Tag Archives: Facebook

A Newbie Blogger’s Best of 2013

My G-Raffe profile pic from the infamous Facebook giraffe riddle.

My G-Raffe profile pic from the infamous Facebook giraffe riddle.

I decided this morning that I had better get my Best of 2013 published before much more of 2014 slips away.  I also have had blogger’s block thanks to copious amounts of cold medicine and a horrible attitude (sorry immediate family for anything mean that I did to you over the weekend), but my notes for this post are pretty well rounded so I can probably type on autopilot…It just took a really long time to figure out how to spell ‘pilot’.  Hmmm…this head cold is worse than I originally suspected.  Regrouping…

As I have only been blogging for about three months, I still don’t know much (of anything) but I am trying to catch up with the learning curve as quickly as possible.  What I have learned by reading the works of veteran bloggers is that I am one tiny goldfish in an immense ocean of talent, and I am deeply humbled.  After reading a few Best of 2013 posts from highly creative and accomplished bloggers, my meager victories  seem like the stunted and hesitant steps of a toddler.  These bloggers have been researching, photographing, writing, and editing until their eyes nearly pop out for years; what have I done?  But my husband has a saying: “You’re steering a boat, not a race car!”  My boat has just left the dock and is still getting pointed in the right direction, so I have to take things slow and remember to celebrate the small victories.  They keep me going for now.

This is my Newbie’s Best of 2013:

7.  Just starting a blog!  I want to send out thanks to my sister and husband for encouraging me to start writing my stories.  If not for their support, I may not have even bothered trying in the first place.


6. Reuniting with people on Facebook.  An important part of succeeding as a blogger is networking, so I had an ulterior motive when I joined Facebook.  I needed a steady population of readers to circulate my blog around, and this social network seemed like a perfect place to start.  But finding old friends and sharing special moments and funny conversations has become the primary benefit.  It is not nearly as important that my friends like or even read my blog, but I do appreciate the support of those who have been visiting me at WordPress!  Their encouraging comments have inspired me to continue writing and thinking about new topics.  Thank you, friends!

5.  2,000 views by Christmas!  When my blog reached 1,000 views by Thanksgiving, I set a goal to reach 2,000 views by Christmas.  For veteran bloggers, this number probably doesn’t seem like a big deal, but for me it was a goal to work toward through diligent writing and consistent enthusiasm.  The credit really goes to my readers for visiting my blog, and I was thrilled to reach the goal just before Christmas.  Who knows, maybe we will reach 5,000 views by Easter!

4. Viewers logging on from over 30 different countries.  It has been fascinating to see that people from all over the world have been reading my blog!  In 2013, viewers from over 30 different countries read my posts.  The funniest/weirdest search term leading to my blog in 2013 was “cooked camel”, allowing a viewer in Kuwait to find my satirical post about cooking a camel for Thanksgiving.

Camel 001

A card I bought in Kuwait, with the recipe for stuffed camel inside. Yum!


3. My most liked post, about Ross the Dog opening his Christmas present.  I tried to write a few posts with a serious tone, and I worked very diligently on them, but they were not nearly as popular as ‘Christmas for Ross the Dog’, a fluff piece about my dog, who can unwrap presents without any help.  It was easily my most well received post to date.  Go figure.

"Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!!!"

“Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!!!”


2. Building rapport with other bloggers and learning from them.  I cannot stress this enough to other newbie bloggers: veteran bloggers are role models that can teach us how to be professional, ethical, and eloquent.  I have learned so much and made friends with a handful of amazing writers who I can look up to as mentors in the blogging world.  I want to express gratitude to those who have been friendly, professional, and fun to correspond with over the last few months.  Thanks veteran bloggers!

1.  Most popular picture of me in 2013.  Does it need explaining?

Love Henya3

Having a moment with my sister’s best hen at the Missouri homestead.

Thanks to all my readers for making my blogging debut a very satisfying experience.  I look forward to writing more stories for your enjoyment!  Have a blessed 2014!

— G

Enhanced by Zemanta

Don’t Be a Dick on Facebook

This is dedicated to a good friend who was inadvertently caught in the crossfire of a really stupid “discussion” on Facebook this week.  Names have been changed for humorous purposes.

Today’s lesson is: Don’t be a dick to my friends on Facebook (I won’t abide it).


Dear Diary, today I was a huge cock…

So this is my life, weird but true.  Yesterday my husband demanded that I unfriend (on Facebook) an obscure in-law because he indirectly (and then directly) insulted a close friend of our family and also her son, who just so happens to be my ex boyfriend from high school.  Just a typical Sunday morning at our house… Here is the story, coffee around the table style.  Me: “I ‘Liked’ a picture that had special significance to me, simple as that.  Next thing I know, I’m in a “discussion” with this condescending person who I don’t think I’ve ever met!”  Hubby: “Just unfriend him, he will only cause problems.”  Me: “It gets worse.  Mrs. D was offended by some inflammatory comments he made.  Rather than just stop posting, he began directing the comments at her, and then he managed to also insult her son.”  Hubby: “He did WHAT?!  Oh you unfriend him right now.  No one insults ‘Dirk’!”  Me: “Yeah!  Wait, what?”  Then things just got weirder.

Why my husband cares so much about a dude that I dated 15 years ago…well that’s really more of a Bro Code Army thing but it added to the sweet, sweet awkwardness.  The hubby, very emotional about the whole ridiculous mess, was flailing around yelling “Who is he to say anything  judgmental at all about a true American hero!!”   But the hubby’s right — you don’t harass the mother of a war hero, especially when — now lean in —  you’re a total stranger!!!  Okay, so here I am with a husband who seems to have a man crush on my ex boyfriend and a justifiably angry mom/friend on one side, and this random pretentious  in-law from hell on the other.  What to do?

I tried to shut down the conversation.  Nope, diplomacy made it worse.  I considered my husband’s demand and the consequences of allowing this relative who I don’t even know to run rampant all over my Facebook posts obliviously bedeviling my other friends.  Yikes! Then I remembered how my old boyfriend, by then a brother in arms, would come visit me at my camp in Iraq in 2003 when he wasn’t busy kicking insurgent ass (and also probably being awarded medals of valor).  His reputation is above contempt and his character is certainly above scrutiny or snide remarks from a total stranger on Facebook.  A comment and link addressing PTSD, presumably for ‘educational purposes’ was waiting for me when I logged back in.  Oh…HELL no!  People, don’t give unsolicited advice about PTSD to veterans or to the parents of soldiers, especially after you have already pissed them off!  Clearly this guy couldn’t take a hint.

I said to myself “No, I don’t abide this kind of bullshit at all!” and I unfriended the obscure relative, explaining why (ie: you have managed to insult one of the world’s finest soldiers and his mother, therefore welcome to my shit list).  I apologized profusely to the mom/friend who got caught up in the whole mess, and she was very gracious about it.  After all, the fact that she and I have been friends for about fifteen years accounts for something!  Good, lasting friendships are hard to find and worth fighting for, even if it means cutting loose the people that hurt our good vibes…and allowing our husbands the occasional man crush (‘Dirk’ is pretty awesome).  Yep, we do things for our friends.

If you take nothing else from this story, please remember two things:

1) Don’t be a dick on Facebook.

2) If your husband seems to have a man crush on your high school boyfriend, (I know it’s weird) just go with it.  Men never have made sense to me.

— G

Afterword: Normally I wouldn’t include additional information to a published post unless it proved crucial, but in this case there has been abundant interest expressed outside the blog, compelling me to provide extra explanation. 

All kidding aside about my husband having a man crush on a former boyfriend, this particular person is a treasured friend who was one of my biggest cheerleaders during crucial times in my life.  When I joined the National Guard he strongly supported my urge to serve.  After he joined the Army he told me that I was one of the people who inspired him to do so, stating that if I could do it then so could he.  Not many high school sweethearts go their separate ways and remain friends, but I have always felt that he was there as a comrade many times through my life.  The fact that my husband has tremendous respect for this person speaks volumes about his character and the friendship that has endured for many years after our high school days. 

It pained me greatly to see this friend and his mother, also a very dear family friend, put under a microscope on a public forum by a total stranger with an elitist attitude.  In our family we have one rule that encompasses all rules: “Do the right thing.”  Once that rule was applied to the situation, it was not difficult to decide how to handle the rude stranger.  In the two days since, many memories of my old friend have come flooding back.  Truth be told, I haven’t really thought of him much in years, mostly because I know he is doing well, and also because I really like my husband (I love him too!).  But he really was there for me, even when I didn’t want him around.  And I know that he looked out for me at times when I didn’t even realize it.  Because of him, my National Guard unit was much safer during our deployment in Iraq.  I will always treasure his friendship and hold tighter to my friendship with his mother. 

So, as I said before, all joking aside, this was a matter of doing the right thing to show respect for friends who have always been there for me and my family.  We do what is right and we look out for our own. 


Facebook for Dumb Me


G-Raffe MOD

Just when I thought I had gotten the hang of Facebook, I was turned into a giraffe because of a silly riddle!

Being on Facebook the last few weeks has been an incredible learning experience.  Besides being an inexpensive and lightning quick means to connect — and reconnect — with old friends and scattered relatives, Facebook is also a source for the hilarious, ridiculous, and yes, often annoying paraphernalia that seems to keep our culture rolling.  So my most recent challenge has been to ‘develop’ my persona through my timeline and create an image of what I want to communicate to friends.  I don’t want to become that lady who constantly posts every asinine thought on the status line: “don’t you just hate it when you have your coat on and you’re ready to head out the door to go to work and suddenly you have to poop really bad?” Or “Hey gals out there, anyone else on the rag today?  Let’s start a club!  We can call ourselves the Menstrual Mommas! LOL!!!”  Or “Got back from work and immediately unbuttoned skirt but was too lazy to take it off so just safety pinned it to my tights so it would be looser while I ate my stir fry on the couch.”  Actually I really am doing this right now.  It was an issue of time; the stir fry wasn’t going to wait and the skirt was digging into my waist.  Yeah, I have thought this through carefully because while I didn’t see anything nearly this gross or stupid (yet) on Facebook, I really don’t want to subject my Facebook friends to any of my crazy.  The neighbors get to see enough of it.

When I expressed consternation about wanting to learn to use Facebook properly, my sister gave me a quick crash course in the Dos and Don’ts according to her.  She has been on Facebook for years now, has seen it all, and has some great advice to share.  So, without further ado, these are my sister’s Facebook rules for Dumb Me and any other Dummies out there.

  1. Facebook is what you want it to be.  Your Facebook page is your own, you post and share  the content that you want.  You can project the persona that you choose.  You can use Facebook to stay in touch with friends and family, show off cherished photos, promote a business, post news and political opinions, or even be ‘that person’ ranting about things that bother you, if you want.  Your page is your space to create the image that you want to show the world, and what you post will be thrown out there for the world to see.  That being said…
  2. You are not obligated to get into a fight with someone on Facebook if you disagree with their content.  There are many reactionary options when encountering content you don’t like, but the first option does NOT need to include inflammatory replies or online harassment.  My sister has had problems in the past when friends saw something that another friend posted on her timeline, didn’t like it, and took it upon themselves to harass the friend through her Facebook page.  Keep in mind, these people didn’t personally know the ‘friend’ they were harassing, and it became very ugly.  So I reiterate: there are a lot of things that we see online everyday.  It is easy to find things to dislike.  Unfortunately the Internet is making it so much easier to make personal attacks from behind a computer screen.  So my sister’s advice in a nutshell: you don’t have to ‘Like’ everything; you also don’t have to attack what you dislike.
  3. Don’t believe everything you read on the News Feed.  I have already had this conundrum.   I cannot stress this enough, if you find something in the feed that seems really intriguing, that many people have liked and commented on, often vehemently, and something about the story seems off, check it on Snopes.com to verify before you make a comment.  It will prevent you from A) looking like an ass for spreading a rumor and B) getting worked up over something that isn’t true, or C) it will prove that the story is true and worth your getting fired up.  Then comment all you want.
  4. Be proud of what you post and own it.  My sister and I actually have diverging thoughts on this.  My thought is that I don’t plan to put anything (hopefully) on Facebook that I wouldn’t be proud to show my grandmothers.  My sister on the other hand told me “I am actually shocked that some people haven’t un-friended me because of the horrible shit I have put on Facebook.”  After this I am going to go look at her timeline and see what she’s talking about.  But the point is, whether it is sweet, family oriented content that would make Grandma chuckle or X-rated shenanigans that would make Mormons cry, you have to really own your content.  From the time you click that ‘Post’ button, you are affirming a responsibility for the content, so know what you are doing.

I want to thank my sister for taking the time to give me her perspective on Facebook and sharing her tips for usage.  I will be a giraffe until Thursday because I overestimated my intelligence on the Facebook riddle this morning and had to change my profile picture.  Another example of stupid-fun things in the news feed…


Facebook Verdict: Like


After years of avoiding Facebook like the plague, I finally took the plunge! Will this be my undoing?

Well it has been one week since I started my blog and also since I joined Facebook.  I have learned three important things:

  1. Almost everything from the Ellen sitcom of the 1990s is back in style again.  That has nothing to do with my blog or Facebook, but I have been watching that show lately and it interesting that styles from the ’90s are once again so popular.  Who else is loving their soft flannel grunge tops and combat boots?
  2. I am really enjoying writing this blog.  I don’t know if I have found my niche yet, and I still need to figure out how much cursing is the proper amount for this site, but otherwise this is quite thrilling!
  3. Facebook is incredibly addictive.  I had to establish ground rules when I chose to ignore the tornado siren because I was reading a particularly interesting post.  It turned out to just be the monthly test siren, but I decided to impose Facebook rules to insure personal and family safety, cleanliness, and overall wellbeing.  To that end I only check my account after the children are fed and we all pass the minimal hygiene requirements established for our family.  So I am sitting on the couch with no makeup, hair un-brushed, and  a box of crackers at my side – super classy.  But I am fully clothed and my kids are at school so I can be glued to my computer all day.  Rock on!

I really had no expectations about my blog when I started writing posts.  Just the goal of getting something written was daunting enough that pushing the ‘Submit’ button was a triumph in itself.  To see that people are actually reading the blog is very flattering! At this point it is too early to speculate whether it will eventually lead to a new career or end up as just a fun hobby, but it will be a healthy way to express all the energy bottled up inside through hilarious, touching, gut wrenching, and super weird stories that are trying to burst out.  Because without a hobby of some sort, I am basically a disgruntled, overly frazzled, frumpy housewife with just enough spare time to write these super weird stories and release them into the World Wide Web to live on in infamy.  So to those of you who have been reading this past week, thanks for sticking with me.  I promise to try to get better, or worse if that helps.  You, my friends, are my motivation to keep going.

I would like to prattle a bit about Facebook, because it is incredibly fascinating!  I had no idea how much FUN it would be to reconnect with people from my past simply by creating a profile page.  I don’t know why it took so long for me to do this.  Contrary to popular belief, my husband and I are not cave dwellers and we do use technology extensively; we are just super choosy about what and how we use it.  And my husband (who is not on Facebook) is still not completely convinced that Facebook is not the work of the devil.  Actually I am also not completely convinced either, but the fact remains that I have been able to come back into contact with so many amazing people from my childhood in the course of a week.  This feat is beyond comprehension!  Maybe I am a cave dweller…Something that touched me especially was a comment from one friend who wrote in my timeline that she had thought about me frequently over the years and had looked for me on Facebook.  It made me realize that I had been missing out on the chance to maintain friendships through continual conversations on a virtual platform of goodwill and good vibes.

As I continued to find old friends and send requests out (and confirm requests too!) I was delightfully surprised by my reactions.  I found myself smiling back at the photos of old classmates, gasping to see them with new babies, exclaiming my glee over their children’s antics, their fantastic careers, my great looking grown up re-found friends!  Then I encountered a problem.  I found people who I didn’t think I could ‘friend’.  They were people with whom I had parted ways due to some sort of drama, or they were simply people who I believed wouldn’t remember or care to know me after all these years.  Why re-hash any new drama by inviting an old enemy onto my page, or possibly be turned down by someone too cool to remember me from fifteen years ago because even back then they were too cool to be my friend?

In case it hasn’t become obvious, I have always been a tad sensitive and self conscious, and making friends has not been easy for me until recently.  I never really had a clique in high school, although I did have some wonderful friends who took me in and dragged me on many wild and crazy adventures.  Instead of cementing myself into one group of people and assimilating their ways, I sort of floated all over, absorbing a bit from every clique but never really fitting in anywhere.  Perhaps that has lent to my overall balking at getting on Facebook as well as my hesitation this past week when encountering some of the classmates from my past.  As intimidating as they were back then, with their perfect grades,  Olympian athletic graces and impeccable wardrobes, they are even scarier now!  Most have gone on to become exactly what I knew they would: Titans of creativity, ingenuity, and beauty.  I never felt like I measured up to them in high school, and this crippling revelation has resurfaced  with my rediscovery of all these successful classmates and friends from days gone by.  So, I am faced with a new challenge for the next week.  I can either be a wimp and cower in shame from the people who I believe are so much better than I simply because I didn’t know that I was cool enough to hang out with them in high school.  Or I can get over myself, extend a hand of friendship and see what happens.


Enhanced by Zemanta

32 Hurts!

Today I am in pain, but yesterday was great.  Yesterday was a good birthday.  Several adoring fans (parents) called to sing to me off key, I received lovely cards and gifts, and I had a pretty wonderful day.  I finally set up a Facebook account.  Please stop laughing at me.  I know that I mentioned in my previous post that I do not do technology.  For years now people have been asking me why I don’t have Facebook and I had so many good answers: creepy stalkers, Taliban spies, baby photo thieves, computer hackers, not enough time, carpal tunnel syndrome, PMS… the list goes on.  But now I really do need Facebook to help me network.  All I need to do is Friend ten million people on Facebook and convince them to read my blog and then I will be set.  Simple enough!

Anyway, impossible dreams aside, my birthday was awesome.  I got to do mostly what I wanted.  I did still have to go to work, but what I do for money is a pleasure.  Whoa!  Let me restate that.  What I do for money involves kids.  Hmm, somehow that’s worse.  Might as well just say it: I work as a noon aide at the neighborhood school, so for a few hours each day I basically herd 400 unruly children between playground and lunchroom, scolding and consoling in turn.  I am sort of a mix between Mary Poppins and R. Lee Ermey.  There are many reasons why I like this job.  Although I am not being paid hand over fist, I get to work minimal hours and I get free time for the rest of the day to do things like run errands, take naps, exercise, and hey, blog!  I also get to see my own children at the school, and who hasn’t had the dream of literally being paid to yell at their own kin.  An unexpected bonus of this job, and the reason I love going to work, is that I have learned so much about myself and humanity through the eyes of children.  It is amazing and humbling to be around a group of tiny people who put so much trust in you and depend on you so completely to wipe away tears, solve territory disputes, organize schedules, and be a disciplinarian without being a tyrant.  Very humbling indeed.  So I try to temper my drill sergeant spasms with sugary sweetness and have found that my method seems to be working.  The kids I have yelled at the most over the last year love me the most and give me the most hugs.  Go figure.

So after being hugged by more adoring fans at work I still had kids hanging out at my house (again the perils of being a favorite noon aide) and once I chased them off it was party time.  The hubby and girls surprised me with the most beautiful handmade outdoor coffee table, with a beer bottle cap grouted top!  They had been not-so-secretly working on it in the garage for several days and had hidden it under a sheet.  It is so cool, and I am afraid to put it on the deck and subject it to ugly Kansas weather, but I also can’t wait to sit on the deck when the sun comes up and have coffee on my new coffee table!  We also went out for dinner at my current favorite local Mexican restaurant, La Fiesta.  I like going there because the wait staff is very willing to coordinate with the kitchen staff and accommodate my several annoying food sensitivities, and the food is quite delicious.

Everything was going great until a horrendous migraine struck and I ended up curled up on the floor of our living room after the rest of the family went to bed.  Coincidentally, that is how I found the sweet, secret birthday message that my husband and girls wrote in marker under the coffee table.  It made me feel a little better. It’s the little things, ya know?  This morning I have a migraine hangover and feel every second of my 32 years.  Today will be especially rough.  Migraines always leave me loopy and weird, not the best way to start out a new year of life.  Life in Kansas has been rough on our family.  I can’t say living anywhere else would be easier, but it has been difficult to the extent that I cracked a joke to my neighbor one day: “I’m not Catholic, but I think we are in Purgatory”.  A devout Catholic, she laughed, and continued to be on speaking terms with me.  I must be on to something.

Coffee                                             My super cool new coffee table, hand made by angels!