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My roommate and I were in our dorm room talking on my bed.  Our room was a long rectangle, and her bed was on the far end – opposite to mine.

Her bed started squeaking in the middle of our conversation.  We both stopped and stared as her bed continued to squeak and creak as if someone were bouncing on those rusted coils.

She finally got up and walked over to her bed. Putting her hand out in front of her, she said, “Whoever it is, will you please stop?”

And it stopped.

***

Do you have any spooky stories?

I’m glad I went.

I was tempted to not get out of my car.  I had arrived alone, and I was jealous of those groups that were walking in.  All that confidence I had felt in my bathroom was gone.  I was suddenly full of old doubts and teenage worries.

And I hated how easily I let it happen.  What was the worst that could happen? I walk in.  It’s awful.  I leave.

Any lingering fears were dissolved the moment I walked though those doors.  A couple of old friends were standing in the lobby that moment, and we immediately gravitated towards each other. After that it was just catching up with one person after another.

There were a few groups that formed and then didn’t interact much with the others, but for the most part it seemed as though we’d outgrown those cliques.

That was a good feeling.

***

The most memorable part of the evening for me was when I was talking to a girl that I recognized and yet didn’t really know from high school.  We had classes together in elementary and then went our separate way in middle school.  She came up to me to say hi and give me a hug.  She then told me that what she remembered most vividly about me was that our 2nd grade teacher used to read my stories out loud to the class every week.

I only have memories of myself as a reader, so it was inspiring to hear.

I know two couples who are having their first anniversary after the birth of their first child.   I sent them each this cute personalized family name house print :

Of, course – their house only has three names in it, but you get the idea.  You can get 3-10 names in a print.  You can also choose the message on the door.  I used “Home Sweet Home” for both orders.

If it were my family, “Lord Help Us” would have been far more appropriate.

Until today, I could not have told you where it was to save my life.

I’m going this June.

Practically all-expenses paid.  The biggest ones anyway – housing and flights.

Very excited about this college friends reunion.

A work friend was commenting to another work friend about my liking foreign films.

“She even watches the ones in a different language!”

“Ummm….aren’t most foreign films in a different language?”

“There are some made in England.”

Seriously.

A friend from work has repeatedly told me that I needed to meet her brother.  He’s home from med school for the holidays, so she’s excitedly arranged for us to meet tomorrow night.

I know nothing about him except that he’s her brother, he’s in med school, and all the other girls he’s dated are “bitchy vain stupid hoes.” For the record, when you’re trying to pimp out a family member, you should probably stick to his or her more positive characteristics.*

Oh, I do know one other thing.

He apparently had seen me a few days ago when he and my friend were shopping.  He recognized me from a Facebook search after talking to his sister. (He told her he thought he’d seen me after the fact, and she texted to confirm my whereabouts.) He told her that I look much better in person**, and that I had an “ancient beauty.”

So, there’s a… plus?

I agreed for the sake of my ridiculously long dry spell and my happiness project***.  And also my mother who commented (on Christmas!)  that I might need to try one of those dating sites.

—————————————————————————————————————————–

* Birds of a bitchy, vain, stupid, whorish feather flock together.

**I had hoped so.

**Happiness Project: #19, #25, #30.  And for the possibility of #10.

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Update 12/30/10

He was really nice, but that’s about it.  It was like hanging out with a brother.  Still glad we met.

I placed the carrier on the shopping cart.  I don’t see anything to secure it to the metal cart.  “Hey, am I missing something here?”

“Oh, I keep forgetting you’re not a mommy.”  And she pushes the cart away.  What the hell?  I was asking if there was something to keep your baby safe in the cart as to avoid any unnecessary trauma.

“Don’t worry.  Some day you’ll have a baby of your own, and then you’ll know what to do.”

Grrrr.

***

It started out innocently enough.    Becky is a newer aide to our floor.  She friends me on Facebook.  Then, weeks later she messages me to ask if it would be possible to take her and her baby to the WIC office.  She’s recently moved to the area,and she has no car.  Her usual ride can’t take her.  I’m already playing taxi that day for my brother who was having work done on his car.  And so it began.

She lives about 20 minutes away from me.  Every other week or so I take her to the grocery store and to do a few random errands.  Her boyfriend’s family is kind of crappy, and her own are far, far away.  I feel sorry for her being cooped up at home with no car, so I save up errands that I can do while taking her around.

She’s nice.  She really is, but I can’t stand her.  Other than the fact that we work in the same place, we have nothing in common.  Our personalities clash so that I find it exhausting to spend time with her.   Her baby is adorable, and he comes everywhere with us.  She can’t go five minutes without asking “Isn’t he awesome?”  He is, but I’m running out of ways to say, “Uh huh.” I get that she’s a fairly new mom and finds the whole experience wonderful.  That’s awesome.  Except that she then talks to me as if I’m sitting in a dark corner clutching a broken doll while pining away for my own baby.  And so figuratively pats my head while giving me unsolicited child-rearing advice.  “Kids like this.”  You have one eight-month-old baby.  How exactly does that qualify you as an expert on all kids?

She’s not even a year older than me, but she has this way of talking down to me.  As if my goals are the same as hers.  Yes, Becky.  I also want an unplanned baby with a broke boyfriend.  I then want to have my car repossessed and have to decide between paying for the car or paying my rent.   I want to have to pick up and move in order to decrease my cost of living.  I want to move with my boyfriend to be by his crappy family.

I realize that I sound like an ass, but any time spent with her is absolutely draining.  My brain is screaming the entire time.  She’s constantly ending her statements with “right?” and then actually expecting a response.  And yet…

She doesn’t seem to have any local friends.  She writes to ask if I want to go to this sale or that one.  She just wants the company.  I know that.  She keeps trying to get me to stay at her house when I drop her off.  “Let’s watch this movie” or “Have a glass of wine.”  No matter what we’re doing that day, it always seems to take 5 hours.  That’s my whole afternoon.

I’m crossing my fingers that she gets her car next month.

Cindy called me last night and asked if we could move our trip to Vietnam from June to January.  As in next month.  She wants to attend a wedding January 15th.

She also wants to add Singapore and South Korea to our itinerary.

I’m. So. There.

I’ve gotten close with Cindy, one of the new nurses at the hospital.  I was her preceptor, and she even stayed at my house a few times a week for a couple of months until her own semipermanent arrangement was arranged.  (Her commute is nearly two hours, so her plan was to stay in town with another new nurse and friend from school.  Her friend didn’t move into her apartment until two months after Cindy started working.)

Cindy is making plans to go back to Vietnam next summer, and she invited me to come with her and stay with her family.  Ummmm… yes!  Not only am I going to Vietnam, but Cindy and her husband will be having the wedding ceremony, parties, and pictures taken that they were unable to do a few years ago.  And I get to participate.  I’m so excited already.  Cindy is inviting another friend to come along, and I hope she can make it, too.

We may even extend the trip and visit a few other countries while we’re at it.

How am I supposed to wait until June?

So, I’m at Maria’s* apartment for her housewarming.  Her family has just left.

(And can I just say?  I love Hispanics.  My people.  It doesn’t matter if you are a total stranger.  I’m hugged and kissed by all the moment I arrived. I’m invited to a birthday party next week.  It just doesn’t happen with you Caucasians.  I still like you, but the difference is huge.)

I’m browsing through her DVD collection when I catch a glimpse of her high school diploma resting on the top shelf.

“Oh, I didn’t know you spell your name with an ‘e’.”

“What?  I don’t,” said Maria.  I pointed to her diploma.  Meria.

“The hell?”

I make her check her college diploma to make sure she really graduated.  And I promise to never, ever forget this.

* New Nurse

My Happiness Project

1. Set a bedtime.
2. Make my bed every morning.
3. Always be reading something.
4. Move more.
5. Toss and organize.
6. Give proofs of love.
7. Leave the past.
8. Fight right.
9. Don't expect praise or appreciation.
10. Kiss more, hug more, touch more.
11. Aim higher.
12. Find some fun.
13. Ask for help.
14. Smile.
15. Realize it's possible.
16. Don't compare;be inspired.
17. Focus on what I have.
18. Beware of drift.
19. Take a chance.
20. Listen.
21. Be mindful.
22. Cultivate gratitude.
23. Spend out.
24. Do good, feel good.
25. Show up.
26. Have the courage to be imperfect.
27. Find joy in the ordinary.
28. Work smart.
29. Enjoy now.
30. Talk to strangers.
31. Go outside.
32. Start where I am.
33. Show up on time.
34. See art everyday.
35. Love with abandon.
36. Be colorful.
37. Dress the part.
38. Revel in accomplishments.
39. Learn something new.
40. Fear less.
41. Take pictures.
42. Speak with integrity.
43. Don't be critical about small things.
44. Manage my pain.
45. Surround myself with creative people.
46. Practice, practice, practice.
47. Don't force it.
48. Deal with something once.
49. Trust my instincts.
50. Avoid gossip.
51. Choose to see the best in people.
52. Take time to be silly.
53. Throw my own party.
54. Be a mentor.
55. Lean into my fears.
56. Find the others.
57. Do the unexpected.
58. Don't break the chain.
59. Do things others aren't.
60. Slow down.
61. Be cool with not being cool.
62. Be kinder than necessary and more generous than reasonable.
63. Pretend I'm good at it.
64. Keep in touch.
65. Row my own canoe.
66. Do what only you can do.
67. If it doesn't work out, find something that does.
68. Dream bigger.
69. Notice what's right.
70. Stop talking. Start doing.
71. When in doubt, choose laughter.
72. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
73. Respect everyone.
74. Be early.
75. Delete the unnecessary.

Three Simple Rules

1. If you do not GO after what you want, you will never have it.
2. If you do not ASK, the answer will always be no.
3. If you do not MOVE forward, you will always be in the same place.

All I Need

1. Someone to love.
2. Something to do.
3. Something to hope for.

What I’m Reading

Blood Meridian
by Cormac McCarthy
Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neale Hurston

U.S. States I’ve Visited

Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
Colorado
Georgia
Florida
Louisiana
Maryland
New Mexico
North Carolina
Ohio
Oklahoma
Pennsylvania
Texas
Utah
Virgina

Countries I’ve Visited

Mexico
Colombia
Thailand
Vietnam
Bermuda (British territory)

I write about…