Sunday, January 18, 2009


I was recently invited to join MyFace. Or SpaceBook. Or was it FaceSpace? Whatever. It’s a website that’s currently all the rage—even with people of my discerning age. Since I like being invited to things, especially popular things, I joined up.

I have no idea what I’ve gotten myself into.

Once you belong, it sort of looks like you’ve joined a cult—granted a very happy one. First you fill out a Profile. This is where you enter intimate details about your life, like where you went to college (I went to four), what you do for a living (write columns), and what your hobbies are (joining online groups I know nothing about). They also want your marital status, so I know it’s not just a front for one of those Dating Sites.

Still, I left that part blank.

Ignoring the distracting Botox ads, I move on to Photos. I don’t have any, other than the one taken five years ago that’s on my website. That’s because I don’t know how to put them on the site. It’s certainly not like scrapbooking, where you just tape them to the page.

Next I go to my Wall. This is where some of my 53 Friends have written me notes. William asks, “What’s new and exciting?” (Nothing.) Danna wants to know, “How was the clam chowder?” (Good.) Carole says, “What is this site all about?” (No clue.) I haven’t written back on their Walls because I have too many other Wall-notes to read from the rest of my 53 Friends.

The interesting thing about this FacePlace is that I can sneak into my Friends’ sites and read what’s on their Walls. Like Cherie’s Wall (she has 119 Friends!) She’s doing exciting things like “attending the Obama inaugurations on CNN” and partying with her 119 Friends. She invited me to join the Tango Diva group.

I don’t know what that is.

Ignoring the Wrinkle Cream ad, I move on MaryElizabeth’s site. She has 816 Friends! She has famous Friends like Jeffrey Deaver and Linda Fairstein and Lisa Scottoline. I decide to steal some of her Friends so I can have more—which is apparently perfectly legal.

I click on Mario because his name sounds familiar. Will he accept me? Ignore me? Out and out reject me? I don’t like rejection. Even by people I don’t know and will never see in my life.

I look at their pictures to see if they seem Friend-ly. I avoid the ones who look like flowers or their pets. Then I look at the picture I put on my Profile page to see how potentially new Friends are judging me. I look ridiculous. Now I have to have a new picture made. Maybe get some of that Botox and Wrinkle Cream first.

There are still more links to explore, like the one called “What are you doing right now?” (Nothing.) There’s also a box that says I have “1 Friend Suggestion,” “1 Event Invitation,” “3 Nicest People Requests,” “2 Smile Requests,” “1 Blue Cove Request,” and “4 Little Green Patch Requests.”


I realized I’ve just spent an entire day adding Friends, writing on people’s Walls, and reading their Walls. No worries. My goal is to have more Friends than any of my Friends have.

I just don’t know what I’m going to do with them all.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


No matter what my family says, I’m not a “hoarder.” They tried to hold an intervention for me the other day, but there was so much stuff everywhere, they couldn’t find a place to sit.

Okay, that’s an exaggeration (I don’t want to get in trouble with Oprah, but whatever happened to “literary license?”). I’m trying to make a point here.

I confess. I save things that I know I’ll find a use for in the next decade or so. But every year, during that Dead Week between Christmas and New Year’s, instead of shopping the sales for more junk, I declutter.

Okay, another lie. Frankly, I can’t afford to buy anything after maxing out the Visa on Christmas gifts. So what if the iPhone I paid full price for is now on sale at Wal-Mart—at a two-dollar savings! What does it matter that Mervyns is selling clothes at 95% off? There’s only one size left—and it’s not mine, after eating all those Christmas cookies. I suppose we could re-fi, now that the mortgage rates are half-price, but we did that last week when the rates had plummeted an eighth of a percent.

So I spend “Shopping Week” decluttering. First I deChristmas the house, which involves deornamenting the “Crispy Tree” (great term that I plagiarized from another writer—which might just get me on Oprah!). Once that’s done, I discover the rest of the house is still riddled with clutter that was once covered by fake garlands, talking Santas, and sparkling lights.

Although there is clutter from the back bathroom (mismatched nautical-themed soaps) to the front room fireplace (decorative candle holder with six never-used candles), my two biggest projects are my “office” and the “guest” bedroom. My office is mainly a catchall for anything that I can’t part with but can’t find a place for. It’s so full of crap, I can’t even locate the office supplies. And the kids now refer to the “guest bedroom” as “the cat room.” The bedspread looks as if it’s made from feline fur. Seriously.

My biggest challenge is decluttering all the books I’ve never read and never will. Once I’ve cleared out the bookshelves, I fill them with all new books that have been stacked on the piano and mantel for the past six months. More books I’ll never read.

Next I sort through out all my old craft supplies—things like crayons (remember those?), pipe cleaners (how many can one household really use?), and pompoms (you never know when you’ll have a craft emergency.) As soon as that’s done, I refill the space with my collection of scrapbooking supplies. You can never have too many sparkly stickers, pinking scissors, and pads of cat-themed paper.

Once I find the guest bed that’s buried under toy cars and trucks, Candyland and Chutes and Ladders games, and dinosaur picture books, I think about getting rid of the bed itself so I have room for more clutter. But the cats fight me for it (that one’s almost true), so I toss out the portacrib (filled with stuffed animals), costume box (mostly fireman hats), the old Halloween candy (forgot where I put it).

When I’m finally finished, the house looks exactly the same, except for the missing Christmas decorations. But they’ll soon be replaced with New Year’s décor, Valentine’s Day stuff, and Easter trimmings—all covering up the new clutter that’s accumulated just since Dead Week.

And I’ll swear everything in this column is true, if I ever get on Oprah.