Dark Matters, Get It Off Your Chest, Practical Life Lessons, This Week on Facebook, Uncategorized

Facebook Take a Break Feature puts friendships on Life Support

It's not okay if we agree to disagree on this one

It’s not okay if we agree to disagree on this one

The other night a friend from my College Years posted something on Facebook that could be perceived as racist, if read in a certain light.  Specifically, any light bright enough to read her status post in.

It would be easy to unfriend her and not look back.  In fact, since I am trying to trim down my Facebook friends list, I may one day unfriend her completely.  But for the moment, I decided to use the Take a Break feature instead.

Facebook has a “new” feature called Take a Break.  As far as I can tell this is a more nuanced setting than simply hiding someone and obviously less severe than unfriending or blocking them.  It also appears to be meant for people who were in more intimate relationships that have now cooled but not completely diminished.

In the early years, Facebook had a little known setting called See less of/See More of.   It wasn’t easy to find and I don’t know if many people used it.  The setting has long since been deprecated but I suspect that if you implemented it, the affects are still in use.

The HIDE feature hides the person in question from your feed, but I suspect it also hides you from theirs.  This could be an unintended tell that you hide them when they suddenly stop seeing your cat video posts.

The Take A Break feature lets you chose if you want the “break” to be mutual or one sided.  Apparently you can hide your feed from them, but still see their posts; or vice versa.  I call this last one the narcissistic option.

This is the part where I justify not unfriending my little racist friend.  I really don’t have a good reason other than nostalgia or loyalty for keeping her around.  While I have not talked to this person IRL in decades, I am fond of the time we spent together in a sleepy little backwater college town.  I don’t think she realizes her racism overprivilege and I like to think that by staying connected to her, somehow I may influence her to reevaluate her outlook at social issues and inequality in America.  Now who’s being narcissistic.

Do you me a solid and swing by my Facebook page and LIKE it! You’ll find funny, informative links and interesting pictures. Don’t worry, your  feed won’t get overwhelmed.

Follow Mysteries of Life on Twitter (@MysteriesOLife), Facebook or subscribe via email.


Authors and Writers, Get It Off Your Chest, Life Lessons, Practical Life Lessons, Time Machine

These letters have been in a shoe box for over 25 years. Find out what I’m going to do with them

Back in the day, people wrote one another because phone calls were expensive, especially if they were long distance.  I have this box of old snail mail

Way too many letters

Treasure Trove, junk mail, it’s a fine line

letters from my college days and shortly thereafter.  A treasure trove of envelopes of multitudes colors and sizes, stamps of all varieties, and postmarks from exotic places such as Kirksville, Missouri.  Yes, I saved them all, sentimental fool that I am.

I tend to hold on to things too long. Old memories, mementos and more than a few grudges.  I’ve been holding onto these letters for decades, moving them from home to home but never looking at them.  So I figured the time has come to deal with them once and for all.

I thought I could take a quick, first pass through them and cull the less meaningful, superficial ones.  They cannot all be gems.

This proved harder than I thought because often within the contents of a typical boring letter are nuggets of goodness. I see things that I missed, undervalued or outright ignored the first time.

The Case for Getting Rid of It

You should only hang onto old memories, and their physical artifacts, for two reasons. One, they provide some warm fuzzies that elevate your mood. Two, they remind you of what to do or not to do when life throws you in that situation again.

These letters meant something to me decades ago. Leaving NMSU back in my college years was traumatic for me.  I had a good group of friends.  I was doing okay academically and repairing the damage to my GPA that my clueless freshmen self-inflicted.

Alas, I had to leave because of finances and for years I tried to get back to Planet Kirksville and the life I had to leave behind.  I would visit Kirksville and later St Louis, even considering relocating there to be with my college friends.

I spent a lot of my 20s struggling because I didn’t have the support structure here that I had there (or thought I had there).  I spent a lot of time and energy holding onto something that didn’t exist anymore and probably didn’t really exist in the first place.  And had I been able to let go sooner, I probably would have had a better 90s and 2000s.  It wasn’t until I built something solid here that I was finally able to let go.

I saved these letters because I figured I might read them in my old age and enjoy some warm memories. But honestly, if I have to read these to have warm memories when I’m nearly 80, my life didn’t turn out so well.

The Case for Keeping Some of It 

Back then, they only duct tape the important meaningful letters

Back then, they only duct tape the important meaningful letters

I googled what do to with old letters and surprisingly half a dozen articles appeared with that title (hence why I’m not using it as the headline for this post).  The best advice was Get rid of all cards and letters that don’t add to your happiness. You know, the letter from someone who promised they’d write and at the tail end of summer you get a postcard saying “hey dude, how’s your summer been? ready to get back to classes,” Signed: Somebody That I Use to Know.

Since I have access to an Enterprise sized scanner I am scanning everything, significant or insignificant.   But this is proving to be a challenge since many of these letters are folded, crumpled odd-sized pages and as such, are a bitch to get into the feeder.

There are a few people I will be able to send the originals back just in case genealogists and family historians want some insight into how their ancestor thought, what made them happy, and what broke their hearts.

Stay tuned.


Like me, you probably dislike all of the ads on this page. They pop up unexpectedly, sometimes cover text, start playing videos and clutter the post itself. We bloggers have no control over any aspect of the ads (content, form, placement, etc). I am sorry that they have taken over our blogs on ChicagoNow and appreciate your continued support.

Follow Mysteries of Life on Twitter (@MysteriesOLife), Facebook or subscribe via


During the Marathon Era of my life, when I was a more avid runner, I collected a large wardrobe of running clothes for all seasons. At its height I probably had a good two weeks worth of running shirts alone. Now that I’m not logging nearly as many miles, there is no need to fill my closets and drawers with unused clothes.


With winter and cooler weather gear you can usually wear the same tights and long sleeves more than once before needing a wash. Summer stuff obviously is a one wear and wash. The truth is, even if I were running more like the Marathon Era of my life, there were favorites that always got put to the front and the other clothes were mostly backups.

I’ve decided to keep two sets of winter wear and three sets of warmer weather wear.  If my running habits change and I actually start running more than 2-3 days a week, I can always buy another pair of running shorts.

Do you have trouble getting rid of clutter? Tell me about it here in the comments, then swing by my Facebook page and LIKE it! You’ll find funny, informative links and interesting pictures. Don’t worry, your FB feed won’t get overwhelmed.

Follow Mysteries of Life on Twitter (@MysteriesOLife), Facebook or subscribe via email.

Marathon Monday, Running Related

Time to purge the running clothes already

aggregation aggregation aggregation, Festivals, Free Fun Friday

Not so fast: Summer Ain’t Over Yet

It’s after Labor Day and my social media feed is filled with first day of school pictures and people saddened by the symbolic end of summer.  Although many people defines Summer as the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the Autumnal Equinox isn’t for another two weeks!  And even after that, the Midwest usually gets its politically incorrect Indian Summer (well we did before climate change — see what I did there, I likely offended conservatives and liberals!)

There’s still plenty of summery things you can do before the cold and snow arrives.  For instance, this weekend in Lincoln Square is German-American Oktoberfest.  If Mayfest signals the start of summer, Oktoberfest ushers in the fall.  This festival is free and is a good place to begin the hunt for that winter body warmer, aka standing date for the holiday parties.

The beach is less crowded and while the water might not be warm enough to swim in, the sun is still good.  You might even get your  friends together for a few sets of beach volleyball.

If this doesn't scream impromptu Beach Tournament, I don't know what does

If this doesn’t scream impromptu Beach Tournament, I don’t know what does

There’s still a few weeks of baseball left.  This year White Sox tickets will be easier and cheaper to come by, but in years past, both teams are usually so out of playoff contention that they might pay you to sit in the stadium.  [I try to write these posts so that they become Everygreen Content.]  And if you are a glutton for punishment with a large bank account, catch a Bears game before the weather and their season gets too ugly.

If you work downtown you can still eat lunch outside.  Brown bag to Millennium Park or maybe even splurge a week’s paycheck to eat lunch on the River Walk.  Or take a day off and hit the museums.  Kids are back in school so they won’t be as crowded.  Combined with the baseball game, you could essentially re-enact Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

All I’m trying to say is that just because the calendar says it’s after Labor Day that does not mean Summer is over.  Not officially and not if you put your mind to it.

Other posts you might like to bookmark for next summer:
This one- Summertime fun for Chicagoans

Or this one-Don’t Let Summer Slip away…

OOOOR this one- 7 ways not to let summer slip away…

Thank you for reading and I hope you will comment below. Please do me a favor? Click my “like” button and join our Facebook community. If you like my posts, funnies and random facts, please also Follow Mysteries of Life on Twitter (@MysteriesOLife), or subscribe via email.



Corporate America, Wacky World Wednesday

Emojis in work emails don’t make you look dumb, doing these 7 things do

The other day I was riding the elevator, watching that Captivate board because my cell service craps out inside enclosed spaces like elevators and it was the only way to avoid any interaction with everyone else for those long 60 seconds it takes to get to the fifty something floor I work on.

I cannot find the source because I don’t know how to link back to elevators, but every six months or so, some guru writes a thing about proper email communication.  Yes it’s okay to use the smiley face.  No it’s not.  Whoops, now it’s okay again.  Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

some of these might be a little too informal when asking for time off

Some of these might be a little too informal when asking for time off

Here are some things that really make you look like an idiot and make your coworkers hate you.  Note: there are caveats and exceptions to many of these.

Requesting info previously provided within the same email thread

Nothing says lazy reader than someone not scrolling down to see if the information was already provided.  Obviously if the thread has gone one for weeks, you don’t want to re-read a Lord of the Rings length email just to learn the name of the 6th wraith.  But if you cannot scroll down a few paragraphs to see the relevant information, you really need to get into a different line of work.  You are taking up value dollars from the meager 3% merit increases allocated for the group.

Receive email with multiple questions, only address one

This is really the worst, especially if your job is to answer these questions and you know you are just going to get asked in the next round.  You’re either doing it on purpose or you really aren’t paying attention to life.

(When to) Drop people from email thread

Reply or Reply to All is more art than science.  That said, the number of times this gets messed up is insane.

Don't list to me

Copy boss on trivia email

The boss needs to be informed of high level occurrences and the view from 30,000 ft.  She really doesn’t want to read a 20 volley thread about how you decided that Appleby’s is better than Olive Garden for Justin’s going away lunch.  Everyone hates Justin anyway.

Forwarding an email without any additional contextual text

We really cannot read your mind.  Also even if we kinda know where you might be going with the screenshot or the forward, it really won’t kill you to include two sentences to clarify what you expect us to do with this information.

Mix up thread or bring up something unrelated to thread and subject line

It’s hard enough finding information buried in the inbox when someone does use an appropriate description Subject Line.  But when the Subject line is New Hire and you use it to talk about who’s doing what on Project X, it is annoying.  The lone exception is when you are need to relay some info stat from your phone and you honestly don’t have the time to create a new email.

What is the status of ticket 7932139450304943023?

This is a  Corporate America Felony that your Pointy Hair Boss is likely to commit.  He’s usually looking at something, perhaps an SLA report and has the info in front of him but is too lazy to cut and paste so you have a frame of reference.

What Common Email Sins do you encounter and how do you deal with them? Tell me about it here in the comments, then swing by my Facebook page and LIKE it! You’ll find funny, informative links and interesting pictures. Don’t worry, your FB feed won’t get overwhelmed.

Follow Mysteries of Life on Twitter (@MysteriesOLife), Facebook or subscribe via email.