Tag Archives: facebook

Shorten that url……

by Ellen Weeren/@EllenWeeren

I just read a great article about twitter handles by Porter Anderson (@Porter_Anderson). Of course, I wanted to share it on Twitter. But the flippin’ url was a katrillion characters long. As you might know, Twitter only allows 140 characters. Even the new fuzzy math won’t allow you to squish a katrillion characters in to 140.

So …. I went to Google and they have this tool. It will shorted your url. Maybe that new fuzzy math will work after all. 😎

And, even though Facebook doesn’t require you to use shorter url’s, it is a nice thing to do there as well.


Last week, I wrote a post about what I am learning as a fairly new writer – or at least as a (brand new) novelist. It was called Arse in Seat.

Over the next few weeks, I will write about my own writing journey – and I hope (very much) that those of you on similar journeys will share your experience as well. That way we all learn from each other.

My philosophy on distractions is simple:

Before you sit down, get a drink and a snack and go to the bathroom.


Turn off Facebook

Turn off Twitter

Shut down your email inbox

Turn off Instagram

Turn off Pinterest

Turn off the TV and the radio

Turn off the ringer on your phone (and no, putting it on vibrate is not actually turning it off)

Do not answer the door

Don’t look out the window

Don’t open the fridge (again)

Lock your children in the closet

Do put your arse in the seat and write. 😎

That was very helpful I am sure. You’re Welcome.

And if you are lacking a little confidence, read this by Jeff Goins – Stop Looking For Ways To Not Be Awesome.

Now, I am going to stop distracting myself with this blog and do me some novel writin’.

But before I go, please do tell. How do you keep yourself undistracted?

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………..

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.

Give that fan a contract……………..

These are the people who I don’t think get paid enough.

My husband – not really – but just in case his boss reads my blog. You never know. There is always room for improvement.

Teachers – obvious.

Preschool teachers – even more obvious.

Preschool teachers who do not require their students to be potty trained. No brainer.

Janitors at schools. If you have ever stepped one foot in an elementary school cafeteria, this requires absolutely no explanation. None whatsoever.

Let’s just say all janitors. I am especially sympathetic after visiting several public restrooms recently.

Maids at my house – oh, that’s me. I am going to triple my own salary – hey I deserve a raise – let’s see 3 times zero is – I’ll have to ask my son the answer to that one – it involves math.

Policemen – obvious.

Firemen – obvious.

Nurses – they really are so helpful. And if they can give a shot without having to rake me off the ceiling – they deserve a bonus.

Office staff at the doctor’s office – if they can figure out the insurance payment procedures, they not only deserve a raise but also an honorary doctorate from Harvard.

Coaches – not professional coaches (like NFL and NBA coaches – they are just fine) and not psycho, screaming parent coaches – but you know, the ones (some are parents – some just love the game and want kids to love the game). They spend hours of their free time helping our children become more coordinated, knowledgeable, and sportsman-like athletes – giving you time to run to the grocery store unattended. Yeah, we could pay them more.

Trash collectors – seriously – would you want to do it? In the rain and in the snow and the cold and the hot. One weather day is worse than the next. Ick.

Stay at home moms. Wait, is nothing too much to get paid? Oh yeah, we get paid in peanut butter kisses and laundry and funny stories to blog about. But compensation that has tax implications would not be so bad. Alas, my fine unpaid friend – 3 times zero is still zero (Bear clued me in) – but the peanut butter kisses – they are free. No 1040 required.

Okay, working parents don’t paid enough for their parenting expertise either.

Bloggers – yep, that’s me, too – yep, we do it for the love of the write. Apparently some bloggers get paid – but I have not figured that one out yet. Give me time.

The tooth fairy and Santa Claus. If you have ever been “forgotten” by one of them, you know their jobs are critical. And Santas at the mall should get a little bit extra. Can you imagine doing that all day? Bah.Hum.Bug.

Crafters – hand-making anything and trying to sell it – now that is a job – either put those poor crafters out of their misery or double their pay immediately.

Facebookers – no wait, that’s just me trying to turn my hobby into a pay check. Sorry.

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…

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.

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.)

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. 😎

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Facebook Phenomena – Won’t you be my neighbor…

Not so long ago, I ran into a former  roommate when I was out walking. FYI – when I say “former roommate” that is a hint to you that it did not end well. Hush – don’t tell.

Seeing her was qutie a surprise – partly because I have not seen her in a really long time – remember it didn’t end so well – and partly because, if she is walking near my neighborhood, that must mean – wait for it – she LIVES near my neighborhood. Oh good.

I was out with a couple of my friends (yes, I do have a few left) when I saw her. They were very impressed with how happy she was to see me – you could see the “note to self” look on their faces. Priceless.

It was actually nice to see her – I am not great at holding grudges – and she had a new little baby – and she looked good. Plus, I’m really not sure I could even tell you exactly why we have not spoken in forever. Clearly she remembered – maybe it was something I did -Hmmm. Nope, I still cannot remember.

Anywho – so, I said, “Oh my gosh, hi, it’s me – me.”

To which she said, “yeah, I know who you are.” Which made me feel good in a way – because we lived together for pete’s sake and if she didn’t remember me – she might need to seek medical attention for the early stages of alzheimers. And, then, she pretty much just kept walking.

Translation – if SHE is walking near my house, that must mean she LIVES near my house. Oh good.

Well, I recently joined the Facebook Revolution and saw her name there. So, just for giggles, I added her as a friend. She accepted. (Now don’t going logging onto my Facebook page to try to figure out who I am talking about – you won’t be able to. It does not say by her picture – uh oh, you caught me, I am the one who was walking by HER neighborhood.)

So what is the etiquette here? Do I send her a note  or wait for her to make the first move? Maybe she knows I am moving to India and thinks it’s safe to be my friend now. Maybe she wants to throw me a bon voyage party. Oh good.

Update – she wrote me today – maybe she doesn’t actually remember either – maybe Alzheimers is setting in – or maybe she just doesn’t care anymore – but it was good to hear from her. She was very sweet in her email. We’re still neighbors  – and who knows  – maybe we’ll become friends again. I mean, how mad can I make her from the other side of the planet. And yes – that was a rhetorical question. 😎