Category Archives: FRIENDSHIP

Love Thy Neighbor

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I have lived in my neighborhood (do you call it a neighborhood when you live in the country or is it called a community or an area?) for almost 28 years.  We are the oldest (as far as years lived in our house) family on our road.  But I can pretty much guarantee that when someone gives directions to a local, they still call it, “Ole Johnson’s old place” even though old Ole and his wife, Rachel, have been gone to that big farmstead in the sky for more than 50 years and the house has had just a handful of owners since then.

But it is not my house and it’s history that I want to tell you about.  It is my neighbors I want to brag about.

When we first moved here, the woman who lived directly across the road from us befriended me.  She was a feisty older woman who was a war bride from Germany.  She kept me informed on the local gossip even though I had no clue as to whom she was talking about.  We did not attend a church up here, nor did our daughter go to the local school so finding friends in the area proved pretty difficult.  It was mostly the older women who were friends of my neighbor whom I met.

Then slowly over the years, the older folks moved on, and a few of the houses on my road suddenly had younger women in them.  But they had jobs and only one of them had a child around my daughter’s age but it was a boy and he was not interested in playing with a “girl” so I came up with a brilliant idea (all my ideas are brilliant-tho, my husband sometimes calls them something else).  I got the names and addresses of my new neighbors from the local Postmistress (who was one of the older ladies who had befriended me) and I decided that I would invite them all over for a Christmas get together.

My daughter and I worked hard making cookies and decorating in anticipation of having company.  Our house was much smaller then and to sit more than four people at my expandable table, we had to put it at an angle and it made getting into the bedroom almost impossible and to get into the kitchen once everyone was seated took the skills of a contortionist.  But I never let things like that bother me when I am hosting a party.  What I lack in normal seating space, I make up for with ingenuity!

I had never met one of the new gals but the Postmistress had told me her name was Peggy and so when she knocked at the door, I warmly opened it up and said, “Hi Peggy”, to which she replied, “My name is Margaret and I don’t go by Peggy”!   I often wonder if the Postmistress got her name mixed up with the previous local family that lived there who’s name really was Peggy!

That first Christmas party was the beginning of a friendship that has been going strong now for more than two decades.  In that time, we have seen babies born, grown up, graduated, and even gone on to have kids of their own.  We have added new neighbors to our friendship circle and have wept at the graveside of some of our dearest friends.  We have shared our lives, our victories, our failures, our dreams and our fears.  We love each other fiercely and protectively.  Hurt my neighbor/friend and you hurt me.

I love this collection of friends.  We are all vastly different.  We have different political views and opinions.  We have different life styles.  We parent differently and cope with life differently.  But our “heart connection” keeps us together.  We may not get together as often as we used to but when we do, the laughter rings out, the hugs are tight and long, we eat, we talk, we watch an occasional “chick flick” but mostly we bond even greater….like old dreadlocks that get tighter and tighter the longer they are grown.  We are matted in each other’s lives.

I do not know what I would do without this bunch of women (and their husbands, and the other men in my area who are always so willing to help out).

Years ago, one of our deceased (and sweetest) friends, declared that we were like serotonin, in the fact that we made each other feel good!  So we decided that we would be the Founding Chapter of the American Society of Serotonin Sisters or as we call ourselves, “the ASS’S”.   I am pretty much the head ASSS as the get togethers are usually at my place.

Here is one of my favorite photos taken a few months ago…I was demonstrating my getting out of my new tub dilemma.

img_0305“LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THY SELF, BUT CHOOSE YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD”. Louise Beal

I chose wisely,

Your neighbor in cyberspace,

Queen

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KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCKING ON ROBYN’S DOOR…

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Someone just violated my 1st rule of friendship.

Robyn’s 1st Rule of Friendship….(it is also my only rule….I am just so easy to get along with!).

THOU SHALL NOT DROP IN UNANNOUNCED….

I live out in the country so drop in company rarely ever happens as you probably aren’t going to drive 30 plus miles to my house from the city and not be sure I am home, but it does happen every few years or so by someone who really doesn’t know me that well or who thinks it will be ok for them to just pop in.

Nay, nay people.

Because my life is not in any way, shape or form, “normal”;  I do not keep normal people hours nor is my home in “company ready” shape.  Only if I know you are coming will the bathroom be clean and some of the clutter picked up and if you are really lucky, the dust tumbleweeds will either be swept away or glittered up to look like fairy-dust tumbleweeds (depending on my energy levels).  Nine chances out of ten I will have nothing to offer you to eat (my daughter says I am not really a grandmother since I don’t have a house full of goodies…tho, to look at me you would think I was a top-notch baker who sampled every bit of what she makes).  And since my husband often leaves for work while I am sleeping and returns home after I have gone to bed, more often than not, I stay in my pj’s (I prefer to think of them as “resort wear”) all the live-long day!

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Now you may tell me you don’t care what I look like or what my house looks like and I truly believe you don’t but much to the amazement of my husband, I CARE!   I still have a shred of vanity left in this old body that cares if my breath smells cause I haven’t yet brushed my teeth or if my hair is all askew and my “resort wear” has last night’s pizza stains on the “chestal area”.

I wish I were more like my mom.  Everyday, she is fully dressed,  make-up on,  not a hair out of place, matching jewelry and even has on cute shoes and she may not even plan on leaving her house!   My mom will climb out of her deathbed and get herself dolled up so she looks her best when she dies.  Her house is ALWAYS spotless (for those who do not know my mom, she just turned 84 but acts like she is 24 and is in tip top shape….I am 61 and as my dad would say, “I have one foot in the grave and another on a banana peel”!)

So  while I appreciate your total acceptance of me and my current lifestyle, please, please, please, do not drop by without calling me first.  And not from my driveway.  I need minimum of two hours notice (two days would even be better) because I will not answer the door (tho, I may peek to see if I recognize your vehicle in my driveway but that does not mean I will answer the door).   I love you, I love that you want to see me but you will be much more appreciated and welcomed when I KNOW you are coming and have planned for it.

Otherwise this is the face you will see if I open the door:

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The clown of Death

And to the person who stopped by today, I am sorry I didn’t answer the door, I did look and I did not recognize your vehicle.   If you are my friend, you have my phone number, please call first as I am sure I would have loved visiting with you, whoever you were!

 

GOLDEN FRIENDSHIPS OR GOLDEN OLDIES!

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ANYWAY you put it, old friendships are truly golden.

Yesterday, I had the wonderful privilege of meeting with three old friends for a long lunch.  We practically had the whole restaurant to ourselves and so we felt no need to hurry along. I think this lunch was 4 hours long (last year it was close to 6!).

I’m sure we probably brought up some of the same funny stories that we did last year but since none of us (except for Miss Terry) seems to remember everything, it was like telling it for the first time.

There is such a warm feeling of  connectedness when you share old memories.  Since we all grew up in the same tiny community, there is usually nothing we do not know about each other and our family dynamics.  But every now and again, a fact would come up that one of the ladies did not know about and that made for some enlightening and hysterical conversations.

But the funniest segments were when one of us wouldn’t remember an incident and our resident Mega Memory Queen would berate us for not remembering!   Only with old friends can you be called on the carpet for a bad memory and laugh about it.

I love these ladies.  Love them like sisters.  We never get together as families or even talk much (if at all) on the phone but there is that “childhood link” that binds us together and I believe, that no matter what the need, all it would take would be a phone call and each one of us would be at each other’s side in a New York minute (which, by the way, I don’t have a clue as to what that means but I like to drop it into my conversation every now and again to seem more cosmopolitan than I really am).

I am blessed with true friends both old and new that accept me, blue~snowflaked hair and all and look past my flaws (except it was pointed out to me yesterday by someone sitting across from me, that my right arm is bigger than my left because of a large fatty tumor that sticks out so now I am going to be seriously self-conscience about that, so thank you very much Miss Perfect Hair and Body).

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And I was laughed at because I brought my own eating utensils and napkins and a bag of wet wipes and ordered a bottle of fake beer and wiped down the top and neck before I drank from it and had Mac and Cheese cause it was the only thing I could think of that would be the least touched by stomach flu~tainted hands!  If you read my last blog post, you know that being out at this time of the year is very hard for me and I was taking no chances of picking up those germs from touching anything or using anything that might not have been sterile!  Yes, my friends got a big HA HA from that but you know what?  They accept it as “That’s Robyn”  tho one of them threatened to put it on FB (I bet you can guess who….see photo above).

Yup, just like sisters!!!

Love from your Crazy Queen who will be waiting with fear until 48 hours are over since I figure that’s how long it would take to pick up the flu…….

ENDURING FRIENDSHIP

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I had no intention of blogging today. I was sitting in my lazy arse chair, drinking a mug of coffee and looking at one of my favorite mags, “Where Women Create”. I was reading the editors column and she was writing about the difference between real “friends” versus work friends, church friends, gym friends, etc. and her last line, “…and the loss of a true friend is reminiscent of wandering alone in the dark.”

I lost my closest friend, my soul sister, my biggest cheerleader, my bosom friend, my everything friend back in December of 08. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss her, yearn for her presence, listen for her little voice. How many times I wish I could talk to her, to share my joys, to pour my heart out when troubles befall me, to laugh with her or just to sit next to her in that comfortable silence that only truly kindred spirits are ok with. We truly, truly, loved each other with no conditions. We could see each other daily and then go for a couple of weeks and not even talk and it was just like we had spoke moments ago. We were connected by so many common threads that our bond became a cord, a cord that even death could not sever.

So do I, “wander alone in the dark”, now that she has gone on to Heaven? No, my friends, it would be a dishonor to her memory to mourn her. She is where she was always meant to be. Waiting for me. Arranging the gardens that surround our mansions. When I step into Heaven, she will be standing there with her beautiful smile, cup of coffee in hand and she will say, “Oh Robbie, I’m so glad you’re here”! And I will be home and we will bask in all the beauty and the love that Heaven has to offer. My best friend and I, forever, for eternity.

SATURDAYS WITH WILD WOMEN

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I spent the most delightful day yesterday with a bunch of A.S.S.S’s. Each month we gather (usually at my place) for a “mystery craft day”. Since I have accumulated more supplies than a Hobby Lobby store, I wanted to share my bounty with my “sisters” and declared that I was going to provide most everything needed to do a project a month and all they had to bring was their own lunch. (I will give you anything I own, just please don’t ask me to make food!)

The A.S.S.S’s were thrilled as most of us love to make stuff and love to gather together for some estrogen-bonding.

As I thought about what kind of projects I wanted to do, I was struck with the thought that we needed to make this time, “Self -Awareness/Discovery/Acceptance/Love”. Each project I create focuses on the individuality of every woman in the group. No creating for someone else. This is all about “ME”. To discover who I am. What do I like? How do I really see myself? The results have been fascinating.

As soon as I figure out how to put photos on this blog, I will write about the projects and show photos of our works!

What about you? Do you know who you are? How do you perceive yourself? Do you have a core group of friends that you know “have your back’? Do you make your time together a priority? As an older and wiser woman, I would plead with you to make the time to connect with your “bosom friends”. True friends sustain us when the world comes crashing down on us as it sometime does.

I am blessed to have a couple of different circles of friends. Old friends, church friends, work friends, neighbors, out-of-town friends, in-town friends. I’m sure most of you do, too. It is hard for me to connect with most of them, physically, because of my work schedule and my chronic illness that zaps my energy but when we do finally get together, it’s like we just spoke yesterday. That my friends, is a true friendship. We overlook each other’s faults and quirks and focus on what makes us friends…that deep connection…be it memories, children, school days, spirituality, shared hobbies, etc.

Some friendships seem to just happen for a “season”. There is an instant connection that burns bright and hot for a time and then it starts to dimmer and then extinguishes. There was never an argument or harsh words, just a gradual slipping away from the intensity of the early friendship. I have experienced those in my life, also.

I cannot explain what links us together. Or why some links are stronger than others. Or why some links break. I am just grateful for the time we are linked.

If you are a person who lacks friends, may I suggest you do two things?
First, take a good look at yourself. Are you a “taker” or a “giver”? I don’t mean materially but emotionally. Do you suck the marrow out of people by your neediness? Do you always look to others for your needs? Is your first thought always, “What can this person do for me?”. Friendships that are one-sided can only last for so long before the other person is worn-out from always giving to you. It’s time for you to take stock of what you give to others. Stop being so emotionally greedy. You are not the only person with needs. Once you stop your pity party and make some changes in yourself and start giving to others, for the sake of the other person and not what you will get in return, you will start to develop real friendships. One friend at a time. And don’t stop with just one friend. Or just one group of friends. The more you give of yourself, the more you will get back. And BE SINCERELY CHEERFUL. Nobody likes to hang around a complaining, whiny, negative person. Yes, you may have problems, but unless that person is the cause or the cure, don’t burden others with your tales of woes constantly. They will start to avoid you.

Once you are ready for true friendships, then get out there and be proactive. Invite others to your home or out for coffee. Don’t wait for them to come to you. And if they say no, or have plans, or whatever, don’t take it as a sign they don’t like you. Try again, Try three times and if they never can make it, then that’s OK and move on. You will find people who will want to be around you (as long as you took my advice earlier!). Everyone nowadays IS very busy so it may take awhile to connect but don’t give up. Be cheerful. Be the kind of person you want others to be to you. Loneliness is a state of mind not a physical state. I am alone a lot and I have a great time all by myself. I enjoy my own company. Do you enjoy yourself?

Well, this turned out to be not what I was going to write about but I just go with the flow and sometimes I am surprised by what comes out! Perhaps someone needed to hear this. I would love to hear about your friendships and if you have any words of wisdom, please share them with me.

To my friends who are reading this….I love you all….and I will try to get together with you as I am able. I am always up to a visit from you at my house as long as you bring your own food (LOL) and don’t mind the dust sheep laying about! Just give me a call and I’ll put you on my “social calendar”!!!