Monthly Archives: April 2012

uh oh, some stupid risks i take and that phone app

mr. anonymous (the 314th facebook friend i’ve met since starting this new year’s resolution) was a bit nervous about meeting me.  well, i can assure him that i was nervous too!  it’s hard to meet someone for the first time and as i drove up to his house (thank you gps!) i had a bit of the acid reflux heart fluttering red hives on my face anxiety going.

i ordinarily never visit someone i’ve not met before in their home.  it’s a safety issue.  but there wasn’t any choice because mr. 314 hasn’t left his house much in the past two years.  he’s able to sometimes go to his father’s house (a few blocks away) and to his church (a little further than that).  earlier this year, when he needed to travel six miles to get his drivers’ license renewed, i was so happy for him. he felt like it was an ordeal.

a couple of years ago, he quit his job because of anxiety attacks that persisted no matter what he tried.  then the “safe zone” got smaller and smaller.  his doctor put him on 25 mg. of zoloft.  when he went back for an appointment and said “this isn’t making things any better” the doctor said “let’s try 50 mg”. . .  it’s become even more painful because his wife has just this past week announced that she has filed for a divorce.  his doctor has upped the ante on zoloft, putting him on a prescription for 100 mg.  there is no way that his next few months are going to be easy.

i just wish there was a way to make sure this man knows that he’s not alone.  even when he’s in his house by himself, he’s basically got friends–okay, sometimes they’re “just” facebook friends–who know what he’s going through because they’ve been there too.  i sort of wanted to say that and i’m not sure i was completely successful. . .

i did ask an enormous favor of mr. 314. a phone app and video developer from los angeles has been working on an app to help agoraphobics.  i put the two of them on the phone together.  i hope mr. 314 will agree to be the first tester of this app!

what qualities would you want if your phone could help you get out of the house?  i know mine better say “put that damn flip camera down and drive!”

 


an anonymous agoraphobic and a question for YOU!

i have been on the road and this morning i am two hours away from f2fb friend #314 mr. anonymous.  well, i don’t actually know that he wants to be anonymous but we’ve been corresponding since the first of the year and everything he’s written suggests that he is worried about publicly confessing to having disabling panic attacks and agoraphobia.

i find this weird, maybe because the past year and a half i have been chronicling everything i have been doing — including those white wine “i feel rejected” benders, the fraught relations with my biological father, the crying jags, the strange and bewildering consequences of youthful tragedies.  but also, i find mr. anonymous f2fb friend #314’s concern about being “outed” as weird because i read tmz.com, radaronline.com, and pagesix.com online every morning.

and i am treated to celebrities confessing to spousal abuse, eating disorders, gambling problems, pill popping, alcoholism, infidelity, sex with minors, sex with family members, sex with . . . whoever happens to be around, being gay, being a man in a woman’s body, being a woman in a man’s body, having a penchant for hookers, dressing up in the wife’s clothes, shoplifting for the joy of it, anger management issues (also known as acting like a damn three year old), and the ever popular exhaustion and dehydration.

vanessa williams just released the book "you have no idea" and it reveals that she was molested as a ten year old by an eighteen year old woman, that she was "highly sexualized" as a teen, that she had an abortion when she was nineteen, and that she trusted a photographer who wanted to do some "art" shots of her. by her own description, she went from the cab to naked with a dog collar in less than an hour. those pictures were printed in penthouse and caused her resignation as 1983 miss america. she's bounced back. but there's a lot of 'fessing up she's doing with this book.

 

i have nothing against the self-disclosures.  i think it’s healthy.  but why can’t someone come right out and say “look, i’m an agoraphobic.”  mr. #314 can manage a few miles radius around his house on a somewhat erratic basis.   but by and large, he’s housebound.  and doctors have done a lot of damage with the usual run of sedatives, antidepressants, etc.  that only seem to make things worse.  and it is worse than it was when we first started corresponding.  his wife is throwing in the towel.  the support systems are crumbling.  several times over the past months, we’ve attempted to set up a time to see each other just so i can learn from him and maybe share my experiences with him.  yesterday, he emailed me to say “i can’t.  i’m too nervous about the prospect of meeting you”  i said please don’t cancel because i have a present for you.

and i do.  it’s not a toy, a piece from tiffany’s (i always like those!) or a starbuck’s gift card.  it’s a phone app.

many people with anxiety and agoraphobia rely on facebook, email and cell phones to keep up with family and friends. one facebook friend who is housebound calls her mother at work. her mother leaves her cell phone on and lets her daughter "be" with her during her work day. my facebook friend calls it "having mom let me be in her pocket". . .

 

with a facebook friend from los angeles, i have been developing a phone app to help agoraphobics and those with social anxieties.  it’s not biofeedback.  it’s not guided meditation.  it’s not haranguing, although i do a great harangue.  just ask my sons.  instead, it’s a companion who will walk with you out the door, to the sidewalk and beyond.  and it’s based on my firm belief that therapy makes you dependent on therapy, drugs make you dependent on drugs.  YOU are the only one who is completely invested in getting yourself the terrific life you deserve.

the app is my present to mr. #314.

my question to you:  would you want that app?

and please, wish me luck.  i last wrote to him that i would be at his house.   i would knock on the door.  if he was too nervous to answer the door i’d wait for a while.  but at least i will try.


the pre-forgotten mother’s day

it is a truth so well acknowledged that it scarcely needs to be written–there are four days during the year that the presser boys cannot forget me.  one:  christmas (who cannot forget that one?), two: my birthday (july 23rd in case you’re in the early shopping mood), three:  valentine’s day (okay, okay, it’s usually associated with romantic love, but i get a pass on this okay?), and then the big kahuna of mom allegiance:

mother's day is huge! it was originally intended in the 1800s as a pacifist holiday and was nationally recognized in 1914. father's day wasn't recognized officially until the nixon administration. i actually am old enough to remember nixon. argh!

oddly, my oldest son joseph was born on a mother’s day sunday in 1988–and please don’t do the math on the date i got married although it is a medical miracle that he was born four months premature but fully eleven pounds eight ounces.

sometimes my sons eastman and joseph both, during their newly minted adult independence, have forgotten or misplaced a holiday.  it’s tough to forget christmas but there’s been occasional lapses on valentine’s and my birthday.  i tend to disown them in my mind. . . . at least until they remember and, in varying degrees of contrition, they have their memory and mother love restored.

in any event, this past year and  a half i have been traveling a lot to visit facebook friends and i planned a visit to new york this coming may 6th in order to celebrate mother’s day with joseph and then to remain in new york so that i might celebrate his birthday on the eighth.  and to visit facebook friends!  maybe even wordpress friends who tell me they’re available!  i fly out to new york on the sunday the sixth and return on the twelfth of may.

there’s only one minor problem which i discovered–

oh, the irony! i get so darned upset if the boys forget mother's day and here i have . . . forgotten what day is mother's day! mother's day is traditionally observed on the second sunday of may. this year it will be the latest date in may that it can occur--the thirteenth!

 

this coming mother’s day, i will be thinking also of my mother.  i have a biological mother named aleta.  i lived with her and my father until i was three years old.  then my parents put me up for adoption.  i tracked them down when i was twenty five years old.  a few years later, my mother aleta cut me off.  she has only seen my older son joseph once and has never met my younger son eastman (who just turned twenty).  i recently sent her a facebook friendship request.

my mother loves animals and lives in washington, d.c. and, like me, she trained as a lawyer. when i sent her a friendship request, my account was suspended for fourteen days because facebook freezes an account if someone you send a friendship request to claims that they don't know who you are.

i am looking forward to seeing my son joseph in new york and visting with facebook friends–even if i have miscalculated. . . .


facebook, google, can they coexist?

i’m so sorry, mark, there is a possibility that facebook will fail.  that would be awful for me, because then i would have no social life since i made a new years resolution to meet all my facebook friends in 2011. i succeeded at my resolution–way better than those resolutions to lose five pounds and give up white wine–but i also gained new friends.  i really like facebook.

mark made this possible. however, i am not stalking him. so no temporary restraining orders please! however, i think he has to watch out for google. specifically google chrome. . . it's pretty, it's catchy, and it isn't mark's friend.

 

google chrome didn’t exist three years ago.  now, it’s threatening to topple internet explorer as the dominant browser.  why should facebook worry?  or rather, why should mark worry?  well, the problem is that google doesn’t want to be a mere browser tool.

i'd like to be a browser tool but maybe i'm too old. after all, fifty one is rather ancient.

 

google has ambitious plans with google plus, the company’s “spine”, and uh oh, maybe it can topple the facebook empire.  mostly because google has so many interesting products–google, gmail, android, google search and my favorite google translator which is how i communicate with my peeps.  since i can barely speak a word of english much less any other language.  and if google browser is the gateway drug of our internet we’re going to have to take a few extra steps to get to facebook.  google chrome is now 30.9% of the browser market and they want you to use google plus.  omg, mr. dreamy, remember that dude?

wait, does this mean that fortunes can be won, lost, and won again in this business?

 

in any event, my use of facebook is quite simple.  i connect, reconnect, re-reconnect with friends and family and i have made it my mission to meet these friends in person.  like, actually where we are both there.  without a computer.  without a laptop.  even an ipad.  it’s really weird.  and it’s changed me.

 

 


thank you mark zuckerberg!

i just got this email and i had to share it with you!  it was such a treat especially given that i’m working on my tax return and am figuring out that no matter how i smoosh and squeeze the numbers, i still owe the government major cash.

 

Hi Friend,

My name is Mark Zuckerberg, Chief Executive Officer of Facebook. We have recently joined up with Apple mackintosh for a one-time promotional event today, we are giving away complimentary Apple iPhones and iPads to randomly selected individuals who have been fortunate to be chosen as one of our latest winners for today. We randomly selected users from our systems database and you have matched with our latest drawing.

We have partnered up with Apple to advertise their hottest product yet, the Apple iPhone and iPad. Once yet again, we are operating this campaign for one-day only. All you need to do is CLICK HERE to check out our web site made for this promotion and fill out this short survey to recieve yours for free. Just make sure you enter your email so we may locate our records to make certain that we have reserved one for you. That’s it!

Congrats on winning a free Apple iPhone4 and iPad2. If you have any query or concerns, feel free to e-mail me back. However, you should claim your free iPhone and iPad 1st to ensure one will be set-aside for you before the deadline ends. We do understand that you may well not receive this e-mail until after the deadline, but, we suggest you check out the site and enter your email to see if we still have got yours on hold, which we often-times do because others have not claimed theirs in time.

Mark Zuckerberg
CEO, Facebook

 

isn't he dreamy? and so thoughtful of him to give me a present when i really could use one! this week has been one of major setbacks and i was feeling alone and lonely and very sad. i feel so cherished by mark. but funny thing about his email address!

 

naturally, when i tried to reply to mark zuckerberg — who will forever after be referred to as Mr. Dreamy — i noticed the email address. . .  cdonallbymcdo@hotmail.com  . . . i emailed mark to say how happy i was, and am awaiting his response.  maybe you could email mark, er, mr. dreamy at this account and ask him for some gifts as well!


the tax code explained just in time for april 15

on april fifteenth, the internal revenue service wants to hear from every american . . . . and this year, there are some americans who feel like pulling out their hair.

get out your calculators! figuring out your taxes is fun and easy! oh, and i'm lying about that.

 

i brought home from the library a two hundred page, single spaced manual that is the 1040 EZ tax manual.  so, armed with a calculator, coffee, and a sense of civic responsibility, i will spend the next three days calculating how much money the internal revenue service wants from me.  on the other hand, there is a simpler explanation:

 


on love, change, and that pesky habit of falling in love with someone and then wanting to change them. . .

facebook makes it possible to meet new friends we never would have expected to enjoy and f2fb friend #313 sara kolorowicz is definitely someone i wouldn’t have met without the help of facebook.  in part, it’s because she simply does not leave the house she shares with her parents.  without a job or school because of her agoraphobia, she survives on social security disability payments.

i also probably wouldn't get to meet her without facebook because frankly, sara is cool. she is what i wish i had been when i was twenty two--beautiful, honest, forthright and smart as hell. maybe if i dye my hair pink i have a shot at being a cool fifty one year old.

i felt honored that she invited me into her house.  it’s been quite some time since she’s allowed visitors.  oddly enough, she was engaged to a man from texas when we friended each other on facebook at the beginning of the year.  they met playing an online video game and their friendship turned to romance and from romance to an engagement.  he drove up ten times from texas, a twenty four hour marathon drivefest.  at first he was totally okay with sara’s life but then his desire to change her became more than the spirit of wanting the best for someone you love.   and that gets to be tricky–the line between wanting the best for someone you love and thinking that they have to change in order to be with you.

i like sara just the way she is.  i also hope one day she will be able to get out of her house, in part so that others can see how beautiful she is!  on the other hand, i have also introduced her via facebook to a video game designer.  . . that’s a job she can do from inside her castle walls!