Realistic Social Media Notifications

If you’re on any form of social media, you know that you can opt in or opt out of getting notifications any time someone “likes,” retweets, pins or comments on your updates or on the status of your friends.

I generally opt out of getting the emails because too many emails make me twitchy and I really don’t need extra noise. When I go to the site, I’ll see it. The end.

But I might change my mind if I was sent more realistic social media notifications—something more than “Anne commented on your status update” or “Bill retweeted one of your tweets.”  I have a few suggestions in case anyone wants to contract out my services.



That relative that you were forced to “friend” is replying “LOL” to all your updates from the past month.

Fifteen people posted Someecards or memes expressing their addiction to coffee/wine, their love of Friday/hate of Monday or being a parent.

Your friend Ann changed her profile picture seven times in 10 minutes in an attempt to look sexier.

No one “liked” Anne’s new profile picture after three minutes, so she changed it again.

Your cousin just rolled his eyes at the link to your latest blog post.

A friend just invited you to an event tomorrow night that’s being held on the other side of the country.

“That” couple is having a private conversation through one of their status updates. He loves her.  She loves him back. They are “so blessed.”

The “bad boy” from high school just posted a picture of him braiding the hair of his toddler twin girls.

Don’t bother checking your Facebook fan page. Only 3 percent of your fans are seeing your posts.


Gina started a wedding board to send hint after to hint to her boyfriend in a passive aggressive, Pinterest-y way.

Sally shared the same pin of her last blog post to 12 different boards in five minutes.

Beware! Three friends a going through a phase and pinning nothing but inspirational posters.

Someone liked one of 235 recipes you pinned that you’ll probably never make.

Becky created a board of Creative Projects to Make with Cat Hair.


Someone almost retweeted you but instead just added it as a “favorite” because they were ticked they didn’t think of it first.

Lisa says, “GOOD MORNING!!!”

Several people you follow are engaged in a Twitter Party. Avoid until party is done.

Bob is tweeting at famous people in an attempt to get them to follow him.

You are now only 15 people away from 2,000 followers and only three friends away from having three friends.

Someone is retweeting every compliment they’ve ever received.  (Suggested action: block or unfollow)

Jenny made toast, took a picture, posted it with a recipe and added multiple hashtags #bread #toaster #lunch #food #eat #noonecaresitstoast

Three people unfollowed you because you didn’t follow them back after they had been following you for five minutes.

Your super funny tweet got no stars.

Justin Beiber tweeted, “I like tacos.” It was retweeted 465,000 times. Maybe you should give up.


Someone you have never worked with just asked you to endorse them for biomedical engineering with a focus on potato blight in Idaho, or something similar you have no knowledge of.

A complete stranger is waiting for your response to an invitation to connect with no customized message attached.

Mary is celebrating a 5-year work anniversary at a job you didn’t even know that she had.

A connection just endorsed you for “grocery shopping” and “snacks.”

Well, yay! Finally an endorsement that makes sense.

Your turn. What notifications would you suggest? 

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P.S. Facebook has changed it’s reach AGAIN and only 5-10 percent of people are seeing my updates. To ensure you’re not missing a thing, add my Facebook page to your “Interests” lists, subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter.

A New Definition

About 10 years ago I was in a group therapy session with about eight other women when the doctor had us go around the room and do a seemingly simple exercise: tell the group about ourselves.

Now keep in mind the setting—it was a hospital and not a wine bar—but one by one we went around the room. In the span of 10 minutes I learned among other things that one woman had severe depression, one was bipolar, one was struggling with bulimia and self-harm while another was checked in for a suicide attempt after a brutal sexual assault.

The doctor sat back with this look on her face and was quiet for a minute before she looked around the group and said, “You know what I find interesting? I see something entirely different.

“I know that you are a retired opera singer,” she continued as she shifted her gaze over the group. “That you graduated from dental school with honors, that you are a nationally published writer and that you have three children under the age of five. I don’t see your circumstances. I don’t let them define you.”

That stuck with me, and it seems even more poignant these past few weeks.

It’s been a little bit more than a month now since I lost my job, and I while I’m trying to stay positive and working my butt off to make something happen, I have to admit it’s still a real struggle. I knew I wouldn’t find a new job right away, but I admit I’m not exactly the most patient person in the world and now all I hear is the clock ticking down until my unemployment runs out.

But another thing—along with that panic—is that when I lost my job I also lost a little bit of my identity.

That job was a part of my life for more than seven years. I had a title, I had a routine, I had something that I could attach to myself and use as proof of my professionalism, my hard work, and in some sense even my worth.

While it was far from ideal, at least it was easy to fit in that box.

Now I feel that if f I’m not working in a traditional sense, that makes me lazy. Being as obsessive as I am about things, I feel guilty if I’m not spending all my waking hours scouring the same job boards I’ve been scouring for days or sending out more emails. I dread running into people I know in case they ask what I’ve been up to.

Instead of throwing out the usual, “Just work. Same old, same old,” I have to think about what I can say, fearing they’ll assume my days are filled with hours of lazing around and watching TV. I’m not exactly ashamed, but I am extremely self-conscious.

Because the thing is, I’ve always had a pretty good idea of what would come next. There was a false sense of security that if I did everything I was supposed to be doing that things would continue to go as I planned. Even if it wasn’t that satisfying, at least it was safe and secure.

That would be the universe laughing right now.


The lesson has been learned.

It’s natural to identify ourselves using our circumstances, our struggles or how others perceive us. But the problem with latching onto these identities is that in addition to limiting our growth, we start to let them define us.

So on those days when I do wallow, drown my sorrows in hummus and watch four episodes of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” because nothing seems to being going in the right direction—yes, there are those days—I have to remind myself that millions of people are in the same boat. That doesn’t mean the boat is sinking—or that I have to want to be in that damn boat—but I don’t have to let this particular struggle define me.

No matter what happens, I’m still a writer.

It might not be wrapped up in a neat little bow and printed on a high-gloss business card right now, but I write. Maybe someone will hire me to do that in the near future, but maybe something else will come along that completely deviates from any picture I had in my head. I’ve learned I can’t always know what comes next. 

Because more than being a writer, I’m human–a funny, slightly freaked out/panicking but trying to cope human–and as I’m reminded again, a constant work in progress.

Now bring on the hummus, my friends. 

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P.S. Facebook has changed it’s reach AGAIN and only 5-10 percent of people are seeing my updates. To ensure you’re not missing a thing, add my Facebook page to your “Interests” lists, subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter.

Stephanie from “When Crazy Meets Exhaustion” Has Issues

Welcome to another edition of, “Abby Spotlights a Funny Blogger Who Will No Doubt Class Up the Place.”

I’m your host, Abby, and today’s guest is Stephanie (“Hi, Stephanie!”) whose blog title alone should let you know where we’re headed: When Crazy Meets Exhaustion.

You can read about it here, but she describes herself as, “An English teacher by trade, smack talker by nature, I love words, hate math, and have a knack for finding the funny in everyday life.”

 A mother of three in Pittsburgh, Stephanie subscribes to the mantra: “Life is too short. Laugh.”

Amen, sister.


Name: MOOOOOM! (aka: Stephanie Jankowski)

Blog: When Crazy Meets Exhaustion

Where, what and why do you write?

Wherever the least amount of children are, whatever has made me think or laugh, and because I need it. Writing is cathartic for me, and the fact that I’m able to do it on my terms is freeing. Writing for work and/or freelancing gigs isn’t as flexible; my blog, my rules. And I love it.

First thing you think of when you wake up in the morning.

Will I ever wake up and feel completely rested? EVER?!

What’s the one “issue” or frustration annoying you the most right now?

I’m a little stressed that we’re going to run out of milk within the next 24-hours, but that’s small potatoes compared to the incessant bad news that has been bombarding the news lately. Is it the time of year or is every news channel, website headline, and Facebook feed chalk-full of sadness? I’m frustrated that we can’t change it. Can we start a page called Sunshine Shooting Out of Your Ass and only talk about good things?!

 Editor’s note: Agreed, and I would join just to see the “Sunshine Shooting Out of Your Ass” logo.

Three websites you visit every day.

I’ve been reading this series long enough to know that some of your other lady bloggers visit actual intelligent websites. I am not one of them. Aside from my job, which requires me to visit its website every day, I’m simple: Facebook because friends, Huffington Post because news, FunnyorDie because GOOD LAWDY I need a laugh!

What’s an unusual talent and/or accomplishment you could never put on a resume?

I can pick most anything up with my toes. Did someone already say that? I feel like this is a repeat answer. Whatever. She and I can toe battle for the crown. I can also pinch people with my toes. Having written that now makes me see how gross I am.

Editor’s note again: No one has said that—I would have remembered—but it doesn’t make you sound gross. It makes you sound like a crab (the crustacean, not a crabby person.)

 If you could rule the land for one day, what laws would you create and enforce?

1. The media will report only good, positive news. 2. Everyone will adopt an animal from a shelter. 3. Chocolate will be eaten with every meal. 4. No one will have to do math.

 You can only eat three foods for a week. What are they?

Chocolate, bread, oranges. (I’m healthy)

 The last thing you Googled?

How to clean urine off of microfiber. Jealous?

Given your blog name, I have to ask: What’s the craziest thing that you’ve ever done or that has happened because you have kids?

I haven’t done anything too crazy…yet. Wait until my son brings home his first girlfriend, then we’ll talk. But I’d like to think there’s a special padded room reserved for those of us who have three kids in under 5 years. *Twitches*

What question do you wish I had asked you and what would be your reply?

I wish you had asked how I manage this gorgeous head of hair. I would’ve replied, “Oh, Abby, you’re so sweet–thank you! The secret is washing it twice a week, spot cleaning the baby-flung prunes in between washes, and rocking a pony tail 90 percent of the time.”

Twice a week? See? She’s fancy and totally classing up the place.

Now go show her blog and Facebook page love and continue to try and pick something up with your feet. You know you’re curious about it now…

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P.S. Facebook has changed it’s reach AGAIN and only 5-10 percent of people are seeing my updates. To ensure you’re not missing a thing, add my Facebook page to your “Interests” lists, subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter.

Let’s Explore Some Career Options

They say to dress for the job you want, which given I’m in my robe until about 9 a.m. every morning before I go to the gym would suggest that I’m aiming to become a judge.

Even though I wouldn’t mind getting paid to voice my opinion on the stupid things people do, that’s what a blog and social media are for, and those things require much less work than being an actual judge.

With that said, I’ve been thinking about jobs that I AM qualified to do other than be the humorous, insightful, professional wordsmith that some company is just waiting to scoop up and hire any second now. Right?!? Right.

But in case I’m still unemployed next week, let’s explore my options.

Professional Chef


Okay. Maybe that one isn’t an option. Let’s move on. 

Before Picture

I think my ability to make others look good by comparison is highly underrated. My beauty routine can be completed in the time it takes my car to warm up in the morning, so I think it’s safe to say I have perfected the perpetual “before” beauty shot.

Plus, that’s a job that wouldn’t require me to actually put on makeup, so really it’s a win-win!

Infomercial Actress

Do you have problems completing basic, everyday tasks effectively? Then YOU can be the star in an infomercial, or rather, I can be the star in a series of infomercials.

The number of times I’ve grabbed a hot pan with the hand not wearing the OveGlove is impressive, not to mention the drama in trying to change a shower curtain liner or my sheets. There could be a whole series of infomercials with me as the star—including those for beauty products (see option 1 above.)

Game Show Contestant

This appears to be a quick way to make more than $10,000 in under 20 minutes. While I would excel at the awkward interview portion of “Jeopardy,” I would be kind of screwed if the categories were about anything other than food, sports or cleaning products.

“Wheel of Fortune” would be an option, although falling over the barrier in an effort to enthusiastically spin the wheel and being forced to ride around in circles until it stopped is a distinct possibility.

If I could go on with someone else’s family, “Family Feud” might be viable, but I think my best bet would be “The Price Is Right” only because food often drops down my flat chest like a PLINKO chip. Plus, I have extensive knowledge of product prices, which brings me to my next point.

Professional Grocery Shopper

I know people think I’m crazy, but I love grocery shopping and do it not only for myself, but also my mom and uncle, who can’t do it that easily themselves. It’s like a big treasure hunt going into the store with their lists, and the store employees pretty much know me by name around town (true, it might be “That Crazy Girl Who Hoard the Avocados,” but whatever.)

Considering my top blog post of 2014 was “The Ten Commandments of Grocery Shopping,” maybe they could even give me a badge so I could enforce the rules that I wrote.

Life Coach

Quit laughing. I don’t mean Life Coach in that I have my life together and should tell people how to live there, but rather that it’s more “practical” advice for those who also have issues. Given that “The Tao of Abby” was the second most read post of 2014, it seems that suggestions like this go over well: 


Plus, given some of the search terms people use to find my blog—“I have to pee but I can’t unzip my onesie,” “Believe in yourself unless you have small boobs,” “Need a studfinder both literally and figuratively” and “I will beat you with the grocery lane checkout divider”—it’s obvious that the public has questions they think I can answer…or they have deep-seated psychological issues.

Potato, po-tah-to.

Either way, I’m here if you need me.

References available upon request.

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P.S. Facebook has changed it’s reach AGAIN and only 5-10 percent of people are seeing my updates. To ensure you’re not missing a thing, add my Facebook page to your “Interests” lists, subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter.

Simon Holland Has Issues & a Giveaway!

To all of you who resolved to spend less time on the Internet for the New Year, I would like to welcome you back.

In honor of your return, this week I’m featuring a blogger that I actually “met” on Twitter a few months ago. He’s hilarious—yes, another guy on the blog!—and along with blogging, he’s a contributor to the very funny “The Big Book of Parenting Tweets” along with a bunch of other entertaining people (giveaway at the end of this post.)

But before you go check out the book, Simon Says read the post below and show him some love in a non-creepy, no-touchy way.


Name: Simon Holland


 Where, what and why do you write?

I usually write from my office at home and I like to write about things that I find funny, most of this tends to be observations of every day family life. I write to share something that I think will entertain someone. I’d like to be one of the people that has to write because their creativity is bursting at the seams and they need to let it loose, but for me it is more about wanting to tell a joke or a funny story and needing someone to listen and pretend that they think what I am saying has value. Ha Ha.

 First thing you think of when you wake up in the morning.

Muttered profanity and the snooze button. Is there any other thought that real live people have when they wake up? I like to think I am more the rule than the exception on this one.

 What’s the one “issue” or frustration annoying you the most right now?

Is there anything worse than gift bags? I mean seriously, there is a certain unabashed joy that you experience when you tear the wrapping paper off of a present to reveal your prize. Gift bags steal all of that. They ruin Christmas and they ruin birthdays. If anyone out there is thinking about giving me a present and putting it in a gift bag, just tape $3 to the gift. Trust me, I will appreciate that way more than a bag with some tissue paper in it.

Editor’s note: Yes, actually. I dated a guy once that actually had a wood box built to put my gift in and then screwed the whole damn thing shut. He is no longer around.

 Three websites you visit every day.



Would Netflix still be considered a website? If so, that is my answer. If not, probably a website about karate or lasers or sports cars or some other stuff that would make me seem less lame than I am.

If you could rule the land for one day, what laws would you create and enforce?

Probably that days now last forever. This is kind of like wishing for more wishes, but let’s be honest.  One day is not enough time to rule the land. I would first make days last for the rest of time and then probably make someone bring me Skittles.

You can only eat three foods for a week. What are they?

Tacos. Tacos. Tacos

Don’t mess with perfection. Tacos are proof that there is a God that loves us.

 You’re pretty much a Twitter rock star. What are your three “best” tweets?

Wow, I don’t know if I can be the judge of what is best, but here are three that I don’t hate.

“My wife brought home low-sodium bacon and know I understand what it means when someone says they love you but aren’t IN LOVE with you.”

 “I don’t know. Everything was going great and had been perfect for as long as I can remember. But then in 2012…”  -Gluten, talking to his therapist

“One time I listened to my wife tell a whole story without mentioning that I had a video game paused in the other room.”

 What would your life be in a tweet?

This probably sums it up pretty well: “Imagine having kids. Wrong. You don’t have time to imagine anymore.” 

What question do you wish I had asked you and what would be your reply?

I kind of wish you would have asked what I was wearing because I am wearing a hipster wolf T-shirt right now.

hipster wolf


In honor of “The Big Book of Parenting Tweets,”   Simon has agreed to give away a copy of the book to a random person who lives in the United States and leaves a comment to the question below. The winner will be randomly chosen Monday night. 

What would your life be in a tweet? (140 characters or less)  

Like the blog? Buy the books and cool things!


P.S. Facebook has changed it’s reach AGAIN and only 5-10 percent of people are seeing my updates. To ensure you’re not missing a thing, add my Facebook page to your “Interests” lists, subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter.

Let’s Set Lofty Goals!

The New Year is quickly approaching, which means we’ll soon be subjected to hearing about everyone’s lofty goals for the upcoming year.

I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions, mostly because I figure I don’t need to wait until January 1 to try and change whatever it is that needs changing—unless it’s the furnace filter, in which I stick to a stringent “every three months” schedule.

But in the spirit of self-improvement and goal-setting, I have decided to share a few of my more “reasonable” resolutions for the upcoming year with you guys. Of course, this is excluding the biggest most stressful goal—finding a job—but I can multi-task here (quickly adds that one to her resume.)


Throw a plastic bottle into the recycling bag without it bouncing back up and out of the bin and onto the floor.  

Rip bananas off the bunch at the store without feeling like I’m ripping them away from their little banana family, and then returning home without having bruised the bananas.

Take off  my winter boots without also taking off my socks, and if accomplished, step out of my winter boots without stepping directly into a piece of snow that fell on the floor.

Catch the pasta in between al dente and overcooked, which is approximately .84 seconds.

Not only remember to take my reusable grocery bags to the store, but also remember to actually take them into the store before I’m standing in line.

After brushing off my snowy car, open the car door without snow still falling in on the seat somehow.

Put the laundry away the same day that it’s actually washed and dried.

Successfully switch from one phone call to the one on call waiting without hanging up on either of the calls.

Find the right lid to a Tupperware container in less than three attempts.

Alphabetize something without needing to sing the alphabet song in order to actually alphabetize something.

Catch something as it falls off the table without knocking something else off the table.

Open a plastic produce bag in under 10 seconds at the store.

Pump gas and stop on the exact dollar amount instead of spending an extra $10 trying to get it to stop on an even dollar amount.

Try to find the good in every situation. Wait, that was a typo. I meant “food.” Try to find the food in every situation.

I think that last one is most certainly one I can accomplish (said as she walks by the laundry basket full of clean clothes for the third time today.)

Your turn. What’s one “reasonable” goal for 2015, other than not reading about anyone’s goals for 2015? 

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P.S. Facebook has changed it’s reach AGAIN and only 5-10 percent of people are seeing my updates. To ensure you’re not missing a thing, add my Facebook page to your “Interests” lists, subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter.

That’s Where I’ll Be

Six days before Christmas I found myself leaving the house at 7 a.m., not to go join the crowds bustling out to finish their holiday shopping, but to go stand outside in the cold and wait for the unemployment office to open the doors for the second time in three days.

As I made my way inside, I took a number and a seat among the crowd that had already filled up the room. A quick check of the clock showed that almost exactly two weeks ago at that time, I was told that my job of almost eight years wasn’t mine anymore.

And so, there I was, a number among the crowd.

Two weeks ago I would have never envisioned myself in that position, listening to an unemployment office worker address the room like a school teacher, instructing us as to the steps we needed to take, the forms we needed to complete, the frustration we should probably anticipate. I would have never envisioned myself among the crowd I often saw waiting outside as I drove past this building hundreds of times through the years.

Having security ripped from me in one quick sentence —“We’ve decided to go in a different direction” — essentially changed my life forever.

Instead of worrying about editorial deadlines or meetings, I now worried about overly complicated online paperwork, figuring out self-paid health care and sending out emails, resumes and positive vibes to the universe.

While I had previously thought freelance rejection was disheartening, I was now faced with rejection in terms of jobs I felt were a good fit, frustration in not reaching an actual person on the phone, and helplessness and fear that has reduced me, the woman who never cries, to sobbing like a baby more than once or twice.

And so, there I was.

When I looked around that room, I wondered about the stories of everyone else. What brought them to that point?

I wondered if they felt like a burden to those in their lives, despite how supportive they’ve been. I wondered if their hearts leapt into their throats every time the phone rang with possible news, if they got hopeful and then disheartened, motivated and then discouraged. I wondered if they missed the luxury of being stressed out over completely insignificant things like a long morning commute or a boring meeting.

And I wondered if they felt humbled, the way that I most certainly did.

While I’m envious of those not dealing with this, I’m not bitter and no that it could be worse. If nothing else, I’m now forced to realize how so much is out of my control—a feeling we all know that I try and avoid—and to let go of how I think things should be. I’m now forced to reflect and rebuild—a process that’s hard, but that’s also exciting in some ways, as I know my last job just wasn’t for me

It’s that whole, “see a slammed door as a window to new opportunity” hippy-dippy thing. 

Above everything else though, these past few weeks have showed me just how much I need people. I always appreciated those in my life, but this situation has forced me to open up, be vulnerable and let down my guard quite a bit. In doing so, I have been overwhelmed with the kindness bestowed upon me, melting away my cynicism and replacing it with a restored faith in people, in goodness, in hope.

I might have a heavy heart at times, but it’s also a heart filled with gratitude for those in my life—both online and off.

When my number was called I walked up to the desk and looked around that room one last time. As cheesy as it sounds, I hoped everyone else had their own stories to write that would end up okay in the end, that they had people they could talk to when the cloud of uncertainty shrouded the last spark of hope.

Without these people in my life this past month, I don’t know what I would have done. They’ve reminded me that while one sentence changed my life for the worst, one sentence could bring a new start.

It’s time to go in a different direction. 

And then, that’s where I will be.

While I keep things light around here, people are also asking me how things are going so I thought I would just give an update. However, attempts at humor coming next post.  

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P.S. Facebook has changed it’s reach AGAIN and only 5  percent of people are seeing my updates. To ensure you’re not missing a thing, add my Facebook page to your “Interests” lists, subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter.