Sunday, June 26, 2011


I've been listening to many people complain about how their friends are treating them lately. Friends don't call or stop by anymore. They turn down dinner invitations. They don't come to group events. Few if any spontaneous potluck suppers on a deck overlooking the lake. And then they complain about not knowing anyone.

Take yesterday, for example. Our homeowners association has an annual meeting/potluck barbeque every June. Fewer than 25% of the owners and their spouses turn out. This year, several new owners came to the end our our cul-de-sac. They got to meet other neighbors and found they had a lot in common with many of them. One owner, however, didn't show up. I was surprised, since she had been looking forward to the meeting, looking forward to connecting with her neighbors. I called her to see if everything was all right, and left a message on her cell. Nothing yet, although I know she's fine. She was out walking her new puppy this morning. Sadly, an opportunity missed to talk with neighbors.

One woman recently told me that we would probably be close friends if this were a different time and place. Puzzling statement, since we live barely 25 miles away, share many of the same literary passions, and love a good cup of tea or coffee. Still, with all we have in common, we have tried -- and failed -- four times in the past four months to get together for girl talk. We are supposed to meet tomorrow, but since she hasn't responded to my latest e-mails on where to meet, I've made other plans.

Two dear friends of many decades tell me I'm one of their best friends, yet when I need something, they are "busy." When one suffered a loss earlier this year, I dropped everything to be at her side, but when I needed a bit of consolation weeks later, she was too busy. Bridge, golf, you know how it is. Yes, I know. And I'm afraid this friendship may have run its natural course. The other invited himself up to visit, only to forget he asked to come. Fortunately, we know not to "hold his room" if someone else wants to drop in for a weekend.

I wonder how many people think they are being friends when they forward jokes all the time, but don't take time to drop two lines into an email. At least the jokes tell me they are alive. And how many other people think they are being good friends because they post what they are doing on Facebook. I see Facebook as a public broadcast service. I love it when someone likes what I post, or responds.

And I was very grateful to all those who sent condolences when my cat died. It meant a lot. It would have meant even more if some of my closest friends had called. But, hey, that would actually involve personal contact. Ooooh, maybe we have become a society where our human interaction is filtered through our keyboards. As a writer, I filter life thought my keyboard, but I still like sitting with someone and chatting. Face to face. Not Facebook to Facebook. I like being old school.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer Solstice

Ah, the summer solstice came yesterday. I'd planned my normal Druid dance to celebrate. Because I was working all day, I wanted to dance at dark, several hours after the true solstice.

I could have been dancing at 5 pm. Why? On the longest day of the year, it was almost completely dark by 4:30. Overhead was a thunderstorm. I don't dance when there is lightning. I thought I'd wait. Two and a half hours and two and a half inches of rain, later, it was still dark, still rainy, and still too dangerous to dance outside.

So much for the summer solstice. So much for dancing. Pooh.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

People Behaving Badly

I really wanted to avoid calling this post "Men Behaving Badly," because women behave badly too. What is it with people who have a lot of perceived power suddenly think they are God's gift to the opposite sex? I mean, it's probably been going on since the dawn of time, but we didn't have YouTube, blogs, Facebook and Twitter at the dawn of time.
Why do these people think it's all right to have affairs? Look at a small number of those who did most recently. And look at what happened to their careers and marriages.

  • One former president had an affair in the Oval Office. His wife stood by him. They are still married. He's rebounded into a powerful role in society. Who saw that coming?
  • Several Congressmen and Senators got caught in the past few years with their pants down. Some are still in Congress; some resigned; some were divorced.
  • A former vice presidential candidate had an affair while his wife was dying of cancer. Yes, he's cute (if you like that type). Yes, he's coiffed. Yes, he's a jerk. And yes, he's with the woman he had an affair with. You could almost see that one coming.
  • There's that guy in New York who has three wives and several affairs. He thought he'd run for president, but his comb-over wasn't enough to overcome the types of questions he'd face on the campaign trail. Everyone should have seen this one coming.
  • Then there's a former Speaker of the House who divorced his dying wife, had several affairs, and asks the electorate to forgive and forget. Like, how's that going to work?
  • Don't forget the sports heroes who've cheated on their trophy wives, been divored, and seen their careers tank as a result. Small justice for the humiliation their families suffered.
  • And now we have a Congressman from New York who thinks he's not cheating on his gorgeous (and pregnant) wife when sexting photos of his crotch and engaging in sexual e-mails. What planet did he come from? And when will he leave the headlines?

    One thing we can thank two wayward husbands for adding to the American English lexicon. "I'm a sex addict" seems to be a new way of saying "I was horny." And "I was hacked" is a new synonym for "I was stupid."

    May they all think about their wives and families before putting themselves in positions where they first feel they have to lie, then have to 'fess up to lying, and then try to wiggle out of the consequences of bad behavior. May we not have to see their names and behaviors plastered all over the papers and news shows. Frankly, none of you are great catches.
  • Thursday, June 9, 2011

    A Grandson Balances Everything

    If you follow this blog regularly, you know Terry and I recently lost our cat, Nikki. Yes, only a cat to some, but a purry companion to us.

    And you know I am getting techy about getting sidetracked and letting what I feel is small stuff pile on. The sabbatical and saying no are two ways to get refocused.

    One new focus is Howard Marshall Eriksen, "Howie." We saw him for the first time two weeks ago and fell in love. At two months, his personality is developing. He's a lazy eater who falls asleep with the nipple in his mouth. He's happy and smiles a lot, particularly when he's on a lap or in his rocky, bouncy chair. He's vain, because his rocky, bouncy chair has a mirror tied to it. He can spend an hour staring at the cute baby. He melts down at the adult dinner hour, but calms down for bath and bed. He has the parents and all sets of grandparents wrapped around his little fingers.

    Howie has more outfits than any child can wear, but the Payne Stewart outfit was perfect. I hope he becomes a golfer, but more than that, I hope he becomes whatever he wants to be.

    Howie is lucky. He has so many sets of grandparents that we all had to sort out what we wanted to be called. Terry thought about his name and decided he would honor his father-in-law and be Pop-Pop.

    I write about Mad Max, who doesn't want to be called Grandma or any cute derivitive. I'm like Max. I picked a name that doesn't really mean I'm a grandparent. Oh, no, I won't tell you want it is. I can tell you it is not Mad Max.