Who Are Your “Friends,” I Wonder?

I probably mean who are MY friends. I’m not talking about my inner circle of friends and family, which is a small number, like with most people. I mean the larger group of folks I care about, respect, and am interested in hearing from.

Obviously I’m weird. Who coordinates their accessories this much? Also I was hot.

Thanks to my career on the internet, I know and have gotten pretty close to lots of people from a wide range of backgrounds. We all have something in common that ties us together, but we’re all different, too. I honestly like that, even though I also like being around my “tribe” as well, which is very human.

Most of the people I know are great about respecting the rights of others to express themselves, even when they are TOTALLY WRONG (i.e., on the other side of an issue). A few aren’t. I’m okay with that, unless I get accused of thinking or believing something I don’t think or believe.

I got my feelings hurt pretty badly when I shared the recent news article about people who,as a group, aren’t big on following rules sinking their compatriots’ boats by going too fast in a parade. I thought it was a funny example of logical consequences. (I am having trouble linking to an article, so just Google “Lake Travis boat parade” and it will come up.

Someone took offense to my posting it, even though I didn’t comment, and said: “Pretty sad that you take pleasure in this. I’ll bet you wish some of these people had drowned.”

Wow. That’s the kind of thing that hurts a lot. Did they really believe that? Knowing I’m a pacifist, nonviolent, Buddhist-leaning tree-hugger?

Poor stereotypical me in my stereotypical shirt.

So yeah, I said that was mean. But I didn’t delete this person’s comments, since they have a right to insult me and lump me into some hypothetical evil group of people. On the other hand, I didn’t delete any subsequent comments, some of which agreed and some that didn’t. Everyone gets a say.

Im not surprised someone treated me like that. I’m learning that people who speak out, in today’s climate, will get bashed. Others have it lots worse, so I’m grateful for the kindness of people I know. Maybe that’s what matters more to me than beliefs, kindness.

I just hope the bashers (ha ha autocorrect hat it as badgers) stick to words! Dialog or one-sided rants are fine. But I’m against hurting others or their businesses because you disagree on things. I want to hear all sides, even when it’s hard. But I’m not super. I have to deal with my own knee-jerk reactions. Don’t we all?

What I Discovered

After all this, I checked my Facebook friends list. I was relieved to see quite a few people I care about who disagree politically or socially. This is GOOD. I don’t want to isolate myself in my comfort zone!

I want to share what I wrote on Facebook, mainly as a record for myself, but also to try to say how much I care for all my friends and family. Please don’t think I’m a horrible stereotype!


My Post. It’s Long.

I just culled my friends list. I saw a beautiful parade of faces from all over the world, in every color. From teens to my elders, there they were. Some I hear from often, some haven’t posted in years. I just like seeing their precious faces. Who did I cull? A couple of leftover fake people, people who have passed from this life (cause I get sad at their birthdays), and a lot of animals who long ago passed over the Rainbow Bridge.

Who did I keep? A large group of very diverse people I truly care about. Family, old friends, new friends, locals, people in other hemispheres, people from the whole spiritual spectrum (Yes, including Christians, Jews, Muslim, Buddhists, Wiccan, agnostics, and atheists). Straight, gay, trans, questioning, bi, gender fluid—they’re all good to me. There are people across the range of political and social groups, too (that’s right, from MAGA to Antifa to Communist to pacifists to gun rights activists to Capitalist to Socialist to fans of dictators to fans of the US Constitution (many interpretations) to people who just don’t care).

I’ve kept people who are vocal about their beliefs. I’ve kept people I agree with. I will keep people I disagree with. I’ve kept people who don’t post controversial things and people who do. Why? Because we all get to express ourselves however WE see fit.

I’m human!

We have the option to scroll by things that bother us or to react. Then we deal with the consequences. When I screw up, I can count on others to point it out. I am not going to censor friends I agree with or disagree with. I’m not going to invite people I disagree with to leave. Nope. We all get to stay.

Sometimes my humor upsets people. I hate that! But I’ll keep trying. If I hurt your feelings, tell me. I’ll do the same, though. Thanks to all of my diverse friends for sticking with me in these troubled times. I treasure YOU.


Take care friends. The US is in a bad place and it will get worse the rest of the year, I’m afraid. Do your best not to pigeonhole your friends, acquaintances, and family. Try?

Why I Am “Too Busy”

You know what’s extra-extra nice? It’s nice that people care. And people do care about me! One way I know is that I am very frequently told I am too busy, or asked why I do so much. This is not new. Sensei Larry, who taught the kids karate, always called me “the Joiner,” because I did so many things at my old church.

And when I was in La Leche League, I certainly had a lot of jobs, though all that volunteering led to an actual paid job, followed by a career!

Case in point. My new knitting project has followed me to the office, so I’ll have something to work on after I run off to the park to do a Master Naturalist bioblitz. This is the calmest Saturday I’ve had since last year.

It’s true. I may be an introvert, but I like to keep busy. Boredom is not an issue for me. My whole life I’ve had a book in my hands, knitting in my lap, or some meeting to go to (choir, yarn shop, LLL, political things, my women’s group, etc.) I like being around people who are doing things. That’s how I learn.

Sure, there have been times when I’ve over committed. I’m able to figure that out and eliminate some things, honest. Right now I am totally at my limit. I can’t take on another committee chairmanship, event to organize, or new hobby (even though I’d love to learn to paint).

In the last week I’ve said “no” to several things. I’m mentioning this so that those of you who are concerned will see that I DO say no. I just don’t write about those things, since the Joiner always is sad to disappoint people. I was born this way, sigh. But I’ve had therapy!

The things on my plate right now support the things I care about passionately: animals, nature, writing for my LLL friends, our new business, and my paying job (which I love, so I’m not quitting). I’m going to be careful to not take on any new sub-jobs, and to ask for help when I need it. I just LOVE to do work I’m passionate about.

You, my friends, can help by pointing out to me when I’m frazzled and short-tempered and reminding me to ask for help. I’m glad you care. And I know that a lot of my busy-ness is to keep me from thinking about losing contact with my beloved son. I know.

This is me and Jenecia (JD), who I met in Master Naturalists, and is now my good friend. We were celebrating our two-year Facebook friend-a-versary yesterday. The nice thing about a small town is that you get to see your friends so often!

Still, I’m glad I have such kind friends in real life and in the virtual community. You help me see that life always has positives and negatives, and that you can make your own positives by getting out there and DOING rather than STEWING. Hey, did I make a meme? I’m too busy to go create one and post it, though. Heh heh.

By the way, having spent the week here in Cameron, I tell you what: I’d be exhausted if I were here full time. My goodness, I went to a lot of meetings, events, and such. I think it was just an exceptional week, though. At least I got some relaxing social time with my Cameron friends, too. Cheers to my new Bistro wine happy hour buddies, and to the wonderful servers and staff friends there!

A Visit Cut Short

I was about to start writing this, when I got more and more annoyed at a phoebe flying around me. It got SO loud. I looked up, and she was sitting right on the porch with me. Missed that photo op!

Speaking of photos, you might enjoy a visit to the Master Naturalist blog, where I posted some photos of yesterday’s field trip. I’ll have more later.

Not to worry about missed opportunities, though. I got plenty of photos today, since my dear former work friend, Mike Y, finally came to visit after quite an absence. I sure was happy to give him a hug and show him what’s going on around here.

Feed the birds…

Of course we visited the chickens, who have finally figured out how to climb up their ladder. See proof below.

Chicken butt!

We had lunch at Dutch Towne, where he fit right in with his VFW hat. Too bad he took it off to eat.

Hey.

I then showed him all around the Pope Residence and introduced him to the family. He really liked the upstairs bedroom, where he just had to try on the church lady hat.

He’s in heaven.

He also found a 3D Jesus, which we had not noticed before, which I gave him as a souvenir. We then ambled over to the Hermit Haus, where Lee tried to convince him to also take Buddy Jesus home. But, no. We still have him.

Two Jesuses are better than one.

I got a real treat when we went up to the sanctuary and Mike fired up the organ and played me a rusty version of the Marine Hymn. He even used proper pedal technique. I was impressed. He had me take many photos of himself preaching and worshiping, which I do hope he made into a photo montage!

Rock on, Mike!

On our way back to the ranch and a glimpse of the Nash house, his check engine light came on. Ugh. So, we cut the day short, and he headed to the auto parts store to see what error he got. It appeared safe to drive home, so off he went.

As fondly as he’s looking at this guy, I think he will return soon.

He WILL visit again soon! He missed Sunday dinner!

Oh, Those Animals…You Gotta Enjoy Them

I just wanted to share two little things that didn’t fit in with my previous blog.

Hens

One is those silly chickens. I realized today that their ramp up to the egg laying and roosting area was upside down, and they’d never figured out how to get up there for shelter, roosting, and such.

What’s up there? More food?

So, I fixed it and put little bits of chicken scratch on each step, with more upstairs, hoping to entice them to go up. I did see them inspecting it, but haven’t yet seen one go up. I think maybe Miss Fancy Pants went up, though I was watching from the house.

I’m thinking about it.

Poor dears. I hope they do figure it out. But, they are happy and growing away! They like spinach and clover cuttings a lot!

Dogs

I hung out with my Milam Touch of Love friends today as they held a very successful micro-chipping event at the Cameron Farm and Ranch, where there’s a really useful drive-through area. I enjoyed seeing all the dogs getting chipped, but was sad to see that some of the nicest dogs at the pound still don’t have new families.

I’m saddest that Penney’s sister still hasn’t been claimed. She is as nice as Penney, and just as soft and cuddly. But, we know better than to adopt two siblings.

I’d like a family. I’m cuddly!

There’s another dog at the pound, Ghost, who is so beautiful and sweet. He is all spotted, but has something in him other than Dalmatian. I know if I had space for another white dog, I’d be taking him home. Sigh.

Ghost is just about the cutest.

It’s hard to care so much about animals and work with them, when you know you can’t take them all home. I guess that’s why they call it volunteer “work,” rather than play.

This is Rottie. He’s getting training from Mark. He was already friendly, and now he’s obedient!

I’m grateful to my MTOL friend Danelle, who not only gave me a big hug and a crystal to cling to when she saw I was a bit nerved out, but she inspired me to take some “me” time this afternoon. I’d been worrying about a situation that I can’t do anything about, but a nice bath with lavender bath salts and some orange soap Danelle gave me really has helped.

Danelle got her precious doxie mix chipped today.

And on that note, I’ll wait for Sunday dinner and all my friends and family.

Friendship Is HARD

Hey, kind readers, thanks for all of your feedback on yesterday’s post about friendship and jealousy. You all gave me a lot to think about, and the BEST part was finding out I’m not alone in having difficulty becoming a member of a group of friends. It’s important to think about it, and I realize I do it a lot. I even wrote that “friend” is my favorite word back in May!

Pickle is one of those who like people, but chooses her intimates carefully. By the way, she went to the vet and is all healthy! 9.9 pounds of vigor.

A couple of comments made me think about WHY some of us have this issue. My son’s partner realizes she has some issues being in groups, thanks to her autism symptoms, which make forming friendships difficult for her, but make her value her real friends even more (I am happy she is MY friend!). She’s not alone. Many of us note that forming friendships is hard due to personality challenges. Some of us are shy; others aren’t great at (or fond of) the kind of bonding but non-substantive conversations that lead to deeper friendships. [Insert your own reasons here.]

A neighbor texted me wondering if people even realize I want to be their friend. I found that amusing/ironic, since this was someone I want to be friends with and have no idea if they realize it. The point was that sometimes people appear to others as if they have some kind of boundary or other presentation that makes them appear to want to keep their distance. Aha! That was an insight to me. Maybe people misinterpret my “resting hermit face” for not wanting to socialize. And maybe I misinterpret others, too!

Continue reading “Friendship Is HARD”

Jealousy and Friendship

Here’s a fact about me (I know you were dying to read one): I’ve never had many close friends. Let me explain. I always have a few people I can talk to and do stuff with. But I think I always wanted to have a group of close friends who could get together and talk, travel, and share experiences. The couple of times I’ve tried that have made it clear in no uncertain terms that I’m not cut out to do that and will end up being “that member” that everyone talks about behind their back and wishes would stop showing up (hello, yarn store clique; I still like many of you as individuals). No wonder I have so much sympathy for the pariahs in my social circle and keep doing my best to be kind to them.

Why is this relevant?

Well, over the past weekend, I watched as a couple of groups of people from work went on fabulous trips and had fabulous times together. I found myself wishing I could go along. These are friend groups I tried to be in, but didn’t fit in. Yep, I had a bit o’ jealousy. I’ve always wanted to be a member of a close group of friends that were drawn together because of shared bonds, not because they are members of the same club or somehow paid to be together.

How I imagine all these groups of close friends are, out having their adventures. All white, young, and lanky. This is not real life. Photo: @sashapritchard via Twenty20

Maybe this all stemmed from when I was a kid growing up, when our neighborhood was a merry band of young folks who did everything together, regardless of our differences and actually cared about each other (I feel warm when I remember how the autistic child, Gay, came along with us wherever she could, and stood on the sidelines, rocking back and forth, but a part of the group; of course we had never heard of autism).

Here’s what a large group of MY friends and acquaintances looks like. Much more varied. Photo by Rae Schopp.
Continue reading “Jealousy and Friendship”

Shouting Out in Love

A couple of things lead me to today’s post. First, the combination of Valentine’s Day and the Parkland shooting combine in a weird way to remind all of us to treasure our loved ones, tell them and show them how much we care, and to help out our friends facing mental health challenges (and thereby keep our schools, workplaces, and gathering spots safe).

And you, and you.

Second, there have been some big ole challenges (not blog-eligible) in my personal circle lately, so I have had to be the one to reach out for support while also giving it. I’ve talked to friends from far away (this means YOU friends and family in Michigan and North Carolina) and near. Yesterday, after spilling my guts in a blog post that I didn’t actually post, I found myself repeatedly telling a small group of friends, ranging from young adults to people my age that I loved them. My heart was so full from the support we were giving each other.

And that’s a key to happiness, friends, at least according to Gretchen Rubin, of the Happiness Project: having close relationships. Here’s what she said in her online newsletter yesterday:

Appreciation for important relationships is important for all bonds, not just romance. We need close, long-term relationships of all kinds. We need to be able to confide, and we need to belong. In fact, people who claim to have at least five friends with whom they can discuss important problems are 60% more likely to describe themselves as “very happy.”

Gretchen Rubin – click to subscribe to her newsletter

My close circle of friends in Austin includes people from my church, who I rarely see anymore, friends I’ve met through my kids, work friends, wise counselors, and neighbors. In Cameron I have our little “community” out in Walker’s Creek by the ranch. And online I have a couple of close communities who support each other. They are all important to me. Even when I’m not saying anything, I’m thinking about so many people and sending good thoughts their way (like many of you would do in your prayers).

I added this one just because it made me cringe. I almost spelled you’re wrong yesterday, myself. I know my dear friends would forgive me.

I need to say it more, like I’ve been doing this week. Knowing you all are there helps keep me going, no matter what. You have my back. I have yours.

Everybody: use today as an excuse to tell your support network how much they mean to you. Pick a few to say something specific to. That’s my plan for today. And days to come.

Let’s tell people we care about how much we do care! Every day.