Category Archives: facebook

Expat Youth Scholarship Opportunity………..

Clements International Announces 3rd Annual Expat Youth Scholarship

Clements International, the leading provider of insurance solutions for expatriates and international organizations, announces its 3rd annual scholarship program for expatriate students.

Clements International’s Expat Youth Scholarship is a unique contest exclusively for expat students who spend their childhoods moving between different countries and cultures. This year’s theme asks participants to create a video explaining their favorite thing about their host country and its culture. Clements will award a total of $10,000 to students ages 12-18 of any nationality who have resided in a foreign country for at least two consecutive years.

“We’re so excited to offer the Expat Youth Scholarship again this year with a new twist,” said President Chris Beck. “Incorporating online video and Facebook voting will  really make this scholarship contest an interactive experience for everyone involved, including participants, expats, supporters and viewers around the world.”

This year, everyone gets a chance to help determine the winners. A Judges Panel consisting of individuals representing the expatriate community will determine the top 12 video entries, which will be posted on the Expat Youth Scholarship Facebook page under the “Links” tab. During the month of August, members of the Expat Youth Scholarship fan page will be able to vote for their favorites using the “Like” feature.

Voting (aka “Liking”) will end on August 31. The total number of fan “Likes” will determine the top three winners in each age category.

The scholarship entry deadline is Friday, May 13, 2011. For more information about the scholarship and to submit entries, visit www.expatyouthscholarship.com.

Seriously, feet and facebook………..

I try not to take myself too seriously. I see this blog as more therapeutic than a quick road to riches. And until a book publisher contacts me (anyone, anyone,  Bueller, Bueller), that is what I will continue to do. But, sometimes I do find myself wondering why I am doing this and who is really reading it anyway. I’ll admit my children sometimes try to read it over my shoulder (while I am writing of course), which, while endearing, ends up being mostly annoying  because it is hard to write and answer a million questions at the same time.  And “wait, go back” can kick a ingenious writing idea right out of your head faster than you can say blog post. Anyblog they are supposed to wait and read it when I am dead and gone so that they can marvel at how fantastic we were to drag them all over the world and how wonderfully I captured our memories. And number one hubby comes home every night and says, “I saw your blog today……” and comments on what he read. However, most of my readers remain nameless and faceless. There was even once a commenter whose name was “Can I please remain Unknown”. Pretty funny.

Luckily, I can answer some of those probing questions about why and where my readers come here by myself. (Hello Vietnam!) I get wonderful emails about my blog and lots of positive feedback from friends and readers. And, as the owner of this blog, I can see the key words that people use to find my blog on the great blogosphere. Some of those key word searches make me laugh and many of them make me wonder just what in the heck people are really looking for – and, more to the point,  w.h.y. they are looking for w.h.a.t. they are looking for. Some of you really should be embarrassed. 😉

Some bloggers will use these key words to their huge advantage to attract more hits on their blog. Throw in a couple of “trashy” words and your blog stats head up, up, up. That ticker ticks away higher and higher reader counts. (Of course, I am not talking about my blog friends – most of them write what they want and could give a rat’s arse about how many people read it.)

I try to be careful not to use too many “inappropriate words”. Remember my children sometimes read this over my shoulder. I try not to use words that will attract the attention of  Jerry Springer, ped*philes, terr*rists, or hubby’s old girlfriends. So, my stats roll slowly along. They are crawling at a good pace – we just hit over 70,000 together. Yippee!

Today, though, I am back to wondering if my blog has real appeal. As I travel the world and capture our experiences and impressions, my two most popular posts are about feet and facebook. Not poverty, not the Taj Mahal, not parenting (although it might be good that people are not seeking parenting advice here), not even living abroad, but feet and facebook. Wow. I may need to start trash talking. Seriously………..

A Perfect Example……………

I read a friend of mine’s post of Facebook the other day about her au pair quitting. It was a bad time for her not to have help and she was a little down. She went so far as to say “why me”? I felt bad for her but it was a little hard to delve too deep into sympathy. And I realized that it must be that way for many of you when I tell my tales of staff woes.

Always, I try to be clear that I am thankful for the help I have and I appreciate the work they do. Most of the time, I do not complain. Really. No, really, I don’t. Even what I am about to share with you is not a complaint – it is just an example of why it is hard to add extra people to your day.

We have a new cook. He is married and he and his wife have worked together for a long time. We only needed a cook. But….. now we have a cook and his wife. They have two adult sons. We have fairly decent quarters. I am not letting two adult men live behind my house. So, we also pay them extra for housing. So, now it is costing us a wee bit more than it should. However, they are a lovely couple and I am very happy to have them here. I do believe you get what you pay for.

They are also kind and easy to be around. The other day, Francis comes up to me with a large green piece of fruit.

Francis: Do you like these ma’am?
Me: Uh, what is it?
Francis: It is a grapefruit, they were selling them at our church, we got you one.
Me: Wow, thank you. That was really sweet.
Rani (Francis’ wife): I will peel it for you so you can have it for breakfast. It is better to eat it on an empty stomach.

Okay, yes – awwwwwwwwwwww – that was really, really thoughtful. However, I am not a big fan of grapefruit. Yes, I really, I should just be grateful. However, I am really not a big fan of grapefruit. I am also not a big fan of breakfast or of things that are best eaten on an “empty stomach”. Maybe it’s me – but telling me that is not exactly enticing!

Anyway, Rani stands over the sink for about one hour and peels the grapefruit. Why does it take an hour, you ask? Because in India, peeling grapefruit does not simply mean removing the peel – it also means removing each piece of pulp and separating it from the membrane. No, I am not kidding. Yes, I walked into the kitchen at least five times and told Rani she really did not need to do that and I marveled at how much work it was. I did not add that it was all unnecessary because it was highly unlikely that I was going to actually eat a grapefruit. But you can be sure I thought it.

Jewish mothers have nothing on Indian staff when it comes to making you feel guilty. They don’t even mean to make you feel guilty. But how can you watch someone painstakingly peel the pulp of a grapefruit from its membrane and not at least try it. Dang it.

True to my normal forgetful self, the next morning, I totally forgot about the grapefruit. When Rani came in, she asked me if I liked it. She had already moved past me and was closer to the fridge than I was – so I had to be honest and say I didn’t feel great that morning. I was simply saving it for tomorrow morning.

Morning number two. I remember to pull out the grapefruit. My teeth are sensitive so I don’t like cold fruit. And I do not like grapefruit. Did I mention that yet? So, I let it sit for a little bit to warm up – I felt like I was five and my mother was about to spoon feed me cough medicine. Then I remembered that my dad puts sugar on his grapefruit. Hurray. That is what I could do. So I pull out the sugar container and dump 3 big spoonfuls of “sugar” on my grapefruit. Only, I have a cook, so I am not in the kitchen that much and apparently – when you haven’t been around it that much – salt looks just like sugar. Dagger.

So, in reality I dumped 3 very large spoonfuls of salt right onto my grapefruit. Did you know that I have Meniere’s and that I have to really, really watch my salt intake or I get nauseous and very dizzy – like can’t walk straight dizzy. Yes, brilliant.

Did you also know that Indian houses don’t have garbage disposals and that the toilets don’t generally flush everything down? Did you also know that in India, people are very resourceful and will go through the trash because there isn’t too much that cannot be reused. So, I could not dump the pulp down the garbage disposal (don’t have one), I could not flush it down the toilet (would not have all gone down and Rani cleans the toilets), and I could not throw it in the trash (because sometimes they sort through my trash). Because, even if you are rooting through MY garbage, I think it would be rude to throw away a gift from you.

Yes, I did try to rinse it off and then add the real sugar. Yes, I really did. No, it didn’t work so well.

My good intentions were making me crazy and I decided that I had to throw away the grapefruit. There was just no way I could risk taking in all that salt. And, besides – have I told you – I. do. not. happen. to. like. grape.fruit.

So, I wrapped it in a paper towel. But it seeped through the paper towel. So, I put it in a plastic bag and tied it in a knot. But I just knew it would be discovered. So, I went to the cat litter and cleaned out a little bit and put that in the bag and tied two more knots in it.

It sounds crazy – and it probably was – but, now, I couldn’t eat it – and I didn’t want to hurt their feelings.

Do you see how complicated it becomes and that is just the grapefruit! 😉

Old Habits Die Hard………..

Okay – is it ADHD or Alzheimers or just very simply jet lag – I really am not sure – but somewhere in the middle of that riddle you will find my ailing brain.

I went to the school today and had a meeting. Well, I thought it was just a parent coffee. It turns out that it was a technology seminar on dealing with middle schoolers and technology – well, mostly Facebook. Hmmmm. How close am I sitting to the door? The topic of blogs came up, too. I think my blog is calling. Maybe I should go now. I am a repeat offender. And, no, I did not introduce myself as the Facebooking, Blog-Everyday New Mom in Town. So shhhhh, don’t tell. Let’s just leave it between me, you, and oh yeah, the internet.

Seriously, though, it was interesting. Very interesting. About half of the 6th graders at the school have a facebook page. The school staff was very careful to not encourage or discourage – it is a parenting decision. But they did explain that this is quite simply the way of the world. And letting them try something new while they are still listening to what you have to say – well, that is something to consider. And, when they are a part of the working world, they will need to be able to network on a number of levels – personally  and technologically. Mostly though, Facebook is at least interactive, it is better than watching the idiot box we call t.v.

However, there are pitfalls. Many pitfalls. The main one being that whatever you post has a carbon footprint that will last for at least forever.

One of the moms did offer one tip – let them do it only on the weekends. This means it will not interfere with homework or other school activities. Note to self – weekends only. Good idea.

Bear has not asked to be on Facebook yet – he is still happy with his newly acquired email account – and I am of the parenting persuasion that if he isn’t asking, well I am just not telling. So, we’ll cross that teenage bridge when he brings us to it.

Then I did a couple of other quick things – met the Athletic Director – my kids are really, really missing their sports. Got some info. Then I went to the cafeteria – it turns out the cafeteria has a bakery. Oh, I did not know that. But, I do now.

Then off to the library. I am allowed to check out books at the library. So I got Five People You Meet in Heaven. I mentioned it here and would really like to re-read it.

Then it was time to go. So I go out the to picnic table by the library and earnestly start searching for my keys. Yes, I do mean my car keys. And, yes, I pulled out my wallet and my notebook and was very puzzled as to where I could have possibly left them. Say it with me – possibly the United States. Over there – across that big body of water called an ocean. Perhaps that is where my keys are. If you are new here it might be helpful to know that I don’t have a car – I have a driver. A lovely man named Kahn. He has the keys – yes, in the car. So what I really need is my cell phone – which has been in my hand the whole time. But honestly, it took me about – oh, I dunno – a full minute and a half to realize I might be completely losing my mind.

I am standing the middle of the campus of the very new school my kids are attending with books from the library and bread from the bakery – yes, many, many reminders that I am no longer on U.S. soil – and I cannot find my car keys because they just happen to be at my dad’s house in the United States. I wonder if this is what Ronald Reagan felt like.

I think I’ll take a pass………

I received this email – and I am going to have to pass. But just in case you would like to help Mr. Ansu out I am publishing it for you. You might want to delete my answers to his letter before you send him a reply.

To: Me
From: Mr. Patrick Ansu.
Standard Chartered Bank (GH) Ltd.

Dear Friend,

I don’t recall ever meeting you kind sir. Not even on Facebook – so please kindly refrain from calling me friend. In fact, feel free to use my name. Hmmmm. You don’t actually know my name. I see. Then how did you, kind sir, kindly get my email address?


My name is Mr. Patrick Ansu, I am the regional manager  of Standard chartered Bank of Ghana Kumasi branch in the Ashanti region of  Ghana.

I am not entirely sure I care what your name is or where you work. It’s not that I don’t think it would be nice to meet you – I am sure you are very nice. It’s just that I happen to be a little distracted right now. And, I have just recently learned of India’s geographic location, you cannot possibly hope that I know where the bank of which you speak lives.

I got your contact when I was searching for an overseas partner to assist  me through banker’s seminar held recently.


Okay, thanks for clearing that up. I am surprisingly still not clear on this one – You got my contact how again?  I am pretty sure I was not a speaker-slash-attendee at that conference being mathematically challenged and all – so please remind me again how you got my contact.


I write you this proposal in good  faith, I am 45 years old married with three lovely kids.

I am so totally now convinced that you are completely honest. I’ll admit, at first, I was a little unsure. But yes, it was the three lovely kids that did it. If you had not insisted they were lovely, I might not have believed you. Nice touch.

I have packaged a financial transaction that will benefit you and I, as the  regional manager of the standard Chartered Bank it is my duty to send in a  financial report to my head office in the capital city Accra at the end of each  business year.

I don’t even know what any of that meant. However, I will tell you it’s “benefit you and me”. I know – details. Can you tell me if any of this is going to help me get my house packed and get us ready to go to India? If not, I really cannot be bothered right now.

On the course of the last two years 2007 business report, I discovered that  my branch in which I am the manager made three million two hundred and seventy  thousand united states dollars ($3,270,000.00) which my head office are not  aware of and will never be aware of. I have placed this funds in what we  call ESCROW CALL ACCOUNT with no beneficiary.

I think you meant “over” the course. And head office “is” not aware. And FYI, United States should be capitalized from now on. If you need an editor, I can help you there. And are you sure you are the manager? You mentioned it three times. So I am guessing you just might be the manager. Congratulations. And, yes, that is a lot of money. You should get your wife something really pretty.

As the branch manager of this  bank I cannot be directly connected to this money, so my aim of contacting you  is to assist me receive this money in your bank account and get 35% of the total  funds as commission.

Okay, so you are the manager. Thirty-five percent is indeed generous. You do realize that emails can be traced, right? I am just thinking that you are very clever, but you might not be fully aware of recent technological advances. It is (very) possible you could be connected to this transaction.


There are practically no risks involved, it will be  a bank-to-bank transfer,and all I need from you is to stand claim as the  original depositor of these funds who made the deposit with my branch so that my  head office can order the transfer to your designated bank account. If  you accept to work with me I will appreciate it very much.

Yeah, I really do not think any of that is going to happen. Even though you clearly have the authority to do this -being a manager and all. And, you have three lovely children. Your credentials are really approve reproach.

My private  phone number is +233242934237 call me if you think we can work together so that  we can go over the details.
Yeah, I am not feeling the love. So, don’t hold your breath, ‘kay.

Thank you  in advance and May God bless you and your family.

And may God Bless your family too – your wife and three lovely children. Hugs and Kisses – but sorry, no bank account info. Anybank, I have a question for you – do you look good in stripes? Do you like bread and water?


Yours  truly,
Mr.Patrick Ansu.

Not so truly yours. Me.

Interview with a Vampire (or me me)……..

Okay, I am not really a vampire – but an interview with me just did not sound as interesting. In the blog world, there is this thing called a me me – it’s a little chance for readers to get to know more (than they ever wanted to know) about the blog author – that’s me, yes, me. Miss Grace got interviewed and now I get to play along. She asks the questions, and I answer.  Bear with me – this might require some thought – stand back in case my brain explodes from actual use, I cannot be held accountable for the splatter. What? If Walmart does not have to corral their shopping carts, why should I? Anymeme, here it goes.

1.  What’s your favorite non-blog website/place to waste time on the internet.

I am sadly a facebook addict. It has been very fun to connect with friends from long ago – I have even met a future friend from India. Now that is cool. I also read skim the Times of India. And I cannot tear myself away from the craft sites where I have wholesale accounts. It appears I have more than one dark addiction demon in my computer life. (Really though, the blog sites are my faves.)

And I cannot, will not forget about Skype. That is how the kids and I talk to number one hubby – for free – everyday. It is a little piece of communication addiction that I embrace.

2.  What material thing/place (not a person) do you think you’ll miss the most when you’re in India?

Hmmm. Since you said not a person, you left open the door for other creatures. I am going to say my little cat Queso. She sits with me at the computer almost every minute that I am here and gives me scratchy cat kisses. She also purrs really loud. It’s going to be hard to top that. But the place would be my neighborhood and my newly renovated house. I love them both and it is very hard to tear myself away from home. I will also miss my double oven. Apparently my new oven is a large toaster oven that actually sits on the counter.

I am also a horrible creature of habit. So, I will very much miss my very comfortable routines.

3.  What everyday thing do you wish you could eliminate from your life forever?

This one is easy. Laundry. And the cat litter. And dishes. Okay – I will just say chores in general. This elimination might actually occur in India. If I can put the control freak in me aside and let others (literally) do my dirty work. Oh yeah, and I would not mind throwing mean or manipulating people out with the trash. No time for that. Maybe they could be recycled. Hey, I guess that could happen in India too – I understand they believe in reincarnation.

4.  Describe the first date you ever went on (in your life).

It was with Donnie. We went with his parents to Godfather’s Pizza. They sat way across the restaurant (with a direct view of us). And we sat at our own booth. It was very uneventful. We went on this date while he was on a break from his long-time girlfriend. They got back together – they honestly probably got married. At least they should have.

My best date was when hubby beat me home from work and made dinner. He locked me out because he was not done ironing the table cloth yet. (He has never done it since – and I really wouldn’t want him to – it would ruin the memory of him frantically ironing my grandmother’s tablecloth while I am banging on the door to get in.) I don’t remember everything he made but I remember being so mad that he locked me out of my own house. Then I felt horrible. It was really great.

5.  If you had to have one song playing constantly on a loop in the background for the rest of your life, which one would be the least likely to make you want to kill yourself?

I have a hard time making choices – it’s easier to say what I don’t want than what I do want. (You should see me at the Cheesecake Factory with its 500-page menu – all the possibilities – I almost end up in a straight jacket every time.) I would not want the hookie pokie (although we did play it and dance to it at our wedding) or the macarena (I never learned out to do it). But I have learned from my parenting experience that any song played over and over is not a good thing. Repetition is the fastest way to ruin a love of musical things – be it Barney or Beethoven.  It would have to be something without words – but definitely not No More Words. Maybe it would be a cd of Queso purring. Or the theme song to St. Elmo’s Fire. My younger brother learned to play that on the piano for me because I loved the song so  much.

Okay now you have me thinking – it might be Picture by Kidd Rock and Sheryl Crow – I love the way they are both thinking about what they have given up and how sad they are not to be together – but I hate the way they refuse to admit it – then they finally do in the end. It reminds me to (try to) not take number one hubby for granted. Even if he locks me out of the house.

Your turn – Wanna play? Post a comment here saying so (you can still comment here if you don’t want questions). Include your email address if it’s not built into your commenting settings. I’ll send you some questions. Answer them on your blog, and pass it on.

Is that a crystal in your pocket………..

This guy is flippin’ great!

Who is, you say? n185391955000_5040

Flip Orley is, I say.

You haven’t met – oh, please, let me introduce you  – Flip Orley meet my blog world.

Blog world – Flip Orley.

Flip is a hypnotist-slash-comedian. He is a damn riot. Number One Hubby and I try to see him whenever we can.

I can see the eyes rolling now – oh goody, another hypnotist. That is like saying he is a ventriloquist (no I did not know how to spell that), right. This is where I will blog to differ. Yes, he is a hypnotist – but he is not a meanie bobeanie hypnotist. No one is told that bad things are going to happen to their favorite body parts or that an elephant just sat on their head. But he is very entertaining. And the things people say – oh, he really should write a book. Did you hear that Flip? Write a flippin’ book.

Anyflip, he also sells relaxation cds. And I am such a fan that I bought one – oops, I accidentally broke it – so I bought another one. Yes, I am twice the fan I used to be. And I used to listen to it when I was having a hard time falling asleep. I usually don’t have a hard time falling asleep so I have not used the cd in a while and, well, I forgot about it – until last night.

I was exhausted – really, truly exhausted. The kind of exhausted where you can barely walk because your shoulders are way ahead of your feet and your head is just so, so heavy. And you are willing to leave on every single light in the house and the front door open (even if you weren’t raised in a barn) because you just don’t have the energy to save energy. So I got in bed, snuggled up to myself and my cat who is mysteriously still in the U.S., and closed my eyes. All by themselves, they popped wide open and, seriously, I was no longer sleepy – oh, yes, still exhausted, but no longer sleepy. What the?

I had just read one of Flip’s comments on Facebook, which reminded me about his cd. I got it, I turned it on, I listened, and, oh boy, did I relax. Holy sleep, Batman. Last night was the best night of sleep I have had since number one hubby left for India. I was sleeping so well, that when my alarm went off this morning, I refused to believe it was true that morning could be so cruel and wake me up from this wondrous respite of zzzzzzzzzzz’s. Cold cruel world. I call NO FAIR.

It may seem unnerving that a total stranger can, in the dark of night, slip into your room and hypnotize you. (It helps if you leave the front door open and all the lights on.) But, trust you me – it is pure heaven. He starts with your toes and works his way up until you are asleep. It is magic. Disney watch out – Mickey’s got nothing on this guy. Anyway, he does not sneak in little suggestions like you mailing him a check or buying 25 tickets to his next show. It is all about you – a very relaxed and asleep you. If you try it, you will thank me – okay, well, maybe you should thank Flip – but please remember I introduced you!

So if you ever have trouble sleeping, give my new hypnotic BFF a listen.

He also has a stop smoking cd – I don’t smoke so I don’t need that one. But he does have a weight loss cd and since my fat jeans are now my skinny jeans – I am giving that one a listen too.

For every cloud, there is a silver lining…

from juniper images

from juniper images

Apparently I have given some of you the wrong impression. I have gotten quite a few comments about how unexcited I am for our new adventure. I blog to differ. Just in case you don’t know me, I am a smarty pants. Most of this is sarcasm. Oh sure, and there is a bridge for sale in Brooklyn. I know. But seriously, I have found the silver lining around some of the clouds that I thought were pretty dark and I wanted to share them with you…

For example…

Cloud:
I have had to pretty much give up my handmade card business – A Reason To Write – pretty hard to do craft shows on weekends with 3 kids playing two sports and a husband out of the country.

Silver Lining:
But now I have started blogging and am LOVING it – I have not put pen to paper in a long, long time – this is definitely a silver lining. My parents might actually see some return on their investment in my college education after all. Maybe I’ll go for my masters – yeah, probably not. No need to get carried away.

Cloud:
I am that mom that will cook chicken nuggets, mac n cheese, and pasta for every meal. Life is short and I don’t have the energy to fight over food. And, just to spice it up a little – sometimes I will throw in a happy meal. I aim to please.

Silver Lining:
Now, I have decided to expose my children and their tastebuds to new adventures too – just in case they don’t exactly cater to the spoiled conservative American 11/9/7-year-old palate in India. My kids have now tried lasagna, stroganoff, apricot chicken, and homemade cheeseburgers. And, the best part, therapy will not be needed at a later date – these new flavors did not cause any traumas. They survived. I did take it slow –  I have not exactly delved in to the vegetable world – but give me time. (As a bonus, I learned how to spell stroganoff.)

Cloud:
I joined Facebook and I think I might have run out of friends to add. At least I have not discovered any new ones lately.

Silver Lining:
Hey, wait just one minute, I am moving to a country with a billion people. I can out-friend my American friends in no time. Oh the possibilities. Surely, somewhere in a country with a billion people I can find a few new friends. Easy now – remember there are some rhetorical statements here. No comments necessary on this one. 😎

Cloud:
About a week after hubby left, my entire computer system crashed. Remember, I own a stationery company and make everything myself – oh yeah, and I use the computer every now and then (translation – ALL THE TIME) to do it- AUGH! Cloud – big cloud. At the time, it felt like a full-blown nuclear explosion cloud.

Silver Lining:
But now, I have laptop that I can take with me every where I go – even to India. And, I updated a lot of my software – apparently a lot happens in the software world in seven years. Apparently, they fixed all the things that had been frustrating me – who knew? Big Fat Silver Lining.

Cloud:
I am going to miss my friends terribly.

Silver Lining:
But, now I am making plans for lunch, dinner, and shopping with most of them. I am seeing them more than I probably would have normally. I have even reconnected some people who weren’t my biggest fans.

Cloud:
No Target and Costco or even Walmart.

Silver Lining:
No Target and Costco or even Walmart. Think about packing up a house full of junk from Target, Walmart, and Costco and you realize you don’t need a lot of junk from Target, Costco, and Walmart.

Cloud:
I am not a big fan of 6th grade math and I have had to spend a lot of time with 6th grade math because Number One Hubby AND his mathematical mind/accounting degree are out of the country.

Silver Lining:
Bear and I have gotten to spend some time together figuring out 6th grade math and he still has a good grade in it (Mr. Beasley would be so proud). Whew. Thank God we are moving before Bear moves on to 7th grade math. I will not be downsized just yet – outsourced, yes, downsized, not so much.

12-step program for Facebook addicts – yes, there is hope…

Note – this will be funnier if you read You Might Be Addicted first.

Twelve step program for recovery from your Facebook addiction…

12. Stand up – do this slowly, if you have been sitting too long (hence the name addict) the blood could rush to your head from your butt. You will be totally disoriented – your brain might want to start thinking again – give this one some time.

11. Turn the computer off

10. Step away from the computer

9. Step away from the computer again – I know it’s tempting.

8. Do not turn the computer back on – in fact, unplug it.

7. Feed your children/pet/yourself – something besides Halloween candy or cereal.

6. Pick up the phone and actually talk to a real person – or better yet, leave the house and actually have lunch with a real person. (And no, eating a sandwich while talking to the mailman so your computer has time to reboot does not count!) You can start off slow on this one – just walk into the other room and talk to a family member – face-to-face.

5. Call your parents – they have been worried about you.

4. Hand write a list of people that you want to actually buy gifts for this season (typing it on the computer will suck you right back in) – gifts you can wrap -not gifts that have to be sent via Facebook.

3. Have a real pillow fight with your own family – no more pillow fights with “friends” you have not seen in 20 years.

2. Whoah – Do not sit back down. Have I lost you already? Step away from the computer.

1. Ask your friends (not the kid from 7th grade math – but your real friends) to set up an intervention – but do not, I repeat, do not conduct it via a Facebook chat or by posting it on someone’s wall. And, please, whatever you do, do not hand out fake drinks that you made on Facebook – some of your friends might be battling more than one addiction…

Good luck

We all get by with a little help from our friends – please free to add any suggestions you might have…

Facebook – you might be addicted if…

Cereal has been served for dinner more than three nights in a row in your house – and you find nothing wrong with that – that cereal is fortified – with vitamins – thank you very much.

Oh yeah, the kids – you forgot you had them – hopefully they found the cereal.

Your pets haven’t eaten period.

You are so proud that a famous person has friended you. Note to self – they are just trying to become more famous. You are called a fan not a friend.

You have joined more than 5 groups full of people that you could possibly, potentially know, maybe – I know, really they actually lived in the same state as you at one point, for at least 5 minutes. (thanks Brain Teaser).

You have taken the IQ challenge and believe that your IQ really is 140. Oh honey, maybe not so much.

Halloween candy has become a legitimate snack because it doesn’t take you away from the computer that long.

Your butt is getting flatter from sitting, sitting, sitting at the computer. Maybe that’s from eating the Halloween candy – when the two are mixed together, it’s hard to tell which came first – the candy or the Facebook.

You leave Facebook running in the background pretty much all the time – you never know when someone you barely know might want to chat.

You have missed your favorite tv show more than once and forgot to Tivo it. Duh. Technology allows us to be addicted to more than one electronic device at a time – let’s use that to our advantage people.

The kid who sat behind you in math class in 7th grade knows more about your life than your own parents. After all, he knew you when too.

You are willing to spend 5 hours scanning in old photos that you hated of yourself just so you can share them with, well, pretty much everyone in the world. If they involve the prom, childbirth, or a college fraternity party – seek immediate help.

You compete to have the most friends.

The “Wall” no longer makes you  think of Pink Floyd.

You laugh when you see that someone has actually typed out the whole word “Facebook” – it’s FB, newbie.

You actually update your status on a regular basis.

You don’t ignore anyone -except, maybe, your parents.

You have your notifications sent to your crackberry.

You know how to kidnap someone, share a christmas elf, give flair, and IM and can do it while eating a piece of Halloween candy. You are good.

You have engaged in a virtual pillow fight and really spent time picking out the pillow you liked best. It’s good to have options but please, please tell me that you do know you aren’t really going to be allowed to sleep on it.

You know how to make a smiley face – an actual smiley face not just a bunch of symbols that kind of, sort of resemble a smiley face. 😎

Communication in your house is accomplished mainly via Facebook’s IM feature – it’s all done within the same house – different computers – but different computers located in the same house. No need to see actual faces – you are a jedi master in the smiley face/emoticon realm. And yes, you can make a ticked off face too. You are a master. Yoda would be very proud – let the face be with you.

You have lost track of night and day. An hour lost here or there is not really a big deal. Trust me on this one. But an entire day – yeah, that’s a problem.

You have friends you have not actually ever met.

You laughed at any of the above. And, please don’t ask me how I know any of this. I am not a scientist but I can play one on Facebook.

Have no fear – there is hope. There is a 12-step program just for you.

When did you first learn you were an addict? Do tell – misery so loves company.