Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Fun 10/29/2010

Happy Halloween! How are you celebrating? I'll be at Rocky Horror tonight, flying around on my broom Saturday and on Sunday, I'm hoping to spend my day with a little soldier, a train conductor and a princess. 

To start the weekend off right, here are some fun questions via The Women's Colony.

What is your mother's middle name? Patricia

What is the last book you read? Finger Lickin' Fifteen (a Stephanie Plum Novel) - Janet Evanovich

Who is the last person you hugged? Michele

Smooth or crunchy? Extra crunchy, all the way!

Favorite female vocalist? I have several. We'll go with Bette Midler.

Bonus! What kind of candy are you giving out this Halloween? Snack-size bags of Fritos, Doritos, Cheetos, etc.

Happy Halloween!!!

Cute~Ella is still getting caught up from last week, so she's got bunches of Friday Fun going on over there. Here are some more answers for her, cause she makes me smile.

What were two of your favorite elementary school chapter books? Easy - anything by Beverly Cleary.

If you could live forever, would you want to? No. I'd be too curious to find out what's next. What if it's a big party or somethin'?!

What word or phrase do you use too frequently?
"I'm sorry"

What is one cleaning tip you swear by? If your floor requires more than a Swiffer, you need a new floor. Also, sort your mail first thing and get rid of the junk.

What is one landmark in the world you hope to see one day? Not huge on landmarks, although my trip to Niagara Falls (a natural wonder) this summer was great.

Friday Fill-Ins (I'm picking and choosing)

One of my strongest beliefs is that everyone is equal and should be treated with respect.

It's a huge relief that it is Friday.

The sky is cloudy with a threat of rain and wind and cold, so I'll be inside with a movie. Yay!

I always thought I'd be in a completely different place by *ahem* 36. Life is full of surprises.

While the cat's away I'm probably cleaning up after her.

The children in my life are little miracles and proof to me that angels exist.

I say hello to my kitties and drop my stuff on the table when I get home from work or shopping or what have you.

This may seem odd, but sometimes I wish I knew what was next and other times, I'm happy to just let things happen.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Online-to-Offline Dictionary

Continued from this earlier post, here is my attempt to translate some of the online world for offline users.

Writing on someone's facebook wall = Calling out to them in a crowded room
It's public interaction. Anyone who can see their wall can see what you wrote. Mutual friends will even get the post in their newsfeed. So, for them, it's as if you were standing right next to them when you yelled. Don't be surprised if someone wants to offer their two-cents. Is it rude? Not any ruder than you having the conversation at the top of your lungs in front of everyone.

Tweet (or a Status Update) = A public Statement
When you tweet - it's for everyone. Don't say something that you aren't prepared to discuss. It's like thinking out loud. Be sure the thoughts you share are public, and not private. Facebook status updates are less public in that only your friends can see them; you can even tailor them specifically to hide from certain friends. A tweet? Everyone and anyone can see that (unless you've protected your feed).

An @ Reply = A private conversation being held in public
Less public, but still readable. The only people who will see it automatically are those who follow both you and the person to whom you replied. But anyone who visits your twitter page can see what you're saying, and can follow the thread, even if they don't follow you or the other person. They're not private conversations.

DM / Facebook Message / Facebook Chat = Phone Conversations or Letters
These are private conversations. If you're my age - these are the conversations we had on the phone after school or via notes left in each other's lockers. It's for the stuff you didn't want that cute guy in 2nd period to know. Facebook chat is instant; the others are not. Don't treat them that way.

Facebook Event = Invitation
If you have something to say to a specific group of people, facebook messages are not the answer. Why? Because recipients can't reply to just the sender; replies go to the entire distribution. No one wants this. In the name of all that is good in the world, send an email and use the BCC field.

If you want to invite people to an event, use facebook's "What are you planning?" feature. This allows you to announce the event, and let people reply to your event page. The other method is the equivalent of mailing everyone's invitation to one person, and telling them to share everyone's RSVP with everyone else on the list. Why on earth would you ever do that?

Mentions = Conversations
When you mention someone in a tweet, you're drawing her into a conversation. It's supposed to be friendly; like opening your circle to a new person at a cocktail party. Be polite, friendly and not presumptious, and this will work very nicely. Like going into Cheers.

Friending = Becoming Friends (weird, I know)
Facebook is a private community. When you friend someone, you're adding them to the list of people with whom you share your life. So, if you're sharing something that affects one of your other friends (pictures is a big one) stop and think: In real life, would you share that with all of your friends? Or would you pick and choose? If you would pick and choose in real life - then pick and choose on facebook, too. Your privacy and share settings can be customized to do so. And no complaining that "it's too hard" or "too much work." If you're old enough to have a facebook page, you're old enough to use it responsibly. It's part of being a good friend.

Following = Listening
Following someone on twitter does not make you friends. All you've agreed to do is listen to what they have to say. Maybe you choose to interact. Maybe that interaction leads to them following you back. Are you friends yet? Not really. You're tweeps. All you're sharing is what you're each putting out there publicly. Nothing personal yet. Friendship comes later, if you start to share offline. Just like in a "real" friendship.

Unfriending = Breaking Up
For whatever reason, your virtual relationship has come to an end. The most likely reason is that your real life relationship has, as well. Either that, or you never really had a real life relationship, and the other person is cleaning house. It's okay. This too shall pass.

Unfollowing = Done with the Conversation
A follow isn't a contract; you weren't friends (see above). If someone unfollows you, they're simply done listening to what you have to say. The thing with twitter is they could come back at any time. Or maybe they have you listed, but not followed. Or maybe they even have you privately listed so that they can listen without you knowing (sort of like eavesdropping).

Blogging = Sharing
People blog for different reasons. Some people just blog as an extension of their twitter feed; they have things to say that take up more than 140 characters. Some people blog because they have a particular interest that they want to share (food, music, kids, etc.).

I blog because it's cheaper than therapy. So, my blog is personal. I share my thoughts on life and people; occasionally, that means sharing information about others. When that comes up, I do my best to respect others privacy. I'm not always successful; but I do have the best intentions and I would never, ever purposely use my blog as a way to hurt someone's feelings. If I had something to say that might hurt someone, I'll do my best to disguise the facts so that the person doesn't realize I'm talking about him.

Stalking (doesn't)= Stalking
I am not a fan of the term "facebook (or twitter) stalking." Stalking is an illegal means of harrassing someone; of peering into their private life and gaining access to information you should not have.

If someone posts something on facebook or twitter and you find it - that's not stalking. It's looking (or listening). It's on the internet - if they put it out there, it's a fair assumption it's not something they are trying to hide. If they were trying to hide it, then they're getting what they deserve. The internet is no place for secrets. It only becomes stalking if you're using illegal means (Hello, hackers-r-us?) to get to information that you weren't meant to see.

Still - friending or following someone should be something you do honestly. You should friend them if you want to be a part of their life, and follow them if you're interested in what they have to say. Doing either just so you can monitor their interaction with others? That's just creepy. It's not caring and it doesn't make you interested. It's the virtual equivalent of waiting outside someone's house in your car. Just because it's perfectly legal to do so, doesn't make it a good idea.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Social Not-working

I have two sets of friends. I have my "real life" friends who know me from work, school, and whatever else I've done along the way. Many of these friends are on facebook - and think that facebook is the end-all be-all of online interaction. *yawn* 

I also have my online friends. These are people I've met through twitter and/or blog interaction. I've met some of these folks in person - but social media is one thing that we all have in common.

It's great when I have problems with my "real life" friends and family. I can complain to my online friends and they can offer advice, or just an ear (well, eye, really - maybe two). The one problem with my online friends is that sometimes they forget basic manners and how to translate them from real life (like how they learned them in kindergarten) to the online world where we interact.  

What about a problem with an online friend? Can I ask my real life friends? Sure. But not before I go through an hour long explanation of twitter or blogs; the etiquette, what's acceptable, what the expectations are and how they mechanically work. *sigh*

I hate to judge how people interact online, because it feels like I'm judging the person. If you want to use facebook to run a mafia, grow a garden or work on a farm - who am I to judge? If you don't want to be on twitter, that's your choice. [Never mind that it's the best way to get and share news and information, as well as a great way to grow your business, advertise your not-for-profit or spread the word about your cause - all for free. But whatever - it's your choice. #eyeroll <--That's right, it's a hashtag; figure it out.]

So, judgment aside, I still need a way for you to all speak the same language. I speak both, and I need to be able to interchange easily. To that end, I'm going to attempt an online-to-offline dictionary with some basic translations of real life situations and their virtual equivalents.

While I work on that - tell me, does anyone else have this problem? Or is this one of those things that only happens to me?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Facebook Judge and Jury

A facebook friend posted today that people should stop using their facebook status to e-preach. He said no one is going to turn to their friends' status lines for advice or guidance, anyway - especially if it comes from someone who doesn't even have their own life together. I found this ironic - since it was advice posted in his facebook status. 

I'm no expert. But I am a facebook user. I'm also someone who pays attention to, and uses many different forms of social media. Here's my two cents:

Facebook is a social network. It's where you collect your friends. It's your community - made up of people from school, work, family and friends you've made along the way. Maybe you're someone who likes a small, tight-knit community made up of only people you know really well. Maybe you're a social butterfly and you add every person to whom you've ever said hello in a restroom. The point is - it's your community. It can be whatever you want it to be. 

The same is true of the communities you join. You play a role in all of your friends' lists, as well as all the groups pages you join or the websites you "like." Maybe you're active, posting on walls and joining conversations. Maybe you even take opportunities to meet new people in person. Or maybe you just visit and observe occasionally, but don't really participate. 

Social media, (facebook, twitter, foursquare, blogs, etc.) is nothing more than another way for the world to converse, meet, exchange ideas and opinions and interact. You're going to create your social network community the same way you create your "real life" community; it will reflect your personality and style. Your role in other communities will also mirror the role you play in your in-person social circles. 

So be who you are. Surround yourself with the people you want around. Relax on the "rules." Learn how to use features like updates, chat and tagging. Definitely read up on how to protect your privacy. But you don't just follow others in real life, do you? You think for yourself, and make your own choices about who you want to be, who will be in your life and how you will conduct yourself in your community.

It's the same online. In the end - make your facebook page a reflection of you. And don't judge how others use their own page - it's like judging the person. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Fairest of All

I'm not now, nor have I ever been, the prettiest girl. I'd describe myself as average. (Except my style and my hair; those are above average. Deal.)  *shrugs*

As a kid, I was teased. Others didn't like me. Parents and teachers favored my peers over me. It should have turned me into a bitch. It should have made me that person who is only looking out for herself. You know her; the woman who uses others to get what she needs, then discards them as though they never mattered at all. I've been through enough loss as an adult that I should be turned off from love; unwilling to put myself out there, afraid to trust or let anyone in. 

But I'm not that person; I never have been. My whole life, I've been the one to invest all of myself and my feelings in any relationship - with family, friends, love, everything. I'm honest and upfront. I put myself out there, and put all my feelings on the line - and they always, always get stomped on. 

Think I'll ever learn? I hope not. I've met that bitch who uses people to get what she wants. Who lies and cheats and carries herself in an unflattering way. She finds people at their most vulnerable, gets what she can, and then leaves them in the dust. She's only concerned with her own feelings; what she wants, what she needs, and how others can help her. 

I may not be the fairest of them all, but I never want to be that ugly. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Friday Fun (from a Thursday Recap)

I did something cool today. I went to the Syracuse IDay, which, as I explained to my tweeps is like a home show for insurance. Basically, a bunch of insurance carriers, brokers and other vendors take over a convention center (in this case, the OnCenter in downtown Syracuse), erect booths, give out free stuff and exchange business cards. Then there's what passes for lunch, some speakers and a cocktail hour. 

I don't drink, I can get my own lunch and I forgot my business cards. I did get some neat toys (it's amazing how much joy one can get from free pens and cool magnets). But, the speaker I saw today was Mr. Ben Stein

You might know him as an economist, author or political advisor (he was an economic advisor to both President Nixon and Ford). Or you might know him as a TV host. If you're like me, you know him as the teacher who says, "Bueller? Bueller?" in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. 

He discussed the economy (of course). Newsflash - it's in bad shape. 

His take on why? Several reasons. One area that he focused on was education. In his words, kids and young adults today don't want to learn, because they don't want to work. He recalled a conversation he had with two young models from the show America's Most Smartest Model (yes, that was the name) that he hosted several years ago. The conversation he recounted happened off-air. 

The models were astounded by how much Mr. Stein knew. So, he explained that it isn't just that you know something or don't, but that you learn

For instance, he said - I was born in 1944. It's 2007. How old am I? Their response - I don't know. He said I know you don't know, and you didn't wake up knowing - but can you figure it out? Do you have a calculator, they both asked. *smacks head on desk*

They were also unable to tell him who the President of the United States was in 1944 (one guessed Lincoln). They also could not identify the major world event that was happening in 1944. First he hinted that it was a conflict, global in nature and not the first of its kind. After that didn't work, he gave them the hint "war." Their response? The Civil War. 

No one on the show could answer even the most basic questions. So, I'm wondering - can we? No googling or apps allowed - I'm watching!!!

Name five rivers in the US?
What is the National Language of Australia? 
Who was the President in 1944 (hint: it was NOT Abraham Lincoln)?
Who did the US fight during World War II (the global conflict that was on going in 1944)? 
How old is someone born in 1944 today? 

Bonus: For which Nickelodeon cartoon does Ben Stein do not one, but two voices? 

Happy Friday!! 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Show Some Spirit

Today is Spirit Day. What is that, you ask? Well, you can read about it here.

The idea is to show support for LGBT youth who are being bullied, and to send them a message not to give up. It gets better and they will get stronger.

I told my story recently. No, I'm not gay. But I do understand how it feels to be bullied and disrespected. I do understand what it feels to be hopeless and at the end of your rope. I also know that it's worth hanging on.

I've been reading a lot of stories today about how to treat people better. Not all of it is about bullying. Sometimes, it's just a matter of being more considerate. Thinking about people's feelings, and treating everyone with dignity and respect.

I posted something a couple of weeks ago that upset a friend. (There's no link because I deleted it soon after I found out.) I didn't post it to be mean. It was complimentary, and 100% honest. But - I posted it without thinking how my friend might feel, or asking if it was okay. 

Recently, a "twitter-friend" has been posting things that are pretty upsetting to me. Not because they're intended to be mean, or even directed at me. But the posts do drive home the point that I recently lost something that was pretty important to me. The posts basically send the message, "You weren't good enough; but I am." 

Personally, I know that no one is out to hurt me, just like I wasn't out to hurt my friend. It's just that these situations, together with everything I've been reading, make me think that we could all do a better job of looking out for one another.

You never know what a difference your words or actions might make in someone's life. In the immortal words of Rufus: Be excellent to each other.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Afraid to be Happy?

One of the best things about blogging and twitter has been meeting some pretty awesome people. One of the most awesome is Cute~Ella. I love her blog, I love her tweets - and she's pretty cool, herself. I've told you before you should check out her blog - it's what mine hopes to be.

She let me guest post for her while she's searching NYC streets for some great shoes and purses. I wrote about happiness and love - and other urban legends. *pause for smiles* Check it out here....

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Big Boat

My friend and I have been joking for years about the two of us being on a big boat. It's a long story from which I will spare you, but the joke is this: Life is the ocean. As life throws bigger problems (waves) our way, our ability to handle the problems (our boat) gets bigger. 

It's funny, believe me. Especially if you know the two of us.

Anyway, lately I've been thinking that there's no way my boat is big enough. Just no way. In the last three years, I have struggled through more loss and more change than I could even explain, and now it's happening - again. It's not all love, or even relationship, related. I lost a job that I loved, I took on major financial headaches. I even lost my dog. (That was awful; he rocked.)

But let's face it - we all go through stuff. I have a friend who has been laid off three times in the last eighteen months; she lost a boyfriend, a best friend, two homes, a solid chunk of income - and she's dealing with some major health issues. I have another friend who lost her home and marriage, took on more financial burden than most could even fathom, moved twice in less than a year and lost two jobs along the way. I have a third friend who moved twice in a year, lost a home, a job, a huge chunk of income, family relationships - and she had one unexpected baby, and lost another. 

It seems that life is testing all of us in some ways - and blessing us in others. One friend has an amazing husband who she loves who has been by her side. Through everything, she also found her dream job. Another friend has improved her health situation, while making some choices that have allowed her more time with her kids. She may not like the choices, but she'd never argue with the results. Another friend is finding her way back to her family; the one source of strength she hasn't had in a very long time. 

As for me? It's a big boat. I'll be fine.


Have you been tested? How did you get through it? 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Where I'm Supposed to Be

I started this blog during the happiest time in my life - which was born out of the saddest. I've always wanted the message to be hopeful. Everything happens for a reason and you're right where you're supposed to be. It will make sense; you will learn, and sometimes lessons are painful, but you will grow. Eventually, you will be happy.

Lately, I haven't really been feeling that way. I've been a little sad and lonely. Between you and me (and anyone you share this with because we both know you're the only one reading) I've also been a little worried those feelings meant I wasn't as strong as I thought. I've been thinking maybe I hadn't really learned all the lessons I've been talking about. I was feeling a little hypocritical.   *hangs head in shame*

Then I remembered a conversation I had with a good friend not too long ago. He told me that self-improvement is a "life-long process." It's not learning everything all at once; it's learning something new every day. 

So, the other day, I started an argument. Well, no, that's not right - I continued a conversation that really needed to be over, nearly creating an argument. My problem was, I didn't understand something, so I kept asking questions, over-thinking the situation and pushing the issue. 

I thought I was doing the right thing. I thought my questions were fair, and I thought I was being polite and nice when I brought it up. I thought I was going with my gut, and standing up for myself.  

It turns out - I was only partly right. A really small part. I had the right to ask the questions, but I should have gotten them all out of the way in the first place. Instead, I dragged the issue on and on, and ended up putting someone in the unfair position of having to explain themselves over and over again. That wasn't cool. 

I need to remember to stay away from an issue until I've thought it all the way through. I need to be more careful when I present questions and concerns, so that I get everything out in the open the first time around.  Most of all - I need to learn when to let things go. 

What does all this mean? Well, I'm still sad - but at least I'm also learning lessons, improving what I've learned, and growing from my experiences.

Maybe I am right where I'm supposed to be, this is all happening for a reason.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Fun 10/15/2010

I'm sorry I haven't been around much lately. Truth be told, the stories I have to share right now aren't public; so they're somewhere safe - for now. I'd still love input on whether to follow my gut or think things through - so if you have anything to say about that, comment there (or here...or anywhere, really) or tweet me (cause I love tweets). 

In the meantime - let's have some Friday Fun, courtesy of The Women's Colony and their Friday Five!

What is the worst children's movie you've had to sit through? A movie? That's tough; most kids' movies are pretty good. Kids' TV, on the other hand, is horrific (in today's world, anyway). There isn't a Wonder Pets movie, is there? That would be awful. 

Have any of your partners (past or present) used words or phrases that bug you? My ex used the (non) word "irregardless." All the college textbooks and professors in the world couldn't convince him it wasn't actually a word. Thank goodness for google and wiki. 

Would you break the law to save a loved one? Yes. Certain laws might give me pause, but in the end, if someone matters to me, I'll do anything in my power to help.

When was the last time you tried something new? What was it? This summer, I bought a bike so that I could go riding. I hadn't done that in 20 years; never as an adult. I was lucky to have a patient teacher.

Which activities make you lose track of time? Anything that involves me having fun. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What's Your Gut Tell You?

Someone told me recently that everyone's purpose in life is to be true to themselves. Our whole reason for being here is just to be us; to play our part in the lives that we touch, and to let others play their own part in our life.

That same person told me that the best way for me to be true to myself is to "do what my gut tells me." But what about when your gut doesn't have the answer? When you second guess every thought and every decision?

Sometimes, I think, "I should do this," and then - I stop. I worry about how my actions will affect someone else. What if it makes them angry, or hurts their feelings, or even just makes them uncomfortable? It goes against who I am to treat others that way; so I stop. I don't follow my gut.

Other times, I worry that my gut reaction is based on something I've misunderstood, or over-thought. If my gut is misinformed - how can I rely on what it's telling me to do?

I've made both mistakes in the past. I've believed in things, and in people, and made decisions based on that faith. I've said things thinking it would be received one way; only to have it backfire completely. I've hurt people's feelings, and been hurt myself, simply by saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.

I've grown a lot as a person in the last couple of years, and I'd like to think that my instincts have improved. I'd like to think that I can rely on my gut to tell me what to do, because I know myself better. I'd like to think that I'm smarter, more aware and more willing to take risks and to stand up for myself and for what I want in my life. 

But anyone can make a mistake, right?

What do you do? Do you go with your gut? Or do you wait; analyze, consider and reconsider?

Saturday, October 9, 2010


I'm having a very bad week. (sigh)

All kinds of things have gone wrong. Some in my work life, some in my personal life. All have left me feeling pretty bummed and very isolated.

I have good friends; but people have lives. They can't hold my hand every step of the way, and they certainly can't listen every time I'm unhappy or teary-eyed. The friend who I spent the most time with, and who could actually relate to my work headaches, isn't around right now.

I've said before, I look for the lesson in everything. I'm a lucky person. I have fewer troubles than most, a pretty good support system and the strength to carry myself through. I know I'll get through any difficult time. When I come across one, I always know I'll learn something, and come out stronger and smarter in the end.

But I have to say - this week's been tough. I hope I figure this one out fast.

Anyway - if anyone was wondering about my reduced activity here, twitter or blogs where I contribute and comment regularly - now you know. I'll be back. In the meantime, maybe this absence will make you grow that much fonder of me.  

Don't forget how cute I am, k?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday Fun 10/8/2010

I'm at it again. I grabbed the Friday Five from The Woman's Colony and am responding here.

What's the habit you're proudest of breaking? Speaking before I think. I still fall into the trap sometimes, but I'm getting a lot better. 

Have you ever succumbed to an infomercial? If so, what product hooked you? I can honestly say I've never ordered anything from a commercial - not even over the internet. I have purchased items in the As Seen on TV store - Ped Egg, anyone? 

What was your favorite childhood toy? Barbie

If you could look into the future, would you? Yes - for some things. I wouldn't want to know anything about my health or my death, but for certain questions, I definitely would. What can I say? I have no patience. 

Favorite guilty pleasure? This is tough now. It used to be General Hospital and reality TV, but I rarely watch either anymore. I'd say chocolate milkshakes, although they don't make me feel guilty. Maybe twitter? I can't seem to put that down.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

It Got Better for Me

I didn't grow up in the cyber-age. When I was a kid, your peers couldn't harrass you on facebook, or make fun of you on twitter. No one could post photos or videos of you on the internet, or send you nasty emails or instant messages.

When I grew up, the bullying, harrassing and general "mean-ness" was delivered in person.

I have always been a chubby chick. I have never been what most consider "pretty" or "beautiful" (we're not here to debate that, but if you're thinking "well, yes you are" then I thank you). That's a deadly combination when you're a kid, especially a teenager when everyone feels awkward, and can't wait to point out someone else's flaws to draw attention away from their own.

When I was about 13, I had a major crush on a guy named Ross. He was a geek; he was smart, not athtletic and he was shy. He was new to our school, kept to himself and didn't have a lot of friends. Being rejected by anyone hurts; but I'll be honest - being rejected by someone who you would expect to be happy to have a friend was even tougher.

He told me, to my face, that he wished I would leave him alone. That the world would be better off without me and that no one would ever like me. He told me I was fat, ugly and annoying and he wished I would just go away.

So I tried. Several things happened that stopped me from finishing what I was trying to do. The next day I told my best friend. She told me how sad she would be if I were gone, and how mad she was that I would just leave her. Hearing that made a huge difference.

The insults continued. I was picked on and teased and I didn't really date in high school. I was too afraid of rejection, so I just stayed away altogether - problem solved. As I got older, my confidence grew and what other people thought mattered less and less.

The next time I felt really insulted or rejected was during my separation. I had some awful insults hurled my way. Some he probably meant; many he probably didn't. It made no difference. I couldn't help but feel worthless and as though it was never going to get better. It's a scary, lonely feeling. It's like you're at the bottom of a well; you can see and hear people at the top, but no matter how hard you try, you can't get their attention. You don't need a lot of help, just a boost; something to get you started on your climb out.

For the second time in my life, I thought I just needed to be gone. I was drowing in that well, and there wasn't anyone to help me.

I was thisclose; then I got a text from a friend telling me about her day. She was upset; she needed me. I texted for a little while, and then she called me. I hung out with her that night, and her two-year old son came up to me and gave me a big hug. Then her daughter, who wasn't even one, held up her arms and wanted me to pick her up and get her out of her play-pen. Me. When I left their house that day, her little angel told me he loved me and gave me a kiss.

If  I had been gone, I would never have known that love. And so much that has happened since that I would have missed out on.

We've all heard the stories about kids committing suicide; much of it surrounds gay youth who are being made fun of, insulted and basically tortured for being who they are. Messages are going out all over the internet from people who've suffered that same kind of harrassment, and showing kids that it does get better. I can't relate to that particular kind of bullying. But I can tell you this.

We all feel pain and heartache. We all get embarrassed. We all have days that we wish we could just get a do-over - or hide under the bed. We all make mistakes. Things happen that we wish wouldn't; people say things that sting. Our heart breaks. It is hard, somedays more than others, to not be sad and wonder when the next good thing is coming. But when that happens, I remind myself - it is coming. I just need to hold on.

I can't promise how, or when. But I can promise - it gets better.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Invisible Thread

I have this amazing friend. We'll call her Rachel. Why? Because that's her name. She won't mind. I'm going to say all good things - but even if I wasn't, she'd laugh at me, shrug her shoulders and say, "Um - yeah, that sounds about right." Then she'd call me a name I won't repeat here.

I met Rachel when we were in the third grade. Which is nearly thirty years ago. Which is depressing and a whole other blog post on its own. 

Anyway, that summer I moved to a new town. I lived in an apartment complex (my Dad still lives there). There weren't many kids around, and I was horrible at making friends anyway. But once school started, I did start meeting people.

One day, I noticed Rachel playing outside, so I called down to her. She asked if I could come out to play. I got outside, and she ran up to me and whispered, "I found a dead bird." Rachel was always a little...well, she's just Rachel. 

Anyway, she didn't like the idea that the bird was just laying there so we decided to give it a funeral. And that's what we did - one cool Saturday in September 1983, I buried a bird and made a friend who would last a lifetime. 

For a while, Rachel and I were inseparable. If you saw one of us, the other was not far behind. Her home became my second home, and her mom became the only real mom I've ever known. Over the years, we grew apart, and then back together. Once we got to high school, things really changed. Rachel made a lot of friends that didn't go to our school, and eventually she switched to another high school (it's a long story why this was possible; just suspend what you believe to be true about school districts). We really lost contact then. 

Over the years, we never really kept in touch, but the village where we grew up (and she still lived) is small, so I knew what was going on in her life. She married, had kids, got a job doing what we always knew she'd do.  

Eventually, Rachel and I got back in touch. We met one day for lunch - and talked for hours, as if no time had passed. We were both married, and looking to buy a house. Weird, how our lives were intersecting. We helped each other through those purchases, and hung out a little over the next year.

Then, we grew apart again. No real reason - life happens. But we kept in touch just enough that when things were bad for both of us, and we were recovering from some pretty tough times - we were there for each other. Again, just when we needed to be. 

I thought of Rachel today. Her birthday is Friday and I am mailing (yes mailing) her a card. The card I chose for her talks about how some people are connected in life by an invisible thread; so even when they're apart, they're always together. 

No matter where life takes us, Rachel and I always seem to find our way back to each other when the time is right. It's an amazing friendship, and a beautiful gift - and proof that you never really know how important someone will be in your life

Open Book

I learn (or am reminded of) valuable lessons every day - even on days when I barely make it out of bed. Here's what I learned today:

  • Sometimes, the person you would expect to kick you when you're down is the first to help you back up.
  • Things are often more complicated than you might have expected.
  • Just because someone isn't what you thought doesn't mean all the good you once saw isn't there. 
  • Truth can be comforting, even if you don't like the answer.
  • Nothing is permanent. Life happens in its own time. Sometimes, you just have to sit back and see what's next.

Never discount anyone. People will come and go from your life. Sometimes, they come back at the most unexpected times, in the most unexpected ways. 

I like that lesson for two reasons.

  • I never want to regret anything that made me smile. 
  • My future is open. I don't have to close the book; just turn the page for now.  

Friday, October 1, 2010

Nice Done Right

I joined a conversation the other day about guys sending the "I miss you" text. In this case, the couple have only known each other a few weeks, and they'd just been on a date the night before. Also, he didn't just send it once. He sent it four times, in the middle of the work day - and expected a response.

I believe the word you're looking for is - Ick.

The conversation went on for a while, with different people chiming in. [I'm so looking forward to the Super Blogettes' take on the whole thing!] Some thought he might be needy; others thought he might just be new to dating. One person suggested maybe he's super-conniving and is actually trying to drive the lady away. Another guy was surprised that women don't actually like this behavior! 

One guy pointed out that a lot of guys don't realize that they come across as clingy or needy when they're just trying to be nice. Interesting, especially since the lady had commented that her dislike for this behavior is one reason why she usually ends up with "douche bags."

My take? It's complicated. [You're surprised, aren't you?]

I'm personally not a fan of this "I miss you." First, it screams needy, which often means low self-esteem. That worries me because it's true what they say - if a person doesn't like himself, he can't like anyone else. That leads to controlling, jealous and sometimes abusive behavior (trust me). Big, life-size red flag as far as I'm concerned.  

It's also selfish. When you miss someone, you feel that way regardless of how they feel in return. If he really missed her, he would just say so - no response required. Expecting a reply is selfish - he doesn't care that she's at work and may be busy, or having a bad day or may not feel well. He wants an answer and he wants it now. It's not about him missing her - it's about him wanting to know what she's doing, or making sure he's on her mind. Selfish. (feel free to trust me here, too)

But... What if he was trying to be nice, and he really just doesn't know how to pull it off? Like I said during our conversation - it's possible for a guy to be cute, while not appearing needy. I know at least one guy who makes it work. [Maybe he should write a post or two giving some instruction? Hint Hint]

I told someone the other day that compliments are appreciated when they are respectful and sincere. That's true of any sentiment - including the "I miss you" text. It's nice to hear that you are important to someone. It's refreshing to have someone be clear on how they feel - it'd be nice if that happened more often.

So how do you do nice right? I'm bad on instructions. He might know.

Friday Fun 10/1/2010

Happy October!!

Thanks to my friend Cute~Ella, one of my new favorite web sites is The Woman's Colony. Thanks to that site - Friday Fun is my new favorite post. So here we go:

How did you meet your partner? If you mean the person I spend the most time with - then the answer to that is we met online (I know - you're absolutely shocked, right?)

What did you think you were going to be when you were a kid? Wonder Woman. Or an office worker (my dad worked for the state). Then later, I thought I'd be a writer. I turned out to be a pretty strong, super-cool chick who works in an office by day and is changing the world one word at a time (humor me). Mission accomplished. =]

Which would you least like to encounter on your front porch - possum or raccoon? I'll take anything that doesn't slither.

Who taught you how to drive? What kind of car? My dad. I learned in his Dodge Shadow (circa 1985ish?) When he's in the car with me, even to this day, he still thinks he's teaching.

Who is the funniest person you know? Tough question. I know a lot of funny people, and people who make me smile for all kinds of reasons. The person who makes me smile the most is this guy 

Now, The Women's Colony is awesome - but Cute~Ella takes it a step further. She adds a Friday Fill-in. I could invent my own, but it's tough to improve upon awesomeness. So here we go.

My back is something few ever see. I rarely turn it to anyone.

The wild card in Uno is my favorite!

Leaves are falling all around and that means it's almost time for the raking to begin. Sigh.

Forgetfulness is just another way of weeding out what matters.

In some cases, healing is a never-ending process.

Worry, stress and anxiety is what I've been up to lately. That ends soon.

And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to dinner and maybe some adventure, tomorrow my plans include a drive and maybe a bike ride if the weather is right and Sunday, I want to relax and enjoy the end of October's first weekend.

Happy Friday!!