Ah… Peace and Quiet

Both of my birdies have flown the coop, and some people have asked me if I am sorry my nest is now empty. I can say with all truthfulness that, no, I rather like being one of two mature adults in a large four-bedroom home. We keep it tidy, and have the bonus of having sex right out in the open whenever we want.

Ah, but that was not to last for long.

Ms. MiniD came home from the Left Coast on Sunday. I don’t know why. She hates it here, and has alienated most of her high school friends with her high jinx regarding her ex-boy du jour. (That’s because her best friend is now with ex-BDJ. It appears the two were commiserating during my daughter’s dumpage of the boyfriend, and ended up together. I say, bully for you! And yes, my daughter is mad at me too, for thinking that.) She has a Left Coast boyfriend, but his mother doesn’t like her. I’m thinking the shelf life on that relationship is coming due soon.

I wanted to make something nice for dinner Sunday, something benign that everyone likes, so I chose a half of pork loin. It’s the new white meat, and I can make gravy, which all Demonics love. (Except for me. That’s because I’m Asian, and they are Bohemian. Bohunks lurve the gravy. They crave it. They bitch when they can’t have any. Me, I can take it or leave it.) I made some of my fresh Brussels sprouts newly picked from the garden and sauteed them with garlic. It was a dish meant for royalty.

Ms. MiniD turned up her nose and said, “I don’t eat pork anymore.” When that happened, I don’t know. She did inform me that she now consumes guacamole. I pointed her to the avocados and told her to have at it. She left with her friend before dinner was ready, and didn’t come back until after I went to sleep.

The next day, Ms. MiniD slept in until noon. She left sometime in the afternoon with her friend, and returned later that night. My husband, the dear Mr. Demonic, could not sleep that night, so he woke up at 2 a.m. to go to the office. (If you saw his office, you would know that he needs many, many 2 a.m. wake up calls to clean up that disaster.) He informed me when he returned at a more decent hour of the morning that Ms. MiniD had male company, and “who was that guy?”

If you know me, you know that I am clueless, particularly when it comes to Ms. MiniD. The other child tells me everything, and this one lies like a rug. Mr. D said the two were awake but under a furry throw, implying that some adolescent hanky was being pankied. I said, “Didn’t you ask her who it was? Didn’t you ask what they were doing?” To which, he replied, “NO!” Mr. D plays the Denial Game to its fullest potential.

Ms. MiniD and her friend have been after my husband to take them snowboarding at the condo. My husband doesn’t snowboard (or ski, or snowmobile) but Ms. MiniD is Daddy’s Little Girl. (Yes, even though she is over 18.) And of course, you know me. I despise our Tundra winter with a passion that could illuminate several Christmas trees, and don’t like to go outside at all until the crocuses pop up.

The upside to all this is that Mr. D, Ms. MiniD, and her friend are now 200 miles away. Last night, I was able to work on my novel for five, uninterrupted, peaceful, gloriously quiet hours. Well, except for Grace the dog snoring at my feet.

The Demonics will be gone until Friday. I’d better take advantage of the peace and quiet and work quickly.

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Friends, and Other Things

This lovely man wrote a blog post about friends, and that really started the conversation going as to what is a friend (versus acquaintance), what makes a friend, the needs of friends, and when do you know it’s over. The post and the ensuing comment thread got me thinking about friendship all weekend.

I started thinking back to the people of my past. I’m ashamed to say that I have treated some people very badly. Perhaps being a bad friend is part of being in your teens and twenties. And then we get to the neglectful thirties and forties, when our own personal bubble means so much more than our friends. Finally, you get to an age of “maturity” – if you want to call it that – where you rehash the major and minor points in your life and start making all of those wrong things right.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but this is what happened in my case. I make no apologies for my previous bad behavior. “Sorry” often doesn’t cut it anyway. Somewhere around my 50th birthday (a day that will live in infamy, a day I’d rather forget), I decided to revisit parts of my past. I told people how much they meant to me at the time I knew them best. I reconnected with high school friends I’d long lost touch with.

Another thing happened around the same time: I decided I would start making some new friends and treating them like the precious jewels they are. One reason was watching my own family. My father, who is 75, bemoans the fact that all of his “friends” are dying. This sounds suspiciously like his own mother when she was the same age. While technically correct in the fact that my father’s peers are slowly dying off, it’s also true that he could actually make some new friends if he chose to do so. My younger sister, who has stayed in the same general area where we grew up, on the other hand has so many friends I am not sure she can keep them straight. They are of all ages, all colors, and all types. I know from experience that my sister is an amazingly giving woman, sensible and spiritual. I saw through her interactions that she draws the same kind of people to herself. I’m a firm believer that you reap what you sow.

And so began my quest for becoming a good friend. In the past couple of years, partially due to the Internet, I’ve made more good friends than I did the previous twenty years.

I liken myself to a seed that’s been asleep. During the years that I was busy raising children (and believe me, if you knew my son back in the day, none of us were sure he’d make it out of high school, much less get into college, so I was busy), many things stood still. Creativity. Inner exploration. Friends. There are only so many hours in a day, and my immediate family came first. Perhaps that’s not the ideal way to live one’s life, but it was something I had to do. As soon as I was reasonably certain that they were “fine”, I threw some fertilizer and water on the seed.

The best thing about expending energy and time on other human beings is that it lessens the grief in your own world. All of a sudden, the world opens up. It becomes larger, prettier, more colorful. Instead of you and your own four walls, there are others with their stories and their experience. The bonus is finding people who have lived a parallel life to yours. You share your stories, realize they are astounding in their similarity to your own life, you laugh, compare notes. You feel like you’re not a weirdo, not an oddball, not dysfunctional or deranged, but rather part of the human race.

I have friends with whom I disagree on a regular basis. My own Dear Mr. Demonic is among those. I love him, but we don’t have matching psyches. Opposites attract. I need people like this around me to keep me grounded. I need them to present the other side and to insist on showing me even if I don’t want to see. Everyone is entitled to have an opinion, even if it isn’t mine.

As for those who will never be my friend, you know who you are. You’re shallow; you’re narrow-minded; you’re petty; you’re mean spirited; you’re dishonest. While my entire focus is to be “a good friend” to all who are my friends, that doesn’t mean I’m going to be a door mat. I don’t relish being stabbed in the back, and I don’t think anyone does.

I know what it’s like to be a bad friend, and I vow not to walk that path again.

If you are my friend, I’ll be here for you. As long as I can help you, I will.

Living in a Glass House

I’m usually pretty open about myself. On other online forums, I use my own real name. Now my thought is that eventually I’d like to be considered seriously for my writing, thus the use of my real name. Some people might think that is a pretty foolhardy move. There are some online who are a little off kilter, just plain weird or downright dangerous.

I started using my own real name for a couple of reasons. One, I was naive. I thought everyone did it. Two, I am very bland. You could say really boring and saccharine to the Nth degree. I can’t really think of a cutesy moniker. I even have the same email address for many different service providers, you know, *.msn, *.aol, *.yahoo, *.gmail, *.hotmail, etc. I have certain things go to certain email; for example, I use the MSN address when I buy things online. I shouldn’t say this, but I use the same two or three passwords for all the email. This is because I can’t remember diddley in my old age.

I know of people who don’t do that, for whatever reasons. Mostly, they don’t want to be bothered, and I can appreciate that. Also, if an online persona has young children, I believe that one should be careful about posting their names, ages and photographs. I understand completely that there plenty of whackjobs out there.

On the other hand, I am “out there” as myself. My children are adults (well, one is, and one is almost an adult, in two months and seven days, as she keeps telling me ad nauseaum) and I’m an adult. Last I looked, my husband is an adult. My real name is rather unique. In fact, every person on the planet with my surname has an ancestor that came from the same small village in eastern Europe, so we’re all related by blood or marriage. I figure, might as well be out there and keep my “enemies” where I can see them.

Do I have enemies? Well, I’m not sure, but I’m not naive enough to think that the Internet is one happy bubble of pleasantness and joy. I’m sure there are some who have Googled my name and found a treasure trove of information which could be used to smite me. It happened to my husband. On the other hand, I have had long-lost friends find me online, and that alone has been satisfying to have my information in a public forum where they could contact me.

I’ve been extremely lucky and greatly blessed by the people I’ve met as a result of my online world. I love all of them. As I have told MIB, the Internet is the new neighborhood. This is how we meet people with similar interests and passions. This doesn’t mean that we’re here to hook up or do something weird. This is the Brave New World.

I was just thinking about this because I called an online friend today who is not feeling very well. In our conversation, I asked him if he would be interested in meeting me or the rest of the motley crew that we’ve known in the last year. He said no. I can understand the hesitation.

The other reason I thought of this today is because of my house. My husband, who was feeling a bit randy today, gave me a grope in the kitchen and asked “quickie?” but then remembered he had a guy coming over at 7:30 to give us an estimate on repairing the old rotting wood in our sun room. We don’t have sex in the lower level of our house, because it’s all windows and no window coverings. Talk about a glass house.

That’s why God made offices and office sex.

But I digress… my point is, I’d rather have it all shook out in public online than a quickie in our “glass” house.

Strange Recurring Dreams

Last night, I had a dream, and it’s one that I’ve had several times over the last thirty-five years or so.

The background: Back when I was in junior high and high school, my best friend was a boy. The background on that was we were thrown together in school when I was asked by our English teacher to tutor him in spelling. I had completely tested out of the high school ACT spelling modules that were so popular in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and this kid was a terrible speller. That’s how it started. All during high school, we were very close friends, commiserating on each other’s families and various significant others. I taught him how to play guitar. Both of us were interested in Eastern philosophy. Our friendship went beyond that of mere acquaintances. (Not in a physical sense, I somehow couldn’t see him in that way.) I felt as though I’d known him all my life, and in previous lives as well.

After high school, we went our separate ways in separate lives but managed to keep in touch another ten years. After he had graduated from college, he ceased writing to me. This was done in a rather pointed manner. He was in a relationship with a woman, and at that point, she began writing to me. He relayed to her that he felt I had an irrational crush on him (which didn’t make any sense to me, since I was married a second time when he said this), and so didn’t want to speak to me again. Also, he wanted to erase any traces of his life where he grew up. (He’s never returned to our town and will not correspond with others we graduated with.)

I didn’t mind. This woman became a good friend and even later, after she and my best-high-school friend broke up, we still write to each other, even to this day. Neither one of us has any current connection to my high school friend. By Googling his name, I know that he’s doing well as a professor in a southwestern college, but will not attempt to contact him.

What is strange is that every so often, I will have a dream about my friend. This is odd, since I rarely think about him at all, especially as time goes by. Then, out of the blue, I will dream of speaking to him. This is all the dreams consist of – regular conversations with my friend and nothing more.

Last night, we were on a train in the dream. I was sitting with a woman I didn’t know. The train stopped to take on more passengers. He boarded the train from behind us and started walking up the aisle. He got to our row and turned around. Then he bent on one knee and looked at me, and then at the woman. Quite plainly he said to me, “This is my wife and I love her very much.” Then they both got up and walked to another part of the train.

In other dreams, there is no talking. One time, I dreamt he walked up to me, touched me on the shoulder and smiled. The dreams are so vivid, I can even smell the surroundings. They are so real, I wake up and think that these things really happened, until I look around and realize I’m still in bed.

Every time I awaken from dreaming of him, I feel a weird tightness in my stomach for a couple of hours.

Since it’s been thirty-five years of this, I don’t think I will stop dreaming of him.

I’ve Followed My Internet Boyfriend Here

I’m deliriously and happily married, and yet, I have an internet boyfriend. How, you might ask? Why? Aren’t you satisfied with the home fires? Are you looking around for something better, something different? Something else?

Nothing could be further from the truth. Like I said, I am very happily married. Witness the fact that my husband and I are having office sex on a very regular basis. And I am  in the throes of menopause, too! Oh, I had about two months of hot flashes and a month of depression, went to the doctor, and she prescribed some mother’s helpers and urged me to start using Estroven. After a couple of weeks, I was back to normal in both body and mind. In fact, I was better than normal. I’m not one who likes to take drugs, but in this case I would highly recommend it.

Back to the internet boyfriend: I happened upon him purely by accident. It was another place (online) and another time (last year). I had read his posts and found that he was weirdly humorous. I say “weirdly” because my sense of humor is definitely left of center. This person touched my funny bone in a way that is indescribable. When I read something he writes, I usually have a resulting laugh that originates deep inside my stomach and bursts out like a volcano.

Meanwhile, my interest in this person was that of “Oh, nice,” and at the time, I wasn’t looking to make new friends. Actually, I’d been out of the friend-making business for some time. The last time I tried to make a male friend online ended disastrously. He, too, was very funny in a biting yet witty way. He was a major talk personality on local radio. The reason it ended disastrously was multi-leveled. For one thing, he was too close in proximity. Yes, I met him. I shouldn’t have, but I was flattered that he wanted to meet me. However, after the second meeting, I sensed what he really wanted and it wasn’t friendship. It was difficult to extricate myself, but I finally did. So, as you see, I was in no hurry to make another male friend again.

Several months later, my internet boyfriend and I were playing a game on this other site. Okay, it wasn’t a real game, but it was one which he devised and I followed along. This was a fun diversion over the course of a weekend.

I can’t remember when, but shortly thereafter, I would leave more intimate comments on his posts. “Hi, I’m stalking you.” turned into “I adore you!” “I love you!” “I worship the ground you walk on!” Now, at the time, I didn’t know this person well enough to make such proclamations, but they seemed in sync with the game we were playing. So, my persona on that site developed that I had a crush on this guy. Other women there had snagged their personal “boyfriends” so I thought I would grab this one before anyone else could claim him.

Back in March, a bunch of us from the other site decided to hunker down (online) and discuss our future with regard to posting and having fun. At this time, we exchanged email addresses, and more personal mail. Only then, did I realize what a really nice fellow this man was. And I am proud to call him my internet boyfriend.

My boyfriend is also happily married and he has children, just like me. We share a wide variety of discussions, most of which I couldn’t have with my husband. (That’s okay, my husband thinks my mind is severely twisted. I think he appreciates the fact that I don’t burden our home conversations with my wackiness.) The best part of the relationship likes in the fact that MIB (my internet boyfriend) or MIL (my internet love) lives in another country. The likelihood of us ever crossing paths on a physical tangent is that of an ice cube lasting more than a moment in Hell.

MIB told me about WordPress. I’d been following him around here for a couple of months, and so voila! Now I’m here, with him and others.