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Posts Tagged ‘friends’

Technology can be such a pain, but then it can be amazing, too. I used to be pretty good at figuring things out on my own. When I got my first desktop computer in 1993, within just a very few hours, I had it all set up, working, and I was able to get around very comfortably and I had not ever used a computer before that day. I think it took me about three hours to set it up and get on it and feel rather comfortable. That was in the days of Windows 3! A very long time ago. I could also set up whatever electronics we had in the house and get them working just fine. I could figure it all out and make things do what I wanted them to do.

That was then. Now, well in the past ten years at least, I’m not very good at it. Or rather, I should say, I’m not wanting to figure things out on my own. I’m tired of it and it is getting to the point where it takes too long to figure out how things should work and how to get them to work that way. For example, the laptop I use now is running Windows 8. I never got around to upgrading it to 10 because I was using a Chrome Book at the time and because I really wasn’t feeling up to finding out how to do the upgrade and then do it. But now I can’t find the charger for the Chrome Book so I got out the older laptop. So I am thinking that Google, in all its wisdom, should figure out a way for us to make it look like we want it to look without needing a Ph.D in computers. I use the thumbnails on the home page to navigate to different sites. However, I accidentally deleted the one for Google search. Now I can’t get it back. You can’t add thumbnails because they are determined by how often you use a site. So Google search should be up there but I think that because I removed that thumbnail, it won’t create one for that site, even though I use it a gazillion times a day. Apparently, there is no easy way to do it. Some people on the public forums say you can deleted your browser history, restart the browser and then start from scratch. Do I want to do that? Does deleting my browser history mean that it deletes my passwords? Because if it does, that kinda screws me because I don’t remember my passwords. The browser does it for me. So Google needs to find a way for us to do that simple thing. Don’t you agree?

But then this morning I was reminded of one of the good things about technology. An old friend from high school (yeah, about three lifetimes ago) posted a question about one of the teachers at our high school. You know how something gets in your head and you can’t get it out of your mind until you figure it out? Well, he was trying to remember the first name of one of the English teachers at our high school. I knew it and posted it for him. So I think it’s pretty neat that he could go on and post his question at 9:43 and I could answer it when I went online at 10:02. It’s one of the things that makes the internet amazing. It lets me keep in touch with people from all over. If I can’t be in the same room talking to an old friend, I can still feel like we’re in touch and have a few laughs and share some memories. (Thank you, Al Gore! ūüôā¬† )

So I guess I won’t throw the laptop out the window. I’ll continue to be frustrated because I can’t get the thumbnails that I want back on my screen. I guess I could wait and see if my son can figure it out when I see him in a couple of weeks but then I would have to bring the laptop and I wasn’t going to take it on that trip. Hhm. I’ll figure it out, I guess.

 

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I remember writing out valentine cards to take to school. That was in the days when they didn’t say you had to take a valentine for everyone in the class. Because there were so many of us kids (7), my mom bought a package for each one of us even though we needed ore than one package if we were going to give to everyone in the class. So we had to choose. My mom would go through the list with us and ask at each name “Is this one your friend?” or “Do you want to give one to this one?” That was¬† difficult because I mostly wanted to send a card to everyone. I knew what it felt like to sit at your desk and wonder if you would get any cards. There were some kids that didn’t get very many, like Esmeralda who no one played with because she was born with a black spot on the side of her face. I knew who those kids were so I made sure that they got one from me and I always wondered if I would get very many.

I remember¬† in high school, selling carnations as a fundraiser for California Scholarship Federation (CSF). The carnations were pre-ordered and pre-paid then delivered to recipients during class on Valentine’s Day. They cost one dollar. Of course all of the cheer leaders and other cheer squad girls walked around with lots of carnations that they had gotten. My sister, her friends, and me would pool our money and send them to each other to make sure we each got at least one flower on Valentine’s Day.

In college, during my sophomore year, I met the man I would marry. On a trip from Stanford to Los Angeles to meet his sister, his car was having a lot of trouble. It was leaking oil and we had to keep stopping. It took us about nine hours to get there instead of the six it should have taken. On one of the stops, in the tiny town of Atascadero, we had to get more oil so he parked the car and got out while I waited. When he came back to the car, he had the oil and before popping open the hood to put the oil in, he handed me a little bag with a chocolate covered marshmallow shaped like a heart. It was Valentine’s Day and he hadn’t mentioned it so I though he had forgotten all about it. But he hadn’t. He had bought me a candy at the auto parts store. That was the only valentine I ever got from him in fifteen years of marriage!

 

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I remember hearing this phrase a lot when I was growing up. Instead of asking someone to “shoot me and email” when they arrived, we used to say, “drop me a line” or “don’t forget to write.” Those were the days. The old days.

Letter writing, and even writing with pen and paper, is a lost art. I pick up a pen and try to write some notes and I almost can’t remember how. It feels so alien to me. I think we also have a generation growing up without learning to write in cursive and without learning how to format a letter or even write the most basic salutation. That can’t be good.

I enjoy letter writing. Or at least I used to. I wrote a letter to my friend Kim, in Australia and really enjoyed it. I was pressed for time or I would have written more. And I wrote a letter to Deborah who is a woman in one of the Buy Nothing groups I belong to. We chat when she picks something up and sometimes we send text messages to each other regarding an item to¬† be picked up. However, I have thought for some time that it would be nice to have her as a friend. A friend I might invite for a cup of coffee or meet for a quick chat. So I jumped in and used her address for one of my February letters for Incowrimo. It occurs to me that it is also one person I am reaching out to, a person on the fringes of my circle of friends, as I wrote about in Expand. So I’m on my way!

One thing that I like about letter writing is that it is so much more personal. When you open a letter from someone, you are holding the same paper they held and reading the words they wrote out in long hand. Maybe you are also witnessing their choice in paper or ink on the letter. In some cases, even the stamp used is a personal choice. So much more personal than anything else.

Well, on to writing my February 3 letter before the day is done! Happy writing!

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Yesterday I lost a friend. He was taken from this earth way too soon. He leaves a hole in many hearts. I have been reading FB posts expressing shock at his death, which came after a sudden illness. It caught so many by surprise. It’s both sad and comforting to read the posts which tell so many wonderful stories about him, many of which I didn’t know.

Many years ago, a year or so after my divorce, I decided that I was going to get out of the house and do something productive other than Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, and PTA. Amazingly, the day I expressed this to my shrink, I got a notice inviting me to a meeting of the Stanford Chicano/Latino Alumni Association of Southern California. The meeting was the coming weekend. I decided I was going. I had not been involved with the group previously but I had been on their mailing list for some time. This was my chance to spread my wings. So I went.

That was the start of so much for me. I reconnected with friends and with friends of friends. I not only got involved, as with everything I do, I jumped in with both feet and within the year I was the president of the group. Our monthly meetings were held at my house on weekends. One of the other people in this group was Carl. Carl had been a freshman when I graduated so I hadn’t known him then, although I did recognize him. He became a friend right away. He was supportive, funny, highly intelligent, opinionated but reflective, too. Carl was one who made us all think about a project from different angles. At that time, he drove a very fancy foreign sports car. When he came to our meetings, he was always the first one there and would park his car on the street right in front of my huge front window. My daughter, Tina, was about thirteen or fourteen at the time and she fell in love with that car. She would come to the window and stare at it. During our meetings, we could see her out the window, looking at the car. She was fascinated with it. She asked Carl questions about it. We all got a kick out of it, including Carl. He answered her questions and told her all sorts of information about the car. One day, he smiled at me and looked at my daughter and said that after our meeting, if it was okay with her mom, he would take her for a short ride in the car. She looked at me and asked if it was okay. I agreed, reminding her that she had a couple of things she should finish during our meeting if she wanted to go for that ride. After the meeting and post meeting socializing, she got to go for that ride. They were only gone for about ten minutes but when they returned, Tina was so excited! She talked about it for weeks. I thanked Carl that day and he said it was nothing. He was glad to do it. His eyes sparkled and his goatee smiled a shy, satisfied smile.

That was one of the many things I remember about Carl. He was always there to raise the spirits, support when he could, listen and make suggestions if appropriate. He raised the self-esteem of a young teenage girl when he took her for a ride in a fancy car. He gave substance to her interest in the car and made a dream come true for her with that ride. Carl made the world a better place from his chemical engineering job to his running group; from the alumni group to his Rotary Club. He never forgot where he came from. He never forgot his family, going back to Pueblo whenever he could. He never let anyone down. He gave all that he could.

He leaves the world a better place, although there are many holes left by his death.

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When I was in middle school, a new girl came to the school. Her name was Pattie and because we were seated alphabetically in most of our classes, we sat next to each other in the three or four classes we shared. We quickly became best friends. We both had siblings one year older than we were. Very soon I was going to her house and she was coming to mine. I was often invited to stay for dinner. Her mom and dad were both very welcoming and very nice to me and later, to my sisters. Her dad, in particular, was super. He was funny and engaged us in conversation. He gave us advice. He asked to see our grades and celebrated our good academics. I’ve often thought of him throughout the years. His daughter and I lost touch when we graduated from high school as we went to different schools and then I got married right after college graduation and moved away. When we got back in touch, through a high school reunion group on Facebook, I learned that her father had died. It made me sad and I thought that one day I might go look for his grave at the national cemetery where he’s buried which is a little bit off track when I go visit my mom in southern California.

Yesterday, on that same Facebook group, there was a conversation about some of the people in our classes that were either lost in combat or were veterans. A couple of people had gone to the cemeteries back home to visit some of the graves and posted pictures. I happened to mention that I had been thinking about my friend’s father. I had been thinking of him for several days. I wasn’t making it up. So almost instantly, I got a message from Miss Know It All who told me I was wrong. She said he was not killed while serving so I can’t honor him until November when we have Veteran’s Day. What?! I know the difference between the two holidays. I didn’t say I was honoring him or celebrating him because it was Memorial Day. I just said I had been thinking about him; just as others on the FB thread were talking about people we all know who were former military that we miss. The thread was not specific to Memorial Day.

At first, it made me mad. How dare she try to tell me who I can think of and when I can think of them. I almost answered her message in angrily. Instead, I just said “Well, I can still think of him. He was a terrific person.” ¬†She answered that I could do that in November for Veteran’s Day just as she does for her father. ¬†I chose to click off my phone and ignore her.

I will think of anyone I want to think of any time I want to think of them and for any reason. I’m not waiting to think of people only on specific days. I’m wondering if she really only thinks of her dad on Veteran’s Day! No one is going to tell me who, what, when, where, or why I should think of anyone. Or anything, for that matter.

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What do you do when someone dies and they are in you address book or contacts or Facebook feed?

I struggle with this all the time. I still won’t get rid of the address book that I used over thirty years ago when my brother died. His name and address and phone are in there and I can’t bring myself to get rid of it even though none of the addresses are any good.

And then there’s Facebook where my other brother’s name¬† pops up. And where my friend Lydia’s (who died in January) name, picture and comments keeps popping up in my Memories Feed.

When I was updating my old phone yesterday (my most recent phone died so I am resurrecting my previous phone) I came across phone numbers for my one of my brothers who died awhile back. And some of my friends who are no longer with us, Lydia, Sally, Dan, Jody, and some others. I couldn’t bring myself to delete them from my phone.

Of course, this means that I will keep seeing their names and pictures. Yes, I get sad when I see them and they aren’t here anymore. Sometimes I can’t keep myself from tearing up. I know that I should think of good times with them but that’s tough. I eventually do but the tears still come.

What do you do?

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Today I am reminded that a friendship is a friendship. It doesn’t matter if it is a “virtual” or real life friendship. The emotions and the attachments are the same. And when my friends hurt, I hurt.

I have a friend that I met online around 2006 on a site called Gather. Her moniker there was The Little Fluffy Cat. She was one of the most supportive, loving, friendly, and welcoming people I have ever met. Later, she and her family came to the Portland area on vacation and I got to spend a few hours with them. There was instant recognition and the feelings were as if we had always known each other in the real world.

She’s a very private person. Her name is Lydia. Last week, she allowed her sister to post on her Facebook page about her health issues. She had kept everything secret. If I understand it correctly, she has a problem with the “connectors” in the cerebellum, or blood vessels in the brain. Her sister told of how Lydia has been in the hospital since July when she underwent a couple of surgical procedures to solve the problem but then developed other complications which have caused some loss of brain function, mimicking a stroke but has not actually had a stroke. She has not been home since July, except for being allowed to go home for a weekend here and there. During the last weekend that she spent at home (Christmas weekend), she caught a cold which made her main health issues worse. Since then, she has become gravely ill and had to be resuscitated a few days ago then put into a medically induced coma. The doctors are out of options. They are stalling and hoping that they can solve some of the minor problems which might alleviate the major ones. She has asked her friends for prayers and a miracle because she’s not ready to die. She’s 57 years old. She has a 17 year old son and one that is 14.

My heart aches for her and her family. I have been praying for her. We used to say that one day we would get together and have a slumber party complete with pjs and talking/giggling all night. I want that chance for us to have that long sisterly talk. I want her to see her sons grow. I want her to hold her grandchildren in her arms. I want her to grow old with her husband who loves her so much and has not left her side in months. I want her to recover and live a long and happy life.

If you are a praying person, please hold Lydia up in prayer. Send her positive vibes…healing thoughts…anything that might help.

 

 

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