Wednesday, September 29, 2010


For six months I’ve had my own home, and yet, once again, I feel as lost, as “homeless” as I did when I was in Moloka’i and had no idea where life would take me when I returned. I haven’t been there, at my home, in almost a month now, and though I know I need to, I dread going. Being on the road and at my daughter’s for the past three weeks, I didn’t have to think about it. But driving back from Washington, the closer I got, the more the discomfort grew; and my mood sank deeper and deeper. It’s the place I got severely depressed, and they are co-joined forever in my mind now: my house = depression.

I know that I have to be careful. I’m starting to understand the connection between negative thoughts and depression. From what I’m reading, it’s not an event that causes depression so much as the thoughts that come out of it. And more than the thoughts, it’s the ruminating on those thoughts. I also understand that the thoughts are automatic, and not something that I “do.” Like breathing, like the heart pumping, they just happen. (My teacher often says, if you think you are in control of your thoughts, try stopping them…). Where there might be some choice is whether or not I hop aboard and ride them. When I do (which is, let's face it, most of the time) it’s more often than not a non-stop jaunt straight to hell. A ludicrous conversation between me and me. I’m lost… I know, Debby, you’re lost. You’re so lost, what are you going to do? It’s going to take forever to sell the house, plus the bathroom’s not even done and you can’t get any of your contractors to call you back. Plus when it sells, what the hell are you going to do? You can’t really afford to buy in the Bay Area, but you know now for sure that’s where you want to be. What are you going to do? I don't know. Maybe I should rent, but what about my dog and cat… oh, I miss our family home… and on and on.

That’s where the mindfulness comes in. Though it’s not about resisting the thoughts (or the feelings that accompany the thoughts), which is impossible anyway. There’s the saying, what you resist, persists. (You know the experiment… don’t think about elephants… I mean it, do not think about elephants… ) I’ve had it explained like this: the thinking mind is like a rollercoaster that rolls on and on, over peaks, through loops and into dips—infinitum. It never stops, but if you’re lucky, you’ll one day get that you don’t have to take a seat and stay on the ride. That’s where the practice (and I mean practice) of mindfulness is useful. You don’t try to stop or change the thinking. But when you notice that you’ve hopped on, you gently bring the focus back to the body, back to the breath. Over and over and over. And over again. (Also infinitum???) The idea being that this brings us back to the present moment, which we miss when we are in the mind, in the past, in the future, and which is all we ever really have.

I am aware that not all of us are ruminators. I don’t think my mom ruminated a second in her life. My dad, on the other hand, a depressive alcoholic who eventually killed himself, could sit for hours, and I means hours, smoking cigarette after cigarette, simply staring off into space. (I wonder now what it was that ran through his mind.) Was I born a ruminator, did I learn it from my environment, or did it begin when I had my first depression and those pathways were forged in my brain between sadness and negative thinking? I don’t remember ruminating as a kid. I don’t ruminate constantly. (Just when something’s on my mind!) When I was telling Ex (himself mostly a non-ruminator) about what I was learning about negative thinking and depression, he said, albeit kindly, duh… I’ve been telling you for years that you just needed to stop ruminating.

Oh, if it were only that simple.

How is it the saying go goes? Simple but not easy?

On the way home, I left I-5 in southern Oregon and headed over to the coast just at the California border. I drove through gorgeous rolling farmlands, into big, majestic redwoods, and then in one turn, I was there. Portions of the Pacific were wild that afternoon. Frothy and untamed. Fingers of fog floating thickly in an out of the waves and mountains and trees. One minute, clear blue sky, the next visibility practically nil, then back to clear again. Once again, just like life, I guess. Never knowing what will be around the next bend. It was so beautiful. Long ago I learned to appreciate the stormy seas maybe even more than the calm. Few things in Moloka’i moved me as much as the gigantic surf pounding itself onto the shore at Kepuhi Beach. I can still feel its raw power and vitality. When the surf was up, I couldn’t wait to be there, and there is a strong longing to be back there… to feel that kind of aliveness pulsing through me again.

Ironically, I sometimes think I could live the wandering life forever. Just me, the road, the camera, and of course the laptop to upload pictures and write. (I've never known myself to ruminate while traveling. I don't think I ruminated once in the three months on Moloka'i. And I never, ever ruminate when watching scenery and taking pictures.) Interesting since home seems to be a major theme in my life since I began packing my belongs almost two years ago now in preparation of moving out of the home I'd (we'd) lived in for twenty years. What is home? And for that matter, what is lost? I was told during that time that if you're grounded in the earth, you're home anywhere. And it that's true, if you're home anywhere, then you can't be lost, right?

Hmm... something for the mind to ruminate on.

Here are some pictures I snapped between Cresent City and Eureka. She is beautiful in all her faces, isn't she? Ah... another lesson perhaps.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Morning Weather Report Turned Afternoon Rant

It’s been pouring up here in the Seattle area. Record amounts of rain coming down in sheets, in big fat wet drops. It’s awesome. Along with some of the trees starting to turn, it’s fantastically fallish. And earlier than I’ve ever experienced an autumn. After the unrelenting heat of my Sonora summer, it’s such sweet relief. I love fall almost as much as I love rain. I think it’s the season that makes me most aware of nature, most in tune with the feel of it, and the sounds of it. Spring does too, but it’s different than fall. Fall is cozy, it’s fresh, it’s invigorating in that “it’s time to hibernate in the cave” sort of way. It makes me want to curl up with a blanket, a fire, and a good book—though one thing the depression has done is render me unable to read for more than about ten minutes at a time. It’s a concentration thing. So unusual for me, who normally, especially in weather like this, can read for hours on end.

Another thing I’m realizing about depression is how it ravages self esteem. I’ve read it in books, seen it in all the “symptoms of depression” lists, but I haven’t wanted to see it in myself. But it’s true. When it comes to how I feel about myself right now, it’s like I’ve been thrown backward decades, and all the work and growth and healing, all the wisdom, the acceptance, the understanding gained over the years, has all vanished, replaced by acute levels of insecurity, self-criticism, and self-judgment.

Not that I wasn’t skating on thin ice in that department anyway. Single for the first time in thirty-five years, in my late fifties, in a world where youth rules, where I’ve heard that men of any age pretty much won’t date a woman over fifty. Seeing myself for the first time since my early twenties not through my own eyes but through the perceived piercing eyes of men, it’s felt like a gut punch. Starting a few months before we separated, when our marriage therapist, a woman about my age, announced that she knew what would happen if we separated: he’ll (looking at my husband) have someone new within four to six months, and you, (looking at me) well, you’re over fifty, and men just don’t want women over fifty, so you’ll… you know… you’ll most likely be alone for the rest of your life.

I swear to god she said it. Verbatim. I'll never forget it.

He and I did not separate with the idea of finding someone else. I had not even thought in those terms. I’d only thought of ending the pain between us, of relieving us both of the disappointment, hurt, disillusionment, of saving us from the bitterness that had begun fermenting between us. I’d thought in terms of freedom, and the opportunity to be happy, whatever that meant, and of possibility. I think he’d say the same.

What I had not thought about was some random idea about desirability, or whether or not, because of that, I’d be alone or not alone. For the rest of my life, no less. Of course I thought about it, how can you not, give then situation. But I never dwelled there. And though we never went back to her after what she said, though I knew it was completely wrong and out of line to say it, and I knew that though statistically she was right but that it is always, always indivdual, what she said not only terrified me on some primal level, but worse, it undermined something, some sense of basic okayness on some very subtle level, and suddenly I began seeing myself through what I wasn’t, instead of what I was, who I’m not, instead of who I am.

Now the depression has added its own layer of self esteem and self worth issues, like frosting on the already baked cake. And even though I am not "looking," even though (when not depressed anyway) I am perfectly content being alone, even though I would much rather be alone forever than ever have a less than completely satisfying and invigorating relationship, it is hard and sad to know that there are many people out there upon whose radar I would not even begin to be, to whom I would be fundamentally invisible, no matter their age, simply because of mine. Divorcing in my fifties, being a single woman over fify, I've become part of a marginalized (stigmatized?) group. Out of the mouth of our marriage counselor: men don't want a woman over fifty.

In fairness, it's not all men. Though I know they're out there. I know it personally from men I know. I know it from my friends who've done match dot com and e harmony dot com. I've heard it from my younger single friends who have men friends-some in their fifties-who will only date much younger women. Nor is it even really their fault... and it says volumes about the culture we live in.

I have no idea where this rant came from. (Except maybe one of the other things that comes along with depression, namely, anger.) Here I was, minding my own business, writing about how much I'm enjoying the weather, and wham, out it all came. I'm totally tempted to delete the whole thing. Though I won't. It deserves to be said. Not just for me, but for all the fantastic single women out there over fifty; who are fun and interesting and smart and wise and sexy and accomplished women.

And for the record, in our case anyway, the therapist was wrong. It's been a year and nine months since we separated. And he's still as single as I am.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Depression 101

The last time I saw Dr. Fink, when she upped my medication dosage for what she thinks will be the final time, I asked her how good I am supposed to feel on it. She told me that I could expect the meds to bring me up to the highest state of depression that I normally experience. It took me a while to figure out what she was actually saying, probably because I didn’t want to. I know that I gaped at her; that I gave her a long, blank, very perplexed stare. Somehow it was not computing. You mean I can still expect to be depressed on the anti-depressants? When it sank in, I was more than a little disheartened. I don’t like taking them. I don’t necessarily trust western medication, plus they have side effects, some of them potentially serious. If I’m going to take them, I think it’s only fair that they help me feel significantly better. Though it seems, in my case anyway, the most I can hope for is to remain just topside of the black hole. In other words, in the dial tone. Not a bad thing, I guess, considering what the black hole is like, just nothing near what I’d hoped for.

It’s hard for me to write about taking medication. It took me a while to decide if I should or not, would or not. I realize, even though I KNOW that what I am experiencing is biochemical, I am still aware of a real or imagined stigma. It’s why I ultimately chose to write about it. Bring all the discomfort into the light of day. If it’s an important part of the journey, write about it.

As the truth of Dr. Fink’s info becomes real, it strikes me that if I truly want to ascend above the flat line, if I really want to feel better and vital and interested again, if I want to live again from a place of possibility, I’m going to have to help myself. I am both pissed off and relieved. Walking to my car, I think about the book I’d come across and bought a couple of days before. The Mindful Way through Depression. I drive from her office to Ex’s, where I stay when I’m in the Bay Area, and I dig in, and immediately feel the magnitude of this that I plus so many others are dealing with. Here are some simple, staggering statistics: Twelve percent of men, and twenty percent of women will experience a major depressive episode in their lives. It is beginning earlier and earlier, with the first episode now generally happening in the early 20’s, though often in the teens. At any one time, 5%of the population is experiencing severe depression, 20% any and all types of depression. Once one episode is experienced, there is a fifty percent chance it will return even after a full recovery; after a second or third episode, recurrence rises to between eighty and ninety percent. And maybe most astounding, ten million people in the US are taking prescription anti-depressant medications.

It hits me, maybe for the first time really hitting me, not as a concept, but as embodied knowledge, that what I’m dealing with is real. I’m learning that there is a difference between those who have experienced depression and those who have not. That in a first episode of depression, the brain forges certain connections between sadness, negative thoughts, and mood, that forever remain, and that render those people less able to cope with sadness than those who have never been afflicted. So, when I was 23 and experienced a major clinical depression, it actually changed something in my brain that makes me more susceptible to becoming depressed again. Maybe it's a no-brainer, but I honestly had no idea. And, now that I've had my second episode, it's eighty to ninety percent likely to recur.

In another book, Undoing Depression, the author refers to depression as a disease. I read that it is an epidemic, that more people are experiencing more depression than ever before. That people born after WWII are more likely to become depressed, with Baby Boomers at particular risk. That it is not only a phenomenon of the US, but that other countries are reporting that with each generation, depression is coming on earlier and happening more often.

For those who have never experienced severe clinical depression, it might be confusing, and it is often misunderstood, not to mention misdiagnosed. Depression is far more than feeling sad. It can feel like a descent into madness, with a host of psychological and physical symptoms. Life as it is known is ripped away, plunging the person into darkness, fear, despair, hopelessness. It is extraordinarily painful, in a way that is both physical and not, and that defies ordinary description.

Reading these books, learning more about the brain piece, seeing my experience confirmed somehow changes things in a big way. Compassion grows, along with a certain sadness, empathy. Then, I am both encouraged and discouraged. And full of questions. What has happened in our world that ten million of us in this country alone are on anti-depressants? Is it environmental? Genetic? Emotional? Spiritual? Solely physical? A combination of many of these? It is known that depression is a "unique" disease in that it responds to both medication (the physical aspect) AND psychotherapy or cognitive behavioral therapy (the mental/emotional/spiritual aspect). Do all ten million of us really need to be on anti-depressants? Is it a cop-out, by a medical community that doesn't otherwise know how to respond to things like stress, exhaustion, grief and other emotional pain, anxiety, addiction? Is it because we fail to see human beings in their totality; that we are mind, body, emotions, and spirit, and that one does not change without affecting all the others, and to be whole and healthy, all need to be flourishing. On the other hand, what about those who don't, for one reason or another, get treatment when severly depressed, or for whom treatment is otherwise unsuccessful?

(Though, as Cheri Huber says in The Depression Book: Depression as an Opportunity for Spiritual Growth, maybe the better question is, what is it that we, individually, and collectively, are de-pressing?)

Maybe these questions are all rhetorical, but I don't think so. Something is changed, has changed. And it's huge. Millions are affected personally, not to mention the impact to their partners and other loved ones. Depression's economical impact is enormous, approximately $44 billion a year, second only to the treatment of cancer. And it is often a fatal disease, with 15% of people with major depression ending their lives by suicide.

The good news is that so much more is known about depression now than ever before. I'm learning some fascinating things and I feel encouraged. I also get that to "help myself" is going to take hard work, commitment, and huge slabs of discipline, the kind of which has not come easily to me in the past. Mindfulness means paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally, to things as they are. It means being basically awake and aware in each and every moment, something that takes an enormous amount of practice, patience, self-acceptance, stick-to-it-iv-ness. And it is something that cannot even begin to happen while existing in the black hole. For that reason alone, I am intensely grateful for the medication that has pulled me up and out.

Will this approach truly help? How motivated am I to really feeling better? How committed? How able? I honestly don't know. I do know that the desire is there. Plus a little stab of excitment at the challenge. Intrigue at the possiblity. Mindfulness is something that's been on my horizon for a long time. Here, now, is a compelling reason to get serious about it.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Road Trip

Last Wednesday I left before dawn and drove to Portland, where I met up with my oldest daughter, and together we headed over to the coast for a couple of days of exploring from northern Oregon to the Olympic Peninsula, before driving to her home in the Seattle area.

I love road trips so much. I always have. For me there is nothing quite like getting in a car and heading out to explore new roads and places. The mystery and wonder of where each turn, each junction, each day, will lead. The pleasant surprises, the disappointments, the sudden, spontaneous change of plans. The unexpected mountain as the road curves, wildlife, the river tumbling toward its destination, the untamed beauty of ocean against land, storm clouds, sunsets.

Sometimes I hate the creative process as much as I love it. Rereading what I just wrote—that of course I didn’t know I was going to write until I did—I see what a metaphor a road trip is for life. Heading straight into the unknown, the adventure and excitement, with its twists and turns, delays, detours, weather changes. Road work, drawbridges, vistas, turnouts. The thrill of the open road, the anxiety on a difficult patch of highway, the wondering where the next bathroom or gas station or food might be found. Regrouping after the intentional or unintentional change of plans, the good days, the not so good, all an integral part of what I love about hitting the road.

Last year when I was here, she and I drove over two hours to find a bridge unexpectedly closed for construction which meant we had to backtrack over an hour then take a different road way around and many more hours to our destination—which ultimately we didn’t make it to because we ran out of time and had to turn and head home. But along the way, we encountered some absolutely gorgeous scenery. Up the west side of the Hood Canal, where I saw five bald eagles, the first I’ve ever seen in the wild in my life, beautiful waterways, grand forested and fog-shrouded mountains, sleepy little towns. Our day ended with two ferry rides we hadn’t anticipated needing to take, and it was beautiful and adventurous and a wonderful day. And with the totally added bonus of along the way bonding anew; talking, sharing, regrouping, appreciating, our intimacy growing as we faced and experienced all the day had to offer together.

I really hate it when I am wowed by the “duh” factor. Road trip as metaphor for life: duh. We might get to our destination, we might not. It might be as planned, it might not. It might be great, it might be full of challenges, it might be smooth, it could be bumpy. We might get along, we might fight. We might get lost, we might, in our lostness, come upon something of extraordinary beauty we wouldn’t otherwise have seen.

It’s all about the journey. A cliché I’ve heard ad nauseum and yet I see its truthfulness when applied to a road trip. It’s funny that on a road trip I expect the best, yet in life, I so often expect it to throw me curves; and it strikes me that I trust a road trip in a way that I haven’t yet learned to trust life. I’m not really sure what to say about that except that maybe seeing, maybe opening my eyes to this particular vista, is a start.

Here are some pics of the incredibly beautiful vistas we encountered on our trip. The wild beauty of nature… with so much gray and overcast it was a serious challenge for this photographer who doesn't really know how to shoot in those conditions. At any rate, here they are. It was, amazingly beautiful.

Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach, Oregon

Lighthouse, Cape Disappointment, Oregon

La Push, Washington

La Push, Washington

Wild and beautiful: Cape Flattery, Washington. Northern most point in the western US

Cape Flattery, Washington

Cape Flattery, Washington

Cresent Lake, Olympic National Forest

On the Bainbridge Island Ferry to Seattle

Tip of Bainbridge Island

Seattle skyline from ferry

Getting ready to depart


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Dial Tone

I can write when I’m feeling really bad and I can write when I’m feeling good. But I can’t seem to write from this place that is a straight and static line just above the feeling really bad place, which is where I’ve been in for the past couple of weeks. A dial tone, as Hank Moody, himself a blocked writer, and one of the best television characters to come along in years, calls it. Though he’s usually talking about his ex-girlfriend’s new husband, it describes this place I find myself in perfectly.

My oldest daughter, who is a serious fiction writer, tells me that writing is the hardest thing she ever attempts to do. That she hates it at the same time that she loves it. That oftentimes it is the last thing she wants to do and yet she can’t not do it. She is compelled and propelled and driven, and knows that it is what she’s been put here to do. Day in and day out, through thick and through thin, through good moods and bad, inspired or uninspired, she writes. And she has little patience when I whine about writing being hard. It is hard, she tells me. It is hard. And don’t disrespect it by thinking that it is easy… appreciate the times where it seems effortless, those brief windows when it flows freely as if from some creative spring, but don’t confuse those times with the reality of it. A writer doesn’t bitch about it being hard. A writer writes…

So, here I am writing about not being able to write. Or, maybe what I’m really writing about is the dial tone, and how hard it is to live in this flat place, where little moves me, where inspiration is nonexistent, where I can see, as I have over the past couple of days, some of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen in nature, and it registers in my head, but otherwise does not enter me, faze me, affect me.

And yet.

There’s something here, floating around just outside my immediate awareness, that I’m glimpsing but not quite grasping. Something to do with the connection between writing and life. About it being hard and doing it anyway. About the assumption that it should be easy. About resistance and preferences. And something I’ve heard my teacher say many times that his teacher used to say: When you’re in the ocean, the moment there is a preference for calm seas over stormy, you are already on the shore.

I’m out of time. But there’s a thread here, to be with, maybe to pick up in tomorrow morning's writing.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

To Facebook or Not to Facebook

I've resisted Facebook for years, for mostly good reasons which I could name here but won't, finally succumbing (for a reason that seemed good at the time), then wishing I hadn’t, and before I could disable my account, the “be my friend” invites started rolling in (well, a slight exaggeration…) and it just seemed rude at that point to bug out and so, here I am…

An accidental facebooker. With, after three weeks, a pitiful 26 friends (the number, not the people), and worse, four outstanding friendship requests that hang, like an embarrassingly humiliating noose around my neck, and it hits me, in a painful whack upside the head, that all that stands between me and a complete return to the dog days of high school, would be the acne, the smelly P.E. clothes, the flip that flopped before the end of first period (no matter how much Aqua Net I sprayed on it), the bad dates with boys who didn’t know that finesse is the name of the game when sticking their tongues halfway down your throat.

Though maybe dog days is not exactly the right term. Dog days being technically the long, hot, sultry days of summer, falling, up here in the northern hemisphere, generally between early July and early September. Though it could also refer, I read in my extended Wikipedia research, to any time period or event that is “stagnant or marked by a dull lack of progress.” Bingo. If not the sultry (definitely NOT the sultry), for sure the long, stagnant, dull…

Not to mention painful. Not to mention the constant, day in and day out ache of not fitting in. Of not being “popular,” or in the right crowd, not being the right size or shape, not having the right hair, clothes, shoes, friends, boyfriend, car. Homemade dresses to their gorgeous wool skirts and matching mohair sweaters. Saddle oxfords or Keds to their beautiful black leather flats or boots. Walking to school as opposed to riding next to the cool boyfriend in the souped up ’57 chevy, mag wheels, tuck ‘n roll upholstery, his arm thrown casually—passionately?—around my shoulders, his Jimmy Dean style hair falling halfway down his forehead, cigarette dangling carelessly from between his bad-boy lips. Or, when raining, god forbid, being driven in the mom’s lemon yellow 1960 Rambler station wagon (or worse—really?—the dad’s completely humiliating poor excuse for a mid-life-crisis ‘54 chevy convertible with skirts?) Add to it all the sting of friendships gone awry, the anguish of years long unrequited crushes, the agony of passing in the hall the cute—if slightly awkward—girl that the one almost cool boyfriend I had threw me over for (who, btw, has 266 “friends,” the girl, not the boyfriend—can’t find him, though I did find his brother—and yes, obviously, shamelessly, I’ve become a total facebook stalker, much to the delight of some of my younger—and real—friends).

The day I graduated high school still ranks among the top four or five happiest days of my entire life. Though to be fair, those years were also some of my most fun. Though that fun always, and I mean always, took place outside of the hallowed halls. Especially once I got my drivers license (also in the top great days of my life), my “wings,” and I hit the road with as much frequency as possible; to the movies, to the beach, to Alameda to spy the handsome dudes in their sexy sailor uniforms (the blues over the whites, any day), to the airport where I’d stand for hours on the outside observation deck enviously watching TWA, PanAm, and United jets taking off and landing; to SF, where after a stop at Tower Records on Bay and Columbus, just for the thrill of it I’d find the biggest, and I mean the biggest hills to cruise up and down; the bigger the hill the better in my little, bright red, three-speed on the floor VW bug—the more uncomfortable my passengers, the better.

I’ve never really thought about the dichotomy of those years before now. Big, boisterous, fun, out-there, adventurous, passionate, confident outside of school. Just the opposite inside. Yet somehow the whole not-fitting in thing is so much of what stuck, and what has shadowed me for so much of my life. Though interestingly, fitting in or not never even occurred to me until a certain age and certain experiences. I’m thinking 7th or 8th grade to be exact. Before that, it really wasn’t even a thought. Yet now, here it is again. With something as seemingly benign as social networking, all the old insecurities come gushing to the surface, the smarting tenderness of those years, the feelings of inadequacy, of being wrong, not good enough, left out, judged by random, arbitrary standards, and on and on.

To Facebook or not to Facebook. That seems to be the question, no offense to Shakespeare. And I really don’t know. Do I turn and run at the discomfort, or do I hang in there and see what this experience might have to offer? Maybe sit in the unease and hope it will burn something away, heal some invisible wound? ‘Til the proverbial phoenix rises heroically from the ashes? 'Til I hear from those four people? (Though at this point...). Maybe until I get enough friends, though truly, how many are enough? Fifty? A hundred? Two hundred? Three? More than my very unfriendly and mean ex-sister-in-law? More than what’s-her-bucket that Joey Souza preferred over me freshman year? Or, maybe-and this is getting dangerously close-until I run out of people to stalk?

It's not a casual question. Why does this affect me so deeply? What does it matter who might or might not want to be my friend-in cyberspace, no less?! Writing it down, the ridiculousness of it is glaring. I don't even want that kind of friend. When it comes to friendship, I've always preferred quality over quantity, closeness over the casual acquaintance. I guess it's like not being invited to the party you didn't want to go to in the first place. That raw desire to be included, wanted, seen, appreciated. So human, right? And another dichotomy, the tension between belonging and being unique and individual.

So I'm just going to cut to the chase, here. Please, if you're one of those four people, can you just get me off the hook and let me be your friend? Humor me, will you? What will it hurt, really? And hey, it's a win-win, it'll up your count as well. And then maybe, just maybe, I can get on with the business at hand which, I no longer know exactly what is... oh yeah To Facebook or Not To Facebook... and exactly how many more friends do I need to be more popular than that one-time pain-in-the-ass sister-in-law...