Monthly Archives: March 2012

are you crazy? you’re going to get yourself killed out there!

just a few hours before the beginning of the year 2011, i took a look at my facebook friends list and said “gee, who ARE all these people?  and when was the last time i saw any of them?”  i made a resolution to meet and spend time with each and every friend–all 325 of them–before the end of the year.  it was quite a year.

but something i heard over and over from people was “are you crazy?  you’re going to get yourself killed!”

catherine barnes, 32, of ohio traveled by herself to wales to meet some facebook friends for the first time. she disappeared in january and her frantic family spent many a night believing she might met an awful fate. the swansea police located her in february. what a relief!

whenever i met a facebook friend, if it was for the first time, i always made sure i had a chaperone or that i was in a public place.  i NEVER met someone in my home or in their home.  only one time was there an exception. . . .

one facebook friend, who was mutual friends with a girlfriend of mine, kept insisting that we should meet at my house and that he would be such a gentleman as to bring a bottle of wine. for a full year we went back and forth on this issue, and i would always decline. or we would make arrangements to meet in a public place and he would cancel at the last minute. finally, one day i relented and said "sure, come on over" he was on his way! and when he called to say he was ten minutes away, i reminded him that i had houseguests--pictured here--zeeb and beth feywood. the facebook friend never showed up. he's part of the ten percent i never got to meet!


so i wasn’t completely surprised by the news that the brooklyn orthodox jewish girls school beth rivkah asks its students to not use facebook.  students who are discovered to have facebook accounts are ordered to delete them and pay a one hundred dollar fine. a firestorm of publicity has ensued in the past few weeks because several girls have been kicked out of the school for not adhering to the rule.

“girls are getting killed on the internet,”  school administrator benzion stock told the new york post.  “that’s the reason for it.”

he also added that facebook “is not a modest thing to do”, claiming the internet ruins marriages and families.  i agree.  girls are getting killed by people that they meet on the internet in unsafe situations.  some marriages and families are destroyed by affairs that are begun as simple facebook friendships.  but by that logic, we need to immediately get rid of other forms of communication, starting with . . .

the post office? telegraph? carrier pigeons? semaphores? what are we thinking about??? any of these things could be dangerous for marriages, families, our very lives because they foster communication!


maybe instead, people need to set up safeguards for themselves.  which brings me to f2fb friend #309, the not at all dangerous martin ruffner.  ruffner is a gentleman and, as such, it wouldn’t even dawn on him to ask me to meet him outside of a public place.  in this case, libertyville’s jamaican hawaiian irish english restaurant firkin’s, for lunch.  we arrived separately.  we enjoyed a meal together and we talked about our children.

i have two sons and so does martin. he has been following my blog and my story in part because he identifies. . . he has been through a rough patch but he has found comfort and strength in his family and friends--some of whom are on facebook!

during last year, i was grateful to the many chaperones who made the trips possible!  now i am on my way out the door to visit with facebook friends for whom i feel honored to pay it forward!



a face to facebook invitation!

it’s been a really wonderful year and a few months of meeting facebook friends around the neighborhood and around the world.  while it’s helped me a lot with anxiety attacks and agoraphobia, it’s most important aspect is to bring facebook’s promise of friendship a reality!  it’s so important that friendship not JUST be a facebook thing, an internet friendship, an email correspondence. 

soooooooooooooo. . . . 

an invitation to all my blogging friends, my facebook friends, my friends friends. . .

date/time:  april 28, five to seven p.m.

where:  round table books at round table books at 572 lincoln avenue in winnetka, illinois

why:  because i really, really want to meet you and arthur frank, proprietor, wants to celebrate the creation of a book celebrating my year and a quarter of facebook friendship.  it’s like a book launch before a book.  and a celebration of friendship!

what to bring:  your sweet self and a new or gently used book to donate to reach out and read illinois which provides children’s books to low income pediatric clinics.


will you please come to the party?




i get a facebook friendship challenge. . . with a phone call to follow!

a facebook friend sent the following message to me and a few others.  i was terrifically flattered and also very humbled.  i have never met this facebook friend but i am looking forward to getting a phone call in the next couple of weeks!


Dear Friends,

Hi everyone, (Warning: personal sharing to follow. Proceed at your own risk.)  🙂 As you may or may not know I freelance/consult from my home office. Thankfully, this year has been very busy. That includes everyday including most weekends. This past month I put in 30-40 hour weeks working at McDonald’s corporate headquarters while handing my own clients on nights and weekends. The McDonald’s gig is now complete and I see open space in my calendar. Why this info? I feel stuck. I’ve concentrated so much on work that I’ve left my friendships by the wayside. I haven’t actively been pursuing any lunches or coffees etc. Also, After 3 months  of walking 3 times a day, I’ve now gone 3 weeks without any form of exercise. Just sitting  here and doing nothing isn’t working 🙂  So it’s time to act. I’ve been inspired by a Facebook friend whom I have never met but heard about on the radio and have since been following her Facebook accounts and blogs. She suffers from agoraphobia and decided to visit all her Facebook friends around the world in person. Her name is Arlynn Leiber Presser if your interested in reading about her. She has inspired me to action because she stepped right through her fears and phobias and did it and continues to do it. Reading her blog I think I’m at home now more then she is. 🙂 So why am I writing this? To face a fear of mine? Picking up the phone and calling someone to plan something hasn’t been my style. I’ve always waited for others to get the ball rollling. Waited to the last minute. Going to the cave is great but it gets old after awhile. Well you know what? I’m getting to old for this shit! I’m not putting this out there to fish for calls. I’m am putting it out to the universe and to my friends and just to let you know I will be calling!  🙂 Peace and love, Mr. T


mr. t, you have my phone number!

damn! mark zuckerberg finally emails me and i’ve won a prize!!!!

wow, wow, wow!!!!  just read it!  i've won something!

i've been totally in love with this ring designed by alexis bittar's haversham collection. it's only two hundred smackers and i think i could afford it if this email is valid.


1601 S. California Ave,
Palo Alto,
CA 94304.

Ref: 990078567
Batch: 9056490602/333
Winning no: FB8701/LPRC
ticket number: 987061725 07056490902
serial number: 7541137207


This is to inform the bearer that You have won the sum of $1,000000 OUR 2012 SWEEPSTAKES (Facebook Inc) This is a bonus to promote our users worldwide through this online lottery, Which is fully based on an electronic selection.

We hereby approve you a lump sum of $1,000000 (One Million Dollars) in Cash Credit File- ILP/HW 47509/02 from the total cash prize for eight lucky winners in this category.

All participant were selected through a computer balloting system drawn in Nine hundred thousand E-mail address on Facebook website from the listed countries: Canada,Australia,United States, Asia, Europe, Middle East and Oceania as
part of our international promotions program which is conducted annually.

This Lotto was promoted and sponsored by a conglomerate of some multinational companies as part of their social responsibility to the citizens in the Aspect that impacts peoples lifestyle worldwide.

Further more your details(e-mail address) falls within our European representative office in Amsterdam, Holland, as indicated in your play coupon and your prize of US$1,000000 will be released to you from this regional branch office in England.
We hope with part of your prize, you will participate in our end of year high stakes for US$1.3 Billion international draw.


Simply contact your Fiduciary Agent
Name - Desmond Arthur
E-mail address -

Please quote your reference,batch and winning number as well as your full name, address and telephone number to help locate your file easily.

For security reasons, we advice all winners to keep this information confidential from the public until your claim is processed and your prize released to you. Keep it secret. Keep it safe.
This is part of our security protocol to avoid double claiming and unwarranted taking advantage of this program by non-participant or unofficial personnel.

Note, all winnings MUST be claimed before the end of this program; otherwise all funds will be returned as Unclaimed and eventually donated to charity organizations.

Once again Congratulations on your winnings.
Yours faithfully,
Mark Zuckerberg
Online coordinator for Facebook
Online lottery

Introducing the New Facebook Home Page Based on your feedback, we've made some improvements:

* Streamlined updates
* Faster page load
We hope you enjoy these new features and that you will continue to help us provide innovations that make your experience the best it can be.

The Facebook Team
©2004-2012 All Rights Reserved.

sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. . . .

facebook gives me several unexpected children and a new job. . . plus why you should be friends with james michener

i counted up my children on my profile page.  it’s always good to keep track of family.  it turns out that yes, i have the two sons–joseph presser and eastman presser–that i recall from before i even had facebook.

there was, of course, justin my father, who cut short his visit to winnetka the day before yesterday. my pajama day may have been because i felt rejected but it could also have been a migraine. either way, i resisted the urge to pop open the vino although i couldn't resist episodes of peep show and house!

i have acquired five daughters.  they’re all adorable.  they’re right there on my profile page.  i also have three new sons.  this was no miracle of medicine.

it WOULD be a medical miracle if i had another child. after all, i'm fifty one and i don't have a husband. on the other hand, if there's anything the last year has taught me, it's that you can do anything you set your mind to!

i also have a sister.  well, two.  casey leiber was someone i have known since i was twenty five and she was a wee baby.  i’m also sisters with kim price (i wonder if this means she’ll let me borrow a pretty dress for next saturday night?)  in any event, that’s the magic of facebook is the playing around with relationships.

gay marriage is a contentious issue in america. maybe we should bear in mind that on facebook, you can get married to anybody you want to. i understand it's the fashion amongst my teenaged facebook girlfriends to announce that they are married to a sibling or to their very best girlfriend. in this way, they communicate not that they're really married but that they are available to date.

the other surprise i discovered as i looked at my profile page was that i have a job!  it’s so cool!  we have over eight percent unemployment the last that i checked and it’s a pretty great feeling to know i have a job!  it’s at round table books in winnetka.  they have a facebook page and they added me as an employee.

round table books at 572-b lincoln avenue in winnetka is listed as my employer. i think this happened because one of their people was playing around with facebook and thought it might be fun to include me! i'm flattered. where's my check and when do i have to come to work?

if i’m not going to work at a book store, i might try making money another way.  by writing a book.  but first i have to make friends with james michener.  at least this is what my facebook friend #308 james crumley tells me. . .

james has writtten seven novels, including the above mentioned “God bless this kitchen” — he’s owned two publishing businesses and was a single father to his son.   he’s working on a new piece and i can’t wait to read it!

sadly, the american author of over forty novels died in 1997. but he still has a facebook page!!!!!

a puzzling end to a facebook friend’s visit and i revisit the lexapro issue

what a wonderful afternoon get together! thank you f2fb friend #307 tony adams with my father justin. tony is a wonderful friend and wanted us to try something special for lunch.

my father justin (f2fb friend #30) flew in from tallahassee this monday and planned to stay for a week and a day.  we had dinner with f2fb friend #306 oj dorson and justin made chicken l’orange in honor of the occasion.  the next day, we had lunch with f2fb friend #307 tony adams and then there was the fire. . . .

i went to sleep that night thinking that the visit with justin was going very well.  i had a brunch planned for sunday morning in his honor.  we were going to the movies to see the artist. then i woke at four o’clock in the morning with a migraine.

for those of you who don't know what a migraine feels like, imagine this cute blue dude having some fun with hammer, nails and your brain.

i didn’t come downstairs until seven where i found justin had already packed.  he said his wife barbara had a dinner that evening and wanted him to return home to join her.  he had already called the airlines and rebooked a flight for that afternoon to atlanta and then in the evening a flight from atlanta to tallahassee.  it seemed puzzling to me.  i felt uneasy.  i felt rejected.  i felt, and still feel, that i must have done something to offend either justin or his wife and it’s just a matter of me not knowing what it is.

feeling rejected is a good excuse for a pajama day. which includes pajamas, self-loathing, a paperback, television, domino's pizza and wine and going to bed at eight o'clock. this time i left out the pizza and wine.

i was proud that i didn’t call domino’s, prouder that i didn’t drink white wine.  i still have a migraine.  i still wasted time on, went to bed at eight o’clock and never got out of my pajamas. . . but this morning, i’m back together except for the bedhead.  the temporary rules of my life are back in force:  work out every day, take a shower, no going to bed at eight o’clock.  otherwise. . . .

i have a prescription for lexapro which is sitting unopened on my kitchen counter. i really don't want to do this but some doctors believe anxiety disorder and agoraphobia are only controllable with antidepressants. including mine.



attention all bloggers! you want to know my friend OJ!

not this oj! well, do what you want but this oj is not, as it happens, my facebook friend.


last night, my father justin (f2fb friend #30) flew in from tallahassee and he made dinner for me and my facebook friend #306.  i never would have thought this would happen, not just because i never thought i’d meet friends 31 all the way through 306, but because last february when i first met justin as part of my facebook project he had experienced a psychotic episode precipitated by a combination of drugs he was being prescribed as part of his treatment for cancer.  go back and look at those blogs.  they’re brutal.  it wasn’t a good visit.  however, this visit is to last a week and so far, it’s just great.

my friend oj dorson drove up from the city where he works as an IT specialist for a law firm.  he had an exciting idea. . . and he started with a question:

what had i ever intended to do with this blog?

i realized that mostly i wanted to capture the friendship experience, to chronicle what i had done mostly for the benefit of my two sons.  children rarely understand their parents so i wanted to create something to let me be more understandable to them someday.  and i wanted to rid myself of some demons, put some closure on some experiences, test the boundaries of possibility.

then he said he had some particular magic — some might call it software. OJ (facebook friend #306) wants to help me create a book which would chronicle last year’s visits to all my facebook friends.  think of it!  an e-book wit embedded video and photographs. . . !  and you can do this with your blog as well!  think of whenever you started to chronicle what your journey was about–think about putting that together.  now–don’t you want to know my friend oj?

in honor of oj's presence, justin cooked chicken l'orange. he roasted some chicken pieces in olive oil. took the chicken out and set it aside. put a can of orange concentrate into the pan, with a little paprika for color. stir gently. put the chicken back in. serve with rice. modestly accept praise.

my facebook project has blessed me with new friends like oj, with a greater perspective and tolerance for the world and also has allowed me to gain peace with some of my life.  with the help of my facebook friend #306 oj dorson i might also create a book!

tomorrow:  facebook gets me a job and eight extra children!  maybe it can do that for you too!

i meet facebook friend #305 and get out of my pajamas . . . FINALLY!!!

last week was, ahem, a week of challenge–four straight days in bed cowering under the covers and then a doctor’s appointment that concluded with me being written a prescription for lexapro.   the lexapro bottle is on my kitchen counter.  i haven’t tried any yet.  i have been receiving emails and phone calls from people weighing in–i’ve been amazed at how much i think that everyone i know is completely competent, happy, well-organized, and now they’re telling me that they were a wreck before they started lexapro, zoloft, klonopin, paxil, etc.  . . . or that they were a wreck when they tried lexapro, zoloft, klonopin, paxil.

for me, right now, just for the moment, i am making the choice to not take an ssri antidepressant.  that i did a pretty good job of getting myself out of the house last year to meet my facebook friends and conquer my fears and taking a drug would make me feel like i wasn’t entitled to believe in what i did and how i did it.

the three temporary rules are 1.  no going to bed before eight o’clock (because i’ll wake up at two a.m. and think of all the reasons i should be anxious and that makes six o’clock seem an impossible hour of the morning and then i suddenly realize it’s three in the afternoon and i haven’t moved), 2.  intense cardio exercise every day (it’s amazing how much sweat takes away the negatives. . . ), and 3.  take a shower every day (let’s even discuss why that’s a good idea).

a fourth rule is to spend time with friends.  on friday evening, giving myself lots of slack to turn around and come home if i got too anxious, i went to the village follies variety show.   i figured it was three blocks away from my house.  even in heels, i could run home.

last year, i needed to visit 325 facebook friends as part of my new years resolution. tony morris is one of my friends, and i was quite stalkerish about sending him messages which he never responded to. friday, we saw each other. he's the sort who has created a facebook page and then never uses it. i've noticed some people spend an evening creating a profile and then are like uh, i don't really want to do this. okay, we finally got together--thank you mr. #305!


and i did bolt out of there at an insanely early hour–midnight.  the next afternoon, i thought of fifteen reasons why i shouldn’t go to the dinner party hosted by my facebook friend #50 ron o’neal.  ron had invited me in part because he had read in this blog about the four day pajamas/noshower/nobrushingmyteeth days and he thought i could benefit from a little society.  i decided to stay for twenty minutes.  four hours later, the o’neals were kicking me out the door. . .

tristan and her husband amadeus do not have facebook.  in fact, amadeus is quite opposed to facebook.  one, he believes that any group of people could make their own facebook.  second, he believes it’s morally wrong for mark zuckerberg to make so many billions.  amadeus grew up in what used to be the communist east germany and he’s very aware of the problems of power and money concentrated in the hands of a few people.

mark invented facebook and while he is a billionaire he doesn't really live the life of one, at least so far. i am very impressed by his quote "we do not give better service in order to make money. we make money in order to give better service." i think it would have made an EVEN more interesting dinner party if ron o'neal had invited mark and his girlfriend to join us. but maybe mark was busy.


i have to add another rule that lurks under the surface of all i do:  no drinking white wine.  beer is okay because i feel great when i’m drinking it and fine the next morning.  white wine hits me like tequila with a university of g.g.w.* on spring break.  and i’m wretched the next day.  so that’s why tristan had to teach me to open a can of guinness.  a full pint has only 168 calories and has only 4% alcohol.**  that’s a bargain. . . .

white wine gets me drunk fast and hard and not in a good way. in fact, my new years resolution has been to avoid it. the triggers that make me want to drink it are rejection, self-loathing, isolation, and depression. white wine, we can't be in a relationship together--it's not you, it's me. sometimes people are a trigger. my father justin (facebook friend #30) has, in the past, been a trigger and he's going to be a houseguest for a full week beginning today. this is a challenge for me.


hey, this is my first blog with footnotes!

*   girls gone wild (ggw)  —,0,0,0,0  (don’t click on this link if you’re at work or you’re in the kitchen with your wife and she’s making dinner and looking over your shoulder)


And the Winners Are…

And the Winners Are….


i’m so lucky!  thank you so much to living4bliss for the hug!  i want to share it with you!

the four day pajama marathon comes to an end. . .

it has been a week of blessings.  well hidden blessings, but nonetheless blessings.  it started on monday morning when i was so anxiety ridden, so scared of the world, that i cancelled a doctor’s appointment and lunch with a friend.

the painter hieronymous bosch 1450-1516 painted the garden of earthly delights to represent the chaotic, confusing, overwhelming nature of the universe. well, that is sort of how winnetka looked like to me this week!

tuesday i took another sick day, wednesday i weaseled, and thursday i went to the doctor but only because i had already cancelled one visit and he’s just two blocks away.  when he opened the door to the examining room, i started crying.  i have no idea why.  and he’s a great doctor.  he sat and listened.  to a completely incoherent story about how i couldn’t get out of the house.

but it is a truth so universally acknowledged that it hardly bares repeating but a fifty one year old woman with three day old bedhead and a case of the weepies is a woman in need of an antidepressant.  in this case, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor called lexapro.

“will it make me gain weight?”  i asked.

“all antidepressants will make you gain weight,”  he said.  “oh, and you have to take it every day but it won’t start working for at least two weeks.”

that sent me howling and he did what any reasonable doctor would do under the circumstances.  he excused himself to see if the pharmaceutical representative had left him any samples.  a moment later, he came back in, wheeling on his shoes when he realized i had not yet composed myself.  nonetheless, within a half hour i was out on the street, sniffling as i walked over to conney’s pharmacy to  get the prescription filled.

i stumbled upon my friend david grant who was headed towards the post office.  he gave me a hug.  i asked him if he had always known how incompetent i am.

“i never thought you were incompetent,”  he said.  “you seem pretty put together.”

and that’s the way it is–we all look a lot more competent than we feel.  if we could just remind ourselves every once in a while that we might think we’re poseurs fooling the world.  but so is everybody else.

this morning, i woke up at two o’clock and began cataloging my faults.  it’s a little curatorial habit of mine.  i was supposed to take lexapro in the morning, with food.  it might make me nauseus.  it sometimes causes spontaneous fatality or exacerbation of suicidal thoughts.  i couldn’t get back to sleep. so i read a book.  and then i got up at six and worked out.  and immediately made this video with the help of lisa jarvis.  she works at the fitness center and she is now charged with the task of calling me every morning if i don’t get on the stairmaster by nine o’clock.  when you live alone, as i do, you have to set up some rules. . . .



but the most important rule is to be with your friends.  because they don’t mind your incompetencies–in fact, they purposely don’t see them. . . .

and the lexapro?  not yet, i’m not quite willing to say that everything i did last year could be bested by a little pill.

last year, i faced down a lot of my phobias as part of my resolution to visit all 325 facebook friends--i couldn't even imagine getting on a plane before last year and i think i logged 51 flights altogether. so this is just a temporary backsliding. this is a get back up on that horse and ride moment!