Saturday, July 29, 2017

Local Destinations: The Woodlands

I kind of hate driving. But not the way I hate being crammed in with people on large transit machines. I mean have you seen "Midnight" in the Doctor Who series? I always feel like that's about how it is going to go for me. 

We'll do the larger travel stuff if and when we can, but only for some select trips. Universal Studios Harry Potter attraction is on my bucket list. But even that takes some serious penny hoarding and planning with three kids.

And I'm probably still going to hate getting to and from Florida. 

So, if you don't have the means for larger trips or just hate being packed in for long amounts of time, you don't have to skip out on adventures. 

People miss so much that is right in front of them. Which is almost a tragedy, especially in a large city like Houston that houses so many unique things and is very close to other great destinations. 

You can find something to do every week here. A new place to eat, a new museum, a new trip to take to a nearby town...

This summer we packed up and went to the Woodlands in Texas for a few days. 

It's an incredibly family-friendly place, with a waterway that (on select days/hours) has a ferry to take you around and is generally running trolley cars to help you get around the large Market Street area. There's a mall with a ton of things to get into, but we passed on that, opting to take the kids walking the decorative paths. 


If you don't do anything else, go see the Waterway at night, I forgot my camera that evening but it is
gorgeous, I swear it. 


One of the things you have to take into account with the kids is what they need to keep from being bored or overwhelmed. Our first choice hotel, The Woodlands Resort, has a water park attached but it was booked. We opted to get a hotel that had a nice pool, a huge breakfast bar, and a splashpad; The SpringHill Suites Houston The Woodlands had a great deal on a room for all five of us and having the pool and splash pad kept everyone extremely happy. There were no boring moments-when we weren't out exploring, we were out swimming. The rooms were clean, the lobby was nice, the free breakfast puts the usual hotel continental breakfasts to absolute shame, and everyone was courteous. I'm still hoping to get to explore The Woodlands Resort in the future, but if you are looking for a great deal and a great place, SpringHill Suites will make you happy. It's also located strategically to stores and food joints to make everything fairly low stress. 

The pool is always stocked with swim toys, too, which is amazing. 

One of the biggest draws for us here is The Woodlands Children's Museum. We have a giant, award-winning one here in Houston. But, it's giant. So get ready to pay for parking, fight for a spot to park in, wade through people, and keep a hawk-like watch over your kids in the giant facility. This museum, on the other hand, is hidden away in a shopping center. 



You'll have to walk down a magic-looking alleyway with hanging colorful decorations to even find the front door. 

The place isn't tiny, but it's small in comparison. You can keep an eye on everyone at the same time. Even my ten-year-old was able to find enough things to do to have a great time, and my eight and three-year-old love the place. If you have children, definitely don't pass this place up. The reviews are right, it's nicer for smaller kids, but with so much to do, I'd say you could swing this until about eleven without a lot of sighing, and twelve before they'd probably stop enjoying everything. 

And, the best part is that it's very close to a TCBY. So you can stop for ice-cream on the way in or out to make it a memorable day for sure. 

The Woodlands has way more to do than what we have explored, and for a driveable distance, it is an awesome place to plan a getaway with your family. There are enough amenities to make you comfortable and enough to explore (including hiking trails, though we won't be hitting those in summer) to keep you excited. It's a balance hard to find in a trip, but one necessary for us with three kids. 


Travel doesn't have to mean leaving the country. Or even the state. 

There is something to be said for going out to explore with a backpack full of stuff for the family and uncovering places close to where you live. 

It's more economical, for us it is more enjoyable, too. 

It's about finding those moments where you're just enjoying being with the people you love and trying new things. 

I'm hoping to be able to save some to try this during our holiday season as well. The swimming might be missing (unless you can snag a place with a heated, indoor pool) but many cities in Texas change attractions during the winter, so there are new things to visit and do. 

Don't forget to go out and explore closer to your hometown, too. Check city websites for big events, ask around to find new places to eat, look out for travel guides for your town and those right around you. You never know what you'll discover right around the corner. 


  

Vegetarian Cookbooks Kind of Suck.

What? They do. 

It's either filled with things my kids will never, ever touch (I'm looking at you, Kale, you stemmy bastard of the greens) or with recipes we are already using in a rotation. 

That's the other thing, you get very conscious of how often you are eating the same thing once you cut out a food group. Which, even then, we haven't entirely cut out all white meat for blood iron and convenience reasons, but we have not bought any red meat at all for weeks (and honestly, I don't miss having to deal with it). 



Our grocery list consists a lot more of grains, beans (canned), and nuts than it ever did before, along with what we can get that is affordable as far as produce goes. I have purchased more stock and seasonings and purees, too. I wasn't noticing a price drop in shopping until recently, and it's modest, but still a plus. 

That said, we're still hunting down REALISTIC cookbooks for not eating meat. Pinterest does help. I mean, I had no idea until recently that you could just mix canned pumpkin with a cake or brownie boxed mix and end up with a viable, not super unhealthy desert. So, yeah, it's useful, but you run into a lot of the same stuff. 

What isn't inaccessible as far as $$ ingredients go is often super time-consuming. Which, for various reasons, I can not budge on. 

And with sensory-processing disorders and Asperger's Syndrome in my house, there are some recipes that are not going to even be attempted. I like to think all of my children are doing pretty well with variety, but some tastes and textures are out of bounds and I refuse to make them miserable for something as wonderful as food. 

So, we're mostly left with our regular rotations-pastas, beans, cheeses, rice, peanut butter and jelly, grilled cheese, eggs...which the kids all love. But we're still looking for more variety that works. And, as with all cooking I think, you try a lot of recipes and discover ones that work, and those get added into meal plans. 

We did snag two helpful books, though. One is very price conscious and you can download it in PDF form at no cost, but the recipe book itself is handy and not expensive. 


Not everything in here would work for us, but a lot of it did. It's not entirely vegetarian, but most of the recipes are or can be adjusted. With easy to find ingredients and easy to execute instructions, if I had to live off of one single cookbook forever, it would probably be this one. Plus, it's amazing what the author did as far as giving out copies, so this entire recipe book is just a big win in my eyes. You can find this and Leanne Brown's other works here.



My other score cracked everyone up with its profanity. Thug Kitchen 101: Fast as F*ck addresses the problems of timing pretty well. We still ran into a lot of omitting stuff that my family would cringe at, but the techniques and pantry recommendations are still worth it. That and the cussing. It's inspired me to try some new things, which is what makes a recipe book work I think. They have other books as well, and a neat website at http://www.thugkitchen.com/101

So those are the only two workable vegetarian cookbooks I've found so far, but I'll keep looking, and let me know of any recommendations that have worked for you. 




Monday, July 24, 2017

Goodbye, Mr. Bennington.

My best friend introduced me to Linkin Park when we were just girls, so already the music has a lot of importance to me. I can remember wading through halogen-lit store aisles for CDs-there weren't usually long lines since we were bright and early for release day. 

But that was what I listened to when the pain got too bad. It was angry, but it's the kind of angry that comes from having been ground into the dirt and climbing back up. It was inspirational. It was calming to feel less alone because, clearly, someone else got it. 

Chester Bennington did all of that perfectly. Because he'd fucking been there. He lived through unimaginable forms of abuse. And he took all of that and created music that was popular because it really connected with people, and paired with the other incredibly talented individuals that made up the band, they were unstoppable. 

Mr. Bennington leaving us is a hard blow. He was a champion among those who survived abuse. And we'd think he did it, he's doing it, so we can do it. We can get up, we can keep fighting. 

It's a reminder those demons planted there never leave us. 

Anyone who thinks of suicide as weak couldn't possibly understand what doing battle in your own head feels like as-even as the years pass-you might have to relive the hell you escaped. You might have to do it every day. 

And if you're in the middle of fighting it, keep reaching out. You don't ever have to do it by yourself. On the day you feel like dropping your metaphorical sword to the ground, reach out first. A hand will be waiting there, somewhere. You'll find rest there and you can gather the strength to face tomorrow, and the next day and the next. 

Linkin Park has an online memorial with the information for a suicide hotline along with touching remembrances of the lead singer that helped change popular culture forever here 

You can also visit https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/  and call them at 1-800-273-8255. 

Goodbye, Mr. Bennington. You will be terribly missed, and dearly, fiercely remembered. Your work changed the world for the better and I believe it will continue doing that for years and years and years. 




Friday, July 21, 2017

How Stoicism Helps Me Deal.

We didn't spend a lot of time on Seneca or Zeno of Citium in college philosophy. Granted that was a winter mini, and it probably couldn't be squeezed in for more than a few minutes just like everything else we had to cover between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

But in searching for some decent way to deal with having an unpredictable sickness, a trauma laden past, and an uncertain future, I found Stoicism to be a kind of natural home.

When it's criticized, people are often critiquing a perverted version of it that doesn't exist in the old teachings. Nobody is telling you not to feel anything.

Stoicism's principals like dedicating your life to doing good and using logic to remain calm and in the moment are found in many schools of thought and religion. And it is a far cry from our newer interpretations of using the word stoic for anything indifferent.

The book I came across is sort of an introductory set of advice on how to live a life based on Seneca's writings. How to live a short life, even. And how to do that well. And courageously, when the moment of death does arrive. I would recommend this to anyone facing a terminal illness.

But I would recommend this to anyone, actually. Whether you have a religion or not, these ideas are helpful. They are calming and assuring in ways the positive-thinking garbage can't ever be.

I had a dear friend ask me what it was like, facing sickness and death in a timeline we can't identify. I said sometimes it was scary, but mostly, you start learning to pay more attention. To the people you love who love you, to the world, to whatever avenue of work you can do well that leaves the world better. It doesn't feel so different other than I am careful now on how I spend my time if I can help it (you can't fix sitting in a hospital waiting room for three hours, though I really, really wish you could).

But, for the darker "why me? Why do I have to face this?" days, you might need this.

I think what stuck with me was the gladiator comparison. A warrior who would do anything to save his own life was not loved the way one was who acted as if he had contempt for it. When your death comes, you don't frantically reach your hands out to protect your neck from the sword. Your life is temporary. When you're called to hand it back, do it bravely.

And with whatever time you have, don't waste it. Use your talents nature gave you, use what you have at your disposal, don't get caught up in the daily distractions...practical advice from a story-telling perspective abound.

It does read like ancient letters, though. If that might bother you, read a sample to make sure this is a good fit. This book, because of that alone, took me longer to read than most.

I can't say I was bothered by that, as there is a lot to take in on every page. "Seneca On The Shortness Of Life: Life Is Long If You Know How To Use It" is a great starter book for Stoicism, and I'll probably eye the other "Great Ideas" books in the near future. 





"Why are you sad? You are wondering whether souls are immortal: 
I shall know soon." -Julius Canus



Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Good Picture Book Hunting.

Having kids will eventually lead to being very discerning about picture books. 

Bad ones will trigger a disdain in you normally reserved for terrible art you paid a fortune to see. 

I'm not kidding. 

Some of it is because it's not like reading for adults. You think a book isn't right for you, as a grown-up, and you put it down.Try that with your five-year-old in the middle of a bad story. The other part of it is children's books are pricey, the library helps us out with that, but we still buy many books over the course of a year-especially when smaller children will want to read them over and over: it's a high cost of admission for something that might be awful. And then there's that very problem- where it might bore the brain right out of your skull, but your child may love it enough to read it x3 daily. 

Awesome picture books will begin to feel like amazing finds. There are a ton of them, but landing one will still make you feel lucky. 

I used to rely on recommendations from homeschooling sites as to what to grab my kids, and I still do that when I have time. But mostly now, it's just grab-and-go. 

When my older kids were small, we had the Jon J. Muth picture books about the zen-ish panda and "Flotsam". Things they requested regularly. "Flotsam" doesn't even have WORDS and it's still beautiful. It was something we read every summer for a long, long time. 



It's harder now, with a seven year plus age gap to even think of getting a picture book all three kids will gather around me for: the older kids can't be called for story time anymore, it has to be that they were genuinely interested in the book-though for the record, still works for Arthur books...

I found "Cinnamon" by accident, on our 12th wedding anniversary while shopping around for something else when it jumped out at me. My husband and I are Gaiman fans (who isn't, though?) but I didn't think both my toddler and nearly middle-schooler would both love the story. 

But they did. 

And I did, too. 



The illustrations are simple but evocative of exactly what they need to be displaying- a home of wilderness and exotic royalty where any danger is outweighed by beauty. 

And the heroine and the text are Gaiman style magic, likening the tiger who comes to teach a silent, blind princess to speak to a god. 

For parents who love mythology and a bit of the unordinary, this will be a book you won't mind having around to read again and again. It also talks about the importance meaningful experiences give us, and it's not lost on me that the main character is a beautiful princess, the kind that normally is kept away from that sort of thing (science actually tells us we tend to encourage female children not to venture forth as often as our male babies, and that sucks). My older daughter, a lover of all things wild cats, grabbed this title herself and read it. And the toddler sat through the entire story quietly. Those are the most glowing references I can give a picture book.  




A book I grabbed mostly for my son ended up delighting my youngest reader as well. "Not Quite Narwhal" has some of the brightest, most energetic illustrations I have seen in a long time and we loved that. 
The story itself was about belonging when you don't fit into the neat boxes we place things in-when you might be half one or the other. Important things to talk to kids about in a society that really does strive to draw a line around what you are. But it's not a preachy message. It's just a fun, beautiful book with an adorable protagonist. If I'd of seen this before I had my son, he might have had a blue unicorn/narwhal nursery. It's a nice read that belongs in your picture book collection. 

If anyone has come across some really memorable picture books this year, let me know. We're always looking. 





Monday, July 17, 2017

Eight Reasons Why Summer Reading Programs Are Wonderous


One of the things I look forward to the most this season, aside from the opening of the pool, is the summer reading program offered by our local libraries. Here are eight reasons why it is amazing. You're probably asking yourself why I didn't do ten or five or some normal list number, but I could think of eight. So, it's eight...

1. Your kid can't complain about boredom-just put a new book in their hands if they do and remind them about the rewards they get from doing it. 

2. It' s FREE. In the land of hundred-dollar plus summer camps (that, by the way, your kid may not like) and forty dollar pizza/gaming place visits, this helps. 

3. With so many libraries participating, you can pick the ones offering the things that your child loves the most as reading rewards. Some even have teen prize sets.

4. Adults usually have raffle entries. All those trips to the library mean more books for you, and you can log them for chances to win things you care about. 

5. It provides a short, concrete example about setting goals and meeting them. Something incredibly important for younger people to learn. 

6. Summer socialization just happens easier. More library trips equal your family making it to more events where usually something fun or creative will be going on with tons of other kids around.  As someone who sucks at planning get-togethers, I fully appreciate this. You'll get to know some familiar faces this way, too. 

7. High reading goals are going to get your kids to try out different kinds of books, and exposure to all kinds of literature is awesome. Don't be upset if they check out ten comic books. They are trying to find out what type of book makes them happy. 

8. Time together. Don't forget even teens benefit from you reading aloud chapter books with them. Summer reading is something you can all do together even if your kids are independent. If your teenager thinks the reading aloud thing is too much, you can still talk about and pick books together. Doing things like this as a family is just the best. It really is.  

If you're not registered for one of these summer programs, go do so. Your library might even offer to do registration or even the book logs online, so check the city website. 

If you're worried about getting enough books for your kiddos to hit their goal, consider something like Skybrary, Reading Rainbow's app that provides access to tons of books (with minor animations added in). The fee is pretty small now (it was a tad higher when we signed on) but it's not non-existent. You can save some by just signing onto it for the summer months. However, we totally use this sometimes for nightly reading logs for school, too. 




Thursday, July 13, 2017

Writing Books...I mean Books on Writing~ "The Story Cure".

Other kids collected dead bugs or fruit and vegetable stickers (I think they did, anyway). I had my collection of books on how to write books. Roughly 2/3 of my brother's black spray-painted bookshelf held my writing books. I loved them because you could read them, and when you were in a tight spot in a story, crack them back open and inspire yourself or troubleshoot your problems. It was like having a friend right beside your keyboard or notebook. 

I sort of still feel that way. 






I was really excited to be able to review a book on writing. "The Story Cure: A Book Doctor's Pain-Free Guide to Finishing Your Novel or Memoir" by Dinty W. Moore 

...No, not that one... 

is probably the most friendly-toned book on improving writing that I have ever read. That may not sound like a lot, but when you're in real story trouble, that's useful. And encouraging. And that is a lot of what this book is: encouragement. 

It's separated into chapters to diagnose the illness your writing may have picked up, and each comes with examples to make sure the cure for it is clear. 

That said, if you've had the luck to be in a really great creative writing class, you probably are quite familiar with most of the advice. For that reason, I'd recommend this first to people who haven't had that experience, because it will come in handy in more ways than you can imagine. 

But, there were still things to be learned here even if you've had the luxury of good advice or a wonderful mentor...
like the "invisible magnetic river", a term I will probably remember for the rest of my life. It refers to the pull of the story-how lovely is that? I found his attitude in dealing with revising and how he goes about it to be really helpful, too. 

If you're writing, and kind of lost...Or just lost and haven't been able to write (a place I find myself too often these days) this will help. I'd say grab a copy of this and make yourself some tea. 

This is a light, inspiring reference read you'll probably go through many times in the journey to finish your story. 

**I received this book from Blogging for Books


Friday, July 7, 2017

Skinner Drawings Part II and The New Food Thing (it ties in, I swear...sort of).

Finally getting caught up with my Drawing With Skinner episodes (if you missed the post on the initial show, it's like if you combined Bob Ross with Pee-Wee and Dark Metal) and these always seem to be on my heavy medical appointment weeks where I'm not as energetic. So I'm basically just working along as I watch it with the theme of the day but with paper and Prismacolors and now my ink pen (that I finally found...again). 



I went ahead and messed with this one more digitally, too. Just because that's what I do. And it's fun. Digital manipulations with art you have completed is all the experiment and zero risks, we were encouraged to do it long before it was common to attempt it; one professor even has us do an entire series where the paintings were completed then a second set where it had all been digitally changed around. You think you'd get sick of working with the same things so long, but the potential to play kept it from being boring. So, really, even if it's not your thing, try it. 

And again, if you are an art fan, these are just great shows
It's an awesome thing he is doing to share with us his process and inspiration and do it all with a dark sense of humor that will get you kicked out of the million dollar gallery shows all of us are fighting to get into. 

The theme for episode 2, as chosen by the creepy fate wheel, was addiction. The guys made some really interesting pieces, mine went in the direction of food. Mostly because that's a lot of what we've been thinking about in my house. 




My kids wanted to lean toward a vegetarian diet, and there is some decent evidence for heavily plant based. I'm not for dieting. I think it sort of makes people insane. And having known serious, mind-numbing hunger and the pain that goes with it, I know I won't deal with it again on purpose and won't let anyone around me feel that way either (dessert is a right in this house, not a privilege). 

But, being sick, I think vegetarian is worth a try. Even if it's just a most of the time arrangement, you're saving the resources meat gobbles up to make it to your plate and maybe eating better in the process. So, we're checking out a ton of kid-friendly veggie cookbooks. Because skipping meat means you had better know what you're doing when it comes to food or you are going to be bored really fast. Also, it gets all of us involved with meal-planning, which makes it suck less. And hopefully it saves us some cash, but pricing it so far, it's about the same. 

And seriously, cooking meat in modern times kind of blows. Infections, contamination, blood, blood sludge if cooking frozen meat, internal cooking temps.-that is a great deal of worry. More than I'd like to put into preparing meals every single day. We're not putting all meat away forever, but having a break from all this sounds pretty good to me. 

One thing I did notice on our first no meat day (we already don't do real milk here) was EVERYONE ATE EVERYTHING. Even the toddler.That's something I guess. 

So, yeah. Food addictions I think are a thing, but not simple. I think it happens almost as a byproduct of surviving a suboptimal world where you don't have access to what you really need, or so much stress that you can't focus on anything other than sheer survival. Or, maybe that's just me personally. Either way, this is an attempt to rewire that and hopefully be a little healthier. 

***Also, don't get this confused with weight stigma. There's no excuse for hurting anyone because they look different from you and if there is one thing I have learned in the process of getting diagnosed it is that you can not judge someone's health by looking on the outside. And, yes the girl in my drawing is chubby. I think I draw rather cute chubby people, but that's a personal preference and not one related to food-themes. 


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Dying Alone...In Style.

There's a lot of people of note in the Pulmonary Hypertension world who will tell you the truth about having a terminal illness is that really you start scaring the mortally-minded off. 

Not in all cases, but in many. 

Dealing with death means you, while still walking around in the world of the living, are holding death's hand. And, despite the fact that everyone will face that, having one foot in each world freaks people right out to the point where they don't know what to say or even how to be there. 

I could give you this speech about how much that sucks, but people know it sucks and they do it anyway. Human nature, or something. 

The real questions I get are usually dealing with the fact that since I have no contact with my abusive family of origin, do I feel alone? Is it harder?

The answer is no. It's not harder than being abused to not have family around. Even when you're sick. 

And you can daydream about what life is like when that's not the truth you were given, but it doesn't do anything or change anyone disordered enough to hurt you. Nothing will. The good news is, it doesn't come up in your mind often. Mostly, after escaping, you are just overwhelmed with how peaceful it is. Nobody carving out their pound of flesh, nobody manipulating, no physical abuse. It's not possible to miss any of that. So, when it's gone, most of your time is spent being thankful. (The other part is spent wondering why you waited so long to leave, so if you yourself are facing this, run). 

I'm especially thankful that I do have my own little family, so truly I'm not alone. Though, I do wish I had more support for them. I'm thinking that we need to join a church locally or some kind of group to really give them a set of people they can trust and hold onto (though I know it's a crapshoot, we do have one local place here that has been there for us consistently enough that I trust them). The main thing is that when you don't have the people you need to lean on, you have to do the legwork to seek out a soft spot to land (even if you have to wear an oxygen mask while doing it). 

All that said with the understanding that nobody is a capable island, there is some dignity in being able to face the unknown, the scary, in small numbers. 

It's a kind of bravery that thankfully few people will earn, though it's more common than we suspect I think. It also becomes part of the legacy we have to pass down. 

When I'm really having trouble processing it, I write. You may have noticed not many of my characters have super-happy-fun-time childhoods and that's not an accident. Many of them will need that resilience they learned to have any hope of survival. Little Ghost, for example, the female lead in my next CDW book, was nearly sacrificed as an infant. Only the darkness, that shadowed guardian that nobody understands, was there to save her. Rain, the main character, could have had a wonderful family but his mother died to save everyone she loved and the circumstances of his birth did not permit his father to contact him often. Writing about individuals like that gives you something to look up to when you are feeling down or alone. And, hopefully, it helps other people going through the same thing when they read it. 

Other than that, you just learn to be brave. It's one day, one treatment, one procedure, one milestone at a time. 




Saturday, July 1, 2017

Plugging In

I've learned to treat social media and maybe the internet in general like plugging into the Matrix. 

It's intriguing, a lot of things are possible, but ultimately most of it isn't real. And it's occasionally harmful or dangerous. This is especially true for the social media stuff.

I deleted my Facebook accounts. I know everyone always asks how will you keep in touch with people without it. First, ask if you need to be in touch with everyone. Seeing as how it was revealed by a study that only a handful (like not more than all the fingers on your hand) of your friends on social media are actually people who care about you, why the heck would you want to touch base with all the people who don't? 

Secondly, Facebook is sort of like a performance. My closest friends aren't going to keep in touch with me via status updates. Those are just things people say, often vaguely, from a type of digital podium. You need real interaction (I don't always mean face to face since that isn't possible at great distances) and things like long messages back and forth and letters and texting and phone calls can't be replaced with status updates. 

So, I guess it does take more effort, but it's probably the effort we need to be putting into our friendships anyway. 

Some benefits I've already noticed are added time. I didn't realize how much of my every day was getting eaten doing posts or scrolling. I don't have that to waste. I'm not sure anyone actually does, but I don't. 

Also, have you kept track of the amount of WEIRDLY specific ads you've been seeing? Write it down. It's too many. We don't think about the effect of that stuff, but it's one of the reasons I don't miss cable, either. Advertising is designed to alter how you view yourself and your world, which isn't a malevolent thing in and of itself, but taking too much of it in or engaging in it without being aware really sucks. And some of it is really depressing for me (Oh, great, you sell beautiful newborn hats? That must be awesome for women without terminal illnesses who get to have as many children as they want. Oh, hey, mountain bikes! That sure does look like fun for people who can breathe really, really well!...@#%$*). Just no thanks. 

And speaking of advertising...

Ever been to a party and end up seated next to one of those people who can not stop talking about how great they are? What if you went to a party where almost everyone was doing that, all the time. 

You'd probably leave early and never speak to the person who invited you again. 

Facebook is that. People walk around showing you the best parts of their lives and even the bad parts get good editing treatment. Psychologically, taking that in has shown to be kind of poisonous. It's one of the key reasons people are happier without social media. 

That's not to say all of it is bad. 

It's useful. It's "get stuff done" useful. 

But, like the Matrix, you need to remember what is real. And don't hang out here too long.

via GIPHY

*I'd tell you this is my last philosophical Matrix comparison post, but that's probably a lie...*