Sep 192018

My name is Jolana, and I’m a social media addict.

I don’t know if there are support groups for this affliction as yet, so I’m going to testify here on my blog.

I have become obsessed with social media. I am hooked on posting, tweeting, liking, commenting, replying, following, sharing, and friending. I wasn’t addicted at first. It happened slowly, insidiously, innocently. I wasn’t even interested in social media in the beginning.

Originally, my sons and daughters-in-law emailed family news and photos of our grandchildren to MG and me. We loved receiving those emails. Then the younger generation became involved with Facebook. The emails with news and photos ceased. We complained. We whined. We grumbled. The kiddies said it was quicker and easier for them to post their news and photos on Facebook than in emails. They said we should join Facebook if we wanted to see everything from them, from our extended family, and from our friends. MG was solidly set against it, but eventually we caved and joined.

Little by little, Facebook sunk its hooks into me. I heard from other writers that editors and agents expect a writer to establish a presence on the Internet. So, I found a fabulous virtual assistant and she created a website and blog for me. The writers also explained that social media is helpful to gain name recognition, and that a writer should create a social media platform even before publication. That too?

If nothing else, I am coachable. So, I created a Facebook author page and author accounts on Twitter and Pinterest in addition to my personal pages. The V.A. waved her magic wand and cast a spell that copied my blog posts to my Facebook and Twitter accounts, and copied my author account Facebook posts to Twitter. The next thing I knew, I also had accounts with Goodreads, Tumblr, and Instagram.

I was sinking deeper and deeper into the social media quicksand. I began to spend an inordinate amount of time on my social media accounts. I felt overwhelmed trying to keep up with all of them. They were a giant time suck. My writing suffered from neglect. I knew I should be writing, but when I turned on my MacBook I couldn’t resist the social media siren call. I posted and tweeted and pinned much more than I wrote.

Two weeks ago, I viewed a TV news segment that dealt with a study of social media addiction and how widespread it is. The percentage of addiction was extremely high. The reporter listed the symptoms, behaviors, and the problems it causes. I had them all. That report could have been written about me.

How had it happened? How had I let it happen? How was I to shake the addiction?

One big obstacle that I see is that I can’t quit social media completely because of the professional accounts I set up and need to maintain. I’m pretty sure I have way too many of them. It takes too much time away from my writing to keep up with them all. I decided to eliminate all but three professional accounts: Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. I’m going to drop my personal Pinterest and Twitter accounts and cut way back on my personal Facebook posting. I’ll follow my family and friends and unfollow the pages of news and political organizations that especially tempt me to engage in controversial political debates.

The first step I took to get my social media obsession under control was to remove the social media apps from my iPhone. That iPhone is always with me, and those apps made it far too handy and tempting to post all day long and into the night. It doesn’t help that Facebook keeps encouraging me to post because all my friends want to hear from me. Of course, they do. My posts are utterly fascinating. ?

After deleting the social media apps from my IPhone that first day, I began to feel the symptoms of social media withdrawal. I felt disconnected, out of the loop, in the dark. Someone somewhere was posting something of interest to me or something with which I would disagree, and I was missing out. The knowledge that I was missing out tasked me. I struggled through the day and night, tormented by the lack of a social media fix.

The following morning, I woke and reached for my iPhone. It was my daily habit to check Facebook first thing. What’s this? No social media apps! It was with chagrin that I recalled deleting them. What was I thinking? I was so tempted to restore them. Instead, I pulled up my big girl pants and soldiered through the day without them.That night, I logged into the three professional accounts on my MacBook. I spent a short time on each. I checked in, posted a few things, and replied to a few others. I practically broke out in a cold sweat when I logged out.

So far today, I haven’t checked any of my social media accounts. I revised a chapter in my WIP and wrote this post. I got so involved in writing that I didn’t feel the urge to check social media. I probably will tonight when MG logs onto Facebook on his iPad and starts regaling me with details of what everyone is posting. If any posts have something to do with family, I may check to see for myself.

The ultimate game plan is to tame the social media beast by whatever means necessary, to concentrate on my writing, and to strive toward publication. I hope I have enough will power to keep from backsliding. I have my fingers crossed. I also have MG to nag me if I show signs of weakening.

As you can see, I’m not attempting to quit social media cold turkey. That isn’t entirely possible. I suppose you could describe my limited quitting efforts as lukewarm turkey. Hey, whatever works, right?

Sep 072018

The baby of the family takes after his maternal grandfather. He loves photography, and he loves to cook. He’s good at both. Very good. His birthday occasionally falls on or near Labor Day, which is apt because cooking is a labor of love for him.

As we all know, Labor Day celebrations are just about synonymous with cookouts. Our baby boy has a neighborhood friend whose birthday is a day earlier. For the past few years, they’ve been celebrating their birthdays together with what our son dubs a “food-apalooza.” The two birthday boys invite friends and family to supply side dishes and partake in a feast that closely resembles a Roman food orgy—or an Italian family’s Sunday dinner.

This past Labor Day weekend, our son outdid himself in proving his culinary versatility. You see, an ordinary grill wasn’t good enough, so the kid bought himself a smoker a few months ago. He is carrying on a human male tradition that began with the first cave dwellers—burning meat over an open fire. He cooks slabs of brisket and racks of ribs, but with the smoke instead of the flames.

After smoking the slabs of meat and the ribs,he wraps them in butcher paper and places them within a large metal box that could pass for a floor safe. Inside this warmer thingy, the meats reabsorb the juices lost during the smoking process. The result is so delicious it is indescribable and quite possibly sinful. I’m sure we all committed the deadly sin of gluttony many times over. I’m too embarrassed to go to Confession and admit it.

So, in addition to the chunks of smoked meats, the friends and family—including MG and me—supplied an extravagant amount of side dishes, desserts, and both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. There were four huge salads (Ambrosia, Cole Slaw, Seven Layer Salad, and Southwest Corn Salad), a pan of Old Settlers’ Beans, a huge crockpot of cheesy potatoes, two dozen corn muffins, two apple pies, a peach cobbler (made with fresh peaches), a pan of chocolate and peanut butter frosted brownies, Oreos in whipped cream, and an assortment of cookies. The wine and cocktails flowed freely, as did the iced tea. There was something for everyone.

After consuming a nearly endless parade of food, we were barely able to move our bodies. Our hands remained operable, so we played a few card games. The guys got a Euchre tournament going. That went on for hours. I have it on good authority (my son) that he and his friends (who stayed up much later than his in-laws, MG, and me) spent the next day in their pajamas recovering from the ‘food-apalooza.” MG and I also suffered the agony of overindulgence.

As it turned out, the fun greeting card I chose for our birthday boy was extremely apt. It’s in the video below. Take a peek.

Ring-a-Ding-Ding #coldcalls #junkcalls #ringtones

 Serious Whimsy  Comments Off on Ring-a-Ding-Ding #coldcalls #junkcalls #ringtones
Aug 032018

These days, we all are on the receiving end of more telephone calls than we would like. The most annoying are the political calls, fund raisers, and cold calls—junk calls for the most part.

I can screen calls on our land line using Caller ID and an answering system. Unfortunately, I cannot stop the phone from ringing and driving me nuts while I am writing—or trying to write, as it were.The constant calls play havoc with my ability to concentrate on my work in progress. MG insists I check and answer the ones I’m not sure of just in case it might be an important call. Only once has that occurred. All the rest were unwanted intrusions. Seriously enraging are the junk calls that come up on Caller ID with my local area code but are actually from out of area. Surely the phone companies can do something to combat that.

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Has Anybody Seen My Momentum? #momentum #interest #enthusiasm #writing

 Serious Whimsy  Comments Off on Has Anybody Seen My Momentum? #momentum #interest #enthusiasm #writing
Jul 252018

I haven’t written much lately. I believe my work in progress is suffering, and I’m sure my characters miss me. It’s been a while since I paid any attention to them.

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You’ve Got to be Kidding #BoyScouts #GirlScouts #Traditions #Values #History

 Serious Whimsy  Comments Off on You’ve Got to be Kidding #BoyScouts #GirlScouts #Traditions #Values #History
Jun 272018

Give me a break. You would think by now that enough storied American traditions and institutions have been eliminated by political correctness, but nooooo. Bringing down the Boy Scouts of America merely increased the blood lust. The Girl Scouts of the USA is now in the crosshairs.

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