Archive for the 'friendship' Category
I love lists. Oh yes! I do. Sometimes before I fall asleep, I make lists in my head. Of places I want to visit, things I want to accomplish, books I must read. Sometimes I make boring lists, about retirement and saving money and such. I don’t dwell long on those. And sometimes I make lists about the things I want to possess. Clothing, furniture, homes in 20 different places. But the possessions list is boring as well. Lately I’ve become sort of detached from the idea of excess, although at one time I’d rather have given up my right hand than separate myself from a walk-in closet.
In my current journal I have a few identical lists of my 100 favorite books, people, furniture, and clothes. The week of the rapture that didn’t happen, I dreamt that I was told that I must pack up my car with 100 of my *cannot live without* items and people. So I went to get a UHaul truck and started filling it up. But, for some reason, everything I put inside it ballooned up and there was no room for the people that I loved. Out came all the things I thought I couldn’t live without, and in went all my family and friends.
I love my life. It isn’t perfect, no, but I am content. And although I know it’s so cliche, the things that make me so, aren’t things. Not really. What completes my days, are the smiles of my darlings as they reach for me, all sleepy headed and heavy lidded in the early mornings hours. The chirping of the birds flitting from branch to branch outside my open window, beckoning me to rise from the softness of my bed and make the most out of the hour before everyone else is up; the books waiting to be read, impatiently threatening to spill out of the overflowing bookcases; the smell of coffee and of toast; my stash of emergency dark chocolate, hidden in a secret spot, high up on a shelf; the yellow roses scrambling up my patio’s trellis, competing with the green of the ivy; hubby surprising me with delicious treats when I least expect it; my ever-ready daily uniform of converse, dark jeans and fitted cashmere sweaters; treasured friends (see the photo) who support and encourage and never fail to check up on me whenever I pull a disappearing act; the smiles and the kindness of those who cross my path on a daily basis; and my faith, always present, always a comfort, a steady presence in my life.
I want to absorb all the delicious moments of my every day. Inhale them. Stretch out the minutes to last for hours. Remember them forever and ever, whatever life will bring. I watch the faces of my lovelies, those of my parents, of my siblings, of my friends. I try to etch the twinkle of their eyes into my mind, the wrinkles on their faces, the laugh lines on their cheeks, the perfection of their skin, the sound of their voices and of their laughter. Sometimes I feel desperate that I will forget something important, that a moment of eternity will pass me by and I’ll be looking the other way. So I stare harder and command my mind not to forget.
What about you, friends? What makes you content? What is on your happy list?
The photo above was taken this last Saturday at my friend Melania’s wedding (CONGRATULATIONS!), by my friend Teddy. Actually, it was taken by one of Teddy’s assistants because we wanted Teddy in the photo with us. Teddy is the one next to me in the white blouse and black slacks. She is an awesome photographer. When her website is up I will provide a link. Until then, keep an eye on her everyone!
I’ve been thinking about two childhood friends quite a lot lately. I lost touch with these girls a long time ago. We all went our separate ways, mostly, I believe, because we were so much alike. Our complicated selves got in the way of our simple selves and we hurt each other and split apart.
Every year, around their birthdays, I pick up the phone and think about calling. But what would I say? So much life has happened in the meantime, how would we ever catch up, and would we ever want to? The things that we didn’t share together - weddings, childbirth, miscarriages, a history, really- are far too many. So I put the phone back down, wondering if, perhaps, they reminisce about those years as well.
This past Christmas I found myself in a stationary store looking for pretty cards and jewel-toned ribbons to attach to gifts, when I came across two Christmas cards that I couldn’t part with. I thought, what if this is a way to get back in touch? Just a little thing to let them know that I am thinking of them. I bought the cards, agonized about what to write -not too much, not too little- and dropped them in the mail. For the first two or three weeks I checked the mail daily, expecting something in return.
Nothing came. And I said to myself, well, so be it. I’ve extended the olive branch. I can put these friendships behind me. We’ve outgrown each other, apparently. But then a few days ago, a letter. Four pages of it, written front and back in small, barely distinguished handwriting. I read it and re-read it, shed some tears, laughed out loud, and realized that no matter what, there are friends out there who can pick up the friendship right where it left off. And what a blessing that is.
How I have missed you! It has been a very busy three weeks around here. I have found two wonderful employees, who are as close to perfect as can be, I have eaten my share of cookies and pastries and cakes and not weighed myself at all, and I have had my fill of winter and am ready for spring. January is my least favorite month of the year, followed by August. I am ready for vacation and pedicures and open-toed sandals. I have actually painted my toes a color called *naughty red* (it sounds Christmassy, I know, yet, there’s nothing Christmassy about them) and have taken to wearing my flip-flops to work just so I can see them winking up at me.
I am wishing you, my dear friends, a beautiful, blessed 2011. May all your dreams come true. Become the best versions of yourselves. And, if unlike me, you’ve made resolutions, may you keep them. I cannot wait to visit with you! Love and hugs.
I have been silent all week long, not of my own choosing, but because life and work got in the way of blogging. Crazy days, sleepless nights… You all understand how it can happen and so often does. Nonetheless, the week has been a wonderfully blessed one, even though I had to remind myself of those blessings when my little one clogged the toilet a few too many times.
Last week (I’m always late, aren’t I? So sorry!) I received a spectacular award from a beautiful and glamorous blogger, and I’d like to share it with you all. Here it is:
Isn’t it the coolest? So is the giver! Her blog is filled with art, fashion, biographies, and glamour. Pop on by and say hello to beautiful Dash.
I guess I must tell you a bit about myself though. When I was young I used to be quite mean. I like to blame it on the wacky church we attended, but I know I can’t blame everything on it. But I did things, one of which was making my friends kiss my feet if they wanted something I had, and then after all that still not giving it to them. I have since apologized and been forgiven, yet it hasn’t been forgotten, as someone just reminded me of this recently.
Somehow I grew up feeling entitled. My parents, my Tante Marie and Grandmother certainly fed this to me. When we came to the U.S. I was the adult, I felt, translating for every appointment, consulting with the doctors and teachers on the behalf of everyone else. And I was praised quite a lot. By everyone. It was easy to see myself as privileged in every situation from home to school.
Perhaps that is why I am currently so against the “princess syndrome.” Fairy tales are fun to read, but in real life the beast remains a beast, while you may find that Prince Charming had been wearing a mask all along. As a mother to a little girl I see how diva behavior and an attitude of entitlement may damage her as she becomes an adult. It will make her believe that no one and nothing is good enough for her. I do not want to raise the worst sort of a snob: a girl enslaved to an unrealistic image of herself and of womanhood; not in the least aware that she may be slightly delusional. She’ll be unsatisfied as a young woman, as a wife, and as a mother. Always expecting something more, and baffled and depressed when what she expects does not materialize.
Anyway, there you have it. Now, all of you my beautiful readers grab the award, and have a gorgeous weekend!
There’s a thread of mental illness running through my mother’s side of the family. When I was a child and would cry uncontrollably my dad would shush me gently and tell me that it wasn’t healthy to allow my emotions to run loose. “Just look at so and so,” he’d say. And I’d think about so and so and stop. Although my mother’s side is brilliant, and my father’s side more practical and hardworking, they are also very emotional. I wanted to be safe. I wanted to be practical and hard working. I had seen mental illness and it wasn’t pretty.
Well, today I cried and cried all day, and at a certain point wondered if maybe I was finally losing my mind. My head was exploding. My throat hurt. Even the skin on my face felt raw. I could barely open my mouth to speak. So I went in to see the doctor. I was relieved to find out it is only an ear infection. A really bad one, which I’m sure isn’t helped by the fact that I have a horrible habit of cleaning out my ears with cotton swabs. Obsessively. I have a thing with the spotless cleanliness of body parts. Which is something else my dad used to worry about me when I was young: my need to always wash my hands and make sure all facial orifices were free of gunk.
Actually, there was a guy once when I was in high school that I liked a lot. I was beside myself when he finally asked me on a date. While standing in line waiting for him to buy the movie tickets, I noticed there was something glistening in his nose. For the entire duration of the movie I was terrified that his mucus would drip on me; I couldn’t wait for the night to end.
Anyway, Victoria from #mce_temp_url# tagged me in a note, wanting to find out more things about me, probably thinking that there might be something cool. (Sorry to disappoint you Victoria, but there isn’t. And I’m so stuffed with antibiotics and pain killers that even if I had something interesting to say, it would not come out right.) Victoria, however, is super cool and sophisticated and next to her I feel like a bumbling idiot. Stop by and tell her hello for me.
Thanks in advance for your well wishes. They mean the world to me. I will be back on Sunday with an Easter story. Until then, be well!
Aren’t birthdays exciting? That wonderful day which comes but once a year is truly the one time each of us gets spoiled. And if we don’t, we should. I always get a rush of unexpected happiness when my birthday comes around. My lovely hubby and darling babies know just what to do to make it extra nice. And then of course, my wonderful friends remember me with fondest wishes. I float on this love and attention from the moment I open my eyes until I go to sleep.
One of the most amazing things about starting this blog, was meeting so very many like-minded people. Each and every one of you has become a dear friend, and I am happy that you’ve selected me to become a friend of yours as well. I have often cried, laughed, and smiled at memories resurrected through the sharing of your stories, and I hope you all continue to share your fascinating lives, adventures and advice with me and other readers for years to come. And for all of you who read my blog and don’t comment, thank you too, for silently offering your support and friendship. It is greatly appreciated.
I wish I could celebrate this first birthday of my blog with a huge feast, and all of you in attendance. We’d make merry far into the night, ensconced in lovely gilded chairs, dining by candlelight. Wouldn’t that be fun? But since passing together such an evening is physically impossible, I’m settling with not one, but two giveaways, to show my appreciation to you, my fabulous friends. Thanks for the memories!
Unfortunately, the only way this works is if you leave a comment. So stop on by and don’t be shy. I’d love to get to know all of you. Comment on any post until Monday the 9th of November to be entered into the drawing.
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. (Henry David Thoreau)
Monday morning dawned cold and clear, a streak of pink across the sky. I lay in bed a few extra minutes, loving the warmth of the sheets, hubby’s arm around me, and my youngest darling who had snuck in our bed sometime during the dark night. It had been a restless night, characterized by much tossing and turning and checking of the time. As we were preparing the kids for bed we had received horrible news. A close family friend had died after almost a year of fighting for his life. He had been young, younger than me, and had left behind a wife, siblings, and aging parents.
And he had worked so hard, a most diligent student of life. First at his studies, then at his job, then at his marriage, and finally at what was slowly killing him. We were expecting this call to come sometime in the future. He had been doing so well lately, and the spark of loving life hadn’t left his eye. The news left us speechless, our thoughts meandering over the years of our lives.
How many of those we had lived carelessly and ungrateful for the miracle life is? We had hurt the ones who love us in our indifference and selfishness. We had worried about ridiculous things. We had overlooked nurturing relationships in favor of making money. And shouldn’t it be the other way? Why is it that the suicide rate had increased during the present economic situation? For that reason alone: a genuine lack of spiritual and human connection. When what one places one’s hopes in disappears, what is there to turn to?
As I am preparing to say my last goodbyes to our friend, I am making a promise to myself. I will tend to my relationships; I will be more thankful; I will forgive more quickly and apologize to the people I have hurt; I will love unconditionally; I will kiss and hug my loved ones even more; I will measure my words; I will act with compassion; I will stop worrying about transient things and instead focus on the eternal; I will live with a sense of gratitude and not one of entitlement; I will seize every opportunity to see the beauty around me and revel in God’s gift of life. And finally, I will live. I will live passionately.
Years ago, a friend and I took a few sunny summer days to explore the Pacific Northwest coast. Our main goal was to stay off the beaten path and experience life at a slower pace. Antique shops, flea markets, and art galleries were our destination, as were berry farms, deserted beaches, dusty book shops and coffee houses. We had reserved a couple of nights at bed and breakfast places along the way, provisioned ourselves with a picnic basket overflowing with Belgian chocolates, crusty bread, and the best cheeses we could afford, and set out.
She was to be married that summer, and soon after to move away. I suppose, in a way, we were gifting each other a last memory of our girlhood. Ours was a friendship that had carried us from childhood, through the turbulent, self-conscious adolescence, and into our twenties.
The views were stunning. Rolling pastoral beauty giving way to dense emerald forests. We followed a river that shined like mica and came into a village right out of a nautical painting. The sun was setting, all rose and apricot colored over the bay. We parked our car and strolled the heart of the main street in search of a coffee house. With steaming drinks and chunks of cheese filled bread, we made our way to the beach, content to sit on the sand and soak up the beauty before us.
As darkness was approaching, we didn’t linger too long. Somewhere along those dusty roads, the hostess of a white Victorian house was awaiting our arrival, probably eager to lock up and go to bed. Our bedroom, at the top of three flights of stairs, was under the eaves and decorated with a large-scale lilac print wallpaper right out of a Victoria magazine. The brass, queen-sized bed was piled up with fluffy pillows, and in the bathroom a claw-foot tub occupied most of the space. We loved it.
A misty morning arrived too soon. We took our time over breakfast in the ornate dining room, both decided that the food could be better, yet stuffed ourselves nonetheless, and set off for a day of treasure hunting. It seemed that time stood still. The clouds and morning drizzle cleared away, and our minds emptied of everything but the joy of each other’s company.
That night’s bed and breakfast was a far cry from the first. We took one look at it and turned our car around. It was spooky! Our overactive imaginations had us roaming the dark roads in search of acceptable lodging. Finally, after it seemed as though we drove for hours, we found a newly built hotel, devoid of character, as expected, but with views of the silver ocean lapping at the rocks below.
Before we headed home the following afternoon, we stopped into a local bookshop and sealed our three days together by each purchasing a copy of Jane Eyre. It was a favorite book to both of us, and a talisman to remember our friendship and our last adventure before matrimony.
Ever notice how catty females get when they’re out together and another of their sex walks by? In the split of a second that poor woman has been evaluated and judged, and without any reason. There’s no denying the bonding that takes place between us women through our mutual consent to trash another. And in my weaker moments I’ve succumbed to the bitch within very easily. I end up feeling so guilty and so disgusted with myself afterwards, that I vow never to do it again. Because I know better. I have been a victim of this sort of cruelty as a teenager. There’s no excuse for it.
I’m thinking about this as I’m sitting in a cafe, listening to a group of college girls dissecting another sitting at a different table with her boyfriend. I’m supposed to be working, but I find myself both fascinated and repulsed by their behavior.
When I was in ninth grade I had a mean girl experience. It was not at school, although if it would have happened at school, I would have understood why. I was, after all, in ESL, had a terrible accent, was taller than most of the boys in my grade, and dressed with clothes my mom bought at Macy’s - The Gap was the clothier of choice. But for some reason - and I cannot understand it to this day - people at school were pretty cool.
My enemy turned out to be my church best friend. She harassed me through phone calls late at night, made by her brothers, saying sexual things, terrifying me. I had no idea who was out to get me and why. My mom figured out it was her and called her mom. One of her brothers admitted he made phone calls on her behalf. My friend and her mom came over. My friend apologized and cried. She gave some stupid speech her mom made her say, I’m sure, but I can’t remember much about other than she loved me as a sister, blah, blah, blah. The moms made us hug it out.
But that was just the beginning. Because soon after, she wrote and mailed a letter -only one that I know of - to my crush, in which she posed as me. I have no idea what that letter said, but it must have been something really nasty, because he never spoke to me again. And I only found out about the letter years later, from my crush’s sister. Then, this friend proceeded to turn all of my church friends against me. No one would even say hello. Thank God I had supportive parents who understood my reality and did not ridicule it, nor expected me to deal with it. We switched churches promptly.
I’m angry with myself as I sit here, because I want to call these girls out on their awful behavior, but I don’t know how. I’m worried about making a scene in a place I frequent often. And is it even my responsibility? All I know for certain, is that if at least one of those childhood friends would have stood up for me, it would have made a world of difference.
I continually have to endure every brilliant pearl that falls from her daughter’s lips, every nuance, every sneeze. So many women fall into this trap and end up boring everyone to death with details that parents should keep to themselves. It’s almost as if parenthood sucks up every available brain cell and like the canary, whose brain cells regenerate every year, all previous data is erased forever and all you hear is this year’s song. Kaufman/Mack–Literacy and Longing in L.A.
I love this quote. It is funny and true and also sad. Once most of us become parents we forget about that intimacy created between friends through the sharing of our thoughts, and become good listeners only when it serves our purposes. When I make a new mommy friend, I put her through this test. I say something about my son or daughter and if she listens and asks questions I know she’s a keeper. If, instead, she cuts in and one-ups me, I listen politely and after a few banalities exchanged, I make my exit. I’ve realized something though, it is becoming increasingly difficult to make mommy friends who still separate their individual self from their mother self.
Soon after my son was born, a group of us newly wed mothers of infants (and one newly wed but not yet mother) got together one evening a week, rotating houses, eating and talking our way into the night about everything under the sun. We avoided talking about our babies, not because there was nothing to say, but rather because there was too much, and frankly we were sick of it. We also avoided inviting our husbands (but not the subject) although we did take a bunch of trips together with them, which were entertaining in their own way.
Others were often invited, but our best times were when it was just us five girls and our wailing babies. We learned a lot about each other and from each other. Our feelings were real, no false cheer allowed, no false sympathy. Disappointments, fears, desires that some of us would need an entire life to admit, were easily dispensed with, because we didn’t judge. We were eyewitnesses to each other’s existence. For some of us, it was the only outlet about the disillusions of life.
As the years passed a few other girls became permanent members. Kids have grown, some marriages dissolved, others have gotten stronger, but the purity of the friendships remains. We don’t get together as often as we used to, but when we do it feels like coming home.