Monthly Archives: February 2012

my drinking is under control, it’s the technology. . .

a facebook friend sent me an article warning that facebook (and twitter and all the other ways we communicate) are more addictive than tobacco and alcohol.  i absolutely concur.

this morning i am on the road to see f2fb friend #298.  i’m not sure exactly what she looks like because she plays with her profile pictures a lot.  so do a lot of people.  last i saw, she looked like this:

i'm figuring lionel richie isn't actually my facebook friend under the name colleen, but i could be wrong. . . i'll definitely make him sing "all night long" to me in bill's toasties diner where we're supposed to meet!

this morning i discovered that something i’m highly addicted to is dead.  namely, the battery on my cell phone.  i overcharged it.  i don’t have a phone.  i don’t know colleen’s number because it’s stored in my phone.  i can’t take a picture when i see her because my camera is in my phone and my next stop and my next stop after that . . . ?  in my phone. my relationship with my two sons who live far away? in my phone (well, not exactly, but you know what i mean)

before cell phones there were phone booths where clark kent would change into his superman togs and teenagers would breathe heavily into mouthpieces. today, abandoned phone booths are used by old men who duck into them in order to fart. it is an acknowledged wisdom born of age which says a man, unlike a child, should never run away from his farts.

one of the things i’ve learned this past year and almost two months–flexibility.  i’m going to need a lot of that today. . . .  and a verizon wireless store!

so i gotta ask you:

an agoraphobic only has one panic attack —

i share a lot with f2fb friend #297 ann malone.  we both are in our fifties (although damnit, she’s three years older and looks ten years younger than me!) and we’ve both raised two sons.

i felt really depressed on valentine's day because i thought my younger son eastman (f2fb friend #1) had forgotten about me. then the fedex guy showed up with a mushy card from eastman--it featured puppies and little candy hearts and who can't tear up when they see the combination? this is a valentine's card i received from one of my newest facebook friends talib who is from iraq where valentine's day is not generally celebrated. i appreciated the beauty of this card and the effort that went into making it!

ann malone and i have been divorced and i think we both agree that our agoraphobia/panicattacks/anxiety contributed to that unhappy fact.  and we both can remember every detail of our first panic attack.

i was nineteen.  i was grocery shopping at the kroeger’s across the street from the police and fire station in naperville, illinois.  i was with my boyfriend keith.  i was wearing white pants, white shirt, a tie, and a dark blue vest.  i was carrying a backpack of books.  wait?  a tie?

my attire that day did not reflect anything about my gender identification. the 1977 movie "annie hall" starring woody allen and diane keaton influenced my fashion sense. so did the prices at the salvation army thrift shop where i bought my clothes.

i sat the window sill at the end of the cash register waiting for my boyfriend to complete his purchases.  i looked outside.  a furious thunderstorm was coming.  the thunderstorm made me think of anger–an angry mother, an angry universe, an angry God.  this is like death’s arrival, i thought and i turned to look at the paramedic and two firemen waiting in line to pay for their lunches.  “they can’t do anything to save me,”  i thought.

and suddenly, everything pressed in on me:  the imminence of death and destruction, the explosion of my heart, the oxygen being sucked out of lungs, lights and sound slamming against me.  too many things at once.  i stood up.  my legs were tingling with weakness.  this is death, i thought.

within a half hour, i was in edward’s hospital emergency room and a doctor was telling me i couldn’t possibly be having a heart attack.  you don’t know that, you don’t know that, i thought.  ann’s experience was a little different in details but the essence was exactly the same.

and what happened next?

today, we have the wonderful news that therapy, antidepresssants*, meditation, yoga**, natural remedies*** will the trick.  uh, well, sometimes that’s  true.  and sometimes a study comes out that says no way.  in any event, i was   diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse, asthma, severe allergies, lupus, depression, separation anxiety. . . in the end, therapy teaches you to rely on your therapist, drugs to depend on your dose, yoga and meditation to rely on your guru of the moment.  it’s a tough call as to what will set us free but ann and i both agree there is some truth to the adage that an agoraphobic only has one panic attack.  everything else is the anticipation or the avoidance of having another. . . .  she and i both avoided everything that might lead to a panic attack.  i have never stepped foot in the kroegers in naperville since that day thirty two years ago and frankly, i still don’t like jewell or osco or “big box” grocery shopping.
ann and i have both figured out what works for us, with the full knowledge that whatever we have cobbled together will fall apart and we’ll come up with new strategies.  i admire ann and i’m so glad she’s my facebook friend!  i got in the car, breathed deeply, and i aim further south to meet lionel richie.  at least i think i’m meeting lionel richie.  that’s what my next facebook friend’s profile picture looks like.  and nobody, but nobody, would put up a profile picture that wasn’t taken yesterday at the passport photo shop, right?



eight pounds, four daughters, three sons, and many friends–what facebook gave me this year for valentine’s day!

weight on january 1, 2011 — 138

children as of january 1, 2011 — joseph, living in new york, and eastman, a freshman at oberlin college in oberlin, ohio

facebook friends–325

new sons acquired during the past year and one month–

emilia who is from indonesia.  he’s muslim, likes hip hop and jempoler’s mania.  aldo who lives in seoul but is originally from indonesia.  he’s also a friend of emilia.  it’s nice when siblings get along.

shizuka who is from nagano, japan and has more siblings and daughters and cousins than anybody i know.  and oddly, i’m not his only mom.  and he’s just three years younger than me.

daughters:  maya and andrey from indonesia and ayin from malaysia–cory who is about to leave quezon city and move to kuwait to work for burger machine.

i think on facebook it’s sort of a sweet “extra” friendship to list friends as your relatives.  so they join my father justin and my sister casey, and my biological sons joseph and eastman as part of my facebook family.  and i have a lot of new facebook friends, many of whom have written to me about their experiences with being what once was called a “recluse” but is now more frequently called agoraphobic or having a social phobia.  facebook allows us to have friends and family but not necessarily have to travel or see them in order to keep up in real time.  so the reclusive or the socially anxious person isn’t shut out of social interaction.  the only difficulty is figuring out what is real and what is not real on facebook.  for instance, you might believe i have nine children. . . .

weight as of this morning:  146 pounds.  i blame my thyroid.  or maybe spending a year (2011) traveling–airport food is a diet buster.  does anybody know how to lose weight quickly?

tomorrow, we celebrate valentine’s day, a day that combines family, friends, and gaining weight.  how?  well, there’s chocolate, the traditional gift of the day–that’s going to put some more pounds on me.  and there’s love–which we share with our friends and family and on this day we try to make a point of expressing to them.  and then there’s the pressure. . .

travel tips from an agoraphobic

last year, i made a resolution to visit my facebook friends.  i managed two hundred and ninety two visits, circumnavigating the globe with my son joseph, learned about my friends and their lives outside of the facebook page.  i picked up a few travel tips along the way. . . as i head back out onto the road!

so this is taking the unfriending thing a little too far. . . a story about murder.

sixty year old marvin potter of johnson county, tennessee has been charged with the murder of billy payne, jr., 36, and his 23 year old girlfriend billy jean hayworth.  the couple were shot to death in their mountain city home, although (thank goodness!) their eight month old baby was found unhurt in his dead mother’s arms.

potter’s thirty year old daughter jennelle potter was un-friended by payne and hayworth after what the couple described as jennelle harassing them on facebook (and sometimes on phone).  jennelle’s sometimes boyfriend jamie lynn curd (who is second cousin to billy payne) was charged with helping marvin potter.  jennelle is probably going to be charged as well and guess where the police are looking for their evidence?  yep, facebook. . . .

marvin potter and jamie curd in court. if they use the defense of "justifiable homicide" i think i have to review everybody i've ever unfriended. including that creepy guy who kept sending me pictures of himself. like, those kind of pictures of himself.

wow!  unfriending gets you murdered?  well, it reminds me of something that happened to me earlier this year.  i was unfriended and blocked by a facebook friend who read my post about yoga.  she was pretty upset with me and felt that i had disrespected her “sacred” place–namely, the yoga studio that she attends.  she also defriended two of my other facebook friends on the same day.  don’t worry–i have no interest in getting out a shotgun.  in fact, i want to apologize to her but i’m a little uncertain how to do it or what i’m apologizing for.  also, the tone of the email she sent me was pretty unequivocal and expressly told me to not respond.

i think if you read my blog often enough or if you know me personally, you know i have trouble with the grape. if i feel rejected, dejected, depressed, compressed, i'll reach for that white wine. i was really surprised i was able to resist. although i spent the entire next day in bed and was awfully sick.

i’m not sure how to send a note of apology and, oddly, her email went to my inbox while i was in the air coming back from having seen her.  we hugged and kissed as we parted.  i even mailed off a “thank you for having me” note before i opened up my email inbox.  and i got very “wha. . . ?” emails from the two other ladies who were unfriended as well.


i try to be real careful about how i blog about people's religious beliefs. and i try to keep an open mind in real life. on the other hand, i have a tendency to make fun of EVERYTHING! and i need to be more careful. i recognize the usual isms--christianity, judaism, islam, hinduism, buddhism.

the odd thing is that i had been a skeptic about yoga.  now i’m not so sure–i found one class made me stronger, calmer, and i even did a backbend (at fifty one this is no small accomplishment).


deactivating — the time out from facebook

Hey there my close family and friends!

I have decided to unplug from all social networks, such as FB, yahoo email and cell phone. This experience will not only help my current relationships grow stronger but it will make one heck of a paper to write about for my school. So if you want to get a hold of me for the next 90 days (May 1st) You can call my home number which is xxx-xxx-xxxx, stop by my house or send me a letter (which I would love!, even if it is just to tell me how crazy I am)

I love all of you and I hope I hear from most, if not all of you in these next 90 days!

Love you!


when i saw the above message in my facebook message box i was taken aback.

no facebook? no cell phone? no twitter? argh!!!!!!!!!

deactivating a facebook account means that you effectively disappear from facebook.  but you can reactivate the account at any time.  maybe you just want a break.  maybe you want to focus your efforts on real relationships.  maybe you want to get some work done.  facebook will send you a manipulative message asking if you really want to deactivate your account because everybody will miss you, but hey, it’s your choice. . . .

people cannot find you on facebook and your skin and hair turns ghostly white. you don't have eyes or a nose or a mouth. and you have a cowlick. it's spooky!


my son and his girlfriend both deactivated their account when they broke up so that their mutual friends could not gossip on facebook about them.  two weeks later, both were back on facebook.  facebook reactivation gives you back all your information, profile pics, the messages, the status updates unchanged.  deleting an account is a little more dire–then you disappear and if you decide you want to go back to facebook, you have to start all over.  facebook claims it retains all account information for fourteen days, kind of a cooling off period in case you reconsider.

i’m going to be very interested in what happens to my friend and whether she returns to facebook before may one.  there has been considerable dissatisfaction with facebook’s changing privacy standards and format, but facebook’s growth in terms of users suggests that any trend towards deletion of accounts isn’t happening.  which makes me wonder. . .




it’s time for me to willie nelson!

i have been lazy enough. well, not so lazy, but not so much on the road. last year's resolution was to meet every one of my 325 facebook friends. i now have more friends and i'm not sure how i'm going to meet them all!

i’m starting to organize a general itinerary but it’s difficult because now i have 4,400 friends and i think some of them i will have to group into geographic zones.  this isn’t much different from what i did at the beginning of last year when i thought about dividing the world into 325 specific friends.  i thought about who lived near whom and who was friends with another and when anybody would be expected to go on vacation to visit. . .


this is someone i’m seeing this coming week. . .

this is the profile picture of the friend i will see next thursday. i see a resemblance to lionel richie. anyone?

so i pull the car out of the garage and head west. . . as willie nelson says “on the road again, the life i love is making music with my friends and i can’t wait to get on the road again. . .