Category Archives: Me Me Me

“Go get the paper.”

“I think we should switch the New York Times and the N&O to digital. We’d save a lot of money.”

Well, yes we’d save some money. It’s also more environmentally healthy, all those trees not being used for paper. We’ll do it I suppose, but I’m not enthusiastic.

It’s obviously a generational thing, dating from a time when kids had paper routes, moms saved clippings, and the latest update arrived with the paper and not on your phone.

I like newspapers. They wait patiently if you get busy for a day or two. You can spread them out on the table, or give them a brisk shake as you turn a page. They’re useful for packing, painting, and lining canary cages. And the last thing I need is to spend more time staring at a screen.

When I was a kid, the driveway was two tenths of a mile long and “getting the paper” was a chance to daydream for a few minutes. “The puzzle” referred to the NY Times crossword, which gets harder as the week progresses.

For 36 years of married life, we’ve taken at least two papers. We’ve dashed out to get them before the rain started, cut out recipes (So old fashioned) and given “the paper boy” (usually a 50 year old man) twenty dollars at Christmas.

So, yeah, I guess it’s time to go digital, but I’m not excited about it.

#newspapers

Past Present and Future

Mothers Day.

My time as an active day-to-day mom is in the past. My own mother died 15 years ago. When you do your job right, you render yourself unnecessary – my mom said that about motherhood. The child becomes an adult with a partner or family that is the center if their life, exactly as it should be. Time to move on.

I have a box of old family letters in the closet that I should maybe get rid of. They certainly don’t spark joy. Some are hurtful, even mean.

The past. Do the old letters, old books, old things, connect me to the Past? Why do I want that – am I going to forget my childhood if I don’t keep old detritus around? And why would forgetting some things be a big deal?

I have lots of current projects and ideas for the future, but I’m haunted by the fear that I was a generally Bad Mother – wounding and harmful rather than nurturing and inspiring. I’ve sought therapy, not to resolve gripes about my parents, but to figure out if I was really so awful. I’ve done searching moral inventories of my mistakes.

But why? Why can I forgive myself for normal failings, since most of the time things were okay, even good, and my mistakes were well within normal range?

I think it goes back to accepting that the whole mother with children thing is over.

So, Big Realizations. First, as long as I participate in drama, I’m not coming to grips with the reality that the only healthy relationship for adults is an adult one. Secondly, I can unilaterally withdraw from the drama.

I can burn old letters. I can let go of drama that serves only to perpetuate long-outgrown roles. I can engage less with the past and more with the future. I can stay on my side of the street.

Happy Mother’s Day – we all do our best, and we all benefit by forgiving ourselves.

One Last Job

How many movies have you seen, nonexistent readers, in which a criminal decides to go straight, only to be lured into One Last Job?

https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/OneLastJob

See, for example, Thief, Heist, Getaway, Sexy Beast, and Unforgiven.

But it’s not just criminals! Sometimes legal writers are coaxed back for one last job after retirement! Maybe a 2 or 3 month 29 hour a week gig?

Stay tuned, NRs!

The Old Homeplace

Well, my dad is 85 and it’s time to sell the farm where I grew up.
Just the usual Circle of Life business again!

It’s a 150 year old house on 12 acres with outbuildings, meadows, and
a real-life ghost story.

So, I created a blog about it with photos, and here it is:

Shenkel Farm

Hope you like it!

What I See Now!

It’s been about five weeks since I had eye surgery (scleral buckle and vitrectomy),
and my vision is finally starting to improve!

What I see with my left eye, the normal one:

Here is what I see with both eyes (getting better!)

And here is how it looks with my right eye (the recovering one).

A Pretty Photo of the Young'un

As my mom used to say, “Water rises higher than its source”

A Pretty Photo of the Young’un

As my mom used to say, “Water rises higher than its source”

Reasons to Blog?

I’ve been thinking about the reasons that people blog.
A Random List of Reasons to Blog:
Find like-minded souls who agree with you about [Subject of Interest]
or share your passion for [Your Current Obssession].
Keep your friends & fans up to date on your thrilling life, without individual letters or calls.
Show off your brilliance, clever insights, and hilarious sense of humor.
Keep from going mad because of [Your Life Circumstance Here].
Record wise advice and insights that your kids don’t want to hear. (*cough* me? *cough*)
Write what cracks you up, bugs you, or Needs to Be Said. (*cough* me again? *cough*)
Satisfy urge for public personal exhibitionism.
Create a record of your ins & outs, your ups & downs during a difficult passage.
Practice for a planned transition to Full Time [Your New Career Here],
such as author, consultant, or artist.
Share information, ideas, tips, or photographs about [Your Focus Here].
Record your Life History and the Way Things Were.
Get needed advice about [Your Hobby Here].
Drum up support or raise money for [Your Cause Here].
Track progress of [Something].
Sell something online.

Any others?
Are some “good” reasons and others “bad” reasons?

Second Eye Surgery

If you’re feeling brave, you can watch this Video of the two surgical procedures I’ve had, the scleral buckle and the vitrectomy.

I’m not planning to watch it!

Aftermath – I can’t see anything but shapes in the mist out of my right eye, but the doctor is “very optimistic.”

I’ll keep you posted!

How to Make a Christmas Check Special!

Follow Up – and it was a big success!

We are giving our son money for Christmas/graduation.
This morning I made a “holder” for the check.

First, I sewed a block of 9 batik squares,
then sewed another block of 9 batik squares,
then sewed the two blocks together.

Then I sewed 2 smaller blocks of 4 batik squares,
and sewed them together.
Next, I sewed the small block to the bigger block.

Finally, I made fasteners for each “layer” of the cloth envelope.
Like so/sew:
A sterling silver star pin with adjustable limbs pins the outer layer shut:

Here is a closeup of Mr. Star:

Now we start to open the outer flaps:

The inside block is black & white for contrast with the vibrant batik:

The inner envelope is held shut with a sterling necklace clasp:

Let’s open it up!

Finally, this is the back:

I am irrationally proud of this idea and of making it a reality!
If anyone wants to copy this, feel free!

Holiday Traditions Swap

Warning – this is a long one!
Holiday Traditions
For some unknown reason, this year I signed up for a “Holiday Traditions” swap. My swappee and I exchanged packages containing (1) a handmade ornament; (2) my favorite “traditional” holiday recipe, and; (3) a guide to carrying out one of my favorite holiday traditions. I have mine all ready to mail, and my spoiler has put mine in the mail.
The whole thing has been thought-provoking. Consider the word “tradition” with its aura of time-honored manifestations of its followers’ history, values, and identity. Now consider the “Holiday” season with its associated commercial frenzy, unearthing of ancient family vulnerabilities, and general craziness. Together the phrase “Holiday Tradition” has “traditionally” caused me to furrow my brow, uncertain whether I even have any valid “Holiday Traditions.” Just for fun, I’ve decided to set down the evolution of my reflections on Christmas traditions. No, not just for fun, but on the off chance that some of my thoughts ring a (silver! holiday!) bell with someone else.

Childhood Traditions
I was born in 1951 and grew up with parents and a younger brother and sister. My parents were not religious in the way of today’s aggressively devout politically-charged faithful. However, we had many holiday traditions, which I loved.
For example, my parents were sociable, and every year we’d get together with their old friends. The year that went down in (family) history was when their oldest bestest friends came out to visit and got stuck in a snowdrift a mile away. They had to go the last mile carrying the baby and dragging everything on sleds. (Parenthetical Note: Lest anyone doubt the reality of global warming, thigh-high snowfalls were commonplace in the 1960’s and 70’s)
They loved music and, while my mother couldn’t carry a tune in the proverbial bucket, my dad has a great singing voice. So, every year we’d pull out dusty holiday LPs (yes! and they got scratchier every year!) and sing along. It was actually a Big Deal when “The Little Drummer Boy” was written, because it was a NEW Christmas carol, the first in centuries. One year my school put on Amahl and the Night Visitors, also considered pretty avant garde back then. I memorized the words to a zillion carols and sang them without regard for tune or voice quality.
We lived in the country about an hour from Philadelphia. Every year we’d drive into center city and go to Wanamakers, an 8 story Department Store (ask your grandma what that is.) Wanamakers had a huge brass eagle in the middle of the first floor, inevitably festooned with shoppers waiting to
Meet Me at the Eagle.

We sang songs in the car, I’d show off by reciting the whole Night Before Christmas. We’d shop for a couple of hours, returning to the eagle periodically to regroup into changing Circles of Secrecy, with many Faux Hints (“I hope you know what to feed it!” for a pair of boots.).
We would wait in a long line to see Santa, a let down because the wait was dull and I never had a “list” ready for him. Then, we’d eat in the Wanamakers restaurant on the top floor. It featured a special dessert consisting of an upside-down ice cream cone made to look like a clown, with the cone as the clown’s head. Finally, I’d fall asleep on the way home, while my parents listened to strange (to me) radio programs (Jean Shepherd and Barry something).

Secrets! were a big deal. So was cooking. My mother was a wonderful cook and very involved in Cooking as an art form – she grew her own herbs, had a million cookbooks, and was absolutely fearless about trying new techniques and recipes. I think that I speak for us all when I say that our favorite holiday cooking tradition was raspberry thumbprint cookies, made with home-canned raspberry jam from home-grown raspberries. Part of the tradition included wondering aloud why we didn’t make them during the year, while realizing that we never would. Wine flowed, eggnog was served in cut crystal family heirloom glasses (one year a silly beagle drank it all, going down in family lore). Greenery was draped everywhere, candles were lit, stockings were hung.

Another tradition was buying a small live tree, digging a hole before the ground froze, and planting it after Christmas. As the years went by, you could see the trees grow. Our ornaments included a range from tacky to lovely, and on Christmas Eve they read the nativity story from the Bible. We’d go to bed and they’d do the stereotypical putting-together and digging-out-from-closets. This was real life, not idealized perfection. There were fights and tears, gifts that missed the mark, failures of generosity or appreciation, and assorted Family Dramas. But, again I think I speak for us all when I say it was a lot of fun.

Holiday Traditions of Young Adults
Um, heading home to regress? Getting high with friends from high school? Silly flings? Drinking too much? Going to a craft fair with a list of girlfriends to shop for? Exams? I think that “Late Adolescence” and “Holiday Traditions” are oxymoronic concepts.

Married With Children
In the fullness of time, I was married to a wonderful man and had two wonderful children, which made it time to establish my very own Holiday Traditions. I identify this as the point when I went off the rails a bit on the whole subject.
I came to marriage with my red and green bag of Family Traditions, see above. My husband’s family history included a LOT more church at Christmas, no drinking or throwing of parties or singing along, and, I’ve always suspected, less fun. For a few years he gamely played along with my increasingly frenzied anxiety to Succeed at Christmas.
During this phase, every year I spent too much on gifts, we got the kids too many gifts, we got into credit card debt, I became anxious about ancient family issues I didn’t think about the rest of the year. Periodically, I’d join a church, or participate in a charity drive. One year my daughter was even Mary in a Nativity pageant (with her pink skin, big blue eyes, and dramatic flair, she was a natural.) I saved Christmas cards to recycle into home-made Advent Calenders. I sent cards, sent them to every single person I’d ever met. I made a big to-do about choosing that year’s card, picking the Most Adorable photo of the kids, and looking for a secular card for my Jewish friends and relatives. I hung up cards on the wall.
I was always aware that I’d never be the cook my mother was. Every year I’d go into a psychic tizzy because my parents wanted to stay with my sister and not me – although, now that I’m writing this down, I can understand why! I sewed beautiful hand-made Christmas stockings for the kids and for some friends. I struggled to keep up the tradition of gifts for girlfriends I hardly saw anymore. I sewed and wrapped and mailed and shopped and made lists and fretted about all of it. We always had a tree and gradually accumulated ornaments with memories encrusted on their shiny surfaces.
However – here is the embarrassing part – throughout all of this festivity, I recall myself as anxious and uncertain whether I was successfully re-creating the holiday traditions from my childhood, adding any new ones, giving the kids the perfect balance of Gift Lust and Spiritual Reflection, cooking the right things, singing the right songs.
I don’t know why it was all so Fraught, but I can tell you this – Every single one of my fellow mothers-of-young-kids went through the same thing. Every one of them told overwrought tales of in-laws who drank, friends who Didn’t Understand, siblings who were a Trial, kids with Special Issues, etc. etc. So, rather than speculate on whether my up-tightness sprang from a Deep Seated Problem, I choose to conclude that it was just part of being in a young family in the 1980’s.

Traditions: Out of the Mouths of Babes
Let’s jump ahead to the children’s elementary school years. The kids’ teachers, intent on Honoring Diversity, would assign the children to create, cook, sew, or write about their family’s Official Holiday Traditions.
Here are a few of our children’s responses to these assignments:

One year my son was assigned to write about family traditions, and he identified two, which he proudly shared with the class. Evan explained that our family traditions consisted of (1) watching Star Trek together, and (2) that his mom always needed to stop at the same “traditional” highway rest stop to pee when we traveled at Christmas. This was incredibly mortifying.

Another time my daughter was assigned to cook and contribute to the class party her family’s Holiday Traditional favorite recipe. She told the teacher that her family had a Long Standing Tradition of making Red Velvet Cake, using her grandmother’s recipe. You have no idea how funny this was. Red velvet cake is a traditional southern dessert that I had never heard of and my mother, whose family was not only northern but Jewish, had really never heard of it. My lovely daughter had made it up out of whole cloth. Luckily, my mom was visiting and, in her fearless style, made a delicious Red Velvet Cake for Nora to take to school.

What’s a Tradition, Anyway?
At this point I began to suspect that our family simply did not have any traditions, much less holiday traditions. The 1980’s and 90’s saw the flourishing of all that Family Values hypocritical crap, and Reaganomics, and the Religious Right, and this did nothing to cultivate a relaxed attitude towards Christmas.
I associated Holiday Tradition with families so different from mine as to be a different species, families with Ironclad religious beliefs, with a strong sense of Ethnic Identity, family in which Father always Knew Best, and Christmas was all about Jesus’s Birthday, not trips to the mall.
I imagined that everyone else had Valid Holiday Traditions, in which they cooked foods associated with their Historical Background, maybe they made Swedish meatballs, or some unpronounceable sticky bun named SchlosseinSpeltGefilteFishSorbetCrumble? No doubt everyone else took part in Spiritually Meaningful traditions, maybe they went to “Midnight Mass”? (I’ve never to been to any “Mass” and Midnight Mass sounds like something from Twilight). Whatever it was, in the true tradition of repressive eras everywhere, I was convinced that I wasn’t Getting it Right.

The (Christmas) Present
After I signed up for this year’s Holiday Tradition Swap, I reflected on my personal history with the concept of seasonal traditions and realized that, by dint of time passing, self-help books, life experience, and whatever all else, I am no longer quite such a fool about Christmas. I also realized that, if I’m honest, my family Holiday Traditions include the following:
We always have a tree, and I am absolutely sentimental about the ornaments. My son is likewise glad to see the familiar bells and glass icicles, stuffed stockings and shiny balls, emerge from their packing.
I used to have an Annual Tradition of buying a tree that would fit in the lobby of a major city’s town hall, followed by a Total Meltdown while trying to string lights. Now I’ve learned to have my husband or son (with their gender-enhanced senses of spatial relationships) pick up the tree and (with their longer arms) string the lights.
We love music and play the same CDs every year. Honestly? Nothing makes me feel like it’s Christmas as much as hearing the first strains of Aaron Neville singing “Bells Will be Ringing”
The Red Velvet cake? Well, I have to watch my blood sugar, so I don’t bake much anymore, but I regard it as the absolute turning point when I realized that Traditions are what you make of them. So, yeah, I consider it a holiday tradition, and maybe I’ll make one this year!
The traditional Holiday Rest Stop? Sadly, of the grandparents who lived far away, only my father remains, and he lives down the block. Star Wars? I now think that it would be a wonderful Holiday Tradition to see a movie, or play poker, or watch Star Wars.

So, What about the Swap?
Without giving anything away, I sent my Swap Partner the recipe for a certain Southern Cake, a copy of a certain Holiday CD, and a knitted ornament!

Boundaries, Parents, Kids, Needs, Wants, Feelings

These things are all so complicated, aren’t they?

Painty’s Birthday!

Without further ado, photos taken this afternoon at Cheesecakes by Alex in Greensboro.
The occasion was the birthday of Ms. Laura Lough, a/k/a Painty.

The birthday girl herself!
corona1

Laura and Chris
lc1

I love this one! Alli and “the Peanut”
alli2

Your humble photographer
me1

MissViolet!
elli1

The birthday girl’s mother!
m1

Kelly!
kelly2

Kelly, Chris, and Laura deep in discussion (about cheesecake probably.)
klc1

More pictures!
me2

alli1

m2

Painty's Birthday!

Without further ado, photos taken this afternoon at Cheesecakes by Alex in Greensboro.
The occasion was the birthday of Ms. Laura Lough, a/k/a Painty.

The birthday girl herself!
corona1

Laura and Chris
lc1

I love this one! Alli and “the Peanut”
alli2

Your humble photographer
me1

MissViolet!
elli1

The birthday girl’s mother!
m1

Kelly!
kelly2

Kelly, Chris, and Laura deep in discussion (about cheesecake probably.)
klc1

More pictures!
me2

alli1

m2

Job Interviews!!

I’ve had two job interviews this week. Both went well, as far as I could tell, and I’d be very happy to accept an offer from either one. Keep those fingers crossed!

Morning Music!

What does your alarm play when you wake up?
I have mine set to play this song, from the Outro Lado CD by Zuco 103:
Humana Video

My Favorite Cool Weather Recipe

The next Recession Swap Question is:
“What is your favorite Cool Weather Recipe?”

I think my favorite is beef stew:

First, heat oil in cast iron pan,
then brown Stew beef, cut into small chunks.
Put the meat aside for a little bit.

Next, add a little more oil, heat it, then add
Onion: one is usually enough, cut up.
Garlic: cloves minced up, however many you like.
Spices: salt, pepper, bay leaf, basil, cloves, peppercorns.
Cook this until the onion is translucent.

Add
Browned stew beef,
Beef broth,
Some tomatoes, tomato paste, or tomato sauce,
Red wine.

Cook this for awhile and then add:
couple of cut up potatoes,
lots of cut up mushrooms,
whatever other vegetables you’d like to add.

You can adjust the thickness with
more/less broth, and/or
barley or some other thing that can cook in the broth.

Have fun!

Seattle Stranger

Nora is on the cover of this week’s Seattle Stranger.
I am assured that this is a relatively “tame” cover,
and that the Stranger is a Big Deal in Seattle.
Still, it gave me a start.

cover-400

An Open Letter to Everyone

Dear world, and especially,
Dear friends, relatives, long-lost schoolmates who contacted me via FaceBook or Classmates.com, co-workers, online knitting pals, swap buddies, my husband and children, President Obama, charities who keep mailing donation requests, and people whose knitting gifts I started years ago and haven’t finished,

I apologize for everything.
I’m sorry for not getting as much done as usual, for being tired,
achy, gloomy, irritable, and for losing perspective.
I’m sorry for speaking/writing before I think,
for not wanting advice, for bailing out on commitments and plans,
for not doing my part to bring about meaningful health care reform.
I regret not responding to your overtures via social networks,
for not getting back in touch. I’m sorry for ignoring phone calls,
for not finding a new job, for sleeping so much, for snapping at
people and picking fights, for acting like the biggest thing in my
whole life is the year-long medical treatment I’m undergoing,
with its stupid side effects.

I’m sick of feeling vaguely like I need to apologize to everyone.
My head hurts, I’m anemic, my muscles ache, I don’t even know
if this treatment will succeed, the medication causes fatigue and
depression, the economy sucks, I don’t want to find a new
job but I have to anyway, and it all just seems like Too Much.

I realize that I’m not holding up my end of the bargain,
and I’m sorry.
I will return to normal in about a year.
In the meantime, please accept my apology,
and please cut me a break.
Thanks.

Happy Birthday to Me!

I’m sure a psychiatrist would have lots to say about why I have an annual meltdown shortly before my birthday and start wondering What It’s All About and whether I’ve Done Anything Worth Doing, etc.

Luckily that pre-birthday phase is over and today is lovely!

Good Things About the "Late 50's"

My birthday in a few weeks will put me irretrievably into my “late 50’s” if I’m not there already. To celebrate, I’ve decided to list some of the good things about this advanced age.

1. Amusing and/or aggravating younger people by pretending to be confused about “modern terminology” as for example referring to “those internet things you do, My Face and Space Book” when I know perfectly well what they’re called.

2. Unabashed kitten-doting-on. What’s the point of being an old lady if you can’t talk baby talk to your cats?

3. The ability to get the cashier in the grocery store to open a new register when the lines are too long, simply by giving her the look. Hey, they know that when there are 8 people waiting, they’re supposed to roust the folks out of the break room, my puzzled eyebrow and furrowed brow are just a little reminder!

4. Actually having the occasional helpful insight or words of wisdom, assuming anyone wants to hear them.

5. Really, the whole birth-control device thing isn’t the fun part about being a girl, is it?

More to follow!

Good Things About the “Late 50’s”

My birthday in a few weeks will put me irretrievably into my “late 50’s” if I’m not there already. To celebrate, I’ve decided to list some of the good things about this advanced age.

1. Amusing and/or aggravating younger people by pretending to be confused about “modern terminology” as for example referring to “those internet things you do, My Face and Space Book” when I know perfectly well what they’re called.

2. Unabashed kitten-doting-on. What’s the point of being an old lady if you can’t talk baby talk to your cats?

3. The ability to get the cashier in the grocery store to open a new register when the lines are too long, simply by giving her the look. Hey, they know that when there are 8 people waiting, they’re supposed to roust the folks out of the break room, my puzzled eyebrow and furrowed brow are just a little reminder!

4. Actually having the occasional helpful insight or words of wisdom, assuming anyone wants to hear them.

5. Really, the whole birth-control device thing isn’t the fun part about being a girl, is it?

More to follow!

Reinvention

Chapter One
In which I decide to write the book I can’t find anywhere.

I’ve been looking for a book that would provide guidance on what to do next. Since I can’t find one, I’ll have to write it myself!
Oh, lest I forget, this is Copywrited by me.

Chapters, neither organized nor in final order just thrown out there.
These are just chapter descriptions, to be actually written later. And, if there doesn’t turn out to be that much to say, then this will start out as a magazine article not a book.

1. A tidal wave is just soooo disruptive.
Something has happened to throw everything off track. It might be divorce, illness, job loss, kids moving out, kids moving in, death, birth, it doesn’t matter what, but something has just messed things up.
In my case, it’s the need to find a new job in the next few months.

2. A time to wallow.
Go on, take a little time to feel sorry for yourself, whine, pout, be irrational, indulge in your vices of choice, bore your friends, delight your enemies, blog about it, whatever. Why am I such a loser? Why do bad things always happen to me? Exaggerate, get it out of your system.
In fact, why not exaggerate to a ludicrous extreme?
“This is so awful, and it’s just my luck. Nothing good has ever happened to me, nothing ever will, it’s all awful, and it’s all my fault. ____ was right when they said I was nothing but a ____ .”

3. But, I liked my old life!
And, why not idealize what’s lost, as long as it’s lost. Romanticize that job, person, friend, lover, town, partner, vacation, house, occupation, that is lost forever. Airbrush over the complaints you had, and mourn it.
In my case, I really did like my job. And now is the time to only think about what I loved about it … and forget the commute, the awkward fit between me and the job description, the essential lonliness of being 35 years older the other people in my position.

4. It’s not fair!
Really, it’s not fair, is it?
But, you do know what Jimmy Carter said, don’t you?

5. It’s NEVER the right time.
Of course, this has happened at the absolutely worst time, right? Here’s a tip – it’s always going to be the worst time.
In my case, I am figuring out a new job and/or career at the worst possible time. The economy is awful, I’m dealing with medical issues, and I’m having a bad hair day.

6. It’s a big project.
This is what I need to do:
Identify what I would like to do next.
Figure out how to get there.
Get there (into a new job)
In order to accomplish this, I will have to
Dream big, but, keep it realistic.
This will involve, first of all:

7. Get to know myself a bit better
What kind of fool am I?
What are my gifts and graces? What are my faults?
What are my essential values?
I don’t know about you, but when I see these lists in self-help books, I always have the same answer: “I dunno.”
Followed by a spiral loop back into self-recrimination and self-pity.
I picture all these other people decisively knowing themselves, and briskly circling the answers to “know yourself” quizzes, while the only answer I can really relate to is the last question in the quiz:
Circle A if you wish you could explain all your answers.

More later! Don’t worry that this is starting out negative. Once I sort out my psyche, heal all unresolved emotional issues, identify my Core Values, figure out my Best Life, and then synthesize my personal vision with the current economic climate – well, Bob’s your uncle, I’ll be sitting pretty!

The Delicate Art of Reconnection

Have you ever used Facebook to get in touch with someone you hadn’t talked to in many years?
Sometimes, it’s simple, fun, and easy. For example, I’m now FB Friends with a bunch of my younger second cousins, a far flung group some of whose members may barely remember me. I get a kick out of keeping up with them. One young woman is a cool San Francisco artist whom I last saw when she was a year old.

Other times, the whole reconnecting thing seems trickier. C’mon, you must know what I mean, right? Well, maybe I’m the only one, but there have been occasions when something like this happens:

1. Idly enter Long Vanished Person’s name in FB search.
2. There they are!!
3. I click “add friend” and “enter personal message.”
4. Then, I dither and debate the perfect tone and content for the brief message:
“Hi, remember me?!” (of course he remembers me, we flipping lived together for over a year.)
“Wow, Facebook is really something, isn’t it!” (too lame.)
“Gosh, it’s been so long. I grew up, got married, had kids, and what about you?” (I’d never friend someone who said that.)
“I heard about your dad passing away, and I’m really sorry. What else is new?” (wrong, wrong, wrong.)
5. Finally I compose a message, hit send, and wait.
6. Well, lo and behold, I’m now FB Friends with Long Vanished Person!

So far, so good, but what happens next?
I’ve decided to try to reconnect with a few of these folks.
Just in case that’s not modern enough, I’ll blog about it!
Here are the victims, er, beloved new FB Friends:

1. First, and easiest, an old friend from the town where my DH and I lived as newlyweds, * cough * about 27 years ago. This friend I’ll call “Nancy” because that’s her name. She was one of a shifting group of SAHMs with babies & kids in the same age range. I remember her as really funny, smart, and kind.
However, I didn’t much like living in this particular hot, sprawling, military town whose name starts with an F (I’m looking at you, Fayette-Nam), and in 1988 we moved to the Land of the Tarred Heels and never looked back. She sent me a funny birthday card about 17 years ago, but basically we’re totally out of touch.

Her son gave me the email address and encouraged me to write, but What to say? What if she’s joined a cult? Wants to convert me?

2. and 3. are equally challenging, so, flipping a mental coin,

2. A young man whom I last saw when he was 3 years old and who is now in his 20’s. I was a good friend of his father’s. Unfortunately, his dad committed suicide when the young man was a toddler. I was So Mad at his father for doing that, although in retrospect, I see warning signs that weren’t obvious then.

I was determined that, when the little boy grew up, I would be available – maybe to tell him more about the positive fun side of his dad, or just to listen if that’s helpful, maybe pass on souveneirs I’ve kept all these years. The son has the same wild look in his eyes as his dad did, it’s spooky.
Anyway, after I wrote a mild-mannered, hopefully-not-crazy-sounding message, we are FB friends. I have no idea where to go next, but I’ll let my nonexistent public know when/if I figure it out.

3. Last, and a bit of a classic – my first “serious” boyfriend. With the perspective of * another cough * decades, I see that we were just doing what young 20-somethings always do – engaging in Much Drama About Nothing – you know, jealousy about such burning issues as “you talked to her all during the party!!”
I liked him before all the drama, and would like to be friends again, but there are a couple of weird quirks (aren’t there always?)
First, we grew up in the same area. I knew his siblings and still know a couple of them, and in general we know each other’s childhood families. I don’t know, maybe that’s not such a weird quirk.
Secondly, after we split up (*cough in the 1970’s *) he went on to become a fabulously successful film producer. Name 10 blockbuster movies of the past decade, I guarantee you he was involved with a couple. He’s basically in that “rich and famous” category that includes a lot of public information about a person. So, I don’t know, you don’t suppose he’ll think that is why I’ve looked him up, do you?

So, where on earth to start? I’m going to take these people in order, decide whether or not it’s a good idea to contact them, and see what happens!
If you’ve had similar experiences, bring ’em on!

Rest in Peace

She lived 21 years, which is over 100 in human terms.
Miranda
Born 1988
Died 8 June 2009

Miranda1