The Weekend In Review

I’ve returned from my spur of the moment 1000 plus miles road trip to the mountains of North Carolina to witness the Possum Drop at Clay’s Corner.  I thought I’d give you the highlights.

Mexican, Italian, bagels, burgers, and acorns were consumed. And by Mexican and Italian I don’t mean the living, breathing kind, but the food kind. The acorns were not the kind that grow oak trees but a delightful combination read on >>

The Perfect Number of Facebook Friends

I just accepted my hundredth friend on Facebook. I haven’t been actively pursuing Facebook friends, or as I sometimes refer to them, my faux Facebook friends. Please don’t be offended by this reference if you are indeed one of them, I don’t mean you.

I think 100 is the perfect number of faux friends to have, so if anyone else ever sends me a friend request, I’m going to have to channel my inner Republican (if I can find her) and make a cut somewhere.  Of course, if I am unfriended by one of my faux friends, that saves me the worry of who to cut.

I should have 103 friends, but three people unceremoniously unfriended me. Yes, I know who you are, though you are probably not reading this. And no, I don’t miss your endless status updates of how bored you are at work or how dry the ham sandwich was you had for lunch. I was happy to discover two of them had dropped me, though I was a wee bit sad about the third. I really thought we had a faux connection.

Some of my Facebook friends are people I interact with in person or by phone on a somewhat regular basis. Others are relatives. Some are men I’ve had sex with, no wait, I’m confusing my Craigslist friends with my Facebook friends. I haven’t had sex with any of my Facebook friends, at least not any of my current friends, though there are a couple or three that might prove to be quite entertaining and fun in the sack. One can dream or in this case fantasize.

In my early days on Facebook, I would log on almost every day. I reconnected with a friend from elementary school, a handful of high school friends and people I had worked with many years ago. I even reconnected with my first love, though that was much more recent. The reconnection, not the first love.

I avoided being sucked into the addictive Facebook games despite numerous attempts by my friends to get me to join FarmTown.  I don’t like to pull weeds in my own yard. Why would I want to do fake yard work online?

Lately, I’ve been spending less time on Facebook because, to paraphase Dr. Seuss, there are so many other places to go. One of my non-Facebook friends thinks this is a good thing.  Not long after the blind people/trust issue/tree experiment went horribly wrong, we had the following conversation.

Dex: Facebook is the devil. It’s a timesuck.

Me: You may be right. And I’m not sure how many of my faux Facebook friends would come bail me out of jail.

Dex: You plan on being arrested?

Me: No, but things happen. And I’ve always thought that would be a good friendship test.

Dex: Getting arrested?

Me: No, the middle of the night phone call. The “I can’t explain right now, but I’m totally innocent and I need you to come bail me out of jail” call.

Dex: I’ll bail you out.

Me: Thanks, you’re a good friend, even though you led me into a tree.

Dex: You weren’t blind!

It is good to know at least one friend will bail me out of jail, though I’m still getting a seeing eye dog if I ever go blind. If you do send me a Facebook friend request, don’t be surprised if I’m slow to accept. It’s not that I don’t want you as a friend, I’m just trying to locate my inner Republican so I can make the necessary cut.

 

It’s All Greek To Me, Part One

Ahhh, the joys of flexibility and not just the physically fit kind. This past week began with a call on Monday from Chris asking if I could petsit with his dog, Chief. He wanted me to come down Tuesday night and stay until Thursday afternoon. Since I had no set plans, I said yes.

Tuesday morning, I called Dawn and we made plans to meet for lunch on Wednesday. I left a message with Jenn as I hoped to get together with her either for dinner on Wednesday or lunch on Thursday.  Jenn then left me a message saying that she wouldn’t be able to do dinner as she was on vacation, but would check her calendar when she returned to work on Thursday to see if lunch would be a possibility.

I arrived at Chris and Amber’s house on Tuesday evening and they introduced me to Chief, their blind cocker spaniel, and showed me around the house. Soon after leaving on their trip, Chris called and asked if I could stay another night as they wanted to extend their trip.

“No problem,” I replied and we agreed that I would stay with Chief until noon on Friday.

On Wednesday, as I headed out the door to meet Dawn for lunch, my cell phone rang. It was Dawn, calling to say the morning had gotten away from her and could we do lunch on Thursday.

“No problem,” I replied and we agreed to meet the next day at California Pizza Kitchen. I went back inside the house and fixed a salad. I left Jenn a message saying Thursday would not be good for lunch, but I could do dinner that night or lunch on Friday.

Chief and I spent the afternoon lazing on the screen porch enjoying the breeze and the view of the lake, though I’m the only one who enjoyed the view. Chief enjoyed the smells. I did a bit of writing. Jenn called later that day to say lunch on Friday would be perfect and we settled on a time and place.

Thursday morning was a bit gloomy with the threat of rain. I headed over to the mall to meet Dawn at CPK.  I know Dawn from my former life as an employed person. We worked at the same dealership and would have lunch together at least once a month, time and our schedules permitting. She still works there, and when I’m back in the area, we get together for lunch when we can.

Dawn brought her youngest daughter, Erin, with her to lunch. Erin adores mac and cheese, even the fancy CPK mac and cheese made with rotini instead of elbow macaroni. I use rotini in my mac and cheese, though I opt for the whole wheat variety. I also substitute frozen butternut squash for half of the cheddar cheese and top it with breadcrumbs crushed from my home made garlic croutons and a little bit of parmesan cheese. It’s yummy.

Dawn has three kids and all of them have a first name that starts with the letter “E” as does her husband. I’ve never asked her if being the only one in the family without a name that begins with “E” makes her feel special or a bit of an outsider.  If she should ever want to join the “E” crew, I think she should try on the name Eos.

Eos was the Greek goddess of the dawn. She opened the gates of heaven each morning to let her brother, Helios, drive his chariot across the sky.

I think this name would be perfect for her and not just because of the obvious Dawn-Eos connection but because Dawn is as beautiful as you would expect a Greek goddess of the dawn to be. She has gorgeous light red hair that she wears long and straight, though she occasionally wears it a bit wavy. She has a cute figure and a dazzling smile.  Her laugh is contagious and she always strives to make life easier for those around her.  She’s courageous and a fantastic friend.

She’s also flexible which makes her a perfect travel companion. She helped me celebrate my 51st birthday three years ago in Las Vegas. We arrived without much of a plan, choosing to let spontaneity be our guide. We rode the roller coaster, dined at Rao, saw Bette Midler in concert, and hit a salsa bar.  Copious amounts of alcohol were consumed, mostly margaritas and cosmos with a few glasses of wine thrown in for good measure. We had a blast!  I can’t reveal any more details because of that whole needs to stay in Vegas rule, but I can attest to her ability to keep a secret!

Siamese Twins Separated By Birth

Kim called this morning and asked what was new in my life.

“So I guess you haven’t been reading my blog?” I laughed.

Long story short, she hadn’t been reading it and may have even flagged my emails as spam, but vowed to correct that.

Kim and I have been friends for close to 20 years. We worked in the same car dealership. I was the office manager and she had recently been hired as a salesperson.  I took a call in the office from my friend, DJ. She had called to tell me that she and Kevin had just returned from Las Vegas where they were married by an Elvis impersonator. After congratulating her, I hung up the phone and said to no one in particular, “Great, my last single friend just got married.”

Kim was in the office and said, “What about me? I’m single.”

“We’re not friends,” I replied.

“We could be,” she said, and we have been friends ever since.  She invited me to Christmas Eve dinners with her family and to tag along on a couple of very memorable family cruises. We still laugh about the cruise we took during a tropical storm. I helped her overcome her fear of flying with a couple of trips, one to Key West and one to Puerto Rico to embark on  a seven day cruise.

Kim is gorgeous! She is a brown-eyed brunette with cheekbones to die for. Kim is tall, about 5’10”, while I am barely 5 feet tall.  When asked how tall I am, I usually reply with 60  and 1/2 inches just to see if they can do the math.  The first time we hit a mall together, Kim was surprised that I could keep pace with her, adding that she always has to slow down because no one can ever keep up with her.

I am short, green-eyed and generally blonde, though I’ve sported other hair colors during my life. We look nothing alike. One evening we were out having dinner and a man came over to our table and asked if we were sisters.

“Yeah,” Kim replied. “We’re Siamese twins. We were separated at birth and just recently found each other.”

Did I mention she has a great sense of humor? We’re always laughing about something. One of her favorite words is comical. She is always saying this is so comical or that’s too comical.

Over the last few years we haven’t spent that much time together, but usually exchange a phone call or two a couple of times a year. We established a tradition of a Mexican Christmas dinner a few years ago. We at least meet once a year in December at our favorite Mexican restaurant to catch up on each other’s lives.

This year’s December dinner didn’t occur until April, because sometimes life just gets in the way. We made up for it by heading to her house after dinner and sitting out on the back porch, laughing and talking. We vowed, as we do every year, not to wait so long to get together again.  This year, unlike previous years, these two Siamese twins will keep those vows. We already have tentative plans to get together next week.

 

And That’s What Friends Are For

I spent the first weekend in June at Amelia Island with three girlfriends. I do at least one “girl’s trip” a year.  We pick a place we’ve never seen, pack an overnight bag and hit the road. This is a wonderful way for those with husbands, kids or both to leave them behind for two or three days to decompress with sightseeing, girl talk and liberal amounts of alcohol.

Now for the travelogue portion of the diary.  Amelia Island and the little town of Fernandina Beach are as beautiful and charming as I had heard. Our hotel backed up to Fort Clinch State Park and was a half block from the beach and just a mile or so from the historic district. The historic district is filled with Victorian homes on shady lots dotted with huge oak trees. The downtown area features a small harbor on the intercoastal waterway. There are shops and restaurants and an art gallery that features local artists. It is very pedestrian friendly

On the first Friday night of the month, there is a free concert in the historic district. And Saturday mornings feature a farmers’ market filled with gorgeous produce, artisan breads, and delicious olive salad (I adore olive salad). Every restaurant we tried was very good and the little cupcake shop we found was filled with fabulous sweet treats.

There is a great little bar and grill right on the beach called Sandy Bottoms. The food is good and they have live entertainment at night and since it was only a half block from our hotel, we didn’t have to have a designated driver. We lunched there on Saturday.

At this point, I must introduce the cast of characters. Gwen and Jean are married (but not to each other) and have no kids. I have known them for many years. Jean is my movie buddy. We share a love of cinema and usually see two or three movies a month, almost always on Tuesdays, because Tuesday is dollar popcorn day at our local cinema. It’s really now $2 for a small popcorn on Tuesdays. They raised the price in January, but we still call it dollar popcorn day. Jean and I are also soul sisters of a sort since we share the same birth month (July) and both of us feel a birthday should be celebrated all month long. This idea originated with another dear friend, Deb.

Jennifer rounded out our foursome for the weekend. I have only known Jennifer for a few months. She is divorced and raising her teenage son. This was her first vacation in several years. I am single and childless. I often joke that most of the world’s problems can be attributed to one thing – too many people. So by remaining childless, I like to think that I am part of the solution.

The four of us range in age from late 40’s to early 60’s. We differ in our political and religious beliefs but we can engage in spirited discussions of our viewpoints and still remain friends. Our lunch time discussion for some reason landed on the topic of aging and dying.

At this point I said, “At least you guys either have a husband or child who might be there if something happens. If I should die at home, it’ll probably be a week before anyone checks on me. My body will be decomposing in the house.”

Jean piped up, “I’ll notice if you don’t show up on Tuesday for the movie.”

“Like I said, my dead body will be rotting in the house for a week. The neighbors will be calling the police to check on that awful smell coming from my house!”

“That’s awful,” Jennifer said. “I’m going to call or text you every day to make sure you’re still alive.”

“Okay with me.”

That was on June 4th. On July 1st,  I received my first text from Jennifer:

               Ok so I’m late. It’s July 1 and I will msg daily to check that you are alive.

And to her credit, I got another text from her the next day. Not only did she check to see if I was alive, she invited me to see a movie with her and her son.

I am so grateful for so many things in my life, but I’m most grateful for my good friends. They are a diverse group and represent a cross section of ethnicities, ages, politics, religious beliefs and ideologies, but they all have good hearts and the ability to laugh at themselves and the world around them. They keep me grounded, sane and feeling loved. And they occasionally check to see if I’m still breathing.