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What makes a FRIEND and how do you keep them?

What is a friend? Does it have to be someone that you see daily? Talk to on the phone daily?

I guess everyone has their own definition. When you are a child a friend could be anyone or anything. Who hasn’t seen a child carrying around a tattered doll or toy of some sort that they consider to be a “friend”.  A little boy with a toad or insect that he really likes and considers a friend.

As children get older and become teenagers, a friend is usually someone who does the same things they do and thinks like them. High school is full of those separate groups of like minded people. Not thinking like the masses can leave the unique minded alone and ostracized.

Once the school years are behind, all bets are off. You are an individual, an adult. Life is now your responsibility.  So are your friendships.

Any relationship requires effort. So do friendships. Make that phone call, see how your friends are doing. If you feel alone and have no friends around then make some. How? Well that is up to you.

I am nearly 57 now and over the years I have made many friends, at work, around the neighborhoods I have lived in and more recently online. In the past it was always the telephone that kept everyone connected. The costs of long distance phone calls would limit us in our contacts. I’ve lived all over the country, including Hawaii and the cost per minute of phone calls was something everybody had to be conscious of. Holidays and birthdays were the days that we would reach out.

Now everyone has cell phones and for many of us ONLY a cell phone. I gave up a landline a few years ago due to the costs of keeping both. The older generations still have a landline but now those are usually bundled together with their television services and they maintain cell phone service as well. Most people have some sort of internet service, whether it is for a computer, tablet or just on their cell phones.

What I find rather sad is that with all these devices for communication, ways of keeping in contact, the personal touch is being lost. Life these days is packed with so many things, jobs, families, money worries, kids and activities……it is easy to get overwhelmed and stressed and too busy to think of things like the friendships you have made in the past.

Your friends are going through similar things too. Busy lives, too many things to do in too little time. In days past when you found time for yourself, you would sit down and write a letter and keep in touch that way. Your friend would receive that letter and respond in the same way and the friendship would continue. When was the last time you actually wrote a letter? The postal service is still there but people use them for packages and not so much for letter writing. Everyone thinks to themselves that they will keep in touch by making a phone call…….one of these days.

When you are friends, really friends, you can lose touch but the second you reconnect it is like magic. The years drop away and the friendship is still there. But it takes effort. You have to make those efforts.

Reconnecting is easier now with the internet and Facebook. Looking someone up is easier and sending emails is a lot easier than buying stamps and going to the post office. But all of that still lacks the personal touch. When you reconnect, consider making the occasional phone call. Yeah, I know, you are busy……but hearing someone’s voice, someone that actually cares can make all the difference in the world. For BOTH of you.

If you say to yourself that you really aren’t interested in connecting with the old friends you had, perhaps they were a toxic combination that wasn’t good for you or your life has changed and you really can’t relate, have no fear. There are people out there just like you. New people that like the same things you like or are suffering from some of the same illnesses or trials that life sometimes throws at you.

The internet is a great place to connect with people. Now I am not saying that everyone on the internet is a great person. There are bad people everywhere and people that will try to take advantage of you and people that are just plain mean. But there are also some really great people out there and people that you might not have the opportunity to meet any place else.

Years ago I began playing online games. My son was working for a company that had a huge online game that was wildly popular and when he would talk about it I couldn’t quite comprehend what he was talking about. In an effort to understand, I tried playing the game. I was totally lost. I thought to myself, baby steps. There was another online game being put out by Disney that was brand new, so that meant everyone playing it was new to the game as well so I started playing Pirates of the Caribbean Online. I got to be quite good and became friends with people playing the game at the same time. In these online games you are able to “talk” to each other in real time and play together, team up together to solve problems and achieve goals. The Pirate game quickly became way too easy and I decided to give the other game another shot now that I understood the gaming universe a bit better. My Pirate friends also played World of Warcraft and we decided to switch to that together and off we went.

That was the beginning of MANY wonderful friendships. Tim and I are still friends to this day. He introduced me to his friend and now mine, PK and for years we have had many phone conversations and played games together. Even after they both stopped playing World of Warcraft we have remained friends. When my marriage broke up they were there for me when I cried. Moral support now for many years. I have been there for them through relationship breakups and new relationships. A marriage and the birth of a child.

Through World of Warcraft I met my friend Jeff, aka Viperhawk in the game. When I moved to California after my marriage broke up, I knew nobody in the area. But I did know Viperhawk and Bmbyf, from my game. They both lived relatively close by. Jeff and Ron, their real names, both told me to call them if I needed anything. Little did I know that my first week and first grocery trip would involve the break down of my car miles away from my house at night. One phone call and Jeff drove the 26 miles from his house to rescue me and my perishables. Years of online friendship but this was the first time we met in person. A true friend indeed.

With Thanksgiving only weeks away, Ron and his wife Carol, opened their home and Jeff and I spent my first Thanksgiving at their house. Someone ran into the telephone pole at the end of the block shortly after we arrived and all the power went out. Luckily the dinner was already cooked and candles were available so we ate and chatted for hours by candlelight. All because I made friends online in a video game.

Jeff passed away a year ago and left a bit of a hole in my heart. He was always a great friend and we talked often in-game and out. I am thankful for the years of friendship.

My friend Pam and I met the same way. She lives in Delaware I live in California but we have had years of phone calls and even though she no longer plays the game we call each other Sis, our minds are so much alike.

Amy lives in England, she and Pam and I have maintained the friendship for about 6 years now.

Donald, the best friend I have had in many years. He and I would talk daily and helped each other fill out online dating questionnaires. A few years ago, he was concerned about me spending the holidays alone and paid for my expenses, along with my dog Frosty, to drive from California to his house in Georgia where he and his girlfriend Alicia made me feel like part of the family for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. I was there for 3 months and it helped me get through some depression and made me feel cared for.

Breakdown, my dear friend from Utah, aka Mike, has always been such a wonderful friend. He has driven down to California more than once and spent some of his vacation time hanging out at my house. One year he drove the 12 hours down just to take me out to dinner for my birthday and turned around the following morning, took me to breakfast and made the drive back up. When my youngest son was getting married up in Utah, Mike went to the wedding with me and provided a buffer between myself and my ex. He knew I was stressed about seeing him and provided a shoulder to lean on. Luckily he has the sweetest girlfriend and guess how they met? Online dating.

Friends are out there for you to find. There are online groups for just about everything. If you have a hobby or are looking for one, there is a group. You have to put yourself out there, chat with people. Ask questions and of course always be safe. Keep in mind that people are not always who they say they are. I have a headset and chat with people over the internet and there are things like Skype and Facetime that let you SEE the people you are talking to as well. I have taken the time to ask questions and really get to know all of these people before I met them. I have many more online friends that I hope to meet in person in the future and no doubt I will make more friends as time goes on.

A few of my online friends have met their significant others this way. Three marriages that I personally know of and others that I have heard of.

If you are lonely, feel like you have no friends, get out there in cyber space and connect with other people. You never know. Your new best friend may just be waiting to hear from you. A little bit of effort can bring the greatest of rewards.

 

 

Blogging for Sanity

It has been a couple of years since I set aside my blogging to pursue other things to keep my hands and brain busy.  It hasn’t worked out so well.

I am a creative soul and while Frosty and I were on our grand adventure traveling across the country to Georgia and back, I took up creating jewelry made from beads, wire and special beading wires and threads. I loved it. I created some beautiful pieces that made some of my family and friends happy but unfortunately the expense outweighed any profits. I sold only a few pieces to a nurse at my doctor’s office and to some relations by marriage.

I really do enjoy making the jewelry and wear it often when I leave my house and am running errands. I get compliments and have had people ask for my number so they can buy jewelry from me. Unfortunately they never call and order anything and the money I put out for tools and materials far outweighed the amount I collected. It is therapeutic to create and it does help calm me to go through the process but it doesn’t help my bank balance in the least.

My health has not improved, I am still on disability with Fibromyalgia, degenerative disk disease, osteoporosis, a bad knee that I haven’t even bothered to get a doctor to look at yet, depression and since I last blogged now a brand new diagnosis of Breast Cancer (again). It has been 17 years since I had my first diagnosis of Breast Cancer and many things have changed since then. I now live alone, my kids are all now grown and live scattered around the United States, the closest one being about 2 hours from my house.

My financial situation is worse in that my bills have increased but my disability payments have not and my ex-husband refuses to comply with the court ordered support payments that he personally signed in front of a judge in open court. The last contact I had with him he said he might possibly have some money in APRIL of next year. Our divorce is not yet final since that requires more paperwork, more ink for my printer and more courage and fortitude than I currently seem to have. I am working on that.

Depression is something that I fight with and when I sat down and thought back over the past few years I realized that I was happier when I was blogging. It helped me vent, it helped me think and plan and overall kept some of the depression at bay.

Now I am facing multiple surgeries, a double mastectomy and reconstruction. I have a long road ahead of recovery and pain. My financial situation is dire and food is becoming hard to come by. Each month I get my disability on the 3rd and pay my utilities, gas, electricity, water, internet, 2 credit cards, insurance for my car and house and of course my mortgage payment. All of that on $1029 per month. By the time my bills are paid I am hard pressed to buy food. My pride gets in the way a bit and my location makes even finding a food bank a difficult thing. I am in Kern county and the main food bank is in Bakersfield 70 miles away.

Last year I made some Hamburger Helper and stretched out the portions to cover me through Thanksgiving. My ex taunted me and sent me a text saying they were going out for Mexican food the day after Thanksgiving when I sent him a message begging for my support money. My youngest son did one of those GoFundMe things and raised about $400 to get me groceries for December and I was so very grateful. I bought a turkey and froze the cooked meat to get me through December and into January.

This year isn’t looking very bright. I find myself hoping that they schedule my mastectomy right before Thanksgiving so I get a good meal. Pathetic I know but that is the truth. After breaking down a few times alone in my house with just a cat and a dog for company I decided to work on my mental health by starting to blog again.

So here it is, me blogging to keep my sanity and maybe share with others that find themselves in similar situations.

Reminder: People Need to Wake Up!

This cannot be repeated enough. DON’T TEXT AND DRIVE. DON’T READ TEXTS DON’T WRITE ‘EM. Drive only.

Little Karl's Blog

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The adventure begins

Leaving in the morning for my grand adventure. Driving from California to Georgia with a ginormous shedding white dog qualifies as an adventure right?

Taking a short break to gather my thoughts before I go back to packing my roof bag on the car. I figure that my clothes will survive the shedding dog better if they are packed in a bag on the rooftop of the car. Either that or I will be depositing my clothes along the highways between California and Atlanta.

Sigh, well there we go. Break is over and back to gathering the items I will need for a few MONTHS away from home.

Perhaps I will find my lost mind???

Avant Garde

Ah yes. You ask me if “From your musical tastes to your political views, were you ever way ahead of the rest of us, adopting the new and the emerging before everyone else?:.

Yes, yes indeed. When I was 9 years old I was pushed into what they then called the “Mentally Gifted Minors” program at school. I was painfully shy so being pushed to the forefront of anything was a little uncomfortable but I was always wanting to please my parents so I did my best to excel. At 10, all of the MGM students were enrolled in Speed Reading and my already voracious appetite for reading  expanded further. By the age of 11, I beat the rest of my peers in a in class competition that lasted several months. The competition? We were each given fake “money” to spend on the purchase of stocks. We each did our own research by tracking the stocks in the newspaper and at the end of the term the student that had made the most money won. Yup, that was me. The stocks? Xerox. This was in 1971.

Somewhere around 1972 or so, I met Jacques Cousteau and spoke to him personally about his creation, the aqualung. Sea exploration was changed forever and I still have the little cloth patch he gave me.

Within the next few years I met my first computer. It took up a huge amount of our small math classroom and my brain exploded with the possibilities. I was fascinated by the whole thing. It took punch cards and we learned about the room sized machines that were the cutting edge technology of the time. The company….I.B.M.

By the age of 13 I had already seen Dorothy Chandler in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Charlton Heston in The Crucible before most kids even understood what a true theatrical production was. I was entranced. I fell in love with the bigger than life feel of the theater and the magic behind those curtains. I learned the broad scope of the words “The Arts” and my soul became torn between The Arts and The Sciences.

When the first home computers came out, I was already waiting for my opportunity to program my own personal computer. I had an Atari 800 the instant I could convince my husband that this was the way of the future.

Yeah, being a woman and being computer savvy in the late 70’s early 80’s was way before the time of most men. I was in on the early “bulletinboards” and was devouring computer magazines and programming my own computer.

I was a nerd before the word was even invented. Alas, I fell into the trap that so many women before and since have done. I let go of my huge advantage over the masses and became a wife and mother and set my dreams aside. But I have always kept an eye on the techie side of things and I have no regrets over having my children…….the husbands yes….the children no.

C’est la vie

Weather Front On The Way

My phone scared the crap out of me today. I don’t know if it is an iPhone thing or a AT&T thing, but that little sucker has a LOUD buzzer on it for weather alerts.

The powers that be apparently thought that the weather warranted an emergency alert. I wonder how much money goes into these things? How much does it cost to set up the systems that detect the weather conditions? Today’s Weather alert was for dust storms but with that dust I saw a whole lot of roiling black clouds high above the wind blown dust.

I could save them a ton of money.

My body told me yesterday that things were changing. Hours before the first alert came through the pain in my body had reached epic proportions.

I remember as a child hearing my grandma say that it was going to rain because her bursitis was acting up. I had no idea what that meant exactly just that it was some sort of ache that grandma had. Over the years I heard doctors say that people couldn’t predict the weather that way, but now I know they are wrong.

Maybe it is the change in the barometric pressure, but I feel the aches, the chest pains of the costochondritis, the deep chest pain that cannot be alleviated even with my pain meds and the fibromyalgia from head to toe. I am struggling to even type and I’m pretty sure it shows that my brain isn’t 100%.  My fingers shoulders and arms ache and are clumsy on my keyboard where my fingers are usually speeding along.

The fibro fog, the pain, the exhaustion are all kicking in.  I managed to repot a bunch of houseplants to consolidate them for someone to keep an eye on while I am off on my adventure, but I am sure glad I’m not leaving today. Yesterday or the day before I would have been ready, but today, no today I could not handle it. As I can no longer handle the pain of typing right now.

So off I go taking my weather predicting body to bed where I can rest and sleep and fight again tomorrow.

One Lovely Blog Award

lovely-blog

I have two fellow bloggers to thank for a nomination for the One Lovely Blog Award. The first is Keaneonlife and the second is Carter Vail. I feel honored that both of these talented people liked my blog enough to nominate me. Take some time and check out their blogs!

The one Lovely Blog Award nominations are chosen by fellow bloggers for newer and Up-and-coming bloggers. The goal is to help give recognition and also help the new blogger to reach more viewers. It also recognises blogs that are considered to be “lovely” by the fellow bloggers who choose them.

Now for the rules.

1. Thank the person who nominated you. Thanks again to Keaneonlife and Carter Vail.

2. Add “One Lovely Blog Award” Logo.  Alrighty.

3. Share 7 facts/things about me: Okay, here goes

1) I have had many different pets over my 50 plus years. Dogs (I prefer large breed dogs), cats (I prefer long haired cats), lizards, a pregnant spider (yes really), a Green Wing macaw, a Catalina macaw, a Moluccan Cockatoo and a small Green Cheeked Conure with a Napoleon complex. Currently I share my house with a 120 lb. Great Pyrenees mix that thinks he is a lap dog. I have been having yearnings for a kitty since mine passed away last year.

2) I have had my fight with the big C (breast cancer) and won.

3) My favorite color is purple and I love shiny things. If it is shiny AND purple…..well consider it MINE!

4) I am a gamer girl. I love computers and online games. They are my guilty pleasure. I play World of Warcraft, Wildstar, Elder Scrolls Online…..well you get the picture. Yup, Grynnie is a NERD

5) I have lived in California, Mississippi, Nebraska, Hawaii, Nevada, Utah, Texas and Missouri. I am currently located in California but who knows what the future holds?

6) I collect DRAGONS. I am always on the look out for anything dragon related, windchimes, statues, book marks, whatever I can find when I am traveling. Other people collect the little spoons or state shaped magnets when traveling, but I look for some sort of dragon. It isn’t easy but the challenge is part of the fun.

7) I have been to several different therapists over the years when my personal life was getting hard to handle and more than one of the therapists encouraged me to get back to writing. One spent our sessions laughing her butt off and told me that it wasn’t me with the problems, it was the rest of the world. (She still took my money)

4. Nominate 15 bloggers who I admire and inform them by commenting on their blogs. This is a hard one. To pick 15 bloggers I started checking out a lot of the blogs I follow and found quite a few had already been nominated. So I have been doing a lot of reading of new blogs that I haven’t seen before. This requires me to read multiple entries because yeah, I really do read the blogs. I don’t just click follow randomly, I READ. So here goes!

1) Living Life With Chronic Illnesses

2) Fibrodreamer2014

3) God’s Whisper Farm

4) Clowie’s Corner

5) The Life and Times of Miss Lilly

6) Shepherds Grove

7) home is what you make it

8) One flew over the Sterling nest

9) My own private Idaho

10) Slowboat

11) The Road Taken

12) Morning Rounds

13) Heart of a Traveller

14) The Professor & Her Garden

15) The Universe According to Charlie

The Lasagna Project: Putting It All Together!

I have been following this blog for awhile now and I love, LOVE, love the care that has gone into each and every step. From making the different cheeses, ricotta and mozzarella and making the noodles. I admire this woman and hope you enjoy her details as well. Enjoy

Redmon Woods

1005141503I’ve put so much time and work into making the different components of this darn lasagna, I’m a little nervous to finally put it all together. I still say I’m not the superwoman who can pull this off in one day, but I can see where a one-day production is more possible than I initially thought. It took Tori and I as much time to make all the cheese, as it took the tomato sauce to simmer down to the thickness we wanted. If you have all the needed ingredients, and start early in the morning, you could have completely homemade lasagna for dinner of the same day.

The mozzarella, ricotta and tomato sauce are ready and waiting. Tori and I made the pasta, then it was ready to assemble everything.

First step was to brown the sausage. We got it from Luke the Pork Guy at the local farmers…

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10 Reasons People Hate You

I love this guy, I don’t always agree with him, but then if I did I would just be a sheep right? If you are a sensitive type he may offend you, but he always makes you think. More people need to learn to do that!

Unexpected Visitor

It seemed a little strange to me that my window herbs were waving at me. Really, the drugs I have to take don’t cause hallucinations as a rule. Granted my vision isn’t always the greatest (I tend to walk around looking through my own fingerprints on my glasses).

Still my plants never respond when I talk to them (don’t judge) and had never previously waved at me. Honestly it was rather a bizarre moment. Once I had cleaned my glasses I located the source of the movement. She was quite a pretty shade of green, just like my sweet basil that had apparently appealed to her. I can only assume it was the pleasing smell of the basil since the praying mantis eats other insects and not plants. Heaven forbid that my plants had the kind of bugs that would appeal to her, but then she had probably just bitten of the head of her mate and was freshening her breath.

Okay, so I am going through a divorce and the whole biting the head off the mate thing kinda appealed to me. I learned a lot of things about the praying mantis as a child and I have seen plenty of the beige little twig like critters running around outside in the pine needles under my big tree out front, but hadn’t seen one of this size and in this color for years. I had captured one as a child and had fed it lots of little bugs and flies. I wasn’t a girly, girl nor a tom boy, just somewhere in between with an insatiable curiosity about a lot of sciencey things (yeah I know that isn’t a real word but hey, this is my story). There were 2 different bugs that captured my interest as a kid and this was one of them. The praying mantis has a chameleon like ability to change it’s color to match it’s surroundings. The other insect that captured my interest also had that ability as well. It was a crab spider and my mom was so not pleased when that particular umm pet, had babies. How was I to know that those particular types of spiders don’t lay eggs in egg sacs like the majority of spiders do?  Did I also mention that many female spiders also do away with their mates? It isn’t just the black widow that does that. Oh to be a praying mantis or a spider…sigh.

So she and I observed each other for a bit, the praying mantis atop my sweet basil and I leaning against my kitchen sink. How she got into my kitchen and onto my plant I will never know. I had a nice little trip to memory lane remembering being young and curious about everything. Jars with metal lids that had holes poked in, insects of all kinds, butterflies, lizards, whatever could be caught in a large Southern California backyard, we kids caught, examined, fed, watered and learned about. Outside, in the fresh air, with no computers, cell phones and distractions from our jobs of just being kids.

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