Tag Archives: Friends

So Blessed

5 Nov
This photo was taken by my now sister-in-law Nicole.

This photo was taken by my now sister-in-law Nicole.

Wonderful. Absolutely, spectacularly wonderful. On my flight back to New York City, I can’t think of anything I would change about my weekend in Iowa (except for it to have been longer). I saw many of the people that I love all in one place. I spent time in a beautiful place at a gorgeous time of year. And I married the love of my life.

And while a majority of my time was devoted to the wedding, I was able to savor the pace of life back in Webster City. Trick-or-treating with my one-year-old niece, all dressed up in a donkey costume. Having family meals at my childhood home. Cuddling with my anxiety-ridden kitty Suki. Hiking through Briggs Woods and stopping by the local library.

The wedding was beautiful – at a winery near Ames, with decorations to go with the season. The backdrop to the ceremony was perfect with the ever-changing colors of the tree leaves peering through the glass wall of the reception hall as the sun set.

What I take back from this experience is how truly blessed I am. The amount of love and generosity shown to me by everyone we encountered was astounding. Dear family and friends worked tirelessly to make sure that each detail was accounted for. Tiny snags were quickly mended and everything went seamlessly. My wedding party was everything that I could possibly ask for. If I needed anything at any time during the process, each of my attendants were completely willing to perform each and every task. My matron of honor (also sister) made sure that there was nothing I could even think of that needed to happen that hadn’t already took place. And while each one of us live in different areas of the country, we all shared so much laughter and conversations – it was like nothing had changed between my childhood friends. Our families were just … awesome. My parents, dear lord I tear up thinking of what they had done for me. And seeing all of my family and friends – old and new – all in one place … wow. Even though I wish I could stop at each table and have endless conversations with all that attended, just seeing people, some that I haven’t seen in years, was so great.

And last, but definitely not least, my beautiful husband. From the love poem he read at the ceremony to the laughter we shared over cheap take out in our hotel room near the airport last night – I can’t imagine anyone else that I would want to spend my life with. In all the planning, we spent a lot of time apart. But when we put our wedding clothes on – taking pictures and saying our vows, I kept thinking, “Oh yeah, you. I’m here to marry you. And I am so happy at this very moment.”

The last two days have been exhausting, yet I smile at the thought of all that hoopla and excitement that we were able to share with people we deeply care about. Hopefully someday in the near future, we can be closer to quite a few of them and spend more day-to-day time in their presence. But for now, I am just completely happy and so unbelievably blessed.

Friends

9 Sep
One of those people (one of the COOLEST, "said in my best Will Ferrell impression") in my life, who just happens to make it so much better.

One of those people (“the COOLEST,” said in my best Will Ferrell impression) in my life, who just happens to make it so much better.

“Do you notice you get a little less angry when the crowds become almost unbearable?”

“Yes.”

It’s been a year since we moved to NYC, and in that time, a lot has changed. I went from not working to babysitting to bartending to landing a full-time writing gig. Nate and I got engaged. And now we are less than two months away from our wedding.

While it’s easy to gripe about the constant foot traffic and lack of space – it’s also a pretty cool place. When we do have money and are able to partake in what the city offers – it’s at a Shake Shack, coffee shop, or a pub with a cool vibe or theme. And a lot of times it’s with friends.

That’s what makes it livable for me, being around people I thoroughly enjoy. Unfortunately, with work schedules and commuting, it’s not an everyday occurrence that I see these wonderful faces, but when I do, I’m glad we’ve made time for our meetings.

Yesterday was one of those days. Well, it wasn’t exactly a “hang out and relax” time period, it was a day for our engagement photos. In our dress clothes we walked to different parts of Central Park and our good friend, a photographer, took shots of us in various poses by famous points of the park.

It was really cool to be able to take our photos in such an iconic NYC place by someone we both care about, making the experience not such a formal situation. We talked of “Breaking Bad”, upcoming events we’d like to attend, and current events. And while we were all exhausted by the experience, afterwards it didn’t take too much arm twisting to land at our beloved Shake Shack for Shackburgers and Concretes.

I fell asleep on Nate’s shoulder on the train back to Jersey City, but when we got back, I realized I had a missed call from one of my bridesmaids who lives in Colorado. After lots of phone tag in the past week, we finally were able to talk over wedding plans, our lives, funny stories – she’s one of those people that no matter how much time goes in between seeing each other, we pick up right where we left off. After more than an hour, we said our good-byes, and I couldn’t wait for my wedding just to spend some time in her presence laughing about whatever nonsense I’m sure will happen.

Sometimes I get so down on the fact that my family is miles away in Iowa, and I forget all the friends I have right here or only a phone call away. People that have the same humor or tastes, have had shared experiences, and even people from the same small town I came from.

This place can be absolutely lonely, and many people are unable to stay here for a long period because they can’t make personal connections and thrive. Yesterday was a good reminder of what I do have and what I can easily take for granted.

 

Laura Ingalls Wilder Would Have Loved Sephora

8 Aug

007725Just like me. I finished On The Banks Of Plum Creek and thought, “Man, we are so alike.” Really, truly, I thought me and Laura Ingalls Wilder would have been BFFs. For sure. I always wanted to live like a little hobbit in a mound of dirt house and she did. And when she survived The Long Winter, I was right with her. Man, I hate it when you can’t walk outside to the store and get your frozen pizza fix on because of the minor problem of a blizzard. Or when the electricity goes off because of high winds. You can’t watch Step By Step on TGIF, WTF!!! She just got me. Reading on my bed, eating my Little Debbie Oatmeal Pies, I tore through historical novels and always came up with the same conclusion: We would have gotten along. The Secret Garden, no prob. Mary was me, just back then. Heidi, yeah, samesies. Anne of Green Gables, wasn’t that my biography?

I got along well with my posse of literary girlfriends. And I was pretty sure they felt the same way. My plot line of middle class girl living in small town America was pretty unique. I had a diary filled with mystical thoughts and deep observations, and my top ten boys’ list was pure poetry.

So I imagined days with my friends shopping at the Dollar General for sugar sticks that you dip in flavored sugar. Riding bicycles to the pool in the summer and ending the afternoon with shaved ice at the Tropical Sno. Besties for ever, Laura and I.

It wasn’t until I watched Back To The Future III that I realized we weren’t exactly, uh, on the same page. I had romanticized the idea of living in more primitive times that I forgot their water was pretty gross. Lady Speed Stick wasn’t in high demand. And that whole leg shaving thing, what gives? There was a good year when I just imagined switching lives with these characters and being completely grossed out. Weekly baths. The whole women’s reproductive cycle problems thingy (I always just compiled that into one word: Yuck.) Teeth. That was a big part of my squeamishness. We had a pioneer day in fourth grade. It was fun eating out of a pail for one day. It was enjoyable trying a dandelion on a cracker for one day. Bonnets worked, again, for one day. (ONE DAY is the key here.) But then I wanted to go back into my house with no cracks or bugs crawling about and curl up with a game of Mario Paint on the Super NES. I sucked at cross-stitching, I’d be no good during that time period. I’d stick out sorely, watching people, judging them. It just wouldn’t work.

My dreams of meeting my different century friends were squashed. Thanks Michael J. Fox for jump starting that reality. Now, anytime I read Jane Austen or Charlotte Bronte, I get lost for a moment and then jolt back to shuddering thoughts of bloodletting and major B.O. Yeah, I don’t even seem to care about the lack of women’s rights at that time, much more concerned with the lack of clothes changing.

Still, I always try to bring a character to my realm, very Lost In Austen. Elizabeth Bennett would love a good bargain at Century 21. Laura Ingalls Wilder would just love the lipstick options at Sephora. Never mind vaccinations or central air or the right to vote, but I just know Little Women‘s Jo would have enjoyed Tampax tampons. She just would.

Friends?!?

11 Jun

friends-fingers

I don’t have any friends. Okay, huge lie there. What I meant to say is, I miss having close relationships with people in the same vicinity as me. Being able to go get coffee or call them up to go watch a horrible movie with – that’s what I miss.

Not to say that I have always had those kinds of relationships, but I have at certain times in my life – and it was AMAZING.

I’m not a huge “I need a lot of girlfriends” to make my world-go-round kind of person. I never wanted to join a sorority, never liked calling and talking to that one bff everyday, and never was the girl who organized huge group plans. A lot of the time with invites to large friend situations, I’d be all like “um, I may have other plans?” Those plans always included Gilmore Girls, books, loads of snacks, and sometimes a cute cat friend. When I did show up for that concert, party, or big dinner – I could always expect to hear, “Hey, look who decided to show up!”

But I have always liked having a few very close friends that I can confide in, laugh with, and just be myself around. Perhaps it’s because I’ve only had a handful of girlfriends in my life who have truly been able to “get” me and my brand of humor. But for now, those people live in different places across the country. Oh, I get brief visits with a couple of them from time to time, and we talk on the phone occasionally – but it’s not the same. Hopefully in the future, I will be able to reconnect with one or all of those gals, who I can share a tub of popcorn with at the theater.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not completely lonely in this city. My fiance and I go almost everywhere together. We travel on the weekends, explore new neighborhoods, and try whatever is on tap at the local pubs. And I love him dearly, but man, sometimes I need other friends.

And again, I do have some here, great ones, in fact. But our schedules never seem to mesh very well. When we see each other, it’s fantastic; but if one of my friends lives two miles away from me in Iowa, it takes just a few minutes to be in the same place. Here, not so much. So with work, events – it’s not always possible.

I know that my age also has something to do with it. Many of my friends have started families, have full-time careers, and getting together with others isn’t always a priority. And the fact that I’m not exactly a go-getter when it comes to making friends, yeah, that’s a big factor.

So what I’m saying is, hopefully, someday in the near future, I’ll be close enough to girlfriends again, and margarita night can be more often than a blue moon.

Want to go back to there

23 Jan
I don't exactly know what we were doing here. Most likely about to cruise the loop with horrible music in tow.

I don’t exactly know what we were doing here. Most likely about to cruise the loop with horrible music in tow.

I am in the middle of writing a manuscript of sorts for young adults. My dream has always been to write within that genre, as I seem to have never left it. The middle and high school eras are deeply ingrained in my psyche, and one song or joke will bring me back. While I’m in the throes of such a task, I use Spotify to trigger my teenage emotional content. It works. Between songs danced awkwardly at homecoming to the angsty songs of Taylor Swift, all I want to do is break my curfew and steal a Bartles & James to share with my girlfriends at the park. I was such a daring teen.

But I especially like to relive the moments spent with my girl cousins. I come from a rather large family and there are around seven girls within the same age group. We’d partake in sleepovers, birthday parties, and arguments – most likely over who had the better Barbie clothing collection. Many of us even participated in a human flag that we performed at various parade routes in Iowa during a year’s time. What I really took away from my experiences living in a close extended family was the comfort. I always looked forward to events and times with my cousins and aunts. Sleepovers were never awkward, while slumber parties with friends sometimes caused unneeded anxiety.

While in high school, a beloved pastime was ‘cruising the loop’ around town. Late at night, teenagers would blare their music from the opened windows of their dingy cars for four blocks, and when the distance was completed, repeat. What my sister Emily, cousins Jennifer and Elizabeth, and I liked to do was make a mockery of the tradition. We bought awful (and I mean awful) CDs to complete the task. Our favorites were polka and the worst of 80’s hairbands. Sometimes we even broke out our Jock Jams CDs. We’d pump the bass out of my grey ’91 Corsica and rock out. People sitting outside downtown would give us dirty looks as we ‘gangsterly’ bobbed our heads to the music. When the polka rocked out, we just stared blankly back – like, what else would we do?

Now, it’s easy to get in the habit of being an adult and acting, oh I don’t know, all adult-ish. It sucks. Perhaps this trip back to the land of nostalgia is good not only for my writing but for myself. To learn that acting silly and not taking life so seriously is pretty okay.

I want to go back to there – Tina Fey

Facebook overload

17 Jan

facebook

After a dry spell of activities or out of pure boredom, you may likely find me perusing the pages of Facebook. After my personal page is fixed up to my liking, I will probably be looking at the status-littered wall. What is that friend doing today? How about aunt so-and-so? The problem with this is I get addicted easily to the system. If I am not careful, I could spend 30 minutes to an hour catching up on the lives of my Facebook peers. It wouldn’t be a problem if these were all super close friends that would tell me what is going on with their lives regardless. But when many of these people are past friends from high school or college that I said goodbye to years ago, it’s like a class reunion every day. Not only can it get creepy, it gets worse when you link on to friends’ friends’ pages. Just because you can. An acquaintance of a friend could have excellent pictures from their trip around the world, and here I am taking a glimpse at their online life. It’s absolutely ridiculous and I am quite guilty of it. (When anyone admits to being a Facebook stalker, I always pretend that I am barely on the social media site. I lie.)

Facebook came out when I was in college, and that was when it was slowly making it to well-known universities across the country. When it finally hit the University of Northern Iowa, my dorm went gangbusters over the phenomenon. I refused to sign up and threw my “I’m too good for it” attitude into the ring (who are we kidding?). When I finally went with the crowd on this one, I was hooked … fast. I remember adding people from UNI that I had ran across on campus briefly but had never said a word to. One was this cute guy who was on the cross-country team. I remember encountering him when he came into the President’s Office, where I worked. Anyways, he added me, and I was curious. So I studied his page, his likes, his interests, and so on. One night, months later, I was at the O.P. bar with some girlfriends. He approached me and said that he had noticed me from across the room and wanted to know my name and if he could buy me a drink. After I told him my name, he was about to tell me his. Well, I had already had a few drinks and was feeling quite confident. So instead, I told him his name and what his interests were and what I had memorized from his page. After it dawned on him that I was a super creepy person, he said, “You’re weird” and left. I can say that we were no longer Facebook friends soon after the incident.

Over the years I have added and deleted so many people. Many because I don’t know them and others because they were being annoying. Yet, the addiction has continued. I have had a good friend delete her Facebook for the same problems I have had, and she hasn’t regretted doing so. Sometimes I think of doing the same or at least dwindling my friend count to just my family members, but something always keeps me from doing so.

Facebook has been a great hinderance as well as a fascination for me. When Hurricane Sandy came through my area, my mom was able to keep the rest of my family updated on my safety. I have been able to post pictures of my ongoings in NYC, and keep up with others of importance in my life. And all those cat videos – can’t stop watching. Yet, that creepy portion still exists, and while I could easily do something about it – I choose not to.

So, Facebook, what I must say to you in Brokeback Mountain-style is this: I can’t quit you.

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