Monthly Archives: August 2012

just like laguardia on a friday afternoon before a holiday–but without planes!

new york is like a love affair:  getting out is so much harder than getting in–and leaving new york at three o’clock on a friday afternoon, with an e-ticket for a flight at laguardia, you should be prepared for an experience that will not compare favorably with the ex-boyfriend who slashed your tires and dumped a box of your thong panties, that sex toy, and the edible body lotion from victoria’s secret on your mother’s with the words, “i think these are for her.”

but i got out of new york after my visit with facebook friends azusa watanabe from tokyo and carolyn quinn and michele persiak from new york even with a cab driver who got lost, a terminal change, long lines, surly t.s.a. agents who claim they want to touch my junk because i’m “random”, gate changes, delays, cancellations, etc.

i had paid an extra thirty dollars for a “premium” seat 7a. unfortunately, united sold that same seat to someone else. the airline implemented its new “customer empowerment” policy and i lost. i was seated in a middle seat between two oversized bins (i mean men). note to united: can i have my thirty dollars back?

several times over the last year, facebook friend david janis and i have tried to set up meeting with each other.  while i was in new york, we talked on the phone and i resolved that i would really do it!  i made reservations at a hotel and plotted the course.  a few days before my arrival, david messaged me that he was having anticipatory anxiety attacks which was particularly difficult because of some other health problems he battles.  i decided that since the hotel was prepaid, i would go anyway.

david is an agoraphobic who embraces himself and his way of life.  he doesn’t shy from it.  and he helps others who may want to change and others who may not want to–as well as those who think they have no options.   he has a lot of interesting wisdom.  i wanted to hear it!  i told him how long i would be in st. louis and if the anticipatory anxiety fell away i would be happy to see him.

yesterday, i went to the jefferson memorial park and i would have ordiniarily confined myself to going to the westward expansion museum.  but then i thought why do i place a limit on myself or on what i believe is possible for me?

brave before you have your ticket to the arch tram is one thing.  brave after you have put your money down . . . well, in my case, courage evaporated.  and i think part of the mood change, the anticipatory anxiety if you will, is the same as in airports.  the park rangers are now equiped with a conveyor belt, metal detectors, harsh voices.  i saw one poor woman moved to tears because she had to go through the metal detector three times.  finally, she lifted her shirt, as if to say “look, i don’t have anything!”  and this is what we do just to visit a national park.

i needed an attitude change but i couldn’t get enough privacy to create it.  after a long line that slithered down into the basement of the museum, we were loaded as a group into a room about the size of a motel six bath not included.  we should have been appreciating the exhibit items devoted to the arch’s architect eero saarinen.  instead, we were crowded together so tightly contemplative thought was not possible.  we were half an hour late.  we were then herded further into the sub-basement of the museum into another area where we were shown a three and  a half minute safety and history video.

i admit it, i freaked in the eero saarinen tram car.  seats five but only if the five are freakishly small or they are quite friendly in a kentucky cousin sort of way.  getting off the tram and entering into the arch’s viewing area, i totally lost it.  i stood in the center of the eight feet by twenty feet room, with its low slung windows overlooking the city.  i waited for my legs to stop shaking.

the arch shifts a little, there are noises from the bumping tram cars, children running up and down the narrow space made me want to scream “stop it!  you’re going to make the damn arch collapse!”

i waited.  the park officials–can you really call teenagers officials?–looked bored.  a group of teens turned their backs to the windows and took pictures of each other with their cell phones and then texted.  lots of texting.  i decided that yes i was scared.  but hardly anybody was aware of it.  except for that poor couple who had driven up with me on the tram.  they were from indianapolis and i think they were glad to get out of the tram and even more relieved that i was going back down without waiting for them.

we take our victories whenever and however we can find them!  and now i hope that i meet david, but if not, i still have other facebook friends to visit in the gateway to the west!

of course, my facebook friend william clark goes with me for every adventure! he is right there in front of the blue trunk! the real william clark explored the western half of the united states from 1803 to 1806 in what is commonly called the lewis and clark expedition. you can read all about it in William Clark and the Shaping of the West by Landon Y. Jones!


i’m a winner! i’m a winner! i’m a winner of the facebook award! (and you can be too!)

well, aren’t i the lucky one?  i found this in my facebook “other” box:

Doris Copeland

  • Congratulation’s Congratulation’s Congratulation’s!

    We are Pleased to inform you that your Username was selected among this year 2012 winners of FACEBOOK PROMOTIONS AWARD.
    You have therefore been approved for a lump sum pay of US$ 750,000,00 (SEVEN HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND UNITED STATE DOLLARS ONLY)

    For more details,kindly click on our site below or copy to your browser for full information and direction on how to redeem your cash prize.
    http://facebooksocialmediatoday20122.yolasite.com/

    Congratulations Once Again!!!
    Announcer!

    Mrs.Doris Copeland
    Facebook Online Co-coordinator

  • facebooksocialmediatoday20122.yolasite.com

    i was so excited that i promptly clicked on the link and i was so astonished to see my hero mark zuckerberg.

                             CONGRATULATION’S!CONGRATULATION’S!!CONGRATULATIONS!!!

                            2012 FACEBOOK SPLASHES PROMOTION.

    Dear winner!!

    You have been selected as one (1) of (15) winners in this
    months Face-book online splash promo selected from all
    regions by our Internet processing unit. Our fifteen (15)
    winners have been selected from five continents currently
    connected to the Face book network ALL OVER THE UNIVERSE.
    Award Attached to ticket number (5647600545189) and
    ballot number (BLT: 12052006/20).

    Your User name as the 5th beneficiary in this promo was
    chosen at random by our Digital Random Internet Processing
    Service Asia Pacific (D.R.I.P.S) and your reward is coming
    from the interests generated from advertising and copyrights from the Face book network . Congratulations once again from Members of Facebook Network, You are entitled to a surprise package worth the sum of $750,000. ( Seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars Only).

    To begin your prize claim, You are advised to click on (CONTACT  US )AT THE TOP  RIGHT  HAND SIDE) and fill all the information below and submit to enables our co-ordination contact you with further information and direction on how to redeem your cash prize.

    YOUR FULL NAME:_____________________________________
    CONTACT ADDRESS/NOT Po BOX________________________
    PHONE NUMBER:______________________________________
    COUNTRY/NATIONALITY:________________________________
    YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS_________________________________
    TICKET NUMBER :.._.(5647600545189)
    BALLOT NUMBER:….(BLT: 12052006/20)

    Do not disclose this to any one until you claim your price for security reasons.we have had cases where the last
    winners complain of someone else claiming their prices.:

    Best Regard,
    Mr Mark Zuckerberg
    Co-Founder And CEO Facebook Inc.
    Facebook Group Online Cash Splash promo 2012.
    Dr.James Hong,
    (Facebook Administrator)
    Payment & Release Order Dept.
    Copyright © 2012 Face Book winnings Inc.
    All rights reserved. Terms of Service – Guidelines.
    Facebook © 2012 English (US)
    Facebook Winner 2012. Body: Dear Winner, Greetings from the Entire board of the Facebook Financial Services Promotion Scheme, on behalf of the Facebook Team, you have Just been awarded a Grant winner of US$750,000.00 from Facebook Financial Services Promotion Scheme. You have been chosen through your User-Name By the Board of trustees.Congratulations Once Again.

       Signed,

    Mr. Mark Zuckerberg

    Co-Founder And CEO Facebook INC.

     

    okay, what do i do?  what do i do?  where do i spend my insane new money??????  suggestions solicited from YOU!!!


you win an argument on facebook, you’ve already lost. . .

i don’t remember exactly how it happened or what was said, but i remember i violated the most important rule for parents on facebook:  if you are so lucky as to be confirmed as your child’s friend you may not comment–nay, you cannot even look–at your child’s posts.

i did. i looked and i even commented.  something parental, along the lines of “i think you shouldn’t”

this is not either of my sons. my heart goes out to the mother of this poor man. every mom should know that she shouldn’t look, it will only break her heart, at her progeny’s facebook photos.

my sons erupted in a baffling and quick comment and reply i was awash in tears.  until eastman called me and said everything was just for show.  “if you win an argument on facebook, you’ve already lost,”  he said.

i was reminded of his wisdom, forged upon his twenty years on this planet, last night as i logged on.  there are many support groups on facebook, one for every supportable human condition.  i am a member of several associated with agoraphobia.  i joined all of these early this year, after i started my facebook new year’s resolution to meet all my facebook friends.  last year, i resolved to meet all 325 of my facebook friends, no matter where in the world they might be.  by the end of the year i had met 290–and had discovered that about ten percent were spambots, in prison, were hopscotching the world in such a way that we could not meet, or had some reason they didn’t want to meet me.  including being dead.

i still consider myself agoraphobic.  meaning i am terrified to leave the house.  the problem is that my house now includes the world.

my home is also five bags in the back of my car: one for computer equipment, one for shoes, for clothes, for cosmetics and soaps, and for just every day. and of course there is william clark my facebook friend who is both a stuffed toy and also a nineteenth century adventurer.

every morning i wake up and the first thing i say to myself is “this is the day that the Lord has made.  i will be happy and grateful” and then i quickly think of ten things that i am grateful for.  before i think of things that make me stay in bed and say fuggeddaboudit!

does that make me religious?  i don’t think of myself as particularly so.  but without this ritual i would probably fall into a former habit of refusing to get out of bed at all.

coffee also helps. if i try to make any decisions in the morning without having three cups, i am doomed.

last night, i observed on facebook two groups devoted to the support of people with agoraphobia.  the two groups devolved into–well, i won’t put to fine a point on it–a bitchfest of accusations of members and admins (administrators) being non-agas — not particularly agoraphobic. one woman was outed as a non-aga because she had recently been able to get out of the house.  even holding down a job.  she was still the administrator of a support group on facebook devoted to agoraphobics but she was badmouthed by a few members of another group.  defriending.  blocking.  barring from the group.  closing the formerly open group.  posting, more posting and still more posting.  and cut and pasting slanderous posts and reposts.  and j’accuse.  lots of j’accuse.

the adminstrator (and facebook friend of mine) of one group deactivated her account, taking down (inadvertently or not) many photos beloved by the group as a whole.  she reactivated her account and the photos were reposted a few hours later.  i think someone won the argument.  but i think whoever won has lost.
i’m not sure i’m entitled to be in any of the support groups for agoraphobics and other housebound people on facebook.  i was someone who was housebound.  i could be someone who is housebound tomorrow.  every day i wake up with the decision  and every day i am unsure whether i can do it.  mostly i do.  some days i can’t.  but every day i start with this

i think of myself as a secular person. . . what is it with this? how do you start your day? how do you get your ass out of bed? because if i don’t start with this and a list of a lot of gratitudes i’m damn grumpy and then i falter.

 

i am with the majority of the group members of the support groups i am part of:  we need to be supportive of whatever  we are, wherever we are in life.  we struggle, we figure it out, we forgive ourselves, we forgive other people.

 

and if we have time we post this on every friend’s page every day. although after a few weeks it would be annoying, so we’d switch to posting pictures of cute kitties or inspirational sayings. oh, whoops, most of us already do this!

 

 


it’s aural, not oral, photography!

“jeez, get your mind out of the gutter,”  i said.  “i’m not a kardashian sister!”

i was explaining to maximillian my photography adventure with facebook friends carolyn quinn and azusa watanabe.  it’s not oral it’s aural–a form of photography that is meant to capture the inner essence of a person.

“it’s meant to capture the subtle color radiances that surround a person,”  i said.  “also called the life field.”

“uh huh.”

“we went to a place that did aural photography right after our lunch at laconda verde.”

“how was the restaurant?”

“well, the food was middling but expensive and the atmosphere was chaotic, but otherwise. . . ”

laconda verde is a restaurant in manhattan owned by robert de niro. my facebook friend michele persiak has agoraphobia but so wanted to go to this restaurant that she managed to get out of her house, take the staten island ferry and come to the restaurant with us. at his morning staff meeting, mr. de niro no doubt was determined that his waiters and waitresses deliver the highest standards of new york service. mr. de niro starred in the 1976 movie taxi driver as an angry, depressed, homocidal young new york man. but a taxi driver, not a waiter.

after lunch, michele went home and i hope she is aware that if you can have lunch at laconda verde, you can make it anywhere!  but i wanted to spend a little more time with carolyn and azusa.  i was particularly intrigued by azusa.  we became friends in february of last february.  a japanese social media site mixi.jp did a story about my facebook new year’s resolution.  when azusa was traveling in the united states this summer she made a point of contacting me and figuring out when we would be in the same city.  i really appreciate that!  azusa is a teacher of conversation english in tokyo.

the new york lunch bunch–carolyn, azusa, me, and michele. none of us would be friends without the help of facebook. so thank you mark zuckerberg!

carolyn suggested that we go to china town and get our aural photographs taken.  she has done so before and it turns out she is what is termed an “indigo girl”. . . which means that she has a great degree of creativity and spirituality.  we went to a small little shop that sold crystals, jewelry, herbal supplements.  each of us sat for our picture.  the photographer was a little strict.

as it turns out carolyn again was revealed to be an indigo girl!  which meant that her picture was a fuzzy melange of purple-ish tones.

carolyn is hard to see with all that life field around her!

azusa and  i turned out to be sort of yellow and red, meaning we had a great deal of creativity and verve.  oddly, all three of us were advised by the photographer that our chakra showed that we needed some sleep.  well, azusa was jetlagged, carolyn has bronchitis and me?  i hadn’t slept the night before because i was starting to worry about how i was getting home.  and i had a right to be worried!


in order to succeed. . .

in order to succeed, a million things must go right.  in order to fail, only one thing has to go wrong.  i admit that on the morning of august ninth i was thinking there’s going to be that one thing today.  four friends coming together for lunch at laconda verde in new york city.  one coming in from japan.  one from brooklyn.  one from staten island.  and me?  i get lost everywhere.

i just didn’t think it could happen.

facebook friend #316 carolyn quinn woke up on that morning and had a completely different mindset!

on may 9th of this year, i met michele piersiak of staten island.  she is the 317th facebook friend i have met with since i made the new years resolution to meet all my facebook friends.  so often, we have friendships and partnerships that exist online, on the phone, on facebook or twitter or instagram–and it’s important to supplement those interactions with real time.

michele followed the progress of my resolution because she shares a characteristic with me–we are both agoraphobic.  we both have awful panic attacks and tend to look for our “safe” zone–and that zone can expand and contract.  in my case, it has expanded considerably because of my facebook project.  in michele’s case, she had been nearly housebound for more than a year because leaving the house affords too many opportunities for panic.   but she’s just too young and pretty and bright and with so much to offer . . .  it’s a darn shame to take that away from the world.

i’m a believer in tackling small goals and in doing so creating courage for tackling bigger ones.  for michele, a big goal is to become a doctor to help others with this condition.  a smaller goal was to have lunch at laconda verde.  i said if she could make it to the restaurant in manhattan,  i would fly out and take her there.  she’s been working on getting out of the house and this morning she would get on the staten island ferry.  we picked her up at the station.  she was accompanied by her boyfriend anthony.

michele did something that is really important.  she planned what she was going to bring.  as someone who now lives out of her little orange bag, i totally understand.

we got off the ferry and took a cab to the restaurant.  we were met by facebook friend #326 azusa watanabe who had flown in from japan a few days before.

the second most wonderful thing about lunch was dessert! the most wonderful thing was being with friends! after lunch azusa, carolyn and i went to have our auras photographed. michele and anthony went home to staten island. i think michele can do anything she sets her mind to!


this is how new yorkers welcome a traveler to the city!

two months ago i made a commitment to facebook friend michele persiak that i would fly into new york just to take her to lunch at her favorite restaurant laconda verde.  why?  because michele had been experiencing a period of anxiety attacks and agoraphobia that made it impossible to leave her staten island home.  what was a place that would motivate her to walk around the block, take the bus a few stops, go to the store, all to get her ready for the trip across the water to manhattan?

i think it’s the sweetest most adorable endorsement of a restaurant that michele was willing to make major life changes and overcome obstacles in order to go to the restaurant laconda verde 377 greenwich in new york.

 

i flew in the day before our luncheon and had a chance to wander around.  i walked into the shop sabon, which sells sweet smelling soaps and candles and lotions.  the proprietress said that it was a company tradition that first time customers be welcomed with a ceremonial washing of hands.  new york is brutish, dirty, sweaty, hot and sometimes overwhelming.  this is how to be welcomed in new york and it is the same experience i hoped to offer michele when she came into manhattan!

sabon has three different locations in new york and while i was at the one at 1371 6th avenue, you can find the others at sabonnyc.com


i am (briefly) living the supermodel life in new york!

the hotel st. james is an unassuming little boutique hotel on west forty fifth street and you could be forgiven for walking right by it, as i did.  i got there just when the doormen and the valets and the bellboys were on break.  nonetheless, it is the most magnificent fan-tabulous hotel in all manhattan!  the lobby is a commentary on ikea postmodernist minimalism and dusty plastic flowers.

the desk clerk raised an eyebrow–i had cheated on my diet in the past few days–and he assigned me the supermodel suite on the twelfth floor. how do i know it’s the supermodel suite?  it’s on the twelfth floor. and the staff very helpfully shut down the elevators. getting to my room was a great workout! and coming back downstairs to tell them that the magnetized key card didn’t work just doubled the fun!

you don’t need blush or highlighter powder at the hotel–everyone has a natural, pink glow, in part because they are true environmentalists who don’t believe in air conditioning!  coming back up to the room after getting my card fixed i figured i was ready for a refreshing shower.

this picture from the st. james website doesn’t do justice to the supermodel bathroom which is so slim and compact that only a woman with a nineteen inch waist can brush her teeth without standing in the tub. i am learning to suck in that tummy!

real estate is pricey in manhattan and i was surprised by how reasonably priced the st. james is.

a picture of somebody else’s guest room and the pool from their website. i haven’t found the pool but since i cheated on my diet maybe that’s a good thing. i might alarm chic new yorkers if i wore a bikini! and besides, i’m on a mission and shouldn’t get distracted.

in may of this year, i crossed over to staten island in the ferry to meet michele persiak, the 317th facebook friend in my friends list.  michele is an agoraphobic who rarely left the house and then only with the help of a “safe” friend.  i was very honored that i counted as a “safe” friend and we went for a walk.

michele is a wonderful twentysomething gal who is just too young to let herself be tied to the house this way.  i asked her what her major goal in life is and she said it was to become a psychiatrist and help people who have anxiety disorders.  i asked her what her “minor” goal was and she said it was to one day dine at the restaurant laconde verde which is on greenwich street in manhattan.  she had read that robert de niro owns the joint and that it was the superswankest restaurant she could imagine.  a bus ride, a ferry trip, and a cab ride away.  it might as well be on the moon.

supermodels are allowed their eccentricities. so if michele wants to bring her pet stewie, i guess i have to say “okay!”

but i promised michele that if she broke things up into little parts she could call me and i would make reservations.  she started walking a block every day, then two blocks, then a trip to micky dee’s, and then out for a meal with our mutual facebook friend carolyn quinn.  carolyn called for reservations.  and i booked my flight.  and we’ll be joined by azusa watanabe who is coming all the way from japan!

this is exactly how supermodels do it!  and it’s going to be four supermodels having the supermodel life!  if you want to join us please do!  but make sure you  work it like a supermodel!