Blog, Death, friends

When New Friends Pass Away

Day 260

It was a full day here, running errands, cooking and playing with the grandkids. It was all in all a nice day. These simple days which may seem unremarkable on the surface are actually the best days we will often experience.

Tonight I took a second to browse through FaceBook. I was shocked to read a fairly recent friend of mine had passed away, seemingly very suddenly. It has hit me hard which may seem strange to some considering the short length of our friendship.

He was evidently a very loved and highly regarded man. People have known him their entire life and are just devastated by his passing. Our friendship is just a fleeting moment in what was evidently a life very well lived.

This man was a country guy. Easy going, loved to talk and always had a kind word for everyone. He taught me how to cut cabochons out of slabs of rock — something I always wanted to learn to do. I was only one of the hundreds of students he had over the years. I never saw him when he was not smiling. I will miss him.

I learned shortly after we met that he was a preacher at a small church nearby. I was not surprised. He was that kind of guy. One who lived each day in goodness. The kind of preacher we all wish we had.

It’s funny how people we have known for a relatively short period of time can touch us more than people we have known our entire life. These kinds of friendships go unnoticed because they are so seemingly insignificant. But they are not.

I have come to know my fellow bloggers here and care about the things you share. I wanted you to know that. We may be but a blip on the radar of each other’s lives, but one that I consider dear to me.

Godspeed, Robert. You will be missed.

art, Blog, friends

My Eclectic Weekend Capsule

Day 252

The weekend has slipped by rather quickly which has me sitting back and remembering all that has transpired over the last couple of days. It’s funny how our days can be so full, but how easy it can be to forget it all so quickly! Maybe that’s my age, I’m not sure.

Yesterday we drove up to Burnsville, NC for the Toe River Art Council artist studio tours. It was a nice day and the drive further into the mountains gave us a nice break from the heat. We always talk about how perhaps we made a mistake not moving a little further north — that is until I remember how much worse the winters can be in the mountains.

The studio tours encompassed the towns of Burnsville, Celo, Penland, Spruce Pine, and Bakersville — all in North Carolina. We started by having lunch at a local deli/antique store where I snapped a few photos of signs about life in the mountains. It was a cute little hole-in-the-wall place to have lunch. We then visited about 15 different artists in their studios. Everything from metalwork to jewelry to painting to woodturning to glass to clay and on to mixed media. It was inspiring and the countryside was just beautiful. I discovered a few pieces I would love to own, but alas, the affordable pieces were already sold and the others were well beyond my available budget for such things.

On the way home, we stopped by the farmer’s market and picked up fresh tomatoes. We came home late, enjoyed a glass of wine and decided on tomato sandwiches for dinner. I am so fortunate to be married to a man who can just roll with the punches. I would have been a disappointment for anyone who expected 3 meals on the table every day of the week from me. Thankfully, we are both amenable to relaxed dining and spur of the moment changes.

This morning was an enjoyable morning of coffee and bagels and just enjoying the birds. A few days ago, I constructed a place for the bees and butterflies to drink. It consists of a little pie-pan (mine was made of aluminum foil) with marbles halfway filled with water. The marbles give the bees and the butterflies a place to land and drink. Of course, the squirrels and the chipmunks found delight in drinking there as well. Sometime Saturday evening, a raccoon drug it off. We found it the next morning, with tooth marks in the side and marbles spilled out all over the ground. Hubby picked it up and put it on the patio table. This afternoon we found a squirrel taking the marbles out, one-by-one and licking them. There was no water left, so I’m not sure what the little guy was getting off the marbles.

We received word that my daughter-in-law was coming home from the hospital today. After 11 days in the hospital, she had some major improvement over the weekend and they released her. We were all feeling so thankful. It has been a hard road for her. After 11 days of testing, still no answers, but all the tests have not yet come back. Thanks to all those who held good thoughts and those who extended prayer for her. I appreciate it so much.

Our Grand-Dog Lucy

We have a new “grand-dog”. We drove down to our daughter’s today and met her for the first time. She is a tiny little Boykin Spaniel and as cute as can be. The older dog does not know what to do with this little fur ball and so far is steering clear of her. It’s so funny to watch.

Hubby fixed a wonderful grilled salmon and we had sliced fresh tomatoes and a pasta salad. It is one of our favorite meals. We top the salmon with a honey chipotle seasoning that we purchased in Salem, MA a number of years ago. It is a perfect combination of heat and sweet which is lovely on the salmon. We have ordered it continuously since we first purchased it in Salem.

My evening ended with an online chat with two of my dearest friends. It’s our Sunday routine which is always a pleasant way to close out the weekend before the start of a new day.

It has been a truly lovely weekend. I hope yours was as well.

 

blessings, Blog, friends, gardening

Reflecting on Life, Death and the Gift of Blogging

Day 240

I stayed up too late last night and found myself sleeping in this morning. Days like this make me so thankful to be retired. I walked outside to look at the progress in the garden before it gets too hot. We have so many small tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers that I hope will survive the insects and the summer heat.

I plucked a single ripe strawberry off the vine and bit into it. It was warm and so flavorful. Luscious! Normally birds would be darting in and out of the feeders, but while our family was here last week, a black bear decided to dine at the bird feeders. The result was a completely destroyed pole and three smashed feeders – our very favorite feeders of course.

Such is life here. We normally put the feeders out around 8:00 a.m. and bring them in around 7:00 p.m. before it gets dark. When bears look for food, they do not worry much about time of day so we are constantly on the watch. We still have a few feeders in the back but it will be a while before we sink money into replacing the expensive feeders.

We have seen a few king snakes and rat snakes around. We leave them alone because they eat the mice and some of the venomous snakes. They can be quite startling if you are not fond of snakes.

Last night my dear friend had to have her golden retriever put to sleep. I am heartbroken for her. Her dogs have been her beloved and close companions, loved and cared for as all animals deserve to be.

Being surrounded by the ever present reminders of life and death, I found myself reflecting on blogging. I had private blogs back when I was active on LiveJournal. This was a sacred place closed to all but a few close friends and one of my sisters. We shared a lot there. Now that my sister has passed, I keep my LiveJournal account so I can go back and revisit the things she wrote.

After that journey, I started a WordPress blog back in 2010 on the heels of a dear friend’s death. My first post was entitled ‘In Search of Signs of Life’. Funny how threads resurface in our lives. It was a place where I could process my feelings and thoughts around life and death. I wrote a good bit there as my sisters fought their battles with cancer. I have not written there in a long time although the blog is still up.

I started this blog 240 days ago as part of a goal of blogging every day. I think I have found myself over this course time. I am able to reflect without being absorbed. I can be empathetic without becoming depressed. I see and acknowledge what is not healthy for me and move on. I am constantly seeking to expand my experiences and knowledge and I have found blogging an excellent way to do so.

This morning I was honored when a fellow blogger (dare I say friend?) Pete recommended my blog to his followers. I was honored to think he found something of substance in what I share here. Thank you again, Pete.

I appreciate all who take the time to come by and read my blog. It means a lot. Blogging has certainly enriched my life and I have learned so much about us as people. We are much more alike than we sometimes realize. And as people, we need each other. Bridging cultural differences and discovering commonality is a gift. One that I will treasure for a lifetime.

Blog, friends

Retro Time Machine – Home Shopping Parties

Day 228

Before Amazon, we gathered in other people’s home for ‘parties’ where you could be lured into buying a product that you may or may not need or want.

The hostess was often rewarded with points toward a purchase, or with a free gift from the catalogue — both contingent on the sales from the party. I was never a good hostess. I was not crazy about trying to sell anything, and getting your close friends to attend and buy was always a slippery slope. At the end of the party, the hook was to try and get one of your friends to host a party of their own. Gotta get those sales numbers up!

All the parties I ever attended were all women which most likely equaled a night off from whatever was in their normal routine. Of course your friends were always encouraged to invite another friend — the more the merrier. I was never fond of having people I did not know well milling around my house.

The only party I ever really hosted was a Tupperware party. This was in 2000 when Tupperware was introducing their microwave blue and white steamer (which I recently donated to a thrift store). The Tupperware Lady demo’d the steamer in my microwave. I am not sure it was a big hit. Unfortunately, the sales tactics at this party were high pressure and a friend of a friend became very vocal about refusing to purchase anything. I was so glad when it was over. Eventually the products came in and were left to me to sort and deliver to the attendees.

I feel about hosting home parties the same as I do about yard sales — Never Again. I did go as a guest to quite a few though.

Sarah Coventry – Sarah Coventry sold jewelry through catalogue sales and home parties. They had a broad range of jewelry to choose from, but most of what I had was limited by my budget, so they were small. I had a stick pin with a heart on it, a couple of scarf clips, a pendant watch, and a slider necklace. Remember those? There is a collectors book with photos of all their jewelry you can purchase if you are a collector.

PartyLite Candles – I only went to a couple of these parties, but I loved them. I bought a set of three goblet-shaped tea light holders, a glass centerpiece (which I never used) and a beautiful spring loaded candlestick holder. Their candles burned clean and I used those candlesticks for years. Now I only use LED candles.

Avon – I never sold Avon, but I went to a number of parties. I think Avon was originally door-to-door, but I went to several parties throughout the years. My sister was a huge collector. She had a lot of perfume bottles and some red Cape Cod glass and some white hobnail glass. I was more interested in their jewelry. I had several rings and a little cuckoo clock pin. I never cared for their cosmetics.

Mary Kay – Mary Kay was a big deal where I lived around the mid 70’s. Again, not a salesman at all, but I went to a number of parties. There were often tables lined with mirrors for each attendee to use. You could experiment with their makeup which I remember liking at the time. I also remember a few parties where the sales person was upset because the wine poured a little too freely. My friend got the highly-prized pink Cadillac for a month because she sold so much!

Bra Fitting Parties – These were a hoot, designed to show every woman she was wearing the wrong sized bra. I remember the bras being very industrial looking and very pricey.

Lingerie Parties – This was a big thing in the early 80’s. Always held in someone’s home, racks of lingerie you could try on in the privacy of your friend’s home. I only went to one and found the idea of trying on lingerie that other people also tried on a little disturbing.

There were others…

The three I never got interested in were Longaberger Baskets, Amway, and Princess House. My older sister loved Princess House. She had many pieces of their glassware and home decor, but nothing that ever intrigued me. The same with the baskets. They were so expensive, I just do not know how people could justify the expense. I was ever suspicious of the Amway pyramid scheme so I never got sucked into that one.

Today some home parties still exist, but I am nor sure it is as prevalent as it once was. My granddaughter had a Jamberry birthday party where all the attendees got their nails done free. Not your normal party because her parents paid for all the kids and nothing was sold. (Jamberry sells vinyl heat-activated nail wraps to decorate your nails.)

That’s the end of your time-travel journey today. I hope you enjoyed the ride. Before you go, have you had home parties or been a sales consultant? Anything recent?

Blog, friends

Friendship

Day 196

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Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

This is such a busy and chaotic world sometimes. We are like a mythological beast with hundreds of tentacles needing to be fed. Each one requires something different of us. In each of us, however, there comes a time when we no longer have the energy to feed the beast and all we need is a minute to breathe — a minute to be heard.

Friendship is the balm we need to ease the distractions of life. A shoulder to lean on or someone to laugh with. We get so busy it is easy to take those relationships for granted.

So many of my friends throughout my life were ‘work friends’ which means that often when the work ends, so does the friendship. The same story goes for friends who are dependent on a circumstance or a place to fuel those flames and keep the friendship alive. Relocation can kill friendships because it isn’t easy any longer.

I have many friends that have withstood the test of time and distance and change. Others did not fare so well. I have come to chalk it up to people evolving at different speeds with different needs. No harm, no foul.

It is important to find your tribe. Those people who are there for you. The ones who call to check up on you. The ones who just seem to be there when you need them.

Old friends are important — they are your past and every phase of you. But as I age, I have come to realize that new friends can be just as important. They are the promise of tomorrow and the supporter of your dreams.

What is most important, regardless of whether the friendship is old or new, is to be there. Reciprocate, love, and support one another. One-sided friendships will not stand the test of time.

I am thankful today for friendships old and new. And I will always strive to be a better friend than I have ever been.