleta a year or two later. had at least one wife before barbara foorman his present wife. he has said he is considering moving up from florida state university to live with me for a while. i’m not sure how i feel about this.
2. adoptive father donald patrick worked for the post office. he died when he was seventy and i was twenty five.
3. lots of different foster fathers, one of whom–paul patton–has died but haunts me.
1. sandra patrick, my adoptive sister, eight years older than me and gorgeous. glamorous. in ony the way that an older sister is regarded. i have no idea where she is.
2. casey leiber (f2fb #31) whom i met when i was twenty five and she was eighteen months. i believe she has been raised to regard me as a sort of acquaintance of justin’s and we had very little contact during her childhood. she is an actress in new york.
3. lots of foster sisters. some of whom didn’t make it. some of whom we pledged eternal sisterhood and then got into different placements and lost touch. then there’s gavin patton who became gwen patton. i’ll see her later in the month. she has every reason to want to tell me to fuck off.
4. clare eastman who isn’t a facebook friend. julie eastman who is on facebook–i’ll write about her and her husband tomorrow. susan eastman who is f2fb friend #96.
1. eastman leiber presser, yes, named for the eastman and leiber families, f2fb #1
2. joseph leiber presser, f2fb #61
3. elisabeth presser andrews, f2fb #13. she’s officially an ex-stepdaughter. an interesting feature of facebook is that you can request to list anybody as a family member but sometimes it’s difficult to use that feature and so we’re not connected as family members on facebook. that’s okay.
4. david presser, officially an ex-stepson. i don’t think he’s on facebook.
two biological grandparents i got to meet. alyce blum who is in a nursing home in seaford, delaware. i met her about eight years ago. she has three daughters, aleta included, and has no contact with any of them. her heart breaks. and then fritz leiber the science fiction writer, whom i met when i was twenty five and believed i was being welcomed back into the eden of family.
but i am fifty now and i have learned that when adam and eve had their eden foreclosed on, they just needed to build elsewhere.
i am way not keen on that tornado stuff!
This entry was posted on Saturday, April 16th, 2011 at 1:27 pm
tornadoes in raleigh? welcoming me? what?
julie and mike met in boston. they live next to f2fb #96 susan who is julie’s twin. aren’t they sweet? there is something in us that does this connecting thing. jeez, i thought they were just going out. some years have passed. .. .
chapel hill is a wonderful paradise. they talk about aging in place which, well, i’m on it. all i need to do is move into the shack behind the two eastman sister houses (please mike could you put in electricity? and a blanket?) the eastman daughters and mike even provided me a tornado. but i have to move on. . …. .