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Posts Tagged ‘friends’

Lisa

Yesterday, while checking Facebook posts, I saw a post I had missed earlier. It was a post made in a group for people who graduated from my high school in the 70’s decade. It’s a nice way to keep in touch with some of the people I used to know and it also serves as a way to remember a lot about growing up and about the city I grew up and lived in until I went off to college.

It was a sad post. It told about the death of a friend; a friend I had not seen in many, many years but have thought of often and have even asked others about her. Lisa was my sister’s friend and a year older than me. When I went to high school, they had been there for a year and knew how to navigate the high school terrain. I didn’t have a lot of friends there. Sure, I knew half the people in ninth grade but it seemed that once we got to that stage, everyone went off in different directions, chasing their own interests and trying to fit in as part of the school’s social scene. That, added to the fact that I didn’t share a lot of classes with the people from my old school, left me without many close friends to “hang out” with. Lucky for me that my sister was there and she and her friends welcomed me into their social circle. Lisa was always kind to me, just like I belonged in the group. She never treated me like someone’s little sister that she had to put up with. We ate lunch together and walked to our lockers together. We sat together at lunch time, watching all the others in their own little groups. We met each other after school and walked home. We went to school dances together. We laughed. We teased each other. We protected each other from anyone who tried to hurt one of us and mostly, we had fun together.

Once ninth grade was over and I had found other groups to fit into and had busied myself with lots of after school activities and a job, I remained friends with that little group of my sister’s friends, the group that had been my lifeline that first year of high school, but I didn’t hang around with them very much anymore. I did see Lisa after school when we walked home and once my sister started driving we would give her rides to and from places. We were still friends. When she graduated a year before me, she got married right away and I was at her wedding. My sister went to college. I became busier than ever as I had a job, was very involved with school clubs and was the editor of the school newspaper. We lost touch with Lisa.

Through the years, we’ve heard bits and pieces about Lisa’s life but I hadn’t heard much about her in at least fifteen or twenty years, although I have asked people about her. No one seemed to know much as everyone had gone off to live their own lives over the years and it is just now, as most of us are reaching the late 50’s and early 60’s that we are all coming back together, seeking each other out.

And so, when I read Lisa’s name on the updated “Fallen Friends” list yesterday, my heart skipped a beat and tears found their way out of my eyes. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about her being gone. It may sound strange to some people that I would react this way to news of her death. Afterall, she wasn’t a part of my daily life. It’s not like I saw her or even talked to her recenty. But she is a part of my life. She was important to the person that I was and the person that I am now. And I suppose it’s a reminder that my turn on that Fallen Friends list might be coming up sooner than later. I think too, that it is sad to me because it signifies a closed door. I won’t be able to get in touch with Lisa or talk to her ever again. No matter how many times I ask people or how many searches I run on the internet, I won’t be seeing her again. The door has closed.

I know it should be a reminder to run out and knock on doors that will open and look up other people, other old friends, before more doors are permanently closed. And I will do that. But for now, for today, and probably for a few days to come, I’ll think of Lisa and her bright smile that welcomed me into the group that first year of high school. I’ll think of Lisa and her groom as they danced at their wedding. And every time I hear that old song, Daddy’s Home, I’ll remember how special it was to Lisa. And I’ll miss those days when times were simpler and our futures were bright.

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Friends

I miss having friends. Real life friends. Friends I can exchange a hug with. Friends with which I can exchange giggles and that “knowing look”.

I remember having friends. I remember knowing a friend’s house as well as I knew my own. I remember my friends’ parents not giving a second thought to me being at their dining room table on any given night. I remember having friends where I would not feel like an intruder if I happened to find myself needing a place to share Thanksgiving or Christmas or Easter or any other day with them.

Now it’s all about Facebook and blogs and Twitter and Texting. I miss the old days.

I know I have friends in the virtual world and those friends are in no way “virtual friends”. I know that with many of my virtual friends I could show up on their doorstep for a visit without question. I could give them a phone call and know that they would be there to listen. So they really are friends. They are just scattered and not there for those physical hugs and knowing glances and giggles and maybe a cup of coffee by the fire or sharing a tub of popcorn at the movies.

I guess I’m feeling lonely today. I’ve been reading blogs and wishing that I could lend some encouragement besides a comment or a tweet and so I’ve realized that I’m pretty much all alone here. I have my daughter and grandsons a block away. But that’s it. I don’t know anyone else here and because of my “last minute” schedule status where I could be called at any time to take care of one or both of the grandsons, I don’t schedule any outings for myself and so I don’t meet anyone. But I am grateful and happy that I have the boys and my daughter near me. Imagine what it would be like if I didn’t have even them!

In any case, here’s hoping all of you have a friend to share physical space with when you need/want to!

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Over the past three months, I’ve made a conscious effort to renew old connections and make new ones.  I started blogging again and committed to writing a post for this blog every day in November and again in December.  Part of blogging is reading other blogs.  Over the past couple of months I have read countless blogs and found many of them are just not my cup of tea.  Some are a collection very poorly written posts but at least the person is trying so you have to give them credit for that, and I do!  Others, while very well written, are just not of any interest to me as they have a very narrow focus that doesn’t cross with any of my interests.  I have found others, who I have absolutely loved and began following them right away.  Others I commented on but didn’t follow, not because I was not  interested in them but because I did not want to bog myself down with too many blogs to follow because when I follow a blog, I read all their posts and comment or at least “like” their posts whenever possible.  It takes a long time to read through all the blogs and I usaually do so in the morning and again later in the day when more people have updated their blogs.  It’s time consuming, especially when some of the bloggers sign up for challenges where they post every day, like I did!

I’ve found that over the last two months, I have put myself in the role of “mom” more than once.  I’ve come across blogs written by young women who are going through difficult times with family, work, relationships, etc., and I’ve found that I can relate to their posts because I have been through similar situations and I have tried to post what I feel are encouraging and understanding comments when I’ve come across such blog posts.  I sometimes will leave one of these comments then wonder if the writer will think I am being a nosey busybody but I hope that they take the comments in the spirit in which they were offered.

There are four women whose blogs I have begun following since November or December.  I’ve gotten to the point where if they do not post on any particular day I worry about them because I know that they were intent on posting every day.  I don’t know these women or anything about them other than what they have posted about themselves.  I’m particularly worried these days about two of these women who I know I are going through some very difficult times.  One of them has not posted anything at all since December 19 and it really worries me.  I don’t have a way of getting in touch with her to check on her.  That’s one of the frustrating things about blogging.  Although there are connections made and there are definitely “friend feelings” we don’t know each other and don’t know how to reach one another except to post on one another’s blogs.  So what do I do?  I guess I sit and wait and hope that they will begin posting once again, but I really do worry about them, and one in particular.

So as you can see, when we blog we share a part of ourselves and when we comment on other blogs, we do the same.  We are inviting others into our lives, however minimally.  Connections are made.  Some are long time connections while others fade away, but those connections are made.  Some become friendships, others just acquaintances.

At least that’s how it is for me.

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Reunion Round Up

I’ve attended four high school reunions and one college reunion. After the third high school reunion, I said I would never attend another. I said the same after the one college reunion. This year, my high school had a multi-year reunion and my college is having a class reunion for my year (1978). I definitely have no desire to go to the college reunion, even if they paid me to go. However, when it came to the high school reunion, although I had pretty much decided not to go, I kept getting more and more curious as the event got closer and closer. Then, my daughter who moved from Baltimore to Santa Rosa after college graduation last month, called and reminded me that I had some of her furniture at my house and she could use if the next time I went to California. That clinched it. I decided to go to the reunion and take my daughter her furniture. A friend even helped out with the cost by inviting me to stay at her house for the weekend. That was a bonus and a “sign” that I was meant to go.

I must say that the best way to approach any kind of reunion is with no expectations whatsoever. Then you are sure not to be let down. The reunion was more than I expected, not only because I had such low expectations, but because it was quite good. I think that the best part was being in a room full of people with a common background and who shared the school’s history. Because it was a multi-class reunion (1969 to 1979) most of us knew a lot of people there, either personally or through siblings.

So, the company was good, (with the exception of a few who proved to still be who they were in high school with no growth whatsoever). The food was delicious. The music was, for the most part, excellent, but way too loud for a small enclosed room (and for many deaf and nearly deaf ears). The camaraderie was there. It couldn’t be missed. It sure made the evening the success it was.

Will I go to another? I don’t know. I guess it depends on where I am in my life at that point. Maybe I’ll go back to the no more reunions attitude.

I’m still processing the weekend. There are many stories to be written from the events and characters to be created. I supposed you’ll read about all that here if you keep coming back. Not sure when it will be but it’s coming.

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I’m reading a novel written by a friend.  I’ve put it off for some months.  I read a lot so I could have gotten to this a lot sooner as it was published some five or more months ago and I have had many opportunities to pick this one up when I have finished another but I haven’t.

The thing is that once I read it, I know I will be asked what I thought of it.  I write reviews of the books I read and post here on this blog and on a couple of other sites.  Just for fun.  I don’t profit from the reviews.  I just write them for friends in reading networks.  My reviews are honest.  I can’t write them any other way.  So if I don’t like the book, or parts of it, what should I do?  I can write that honest review and risk hurting a friend (and probably getting a lot of our common friends upset at me for hurting that one friend) or I can lie.  I don’t want to do either.

An honest review is not necessarily a bad review but it could very well mention things like inconsistencies in the story, poor grammar, things that weren’t made clear in the story, etc., etc.  However, I know that a lot of writers are very touchy when it comes to reviews of their writing…and I understand that touchiness, too.  As writers we work on our stories and novels and their characters for weeks and months, sometimes even for years.  We worry about our writing all the time, losing sleep over it and stressing endlessly.  So it makes sense that we would be touchy about our creations.  They’re our babies.  What parent would not be touchy or sensitive to criticism of their child?

I suppose I could institute a policy of not reviewing friends’ books.  That would be the easiest.  Maybe that’s what I’ll do.  I’m actually crossing my fingers that I will be so wowed by this novel that I will want to write a truly positive review and spread it all over the internet, however, that’s not looking very likely.

Hhm.  Hhm.  I don’t know.  I’ll see what happens when I finish it and see what kind of review I am compelled to write.

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I usually feel quite comfortable with most technological issues, using them at least.  I’m not a know it all by any means but I’m a quick study and I can pick things up the first time through, okay maybe twice for some things.  I’m usually the one that helps others to figure out both their hardware and software.  I’ve gone shopping with people before they decide on which computer to buy.  They take me along to answer questions and help them figure out what they need and what they don’t need.  I always add what they might need as well.  I’ve helped people take the boxes home with them and have plugged in computers and peripherals and then helped them learn how to use everything.

I’ve always enjoyed it.  It makes me feel competent (as opposed to incompetent which is such a horrible feeling).

When I gave my son a new iPod for Christmas a few years back, he gave me his original first generation 10 GB iPod when he got his 30 GB iPod loaded.  I hadn’t had one before that.  He showed me how to use iTunes as far as loading music to it and synching the iPod to iTunes.  I learned how to update it, too.  One day he came over and noticed that I didn’t have any playlists set up on iTunes and he showed me how to do that and how functional they were (I hadn’t realized until then how playlists would add to my iTunes and iPod experience).  Then about a year later, I decided to treat myself to my own black 30 GB iPod.  I loved it.  And I used it all the time.  At home I used it all the time.  Then I got a new car that had an auxiliary input for an mp3 player so I began to use it all the time, for reals this time.  I used it at home and in the car.  In the car I loved that I could load audio books and listen to them on the long drives between the SF Bay Area and Portland or Los Angeles or even just the 90 minute drive from Santa Rosa to San Jose.  I loved, loved, loved my iPod.

Then one night when I was getting ready for bed, I put on my iPod to listen to the end of an audio book I had started on my last trip from California.  It was fine for about ten seconds.  I realized it wasn’t in the same spot where I had left off so I fast forwarded to find the right spot.  When I stopped it, I pushed play and it played but no sound came out.  I checked the headphones to make sure they were plugged in right.  They were.  No sound.  Strange.  It had just been playing a few seconds before.  I tried different headphones.  No sound.  I took it to the computer and tried it there.  No sound.  I went out to the car and tried it there.  No sound.  I plugged it back in to my desktop to restore it.  Still no sound.  Nothing worked.  I took it to the Apple Store.  They were unable to either get it to work or to figure out why it had no sound.  They suggested I buy a new one ($249) or buy a refurbished one ($129).  Although it isn’t that old, my iPod was out of warranty by about two months.  Not good.  There was absolutely no money allotted for such a purchase until after the first of the year, or with luck, maybe for Christmas.

I was so upset.  I decided to send out a Tweet to see if any local Tweeps worked on iPods, thinking that maybe it was fixable for less than a new or refurbished unit.  No luck however a friend, Lydia,  said she had one, a new to her refurbished one that she was not using that she could send me.  We went back and forth on it and in the end she sent it to me.  When the box arrived I was ecstatic and when I opened it, it was like seeing my own iPod because the one she sent me was also black, like mine and was also 30 GB.  I charged it up to get it synched.  I waited.  And waited.  Then finally it was ready to synch.  I thought I was going to burst of happiness!

It would not synch.  It would begin to synch then freeze.  It would stay on and I was unable to turn it off at all until the charge was completely depleted then I would have to recharge it completely before I could try again.  Finally, after trying to diagnose the problem several times and going through the charge, deplete charge, charge, synch, freeze, deplete charge, charge thing about ten times, I gave up.  My friend tweeted that it was probably because I was trying to synch multiple iPods from one set of playlists and sent a link that explained what I should do.

That was a week ago and the iPod has remained next to my bed waiting to be hooked up to the computer and filled with music.  I just haven’t been able to tackle it.  The whole ordeal left me feeling defeated.  I look at the iPod dressed in a hot pink silicone glove to protect it from any scratches and I wish I could just cross arms-close eyes-wriggle nose-and nod my head to get it to work.  I know what I have to do.  I have to set up a whole set of separate playlists for this second iPod then drag and drop those to add to the new iPod and not try to synch.  That’s supposed to work but I’m reluctant to do it because I’m afraid I will still not get it to work and I’ll feel defeated all over again.  I know it’s not me.  It’s the hardware.  But it doesn’t help.  I still feel useless and helpless.

I’ve actually gotten to the point where I’ve deleted all of my playlists and created new ones to add to the new iPod but I still can’t get myself to actually hook it up and try it.

I think that at this point the only thing that is going to get me to actually hook it up and see if this tactic works is the fact that I now also feel like a terrible friend.  Lydia sent this to me wanting to do something wonderful for me.  She did.  She really did do something wonderful for me.  However, in the process, we were both betrayed by the hardware and now not only do I feel defeeted, she feels bad about having sent me something that I had so much trouble with.  It’s not her fault.  Or mine.  It just is.

But this too shall pass.  I may feel defeated now but I’ll get over it.  Like all those bumps in the road of life, I’ll get over this and be on my way to different things, different triumphs, and yes even different defeats!

Wish me luck.  I think I may work up the courage to try it tonight.  Or maybe tomorrow.  Or maybe…

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